30 July 2008

Entrelac 106 -- topping it off with triangles

The essential guide, is just that -- a basic guide designed to provide information on the basic modules needed to understand and construct a basic entrelac piece.

If you get the basics it isn't hard to see how other stitch patterns (including lace and cables) can be used instead of stocking stitch or mixed in with stocking stitch for added interest.

And yes, entrelac works just fine in garter -- and is often done in same when felting is part of the picture.

How to use entrelac in the round and how to use entrelac in garment construction are more advanced topics best suited for another time.

For now, its top triangle time and the end to the essential guide to entrelac.

The "normal" way of completing an entrelac piece is with a course of top triangles. And the usual round of top triangles has the following properties:

Short rows are still out of the picture, picking up stitches are on the agenda (this time from the right side), and decreases are doubled.

The top triangles, like many of the other modules, connect the picked up stitches to live stitches of the rectangles/triangles of the last row/course.

But these top triangles have decreases at both ends of the rows and that additional decrease binds off the top edge of the piece.

If you're planning or even considering the option of picking up stitches from this edge to add a border or start a segment of plain knitting, the slip stitch that begins the row that follows the p2tog can be an important design choice.

If you slip that stitch with the yarn neutral or to the back, you will end with a more horizontal chain edge.

If you slip it with the yarn in front (and then send that yarn to the back to form the stitch) ala Domino Knitting, you have nice little vertical nubs to pick up or graft (read Russian) to another piece.

You can compare the results of each of these two slip stitch treatments in the photo above.

If you are planning to transition to plain vertical knitting from these top triangles, here's an additional tip, you'll likely need to increase the total number of stitches by a factor of about 1.375 to 1.4 because entrelac is based on bias knitting.

So, if your basic module is 10 stitches, you'll want to pick up an additional 4 stitches for each module. There is, of course a fudge factor that's even more in the YMMV realm if you're changing gauge/yarn weight.

There are, of course, other choices for top triangle treatments. I can think of at least three that will leave you with live stitches at the top of your piece. Those choices will be the subject of a future post.

29 July 2008

Earthquakes and other changes -- losing another LYS

So you have heard that we had an earthquake? I heard about it over and over and over again.

I didn't feel it -- might have done had I been up in the wilds of RB.

But I was here in the hood where, after 20+ years in Southern California, a 5.4 quake almost 150 miles away is well below my seismic sensitivity.

The US Geological Survey has a self-reporting site for each earthquake incident survey results for today's event are here. Feel like tracking earthquakes? The USGS has a great reorganised easy to use/monitor site where you can watch for the big one.

I should note again, as I often do, one f the most memorable earthquakes I've felt in my life was the one I felt while studying in my second floor apartment in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

The NCKG newsletter arrived on Saturday with the news that Jan Metzger is now officially going out of business and closing Village Yarn in Fallbrook.

According to the newsletter, she'll only have the shop open on Saturdays between now and whenever she finally puts it in the hand of a liquidator.

Sadly, as is often the case, the cause is declining health.

In all the years, I've never been and may yet not, but I know she has loyal customers who will be very sad not to make the trek to Fallbrook.

Today's photos continue the vehicle as art/social commentary trend. I snapped these two "couldn't be more different vibe" vehicles on the Saturday.

28 July 2008

Seen along the way

A woman's weight can fluctuate as much as her closet/wardrobe will allow.

That's a paraphrase of a quote I've been trying to source. So far, no luck, Neither Google nor my many quotations reference texts have given it up.

An earring wardrobe, unlike a clothing one (including shoes), doesn't have to fluctuate with weight.

Earrings always fit. The same is not true for rings, bracelets and even necklaces. Again, earrings always fit.

My love of earrings is not predicated on this factoid but it sure doesn't hurt.
I buy them, I make them and mostly when I buy them I get it "right" for me. Sometimes not so much and that usually means that someone else gets the benefit of my mistake. A recent not so perfect purchase has me actually contemplating adding an additional piercing to accommodate them.

The conventional wisdom 'round here is that if I leave the house without earrings I'll probably buy some before I get home. When I opted to walk through Balboa Park on my way to Little Italy
the other day I was wearing earrings but it didn't stop me from making a somewhat extravagant purchase in the form of earrings.

Unlike the last pair purchased, there's no buyer's remorse on these but I'll not be wearing them without ear wire clutches.

Yesterday was the last day of Comic-Con and the nearest I got to that lot is Little Italy where there were indeed men in super hero suits strutting round.

I also noted an update on the shotgun shack political scene, as the Rolling Stone Obama has been replaced with a Hope Obama poster.

The first round of big knitting project assembly went relatively smoothly. Kali had to be quarantined and it was so much not fun that I'm taking a break before tackling round two.

In other political news, I actually saw my first (and likely my last) show of support for Mitt Romney -- rear window of a car in Friday traffic.

27 July 2008

Knitting on multiple planes -- no TSA involved

My walkabout knitting is now down to some tutorial pieces to turn this blog back onto the knitting side.

Speaking of tutorials, here's a slick trick I've been playing with to pick up two planes of knitting from one selvedge stitch.

The first photo shows the chain stitch result achieved by slipping the first stitch of each row as if to purl. This part's probably very familiar as is the next bit since picking up stitch through one "leg" of the selvedge stitch is a fairly normal activity.

Next up, with right side facing using either your needle or a crochet hook pick up stitches from the front leg of the selvedge stitch. The photo shows the result on the wrong side of the work.

I've used nylon twine for the demo since it is one of my favourite Summer knitting materials but also because I've a mind to work something up to finally put those vintage purse handles last seen in February 2007 into use.

No, I won't be using the combo of peachy neutral, positively painful pink and Cal Trans orange in the purse project but they work well for illustration.

With the right side of the original work facing me, I've knit a couple of rows with the pink just to show what's going on with the knitting.

The next bit is where things get a bit different.

With the wrong side side facing, pick up stitches from the second leg of the selvedge stitch.

In my example, I've used the orange for this set of stitches.

For my purposes, with the wrong side facing me, I've knit a few rows of the orange stitches.

I've "splayed" the two planes of knitting apart so you can see how the orange and pink stitches orient to each other and the original yarn.

My original plan for this this technique is to create an open ended tube of knitting that can be used to encase a purse handle or some other frame work in the knitting and do either a 3 needle bind off or graft the two sides together.

I can, of course, see many other uses for the technique not the least of which includes doing a solid piece of fabric and lace overlay coming from the same line of stitching (or hmm, maybe that design/construction idea needs a revisit). Clearly, I can use this same technique to pick up from a nice loose cast on or bind off (especially if I've used one that lends itself to a chain edging)

This is a much better solution for some purposes than my cast on 2x the total number of stitches and divide North and South last seen here (and IRL) in September 2006 during the Baby Bobby Bear adventure.

And yes, I have been worrying similar techniques before and since, I am tenacious -- possibly anal or obsessive -- although I prefer to think of myself as tenacious, systematic and thorough.

Whatever the case, I will, no doubt, be poking prodding and posting about this and its sibling variations on a theme for some time to come.

The big knitting project is officially in the non-ambulatory category and tonight I'm planning on trying to work on the next phase without popoki interference -- wish all of us (popoki, me & the project) luck.

25 July 2008

WTFO whimsy

Today's oddball photo wraps up the unexpected theme of the week with a bit of WTFO whimsy.

I caught sight of this unlikely abandoned pair while on walkabout along Washington Street last Tuesday.

Seems I'm not the only one who doesn't think that Crocs rock and their stock shows it. I reads some articles from Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and the Motley Fool all tell the same sad tale of woe.

In other stuff I stumbled over today is sweet little spotlight on Whistlestop's Jen.

Google has a sweet little feature called iGoogle and one of the applets I've put on my iGoogle config has a random quote that, from time to time means that I "discover" an author that I might have otherwise missed.

Today's author was from Alice Thomas-Ellis. The quote wasn't exactly profound but it had a witty element that sent me off to my friend Google and from there to the realm of the book addicts blog.

So grows the "to be read" list.

I'm also a big this day in history fan and today's tidbits included this brilliant little bon mot example -- Schubert, having gotten good notices for a composition, wrote his father not to be too pleased by that, because, he said, "a review, however favorable, can be ludicrous if the critic lacks normal intelligence, which is often the case."

24 July 2008

Solo Grinding at Pick Up Game

In a fits and starts and fits and starts day job week, by all rights I should have had a nice work at home day today -- pish.

The work week has not been working that way and I'm trying not to let it grind me down.

Yesterday's only need to drive North was a staff meeting that got canceled only after I'd already committed 26 miles worth of gas and miserable commute time into the mix.

Knitting front, the piece is still hovering in that just a few more inches, just a few more inches maybe too many inches mode. I'm rather ambivalent about the slow progress because as soon as it hits the long enough point it also reaches the not for walkabout phase.

That's going to be a challenge on a couple of fronts, the first is that I hate things that keep me stationary and the second is the popoki's proprietary view of my lap. Thinking about that more, the popoki's lap thing is something that keeps me stationary too and hence the ongoing tension 'tween us.

Goal done date on the knitting is less than two weeks away and then I can be so over it.

I'm already scoping out what's next.

Since there's a current baby boom going on around me, I'm bouncing around a couple of design ideas. The first one is revisiting a design I did before I knew Russian grafting and before I knew not to have a non-lace knitter test a lace design for me. The second involves re-purposing some bright yellow Look At Me.

The soccer ball project is still a porcupine like mass of double points that probably has plenty of stitches that have jumped needle and then there's the cold weather knitting. . . which is so not going to happen in July.

I managed to get down from the wilds of Rancho Bernardo in time to take the knitting and self up to Urban Grind for this month's pick up game of knitting. It was a solo act this time but that's not a big deal. It still accomplishes the goals of getting knitting in the public eye and I did meet a knitting neighbour.

Today's image, a mural from Little Italy just because.

23 July 2008

Expecting entrelac?

I'm going with the expect the unexpected instead.

The sixth installment of the essential guide to entrelac will be back next week with the ending top triangles and possibly a few variations.

Last week I did a bit of a ramble through Mission Hills, scouting out my mystery location and otherwise exploring some of the interesting and unexpected little bits of the that neighbourhood.

That's when I came upon this little gem and started down the car as art photo trend that has become a bit of a seen rather than sign along the way theme.

At some point or another look for a ramble about through Mission Hills posting with lots 'o pictures.

21 July 2008

Sometimes the journalistic excellence of San Diego's media outlets' underwhelming.qualities are worth noting as in today's example of the lead and ending sentences of a story that was perhaps two short paragraphs in total length:

A fire of unknown origin spread through ...

It's not known what caused the fire.


Today's photo is from a recent walkabout to Little Italy, It lives on a building that used to be named Gargoyle Gallery and Cafe.

Now it is Zia's Bistro one of seven restaurants owned and operated by the Busalacchi family.

20 July 2008

A South Park stroll

Today was a Whistlestop knitting Sunday.

Because I wasn't sure whether I was going at all, I ended up running super late which made for a one Guinness knitting day.

On the knitting front, mostly I was picking up stitches on the way out.

If I was the Queen of the knitting world, stitches would automatically pick themselves up and be mounted correctly on the needle when you needed them.

The process of picking up stitches was actually going better than I'd expected but I'm still not a picking up stitches fan.

It was a relatively round about route to Whistlestop and back with a stop at George's Camera to confirm that they aren't open on Sundays and lots of twists, turns, starts, stops and back tracking through South Park/Golden Hill.

While walking along Granada after coming out from the dog park at 28th & Grape, I met a knitter and his partner.

Said knitter is a bit of a novice, a computer-phobe, but really charming. So I explained Linen Stitch, suggested some book titles before continuing along my way.

My way finally had me
picking the poison of which homeless group I wanted to walk by going under the 5 and the City College tunnel to come out at Park Blvd and B street.

I probably logged 9 miles or so on the day.

The tree and great car were both seen along the way as was the editorial addition someone decided to add to the signs for the Star Trek exhibit at the Air and Space Museum.

17 July 2008

Just plain twisted

Like a lot of people, it was email to the Knitlist that brought the highly unexpected and unwelcome news that Ruth Schooley had died on Tuesday.

The simple truth is that this news just plain sucks.

It's probably been three years since I last saw Ruth IRL and I'm finding it difficult to accept that I'll not be seeing her again.

Ruth had been very encouraging (and occasionally nagging) about my going back to get my master's. At one point she even sent me (postage due as it turned out) a slew of literature about the San Hose State programme.

Budget concerns at the start of the year derailed my plans to start the degree in January but I've really no excuse for this prolonged procrastination. So while other people focus on the knitting and spinning side of Ruth's life, I'm going with the knitting and library of her life.

16 July 2008

Entrelac 105 -- Left leaning rectangles

In this segment of the essential guide to entrelac, the second most used module comes into play.

The left leaning rectangle, like its sibling the right leaning, will become almost auto-pilot knitting as you zoom along knitting to the left side from your right side triangle to the left.

But don't stop at base triangles -1 with this one.

Unlike the right leaning rectangle, the number of left leaning rectangles will equal the number of base triangles you've started with.

Once again the short rows, like Elvis, have left the building, it's all picked up stitches and decreases that make this work.

The left leaning rectangle through its picked up stitches and decreases connects to the right leaning rectangles on the row below.

Here's a look ahead at the completed row/course of rectangles and the diagram.

There's only one more module to learn and that's the top triangle but you can't get there from here without a practical review of modules Entrelac 102 , Entrelac 103 and Entrelac 104 which, along with this module you can repeat over and over again until you're out of yarn, out of patience, or out of the learning curve.

At a minimum, you will need to complete another left side triangle, a set of right leaning rectangles and a right side triangle before you're set up to complete the course and top it all off with the top triangles.

13 July 2008

The mystery of the bees

I'm not entirely sure what sort of trees are planted outside my apartment building and on the median strip but last week for the first time in a long time, the city came through and decided to come through and trim them back severely.

This apparently rendered some bees who had been making their home in and around those trees homeless and unhappy about it.

The bees, not being residents of a bee keeper's managed group, were most likely feral bees and most feral bees in San Diego are Africanized as in those nasty so called killer bees who are more likely to sting/attack than your basic bee.

Why does this matter? Well, one morning last week as I was running LAU (late as usual), I noticed a single bee buzzing 'round in one of my bathrooms. I found that to be rather odd since the bath room in question has no windows. Being late and being allergic to bees, I was not inclined to do any thing about a single bee.

When I got home that evening, with a bit of help, that bee was evicted. Problem solved right?

Wrong, next morning, same bathroom, more bees, this time buzzing about the light fixture above the shower/tub enclosure. Now I'm a little more concerned and start trying to figure out how they got in and what I do to get rid of them permanently.

Some serious googling, some networking -- who knew I knew people who know bee people? And the conclusion is that these apparently feral bees were rendered homeless, traumatised and possibly poisoned during the tree trimming so they were in the process of dying. Unfortunately they were doing it in my apartment. Making the only real good news in this that they could be quarantined and left to die without any real danger of me getting stung.

I'm sad for the bees, wish they could have been rescued, restored to health and rehabilitated but in the grand scheme of things when it's a question of me or the bees, the answer is always going to be me.

11 July 2008

Crocs don't rock

I've had plenty of folks try to convince me that Crocs rock, Well, I've had my doubts and my issues.

One of my biggest issues comes from the fact that I was born with a gimpy leg/foot. I spent a lot of my early life in braces, casts and other orthopedic "correctional" footwear.

The upside of that is that I don't have weird wonky feet but the down side is that I know that cheap and/or badly fitting shoes cost more than they are worth in blisters and worse.

With the death of my Priscilla denim sandal (and no, I've not given up hope of finding a good shoe repair genie) I've been willing to entertain the possibility that cheap can work. After all, I only found my Havianas after a love affair with uber cheap flip flops from ABC Stores and Longs Drugs but I've always thought Crocs were beyond fugly and suitable only for gardening.

But then, while surfing round for a possible Summer skimmer solution, I found that Crocs also came in a not so ugly choice and at 50% off it was worth the experiment.

Just one day of wear and not a lot of walking yielded a heel blister the size of a dime. Glad I didn't pay full price and these are doomed for the donation bin.

09 July 2008

Entrelac 104 -- the right side triangle

In our last episode of the essential guide to entrelac, I promised there would be picked up stitches.

What I didn't tell you was that the short/long rows have taken a short break. In the right side triangle it's all down to the decreases.

Did you also happen to notice that if, for example in my case, you have five base triangles, you'll only work four right leaning rectangles?

If you tried to work a fifth one instead of stopping to wait for the right side triangle instructions, you wouldn't be the first.

But, if you did do that, tink it back to the point where you picked up and purled x number of stitches. Otherwise, start with the pickup and let's tackle the right side triangle before shifting gears back to the left.

The side triangles sort of breaks your momentum as you're barreling along with your right leaning rectangles and the right side triangles is very closely related to its right leaning rectangle neighbour.

The difference is that there's not a set of live stitches in a neighbouring module that you're consuming/joining with the P2tog.
Publish Post

In the right side triangle, you're consuming your own stitches or eating your young.

06 July 2008

Signs along the way -- presidential support

During this presidential election year, I've been taking note of indications of support for the various candidates.

I've seen lots of Ron Paul, Edwards, Obama, and Clinton.

I've even seen some residual Bush/Cheney and Kerry/Edwards but up until yesterday, I'd yet to see any indication of support for a McCain presidential bid.

Perhaps even more surprising and potentially amusing is what I spied in the window next door.

Next door in this context is next door in a double shotgun shack.

Here's hoping that this is a case where reasonable minds can differ and/or agree to disagree. Failing that, let's hope they work different shifts since it's a small house on a small street.

04 July 2008


More than once I've noted that, for a girl who doesn't much like shoes, I have rather a lot of them.

One of the reason for having all those shoes is the great grand quest for ones that don't hurt and look good. Yeah, I know, good luck with that.

Several years ago, Suzanne of Knitting In La Jolla introduced me to the crack house for feet that is European Comfort Shoe Store in La Jolla.

That's where I met Priscilla and had that whole Cinderella moment.

I bought the lavender and butter combo in a 38 that first year and I literally wore them to death.

The comfort foot pad got shredded from wear. One of the reasons for the excess wear was that I probably should have bought a 37 or 36 to keep my feet from pushing forward so much.

Being me and having a history of trying to resurrect/resuscitate shoes I love (ask me about my 1st pair of Italian leather sandals some day), I seriously considered moleskin and duct tape as an interim (or not so interim) solution to keep the shoes in the rotation.

Instead, last year I made another shoe crack house and, once again hitting during the buy one get 1/2 off the 2nd pair sale, I found that the Josef Seibel's had just arrived and pairs of Priscillas were in the mix -- SCORE!

I picked up a brown and butter pair and the little blue and green version I'd been kicking myself for not buying the year before. Size 37 this time and the comfort foot pad has survived much better.

However, I've worn the blue and green version to a slightly different death. Comfort bed's fine but the thong just gave out.

Yeah, I know I have a brown pair for back up but brown sandals and black clothes really don't work.

I made another trek to the shoe crack house but there wasn't a Priscilla in sight.

Priscilla, like Elvis it seems, has left the building.

A series of Google searches lead me to Sierra Trading Post where I scored some additional back up brown Priscillas but clearly
this Summer's shoe quest is on.

03 July 2008

Mystery House, Knit@Nite and pattern pain

The oh so painfully slow progress project had its own due date this week and I so stressed over it.

Walking home from the Stitch N Pitch game on the 29th, my ribbing when I shouldn't have got frogged back. When I double checked the width, I had to revise my stitch count for that part of the project and cast on for another version.

Normally for me pattern writing is an iterative process with a write, rest. revisit and revise cycle but this project has been ridiculous.

The stitch pattern I've chosen is a slow mover so I'm only managing about 2 to 21/2 inches of knitting per day's knitting. Since it's a woven pattern, the reality of the width does really show itself until you're pretty far into the knitting. And yes, I did swatch, and swatch and reswatch and reswatch.

Maybe I'm just grumpy,

I hope to have the project finished by next month's Knit@nite and delivered for it's road trip shortly after.

Meanwhile, at this month's Knit@nite we had a better turn out this month than last when the traffic was a major factor in.

Even though I was pretty sure that I'd brought the pin cushions to show before shipping them off to the tender mercies of the folks at Interweave, I had them with me at the request of a friend who, as it turned out didn't end up attending.

So the pin cushions stayed in their box, I talked a bit about the work in painfully slow progress and passed around the lovely "parting gift" I had from the folks at Piecework.

Julie had an abundance of lace (what a shock) and we got to see Linda's nups (on her swallowtail shawl).

I took Julie's comment that she thinks of her knitting as nuts until she sees mine as the compliment that it is. Good thing

The photos in this posting are totally unrelated except to the extent that they are of a mystery place in Mission Hills. It's at the corner of Ingalls and Montecito Way.

While I can't really remember when it first caught my attention,
I walk by from time to time to see if there's a sign of life, of restoration or other change. So far over the course of a couple of years nothing.

But my last mystery Mission Hills home is now a stunner so things can change.

02 July 2008

Entrelac 103 -- the right leaning rectangles

This is the halfway mark on our essential guide to entrelac. In this installment we introduce one of the two most repeated modules -- the right leaning rectangle.

This module and the highly intuitively named left leaning rectangle are the most repeated modules in the entrelac technique.

You've now finished your left side triangle which, btw, is really just 1/2 a rectangle or ask me about how entrelac flat and in the round differ.

You ended up with a bunch of live stitches to the left and no live stitches to the right -- hmm, what's up with that?

Well, in discovering entrelac, you've already tackled short rows, increases and decrease that constrain fabric and putting things those techniques together. In this module, you're adding picking up stitches to the mix. Entrelac is a serious skill builder eh?

In my entrelac world, I slip stitches to give me a nice selvedge to either pick up through or just literally pick up to form the next module.

I'm not even consistent about which I do nor do I make sure the yarn's in font when slipping so I have the whole domino knitting perfect pick up stitch. For me, it doesn't matter. I'm not that fussy.

Well, I'm not that fussy about my entrelac.

In working the right leaning rectangles, you're going to pick up and purl the number of stitches that correspond to your chosen stitch count for the module. In my example I'm doing 10 stitches.

The short/long rowing continues, the increases exit and the decreases continue to constrain the fabric (this time to the left) and you're consuming the stitches you're just picked up and worked when you do your decreases.

Here's what it looks like when you've done a row/round/course and are ready for phase which is second most used module in entrelac.

This and its sibling, the left slanting rectangle, are the most worked modules in entrelac. Do one and you're set up and ready for the next and the next and the next and the next. Can you tell that there will be picked stitches in our next segment?

See? It just looks like magic.

01 July 2008

A little Stitch N Pitch recap and sweeping up shop

Sunday was the third San Diego Stitch N Pitch. The original hopes for an even bigger event than last year's hit a few snags along the way.

Gas prices, higher ticket prices, a seriously sucking team and some timing issues all combined to make ticket sales a bigger challenge this year.

I'm told that we just barely made it over 200 tickets and it was a very near thing indeed. I'm afraid some shops ended up with tickets unsold and the distribution of the ticket blocks still isn't ideal but it was a good time.

I walked down and back. Got a bit of a sunburn as a result. I'm not hugely concerned about the burn as it took roughly four hours of sun exposure at midday to do the damage that doesn't hurt and will just turn brown.

Phil, the video dude from North County Times did a nice job of filming the event. I was a little bummed that one of my projects didn't make the final video cut but also pleased that he respected the fact that my other project is in the not-to-be-filmed, unbloggable phase.

Late last week I made a pit stop at Joann's to pick up a couple of size 5 US circs to keep that project's progress going through the game and the weekend. I didn't think that the 14" aluminum straights were very close quarters knitting friendly and I really needed to get the prototype to the point where I was sure the design/construction was going to work.

I was also making slow but painful process on another part of that design during the game when I looked down and realised that I'd ribbed when I shouldn't have done. The oops ribbing was almost the whole day's progress so I shifted and worked on the prototype section while debating whether to crochet hook correct or frog.

On the way home, I dropped my completed Reader crossword puzzle in the mail slot at their India Street address.

I noticed on the way home that Sandy and company had packed up the remaining inventory and cleared the shop.

There was a stack of book cases on the sidewalk and this blow up of the familiar business card in the window.

She'll still be doing her online thing with ABE and boy shouldn't thank me for helping to convince her to go online?

Okay, truth, over the years we've both done the good friend and sounding board thing of helping to break through personal barriers. I'm quite clear that we've also done the friend thing of annoying the hell out of each other and I'm going to miss both.

She takes Bertie the bookworm and her crazy stripes fingerless mitts along to remind her of me. Perhaps she'll bookmark the blog to keep current on my knitting and other please gods progress. I've got the business card with the new info, the email address and a new inspiration/target for colder weather knits.