Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fairy Tale Knitting

Ever had one of those days, where the people around you leave you scratching your head and wondering how someone so dense could possibly live through the day without just keeling over dead?  When someone tells you that something you have done in a certain way for years and years is not only is wrong, but not possible?

Yeah, I had one of those days just about all week!

And to add insult to injury the recirculating pump on the dishwasher decided it was a great time to stop working.  Water goes in, water pumps out, but water does not splash around inside the dishwasher getting the dishes clean. Grrrrr.  Which also has the young adult and teens in my house yelling "Mom, can you turn your awful music down!" as I like to listen to music when I have to hand wash the dishes.  (I know, I know, first world problems.  I have food to put on those dishes, a house to keep the dishes in and better yet clean water to wash those dishes with!)

It was also a week of running all over town to doctor appts, not mine this time!....and IEP meetings, and....and....I finally caught up with myself yesterday evening!

Somewhere in there one of the knitters on Sock Knitters Anon on Ravelry put her Feb design up for testing in The Testing Pool.  The theme for this month was Literary and she had picked a fairy tale called Hop o' my Thumb, or Petit Poucet in French, which is her native language.  I messaged her that I didn't think I had time to actually knit the pattern but if she wanted a native speaker to check her English I was up for that.  As luck would have it though, some other things that I have on the burner are at the "hurry up and wait" point, so I did have time to cast it I did!  I am glad I did because eyeballing the chart and knitting the chart were two different things and we caught a couple of little errors, which she has fixed and it is shaping up to be a very fun pattern.

Wanna see?

My tree on the back of the sock is much taller than hers was, I like LONG socks! But I love the way the roots merge into the slipped stitch heel flap.

Of course I had to rearrange all the stitches because I hate having decreases too near the end of a needle.  For me that always leads to ladders or little gaps running up beside those stitches, by moving the decreases to the center of the needle I don't run into that problem.
The beads that run along the side of the "path" that is the front of the sock are the small rocks that the boy left on the trail to show him and his brothers the way home. 
Not a lot of progress to talk about with Annapurna 3, the fingering weight version.
I jinxed myself when I said it would go faster, she is not traveling knitting and this past week all my knitting seemed to be traveling/waiting room knitting.

This week I am sure to get some at home knitting time.....I will have to wait for a dishwasher repairman at some point!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It's not a WIP Wednesday

Ok, quick show of hands....who resolved in January, or late December that Christmas Knitting was not going to wait until November this year?

You can put your hand down now.

Another quick show of hands...who has made some progress towards that goal?


Going once....going twice.....hmmm, not many takers for that one.  If you had your hand up, please put it down now.  If you didn't have your hand up, look at your calendar, we are almost done with the second of the eleven months that lead into our usual holiday knitting mayhem and I, for one, say it is time to do something about that!

Let's get something knit, stash it away and pretend to be surprised when we are done with our holiday knitting in time to sit smugly by the fire with purely fun knitting for ourselves the week leading into Christmas!  I have a remarkably quick sock pattern for you to get your on that journey.

For some reason I find that socks go one of two ways, they either take hours upon hours to knit, or somehow warp the space time continuum the other direction and fly off your needles.  These socks flew off mine and as an added bonus used up some of the sad little ends-of-socks-knit-in-the-past yarn.

You may recall seeing them as my January SKA Knitalong socks, but they finally have a name, some editing and testing behind them.


Byerly Socks.

Byerly "By" Vorrutyer was a Barrayaran Vor, who appeared to be a classic "town clown", but actually served as a secret Barrayaran Imperial Security agent. Spying, and reporting on the elite of Barrayar, By was known for his high tastes, low morals and appearing to play both sides in Lois McMaster Bujold's book, A Civil Campaign and showed up again in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance.  If you haven't read the books, give them a try.  Ms Bujold manages in a single series (following the life of one man from conception through...well so far middle age) to cover every writing genre out there.  Want some science fiction?  She's got that in spades, covering ethical and moral implications of technology without being preachy.  A little bit space western.  A little bit of Romance and even a good dose of comedy....but back to the knitting.

These socks are a little like Byerly.  Glanced at they look very complicated, and colorful, but I designed them with a new to colorwork knitter in mind.  There are no long floats to catch on toes or worry about weaving in and all the shaping is done using just the main color, so no secondary balls of yarn to get tangled while you figure out how many rows into a heel flap you are.

You can grab the pattern on Ravelry, no account needed, and put at least one pair of socks in your holiday knitting box ready for your next gift giving occasion....or you could knit yourself a pair!  That is what I did!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

In Which She Catches Up

Do you remember that WIP I showed you on Wednesday?  The last of the crochet edging was put on during the evening on Friday and as luck would have it, Mother Nature gave us a nearly 70 degree day on Saturday to block and photo it!

Presenting :  Annapurna 2
(Stolen blatantly from Wikipedia)
"Annapurna II is part of the Annapurna mountain range, and is the eastern anchor of the range. It was first climbed in 1960 by a British/Indian/Nepalese team led by J. O. M. Roberts via the West Ridge, approached from the north. The summit party comprised Richard Grant, Chris Bonington, and Sherpa Ang Nyima. In terms of elevation, isolation (distance to a higher summit, namely Annapurna I, 30.5 km or 19.0 mi) and prominence (2,437 m or 7,995 ft), Annapurna II does not rank far behind Annapurna I Main, which serves as the western anchor. It is a fully independent peak, despite the close association with Annapurna I Main which its name implies.
Yugoslavs from Slovenia repeated this ascent in 1969, also climbing Annapurna IV. Kazmir Draslar and Majija Malezic reached the summit In 1973 Japanese shortcut the route by climbing directly up the north face between IV and V before continuing along the west ridge. Katsuyuki Kondo reached the top in a remarkable solo performance.
In 1983, Tim Macartney-Snape planned and participated in an expedition to Annapurna II (7,937 m or 26,040 ft) successfully reaching the summit via the first ascent of the south spur. The descent was delayed by a blizzard and the expedition ran out of food during the last five days. They were reported missing and when the expedition eventually returned they received significant publicity.
On Feb 2, 2007; Philipp Kunz, Lhakpa Wangel, Temba Nuru and Lhakpa Thinduk made the first winter ascent. The team followed the route of the first ascent from the north."

I actually should have called this piece Annapurna I East as that is the smallest of the peaks, but it is too late now!  (But that is what happens when you do your research after naming a piece!)

Yarn :  The Gossamer Web, Love Potion Number 3
Needles:  US size 2 (2.75mm)
Finished Dimensions : after relaxing off the pins 44.5 inches by 22.5 inches
Beads?  Of course, little size 10/0 gold lined beads, I didn't count how many.
Finished Weight:  Including the beads, 27 grams!!!!
On Ravelry here.

I love that Andrea picked a mountain to theme this piece after.  I didn't know much, if anything at all, about the Annapurna mountain range before I started knitting these pieces.  I know a little more now!

TDQ says that I can keep this shawl.  It is very delicate (27 grams remember?!) and she is worried that she will catch it on something and ruin all that work.  Luckily there is a fingering weight version that still needs Charts B and C.  I may be jinxing myself, but I knit faster in fingering weight so that might not be too far from done.

TDQ has also taken to experimenting with Japanese style foods and cooking.  I love having an evening off from deciding what to have for dinner, making it and cleaning up from it. It has meant scoping out the international food sections of grocery stores looking for specific spices and sauces.  Very tasty though!

Well, it might not be 68 degrees right now, we are getting ready for the next "cool down" so it is barely 60, but I will take that in Central Ohio in February, and I am going to run back outside to enjoy it!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Finally A WIP Wednesday on a Wednesday!

Although I have certainly lost my "Needles on Fire" title in the current knit along, I am making some slow progress on my cobweb weight Annapurna.  If you are considering knitting it, don't be put off by how long it is taking me to knit this piece, the first time through it went much more quickly and it is just lack of actually spending time on it that has it going this slowly this time around.
 Annapurna is a great introduction to double yarn overs in lace, but I will let you in on a little secret, I don't actually work them as double yarn overs.  On the return row I do knit and purl into the yarn over that I made on the patterning row, but, as I am a "relaxed"* knitter, I have more than enough give in that yarn to do that and still block well without the added yarn from going around the needle twice.  As with every shortcut there is a down side, which in Annapurna is not a big deal because there are very few rows with double yarn overs and single yarn overs that don't have landmarks, you have to keep track of where you are on the return row to know if you are working that yarn over once, or twice.  As I have said before, there are no Knitting Police, and which ever way you work those double yarn overs, so long as it works for you, it works!

After a very mellow winter, the thoughts of spring approaching obviously gave Mother Nature some bad ideas.  Freezing rain, snow and general ickiness around these parts this week. 
It sure does look pretty, but....
I am always more ready for spring that winter!


* I used to be relaxed and quick, just don't ever call me loose, fast and easy!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Week That Got Away From Me!

Could whoever borrowed a few days from me this past week, kindly return them?  I have no idea how it could possibly be Sunday already!

I know that I fulfilled my obligations of getting people to and from where they needed to go, at least no one has complained yet about not being where they were supposed to be!

Appointments got scheduled and taxes got done, not just once but four different ways, and then when everything was in line with where it worked out best for everyone, they got filed.  I hate dragging my feet on those, especially when I have to calculate things three of four different ways, adding and subtracting dependents.

Meals must have been cooked and eaten.  No-one has starved to death.  Although TOB will tell you that even when I have just returned from giving our life savings to the grocery store there is no food in the house, just ingredients that can be turned into food.

Laundry has to have been done, daily!  I hate washing, drying, folding and putting away clothes.  Seems like a thankless job to me, because no matter how much you do, at the end of the day, when I snuggle down under my covers there is yet more to do!  No-one is complaining about a lack of things to wear and the laundry baskets are filled with clean things that just need to go upstairs and get put away.

I can tell by the lack of bills in my inbox and the balance on my checking account that bills must have been paid and apart from the assorted junk that seems to land on my desk, we are not drowning in stuff where it doesn't belong, so the house must have been cleaned at least a little bit.

So tell me, if  I managed to get all those other mundane chores done, why is there so little knitting to show?

This is it...all I have to show you.

My cobweb Annapurna through row 93.  That is most of the way through Chart B and then I will have to decide if I am going to bring my fingering weight version up to this point or just keep going on the cobweb until she is done and backtrack to the fingering.

Oh yes, the other things that happened this week...the second dragon made her way to her new home and was well received.  I was told that I was crazy for knitting it, which I am, but not as crazy as the knitter who got her and has decided to knit her a harness so that she can fly around the kitchen or dining room!  (I, of course, asked for the knitter in question to keep track of what she does, if [when] I make a third for myself I might want to do a similar thing...speaking of which, what do you think of these beads for claws?)

Looking out my window right now, it is snowing again!  I thought we had got off a little too easy on the snow fall this year and as one of those appointments that did get scheduled is for tomorrow I guess I will have to drive through the slushy (hopefully slushy and not icy) roads to the far side of Columbus even though it is  a holiday here. (President's Day)  If I didn't have to go out in it, I would be comfortably parked next to our fireplace, knitting in hand and a seed catalog on my lap.  Dreaming of what we should plant this spring!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Insert Catchy Name Here

In case you hadn't noticed, although I am sure the Ravelry Store Link on the sidebar might give it away, I have been writing patterns from the crazy things that sometimes pop into my head...things like...what would happen if you used just a single increase and a single decrease to create an entire item, or,  what would happen if you looked to other mediums to create a design?  Math of course being the "go to" place for formulas and ideas in that case, but you can come up with some surprising things if you look a little further...Geography anyone?  Maybe Botany - nah that one has been done a lot.

A few months ago, I created myself a template to use to make sure I got all the important stuff that a knitter would need to know actually in the pattern.  A place for pictures, gauge, materials, notes, maybe even a little story of where the design came from.  The pattern obviously needed a spot to be put.

I saved it.  I used it.

Each time I wrote up a pattern, or a brilliant (in my mind at least) idea I would open that template and delete out anything I didn't need, write what I did, insert pictures when I had them and then use that wonderful thing called "save as" and save my new document somewhere else with a different title.

Perfect plan, right?

Well, it is if you actually do the "save as" portion and don't just hit save on the brand new thing you are doing and find that you no longer have a template, and now you have to create it all over again.  Which would be fine, but...well I can't remember how I did half the stuff I did the first time!

I have now, after many more hours of arguing with Word, come up with a new template.  I think I was a little smarter this time around in how I laid things out. (Saving it two different places as a template might help me out as well, the next time I forget that this is the "brand new idea" and to hit "save as" rather than just "save".)

Valuable knitting time was used up on that venture, along with trying out several new photo editing software programs. The one I have used since my first digital camera is no longer being supported by the maker, or even compatible with modern computers.  The Monster Man is determined that I start using a newer one, having downgraded me due to tech problems with TOB's computer over the last set of holiday visit days.  Not that any of the new software would make me a better photographer!  I know that I need to work on that aspect as well, but finding something that is easy to use would help out a lot!

So that is the excuse for the next statement.

I am falling behind in a knit along!

I know you are shocked, I am too!  Between creating templates and playing with photo's, added to cobweb yarn being much slower for me to knit (at least correctly) I think that everyone participating in the Annapurna Knit Along is well ahead of me!

I have finished Chart A, and there are only three charts so how much catching up can there be?

 (Cobweb on top of fingering, they are both at the same point in the knitting, just to give you an idea of how differently sized they will be due to needle and yarn variations.)

Quite a lot actually, remember the story behind this beautiful piece of lace is climbing a mountain!

I had better get knitting!