Thursday, July 20, 2006

Brioche Stitch video's

Like the rich, egg-based bread this stitch is named after, I am now knitting it successfully. Here is a video of how I get this stitch to work for me. I have never worked so hard for a stitch before. Many instructions say simply YO, Sl 1, K2tog. But that resulted in an odd almost inside out stitch for me. I tried slipping purlwise, slipping with yarn in front. A variety of things. What ultimately worked was doing the YO and the slipped stitch (knitwise for me) SIMULTANEOUSLY. How you ask? Watch and learn. BTW, I'm using huge needles, 10.5's and they're nasty cheap needles, but they were free in a freecycle box of yarn years ago. The yarn is the color of Brioche bread and is Lion Brand Fisherman's wool. It has the lanolin still in it and is undyed.

of Brioche stitch and the love of knitting

I bought a skein of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool last week. I was not strong, I have wanted it for years, but always resisted. I should have bought it last year when it was cheaper! The skein is huge, 227 gm! It wants to be a Brioche stitch poncho for my SIL for a holiday gift. Brioche stitch instructions are easy. I CO and gleefully knit 108 stitches for about 3 inches when it was apparent the Brioche stitch I was knitting wasn't going to have that lovely rib. What did I do wrong? Should I stick with my created stitch or visit the frog (rippit, rippit) pond? Late in the evening, I ripped. I CO for test swatches, varying the slipped stitch, purlwise, knitwise, varied the decrease, K2togTBL, K2tog. Nothing produced the beautiful stitch. I am back to the needles today, though I have the Take-off on Tempting 2 still on the needles, a pair of socks that I'm on the leg portion of (toe up) and even CO for a lacy scarf yesterday, but this stitch if luring me like those sailors who shouldn't listen to the sirens, but do.
While searching for a knitting video (it's probably because I knit left-handed that this stitch isn't working, maybe I should switch the instructions? I'm desperate) I found this lovely piece of prose.

Companionable knitting work! When gayer friends depart
Thou hold’st thy busy station even very near my heart;
And when no social living tones to sympathy appeal,
I hear a gentle accent from thy softly clashing steel
My knitting work! My knitting work! Thou interruptest not
My reveries and pleasant thoughts, forgetting and forgot!
I take thee up, and lay thee down and use thee as I may,
And not a contradicting word thy burnish’d lips will say.
- Southern Rose, February 3, 1838

Friday, July 14, 2006

Yarn2Go sale yarn purchases

I 'm a little late in posting this as the sale was 2 weeks ago, but here's what I finally (frugally) decided on. The Bingo is Lana Grossa 100% merino in a brown verigated that I hope to mix with a solid or heathered brown yarn from Brown Sheep to make Tubey ( and the sock yarns I got for 85% off. No, that is NOT a typo! Can you believe it? That's enough fabulous, varied sock yarn for 5 socks. And for about $2 or less per PAIR! You can see that I have the Regia Stretch Color already CO. I think I'll use either the JAwoll cotton or the Clown cotton (both wool/cotton) for the next pair and probably give one to my mom. Of course I'll have to buy more needles as I gave my size 2 dpn's to a friend :) Both the Regia Stretch and the Trampoline yarn have elastic in them and are positively fun to play with even in the skein. The Socka is just a tried and true sock yarn and I like the subtle blue.
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Drop-Stitch sleeve

Here is the result of my first attempt at dropped stitches (intentional, that is!). I am adding a long sleeve to a Tempting 2 sweater I started months ago. The short version is I was impatient (imagine) and got some acrylic that wasn't too icky so I could CO and fiddle with the pattern while I waited for my KnitPicks yarn to arrive. Months later I find this heap in a knitting basket. The top was to the short-rows (an alteration) and I realized there's no way this Caron Simply Soft acrylic will work in Memphis unless it's Fall or Winter. So I decided to add sleeves. Cruising the Interweave Knits Fall 2005, I am smitten with 2 sleeves, and ultimately decide to use the drop-stitch cardigan sleeve. I CO using a cable cast on because the pattern was K3 P1, but I've never done a drop stitch and it appears that CO is not recommend. No, I will not rip it out. Though it represents only a few hours of knitting, I will either tack the long loops up or perhaps do a bit of a knitted edge and hide them. My plan is to knit this sleeve to the arm, join with the T2 and continue the sleeve is St st, the top in the K1P1 rib and use a raglan decrease. But you know what happens to the best laid plans of a knitter when the yarn has a mind of it's own. Wish me luck? Posted by Picasa

The Ugly Socks

These poor socks were CO without much thought and knit in the same (thoughtless) manner and it shows. I gave a friend some German sock yarn, quite yummy!, but she didn't finish the project and in an effort to "repay" me she gave me this Regia sock yarn. I don't even remember where I was when I CO. I don't think I did a guage swatch though I've never knit with this yarn before. The problems, i.e. ugliness, began when I picked a K4 P4 for the instep. It is not balanced on this sock. The 2nd major ugliness was when I turned the heel and promptly forgot to start the K4 P4 on both needles. When I did realized, I was too distruntled with the whole sock to rip out so I just continued until I got to the top where I did the usual K2P2 ribbing and BO using a size 5 needle. The BO is still a tad snug :( So here they are in all their ugliness. I am gleefully on the next sock, knit in Regia STRETCH and a beautiful blue colorway. I continue to knit socks on 2 circs using size 3. I will order size 1 and 2's from KnitPicks in the next few months. I've already warned Ginger that I will need slightly smaller needles for some of the cotton/wool sock yarn I have. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Left-handed combined knit stitch

Here is the knit stitch. Again, a poor quality video shot with my digital camera, but at least it's in focus. I hope you find it helpful and remember that there are MANY ways to create knitted fabric. If your knitting is acceptable to you, but your technique is different from the left-handed style shown, do not feel you must alter your technique. I offer this video to help people who are struggling with the results of their knitted fabric. It was with the help of the gnittink list on yahoo that I discovered all the ins and outs of how I knit. I have changed my knitting technique several times over the years, none of them right or wrong, but I will not claim that I will not change my technique yet again. I used to do a different purl stitch, but my stitches were twisted if I was knitting back and forth and it required more thinking (i.e. was this stitch a knit or a purl) and I got tired of not being able to knit in the dark.

Left-handed combined purl stitch

I am trying again to load the knitting video I made. It is very poor quality. Shot with my digital camera and in a casual setting. The purl stitch is actually out of focus. I will probably update it soon. Hope this is helpful to at least one lefty out there!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Full Monty (or we interupt my regularly scheduled life)

Our little darling has been cast as Nathan in Playhouse on the Square's musical "The Full Monty". This is his FIRST PROFESSIONAL part and he is deeply honored and excited. He is the only child in the play. It is a professional production (he gets paid) and the rehearsal schedule is gruelling. Six days on and one day off. Eight hour rehearsals. Since he's too young to drive, this means I will be schlepping him back and forth, sitting and taking notes and generally entertaining him until he gets his own routine going. Good thing we both knit and have a lap top! We just hope we can help him keep a sense of balance and avoid major meltdowns until the show closes. Get your tickets for performances throughout the month of August and ending September 10th. Posted by Picasa

Fireworks are Illegal in the city limits...

But of course that didn't stop SOME people in this family. Here are a few pictures. Nothing spectacular, but I had fun with the night effects on the camera. The police showed up and shut us down, but at least we didn't get a citation. We're hoping to go to a friend's in the country this weekend and finish it off because that "gianormous" firework you see in this blog remains and Laura will not rest until it's exploded. I did get to show Nina lots of my knitting though (such a yarn whore!)

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One of the reasons I knit

This is my darling Venus de Mittens (she's a polydactyl [7,7,5,5]) snoozing in the Kitty Cozy. the good part of this picture is that I was stunned to find I had forgotten to paint under the new kitchen desk when I painted the kitchen! I'll try to get that done this week, then the moulding goes down and the trim goes up and the kitchen is done except for window treatments. Posted by Picasa

Scrap Knit Top and Mom's socks

this top was inspired by needful designs summer top. I saw the picture online and was too frugal to pay for it. I had CottonEase scraps that I used and KnitPicks Shine Sport as well. This top has no actual pattern at all. I just cast on for the bottom, knit it sideways, threw some short rows on one end of the knitting to make it flare a bit for my hips then seamed it up and picked up stitches at the bodice for the ribbing (K2p2) which doesn't show well in the photos. I ran out of dark blue and had to add lighter blue. I put in increases and short rows. Looks like I should have made more short rows! The bra is hanging out a bit, but this is a knock around top, not something I'd ever deny knitting but nothing I'd submit for a contest either. Oh and I added a little picot to the bottom before I picked up for the bodice.
Here we have my mother's first pair of handknit socks. She is a tall and slender woman with equally long and slender feet. I am thrilled she let me knit these for her and if I were a better daughter they would have gone in the mail 2 months ago when they were done! Hopefully I'll get them to the post office tomorrow. they're coming your way mom and if you want, there can be more where those came from. I hit the Yarn2Go sale Saturday and got sock yarn 85% off! I got enough yarn for at least 5 more pairs. 2 of which have stretch and 2 of which are a cotton/wool blend. New things to try. I'm currently favoring Toe Up socks with a turkish cast on and short row heel. Not a big fan of patterns (yet?) or fancy designs. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Another knit summer top

knit on size 5 needles out of KnitPicks Shine in worsted weight, I cast on 180 and used the Chevron & eyelet pattern (Vogue Knitting book, 1989, p 149) I did 2 repeats then decreased for sides. When the top measured 11-12 inches from the bottom I did short rows (hence the wierd blocking.) The square neck front and back are not symmetrical. I made the back much lower, but the front covers my bra well. I put a picot edging on the neckline. I did the Chevron & eyelet pattern on the edges of the sleeves. I need to post a picture of me wearing this, but for now this is what you get. It is a cotton blend so it does stretch after a bit of wear. Posted by Picasa

Painting the Tuscan Kitchen

Thanks for the hint, it is indeed Tuscan yellow. This is the first coat. There are no pictures of me doing the 2nd and 3rd coats. I need to put up a final photo. I put glaze on top of this base. One wall still needs touch up and I will paint the lightswitch cover's tomorrow. I'm spray painting them Terra Cotta to match the counters.

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William knits!

William has picked up knitting again. Last time he didn't do so well. This time his stitches are indistinguishable from mine. It's a garter stitch scarf out of some odd-ball BS bulky on size 10 needles. He found some baby alpaca (Misti Alpaca) in bulky at Yarn2Go that he wants and I told him I would get it for him when they have their sale.
This picture was taken weeks ago. The sale ended today and I got him that yarn. OMG this stuff is incredible. And he wants to knit it using my Addi's. I might regret introducing him to knitting. The kid has good taste, but I just spent more for 2 skeins of yarn for a scarf that I've spent for several tops! Posted by Picasa

lights, camera, action!

A typical home-improvement Sunday finds Ginger installing the just purchased ceiling fan. We've done a few of these, but they are rarely easy. The light fixture about the sink is great and we got it on close out. It is the floor model. No instructions, no box, but there it is. I think we took Ginger to a cool movie theatre after this, but I don't quite remember. It might have been a baseball game?

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Cozy Kitties

Here are 2 of our 3 cats napping on a bath towel under the new kitchen desk. They love this area and I'm happy they do, in winter they will no doubt keep my feet warm! I finished a quick summer top knit (photos to come, it's still not quite presentable) and cast on instantly for a kitty bed. I looked at Kitty Pi bed and used that as a starting point. I knit this with some donated Brown Sheep worsted weight in a warm yellow on size 11/ 8 mm needles. It was super fast to knit. I did double the yarn on the sides thinking I wanted them thicker and sturdier. Then I put a few rows of some other donated odd ball yarn along the top. Here are before felting pictures:

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Kitty Cozy

the first shot is pre-felting. I washed it in our fabulous washer (a knitter's dream it has handwashing setting AND "heavy duty" setting so it felts like a mad man) on only one 14 minute hot cycle with a few towels and voila, a Kitty Cozy. Hopefully there will soon be a picture with the CATS in it, but so far nothing. I might need to rinse it again, not sure if all the soap is out, but they don't like damp thing. It needs no blocking whatsoever.
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