Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Soon or later everything gets blocked . . .

I figure sooner or later everything gets blocked. For me its usually later. I make it, put it together, wear it and then after a while I block it. Everything has to get washed - sooner or later. But there are things that I knit that won't reveal their true beauty until they are blocked. Sometimes its a cable that needs to be flattened to be seen, or a beret that needs a pie plate to take shape, other times its a lace that remains scrunchy until its opened up. I've only made a handful of lace things so far and I have blocked them all, except the socks.

Ishbel (by Ysolda Teague) is a lace scarf or shawl. It has points on the edge. My first fancy lace project with points! It's yummy but needs to be blocked sooner then later, like before it can be worn. I've never blocked anything that I had to pin into shape. Special tools and equipment were needed for such an undertaking. So after a little knitting in the park yesterday, Susie and I strolled down to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio on 15th Street (just West of 5th Ave) to pick up a blocking kit. It contains straight wires in an assortment of sizes, 2 flexible wires for curves, stainless steel T pins and a yard stick. As soon as I got home I washed Ishbel in Eucalan and laid her out on a large towel on the dining room table. First I ran the wires along the edges, in and out - in and out. Through the straight edge and through each and every tip. Then I pinned her down and straightened the angles of the wires and pinned them down too. It had a shape now, and every detail could be seen. Then the hard part - waiting for this afternoon to unpin my little beauty. Tada! Here she is . . .I like the design very much. But i think its a little small for my taste so I am making another in a larger gauge. Size 8 /5mm needles and Lion Brand Superwash Merino in Cayenne. It will be great for winter. It has inspired me to think about making a pattern of my own design in this shape. I already have the yarn for it.

Susie and I went
up to Annie and Company last week, a yarn and needle work store on Madison off 93rd. Our favorite LYS employee, Alyssa (manager of the former Point on Bedford) is now working there. They have great yarn and what a variety! (Only they don't carry Cascade - Susie's favorite all purpose brand) While we were there knitting I picked up two skeins of ArtYarns Ultramerino4 in denim blues. I love blue, all of them. This is the yarn I'm saving for my design. I'll let y'all know when its done. Hopefully I'll learn how to post patterns before the summers end -

Monday, June 15, 2009

Did you knit in Public?

Last week was a very busy week. Susie and I went for knitting and tea at a Greenwich Village shop called Tea and Sympathy, followed by a margarita and nachos a little further east at Maraca's. We wound up at the Fire Store for a Firemen Calendar signing. A fun day with a little knitting here and a little knitting there. The rest of the week had a little more knitting here and there and before I knew it, it was time for knitting in public and BBQ! (Not at the same time) First we (hubby, son & I) attended the Big Apple BBQ @ Madison Square Pork, I-I mean park. Then on Sunday we went up to Woodstock - where I knit in the car, in a house, on a lawn, at the gas station, in McD's on the thruway, on the thruway and through a tunnel. (I was not driving)

I finished the Noro handle-bar covers for Vince's motorcycle. He can wear them on his feet until I get the rest of the cover knit. LOL ;D They came out really nice and knit up very fast - or so it seemed. They're for his birthday. I know I still have the second Kai-mei to finish for Dawn, but I was so excited about finishing Vince's socks that I cast on for Ysolda's Ishbell.

I'm using Blue Ridge Yarns Bambie that I got at last years Wool & Sheep Festival in Rheinbeck, NY. It's a superwash merino and bamboo blend sock yarn in the palest of greens with rose thrown in for good measure. The colorway is called Apple Rose. I like the slight sheen the bamboo gives the yarn. I don't know if I would have liked them as socks but I am liking Ishbell.

I haven't touched my Wyoming Alpaca sweater in a while. I'm going to have to start knitting at least a row here and there if I'm ever going to get the thing finished. If I do get the body done I'll have to turn this apartment upside down. I put two balls of yarn away for sleeves when I was originally making a top down, no pattern cardigan and wanted to make sure I had enough on the side for the sleeves. But I wasn't feeling the combo of the pattern (no pattern) and the yarn. I frogged it and started a different cardigan (with a pattern) that I do like very much. It's been so long since I put the yarn away that I can't remember where I put it! I'm hoping I don't need the two balls to finish because despite looking "everywhere" I still can't find that darn yarn!

Oh well I'll just have to keep on working on an Ishbell - or two. I'm thinking that this may be the shape of more scarves to come. They'll make great holiday gifts. Yes I know its early but we have a long list and I like things out of the way. Besides if I knit them up now I'll have more room for the goodies at the Sheep and Wool Festival come this fall. I'm already looking forward to it. Might have something to do with this fall weather we're having.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Glynis is finis!

Glynis is finis! I finished my first pair of socks from the Cookie A book – Glynis. I had to figure out how to graft the toe, commonly called the Kitchener Stitch. I’ve tried this before but to no avail. When I sat down and tried it on a pair of socks I made my Mother for Mother’s Day I wound up with a perfectly grafted toe; only it was backward, not knit – purled! Because my stitches are oriented backward, following the directions step by step was not a help. They looked cute, there were no holes and Mom loved them just the same but they were not Kitchenered! So this time I was determined to master this technique no matter how many times I had to try. I tried at least four times. The “aha” moment happened on the third try when I started to see the stitches in my head. I finally got it after I took the stitches off the needles and proceeded very carefully so there would be no twisted stitches and no holes. So I did my first sock, moved on to the second (I saved both toes for last), then I did it on another sock (the first Kai-mei sock), and I did one for Susie. Sometimes I had to go back a stitch or two, but by Kitchener I think I’ve got it. By the way this would have been a lot easier to learn on something that laid flat instead of a rounded toe. I’m just sayin.

I put Kai-mei and everything else on hold this week to work on these socks. They are a birthday gift for Dawn’s boyfriend, Vince. He’s a surfer dude from California whom I’m knitting a motorcycle cover for one piece at a time, or so he thinks. So far he’s gotten a headlamp cover (hat) and rear lights cover (morningside cowl) and now these handle warmers (socks). I’m using Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn for the first time. This is the fastest pair of socks I’ve ever knitted. Of course it helps that I’m using US 4 /3.5mm dpns and a very plain pattern. This is my 8th pair of socks. I like the colorway, it reminds me of Vince and of all the colors the ocean can be. Oh and even though he lives in NYC now he still surfs year round out at Rockaway Beach. Yes even in winter with all the snow and only his face sticking out of a wet suit. Vince’s birthday is June 17th. I’ve got a sock and a half done already so no sweat!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Park Crawl

Susie and I went knitting today. The weather in NYC has been kind of off this spring. It was raining and gloomy at 9am but by 11am, when we met to have a bite to eat, the sun was coming out. We went to our local B&N and knitted, then moved to Union Square and knitted, and we ended our tour at Madison Square park, where yes we did, we knitted. We both commented on how we just should have went there to begin with. I worked on my second Glynis and got to finish the first Kai-mei (sans grafted toe).

It was nice to get out and knit in public and hang out with a fellow knitter who gets it. Susie gave a reciprocal "Holla" out to me on her blog and now I have followers! I'm so excited! Who knew! Thanks Susie - I hope to make you proud! And dear followers, thanks for the great words of encouragement.

And as a closing thought - I was wondering why the past tense of knit is knitted and not knat, like "I knat that".