30 November 2006

Saint Andrew's day, some socks and a bit of history

Today is Saint Andrew's day. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. He's got a few other patronages as well including, of all places, the diocese of Grand Rapids Michigan.

In the associated diseases side of the saint biz, Andrew gets sore throats and gout which is not bad considering that George is associated with plague, skin diseases and syphilis. David gets a pass on diseases and Patrick only has snake bites to contend with.

Recent events beyond the mile marker birthday have sucked me back into my past. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, lots of the people and places in my past are still either very much a part of my present or at least an important part of what got me to this place.

It amazes me how many of my cryptic notes on old calendar pages act like a way-back machine for me. Some mystery entries have me puzzled and others just make me smile. I may not know who the "scum sucking dog" was who jilted me in August of 1984, but I like the fact that I characterised him that way then. I like the me I was and I recognise her in me now and that's really not a bad thing at all.

The mini-sock came about from a recent conversation that has me twisting the phrase
"Put a sock in it" into put a sock on it. Whether the other party would see the humour is unknown, but I did get to use up the last of that Crazy Stripes sock yarn and practice a wing it short row heel and round toe.

28 November 2006

Transportation on a Tuesday

I must be missing some essential civic logic that connects the department of Transportation to manhole covers and hoses but whatever the logic or lack thereof, there is a rather noisy connection that has made my day much more special than I could have hoped.

Three department of Transportation trucks and at least four guys in stunning safety orange attire have been right outside my office window most of the day. Because my place is on the corner of the street and the alley the noise has not been isolated to the office. It's a good thing that my reason for working from home today isn't a headache or I'd be so screwed.

The noise has been disturbing and distracting enough to inspire that ever never helpful kitty help response from Kali ko opo who has gone from sulking to sleeping now that the boys and their trucks have gone away and quiet has been restored.

The MIA earring surfaced from the blackhole on Sunday evening. Longer term inhabitants of the blackhole are still in that other dimension so clearly my blackhole has a LIFO accounting scheme going.

I'm feeling a bit LIFO myself as the STFU and other recent projects near completion while more long standing, long lingering, long suffering projects sit stalled in their designated project bags. Well, there are more than a few not so long lingering in that mix too.

So what's a STFU project? In my case the initialism is a bit rude and there's a "Shut The" involved, but the underlying principle involves working on a project that feels a bit like an albatross that you'll be glad to be shot of.

I started with a Head Hugger by Michele Wyman in Lang Time (55% Merino and 45% Acrylic). There were problems with fit (recipient has a big head!), the yarn and with some elements of the design itself (at least for me).

The latter problem involves working the icord edging where you will later pick up stitches to work the scarf/tie portion. I can't achieve a happy pick up line and I think that were I to do this again I'd use a slip stitch selvedge or other treatment rather than the icord. I still haven't frogged it but I have given up on loving the look of the pick up line of stitches.

As to the yarn, I l
ove the colour, love the texture, hate the small amount of yardage (62m per 50g) and the knottage factor (way too many per ball). Perhaps the latter is why the stuff is at elann which is often a home for wayward yarns

Before I even knew that the fit was going to be a problem I started in on and completed a scarf (own design from a few years back) in the same yarn and then I started on a hat with morphing pentagons. The scarf's done and wonderful.

The hat's design works (morphing without short rows this time) but it has some sizing issues that keep it on the needles and in a bit of limbo. More on hats and head sizes in a future post.

In the ever recurring theme of walkabout, all these projects became less than ideal for walkabout knitting which, of course, put another project into the mix so a mohair might be a moebius hit the needles.
Originally I thought this would be winging its way to Cleveburg but I'm not confident that the colour choice suits the intended recipient. A bit more research on that might be in order while yet another walkabout friendly project jumps onto the needles.

26 November 2006

Hunky hurrahs or replacement not required

The pedometer says I logged 10.4 miles of walkabout today even if its read is, per usual, low, I think I managed to make my weekend mileage goal.

I decided to walk to Old Town and/or out to Rosecrans and Midway. Part of the motivation was that last Sunday I'd made a stop in at The Shepherdess and while I didn't have a strong visual memory of having the missing digital camera there, it was one of the few places last week where I shuffled stuff about and might have misplaced it. In a stretch goal I was also thinking about tempting myself with Greek diet busting favourites at Georgia's or just indulging in music browsing at The Music Trader.

I didn't blow the diet or browse for CDs but my I did buy beads, books and was rewarded with the discovery that indeed, my hunky chunky digital camera had spent the holiday week in the shop.

Camera collected, I walked home through Middletown, up the Laurel Street hill into Banker's Hill, Hillcrest & home.

Beyond the blackhole

When your to-do list includes "blog dammit" it's a pretty good indication that it has been too long between entries. In an effort to be clever and mask my blog-failings, I started some draft entries just to see if they would fill the gaps when I finally got 'round to editing and publishing them but even that ploy has not been fully implemented -- life's distractions and all that.

I have been knitting. I have been writing. I have been walking. I just haven't been putting the written word into/onto blogger.

So what's with the blackhole reference? When stuff disappears and then randomly reappears I don't blame it on little people of one stripe or another, I simply acknowledge that the items have fallen into a blackhole and no amount of searching will turn them up until the universe is ready to return them. And when it returns an item, it usually takes another just to keep the balance.

I freely acknowledge that when it comes to housekeeping I'm much more comfortable with that being a department I contact or a magazine I ignore than an activity I engage in but the relative neatness of my surroundings has never changed the blackhole problem.

The blackhole problem has, however, from time to time provided the incentive to deal with the clutter.
I've taken to keeping a list of stuff that's gone missing and when the list gets too long I go into search mode.

Today my apartment's state of declutter is much improved as a result of a blackhole search mode Saturday. The long missing MTS juror one way ride pass, the van's registration, my needs renewal passport, a knitting needle or two have all found their way back into this dimension.

earring the blackhole sucked up (right off the ear) in payment for the items' return has joined the other singletons on the waiting for its mate grid. My office floor looks a bit more like a floor and less like the bottom of a dustbin -- all good. But my hunky chunky but functional digital camera remains among the missing. It is no where to be found here or in my cosy cubicle (read veal pen) in the wilds of RB -- pish.

Personally I don't think it is a blackhole victim. I think it is just plain gone missing. So until it appears or gets replaced (eek, shopping during the hols!) it's going to be photos from the queue.

That queue of postings will, however, have to wait. Saturday search mode also meant a not enough exercise day and the day's beckoning.

05 November 2006

Speaking of circles -- the spoke shawl

In addition to the pi shawl, EZ's Knitting Almanac describes the spoke shawl which she describes as being formed with double increases (YO, K1, YO) at seven points every 4th row.

By beginning with 7 stitches you've only one stitch in each segment so EZ's (YO,K1,YO)7x will leave you with seven double yarn overs to contend with on the next round.

A different three stitches from one method is to execute a (K1,YO,K1 all in the same stitch) and that's how I've written the instructions.

Knit the stitch but do not remove it from the needle. Now bring the yarn to the front of the work as if you were going to purl and with the yarn remaining in that position, knit the stitch again and drop it from the needle.

She begins this circle with 7 stitches
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: (K1,YO,K1 all in the same stitch)7x --
21 stitches total -- 3 in each spoke
Round 3, 4 & 5: Knit in row 3 consider (K3 pm)7x to maintain increase points
Round 6: (K1, YO, K1, YO, K1, mm)7x 35 stitches total -- 5 in each spoke
Round 7, 8 & 9: Knit
Round 10: (K2, YO, K1, YO, K2, mm)7x 49 stitches total -- 7 in each spoke
Round 11, 12 & 13: Knit
Round 14: (K3, YO, K1, YO, K3, mm)7x 63 stitches total -- 9 in each spoke
Round 15, 16 & 17: Knit
Round 18: (K4, YO, K1, YO, K4, mm)7x 77 stitches total -- 11 in each spoke
Round 19, 20 & 21: Knit
Round 22: (K5, YO, K1, YO, K5, mm)7x 91 stitches total -- 13 in each spoke
Round 23, 24 & 25: Knit
Round 26: (K6, YO, K1, YO, K6, mm)7x 105 stitches total -- 15 in each spoke
Round 27, 28 & 29: Knit
Round 30: (K7, YO, K1, YO, K7, mm)7x 119 stitches total -- 17 in each spoke
Round 31, 32 & 33: Knit
Round 34: (K7, YO, K1, YO, K7, mm)7x 133 stitches total -- 19 in each spoke

Continue as established knitting one additional stitch on either side of the increase point in the increase rounds.
If this reminds you rather a lot of a knitted heptagon, give yourself seven points.

The major differences are in beginning with fewer stitches than I did when I did the heptagons and adding an additional plain round between increasing which, as you may recall, is based on my successfully knitting a hexagon with only two plain rounds between increasing.

Circle or heptagon? It might all come down to the blocking and, like my oops on the disc circular medallion (octagon) might not matter a bit.

The EZ spoke shawl version is knit using a dark green yarn. Again, 2.75mm needles were used and the sample was knit out to round 33 with 119 stitches on the needles.

The original geometric heptagon was knit with a pale green yarn and it went out to 25 stitches on each of the seven sides for a total of 175 stitches.

That original has vanished into one of my apartment's black holes so I knit a second geometric heptagon following my original instructions.
Again, 2.75mm needles and in green Baby Ull. I knit it out to 119 stitches and since it has fewer rounds between increasing it is smaller than the EZ version.

EZ then suggests that you can spiral your spokes to the left or right by doing single increases every second row. At first blush this sounds a bit like just knitting a swirl heptagon but EZ's heptagon/circle maintains the spoke (aka the central stitch that your increases flank) so since she's maintaining that spoke, it isn't really as simple as doing single increase rather than a double.

Instead, it is doing the functional equivalent of a single increase by combining the double increase of the spoke shawl (increases flanking a central stitch) with a single decrease at 7 points.

It may not be knitting rocket science but it isn't as simple as the aside might lead you to believe. I've written up the options and have a couple of samples sitting on needles awaiting my attention but I've been trying to get some seasonal projects finished so the circles will have to cycle on station for a bit.

Those seasonal projects are coming down to those suitable for walkabout and those for stationary and non-Santa Ana knitting. The most important of the latter projects are the cousins' DNA scarves which are currently 121 rows from completion. That's really not so bad since I'm managing about 40 rows a day in the cool of mornings and evenings. The most significant walkabout knitting at the moment is a STFU project that I'll no doubt bitch/blog about sometime in the not too distant future.

01 November 2006

Circles Round IV -- Detour to the Disc

The Disc Circular Medallion hides its increases by distributing them evenly throughout the round (so use some form of closed increase such as a M1 or a bar (k f&B) increase if you don't want to thwart its goals). If the twisted stitch that can result from a bar increase bothers you, knit into the back on that stitch on the next round to untwist the stitch.

Cast on 8 stitches, divide evenly onto four needles, join, do not twist, knit with a fifth needle.
Place markers after every 2 stitches.
Round 1: knit
Round 2: increase into every stitch (16 total -- 4 per needle)
Round 3 & all odd Rounds: Knit
Round 4: (K1, increase 1)8x (24 total - 6 per needle) if M1 is used this is (K1, M1, K1)8x if bar increase, (K1, increase into next stitch)8x
Round 6: (K2, increase 1)8x (32 total - 8 per needle)
Round 8: (K3, increase 1)8x (40 total - 10 per needle)
Round 10: (K2, increase 1, K3, increase 1, k3)4x (48 total - 12 per needle)
Round 12: (K1, increase 1, K5, increase 1, k4)4x (56 total - 14 per needle)
Round 14: (K5, increase 1, K6, increase 1, k1)4x (64 total - 16 per needle)
Round 16: (K2, increase 1, K7, increase 1
, k5))4x (72 total - 18 per needle)
Round 18: (K1, increase 1, K8, increase 1
, k7))4x (80 total - 20 per needle)
Round 20: (K6, increase 1, K9, increase 1
, k3))4x (88 total - 22 per needle)
Round 22: (K2, increase 1, K10, increase 1
, k8))4x (96 total - 24 per needle)
Round 24: (K1, increase 1, K11, increase 1
, k10))4x (104 total - 26 per needle)
Round 26: (K7, increase 1, K12, increase 1
, k5))4x (112 total -- 28 per needle)
Round 28: (K2, increase 1, K13, increase 1
, k11))4x (120 total -- 30 per needle)
Round 30: (K1, increase 1, K14, increase 1
, k13))4x (128 total -- 32 per needle)

Continue as established, knitting one round plain between increase rounds and moving the increases as shown.
The "as established" instruction can trip you up a bit. The obvious pattern in rounds 4, 6 & 8 is to knit one additional stitch before increasing but that's not the pattern/progression that matters. The hidden pattern is that in each round the increases are evenly distributed with each increase occurring at the total number of stitches divided by 8. By happy coincidence this also ends up being half the round number.

The number of stitches you have between each increase is as follows:
  • Round 4: 2
  • Round 6: 3
  • Round 8: 4
  • Round 10: 5
  • Round 12: 6
The example was knit in green Baby Ull using 2.75mm needles. I used the bar (knit into front and back) for the first round of increases and a M1 method for all others. It was knit out to 80 stitches (20 per needle).

If I'm not careful, I misinterpret this instruction, continue the progression of knitting one additional stitch before increasing used in rounds 4, 6, & 8 and end up knitting a cross between a swirl octagon and this "circle" -- yielding a good but unintended result. So my orange Baby Ull example continued as follows:

Round 10: (K4, increase 1)4x (48 total - 12 per needle)
Round 12: (K5, increase 1)4x (56 total - 14 per needle)
Round 14: (K6, increase 1)4x (64 total - 16 per needle)
Round 16: (K7, increase 1)4x (72 total - 18 per needle)
Round 18: (K8, increase 1)4x (80 total - 20 per needle)

Not too surprisingly, what I ended up with is a swirl octagon that does a very convincing imitation of a circle. This swirl octagon spirals in the opposite direction of the original.

The oops example was knit in orange Baby Ull using 2.75mm needles. I used the bar (knit into front and back) for the first round of increases and a M1 method for all others. It was knit out to 80 stitches (20 per needle). This is oops is the method I used to create the tams/berets shown here.