28 September 2006

Fixes on the fly -- correcting garter stitch on the needles

A common reason for new knitters to call me over for a "what's wrong consult" involves a stitch that hasn't been worked on the prior row. I usually just diagnose the problem and do a quick on the needles fix before handing the knitting back to the knitter so they can keep going.

For the knitters who have asked me how I did that, here's the blog entry I promised a few weeks back.

Diagnosing the problem -- the following photo shows a small swatch with 12 stitches on a needle. The 6th stitch from the right is the problem stitch.
On the prior row it may have been passed from one needle to another without another stitch being formed. However it happened, it is an unworked stitch that needs to be brought up to the same level as the other 11.

Knit the first five stitches on the row and begin the process of correcting the unworked stitch by inserting the right needle into the last fully formed 6th stitch and the float of yarn that lies to the front of the knitting as shown in the photo below.
The last fully formed stitch is two rows below the five stitches you've just knit. That stitch is the one that the float should have gone though/round to form a stitch on the prior row. The float is directly connected to the stitches to the left and right of but not to the problem stitch as shown in the photo below.
With the right needle inserted into the last fully formed stitch and the float of yarn to the front of the work, scoop the float up, toward and through the stitch moving from left to right as shown in the following photo.
The next photo shows the float being pulled through the stitch and onto the right needle to form a new stitch. The stitch used to form this new stitch remains on the left needle.
Drop the stitch from the left needle (just you would have after the new stitch was formed on the previous row) and move the newly formed stitch to the right needle as shown in the following photo.
To avoid having to do this yet again on the next row, transfer the newly formed stitch back to the left needle as shown on the photo below.
Knit the newly formed stitch and the other six stitches on the needle to finish the row. The final photo shows the completed row of knitting.

More fixes on the fly postings are in the works.

26 September 2006

Topiaries on a Tuesday

First a duh dumb moment from a stupid radio spot: "It's almost impossible to lose weight when you're hungry all the time." Excuse me? Wouldn't the more accurate statement be that it is almost impossible to lose weight if whenever you feel hungry you eat -- different thing entirely.

I'm a bit obsessed with weight and I'm annoyed that my body is not cooperating with my weight loss goals and seems to be immune to all my efforts but I've not fallen for the it's not your fault or effortless results camp that this and other ads are clearly targeting.

Onto the topiaries. My walkabout routes had been getting a bit stale/predictable so I've been mixing it up a bit by exploring old treks and discovering new ones. On Saturday, I decided to take some new Havianas to the streets. I logged about six miles or so on them, rediscovered the house that is the subject of today's post and also took in a couple of street/stairs.

Without the start from my place bit, here's the route: Starting at University & 5th (aka at the Hillcrest sign) go West on University to Goldfinch. South on Goldfinch to Bush, West on Bush, Bush becomes Wellbourn.
Continuing on Wellbourn, there are viewpoints on the North end of Neale and Torrance.

The one at Neale appears to be public parking and the one at Torrance seems to be part of a deck for a private home.

This is from the Neale viewpoint facing Northeast with the Washington Street hill and the University turn off.

The sun was preparing to set as I walked along which made for a better view but not so great photos whenever I was facing West.

The view at the end of Wellbourn is also pretty inspiring and worth a stop and reflect moment as you look over San Diego bay, the airport and the city's skyline.

The right side of the road's vine covered fence frames the scenic view as you move South on Torrance. The street then widens to a palm lined avenue before intersecting with Kite. West on Kite, North on Puterbaugh, West on Lark.

Lark in this area is an interesting street. After a few yards, only the left (South) side of the street appear to have houses. The right (North) side seems to consist of a guard rail and wall. This segment of the street seems to end about a block past the intersection of W. Walnut where a chain link fence surrounds a construction site.

But this bit of Lark has a surprise twist. If you walk down the Northern side of the street, and peer over the wall you'll see a series of houses on what seems to be another unknown road/street.

Just past the the intersection of W. Walnut the wall is interrupted with a set of stairs leading down to that road. Here's the twist, to the right of the construction site, just when you thought the street ends, the pavement makes a U turn to the North. If you follow the road round to the right, and read the street numbers, it becomes apparent that this bit of Lark is a street divided by elevation and bridged by a set of stairs.

On the day I was on walkabout, I spotted two women walking their dogs by the dirt track at the South West side of construction. It wasn't clear to me whether the dirt track is part of a public walkway or whether the women had taken a short cut through driveways and other private property. That exploration is for another day.

After solving the mystery of the Lark Street Stairs, walk up the stairs and proceed South on W. Walnut.
Turn West on Kite and go North on Union. Approaching Vine, the hill of topiary comes into view on the Eastern (right) side of the street.
I don't know the back story, the who, why or even how but I am delighted that the topiaries are still there and being maintained. I happened upon them many years back during one of my ramble abouts the neighbourhood and, until last Saturday, I couldn't recall where they were.
While the topiaries are an extreme example of houses with character, there are other houses, stairs, bridges, weird shrubs and the like in the older neighbourhoods of San Diego that boost the charm factor of the area by being a bit quirky.

North on Union to Glenwood. Follow Glenwood West round to India. India North to Washington. Cross Washington and continue past Palomar Market and go up the India Street stairs to the intersection of India, McKee, Keating & Titus.
As I stopped to take a shot of the stairs. the security guard in the parking lot and I had a bit of a chuckle/chat about what I was after a shot of. I told him that while he was quite charming, my interest was in the stairs and no, I did not want to see me in the picture.

North on Titus, East on Pringle. As you pass Guy, although some of the lot has given way to houses, the South (right) side of Pringle still offers a spectacular view of the city skyline and the bay. People pay big bucks for houses with that view so take a moment to take a breather and admire the view. This location is a great place to take in the fireworks on the 4th of July.

I was losing light as I crested the Pringle Street hill so I opted to head North on Washington Place rather that continue on East on Pringle and take the stairs to Pioneer Park. Washington Place becomes Washington at Goldfinch.

At the Southeast corner of Washington and Goldfinch, you'll find The Gathering (still boarded up after a fire swept through it). A few yards North is the decadent delight that is Phil's BBQ.

The building on the Northeast corner of the intersection used to house a number of shops and the Mission Hills Cafe. It is now mostly vacant and targeted for some sort of renewal project.

Without getting into that whole can of worms, I noticed that the original brick facade was peeking through a section on the Goldfinch elevation. That section, made the remains of the later "modern" facing look a bit like a cardboard box had been dropped over the building. The original brick is interesting. The modern, which is now more retro than modern, is more familiar and the fate of the building is probably in the hands of an architect and/or a committee or two.

On the Southwest side of Washington there's the Mission Hills branch of the library, the new location for M-Theory records and a florist shop.

Cross Washington at Goldfinch. Go East on Washington to 5th, South one block on 5th to the starting point of University & 5th.

According to the route tracker at gmap pedometer.com
which is a pretty nifty tool even if it's maps aren't totally accurate the mileage on this walk is approximately 4.13 miles from start to finish.

So a walkabout ramble and a bit of a rant. Next time lots of knitting content.

21 September 2006

Volunteering, v-necks & flip flops

I'm working with another spare memory card that I backed up and reformatted to try to avoid the corruption problem that befell the other two. I'm looking at a software solution to recover the images but the purchase is on the to be done list.

Yesterday instead of making the trek into RB, I joined fellow employees and other volunteers at Chollas Lake Park for a day of brush removal and, at least in my case, metal detection. It was all part of the 16th annual Hands on San Diego which is in turn part of Volunteer San Diego.

Spending a half day clearing out dead brush and hauling reinforced concrete and other dumped metal objects was an enjoyable way to spend the day even if I have some muscles reminding me that they don't usually get that sort of workout.

I picked up my folding chairs and cot from buddy Brent's now overcrowded new digs on the way home. Opting out of the free baseball game, I decided to turn into a people with a very well earned shower and shampoo before taking the knitting along on the walk down for an evening out at the Shake's.

I did try to get in a bit of knitting yesterday during the lunch break and later in the day but there was a lot more frogging than progress as every attempt to turn the short rows created a sharper turn than the original side.

That sharp turn is consistent with the original design idea but I'd already decided to go off on a design detour. Today's knitting went much better and I should be ready to cross the next design decision about what to do with the back and rest of the bottom.

On the first side the yarn ran out about 3.5 inches short of the desired length. As you can see, I can block this sucker into being the bottom up diagonal I originally had in mind but I don't like to rely on blocking to make a piece work.
This is the non-blocked first side that shows why I shifted gears and started thinking necklines and natural arm hole shaping. The second photo shows the second side's midday progress and how I'm seeing these two forming the garment.

Since my well worn Havianas are literally within a quarter inch or so of holey heels I've been scouting out local replacement options hoping to have new ones before the final blow out.

On Sunday's walk home from the Whistlestop, I spotted some buckets of flip flops inside Maeve Riley and stopped to take a second look and they sure looked like Havianas to me. A phone call yesterday confirmed that I had found my in the hood replacement source and at good price too -- so good that I got two pairs and may go back and indulge myself with two more fun colours.

I thought I'd be clever and take the camera along to do the documenting of the route that Sunday's media meltdown thwarted. I wasn't clever enough to check the battery level so while I got another five miles of walking in toward the weekly total, I didn't get the pictures.

19 September 2006

Sunday is for Sandisk corruption/scramble

Since I wrote that I knew of three sets of stairs acting as streets and/or bridging two streets, I've discovered another and remembered one I'd forgotten.

The one I found is part of the weird set of streets one finds tucked up in Mission Hills South of Washington Street and above the Shake's and El Indio.

Since I'd not done a Whistlestop outing this month I'd forgotten about the Cypress Street stairs that run from the North end of Cypress at Florida up to Cypress at Alabama.

I also hadn't gone up Upas from Florida to Alabama in a while and since the route that follows Upas to 30th is the more challenging route, I decided to push myself a bit.

Being inspired to do a bit of documenting the differences, I packed the digital camera along with the knitting and set out for the Whistlestop.

One the way I dipped down and took a shot of the Cypress Street stairs, then proceeded on to Upas where I took a shot looking up both hills (Florida to Park) and Florida to Alabama before heading East to Alabama.

Along the way, I took shots of the hills, my knitting, the bocce courts and the route back including the Cypress street stairs from Alabama and also the Cypress hill from Florida up to Indiana. Sunday is for Sandisk corruption/scramble.

Now that I have two "can the images be retrieved" media cards I can either shrug it off and reformat the cards or check out some of the local data recovery firms. Since the firms tend to have a free eval and/or a no recovery no charge, I'm inclined to go that route before wiping them clean and hoping that it is just the media and not the camera in death throes causing the corruption.

On the knitting front, one of my on again off again play/puzzle me this projects is Montse Stanley's "Oblique" sweater vest shown in one of the colour plates of my edition of Knitter's Handbook. Her pithy description and the dark colour of the garment makes for an interesting puzzle. Over the years I've not broken the code to what she did but my efforts have produced some interesting construction options that make even failure a valuable effort.

For some reason or another the pentagon sleeves project continues to be a push me, pull you three steps forward and back affair. Maybe I'm just distracted but I decided that another day of knitting that ends with frogging was something to be avoided so I returned to the Stanley problem.

The idea was a ribbed diagonal/bias knit vest that would shift the direction of the rib welts from diagonal to vertical and back through short rows. The original idea was to start from the bottom side and knit diagonally until one side reached the armhole length before turning the short rows on what would be the centre front.

Since the whole idea was just a what if exercise, it made for perfect walkabout and Whistlestop (read social) knitting. Before heading out the door, I marked my turning point with to track my progress and ease documenting the knitting (after all this was to be one of two symmetrical fronts). I chose to stairstep/turn by two stitches rather than one which made for gentler turn of the corner by the ribbing welts.

By the time I had 8 or so welts rounding the corner, I was seeing a good neckline treatment and I wasn't 100% certain that the sharp mitre from using one stitch at a time mightn't have been a better choice for my original purpose. I took a couple of digital images while crossing Sweitzer Canyon just in case I opted to frog rather than shift purposes.

The more I worked, the less I found myself wanting to tear back and pursue the original plan with this yarn. Again, I've not cracked the code but I've found something of value to add to my bag of design tricks. Although it would only have been an afternoon's knitting lost, given the Sunday media meltdown, I'm glad I opted to follow this particular design detour.

Roughly 2/3rd (40 stitches out of 61) of the stitches turn the corner with short rows. Instead of being a bottom up knit garment it's a top down that begins on a diagonal with side increases that shape the neckline and the armhole. The short row shaping gently curves the neckline and shifts the diagonal ribbing to a vertical.

I'm nearing the end of the first skein of Plymouth's Stone Cotton (Needlecraft Cottage sale drawer 2004/2005?). I'm about 7.5 more inches shy of my preferred garment length, so I don't think this skein will stretch to that. With a total of four skeins (106 yds per 50grs), I suspect that either the back will be knit from some other yarn or be a very low back indeed.

In addition to a nice stash of fine gauge Lang cottons in an appropriate colour, I also have a single skein of another smaller gauge cotton that will do very nicely for an edge treatment.

If I decide to create the back out of something else, I might just do fronts to two different garments -- one based on this treatment and a second that follows the original design plan/path.

The yarn reminds me of Classic Elite's Sand. It isn't as nubby and it may just be the rather rough hand combined with the interplay of the dark and light of this particular shade.

14 September 2006

Shopping the stash or yarn begets yarn and swatchy swatchy

I've had a number of four hundred dollar Fridays of late. No, this not a dollar amount I've won in a lottery (more's the pity) but insurance estimates, money spent on remedial smog repairs (silly sensors) or just money blown in an irrational response. Hopefully, this series will end with my upcoming long term investment in good rubber for the Aerostar.

since some of that irrational spending had me falling off the no yarn buying wagon, I'm working on incorporating the new elann and LYS additions to stash with some swatching and matchmaking.

First up is Rowan's R2 nylon paper tape yarn. elann was blowing this stuff out by the bag and at $16US for 1480 yards so I got one of the peach and one of the pale green. The peach stuff reminds me of parachute silk and its colour brings to mind Summer days and flea market finds in New Orleans a life time ago.

Those memories mean I'm inclined to like this yarn even though it is at the very high end of my knitting gauge. It isn't quite conduit knitting but I wouldn't care to see it on a needle smaller than a US 8 (5mm). The first swatch was done on honking huge needles aka US 17 (12.75mm). Surprisingly enough I own 1 circular in this size and, courtesy of TNNA & Clover, 1 pair of straights.

The stitch pattern is from the Lacy Stole pattern in Pat Menchini's Beatrix Potter Needlepoint Book. I've not seen the stitch pattern elsewhere that I can recall and I've been looking to incorporate it into another piece for some time.

Anyhow, 25 stitches (9 garter edge stitches total and four 4-stitch pattern repeats) measures about 8 .5 inches wide with a nice open grid . If this wasn't discontinued, I'd consider designing something with a decidely lacey lingerie peignoir styling.

Some years back, in an arguably mad moment, I said yes to adopting/fostering yarn that was not going to make the relocation from el-A to Oregon. Most of the yarn that arrived and overwhelmed me and the delivery guy was kitted up and offered up to the crowd that used to gather at the Pick up game of knitting in the Clairemont Starbucks. Kitting helped most of it find a home not with me.

Some of the foster yarn that stayed with me has moved on and become part of FOs but some hangs about on the periphery of the stash waiting for suitable companion yarn. Witness the possible marriage of no-name and fibre unknown peach boucle with the peach R2. This simple 20 stitch stocking stitch swatch is an unblocked loose knit measuring 5.5 inches wide on US 10.5 (6.5mm) needles
Also on US 10.5 needles is a mix of two no-name fibre unknown yarns from the foster collection and some recently acquired Berroco Quest (Needlecraft Cottage Summer yarn sale 2006). The quest was originally slated to be part of a different project that was decidedly not for me. That was the plan before the no-name cake of pink and grey stuff caught my eye. Anyhow, the backdrop is an Ann Taylor shell that I really love so I'm thinking this one's for me.
The problem with a limited amount of sale yarn and no-name unknown fibre is also the unkown yardage factor. The danger in being conservative in your yarn estimates is that you'll make something and end up with leftover yarn.

Sometimes the remaining yarn is enough to haunt you with the regrets of projects not knit (but I could have knit a cardigan) or be not quite enough for something else and drive you right back into the yarn begets yarn buying cycle.
Since recent yarn excesses had a bit to do with trying to augment stash yarn I was less than inclined to go there again.

So I shopped the stash and found three very suitable suitors for this mix of yarn that probably wants to be a short vest/shell that may or may not get sleeves. The first candidate is a cotton and silk blend in a mourning dove grey (camera colour isn't true) that I bought at KinLJ on sale several years back.
There a couple of problems with this solution. The first is gauge. This stuff is more in my US 3-4 range of knitting (aka my usual small kine stuff) so I'd probably need to work it double which would burn up quite a bit of yarn. Given the fact that this stuff has 213 yards to a 100 gram hank that's not bad and I do have 9 hanks of this stuff. . . but 9 hanks of this stuff feels like a better fit for a complete gansey or other project.

Next up is another Berrocco yarn in a Rayon/Cotton/Linen blend. This Linor was from a Yarn Lady binge at a Stitches West. The colour is great. Gauge is an issue and again with 10 hanks of 92 yards each I have enough for a full project that might even pair with this for a non matchy matchy set.
More digging brings forth yarn from the days of Crewel World being a brick and mortar shop. In a bin of neutrals I found some Pingouin Nacre which is a rayon/cotton blend. At 115 yard per 50 gram ill behaved (showing its rayon) balls. I have 7 of these intermingling (read tangling) in the same dye lot. I think we have a winner.
While I know that I arguably have enough of this for a complete project it would be a near thing and this stuff has just enough glam to it to work with the Quest without being overly embellished. I'm leaning toward doing the back in the Nacre and striping the fronts but string the bottom of both front and back with the top in the Nacre is also a good option that might let me eke out some striped or open work (read lace) solid coloured sleeves.

Meanwhile, back at the pentagon, after laundering, I discovered that the last inch or so of one of the pentagon sleeves was also a dye lot mismatch. It told you it was a subtle difference. Glad I know now when I've still plenty of the minority dye lot to work with.

I've made the switch from size 3 US to 4 US for the body and I'm tangling, untangling and barreling away on the project. The photo shows both sleeves, the original bottom ribbings in the two different dye lots and the blended ribbings running diagonally across the lot.

I'm getting about 7 stitches/10 rows to the inch so it will be a real adventure in mixed knitting as I switch from the mittens (snug on 5US), the shawl (lacey on 5US), a couple of 10.5 US projects (there's another Quest Colors/R2/unknowns swatch in progress) and the pentagon sleeve project.

13 September 2006

Bridges, blends and ramblings

Last Saturday's walkabout gave me a hint of just how much had changed since I last rambled over to Normal Heights.

The Cable Car Cafe and its moth-balled trolley cars are gone. The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses is going to become a medical clinic. The restaurant on the corner of Adams and Alabama which was once Korean and is now Italian appears to be becoming something else again. Paper Antiquities has moved from 5th Avenue to Adams Avenue and an old fave thrift cottage is now the Tibet Gift house. Clearly additional excursions are in order.

In a things don't change moment, the resident cats were out and in serious purr and pet mode at Adams Avenue books and the selection of European history books held at least two titles that demanded to come home with me.

The round trip banked another 5.4 miles of walking onto the day's total of 7.6 miles, saw another flip-flop blow out (I so need to replace my Havaianas) and, since I was winding along the way, left me with no more excuses not to cast on for the pentagon sleeves project.

I reluctantly decided that I should blend the two dye lots through out the whole body of the garment. Reluctantly in part because having decided that I will knit this flat and work both front and back at the same time, the actual knitting will have me juggling (read tangling) four balls of yarn and switching yarn every row.

I got little more than the cast on done on Sunday's trek and Monday's efforts were hampered when a repaired Crystal Palace circ decided not to stay repaired.

As of Tuesday morning, I had about a half inch of the ribbing done and decided that a photo comparing the blend to the other dye lots was in order. My intention was to use the sleeves in waiting as the background for the three ribbings but the sleeves were so clearly in need of a wash that I settled for the insulation board.
When the sleeves dry I'll try for a better image and with a bit of luck there will be more knitting on the needles as well.

Sunday's ramble was mostly about knitting the mystery mitten and venturing into neighbourhoods I'd not visited in some time. I started with the usual Park Blvd through the park trek but then let my feet wonder through Banker's Hill, Middletown, Mission Hills and home to Hillcrest (roughly 7.4 miles). Along the way I crossed both the Quince Street and Spruce Street bridges, I could have sworn I took a shot of the former (but my camera says no) so here's a look at the Spruce Street from the West end.
I don't know whether I'd forgotten about the stairs that lead from Eagle down to Reynard or if I'd just always turned on Curlew or Dove but I chose that route and took the snap to prove that they really do exist.
I wonder if these stairs, like the ones that lead from the end of the sidewalk by the Palomar Market on Washington up to a rather rugged "block" of Titus Street, are considered part of a street.

These two, the ones that go from W Upas and India to the NorthWest end of Columbia near Thorn and the ones that lead out of Pioneer Park in Mission Hills are familiar to me but I wonder how many more hidden and not so hidden stairs acting as streets are out there.

I still haven't stumbled upon my hillside garden spot. It seems to me that it might be in the streets that stop and start at will above the Shake's but it might also be more in the killer hills around California and Bandini. I'll just have to put them on my revisit and rediscover agenda.

12 September 2006

Just a head case and it's a mystery mitten

Although it still doesn't have a nose or eyes, I'm counting the revisited Baby Bobbi Bear is officially in the FO category. When I know who the bear will be living with, I'll add the appropriate facial features (buttons are not for babies).

Like all the bears I've done lately I wasn't crazy about the pattern shaping for the head. I frogged this one back to the end of the increases and shifted the decreases around a bit to get a flatter back of the head.
The increases and decreases at the side of the head remain problematic for me but on this go 'round, I opted to go with the tuck and sew solution rather than further frogging and rethinking.
As you can see in the photo, the increase/decrease line at the sides of the head could almost be simply sewn front to back to form low on the head ears. In a revisit the delay of the beginning the side increases and decreases might make for a good built in ear solution.
The paired increases of the completed bear does create a nice profile. In a revisit, I think I'd move the front paired decreases away from each other to form a bit more of a triangle running from nose tip to top of the head.
The mystery is two fold -- why would a San Diegan knit mittens in September and how did Elizabeth Zimmermann come up with the Mystery Sideways Mittens? This San Diegan is knitting mittens because I have family and friends in colder climes and I'm knitting these particular mittens because they have a weird construction that really appeals to me.

If you're not familiar with them, they were first published in Woolgathering #6 (published in 1972) and more recently in Homespun HandKnit (Interweave Press 1987). The mitten starts life looking like this:
And ends up looking more like this:
I found two minor errors in the Blind Follower instructions for rows 6 & 10 in Homespun Handknits (row 6 has a 3 where a 5 should be and row 10 has two 21s that should be 23s) but I really like the pattern.

I chose to 3-needle bind off rather than weave/graft. I didn't use EZ's M1 method. I joined the stitches to work the wrist and cuff in the round. I'm still playing with how long I want the cuff to be and whether I want to glam them up a bit or just stay with the utilitarian look.

05 September 2006

Tuesday twaddle the post holiday edition

Since I offered up no photos of the Stitch n Pitch at Petco, I feel compelled to provide links to local bloggers who had better camera karma than I did on Saturday. For actual pictures see the 3 September postings at The Purly Gate and Bird's Nest Knits.

I was working on the Baby Bobbi Bear's leg last night down the Shake's when one of the bartenders from The Field popped round with his girlfriend and checked out/commented on the progress. I finished the other leg this morning but now that I'm actually at the add stuffing phase, I'm considering a couple of steps backward before finishing it up.

You see, I just don't like the way the head is working out. The same increases and decreases that shape the front and sides of the head also shape the back of the head and that's just not a winning look in my book.

In the photo to the left, the bear's cute face is facing right and its saggy partially stuffed bum is to the left. The bugs me bit is the back of the head pointy protrusion.

I did some web surfing to see if anyone else noted the same weirdness in the head shape and also double checked to see if I'd just executed the pattern instructions incorrectly but both searches came up with nothing.

I could just do the judicious use of sewing thread for a bit of post knit sculpting but I'm seriously thinking of frogging back and knitting the back of the head flat since that would also let me tighten up the decrease line on the front of the head.
Since I know I have local buds who have the pattern for this or the Bobbi Bear but haven't knit them up yet, I'm most likely going to be giving in to my pattern tampering instincts. As a side benefit, the pattern rework delays the inevitable task of picking up 24 stitches for each arm.

Since I started writing this I've already frogged and have started rescuing the now live stitches. I've shoved the stuffing down into the body of the bear so here's the now headless bear shown from the less saggy bum side.

This shot shows the increases and beginning of the paired decreases from above and highlights what creates my problem with the final product.

Today is shaping up to be a very theoretical Tuesday. In theory I was going to have buddy Brent's stuff safely stowed at his new place and not in my place and truck -- didn't happen. This means that instead of having a totally open Wednesday I'm still on the Sally stow it and schlep stuff list before heading up to KnitNite.

In the tentative Tuesday plans side of the house I was supposed to have dinner with another friend and since I've not heard I'm thinking that's another in a series of no follow through stories.

I'm a bit less disappointed about this one being a non-starter than some others but I'm not loving the trend.

Speaking of trends, sometime between mid July and the end of August, not only did Bountiful Books close its doors after a 15 year run but the house that sat on the corner of Herbert & Robinson vanished. I don't have a before picture but Google maps have a satellite view as of today but here's the on the ground reality from just last week.

04 September 2006

Monday musings and apres sports

There are 42.445 fixed seats in San Diego's Petco Park. Attendance at Saturday's game was something like 36,373 and 150 of those were people taking part on the TNNA & MLB sponsored Stitch n Pitch programme.

Truth? I was a bit disappointed that there weren't more attendees, more support from LYS and the Padres organisation. None of those factors stopped me from having fun and getting some knitting done.

There are five more games in five more venues scheduled for this year, so if you're a knitter in one of those venues consider taking your knitting out to the ball game and breaking a few stereotypes to boot.

I got more knitting done during the walk downtown and while enjoying a Guinness or two at The Field where I missed happy hour but still had a very pleasant time and the Baby Bobbi Bear in progress got a lot of attention.

I finished the bear's bum before I got to the ball park but after two pints my brain was not prepared to follow the instructions to knit the legs so I ended up doing a bit of long overdue detangling of a hank for the pentagon sleeves project.

This bit of mess has now joined the other tidy centre pull balls in queue to get the pentagon sleeves project back on target.
I've three more hanks to wind up before I have no legit excuses for not casting on and putting that project back on the needles.

If there was knitting at the Whistlestop yesterday it was without any reminders and also without me. I chose to do some prep work for a mad mystery project and then took knitting and to-be-wound hanks on walkabout down to the Shake's where there was more winding than knitting.

Baby Bobbi Bear's legs are now well under construction and the sharp points on the metal dps are doing their bit to remove the fingerprint on my left index finger.

I did a morning/midday mitzvah by ferrying a pal round to pick up some of the stuff he'll need to camp out in his new digs between taking possession tomorrow and his movers doing the heavy lifting a week or two out. Now my both my apartment and truck are playing Sally stow-it-all but come tomorrow that ends. Still, Brent's situation motivated me to finally get 'round to emptying the recyclables out of the back of the truck so it's all good. Since it was hot today I'm glad I opted to put of turning into a people (showering and washing the hair) until after we got finished.

Now that the hair is mostly dry I'm considering going walkabout with Baby Bobbi Bear, popoki shawl and the last of the pentagon sleeves to=be-wound hanks.

In a just wondering moment, how much would you trust the insights of a Tarot card reader with a "Go Bush" sign?

02 September 2006

Picking up on the double -- bears and popokis

Back in July when the popoki shawl was still the primary project, I frogged the trapezoid sections of the original evil rayon ribbon shawl and confirmed my impression that picking up stitches with the rayon was always going to be a problem.

At the time I had a number of to-be-explored ideas about how to resolve that problem not just for the resurrection of that project but also for future rayon ribbon or other projects that might have the same construction problem.

Double knitting seemed to offer the most promise for a solution and some early experiments with rug warp (one of my test drive tools) have convinced me that the technique will solve the distorted stitches problem and also be a good alternative to provisional cast ons and grafting.

In my rug warp experiments I cast on 20 stitches.
Next I did the double knit thing :
Row 1, (knit one stitch, slip one stitch with yarn in front)10x
Row 2: (knit one stitch, slip one stitch with yarn in front)10x
These two actually form one complete row/round of stitches because you are only knitting half the stitches each time and at this point you are knitting in the round on straight needles and producing a double right side fabric. This is the usual point of double knitting but we're not using the technique for the normal reasons.

So, on the next run at the stitches, we're going to divide the stitches with one set staying in play and other set going onto either a stitch holder or another needle. This part can be fiddly but it breaks down to knit 1, slip one to a holder/spare needle, knit 1 across the row.

When you finish dividing, you end up with two sets of live stitches from a common cast on. This picture shows the "right side" of the divided stitches.

This yields a firm but flexible join between the two sets of stitches which looks a bit like a 3- needle bind-off when viewed from one side:
But if forms a seamless mirror image for stitches when viewed from the other side:
In the popoki shawl rayon ribbon scenario, the distortion from picking up stitches will be eliminated and the centre triangle will be joined to 1/2 of the live stitches as it is formed. The other 1/2 of the stitches will be knit outward to form the trapezoids. If that makes you do a "huh?" don't worry, I'll be exploring that construction in detail at a later date.

I mentioned that I don't like picking up stitches and sometimes, as in the case of the evil rayon ribbon, picking up stitches is not a good option so you're usually left with grafting and/or a provisional cast on. The rayon ribbon project is a pretty good example where none of the usual options are going to be very successful but this use of the double knit technique come to the rescue.

Since I've been a knitting bears kick and since the Baby Bobbi Bear from Blue Sky Alpacas uses short rows I sort of had to buy a copy of the pattern and check out the construction technique. It is very clever but the pick up stitches side of things got me thinking that this might also be a good candidate for the double knit and divide technique.

Since I just happened to have a bt of extra Lion Brand Suede left over from the Hash House a Go Go bears, I decided to put this to the test for Thursday's walkabout knitting and although the division of 120 stitches was a bit fiddlier than I would have liked for walkabout it is looking very successful and would really be good if you were making a bear out of particularly fuzzy yarn ala a truly fuzzy fuzzy wuzzy.

Here's a close up of the "wrong side" of the 60 stitches in waiting to become the bear's bum and legs:
And as I gear up to go walkabout and ultimately join the knitting gang at Petco Park for the San Diego Stitch and Pitch event, this is a shot of the bear with the head in progress: