Why this journey?

I've been retired now for over a year. Husband has been sick but is now doing quite well with new pacemaker. I continue to knit and knit and crochet. Recently I became friends again with my sewing machine so you will see some of those projects, too. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hospital Time

There's God's time, earthly time, and Hospital Time.  If you've been a resident there or sat by the bed of a friend or relative, you know that HT elapses at a pace unknowable to mankind.  I don't think even the docs and nurses and aides can explain HT to you.  HT has a willful mind of its own and can be slower than glaciers and then pass more quickly than synapses in the brain.

Second verse -- sorta same as the first.  Another set of chest pains, a call to 911, EMT's at the house, ambulance trip to St. Joe's, boocoo tests (as in blood, x-ray, dye stress tests), and lots and lots of waiting in between -- all on HT.

I had a flight instructor who explained Flight Instructor Time to me this way:  hours and hours of boring flying punctuated by seconds of sheer terror  (remember there's a student pilot in the left seat, Pilot In Charge.)

HT feels the same way.  Long periods of boredom, bad food, interruptions for vital signs, and then finally a minute or two with someone who can explain test results and next steps.

Meanwhile -- I've grabbed my knitting bag on my way to the hospital.  Of course!

Here's what I worked on, all depending on available mental energy, interest level, and access to decent light.

Snug Sockettes -- from Vanessa at Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts.  Vaness at Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts.  Also on Ravelry if you wanna log in there.  I used stash, left-over Harry Potter sock yarn.  It's Cascade Heritage washable.

All the pics today were taken on the deck, as we finally have a bit of overcast sun.  We call them sun breaks here in PNW, USA.  It's a situation full of hope as in "we see enuf sun we can hope for the full dose soon."

Arimono Shawl -- Megan Goodacre from Tricksy Knitter.  I'm completely addicted to Megan's designs.  Just bot two patterns at her end-of-summer sale.  You might still be able to find a kit for Arimono, using Sweatermaker Yarns.  I gotta tell ya -- this is some of the most wonderful yarn I've ever worked with.  It's silk and cashmere, hand painted.  Tricksy Knitter.

Manchester United scarf -- my design and first experiment with Double Knitting.  Yarn is Patons Astra, sport weight acrylic.  This is very fun.  I encourage you to try something in Double Knitting.

We're home now and much improved.  We both enjoy being on our own time and away from HT.

Me, I prefer KT.

Knitting Time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Underline Sunny

People in southern, sunny California probably don't have much need for shawls that warm the shoulders.  But there's a mother there I know, one whose first born is flying the nest to college.  The info I have tells me she is already missing him though graduation is still an event in the future, albeit very near future, as in June 20.

The memory and prayer shawl is silk and cotton, not too dense, not too big.  Hoping this special mother will find a time now and then to wrap herself while she's reading during a cool evening or walking the dog early in the morning.  Maybe a wrap for coffee time or even a wrap for a dressy night out.

Do they have cool in sunny California?

From One+One by Artyarns. Design by
Iris Schreier.  Diamond Lace Wrap.
On the blocking board.

This one is definitely for intermediate knitters because of the turns during each of the diamonds.  There's no way to have a life line which can be a comfort and insurance during most lace knitting.  This is quite unique.  In the book it's shown in two colors and it's lovely that way too.

  • Yarn:  Classic Silk by Classic Elite Yarns (50% cotton, 30% silk, 20% nylon). That should be OK for Sunny California?
  • Needles:  I started with US8 and then upsized to US9.  The 8's made it too tight and dense and the 9's corrected that and matched gauge.

I'm delivering this one.  Lucky me.  It's 60 degrees, cold, wet, rainy and gray -- again, still, ever, yet, always, here in our part of the Pacific NW.  Twill be grand to hit the ground in Sunny California.

Underline Sunny.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Twice as Nice

Now this is fun -- call me a knitting nerd -- but this is fun.

Double Knitting.  Two sides happen at the same time with the designs reversed.  One side is red with yellow design; the other is yellow with red pattern.

You goth admit that's very cool.

How did I get here?  Well, I'm on Twitter @RebeccaBianco and finally reached the incredible status of having 100 followers.  The 100th asked:  What do I get for being #100?  I offered a hand-knit scarf.  Mr. 100 is a rabid Manchester United fan.  And thus was born the scarf in double knitting.

  • Front side / the 'right' side will be red with yellow pattern and words that read Manchester United.
  • Back side / the 'wrong' side will be yellow but the words won't read correctly.  Maybe it will be mirror writing, but I haven't put any brain cells on that one.

I decided on Double Knitting so the scarf would be warm, reversible, and I would not have to use Duplicate Stitch or Intarsia (one layer) to add colors.  Double Knitting is really intarsia with two 'pieces' of knitting.

The process took at least 3 cast ons and frogs before the process gelled.  Here are some sites I used to help me along.  Both are easy reading and have clear directions.

  • Knitting Help:  Where you can make a hot pad with a heart.  Author is Nancie Kramer and she's good.
  • Knitty:  Where you can make "Not Your Grandma's Double Knit Hat."  Author is Jenanne Hassler, very nicely done.

I'm designing my own letters, one at a time.  I'm also a math nerd, so graph paper is a long time friend.  Yarn is Patons Astra, a sport weight.  The yarn label suggests US6 but the ladies above suggest smaller needles so I'm using US4.

Having fun -- double the fun.  

Warning -- either this will become your new yarn addiction OR you will decide it's fiddly or requires too much attention.  Don't try to look up while double knitting, so if you combine TV with knitting, you'll have to choose.  No more multi-tasking.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lamb-Lamb Adventures

School's out so we had some fun with the Lambs.  They are enjoying their first day with no school (while we are learning photo composition, color placement, interest factor, camera settings, etc.)

The Lambs asked us to share their day with you.  Smile -- God loves you (and the Lambs.)

Arguing over the remote.

What's a four letter word for "young sheep?"

Camping gear is on sale!

Summer assignments -- groan.

Practice, practice, practice

Conversation with John Tyler.

Relaxing with the knitting project -- a shawl.

Clean and sweet smelling from the dryer.

Hungry for Top Ramen.

How do you spell "dictionary?"

Thankful to be God's children.

Catching some rays -- but being careful.

Hiding in the bamboo.

How did we end up here?  Yikes!

Everyone loves a wagon ride.

Climbing the hazelnut tree.

Waiting for a squirrel to come across the top of the fence.

Morning workout.

Checking out the Crocs for garden work.

Working on our photo album and blog.

So tired, we need a nap.

Does this coat of wool make my butt look big?

Cool water only so we don't shrink.

Should have started with coffee.

How did we end up here?  Another Yikes.


Someone in this house wants roast lamb.  *scary looks*

Piecing the quilt to help Nana.

Be careful not to rest the iron directly on the wool.

Another toll free call -- probably a survey.  We will ignore it.

Reading God's Holy Word.

When morning are chilly we sit by the fire.

Listening to the tunes.
We've had a busy busy day and enjoyed every minute.  Hope your day is also wonderful.

Smile -- God loves you.

The Lambs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

325 stitches

Yup that's the count at the end of this one.  Bind off loosely in purl.  The cast-on count?  69.  So lots and lots of yarn overs!

It's a great cape.  Designer is Brooke Nico, with ArtYarns.  The pattern is in their One+One book.

I started it late last week and made it my weekend project.  Steady knitting brings me to Tuesday and a finished item.  Yeah!

It's a prayer shawl.  Dear friend lost her dear friend to suicide.  Fathoming this mystery is beyond the human heart or mind.  A prayer shawl is just one token of remembrance -- a way to tell my friend that I know her loss is deep and unfathomable.  It's a small bit of my heart and prayers, said while knitting, that I will give her tonight as a way to say "I love you, even if neither of us understands."

The yarn is Paton's Canadiana, a superb acrylic that knits up soft and even.  The cape calls for a CCYA 4 weight.  Of course, ArtYarns features their own incredible fibers in all the patterns in One+One.  (The link from ArtYarns takes you to Amazon.  I always hesitate to link to a particular purchase site, so check out KnitPicks or WEBS or your LYS.)

Here are some detail pix.

Whatever that color disclaimer is, you can insert it here _____.   The bottom foto is closer to the 'truth.'

This one has worked up quite smoothly.  It's rated "Intermediate" but only because the pattern, as you can see, is irregular.  The leaves get larger as they fall down the length of the cape/shawl.

  • Yes, I'd make this pattern again, definitely.  
  • Yes, buy the book.  My purchase was a kind of accidental online selection that's made me happy I erred.
  • Yes, I'd love to try any of the designs in One+One, using the ArtYarns specified -- they are all gorgeous and incredible.
  • Yes, prayer works.  This I believe.  Amen

Monday, June 4, 2012

One Experiment vs 1000 Expert Opinions

If you knit sox, even as a beginner, you know there are many ways to approach them.  And if you're like me, you've experimented with each method, maybe even bot a book.  There are more experts, I think, than there are feet to wear sox we never knit.  (giggles.)

  • One at a time
  • One needle with Magic Loop
  • Two Circulars
  • 3 or 4 dpn's 
  • Toe up
  • Top down

Did I miss something?

Yes, the type of needle.  These run from lace circulars, wooden / metal / plastic dpn's, your favorite brand.

I've experimented with all of them and I think I've found the secret -- for the Snug Sockettes (more later) I picked up a ChaoGoo Knit Red Lace circular, 47" long.  Using the Magic Loop method I cast on for one Snug Sockette.

Adjectives fail me.  This needle worked.  The cord is strong but flexible.  The points are magnificently smooth and make for speedy knitting.  ML method means I actually get to knit 20+ stitches at a time so rhythm has a chance to set in.  Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

If you check in regularly with this blog, you may notice
that this is the leftover Cascade Heritage Superwash used
with the Harry Potter Sox.
The pattern.  It's free from Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts, an engaging and delightful blog written by Vanessa (make sure you read her story of the year she spent fighting -- and beating -- cancer.)

Vanessa's blog is here:  Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts.
Her pattern is here (and Ravelry): Snug Sockettes  (which gives a link to Ravelry.  Also try Etsy.com)

While the husband and I were on Hospital Time I started a pair of lace sox from The Big Book of Socks, by Kathleen Taylor.  I bot the book from a used bookseller via my fave book site, AbeBooks.  Probably you can get it from other retailers.

This one is on 4 dpn's but I will switch it to the Chiaogoo needle as soon as the Snug Sockettes are finished.  Soooo much faster.

Yarn is from Frolicking Feet, purchased at Yorkshire Yarns,
one of my LYS in Lakewood.
I am dedicating this post to the father of my friend Kimberly, in Florida.  He spent many years as a NASA scientist, and is now retired.  I've mentioned him before because of his favorite maxim:  One experiment is worth 1000 expert opinions.

The NASA Scientist is absolutely spot on.

Friday, June 1, 2012

May I have some June, please

It's pouring here.  Still wet and sometimes chilly.  Not sure we can expect June to be any better, but life in the Pacific NW has its compensations -- I really never have to switch to 'summertime knitting' (whatever that is!)

The Diamond Wrap shawl is almost finished.  Somewhere along the way I was able to memorize the pattern, which as you know, makes knitting so much more relaxing.

 Classic Elite Silk, size US 9 needles.  I especially
like the leaf patterns added at each end, using knitted cast on.

Each leaf is knit complete, turning the work at the end of each short row.  The process is very similar to making the heel on a sock, except for the leaf there are yo's to increase instead of the decreasing used for heels.  Here's a closeup.
If you look at the center column of yo's right below where
the needles cross you can see a center stitch.  This stitch will
be where the next leaf begins.  Knitting adds stitches (yo's)
and then p2tog on the backside to work off the 5 stitches
on the right needle.  Very clever.

Of course I'm already checking out the next 6 things from this book to make for friends.  I really cannot buy yarn -- to self:  Keep repeating this mantra.  Yarn sales announcements are appearing in my email and twitter accounts and I am resisting.

If June would arrive and
  if June brought a bit of heat then
     I might be able to forego dreams of "the next project."

Yeah, right.  If you believe that one, I've got 4 sunny days in a row in the Pacific NW to sell you.

June, anyone?