Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Is My Face Still Here?!"

That's what Carrie Ann Inaba said after watching Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke dance the Argentine Tango last night on Dancing With The Stars, and I have to agree. Ladies, if you haven't watched it yet, check out the video below. You might have to fan yourself afterwards! Wowzers. I see why they earned perfect scores.

I thought I should also include the performance by Lil Kim and Derek Hough, also dancing the Argentine Tango. Who knew?! She did really well. There's a point in the performance where Derek lifts her into the air and she kicks her leg back super fast, and it's nearly parallel to the dance floor. Her footwork was impressive.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Strawberry Latte Socks Half Done

Last year at Knitters Connection, I received a bag full of one-skein yarns. One was a 50g hank of Claudia Handpainted fingering weight yarn in the Strawberry Latte colorway. With only 50g, I put off casting on any socks until October, and even then I only completed the short-row toe to put them aside and turn my attention to sweaters. When I finished Tubey, my last winter sweater, I finally pulled the strawberry latte socks back out and finished one. Having such little yarn, I decided to made ankle socks with short-row toes and heels. Since I didn't completely like the toes, I decided to try a Sherman heel. I think I like it! Although, what I really want is to work towards doing heels with pinless Japanese short rows. For the ribbing, I modified it to 1x1 twisted rib and shortened it to 5 rounds. After reading on Ravelry that EZ's sewn BO looks nice when done on the WS, I did the same.

Last weekend, I finished recycling cotton yarn from an ill-sized tank top. I've included a picture of it soaking. I still can't believe I took the hanks out of the mesh bag and let them get tossed around freely in the dryer. Then again, at that point I was pretty tired of the whole process. I haven't knit too much on Bright, my recycled yarn project, this week since I've been working on my strawberry latte socks. But, I bet I will when I finish these socks. My Firestarters (with Felici sock yarn) have totally taken a back burner! I'll have to get back to those soon, too... and my cross stitch!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New to the Neti and Knitting Update

Finally, I got one of those neti pots. I'd been thinking about getting one, and then my parents stopped by the house and dropped one off when I was sick last week. Love it! I think it helped end my cold sooner rather than later.

Monday night I finished winding balls of my recycled Comfy yarn. Knowing that my kids could possibly ruin all that hard work, I grabbed a pair of pantyhose and cut them up to make yarn bras for each ball. They look silly, but hey it works. I'm about 4-5 inches in on Bright.

Lately, I've been working on my one-skein sockettes. I'm almost at the heel, so I'll be doing short rows soon. Since following the pattern resulted in holes on the short row toes, I'm going to try this method on the heels. She combines all sorts of little tricks into her method. My favorite trick is one that Cat Bordhi uses: slip the knit stitches knitwise before turning so that the wraps are easier to work. When you get to a wrapped knit stitch, you knit the stitch and its wrap TBL.

If I still don't like the way the heel looks, I might use Japanese short rows without pins or the encroachment method. (BTW, here's the purl encroachment from the same site.) The encroachment method reminds me vaguely of the Japanese method because: whereas the wrapping and YO methods create "extra" yarn when turning, the "extra" yarn of the encroachment and Japanese methods doesn't come about until the gaps are closed. Even then, it's not really "extra" yarn. Actually, you're "stealing" yarn from previously made stitches. I think the encroachment method is used on the Sherman heel, if I'm not mistaken. Somewhere, I read that you wrap the outside stitches, but then do the encroachment method for the remaining inside stitches. Hmm... Whenever I finally get the More Sensational Socks book, I'll have to try the various heel methods to see which ones I like best.

If my heels seem too small, I might try Lucy Neatby's 60% heel; or, I could always make a longer/narrower heel (with 50%) by leaving less unwrapped stitches in the middle. We'll see. I just hope that by doing short row heels, I have enough yarn for two socks.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"And I Was Froggin After Midnight"

Frogging starts with an F, as in effing timesapper!
Thursday night at knit night, I didn't get any knitting done, which wasn't to be outdone by the remainder of the evening. I ended up feeling so pseudo-good after using the neti pot for the first time and drinking a huge frozen coffee that I decided to clean the family room and kids' room when I got home from knit night. Note the use of the word "pseudo." Heh. Yeah, I crashed near the end of that cleaning spree and never got any knitting done that night. Friday, after deciding to begin a new pattern, I went ahead and began frogging my purple DROPS tank from last year. Somehow I thought that it would take maybe 1-2 hours. Ha! I wish. I took out the seams and armhole edging and finished frogging the front. The back wasn't frogged until today. That was just the beginning...

Over the last few months I've read about how you can make center-pull balls of yarn using objects like toilet paper or paper towel rolls or old wooden toilet paper holders. Since I have a wooden toilet paper holder, I thought I'd try it. Turned out great, although I can see why people eventually buy the real thing: a nostepinne. It took me longer than using just my hand because the balls turn out pretty like the cakes of yarn that ball winders produce.

Getting back to the topic of frogging, I decided to steam my cotton yarn in a colander. Instead of doing the wise thing and unraveling my beautifully wound balls of yarn into hanks, I plopped a few of them into my colander as is. Pretty soon into steaming, I decided to forego that idea and try something else. I unraveled the balls, tied them securely, and soaked them in lukewarm water for 30 minutes. After that, I threw them into the washer on the spin cycle and then threw them into the dryer. Finally, the ramen noodle kinks were gone. Yay, except now I have to wind them back into balls again... by hand. So far, I've gotten two or three finished, but am saving the rest for another time because I WANTED TO KNIT, DARN IT! BTW, the pattern I'm knitting is Wright, a Berocco pattern that I hope will be suitable for spring/summer/fall. I'm using Knit Picks Comfy in Lilac Mist.

Non-knitting News
For those that I slightly annoy, you'll get a kick out of this. My husband sweetly listens to all my "boring" math talk. Just yesterday I was mentioning how you can convert miles to kilometers and vice versa using Fibonacci numbers without a calculator. It wasn't so much the topic, but the way I brought it up that made him tease me and say, "Did you know that you love to give unsolicited advice?" That made me think of knit night. I bet I do that ALL the time. I often let my excitement and willingness to share overtake my consideration that no one asked me for knitting advice or techniques. That could explain the collective inner groan or lack of excitement I sense when I show up on Thursdays. I just need to shut up and knit. I'll have to save the unsolicited stuff for blogging.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tubey FO Pics

Pattern: Tubey
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted, Marine Heather (10 skeins)
Needles: Us 5 and US 7
Notes: Added bust short rows, length, hems on sleeves, and
increased 5 sts at each tube end before closing for the
sleeves (CO for S and increased to M).
This is a fun, easy pattern to knit! There are more details on my Ravelry project page if you're interested. FYI: You'll notice that in one picture there is text. If you enlarge the picture, you'll see I labeled my bust short rows. When I added 8 sets of short rows, I did the first 4 with the Japanese method and the remaining 4 with the yarnover method. Clearly, I do the Japanese short rows better!
For the sleeve hems, I used a trick I learned with the Henley Perfected pattern: After the purl round, I knit a round TBL. That gives the ridge a flatter, more long-tail-type look and folds nicely. Next I switched to smaller needles for the inside of the hem. Leaving my live stitches on the needles, I sewed the hem to the inside.
That's it :-)

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My Last Winter Project Is Done

Tubey is finished and drying. No pics just yet. It's my last winter knit, and I love how it turned out! This pattern, with a few tweaks and additions, is perfect for my shape. I have narrow, rounded shoulders and short arms. So the arm tube makes my shoulders appear broader and less rounded (i.e., slimmer), the neckline is flattering, and the bell sleeves create the illusion of longer arms. Really, I only tweaked and added things to customize the size and fit to me. The only modification that would apply across all sizes was adding short rows to the bust. Even flat-chested knitters would have to add short rows in front to make up for the 3-4 inch difference between the front and back when beginning the body tube. Not a biggie since I add short rows to almost every pattern anyway.

My favorite type of sweater is one that flatters and is comfortable. Tubey will be worn a lot, I guarantee. I'd love to make more Tubeys in the future, and I really mean that. Now that Tubey is done, I've finally used up the last of my birthday yarn. Over the last 7-8 months I've made Central Park Hoodie, Tangled Yoke Cardigan, and now Tubey. Yay for yarn gift certificates!

Have you seen the new colors and yarns on Knit Picks? When I saw the new colors of Crayon, I thought the dark brown, Teddy, could be used either by itself or with the lighter brown to make an adorable teddy bear. I have Harry Bear favorited on Ravelry. While Marie focuses more on role play and pretend, my son Ian is the snuggler when it comes to stuffed animals. I bet he'd love a teddy bear made from Crayon. Hmm, I'll have to up that pattern on my queue...

I'm really looking forward, as always, to knit night. Very much so this week. The last couple of days, I've been lounging around in pajamas or workout clothes due to a cold and not much sleep (due to the cold). I felt better yesterday and was even able to enjoy knitting the last few inches of my Tubey. So for knit night, I plan on getting dressed up in my Tubey sweater and Pomatomus socks with a little makeup on to lift my spirits. I'm not sure what I'm bringing to knit. Either socks or old projects to frog. My plan is to knit Bella Paquita by Marnie MacLean and Wright by Berroco with frogged yarn. See you soon, ladies of Gahanna Knit Nite!

Someone on Ravelry hyperlinked a picture slideshow of Natasha Richardson. The very first picture, which is of her mother helping her knit, is beautiful. What a tragic loss.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Finally Figured Out That Stupid Math Problem

It's about time y'all!!! I figured it out last night while trying to fall asleep.

In case you missed it ('cause I'm not doing all those superscripts and subcripts again!), I blogged about an abstract algebra problem that previously had me stumped. The answer turned out to be something that seems moderately easy to me in hindsight. So yeah, I was both excited AND aggravated at the same time when I finally figured out the solution. That happens with math, though. :-)

I just had to approach the problem from a different angle and think slightly outside the box. I was so focused on proving closure for composition and inverses that I didn't think to check other group properties. When proving that subgroups are groups, you're only required to show closure under operation and inverses. Last night I decided to consider the identity element (All groups have an identity element). With permutations, the identity element is a permutation that carries x to x. All elements are fixed. In effect, e(x)= x for all x in a set A. In problems #1-3, I verified that e existed. Let me break it down problem by problem:

In #1, there's a fixed element a in all the permutations in G such that f(a)= a, and A is not defined as finite or infinite. The identity permutation e can exist in G because a is fixed for all f contained in G.

In #2, there are a finite number of moveable elements and an infinite number of fixed elements (since A is infinite). Finite can mean zero. Zero moveable elements combined with an infinite number of fixed elements corresponds to the identity e. At this point, I started to feel like I was going somewhere with my train of thought.

In #3, B is a subset of a finite set A; and for all x in B, f(x) is also in B. Since A is finite, then B is automatically finite. The elements of B can be fixed and/or moveable when permutated. If fixed, then it's problem #1 all over again. If there are moveable elements in A, there are a finite number of them. That finite number must be zero for e to exist. Since that possiblity exists, then G is still a group.

And now, the counterexample:
In #4, A is infinite. Therefore B could be either finite or infinite. If finite, then we can prove that G is a group using the previous problems. B has always been a finite set in the previous problems, fixed or not. However, if B is infinite and contains only moveable elements, then G cannot contain the identity. With no possiblity of there being all fixed elements in B, e does not exist. That's it. Thank goodness that's over with!

Continental Combined Purl CO video and pics

Home Position
Move Thumb Behind Index Finger
Ready To Purl
Enter Thumb Loop Purlwise
Prepare to Pick Up Working Strand
Bring Working Strand Up Through Loop
Adjust Tension of New CO Stitch

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Long Tail Purl Variations

Sometimes I like to CO in pattern with the long tail CO. Thanks to a knitting buddy, I was recently introduced to the real version of the Long Tail Purl CO (LTPCO). Until now, I thought what I was doing was the only way to purl when doing LTCO. After researching the topic, I discovered that I was doing the purl CO that's used specifically when doing a 2-color or double knitting CO in long tail. It's a reverse LTCO and has sometimes been dubbed Reverse Continental. Yet, many knitters refer to it as The LTPCO. It's not, and I'll explain why.

When doing the 2-color/DK LTCO, the knit stitches are created using the thumb loop while the purl stitches are created using the index finger loop. The working yarns alternate as a result. Alternating back and forth between thumb and index finger is necessary to alternate the colors of the CO sts. But what if you're only using a single color to CO? Sure, you could still use the same method, especially if you're partial to the resulting edge that's created (see my sample below). However, there is a LTPCO that uses the thumb loop, just like the LTKCO.

The LTPCO is worked like a Norwegian Purl st --the method of purling wyib. The only difference is in the way the stitch is wrapped. If you watch the linked video of the Norwegian Purl, imagine the working yarn being wrapped the opposite direction (clockwise, aka Eastern): After going behind the working yarn and entering the thumb loop purlwise, bring the thumb loop back under and then around the working yarn to pick up a stitch. So the LTPCO is an Eastern-wrapped Norwegian Purl. Now that you've seen the Norwegian Purl, here's a video of the LTPCO:

Besides being 100% reversible, using the front thumb loop for both knits and purls, and looking nice, I also like that there's a shortcut way of doing the LTPCO that looks exactly like a Combined Purl stitch (Eastern/clockwise). I happened upon a video of someone doing 1x1 rib CO in long tail who used the shortcut LTPCO for the purls. Here it is (The LTPCO shortcut begins at about 1:50 or so.):

Note: I found that you don't have to bring the working strand so far down below the thumb loop. Just as long as you can pick at it after entering the thumb loop p-wise, you'll be OK. Actually, instead of moving the working yarn in front, I just move my thumb behind the working yarn which automatically causes the working yarn to be in front, ready to purl. With your working yarn in front and your thumb loop behind it, do a Combined Purl stitch (wrapping clockwise). Voila, it's that easy, not to mention fast! It cuts out the first couple of steps of the longer version. The longer version is a Norwegian purl (wrapped clockwise); whereas the shortcut version is a Combined Purl. If you prefer doing your purl stitches the Norwegian way wyib, then the longer method is for you. For Combination knitters who typically knit Continental and wrap their purls clockwise (aka Eastern Uncrossed), you'll prefer the shortcut method. Either way has the exact same construction and resulting stitch mount.

Long Tail Purl Collage
I made three samples of 1x1 ribbing CO that you see here in this collage. (FYI: You can open the samples picture in another window or tab for larger viewing.) The purl variations shown are: Reverse Continental, LTPCO, and German Twisted, respectively. The knits were all done using LTKCO. You can see how different each edging looks. Notice how the LTPCO edging looks a lot more like regular LTCO. The ribbing also snugs up nicely. The best feature of all is that the LTPCO is 100% reversible. The other COs aren't since they produce a line of purl bumps on the other side. Personally, I like the LTPCO because I knit Continental Combined when doing ribbing. It's fast, it's simple, and it looks nice. ...and it was/is, respectively, used by Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen (Supposedly, it's shown in the book and/or video of Knitting Around.).

Despite all my fuss over LTPCO, there's another way to CO in rib I've also recently learned about. You can alternate LTCO and German Twisted, using GT for the purls. The purl stitches have an extra twist and look like purls from the front. The only cons would be that it's not 100% reversible or as fast as LTPCO. But hey, sock knitters wouldn't mind this if they want the extra twist. Many videos I've seen of the German Twisted make it look really fiddly. Lucy Neatby has a video where she shows how to bend your thumb downward to make the CO a lot easier. Here it is:
Lucy Neatby German Twisted Cast On

Show and Tell is now over ;-p Hope everyone had a great weekend!

A Little Math Before Bedtime

Frequently, I'll swap my current novel for an old college math book before bedtime. It calms my mind since, as most of you know, my thoughts typically race from one idea to the next. The latest book I've been re-reading is my Abstract Algebra book which I used for a required three-course series for my B.S. in Mathematics. I've been stuck on a particular problem and felt like journaling about it here. I realize that most readers of this post will be bored to tears. However, this is my blog, and I'm going to write about what I want. :-)

Here's the setup. I'm done reading about functions and permutations. In the homework problems for permutations, I'm on a section that focuses on the properties of permutations of a set A. The symmetric group on A, SA, is the set of all the permutations of A. In all the problems, G is a subset of SA, and you have to prove that G is a subgroup of SA given specific information. I'm stuck on the 4th problem. I'll go through #1-3 first, giving informal proofs along the way.

1. Let A be a set and a be an element of A. Let G be the subset of SA consisting of all the permutations f of A such that f(a)=a. Prove that G is a subgroup of SA. To prove this, you have to show closure for operation (composition) and for inverses.
  • Let g be an element of G. Then g(a)=a. f(g(a))=f(a)=a, and g(f(a))=g(a)=a. Therefore, G is closed with respect to composition.
  • If f(a)=a, then f-1(a)=a. Therefore, G is closed under inverses.
2. If f is a permutation of A and a is an element of A, we say that f moves a if f(a) doesn't equal a. Let A be an infinite set, and let G be the subset of SA which consists of all the permutations f of A which move only a finite number of elements of A. Prove that G is a subgroup of SA.
  • When performing fog and gof, the number of elements that get moved are at most the combined total number of finite moveable elements of each permutation. So if {a1,..., am} are the moveable elements of f and {b1,...,bn} are the moveable elements of g, and both sets of moveable elements are mutually exclusive; then fog and gof have at most the combined total number from both sets of finite moveable elements. Since this number of elements is finite, composition is closed for G.
  • Elements of f and g that don't move are of the form f(x)=x. This keeps the images of the moveable elements within the set of finite moveable elements because f-1(x)=x and permutations are bijective. Therefore, if ai and aj are moveable elements of f, then f(ai)=aj and f-1(aj)=ai. The inverse of a f has a finite number of moveable elements. Hence, G is closed under inverses.
3. Let A be a finite set, and B a subset of A. Let G be the subset of SA consisting of all the permutations f of A such that f(x) is contained in B for every x in B. Prove that G is a subgroup of SA.
  • Let g be a permutation contained in G. If x is in B, then g(x) is in B. Since g(x) is in B, then f(g(x)) is in B as well. Similarly you can prove that [gof](x) is in B. Therefore, G is closed under composition.
  • Since the images of all the elements of B are in B and permutations are bijective, then f-1 carries elements of B to B, too. Therefore, G is closed under inverses.
4. Give an example to show that the conclusion of #3 is not necessarily true if A is infinite. This is where I got stumped. The only ideas I have are these:

B could be infinite which could affect the outcome. If B was infinite, then it might be possible for an element outside of B to have an image in B. Although that wouldn't make any sense since G is bijective. I cannot for the life of me think of a counterexample where either [fog] or f-1 isn't in B, especially since permutations are bijective. I'm a little muddy on how A being infinite would change anything.

Knitting News? Well, I'll save that for next time since I'm willing to bet that no one is reading this anyway ;-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sunshine and Shadows Resurfaces

Sunshine and Shadows. That's the name of this cross stitch design by Barbara & Cheryl. Before knitting (so about 5 years ago) is the last time I worked on this. As with knitting, I used to be really into cross stitch. At that time, knitting took away time from cross stitch because I was making a baby blanket for my daughter. I was also having trouble finding several of the DMC colors for this design and would've had to special order them but forgot. Anyway, I'm hoping to occasionally work on Sunshine and Shadows. There's a cross stitch store in Kenny Center where The Yarn Shop is, and I need to check them out and see if they have the missing colors I need.

BTW my favorite cross stitch designs are landscapes that use every single fabric square. I don't like samplers. If I can remember, I'll have to snap some pics of my framed FOs. I have three in particular that I love: a mountain lake at sunset, the Pacific Ocean shoreline with a crashing wave, and a family of cats with a black backdrop and brocade curtain. The cat design is still boxed up somewhere in the basement from when we moved here. I'll have to find it...

Knitting News? I'll be finishing the first sleeve on Tubey. When I get the second sleeve done, I might go back and add length to the sweater. I'm still debating whether I'll use my leftover Lawn Swish Worsted. Probably not, but it's still on the table.

Next up after Tubey: frogging old projects to make new ones. I'm going to frog my purple DROPS garter stitch tank and my improvised terracotta Cotton-Ease maternity top. With the yarn from each of these, I hope to make one of the more recent patterns I favorited on Ravelry.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Favorite Panini Sandwich and Other Reminiscences

Could they PLEASE build a Jason's Deli here in Columbus! Several months ago after traveling through Raleigh and Atlanta, I saved this picture from a menu because it's my favorite sandwich EVER: the Smokey Jack Panini. A panini sandwich with smoked turkey, pepper-jack cheese, tomatoes, olive oil, French bread, and most importantly, a Russian dressing and guacamole spread. I will be sure to eat this when I go to Raleigh in May. See edit added below!

Other foods or restaurants I wish I could've brought with me back to Ohio? Milton's. Definitely Milton's. They have the best Sunday Italian brunch, best salad bar, best eggplant parmigiano, and the best sweet tea. I'd also bring any of the salad buffet restaurants, too. There are no salad places here in Ohio (as far as I know). I'd gladly welcome Sweet Tomatoes or Souper Salad!

Just sayin' (sigh). I lived in Raleigh long enough to miss parts of it. Hopefully, we'll hit all the old spots near and dear to us while in town for a wedding. I know I'll be hitting my old running trail around Lake Lynn!

ETA: GAH! !!!!!!!!There's a Jason's Deli opening at 225 W. Bridge St in Dublin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here's a link with a map and address. Here's the menu. Check it out! :-) Oh boy, I'm SO there this weekend. A small dream fulfilled. Pinch me! Smokey Jack and free ice cream, here I come. BTW, it's a kid-friendly place and offers some healthy and vegan choices.
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All Is Quiet

Ah, Silence
As soon as everyone else in my household goes to bed, all is quiet and peaceful. This is the time I finish blogging, go on Ravelry and other sites, and then knit while watching a movie or TV until bedtime. I'm one of those people who needs silence and alone time to keep my sanity. This is probably one of the reasons I'm a night owl. Staying up late is like an escape to me. I get a second wind about 4:00 pm each day, and my energy level rises throughout the evening. Even when I was drop-dead tired from teaching, the late afternoon and evening were my most awake times of day. Even if I got more than 8 hours of sleep, I'd still not be a morning person. It has been and will always be this way.

Inspired by Kristie's recent post, I was thinking about how I like to have alone time to just t-h-i-n-k and be and knit without interruption. I catch up on recorded shows, favorite movies, or late showings of Jon and Kate Plus 8 or Little People Big World. Even after I go to bed, I get my Lightwedge out and read for about 20-30 minutes. Some nights it's a plain old novel, others it's an old math textbook (currently Abstract Math). I sleep very soundly, so I feel pretty refreshed if I get anywhere between 6-7 hours of sleep. Now that I've been working out, I sleep even better if that's possible. I guess I'm lucky this way because I can get a lot of knitting done in one evening! I don't try to knit fast -- that would take the fun out of it. I knit at whatever pace I find enjoyable. Back in 2004 when I first got back into knitting, it took me forever to finish anything. Now, after making my fair share of sweaters and tops, it doesn't take as long. Good thing, too, because I'd go a little nuts if I could only knit one sweater for each season.

My Little Wizard
The last picture in this post makes me laugh. It's Ian wearing a hastily made wizard hat (Oh, how he loves that hat!) holding a princess book. Obviously, I didn't wipe his mouth off well after eating, and he's wearing an old sweater I made Marie. You haven't seen this sweater on Ravelry because it's a total D-U-D dud. I ran out of yarn which resulted in a wonky stand-up shawl collar. This sweater was made a few years ago when I was first trying my hand at improvising tops for Marie. It was one of many good learning experiences in size, gauge, yarn, and basic design, especially since toddler sizes don't require much yarn or money.

The first two pictures bring me full circle to the beginning of my post. I took them when I first sat down at the computer after everyone had gone to bed, and I could enjoy the peaceful silence of night. I was still wearing what I wore out to dinner tonight: Blaze and Tangled Yoke Cardigan. The weather was perfect for wearing this combination. My TYC still smells of tea tree oil from its last Kookaburra wash, mmmm.
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Blaze Almost Two Years Later

On Ravelry, there's just one finished project I have listed in my projects that doesn't have an FO picture... until now. The pattern is Blaze from Knitty. I've only worn it once and that was with a turtleneck because the neckline was too wide and loose. Many other people that made this pattern experienced the same thing. Two years ago this July when I began making Blaze, I was just getting comfortable with tweaking minor parts of patterns. I tweaked Blaze, but not exactly to my liking, and so it lay forgotten since September 2007. The yarn I used was so snuggly soft: Peru Luxury DK, an alpaca, silk, and merino blend. When I recently came across Blaze again, the zigzag cables looked so nice. I'd worked hard on those, and it seemed a waste not to try and fix it. It amazed me that it only took 5-10 minutes to figure out what to do. Two years ago, the solution wouldn't have come so fast.

With the weather getting milder, it's the perfect time to wear this! In fact, I wore it tonight to knit night. Some of my knitting buddies must've thought I made this in one week because they suggested I need more sleep. Hee! :-) No, really ladies, all I did was rip out the BO and do a decrease round before BO again. That took, like, 20 minutes tops.
Pattern: Blaze, from Knitty; Size M
Yarn: Peru Luxury DK, khaki
Needles: US5 and US6
Mods: On neck shaping, I followed the directions for the L/XL rather than the M (bringing the stitch count to 165). This wasn't enough, so I followed that by [p1, k2tog, p1, k2], ending with p1, k2tog. This eliminated another 28 stitches, bringing the total down to 137. Then I BO in pattern.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

So here's my Tubey progress. I'm so happy to be knitting blue! It's my favorite color, despite all the red and green knitted FOs you see in my picture galleries. It's nice to be past the one stressful part of Tubey (i.e., picking up stitches for the body). Now I can relax the rest of the way. Ah, yes...

Technical notes on Tubey (skip ahead some of you):
I used US5 circs to CO and pick up sts for the body. After a couple of rounds, I switched back to US7's. I tacked down the corners of the neckline and duplicate stitched the body tube border under the arms to reinforce both areas. Next I plan to insert some short rows because, not only is it obvious when you see the differing heights of the front and back of the body tube, but a few people on Ravelry have mentioned that the front is slightly shorter. No problem.

This is my progress on my Firestarter socks. I've only completed one pattern repeat so far. Can you tell that the sts are shifted around to make knitting the cable pattern easier? I'm liking the Felici yarn. BTW Felici, pronounced fuh-LEE-chee, is an Italian plural adjective meaning "happy." I mention this because I'm knitting "happy" Firestarters, or better yet, "happy" feet (If you didn't see the movie Happy Feet or hate knitting socks, this wouldn't mean much to you). If I were knitting just one sock I guess it would be un piede felice (fuh-LEE-chay), a happy foot. Oh, silly me. I'm glad I find little things such as this amusing in life. I wonder who over at Knit Picks knows Italian and/or chose the Felici yarn name...

A recent photo of my kiddos. I love them in these outfits. Marie's wearing an Ariel costume, held together at the sleeves with safety pins no less, and Ian is wearing some monkey pajamas. I like this picture :-)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Down Tubey, Down!

There's a lot to be said for trying things on as you knit! Since the last time I blogged, I put my Tubey sleeves on strings and picked up the body stitches. It looked OK, but I knew I'd better try it on before continuing. Ack! The front neckline was way too high. I think I over compensated for trying to cover bra straps. Although if I lowered the neckline any further, it would be at the sleeve join (i.e., the armpit!). I realized that, due solely to lowering the neckline, I'd have to join for the sleeves later at each end. And so... I ripped out the body I'd started and ripped back the sleeves to the join. 8 rows were added at each end before joining. Now I'm back to picking up body sts. Gotta get this right! I guess I could've made the M rather than the S to begin with. But then again, I'm glad the back is smaller in the hope of preventing any pouchiness.

My Firestarter toes are complete. I didn't realize how much attention it requires to do a short-row toe! I must've re-done the first toe four times. In theory, picking up double wraps is simple. In practice, picking them up and working them together with the wrapped stitch is tricky. It's easy to have accidents happen. After searching the internet, I found a helpful post that suggested working the double-wrapped stitch and then passing the already slipped double wraps from the right needle over the stitch just worked. This seemed to work and look nice. Basically, it was a SKP (or should I say S2KP2?). The next time I do a short-row toe, I might consider doing Japanese short rows, or YOs, or encroachment just to avoid dealing with teeny tiny double wraps. I hear that Cookie A. uses YOs... BTW, the Firestarters are positioned a little differently on the needles. The socks are worked off center with the side cable patterns at the ends of each needle to make doing the cables easier (to avoid splitting the cable pattern down the middle).

Gotta remember to watch Amazing Race tonight! I forgot last week...

Oh, one more thing. I've discovered a new game: Farkle! Have you played it? I loved Yahtzee when I was kid. So, this game is fun for me.