Wednesday, May 31, 2006


There's nothing knitworthy to post. So I'll distract you with these pictures from my lovely summer garden. Please ignore the weeds and the winter waste that's everywhere. You can ignore the dying foliage from the spring bulbs, too.

For your summer pleasure, we have snapdragons.

When I was just a wee thing, this old-guy gardener showed me how to make them *snap*.

These are the volunteers that sprouted from last year's root stock.

No, I didn't pull them out, why?

A rose, by any other name. . .

These are the sole survivors of many roses we have known. Rocky, acid soil soes not support big hybrids very well.

In another couple weeks, this bush will be covered with aphids and little green worms and the leaves will all be gone.

Enjoy 'em while you can!

And these? Dollar a bag bulbs from the Tree. Bought them a couple of years ago. They's sunny and bright and hardy as hell.

And related to onions.

We do not use these as cut flowers.

The kinship with the onions is a lot closer than, say, lily's relationship to onion.

But they are pretty.

So, are you sufficiently diverted?

Happy feet update: The Other Half announced that one of his co-workers became a grand for the first time today. Happy Feet are now Alexander's Happy Feet. Wear them in good healtth, little one!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun!

I finished these up last night.

I think I'll call them "Happy Feet." The colors make me smile.

And they aren't such a bad pair of twins. Certainly nothing like the way this yarn came out in a bigger pair!

And here's how I spent the evening tonight.

I did the cuff last night. Tonight was just the heel. All 22 stitches of it. And I've done 5 rows of the foot, so in just 19 more rounds (19*44= 836) or 836 stitches, I get to do it again.

I think I hear my pillow calling my name.

I definitely do not hear this sock calling to me.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Last night around 11, the Other Half asked me, "Is that the same sock you were working on this morning?"

Um, yes it is!

Second Sock Syndrome, here I come. Why? Because this one was very, very painful!

Short-row heel (with strange yo directions instead of srw) and a short-row toe to boot, then some sort of strange grafting (zig-zag bind off) that makes me think this little sock may well be an orphan!

But it's so cute. . .

And so is this one. Another strangely constructed sock. Thicker needles for the cuff [wtf?] make me suspect that this one's gonna be hard to keep on a kicking baby.

I'm still not crazy about how the pooling plays out with this yarn, but these look a whole lot better than the adult size socks I frogged from this yarn. Then I tried making a baby sweater--That was a royal bomb! (see November 18, 2005, entry for a look at the ghastly sweater, and on December 31, 2004, you can see a picture of the partially completed second sock that I frogged to start the sweater).

I have 2+ (okay, nearly 3-baby socks take next-to-no yarn) skeins of this stuff left. I'm thinking that I might try mittens (thumbless mitts?) and a little hat, and maybe a pair of gloves. . .

There's a lot of it left. I have the same yarn in a darker colorway (green,blue, purple) that might become a pair of socks for me.

Of course, there's a lot of sock yarn in my stash. I switched over from baby ack to sock yarn for making baby things a while back. I've stashed a bunch of perfect-for-baby-sweaters sock yarns (let's not say exactly how much, okay?) and should get started. . .

Knit Tip:

I keep track of "rows knit" or "decreases made" (to avoid a lot of repetitive counting) by counting out markers (in this case, buttons) of the number of X needed (in this case 12 rows knit even). As I complete (or start) each X, I move a button from one pile to the other.

This is especially useful when the stitches are tiny and the yarn is dark and the lighting is less than bright.

As long as I don't forget which pile is which, it works like a charm.

I've finished 7 rounds and have 5 more to go before I start the toe decreases.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Little Things Mean a Lot!

I'm giving the Sock It To Me! Colori one more (last) chance.

Faithful readers will recognize this yarn. This is its third (strike) chance.

Since "Children, Knitted, Socks - Slippers - Booties" is one of the categories I plan to enter in the fair, I thought I'd try it out on the Baby Socks found on P. 22 of

this XRX publication. You can get your own (full price) copy from Knitter's or a discounted copy from on-line book stores. (Amazon has it for 2/3 the price-I'm betting that does as well.)

This is quite a good book as sock books go (not my favorite, but nevertheless, a good one).

There are simple directions for basic sock knitting plus many variations on that theme, including colorwork and lace in sizes from infant through adult.

Warning: since the patterns are "contest winners," most of them are "one size" (and not "one-size-fits-all," either), so be prepared to do some math if the one size isn't your size.

My back-up plan is this little cutie (that I have already "interpreted" to meet my own ideas of "baby sock").

It's from the "secret section" of Interweave Knits web site, I think. I printed it out right after the Summer 2005 issue hit my mailbox. The directions that were on the Internet seem to have disappeared.

This one has a cable rib cuff and a short-row heel. I confess that I followed the IK directions for the heel, then ripped them out and went back to my old standby--the one found here.

This is far and away the best short-row heel pattern I have ever used! If you use it, please make a pair for charity! It's only fair.

And now, back to the house cleaning and crap gathering. I have found a church group that will happily [?] take my leftovers, so I will now press on! Old scanners, anyone?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A 3-Day Weekend

This is going to be a very full weekend. It's a 3-day here in the good old U S of A, commemorating the military folk who fought and died. It was originally called "Decoration Day" and was celebrated with trips to the cemertary to place flowers and flags. Now it's called Memorial Day and is celebrated with drunken picnics (first of the summer) and sales.

I'll celebrate by gathering yard sale-worthy crap, sweeping out the garage, and scrubbing the bathrooms ("once a month, whether they need it or not" is my motto)!

I did some more work on Diamond Patch (lousy self-portrait) . No, it's not finished, but it does fit this time!

I could conceivably finish this weekend (even restricting my knitting to the nighttime).

Still needed: single crochet around the neckline to stabilize it, then narrow ribbing at the neckline, short-row cap sleeves picked up from the armholes. I have a few more ends to weave in, but I'm saving those to fill in any gaps where I pick up those stitches.

It never occured to me (even with schematics) that there is a deep V at both front and back neck edges. Intriguing. The Other Half commented that he hopes I plan to wear a bra with it. (Yes, and a tee-shirt!)

And now for your regular weekend rant: Groceries last night (grrrr). Never shop the day before a holiday. Commit this to memory. Don't do it again!

The Other Half was at one end scanning (yes, I know someone doesn't have a job because of self-check) while I was bagging (yep, at this end, too) when the terminal went down. Dead! No life. Nothing there! Fortunately[?] the cashier at the self-check help desk (with the help of three other people) was able to "retrieve" what we had already scanned and add that which we hadn't (all the fresh stuff--meat, veggies, you know, the stuff we went there to get).

Lord, what a nightmare.

Technology is great--when it works!

I will attempt more entries over the weekend. If nothing else, I'll post photos of the crap-we-are-selling.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Enough, Already!

Stop the whimpering. It's keeping me awake!

I reached the end of the line, end of the rope, tie a knot and hang on point.

Yep, picked up ol' Diamond Patch and pretended to work on it while attempting to watch the season finale of Lost.

So, what's up with that? What's going to happen to Sawyer and Jack and Kate? And who is the mysterious "Penny?" Will Michael and Walt make it to safety?

Okay! Enough of that.

I picked up Diamond Patch tonight and completed 2 more diamonds and started the last one. (Ever notice how UFOs get put aside at about 90 minutes to finished? Yeh, me too.

So, I have 1 diamond, 2 triangles (half-diamonds), the little cap sleeves, and the neckline to knit. That close! Couple hours.

I do believe I see the end in sight. And the best part is that I still like it.

Baby Bird update: Flown the coop. Vanished into thin air. Just like Michael and Walt. whew

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Summer Song

In the spring/summer, Sparky does what Sparkys do best. That is, she lolls in the grass in the spring-into-summer sun.

Right now, she's confined to the front yard.

You see, there's a baby bird. In the back.

She found it yesterday while I was (finally) planting my Mother's Day impatiens. (One more day, and I fear I'd have been burying rather than planting them!)

The baby bird's not all that little. S/he has real feathers. Not just downy fluff. And at least two sets of worried parental birds hovering and diving at any/everthing that threatens Baby Bird.

So Sparky will have to be a Front Yard Cat for a couple more days.

Sparky, being Sparky, can't be trusted alone in the front. There's the street, you see.

So I spent my late afternoon yesterday pulling weeds and cutting back dead ornamental grasses to make way for this summer's new growth.

And I discovered this surprise. Dutch Iris that I don't remember planting (at least not in this spot).

I think I might be acquiring a new favorite flower!

And the big rhododendrons by the front door are in full bloom.

I sure do love this color!

And the tiny coral bells are making a brief appearance at the House of Sheep.

These are pretty much the sole survivors of one of those "full garden" for $19.95 offers that you see on the back of Parade Magazine.

But they've survived for several years.

I really should go out front more often!

Knitting, you say? Well, I finished off two pairs of slippers. I have not even touched Branching Out or Diamond Patch. I've plotted two or three fair entries and plan to start them soon.

But the really big news is: Garage Sale looms on the horizon. We have some big ticket (furniture) items that I'd love out of here, so I am sorting through walls o' crap to gather all the small bits. Target date: June 3.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Car Knitting

I don't consider myself to be an especially fast knitter (constant, yes, fast, not so) so I am pretty sure that my regular readers will be somewhat surprised to discover that I finished this (except for the garter stitch cuff and the seams) in the car yesterday.

And I was the driver!

I have never in my life been so happy to have a mindless car project with me. Usually I reserve my car knitting to times when I am the passenger.

I left work at 1 for an afternoon drive from where I work to the state capital (85 miles, 89 driving minutes) for a 3 p.m. workshop.

About 20 minutes into the trip, I saw signs warning of stopped traffic. Okay, I thought. Stopped for construction, surely only a little stop.

Two freakin' hours later, I was on my way again!

Needless to say, I was way late for my workshop.

They are replacing the concrete median barriers (honkin' great slabs of cement) by breaking them apart, then lifting the chunks and depositing them by the other side of the road.

They couldn't do this at night!?

Oh, it's a slipper. For Ship Support. Great big secret. There are a lot of men and women getting hurt in The War. Wounded or injured servicepeople needing more attention than is available at the battle site are transported out of the Sandbox (usually first to Germany) . Slippers (and hats) help keep their body temperatures stable and let them know that someone cares.

This helped make up for the awful day.

I had a package from! They have lots of books! Lots! And they are cheap, er, inexpensive. And the shipping is only $1.40 per.

These two are opposite ends of the spectrum. Morehouse has lots of stuff to read and some good, basic patterns. Comfort food. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes and geen beans.

There is nothing "basic" about Knitting Out of Africa. I suspect I'm about to have a magical mystery tour. Curry, Thai beef, and a little Basmati rice, anyone?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The center-out Frenzy blanket is finished! Yaaaayyyyy!

I really am pleased with the way it looks and decided that I will enter it as a baby blanket and use the red Frenzy (Racy Red to be exact) to make a lap robe.

(That's the bench we painted a couple of weeks ago.)

There wasn't much left of the multi-colors by the time I got finished. One full ball (the black) and several smaller bits. I'll probably use the leftovers to make a scarf like the one on my December 4, 2005, entry.

I'll be moving these bits to a little tote ad putting the red into this washbasin along with the needles, pattern, and any notions I need. Sort of "kitting it up" so to speak.

The fair is about 3 months away. I have 7 entries finished. (I'm shooting for 20 this year.)

Spring has given way to summer at the House of Sheep.

The daisies are particularly cheerful today now that the sun has finally come out.

Yep, another weekend shot to hell and here comes the sun.

Why am I not surprised?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The More Things Change

the more they stay the same!

This was never more evident than when I read a letter in one of the magazines I picked up for a song at a recent "Friends of the Library" sale.

This is from a 1976 issue of Mon Tricot:

"What I used to enjoy was the unusual pattern, the intricate design, the difficult garment. Your new magazine stresses the simple design, the basic stitch, with your major emphasis on the beginning knitter. . .

". . .there is an article on the garter stitch :rest of whining rant snipped:"

And the reply, which will be familiar to readers of current magazines is, ":snippage: A well-worked garter stitch is not as easily done as one would think. . .:more condescending drivel snipped:"

So, what goes around, comes around!

We missed the first several days of the sale, so I was pretty bummed out and not expecting to find anything I wanted.

We got there for 5-buck-a-bag day and I was pleasantly surprised.

In addition to a couple of novels and a techie manual that the Other Half wanted, I filled my bag with all of these!

Now, granted, they smell a bit musty, and most of the styles are very dated, for five bucks I figure I got my money's worth--and then some!

There are a good many interesting "styles" that will never grace my needles.

This bat-wing dolman sweater is just one of them, though I do like the diagonal cable, so I won't totally write it off.

And the multidirectional knitting is kind of interesting, too.

Maybe I'll move this one from the not-on-your-life pile to the it-might-have-possibilities pile.

This one shows promise, though.

I'm beginning to appreciate cardigans more and more. They make great substitute jackets, they can be thrown over the shoulders, they don't muss my coif when I take them off or put them on (not that this is much of an issue, but still. . .)

It's light weight, has some interesting texture, and those loveable buttons.

Sadly, any that I make are going to take some math and engineering. Women were a lot smaller and knitwear was a lot snugger back in the 60s and 70s!

This was my real prize:

Published in 1958, and reprinted several times, I don't believe that Mrs. Harley S. Frantz (the original owner) ever cracked the spine. (I would not be displeased to find her notes inside, but I am not holding my breath. It's in like-new condition.)

Much of it is devoted to sewing and embroidery. The knitting section is small and so very dated that it makes the magazines up above look modern and up-to-date.

There is, however, a nice stitch dictionary of about 60 or so patterns.

The big draw for me (and the reason I stuffed it in my bulging grocery bag) was the great chapters on lace in all its forms.

I have long wanted to attempt tatting (I have the needles and the "how-to" booklet). There are some well-drawn diagrams.

Also sections on bobbin lace, drawn thread work, Tenriffe, Renaissance, Venetian, and crocheted lace(s).

Good stuff!

And on another note: Last night at the grocery store, I grabbed an "empty" cart (actually, it was full of trash) to start loading my self-packed groceries (the Other Half was still scanning from our shopping cart--yes, we use the self-serve line, it's faster!).

There were several empty plastic produce bags, a lot of the week's circular, etc. (including a dirty sports bottle). I scooped it all up and deposited it in the trash can, then loaded my bags into the cart. (Do I need to mention that the cart had essentially been abandoned in the middle of the check-out line by the last person to use it?)

All loaded, ready to go, here comes a youngish guy (I recognized him as the one who had the two ill-mannered boys with him and was in line ahead of us. When I say ill-mannered, the one kid was bouncing a ball all through the store. 'nuff said.)

Apparently, one of the kids had lost his sports bottle. Tempted though I was to keep quiet, I told him that I had scooped it into the trash can "right there" :pointing: He shot me a dirty look (which made me rethink my decision to tell him).

Okay, the next part you are not going to believe. Or maybe you will.

The assgoblin dumped the can on the floor, fished the bottle out of the trash, and left.

Yes, you read that correctly. Left. With all the trash spread out on the floor.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Another FO!

They were supposed to be for Ship Support.

I can get my size nine-and-a-half feet into them, but it isn't pretty. I'm thinking that modification might be in order.

This pair is going to the reservation, though, because really, dudes, they are small.

The yarn is Lion Brand Kool Wool (still working on those leftovers). The pattern is from Newborns In Need modified by using fat yarn and fat needles.

Update: The front porch is still very tender. What the hell is up with that?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Legitimate Use

I can now claim actual useage of my very own cuss word, given to me by Rabbitch , having successfully completed the total examination of the boobage (aka front porch) . Man, I hated that!

To the left, the only photo I could get. The current front door (this one was closed and blockaded several years ago when the door was moved to the other side and all these renovations took place) is covered with canopies and valet parking drives and such. You take your life in your hands getting inside. Standing back and taking a picture is worth your life!

And I really wanted a picture of the machine, but was told (get this) that it violates some sort of something or other regulation. Assgoblins!

But the person who turned me down shared Dr. Demento's Instrument of Torture .

Good lord was that painful, er, uncomfortable.

Peace of mind, however, is not.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What Went Wrong?

I did not touch the Frenzy blankie today. Not one stitch.

It's had sufficient attention lately that it should not be wimpering and certainly not sobbing out loud.

That emotional outbreak should be reserved for Diamond Patch. I haven't even glanced its way this month!

No, I have not abandoned Frenzy in mid-stream. I'm too far along to quit.

I simply had to see where my car /waiting knitting was going and frankly, it isn't going well.

The pattern comes from here. I've upsized this before. I think I used two strand of worsted weight and got a reasonably decent size adult slipper when I knitted it up on size 10.5s.

Silly me! I thought that I could sub a single strand of Kool Wool (50 g=60 yards) for a double strand of worsted (50 g= 110 yards). Dudes, this should work. Dudes, just look!

That slipper is less than 8" from stem to stern. Even stretchy garter stitch ain't stretching to 12"! So I have (or will have) another pair of kid slippers to slip into the reservation box and I'm back to the drawing board with the slippers for Ship Support.

Send chocolate!

Oh, and in other news, I showed up for my mammo appointment a day early. Regular readers will recall that I did this 29 days ago, too. It's becoming a habit.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Picture That Was Missing

I don't have a scanner, so here's a picture of a photograph. It's not great, but it's here.

It was supposed to accompany yesterday's post.

I got my coloring from my father, but my skin from my mother.

Picture (according to the writing on the back) was taken in 1946. She would have been 30.

And here's where I am on Frenzy. 31 " and counting.

It's installed on a 60" Addi Turbo. What's that? 124" of knitting on a 60" needle? So far, it's not overly-crowded, but I'm thinking 40" may well "do it."

It's impossible to get a decent photo any more, so the next one I post will be the FO.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

In Praise of Mom

I had this episode composed in my head while I was shopping at BJ's for things like bleach by-the-case (3 gallons) and Mr. Clean by the jug (3 of those too) and giant whacks of garbage bags.

It seems that we were out-of-many-things at work and only I am able to realize it andactually go get those things. Just call me "Mom."

It's just one more of the stressors that have made the last couple of weeks a nightmare.

But that's what moms do, isn't it? They take the stress and make things better and remember to buy the goddamned garbage bags that everyone else uses too (and the toilet paper, don't forget the toilet paper)!

But this was a nice post when I composed it in my head.

Things 1 & 2 (aka, the Older Kid and the New Daughter In Law) sent a touching note on a silly card.

We're a Seussian sort of family, so this was appropriate.

The Older Kid called to wish a happy day. It was good to hear his voice.

The Younger Kid followed his tradition and brought home bedding plants (impatiens) .

I'll be planting them (before they die) into one of the flower beds. Just need to decide which one. Front? Back?

Sparky was working on a little giftie, too, but the Other Half and the Younger Kid made her put it back.

She found a bunny nest and was bringing babies home, 2 at a time. One was only badly frightened. Sadly, his sibling was not so lucky. I buried him this morning.

This little pretty decided to show up in the garden this morning.

There are buds galore on the vine, so I expect we'll have the same show as last year by the end of the week.

The roses seen to have a lot of buds as well. Must be the mild winter.

I've made a little more progress on Frenzy, starting back down the spectrum. It's about 31" square now.

I've decided that this yarn is entirely too fuzzy to be a baby blanket. Too many loose fibers to wind up between little fingers and toes or to be inhaled or swallowed.

I'm going to continue with it until I run out of yarn and call it a laprobe. It will be at about 46", if I calculated correctly.

Knowing when to change courses--that's something moms do too.

And speaking of moms--Where to begin? Well, why not at the beginning?

My mom was a single parent in a time and place when women Simply Did Not have jobs, get divorced, raise children alone.

She had a job that paid well For a Woman's Job, but it was Barely Enough. (When the minimum wage was raised, so was hers, if you get my drift.) There was no welfare or food stamp program back then. at least not where we lived.

Her dream was for her daughter to go to college, and to that end, she encouraged me to study hard and get good grades so I would qualify for scholarships. The sad fact is, had she not died young of a condition that is now, in this day, relatively treatable, college would have probably remained only a dream. It was VA benefits, Social Security Survivors Benefits, and her life insurance that assured my education.

She dreamed of more for herself, too. During WWII, she joined the WAVES, I'm sure as much for adventure as for service to country. It got her away from home.

After the war, a newlywed, she followed my father to Philadelphia where he was mustered out and she had me. Then they moved back to his home (Alabama) and divorced. She went to work for the United States Air Force.

She worked her butt off to provide for the two of us, and in 1956 bought her first car and learned to drive so that she could continue working. The Mongomery bus boycott was in full swing. One of the outcomes of the bus boycott was that many white women learned to drive so that they could get to work without using the bus service.

Being the mother of a teenager is tough when you have the support of the teen's father. She didn't. When she raised me alone, it was all by herself. There will be no tribute to my father on this blog next month!

It's been more than 40 years since she died. I miss her.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Four Balls, Take Your Base!

Here's the progress as of tonight. Four Balls knitted up and the fifth started.

Blankie's probably pretty close to 22" square at this point. Stripes aren't obviously narrowing in the photo, but each one is about one round smaller than the one before. I'm on the 60" circular now.

Gayle-Who-Has-No-Blog (or there'd be a link here) pointed out that I neglected to recommend using markers at the increase points when I switched from double pointed to circular needles. So, in addition to the beginning of the round marker, a wise knitter will have placed markers at the 4 increase points and will now be increasing on each side of each marker. Placing markers saves a lot of squinting and counting!

(Sorry! It was a late night--my story and I'm stickin' to it!)

We had our Food Drive kick-off press conference this afternoon. It was amazingly well-attended. Our Congressman (thanks, Charlie!) and one of our state Senators (thanks, Pat) and a representative of another (thanks, Lisa, for sending your aide) were there as were lots of postal mucky mucks and the press (which was the point, no?)

Put some green beans out by your mail box in the morning! Peanut butter would be good, too.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Iraqi Police Training

Yesterday, during an interview on NPR (sorry, can't remember which show, but probably Morning Edition) a trainer for the Iraqi police said that the first rule for the police force is "Don't shoot someone just because he insults you."

I think this is a good motto. If I still did cross stitch, I'd center it on a sampler!

I was up half the night with work-related crises, so this will be a short entry.

Here's where I am on the blankie. I've knitted roughly 2.5 balls of Frenzy. It's about 18" square and I am moving onto the 60" needle.

The first ball (the center) knitted to about 11" square (121 square inches). Based on that, I figure that my finished blankie (assuming that I use all 18 balls) will be roughly 46" square.

That would be a nice size, but a little big for an infant or toddler. Thinking about my options. . .

Sorry to not be entertaining, but my pillow is calling my name.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Frenzy Continues

I switched from the double points to my 16" circulars and was able to go about 3 rounds before I ran out of room.

Note to self: 4-8" doublepoints laid end to end=32". A 16" circ laid, well, straight=16".

Dumb, dumb, DUMB!!

So I switched again, this time to a 29" circular. That allowed me to make some additional progress.

As I planned, I knit along throwing in bits of patterning until I ran out of ball 1. Since I want this blankie to be only a bit random, I broke into another ball of Panic Pink to complete the last 20 or so stitches of the round.

Then I switched to blue Berserk.

For those who would like to recreate what I am doing, the patterning so far looks like (approximation):

Rounds 1-6: knit

Round 7: k 1, *yo, k 2 together**

Round 8 and all even numbered rounds: continue the increases and k all stitches

Round 9: k

Round 11: do the yo thing

Rownds 13 and 15: purl

Round 17 and 21: knit

Round 19 and 23: yarn over thing


The Reunion Mitones are done (except for blocking.

And the Premium Booklet for the fair arrived in yesterday's mail.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Frenzy, Day 2

Knitting up a Frenzy here, dudes. (Bad pun, sorry.)

Here's the very center section on my size 10 Brittany Birches. I started, as planned, with the lightest color, the Panic Pink.

My 10.5 Clover bamboos are MIA, so I figured I would start on these. I have looked everywhere for those damned bamboos. I'll be switching to a 16" circular (10.5) in another couple of rounds.

This yarn is sufficiently fuzzy that it is obscuring any texture I attempt to throw in.

There are yarn overs, but they aren't showing up without a bright light behind.

There will be some garter ridges as well. Perhaps they'll all be showier with the slightly bigger needles.

I had a picture of the yarn strand next to my size 10, showing just how fat and fluffy it is, but Blogger, being Blogger, is not uploading pictures right at the moment.

What I've done so far: After the cast on and join, I knit one round and marked the beginning of the round with a stitch marker I acquired here . In the spirit of full disclosure, the bunnie and I swap stuff back and forth across the US/Canada border. I have sent Barbie clothes, glow-in-the-dark bracelets and some gawd-awful Lion chenille. In return, the bunnie sent me a trio of beautiful stitch markers. (She never held the chenille against me at all!)

But I digress.

Then, on the next round, and every other round, I increased a stitch at each end of each needle (kfb-knit front and back) and knit all the stitches in between.

On the non-increase rounds, I either just knit, or knit 2 together, yarn over across, or will purl (so I get a garter ridge).

I will continue in this fashion until I run out of this ball of Panic Pink, then switch to another color, probably the Blue Berserk because it seems to be the next darker color.

I'll knit through that ball, then switch colors again until I've used one ball of each color then (unless I'm satisfied with the size--unlikely), I'll start over with the pink.

That's the plan. It is subject to whim and fancy.

In other knitting knews:

The Reunion Mitone (#2) is rounding third base. I have just the thumb and the weaving of ends left (and the blocking, but that's a given and requires little in the way of actual work on my part).

I have added two pattern repeats to Branching Out. That's 20 whole rows (less than 30 stitches wide). It's nowhere near complete, but it's stopped crying out loud.

The Diamond Patch remains untouched. It sighs occasionally, and sobs softly.

In non-knitting knews: I still cannot write about that stuff. I may be able to direct you to stories in the Weekly World News soon, though.

Saturday is the annual National Association of Letter Carriers food drive in the U.S. If your mail person is participating, you'll get a postcard. If you get a postcard, please be generous. Your needy neighbors are counting on you.

Monday, May 08, 2006

And So, We Begin

This is actually a new picture of the yarn bin. Someone here said that you couldn't have too many pictures of yarn. I'm testing that theory.

I've decided how I will proceed. I'll work lightest to darkest color, knitting rounds from one complete ball before switching colors. What this means, of course, is that the concentric rings will get narrower as they get further from the center.

I plan to toss in garter (purl) rounds as the spirit moves me and some yarn overs, perhaps as the increases.

So, let's begin.

On an appropriate size double pointed needle, cast on 8 stitches.

There really are 8 stitches there.

Divide the stitches equally onto 4 needles (the cast on needle, plus three more.

By now, you should have figured out that you will need a set of 5 for the beginning.

Join the stitches into a ring, being careful not to twist and knit one round.

You'll have to trust me on this. This round is the hardest one in the whole blankie.

Piece of cake, you say? Then you know that the rest will be easy, too.

I really like doing blankets and squares from the center out. The reasons are simple. I can control the finished size in a way that is damned near impossible any other way. Even with a gauge swatch! I just keep adding rounds until it's the size I want.

It's a great way to use up odd balls, too. Just keep adding rounds until there's no more yarn left to add!

Someone asked about making an adult blankie. I'd keep adding rounds until it's as big as it needs to be. A 48" square or bigger (60", anyone?) makes a nice cuddle up blankie for watching television or reading a book. A 6' blankie (72" square) would be pure luxury. Let's not even think about an 84" square. (Remember that scene from When Harry Met Sally? Yeh, that one!)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rethinking Eating Options

People are going to get really tired of hearing from me on food safety issues, but yesterday, the Other Half and I grabbed a quick lunch at Mickey D's in the Next Town Over.

During the short period that we were there ( less than 20 minutes) we watched a young male employee empty the garbage bins, haul the trash out to the dumpster, then proceed to wipe down the drink counter and tables with a wet cloth that had been stowed behind the soda dispenser.

At no time, did he change his apron, or take an opportunity to wash his hands. IOW, the same apron he was wearing when he dumped the garbage was the one he was wearing to clean the tables that customers will eat at.

I sincerely doubt that this was an abberation.

What's wrong with this picture?

And as long as we're "picturing," here are a couple to ponder.

I use a lot of oddballs of yarn to "create" 80-stitch hats for Ship Support.

Often knit in-the-round, they are often also striped.

Striiping in the round creates a "blip," because the knitting isn't in flat rows, it's actually one continuous spiral.

An easy way to avoid the jog is to use a method devised by Meg Swansen. She calls it the Jogless Jog."

At first glance, there's no "blip" in my hat, but direct your eye on a slight diagonal to the left starting at the "tail" and continuing to the topmost stripes.

See it?

Here's what it looks like on the inside.

And here's how to achieve it: (Note, this works with stripes of 2 rounds or more.)

Knit the first color rounds (however many you are doing). Change to color 2 and knit around to where the color change occured. Now, lift the stitch in the row below the first stitch of your new color (it'll be your "old" color) onto the left needle and knit it and the first new color stitch together.

You're going to need to count rows when you get back to that point again, because you want to be certain that you have knit the full round. The "beginning of the round" stitch will shift 1 stitch to the left with each color change, forming the diagonal that you see in the first picture.

You can see more examples if you trust your friend Google. Search on "jogless jog" with the quotes for more info.

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