Friday, July 31, 2009

Things I've Learned-5

1. Most of the free advice that's shared by others is worth what it cost.

2. When in doubt, throw it out (food).

3.Read the F***ing manual (everything but food).


And now, the Mittnz pictures start rolling in. This one is from Roberta. Aren't her Mittnz lovely?

Would you like to see you Mittnz here?

Send a picture to abmcmanus*AT*verizon*DOT*net

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Things I've Learned-4

1. All work and no play is real life.

2. The acorn that doesn't fall far from the tree is a nut--just like his parents!

3. It's harder each year to think of "something I want" because generally, I've already bought it myself.

4. Never rub your eyes after chopping hot peppers. Not even two days later. Trust me on this.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Things I've Learned-3

1. Superior is a Lake, not an attitude.

2. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

3. Sixty is only 10 (not 25) years older than 50.

4. See #2.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things I've Learned-2

1. If you are running low on yarn, knitting faster doesn't help.

2. A sizeable yarn stash is a joy forever, and ever, and ever.

3. Use the best appropriate materials you can afford.

4. Knit for charity the same way you knit for family.

Bev sent this picture of her 9 finished Mittnz pairs.

I think she did a terrific job!

Now send me your Mittnz pictures.


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Monday, July 27, 2009

Things I've Learned-1

Heading into a major birthday, Ithought I would share some of the things I've learned in 60 years:

1. If you are sitting and waiting for a haircut at Sit Down And Wait Your Turn, and the next operator "up" has pink hair, wait a little longer.

2. If you are in a hurry to get home (or to the bar), so much so that you find it necessary to weave in and out of traffic, don't be too surprised to see me still in your rear view mirror when we both get there.

3. Exercise doesn't get less painful if you put it off.

4. Ditto healthy eating.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Know What This Looks Like

But it really is a potholder, or "panhandler," if you prefer. The other half looked at it and snickered. Then I added the leaves.

He snickered again and said that it still looks like that but also like Sideshow Bob.

Stranded knitting that goes against everything that you know. You are instructed in one version to draw the strands up tight (and indeed, that is what you need to do in order to make it work).

Pattern here. Accept no substitutes! I found "the pattern" on another website and large bits were missing from the cut and paste. But then, the original (my printout is dated 2001) is missing crucial bits as well.

Here's the inside. See what I mean?

This was not a fun knit, but I knocked one more off the list.

15 to go. In 33 days.


And here it is in use. Look at the photo sideways and you'll see what made the OtherHalf giggle. No wait, you don't need to turn it, do you?

I think the next one, I'll use some Indian corn colored variegated yarn.

That's assuming that there is a next one.



Cranking Them Out

There are times when having a bunch of baskets full of partially completed WIPs is not necessarily a Bad Thing. Times like this.

Witness, two completed entries in less than a day!

Okay, the knitting on the big dark pair took place in a matter of hours. Start to finish, mere hours. Making both at the same time may mean tangles of yarn, but it also means that both are exactly the same size, and there's no Second Mitten Syndrome to overcome.

Pattern is here . Yarn is Lion Brand Landscapes (50/50, wool/acrylic) color Deep Sea. Needles, size 10.5. I got the yarn at Ollie's a few months ago from a close out "bin" (cardboard box--Ollie's doesn't waste money on store fixtures) .

The other pair? They've been languishing for a couple of months. The main yarn was an oddball a wool-sensitive friend sent to me earlier this year. The red was a leftover from my stash. Start to finish? Months! All that was needed tonight when I sat down tonight was a couple of seams and some woven-in ends.

Both pairs will be part of my 9 pair commitment to the 2009 Mittnz Challenge.

Next up? This.

Odds and ends of Tahki Cotton Classic in bright crayon colors. I should be able to knock this one out tomorrow without breaking a sweat.

Cocky? Why yes! After all, I made two pairs of Mittnz in less than a day.


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Friday, July 24, 2009

Full Court Press

I gave the baby blanket my full attention for a week and this is how far I got. ::le sigh::

The individual mitered squares take a motivated knitter (that would be me) a weeknight evening's TV watching (about 90 minutes) to complete. I've finished 10 of 25 (40%) plus there's an edging to do.

I've decided to put it and the blue Laprobe aside for a week (except for travel knitting) and concentrate on smaller items.

Tonight, I wasted spent a good bit of the evening going through various books looking for inspiration.

I set aside patterns and started interviewing balls of yarn in the hopes that the right candidates would emerge.

This week, I'll work on small projects and knock out a couple more entries, mittens, hats, a potholder.

Then I'll force myself get back to the two bigger projects (the blankies) the following week. The fair looms. Thirty-four days until I turn in my finished objects.

For the last several years, I have taken a week off in August to get ready for the fair. That won't be happening this year. Life, it seems has gotten in the way.

I will be spending most of August undergoing various medical procedures to prevent recurrance of a very early stage carcinoma that was discovered and removed in stages over the last couple months. I've had mammograms, ultrasounds, a biopsy and two surgeries. Next up: radiation.

This has been weighing heavily on my mind. I have been assured that this cancer--there, I've typed it!--is not likely fatal, that the chance of recurrance is minimal, and that the radiation that I will be undergoing will lessen even that small chance.

That doesn't make it any easier, folks.

I am not the kind of person to obsess over my health. When something turns up, I address it, treat it, and move on. This is dragging way too long for me. I'm tired; I'm discouaged.

Mid August, I will begin this treatment for 5 days. It sounds pretty benign (bad, bad pun) when you read the description, but I have seen the instrument of torture device that will be implanted and heard the protocol and frankly, I'm a little concerned about this. Inflated, that sucker's about the size of a golf ball. Washing my hair in the kitchen sink? For ten days? Really? (Read between the lines--no showers!)

Please let ths be the last of it!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Who's This Posting Mid-Week?

When there are things worth posting about, I can get motvated to post in the middle of the week!

Another fair entry finished. This one is Tote Bags-other (as in "not canvas").

Particulars: Pattern from the Vogue KOTG series, Bags which has several interesting patterns, some of them quite strange (the cover bag, for instance) but others, usable and easily put together, like this one.

I chose to color block (rather than use the muted shades of the model) with Bernat Chunky Cotton (because I didn't have enough of any of the bright colors to make it all one shade). The model calls for double strands of linen.

I kind of like it.

It's smaller than the model, though the size is useful. The straps are long enough for it to be a shoulder bag.

It's a practical bag. The solid bottom and the drawstring will keep things from dropping out (I hope).

All in all a statisfying project.

I might even keep it for myself!

Jean sent a photo of her second batch of Mittnz. Aren't the white ones with the green trim handsome?

This year's Mittnz project seems to be off to a very slow start. I hope that's just beecause all of you are quietly knitting away and not saying anything. You want to surprise me. That's it, isn't it?

I will gladly accept photos of Mittnz at any time. Email them to me: abmcmanus*AT*verizon*DOT*net (make the obvious changes) and I'll share them here to inspire everyone else.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Five Years and Counting

Today is my Five Year Blogiversary.

We've been together through thick and thin (and sometimes the thin was really, really thin, though I never was).

Thanks for the comments and the Mittnz and all the support. It's been a fun ride.

More on the weekend!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Birthday

You know who you are!

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Sunday, July 19, 2009


Does the pink version look more "baby?"

I'm really not sure.


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

More To Come

Modern parents! Who knew? Younger Son's friends are expecting their first (how exciting for them) and knowing them (not very well at all, it seems), I assumed Pastel. Indeed, Pastel Blue (it's a boy) and created a gift that I thought would be appropriate, though not especially traditional in color.

Then I checked their registry and discovered ::eep:: that the sheets they selected are brown (how practical--I'm kidding, of course).

Well, that threw me for a serious loop until I checked a little further and saw red sheets and plaid ones, and a little "decor set" in navy, brown and red. Very Little Boy (not baby) and I applauded them and quickly cast on Something Entirely Different. Basic Log Cabin-type baby blanket. I don't think I need to write out the recipe--everyone seems to have their own version and we all a lot of us seem to be doing it this summer.

My own version is regimented. Thirty-stitch square in the center, 40 row (20 ridge) band on each side until I reach about 36", then I-cord to finish it. I may loop the i-cord (for something a little different) or not (since it's for a baby).

But since the fair judges are unlikely to accept (or even understand) Modern Parents, I will enter it as Lap Robe, knitted. But we all know that it's an Infant Carriage Robe-Crib Cover, right? Right!

The current pile of WIPs:

Adult Socks-slippers, Yarn For Socks, two shades of gray, first sock barely started. ::eep::

Tote Bag, other, in chunky-weight cotton, nearly finished (straps to be sewn in place, drawstring to be made and inserted) .

Infant Carriage Robe-Crib Cover Lap Robe, Patons Decor Rich Blues, about 1/4 completed.

That should keep me busy through what's left of the weekend!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Little Things

I've become a Weekend Blogger! When the heck did that happen? Right about the time that life got incredibly complicated, I guess. Complicated in many, many ways.

And work got very busy. Busier than I could ever have imagined, in fact.

All will be revealed, Dear Reader. Soon.

In the meantime, I have not become a Weekend Knitter! I've shifted into high (or low, depending on your POV) gear with fair knitting. Witness:

The beginning of the first "Department 19" (Art, Photography, Crafts) knitting for this year's fair.

The premiums are higher here, the making entirely fiddly, but truth be told, this is the impractical stuff, and the stuff that's most fun to do.

At most, it will see the light of day for a week or two in December. I give most of it away to unsuspecting victims recipients who seem to cherish it, though they could just be good actors.

This? Oh it's the beginning (or end) of a Winter Bauble (not a Christmas Ornament), "Snowman, other" that I have already promised to a young friend. This is the first attempt which turned out to be way too small, even for something this tiny. Film when it's finished.

This weekend, I will must compile my list of entries and get them into the mail. But first, I need to decide what I can still reasonably accomplish in the 39 ::eep:: days I have left.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Seeing Red

One more entry finished, and this one does "double duty" as it is also a red scarf for the Red Scarf Project. I don't know that I'll be making another, but if the deadline moves (or I suddenly finish everything else on The List), I might just try to do a second.

When I mail it, I'll be enclosing Dunkin' Donuts gift card and maybe one from Target or somewhere else "national" as well. I'm really glad I decided to participate.

Particulars on this one:

Yarn is Cervinia Genova, a sportweight acrylic (for washability) knit up on size 5 needles. It still needs a soak and block, but even without, it's nice and soft.

I used the Twin Rib Scarf pattern found here. It was mindless and simple, and (frankly) a row of 42 stitches took as long to complete as a 90 stitch round on the cabled bolster.

Because I kept getting "lost" in the pattern and found myself tinking at least every 4th row.

::le sigh::

But it's finished and done and all that.

If there's another, it will be wool. Superwash (for washability) because even though the Genova is an okay ack, it's still ack.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Color, Give Me Color!

After several nights of knitting on Aran color yarn, I am ready for some Real Color.

Don't get me wrong. I love the creamy color. It's elegant and rich, and let's face it, boring. Very, very boring.

So here, for your color-loving soul, is a photo of the current Works In Progress, soon to be joined by more, more, more colorful projects.

The purple and green is a chunky cotton tote bag. The more muted purple is Hey Teach. The red is my Red Scarf Project red scarf at 45" and growing.

And for those keeping track, the Flip remains unwarped, though I promise, I am getting closer to picking a project and picking a warp. I need to Just Do It!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Finished Another

This just in: Another O is F!

The category? Cushions and Pillows-Knitted.

I debated posting this picture. I don't think the intended victim recipient reads the blog. At least not often. In any event, s/he is unlikely to connect this bolster with Christmas, seeing that the holiday is forever away at the moment.

The particulars: Pattern is my own, a compilation pattern ideas of several bolster covers, some from a couple of oop Hayfield "novelty knits" booklets, an old Knitting Digest, and a Vogue KOTG book. None met my needs entirely, so I decided to wing it. I knew I didn't want a seam.

The pattern stitch is from Traditional Knitting Patterns compiled by James Norbury, a Dover reprint of a (c)1962 book. My pattern is called Peterhead and is named after a small town in Scotland.

It's knit in the round on a 16" circular needle (size 7) to fit a purchased 14" bolster form.

The yarn is Plymouth Encore (acrylic/wool blend) for washability and the whole cover is removable for washing. Color #256 if anyone is trying to duplicate my effort.

The "recipe":

Cast on enough stitches to fit onto the circular needle and also to fit the boster form. In this case, it was 90. Join. Place a marker for the beginning of the round.

Ends: Do some rounds of garter stitch (k 1 round, p 1 round-- I did 8). Then switch to stockinette (k every round). Knit some more rounds. I did 9. Throw in an eyelet round (k2 tog, yo around). Knit some more stockinette rounds. I did 9 more.

Main part: Find a pattern stitch that fits the number of cast on stitches. At this point you could increase or decrease a couple of stitches (perhaps as many as 5) so that the pattern fits evenly. Note: If you are using a pattern that was written for rows rather than rounds, you may not need the "plus" part of the pattern repeat (as in "multiple of X + Y") as that usually just centers the pattern on a flat field.

Work until the patterned section is as long as the length of the bolster form, then repeat the "ends" portion in reverse order, ending with the garter rounds. Bind off.

You could use ribbon or a crocheted chain to gather and close the cover. I chose to make a 12" 3-stitch i-cord. Weave your "closer" through the eyelet rounds. Pull very tight. Tie an overhand knot, then another, then a bow. Or make a shorter i-cord (maybe 6") and skip the bow.

I used about 165 g of worsted weight yarn, about 330 yards. Your mileage may vary.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Do the Math

I am one of those Crazy Math People.

Some of you noticed in a previous post how I managed to rationalize throwing in the towel stopping the knitting on my throw at 56" (plus border) by Doing The Math. I have carried that even further today.

Exhibit A:

Another project in the partially completed stage. (No, it isn't a sweater. At least not in the conventional sense.)

I have completed the set-up section (need another at the other end) and 3 pattern repeats(2 more needed).

A round (90 stitches) takes me a hair under 3 minutes to complete. Each pattern repeat is 20 rounds. The end section is 17 rounds.

That means I have (57 more rounds X 3 minutes)/60 minutes in an hour or just under 3 hours of knitting time (plus some i-cord, but that requires no concentration on my part). Definitely doable and certainly a lot less than the 436 hours I would estimate still needs to be done as I try to read tiny chart or my knitting or both while squinting and surfing ::coff::

Exhibit B:

My Red Scarf

I am using the Twin Rib Pattern found here because I wanted something mindless (it's relative) but classy, unisex, and non-rolling.

Scarves need to be 60" long. I am at 31" right now (more than halfway done--YES!).

Again, timing 1 row (2 minutes or thereabouts) and the number of rows per inch (7.5 or 15 for 2") tells me that I have miles to go before I sleep a little less than 7.5 hours of (relatively) mindless knitting before I can call this one finished, a fair entry, and a gift to a young man or woman who could use a pat on the back and a (gentle) shove in the right direction.

Not nearly as frustrating as thinking "only 3 more years and I'll be done."

Math--it saves the day.

And in somewhat related news, we stopped at Borders yesterday. I didn't even wander back to where the knitting books are shelved.

Shot my entire "extra cash" on 2 British knitting magazines (each came with a bonus). They are expensive compared to the domestic mags on the rack (besides, I already subscribe to the ones I want), but the designs often have an edge that is refreshing.

I doubt that I will be making anything following the patterns exactly, but I will be inspired, I am sure.

Message to "cornflower": The penguin pattern is an adaptation of a pattern in this oop Jean Greenhowe book, I believe. It's here somewhere, I know not where for sure, so cannot confirm.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Is it Only Saturday?

It sure feels as though it should be Sunday here in the US of A, doesn't it?

With the holiday falling on a Saturday, many of us got Friday as our Holiday Day Off. That made for a 3-day weekend, and, at least for me, a 3-day workweek.

I could get used to this!

And to celebrate, I had Finished Object Friday a day early! W00T!

Here's the center-out throw that I've been working on seemingly forever. All done and with the ends woven in. It isn't blocked yet, but it will be before it's entered in this year's fair.

The colors blend nicely with our living room furniture and rug.

Patons Decor in a color called Sand Castle. Bought it at Smiley's, where else?

I used just slightly under 10-100 g. balls for a 60" (about) square. The entry specs call for 60"X72" max. I really didn't feel like pushing the envelope with a 65" square (approximately the same area) so stopped at 56" and added on a border.

The knitted-on border was supposed to be a lacy edging, but I just couldn't get my mind around how to do that.

I might try again on a washcloth at some point, but not for this year's entries.

I had all my stitches bunched together on a 60" circular needle by the time the throw was at 56".

Working with the active stitches still on the circular needle, this edging was applied counter-clockwise by casting on 10 stitches on an 8" dpn, then knitting across 9 and knitting the last stitch together with a stitch from the edge of the throw. Each WS row is knit across on 10, each RS row is knit 9, k2 together.

The corners were accomplished with short rows. When I got to the marker for each corner, I knit 9, k 2 tog, turn, k 10. Next row, k 9, turn, k9, next rown k8, turn, etc. until I k 1, turn, k1.

Next row (RS) was a k 9, k 2 tog, and work the edging for the next straight side.

The border alone was almost 15,000 stitches. ::whew::

But it's finished and another fair entry is tucked away in the bin, waiting for a good warm bath and a block.

The Tiny Prince isn't here this weekend. ::sigh::

And I'll leave you with this "Saturday Picture" of the Tiny Prince enjoying his very own Sour Apple Slushie because Mammo is happy to share, but sharing spit wasn't in the contract I signed.


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Friday, July 03, 2009

Up To the Minute

Fair entry report. Okay, one isn't exactly a fair entry, but if I finish it in time, it will replace another FO that I have set to enter.

(I haven't done this in a while, but here goes.)

At the left, Hey Teach (from Knitty) in purple ("plum," actually) Moda Dea Silk 'n Wool Blend from the Dollar Tree. It's also available at Smiley's, but not in this color.

The beginning of a Red Scarf in Cervinia Genova (100%acrylic, but soft and nice, sport weight) also from Smiley's.

And the beginning of a Christmas gift/fair entry which I may or may not show in progress. This one is a combination of several similar ones, that I mushed around in my conscious mind and then cast on and had at it. If it's successful, there might be a pattern!

Can I be a little blunt? I hope you followed the Red Scarf link, because Norma tells it like it is. If you do any charity knittng, and especially if you make a Red Scarf, or you knit, sew, or crochet for The Ships Project, it's really important to keep the recipient(s) in mind. They are not "charity cases." They are, in fact, young men and women who are doing a job (yes, both the students and the troops) that is very important to their future and ours. They deserve the best.

It is, after all, All About Them!

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Another Visitor

The Tiny Prince isn't the only one who visited recently.



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