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Saturday, January 19, 2008

January Ramblings

I stumbled upon this neat little pattern for a Doctor Who Tardis iPod Cozy. Hmm, something to think about if I can work up (down?) to knitting on 2.25 mm (US1) needles. I've never knitted with needles that small, but I do know that I have 2 or 3 circular needles in 2.25 mm and even some in 2.0 mm (US0). I know I have one empty package for one of the 2.25 mm circs and can't imagine where it could have gone. It's not like I knitted with it. I think I might have grabbed it for use as a stitch holder in some long forgotten WIP.

Anyhow, the reason I've been thinking of an iPod Cozy is not because I need one for mine. I already have one. However DH was telling me about a male colleague who is keeping his iPod in a draw string pouch. From the way DH described it, I imagined it to be some sort of not-very-masculine looking jewelry pouch. So I wonder whether I might manage to knit something a bit less feminine looking. Making a plain iPod Cozy is not rocket science. The challenge lies in making something unique. The Tardis iPod Cozy would definitely not fall under the ubiquitous category. Though it is not for everyone...

Another pattern I found interesting was this Dalek sock pattern. It's definitely something I would like to try someday. But I should probably figure out how to knit socks in one color first. :-)


When I first got my Fuji digital camera (our current flavor is the Fuji F10), I looked into sites that could give me some help in using the camera. In this process, I discovered a neat site called Fuji Mugs which features themed photo challenges. There is a time period when you can submit photos, and then there's a short period when people can vote for their favorites. There are two categories, the Main Category for photos taken with Fuji cameras and the Open Category for photos taken with any other brand camera. I find it interesting to look through the submissions. They usually offer camera setting info and post processing info, both of which are Greek to me.

In the recent Rouge et Noir (Red and Black) challenge, there was one entry in the Main Category that caught my eye, this photo, which features a woman wearing a scarf. Besides the vivid colors, I just love how the color changes vertically from one long edge to the other long edge of the scarf. Don't you think that's gorgeous?


I'm currently working on a second pair of Persephone Mitts (in the yarn you see above) and am thinking about working a proper thumb watchamacallit. I don't know what you call it. It's that thumb gusset part where it actually wraps around the entire thumb and works up the thumb to give more thumb coverage. We'll see if I actually do that when I get that far on the first mitt. It will depend on my laziness factor. Do I want to just knit from one end to the other on one continuous strand of yarn without having to rejoin it again and weave in 2 additional ends when I'm done? Probably. I have a tendency towards taking the lazy route which would explain why I try to knit hats in the round and avoid the whole business of seaming it up at the end.

The yarn is Elann Baby Cashmere in Morning Mist color. I originally thought the yarn was green, but now I realize it's more blue. The photo above is a bad example due to nighttime lighting. It looks more like the shade of blue in the folded up scarf you see here which was knit using the exact same yarn and color.

I'm currently listening to an audio book while knitting these mitts. It's Keeping Watch by Laurie R. King. I had read two of her other novels, The Art of Detection and Locked Rooms. The first was a Kate Martinelli series and the latter was a Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. I wasn't really paying attention when I picked up Keeping Watch so I had a hard time getting into it at first while I'm listening and waiting for it to get to something/someone somewhat familiar to the first two books. Then it hit me that this must be an oddball standalone novel. I did get into the book after a while, I just love the way Laurie R. King writes. I'm almost near the end. I've got Martha Grimes' The Old Wine Shades queued up for my next book, it will be my first from this author.

Let's see, also on my mind is turning these mitts into Persephone Socks. What do you think of that? Can you imagine this cable pattern on your feet? I do have some sock yarn. Ok, my only 2 balls of wool/nylon sock yarn, in purple of course. I picked them up a couple of years ago thinking I'd give socks a try. Still haven't touched them. But having recently gotten more comfy with using 2.75 mm needles, I think there is a much higher probability of starting a pair of socks now. I can probably figure it out if I put my mind to it. It's probably easier than the Patchwork Textured Vest I'm still trying to knit for my Mom. I'm sure part of the problem is that I am substituting Elann Highland Wool in place of the Lion Brand Lion Cotton the pattern calls for. The other part of the problem is that I am totally not motivated to work on it, after casting on for it three times already. And it doesn't help that I am so sick of looking at the Allspice color of this yarn.

And I'm thinking of using this, Elann Baby Cashmere in Rose Heather color, to make fingerless mitts to go with my Regina Scarf.

Here's a photo showing you the two yarns together (sorry, same bad nighttime lighting). Regina was knit with Elann Luxury Merino Superwash (ball on right) in Regency Rose color. It's not quite an exact match against the Rose Heather, but I think it'll be close enough. Elann doesn't offer Baby Cashmere in a Regency Rose color.

I still have a hard time following knitting instructions on a page. My eyes have a hard time staying on the correct line, even if I try to block out the lines above and below with post-it notes. (Plus, Miss M likes to pull off any post-it note or post-it flag she sees on any piece of paper, page of a book, or even from the stack itself).

When I worked on my first lace thing, Miss M's baby blanket, back in Dec04/Jan05 (ah, fond memories of knitting the bulk of this blanket during a trip to Carmel in the first week of January 2005), I used index cards to keep track of which row I was on. The blanket was a simple 4 row pattern, with only one row being a difficult pattern row. So I wrote down each row's instruction on its own index card, a 4-card stack kept together with a small binder clip that I would flip through as I finished each row. This method worked for me.

Then I knitted more on and off (mostly off after Miss M was born in March 2005), and somehow forgot about this neat index card method for a long time. But I rediscovered it when I designed the Osiris Scarf because I was losing track of where I was while trying to knit from my 3-pages of notes. So I wrote down each row's instructions on its own index card, 40 index cards total. You can see it in the photo above, it's the stack on the left. I think the middle stack is Regina, and the right stack is Winterbourne. A little over three years after I started knitting and I am still relying on this beginners crutch. I have several unopened stacks of index cards in the computer room, right next to my knitting books.

Oddly enough, I didn't write down the row instructions on index cards for my Persephone Mitt. The bulk of the instructions were written (in very small print) on one page, and I can't tell you why I seem able to keep track of the rows very easily on this one.

Anyhow, I think these will be the last mitts I design cuz I'm just not good at designing things in more than one size. Hands come in so many different sizes, so mitts aren't as one-size-fits-most as scarves. I think that's why scarves and dishcloths work so well for me. I'm starting to think it would be so much easier to follow someone else's pattern instructions after they've done all the work figuring out how something should be knit. Yeah, I'm feeling a bit tired. It's like how I no longer want to tinker with the computer and think it should just work, ya know?


I've heard that lots of people knit in public. I can't say I have many opportunities to do this as I'm almost always with Miss M and she would never let me knit or do anything else that takes away my attention from her. However I might be found knitting at Starbucks in Fremont once or twice a month, when/if I can find a seat to enjoy my grande Chai.

I can count on one hand the number of people who have stopped to comment on or ask about my knitting. Three. The first time was a woman asking me about the lace scarf I was knitting, and commenting on the softness of the yarn. It was Elann Baby Silk. I finished that scarf a long time ago but "lost" it before I could take a photo of it. I'm still waiting for it to turn up. The second and third times were on the same day. That totally shocked me. The first commented on the scarf I was working on and we sort of discussed techniques for preventing edge curling.

I can't say that I have ever seen any other knitters while I was knitting at Starbucks. I wonder if some of the passersby think it strange to see someone knitting when most other people are chatting, reading, or using their laptops?


Ok, I'm officially on a yarn diet. Really. Really really! This was decided when I looked at our checking account after paying bills (well, several days after paying bills when they're all cashed the checks) and found our balance to be $0.00. It was the mortgage payment and property tax payment that really did it. And they were pretty darn quick about cashing those checks too! Sigh... So now I'm sitting on a few bills until I am able to write more checks.

I have plenty of yarn in my stash. But why is it that all the projects I'm inspired to begin require different yarn weight and/or colors from what I already have???

Look what I picked up from Lupicia during my last visit to the Valley Fair Shopping Center in San Jose ... Grenada, Lichee Black, Darjeeling First Flush. I'm looking forward to trying the Darjeeling. This is one area of tea I am unfamiliar with. The lady at the store told me to drink it straight, not to add any milk to it. I'm looking forward to trying it tomorrow afternoon, while Miss M naps. There were a couple more teas I was thinking of picking up, but I cut my browsing short when Miss M cried, "No poo poo!" while inching away from me. That pretty much means the statement is false, so I wanted to leave to find a place to change her ASAP before it became a bigger mess.

We are still potty training. It seems like we've been doing it forever. She certainly understands the idea, but she doesn't always tell us when she needs to use the toilet. We've been using pull-up diapers, and even the "feel & learn" ones that should feel wet when she wets her diaper. She's either oblivious or doesn't care if her diaper feels wet. We've got a over-the-toilet potty seat for her to use at home. I haven't figured out what we'll do for her in public restrooms after she is completely potty trained. Those toilets are so big that she would definitely fall in.

Miss M is starting to learn how to tell time. On a digital clock, that is. The analog clock will be more challenging. I know we didn't have digital clocks around the house while I was growing up. I even remember an analog clock/timer on my mom's stove. It seems that almost all clocks these days are digital... around the house, on the stove, on TV equipment (VCR, etc), in the car. Although you can find an analog clock in some Infiniti car models. I wonder what most people choose for their wrist watches, analog or digital? I haven't worn a wrist watch in at least over a decade. I used to rely on a (work) pager, now I rely on my cell phone. Hmm, that's odd... I don't know why the xclock command just popped into my head. LOL! I haven't used a UNIX machine in ages!

Well, that's all folks. There's really nothing interesting to report and no neat knitting projects to show you at the moment.


8 stitch(es):

Kim U said...

I love that Tardis iPod cozy! And the Dalek socks - I might need to make a hat with the Dalek chart.

Suzann said...

Small sized needles make everyones stitches look good. It is just a matter of getting your fingers adjusted to the size.
I have knitted two pairs of cable socks. The first pair has the cable going down the foot. Truthfully they aren't all that comfortable. The second pair I stopped the cable about two inches before the heel. The back of the sock was ss and the front I just continued the ribs that formed the cables. They are a lot more comfortable. The other thing to think about is that most cable patterns are separated by purl stitches. As you start working around the instep after the gusset is done, you will find you start with a purl stitch and end with a knit stitch. So you might want to either start with a knit stitch or convert the last stitch on the instep to a purl stitch. Truthfully they are inside your shoe. So dealers choice. The row of purl stitches on each side can continue down the foot till you start the toe decreases. Of course this presumes you are working cuff down.
I am sure they will look beautiful, everything you design does.
Ah the other thing cables pull in so depending on how much pull the cable pattern has, you might want to do the leg on a slightly larger needle. Then switch to a smaller one to do the heel and foot. There has to be enough stretch so that the sock will go over the arch of the foot without a struggle. When a pattern that has a lot of drawing in is continued over the arch and down the foot, you can sometimes run into trouble. Patterns like Jaywalker often have people moaning about how hard it is to get the sock on.

coastergirl said...

instead of using the post it notes (my fave tool too until recently), try going to your local teaching supply store - they have this stuff called highlighter tape...

It works fabulously and you can pull it off and reposition it to the next section - and even better, it comes in various widths. I am sure they have it there in SF - if not, let me know...

hakucho said...

I love that scarf and how the vertical color changes were done...very impressive :)

I use index cards for certain patterns, too. My dear mother was the one who taught me that trick. Comes in handy. I also LOVE my magnetic pattern board. That really helps me immensely.

happy knitting :)

Allison said...

I love that scarf in the photo - those color changes are great! I think all your plans sound exciting!

Nina said...

I've given you an award. Looking forward following your blog in the future :)

hakucho said...

Check my blog just received an award!!

Joan said...

A felted case for his Ipod might be cooler and add more protection too. Then you could needle felt his initial etc on it too.