Tuesday, January 21, 2020

you have it in writing...

a commitment! Hemming and hawing a bit more…looking at my yarns from all angles…I have come up with a plan! and am putting it in writing – that way I have a witness! Can’t go back on that!
Remembering a promise from last year, I’m going to write up the pattern for Rib’nShrug.  https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2013/04/notes-for-flared-body.html Have made it several times and wrote lots of notes but I do like to re-knit as I’m doing the pattern to make sure I don’t miss anything.
The hardest part? deciding on the colour to use! I narrowed it down by sorting out the single cones - no sense breaking up a 2 or 3 cone dye-lot for a project that should come in under one 500g cone, so I've settled on cinnamon - this is a 4-ply pure new wool. The garment is a sideways sleeve/yoke/sleeve, knit all in one piece in stockinette. The body, also sideways, also one piece, is a random rib needle arrangement with shortrowed gores in the bottom side to widen out the basic rectangle, adding in hip width and creating a curved hemline. Very little finishing, a fairly quick project.
Decided to go whole hog and get another thing going on the LK150 at the same time. I was always much more productive when pushing myself.
Have a bunch of ‘Briggs & Little’ Durasport https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2014/12/ideas-and-inspiration.html
that has been well aged. I think I bought it when I was on a sock-tear back in 2014. Really stocked up and then I didn’t really love it. https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2015/12/random-thoughts-confessions-rest-of-plan.html  But maybe enough time has passed, so, I dug it out again. I know MF would like another hoodie, heavier than the Man Friend Hoodie that was standard gauge so here goes! I’m using it double stranded on the LK/6.5mm mid gauge machine. I have some oatmeal, denim, ivory and smoke that I plan to mix into strategic stripes in the top/chest/upper body area. The swatch washed up nicely, looks and feels good – I can think on it a bit more while I work on the top part of the standard gauge project.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

back to knitting...

Yup! We are well into the new year and the new decade! If you’re like me and not really been too committed to machine knitting lately, how do you get back to it?
I started by working out – I treated myself to a new set of videos and some cheap, at-home equipment (3X3 fit) and I like it, kind of a Pilates/yoga/stretching thing. Then I made some crackers – my new baking passion lately; Netflix-ed the 3rd season of ‘The Crown’ and all ‘The Kominsky Method’ and started on ‘Designated Survivor’. All classic procrastination techniques.
While doing those things, thought about my reasons to knit. They have changed somewhat from a few years ago [https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2018/03/i-had-lump-in-my-throat.html]
Now, I’m more about doing something to keep busy and using up my stash. Asking myself, do I want something where I’m working on autopilot or is it the need to create something useful? It’s probably better to ease into it in stages.
So far, I searched out a couple of UFOs that I had abandoned and almost forgotten – not sure if I even told you about but one was a remake of that striped hoodie from last year (red wine stain that wouldn’t budge) – it just needed a zipper and I couldn’t settle on the right one and the other was that EFisher Knockoff  https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2019/05/even-i-had-my-doubts.html
that I was making in recycled light grey WCD. It was all done except for fixing in all the ends and I still hate the colour – yeah, there’s a dye job coming up! I’ll tell you about this later.
Worked on both of those and thought some more… do I need a project? a commitment? Advice to myself: remake something you’re familiar with, and, it is MF’s birthday in February... Come up with a plan, MA!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

things I never told ya...

Reading socks - that’s what the millennials told me they are really called! And they were thrilled to get them! I know I love mine! Even made myself a second pair, using red, gray and black, sort of to match my ‘Lipstick and Smoke’ because I wear that a lot, just hanging around in the evenings. Someone had mentioned using lycra added to the ribbing and I thought, ‘oh I could try that’…DO NOT! What happens is the lycra shortens up the rows instead of the width and you end up with falling-down-socks. Even after washing, it was worse. Wore them a few times, still loved them and decided they needed a fix up.
Heh, heh, heh! I can graft with the best of them! I knit the new cuffs and took them off on waste yarn. Removed the non-working cuffs from the circular socks, rehung half and put on waste and then the second half. Grafted the cuff in place and seamed the cuff – good as new but better – I made the new cuff 30 rows instead of the original 25. They stay up beautifully! Here’s a tip – don’t throw away mistakes – save the evidence to remind yourself! Actually, after seeing the cuffs go wide like that, I remembered using the lycra for something like this before and it happened then too. I have now thrown away the remaining cone of lycra so I won’t be tempted to use it again next time I forget!
That pullover I was making for manfriend – on Boxing Day, I carefully rehung the neckline, was able to salvage it without having to re-knit anything except the neckband. Finished it off and gave it to him. Held my breath as he jammed his arms into it and yanked it over his head, just like a man who doesn't realize that maybe being a little careful might be a good thing... ah! it worked so smoothly, didn't even need an additional tug! He's happy, I'm happy, it looks good and fits exactly like I wanted and all is well!
Note to self, quit being such a drama queen!
Happy New Year to all! Talk to you next year!
P.S. Been watching ‘Project Runway’ – just love that Chrisitian Siriano – not necessarily his designs, just love his attitude and advice and he`s so cute! Apparently he has a line of ready-to-wear coming out in J. Jill in the New Year. I’m excited to see it!
P.S.S. Hope to see you in Pigeon Forge! They’ve (Tennessee Valley Machine Knitters – google them) asked me back – I promised a whole new/different two-day program from last year! It’s March 21, 22, 2020!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

the hurry-er i go...

the behind-er I get!
There I was, on Christmas Eve early afternoon, trying to get a few minutes in, finishing up the manfriend pullover…what’s the hold-up you ask? Yeah, I know, eh? like from swatching to now, it’s been over two months! Thinking back, that ‘p’ word has become my middle name! Procrastinator of the first degree! I think because it never was my idea – he asked for it and said what HE wanted...
Anyway, I have a list of to-dos running through my head – gifts to wrap, dessert to make, thinking about the turkey-brining, wondering if I can NOT have to go to the grocery store one last time, does the kitchen floor really need mopping? while waiting for my d-i-l (who is chronically time-challenged and almost always at least an hour late, which I’ve already planned for!) to come by and worrying, 'is this neck opening going to be big enough? I'm sure he has a freakishly big head! I’m stupidly trying to get the neckband knit and on and needles to say (ha! ha!), as sure as the lord made little green apples, you know what happened! A stitch dropped in the middle of the front – it would never be in the back! and there’s a hole!
The doorbell rings and it's A (with the kids! their unwrapped presents are all over!)! Calmy, I set the thing down, hole and all, carefully, and go down.
I make us Christmas coffees, ban the kids from going upstairs and repeat to myself something I learned many years ago – it doesn’t matter what doesn’t get done because no one else knew you were going to do it! There is always another day and promissory notes to give!
Here’s some of the best advice I ever gave:
P.S.  been Netflixing `The Crown`, season 3, really liking it with the new cast and I have this barely controllable urge to get myself a string of pearls! Just one strand, not three...
Seasons Greetings!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

sorry for being so quiet...

It’s not like I haven’t been knitting, just that I didn’t feel I had anything new to say. Knit a ton of socks, five pairs of knee socks and still had a few bits so switched to hats. Made several hats and finally, here it is December! I didn’t mean to leave manfriend’s pullover to the last minute, but with just two weeks to go, I’m starting to feel the pressure!
I had made a couple of swatches back in November and I’d been thinking of the details like hems and bands - this is going to be pretty plain but still!
I was going to use my ‘hem with chain stitch’ (page 98, The Handbook for Manual Machine Knitters)  - it looks like a nice, plain hem that you can start off with – well, actually you start off with every other needle which reduces the bulk of the backside of the hem and there’s a chain across the bottom edge to give a even, straight line because a guy really wouldn’t want a picot hem, would he?
Thinking I knew what I was doing, cast on every other needle, knit several rows, pulled the needles out and chained in behind and then thought, what the hay? that chain needs to be pulled through the row. Still figuring I was on the right track, I pulled the every-other-stitch through the chain, saying to myself, why didn’t I do this before?
Well, probably because it doesn’t work!!
At this point, I went and got the book to
read up on how it was really supposed to be done. Got that accomplished and then decided this would look so much better if the ‘ribbed-look’ from the purl side was on the front which just means an RTR (remove, turn, rehang) and it would give the opportunity to have a few less stitches in the hem…oh gosh, another day gone!

Monday, November 4, 2019


Straight up! All this playing around with socks! Maybe you noticed I never said anything about getting that yarn I ordered for manfriend’s pullover. I was kind of shocked when I got it and rather than deal with the situation, I put it on ignore. What happened is when searching for the yarn, I punched in DK weight and when he liked it, I just plain old ordered it without thinking too much. In all honesty, I thought it was 100g balls with 175m, but it really is 50g balls with 175m – that’s more like sock yarn than a DK weight that one would use on the LK150! And there was only 8 balls left so that’s what I went with, figuring it would be enough for a plain stockinette pullover in a mid gauge weight. Yikes! what to do? procrastinate, of course!
The gauge on the label says 20-23 sts and 26-32 rows to 10 cm which should be a mid gauge weight. It’s 65% merino wool, 20% baby alpaca and 15% silk. This is going to need to be gauged and washed for sure – the fulling process could really throw me off and I don’t have much room for experimenting – I should have at least ordered another ball of a different colour to play with. It's not like it really shrinks – well, it will if mistreated in the laundry – but what I mean is the initial washing fluffs out the fibres, releases the strands and fills in the fabric, making it thicker and denser that it looked when first off the machine.
I’m not sure I’ve ever said this out loud to you, but on any machine, I like to use the mid to high range of the stitch size, like on the LK150, the dial goes from 1 to 9, but my favourite stitch size is 5. I might use T3 to T7 or 8 but not very often. On the standard gauge, it numbers from 0 to 10 and I use mostly T6 to 9. Each machine performs best in this range with increasing, decreasing and shaping working well. If dealing with tight tension and small stitch size, it becomes more difficult to use the tools so the whole project becomes fraught with anxiety! I guess that’s why there are different gauge machines!
The point is trying to use a mid gauge yarn on the standard gauge or using a fingering weight on the mid gauge just becomes an exercise in patience and determination. There I go again, prolonging the agony! I finally jump in and make my preliminary swatch to see what stitch size to use, starting off at T5, 10 rows, a loose row to divide, 10 rows at T4.5, etc. to get the stitch size I want. After looking and feeling, decide that T3.5 may be optimal. Make my swatch at T3.5, another on top at T4 just to be sure and knit the whole ball. This way I can use it to measure against an actual garment of the final size to determine is there will be enough yarn - the swatch has been washed and dried at this point and can be re-used for the hems/bands in the final garment. I can tell already there is a need for a plan B - maybe insert a wide band of contrast colour at the chest...oh yeah, I should admit I found another tweedy DK yarn that was on sale (49 bucks for 10 balls, 74% acrylic, 26% cotton, 100g/260 m) so I ordered it along with some more sock stuff - he'll never know the difference!

Monday, October 28, 2019

crazy legs...

That was fun! I love these! They could be called knee socks, maybe cabin socks or just more great gifts! My niece who loves teal, got that pair and she’s excited to wear them in her high-top rubber boots!
Making sure all the scraps were the same fibre content (75 superwash/25 polymid), for the first pair, I grouped blue/teal colourways as close as possible, weighed each leftover before and knit about half so there would be enough for the second sock, recording how many rows of each bit in the hopes of duplicating the stripes for the second matching sock. In the photo below, the middle small cone of yarn looks like it has a lot of red it in which I pulled off and didn't use because I thought it would have contrasted too starkly with the rest of the colourways.
Rhiana’s socks are straight up and down, her calves are still quite slim so basically, I made the socks in her size (6.5) from my 2017 ankle sock pattern, with the top cuff 20 rows and knit 180 rows for the leg portion above the heel.

The teal pair began with a 20-row cuff of 40-0-40 sts in 2X2 (2X1) rib as per my original pattern. The circular part of the leg, 100 rows straight, shaped by decreases every 30 rows down to the 34-0-34 sts for the basic sock in my size. These were a nice length but quite snug on my well-developed calves!
For the second pair, gray was the main theme. I broke up the leftovers more, using 30 rows as maximum so there were smaller blocks of colours and could be repeated further down if there was extra. These had 25 rows of rib over 42-0-42 sts, decreased the same way and are perfect!
I’ve added these details to my sock pattern – it is a revision [https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2016/12/12-days-of-christmas-socks.html]  of my ‘warmup socks’ from the Freebies at www.knitwords.com – if you want the new revision, email me!
Just about out of leftovers! What am I gonna do? LOL! Place a new order of course! Have to use up that discount I got with the last order before it expires ;)