Saturday, July 28

But, he doesn't knit

So. Last night I finished another Red Hat Society - No Hair Day chemo hat. They're a quick knit and I needed something mindless the other day.

I cast on the little Down by the Seashore Preemie Hat again. I've been in touch with another knitter at Ravelry who made it. (did I mention that I really like Ravelry?) She is giving me some help with the pattern. The wonderful woman even offered to make another one and donate it to a charity so she could better help me. What an amazing gesture from someone I don't know. I cast on (the third time for this pattern) and was telling Bobby how sweet it was etc, etc. He asked me to explain the problem, which I did.

It's a lace pattern and has a section of stitches that repeat over and over. There is wording in the pattern that confuses me. Now, I've knitted
Fair Isle with no trouble. The first row of this puppy reads:

1: p1, *k1, p2. repeat from * around. end p1

After my last repeat of the *pattern* I kept looking for one more stitch to purl. It got even worse later on in the pattern when yarn overs and K3tog came into play.

He got it.

He really did. Oh, he hasn't magically decided to knit and his hands are one with the needles. However the math part was clear to him. He picked up a pad of graph paper and wrote out the numbers 1 - 56 for my cast on stitches. Then he filled in a K or a P underneath to represent each stitch. I could see it. He made a knitting chart on a huge scale. He told me that his next step would have been to tape the ends of the pattern together to make a continuous loop - but I got it without that. Now I can boldly go forth.

This was the revelation: The statement " end p1" simply means the last stitch before the stitch marker should have been a purl. Kinda like a Spell Check. Sheesh!

My husband. I love him.

Tuesday, July 24

Saartje's Bootees

Thought I'd flash a picture of my Sjaartje's bootees and the little hat. Sartjee's are all the rage you know. So blasted adorable you can't help yourself from knitting up a dozen or so. Mike and Sully over there are modeling for the future little Monster.

The neatest part is I used buttons I found in my mother's old button box. Mom kept this old Tetley Tea can in the china cabinet with her sewing box. When one of our school blouses got ripped or was so threadbare from too many hand-me-downs, she would snip off the buttons and keep them for when we needed a replacement button another time. They were uniforms and always came from the same company. Other buttons were in there too, but the blouse buttons were perfect for the Sjaartje's Bootees.

And gee, if they're 40 years old or so are they antiques?

Thursday, July 19

It's A Major Award!

For anyone who has watched and loved "A Christmas Story" those words can be ominous. Visions of crates from Frajee-lay (must be Italian) come to mind. But when my husband came home from the Borders chanting that and handed me a copy of Simply Knitting, there was more inside the plastic sleeve than a magazine. It seems that each month the editors of the magazine send along a knitting goody. So looky here at what I got. This little flock of sheep tip protectors are three different sizes and easy to tuck into a project bag.

It's a great idea and sparks interest in their magazine - which was loads of fun anyway. Lots of British magazines offer free items such as software or music CDs as incentives. Simply Knitting also had lots of contests, although the copy Bobby picked was a bit ripe and a few had expired. Although many of the ads were for shops I will never get to, the articles were lovely, and well worth keeping. There are lots of patterns for a variety of clothing and other items. A stuffed elephant might have to be made in anticipation of anybodies baby - and just for the cute factor alone.

What fun!

Maybe he'll keep an eye out for other issues for me, wonderful DH that he is.

In other news, I turned in my lavender lace hat at the Mayer Center. It was well received with many oohs and ahhs. Diane also regaled me with the story of my Red Hat Society No Hair Day recipient and her reaction to the hat. I wish I could have seen her in that red convertible with all the fur flying. I'm glad I have plenty of that stuff in my donated stash. I should be able to turn out another for next time.

Meanwhile, I made a little baby hat and am working on booties for a layette to go to the Healthy Families of Howard County at the Kiwanis. The girls get something handmade to bring the babies home in. Miss Betty said sometimes it's the only nice outfit they have. The bootie pattern is Saartje's Bootees and they are all the rage at Ravelry. You can get the pattern from her website Saartje breit (that's Dutch for Saartje knits) I think I'm down to two patterns for the sweater. You know me and my patternophobia. But truthfully, I'm not sure I have enough yarn and it may have to wait until I can pick up some more next week. That baby white just isn't something I have in my stash - of course I already have blue in the hat and shoes so other colors will work also. Both patterns are top down, require almost no seaming and have simple designs. I can like that.

It's fun to be working on something new all the time. I like small projects. Instant gratification. Yeah. After the forever sweater and Veteran's blanket I needed a few quickies.

Hopefully the baby sweater won't take too long - it IS for an infant after all.

Thursday, July 12

The Feminine Touch

I finished my Lace Edged Women's Hat for the Claudia Mayer Center ohhhhh last week some time. I just got around to taking pictures yesterday though. I swear. I am going to get some coaching on the lace thing. I know I'm using a non-breathing yarn (acrylic) because that's what the center wants, but I can see that my painstakingly following the directions didn't get the lace quite right. I know this for sure because I can compare my work to no less than 6 other knitters with pictures of their projects on ravelry.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but seeing how 6 different women knit up the same pattern with 6 different yarns is the biggest reason to sign up for a ravelry account RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

<------- click the shiny blinky ravelry button over there <-------

I'm currently working on the preemie hat. Arrragh. Well, it thinks it is a preemie hat. Once again, my gauge is right, but this thing looks rather large for any preemie I ever took care of in Labor and Delivery or The Nursery. Hrumph! I did wimp out on continuing the lace up the body of the hat. Instead I did a color change. It's very soft and suitably cute. I found a project for booties on ravelry too from Saartje, one of the designers who has her patterns available for download directly from the site. You can see them on the right side of her blog here. She has a newborn and should know a thing or two about what stays on a baby's feet. Besides, I've alway's wanted to use some of the ton of antique buttons from my Mother and Grandmother's button can. I plan to cast these on as soon as the hat is done - they are calling my needles so loudly.

Oh I hear ya. If I ever stop playing with ravelry and this computer long enough to knit anything again, right? Well in 30 minutes I'm off to Sit-n-Knit with K1P2 down at the Lakeside and have dinner with my husband at the concert afterwards while I finish this hat.

Watch me!

Tuesday, July 10

Lace Expectations

Am I dense? I'm on my second pattern with lace and the repeat doesn't make sense. Either the designers left two unnecessary stitches in BOTH times or I'm just reading these things wrong. The little preemie hat doesn't say to place a marker but does speak of the pattern in "rounds" so I know I'm not mad. I've ripped it out and started over (this time with Clive Owen and Jackie Chan) and got the same result. My biggest puzzlement came when I was left with three stitches to go. According to the pattern, my next move was k3tog. No problem right? Oh yeah, what about the general directions for the row which read "end with p1"??? Where do I get the extra stitch? When you look at the area where the rounds begin, there is an awkward flat area.

I went back over the entire row and checked to see if I had made a mistake. Nope. I can't explain the math part, it hurts my brain. The only thing I can figure is the original directions were written to be knitted on circular needles and someone tried to add stitches at each end to make it a flat pattern? That wouldn't work. Every other row would be backwards. It would explain the extra stitches - they would be used for seaming. Since the pattern is a wavy thing anyway, I'm gonna mush on and see what I got. "end with p1" be damned.

Now my problem is I have one fewer stitches than what I cast on after the k3tog decrease row. The pattern doesn't state any reminders like "54 stitches now" or "53 stitches on the needles". I'm moving on and if the next row comes out one short I'll "M1" and fudge it next row. It's a teeny tiny hat puffy and hopefully an error will get lost in the folds of the waves. I could chuck the whole thing and use another pattern, but now it's a matter of knitterly honor.

But I'm liking the lace part.

Monday, July 9

Fear of Socks

Why am I sooo afraid of these socks? Last night I started a preemie hat for the Kiwanis Wallis Center and all I could think about was the damn socks. It probably has to do with my whole avoidance issue with my sister right now since the socks are for her. Hmmm. Maybe I should make different socks. That's it! I'll make Jaywalkers or Monkeys or SOMETHING other than my original plan. I've seen so many great patterns on ravelry, I'm sure I can get motivated somewhere to knit something with some kind of pretty string. It's daunting you know. "Her socks are prettier than my socks" "My socks are so plain" "Everyone will laugh at my socks". You get the picture.

Meanwhile, ravelry continues to fascinate me. Just photographing and logging in my inventory is overwhelming, and by no means do I have a lot of stuff. I've seen the stash confessions of the knitters , some of whom I admire from afar. Geez! It's embarrassing to look at my pitiful personal collection. I don't really count the donated yarn, although some of it is nice for acrylic. I like to keep the two separate, and I never use the donated yarn for personal projects. I have expanded out of my original cupboard though :) something I never thought would happen. I blame Maryland Sheep and Wool for that. I HAD to have better storage for the good stuff than wedging all of it into the top shelf. I was worried about damaging the fibers. Gotta protect the investment don'tcha know.

::wink wink, nudge nudge::

Anyway. This morning ravelry won't load. The site must be down for repair. Waaaah! I'm stamping my little knitter's foot and pouting my little knitter's lower lip. After checking about every half hour (oh my, she is obsessed isn't she) I just checked the link by hand entering in the browser window. HUZZAH! My link in my bookmarks works too. Rejoice knitters of the land and lay down thy needles, ravelry is up and running.

Gotta go.

Thursday, July 5


Night-blooming flowers Lucy Huntzinger used with permission
Okay, so I haven't completely retired. We went out to the car to go to the fireworks last night (I know, it was raining). I didn't want to take the lavender hat because of the decreases - in the dark. Bobby found an ancient WUA block in the Toyota so I transferred it to my car. It took me a minute to remember the pattern around the edge, that's how long ago it's been since I'd seen the poor thing. Boy! That is some huge acrylic.

I love fireworks. With the rain, lightning and threat of cancellation I wouldn't let Bobby pay ten bucks to park by the Lake. We headed to the mall parking lot with our dinner and went up the parking deck by the theater. It may not be as spectacular, but it was dry and sinus problems have been rampant in our house lately. There were others gathered and the atmosphere was festive.

We ate with the windows down and listened to someones radio as we watched the intermittent rain and lightning. People kept coming. After a delay of about thirty minutes, it stopped raining. I noticed a big puff of light in the direction of the water. That wasn't lightning. Everybody out of the cars! A modest but thoroughly enjoyable fireworks display followed. From where we were, we could hear the Ahhhs and applause from the lake. I couldn't believe it.

I leaned on Bobby and softly hummed The Star Spangled Banner.

Tuesday, July 3

Swearter gets the Checkered Flag

Well, I finished my Swearter on Sunday, you win Nittany Knits. With four laps to go and Jeff Gordon battling for first place I began to cast off my four stitches. I crossed the start/finish before the checkers. Jeff came in second but retained his first place standings for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship. Go #24!

I can't turn the lap blanket in until two weeks from now.
We won't meet on the Fourth of July for some reason ;) I know the ladies will be proud of me. I picked up some baby yarn last week so I can do a few preemie hats. I need some instant gratification. Baby yarn isn't something I got in all the donated yarn my bag o'yarn stash from columbiafreecycle. I chose some soft, silky, shiny white partial balls leaving the whole skeins for the blanket and sweater makers. I really do like this mindless pattern though. It begins each row with a simple 4-5 stitch pattern and then it's k,k,k,k. It's knit on the diagonal and increases each row until the middle of your available yarn or when you've reached you're desired length. Then you start to decrease until you reach the other side. Brilliant! It's great for Thursday nights down at the Lakeside. A pretty eyelet forms around the edge and Miss Mary tells me she threads a ribbon through it for her baby blankets. Maybe a baby blanket the next time, they do get a fair amount of pastel at the Senior Center and I do need something mindless when I talk..

In other news, I am sad to announce my retirement from knitting. ravelry is so much fun and time consuming that I have decided to give up knitting and concentrate on the world surrounding knitting. I feel really fortunate to have the account. It's like manna from heaven. When I got the invite from frecklegirl (one of the originators) I was excited. It wasn't until I began to explore the site that I got so amazed. From the site 10 days ago:

We are up to 3063 users, 682 unclaimed invitations, and 7303 people on the waiting list.

Geez! I'm more in awe than ever. I was reading in the forums today and realized something. They only started the site nine weeks ago on May 2,2007. Nine weeks ago! These people live in our heads. It has everything I've been thinking about for organizing my knitting and more, so throw away your little books and spreadsheets. They do have plans to tweak several areas like the needle inventory. It's still in Beta testing after all. But there is a forum dedicated to working out any kinks. Turns out Firefox is the browser of choice so I'm in the pink as far as that is concerned. They had no idea it would fly off the needles like that.

Huzzah! Revel in ravelry!

I've been busy exploring the site (screenshots here), entering data about my projects, FINDING the data for my projects, taking pictures of my stash to enter, gathering data about my needles . . . the list goes on ad nauseum. Seriously, no knitting for two days. Haven't looked at the needles or fondled the Austermann yarn now that the Swearter is done.

So go! Get in line. It's only going to get longer. I'm tinkknitz there too and you'll see Javagem, KnitGlit, StormMoonKnits and GiantsKnitter too. There are others I recognize and designers too. C'mon over to the dark side.

I only hope I can keep up. Back to ravelry now . . .