It’s not been all knitting (and felting and bargain shopping and experimentation on socks) around here at Chez Iron.
Oh no. There has been sewing. After a fashion, at least.
Middle Daughter is tying the nuptial knot tomorrow in Desert Crazy Town. It’s not going to be all out and fancy, but is calling for a family gathering and also for more than what my closet holds. Which is jeans and uber-casual work tops.
I do have some nicer pants but they go back to pre-dee-vorce. I know! They fit, then were too big, then were too tight, and now fit again. But also they are all dated! Out of style. So uncool. As I always strive to be. Cool, that is. Ask my kids. Or don't, maybe...
I went shopping. I don’t like shopping for clothes, but I went to my favorite consignment store. They were having a sale! It was easy. In and out in 45 minutes. So maybe I do like shopping just a little.
I found myself some really nice black dress pants. And some black khakis.
I also looked for jackets. DSis says the evenings in Crazy Desert Town is chilly at the end of February. I always listen to DSis, don't you know! I found a red boiled wool jacket for $1.80! (I wore it on Valentine’s Day, being red and all.) It is a rather bright-ish red, and I wasn’t sure suitable for the upcoming event and locale (but it wasn’t staying on the rack for that price!) and I picked up two others to take home and see what went with what. (one of which was only $3.80. I know!)
The pants are like brand new. One pair needed hemming, so the Singing Singer was threaded up and the instruction book reviewed, and the blind hemming stitch was used. See. Sewing!
Slick slicker slickest!
Damage? 4 pair of black pants, some that have to be new, and 3 dress jackets? $60. Most excellent in my thrifty sense books.
The Ravelympics entry was finished last night. (photo to follow...when I have a moment to breathe.)
The bags are mostly packed. (after this entry, the laptop goes into the bag.)
And in my photography class last night? (everyone should have a three hour class the night before a 10 day trip!) There was a knitter! (besides me, I mean...) (I only knit on the break!)
I am now off to the desert, then the east coast to visit the fam and see some sights. DSis and I are traveling together, and I am not sure what her blogging plans are, but I will promise only that I will try.
Remember the cranky old banker from Jimmy Stewart's movie, ‘Its A Wonderful Life’?
It's him of whom I speak. He’s back and he has taken over the banking system of today.
Wonderful Guy and I decided it made sense to refi the loan on our home. The decision has to do with lowering the interest rate and the monthly payment, not with providing us cash out of the equity. You know, just in case one of us ceases to bring in a regular income. It has happened to each of us once. And my position holds that dern temporary label like the sword of Damocles over my head.
So we move forward, with our good standing, all our paperwork in order, our i’s dotted and t’s crossed.
Or so we thought.
We apparently had some 'splaining to do.
We of the never having missed a payment, of the wanting only 60% of what the property appraised at, and of the attractive credit rating?
We had letters of explanation to write!
Additional documentation to provide!
More verification to make! (about my income that ‘wasn’t going to be needed anyway'…)
Wet signatures were required! (after all documentation were e-signed. E-signed!!) (and sick of that term I am.)
I know it wasn’t the broker’s assistant’s fault, but I got so tired of seeing her name in my email and on my caller ID. Seriously fatigued I was of that chipper little voice, I might say.
It is a crazy circle whose ends do not meet in my mind. The housing market finds itself spanked for loaning willy-nilly to people who didn’t deserve credit. The economy teetered on the brink as a result, so dollars were pumped into the credit market which was meant to unfreeze those tightfisted bankers that suddenly were all panicky. Now having lots of money lining the vaults, and showing some profits, and making some tidy bonuses to boot, those who would borrow, who will pay the payments, who are worthy risks…
Well, it was not a warm fuzzy feeling, folks. And it plain didn’t seem to make sense.
But hey, I am a scientist, albeit not a rocket scientist, and certainly not an economist.
And we close today, and there will be no more chipper little voice telling me what I must do next…
Except...could we please come early today...so we could over the something or other one last time... (this after we made the closing appointment 4 weeks ago, knowingly for immediately after work, expressly with no time to spare.)
Right. Not much. Not this Chickee. (Those who know me are rolling their eyes, pursing their lips and nodding their heads and saying mmmm...., or laughing laughing laughing)
So here are photos of my short rows.
Tidy side of heel.
Poo side of heel.
Toes are similar looking.
However. There has been progress. Allow me to elaborate.
I tried yet another technique a few weeks ago I found here. It seemed so promising, but alas the results were so similar. However. The steps followed here were not rocket science. I felt if I could do some tweaking, I could make this work. I just needed to figure out what needed to be tweaked, and how to do the tweaking.
Readers (and I assume I have a few). I am a scientist! I set up an experiment, swatching short row heels (or toes) (they are the same mostly!). No more knitting complete socks, even bebe socks. Nosirree. 24 stitches stockinette for 5 rows and I started my short row decreases, which, as usual, went perfectly, regardless of technique I used.
***I note here that when making a heel, I will leave fewer stitches unworked than for a toe. It will make a toe less pointy to have just a few more stitches in the middle. Already a discovery to the good.
Then I started the increases, making a tweak to the purl side. First off, I was able to see on which side the nicey nicey was happening, and on which side the poo was going. The purl side was lining up nicely, and the knit side was pooing. Hmm. Not what I expected.
This technique calls for knitting (or purling) 2 together, then increasing a stitch. I noted how I was making my dec/inc stitches. I actually changed how I was making my k2tog and increases halfway through when I recognized the results.
I noted how it all looked when complete. Second half of the knit side look remarkably better.
5 more rows of stockinette stitch, and I started another heel (or was it a toe?). This time I un-tweaked the purl side. (Apparently it has been fine all along.) I maintained the mid-row tweakage made in the last heel on the knit side (tweakage consisted of KTBL for both k2tog, and the inc, for those keeping score).
Much, much nicer. On the right track certainly, but room for improvement, as the line of stitches is ‘looser’ that those on the purl side. (It may just need tightening as knitted, but maybe there is room for more improvement.)
5 more rows of stockinette stitch. And another heel. I continued to do the purl side as I have done all along. I change another variable on the knit side (purling the picked up strand), and review the results.
Not so good as KTBL after picking up the strand. And alas! Tthat is where I am had to leave it.
The Ravelympics started and that project called.
The Knitterly Peeps February Lady Sweater told me that I needed to find another skein of Silky Wool.
The Slippers. Always with the Slippers.
And. Another ABSOLUTELY EXTRAORDINARY STUPENDOUS AND EXCITING ADDITION is coming to Chez Iron Needles, but I am not saying nothing.
So. Short row heels and toes are temporarily put on the back burner. Temporarily. For now. But not for long.
Because I shall prevail. As gah is my witness, I will knit short row heel and toes that look presentable!
My photography class started last week. It is offered through my little city’s parks and recreation department and held at the senior center. Taught by a retired forestry service worker/photographer, I am picking up some nuggets certainly.
It is good that I have read what I have already read, and I am re-reading more. Which is fine. The first time around there was a lot! To learn! And it was too much to get it all. Now, down the road aways, I know some, and I can pick up some of the rest.
So it’s all good.
We even had a field trip on Saturday for practice in some hands-on picture takin’. Some of the exercises I put to work new things about my camera. Some of the exercises…well, I figured out later I didn’t know what I was doing, and will do those exercises on my own later this week.
Again..good. That is the purpose, is it not?
So on Sunday, Wonderful Guy and I headed up the mountain to Estes and Rocky. For more practice. And after looking at the shots on the computer, I have some notes. Not all great photos, but overall a learning experience.
On the way home. Look what we spied. First one I have ever seen in real life. So cool.
Close to the road. And I got lots of shots.
But! The camera? She was still set on manual. With a wide aperture. And focused on a fence rail between me and the bobcat.
D-oh! Lots of shots, but none as good as they might have been. Still learning.
In the Never Give Up Never Surrender vein, I called the garage yarn saler, after not finding anything going on last weekend. She called back Friday evening, and said while there was nothing formal planned she would be home all day on Saturday and would be glad to let me have another look! So I went back and found a few (just a few...) more bargains. I was on a mission, you see. For Christmas... and my sisters and...give me a minute and I can rationalize it a bit further. Gah. I love me a bargain.
And I love yarn. I love the promise of what it might be, and what I might learn in helping it become all it can be. I love making yarn from scratch. I love the creative outlet and the learning opportunity that spinning and knitting gives me. I love the community of sharing the experience with like minded individuals.
And then I found there is this little thing I found I could do with my Ravelry stash. It can be converted to an excel spreadsheet.
Oooohhhhhh. I love an excel spreadsheet. Not as much as I love yarn, but...there is so much I can do with an excel spreadsheet.
My Rav stash is pretty up to date and complete. I mean all my stuff is there. But when I converted to the spreadsheet, there were gaps!
Empty cells. Vacant places!
While I didn’t feel the need to fill all that information in on Ravelry? Those holes in my excel spreadsheet yawned at me like gaping maws.
Feed me, Seymour!
I set about working the numbers, reformatting the worksheets, alignments! borders! column widths!
I worked really hard on the worksheet that elucidates on ‘the yarn gone’. It wasn’t completely complete. And I really wanted it completely complete. Most of all I wanted to know how much, since I cranked back up my knitting, had I gone through.
There was some miscellaneous info about some generic yarn that required full filling in. I was surprised at what I remembered, and what was covered on my project page. Some, though, was just…whatever…not counting that. So, yes, there is some that is unaccounted for, but I am okay with how complete the overall picture is.
I have knitted, (drum roll optional) not counting cotton used for dishclothes (and I have knit some dishcloths!) (and some misc. acrylic projects…meh…whatever), 8.1 miles of yarn since I started knitting again, with a vengeance, in fall of 2006.
Yes, I would say that describes it. With a vengeance…
On the flip side, I have 14.3 miles to go before I sleep…..*
* Does not include fiber. Or dishcloth cotton yarn. And don’t judge me!
I cannot believe myself. Friday I swatched Peasy. I read Susan's and Liz's comment, and saw what Susan is knitting (EZ Green Sweater!), and found myself swatching. I figured out a couple of things. Pattern calls for sz4s. I will be knitting with sz7s. But still, with the style of cardigan, I think the product will be fine. Second, the cashmere blend is going to be like buttah to knit. Very enticing indeed. But!
Then I got ahold of myself and said 'Self! This is where you got in trouble when you were young, giving into peer pressure! Snap out of it!'
I have 3 1/2 pair of slippers still! to make in the same two weeks, and am knitting the Feb Lady Sweater KAL with my knitterly peeps. Can. Not. Start Peasy! Not with a two week dead line. So I figured out gauge, found the right size circs, and put down the cashmere. Walked away from the cashmere. Picked up the Opal and started knitting a cuff during the opening ceremonies.
Paula, everything I knit in the round is knit magic loop. I love magic loop to death. But magic loop doesn't help me with short row toes/heels. Stupie short row heels and toes (heels and toes heel and toes)
Jan, there are dishcloth knitters in the Ravelympics, but their goal is who finishes first and how many are knit. I know you could do it.
So there is my final decision. Socks it is. Shorts rows are put down. For now. But Peasy is waiting in the wings.
Calling to me...
Tapping her foot....
Maybe she wants to go on a plane ride to Philly....
It’s time for the Olympics, and on Ravelry, it’s time for the Ravelympics!
(dum de DUM de DUM DUM DUM dum…sing along with me now, won’t you?)
The general idea of Ravelympics is to choose a project, cast on, during the opening ceremonies, and have it finished by the closing ceremonies. Two years ago, I knit this wonderful little dress for Grandbebe Girl during the Summer Games.
This year my challenge was going to be socks! With short row heels and toes. Figured that would be a new thing to add to my repertoire, and pretty much a slam dunk. Tricky part will be getting two socks knitted in two and half weeks, with leaving town the last weekend for the crazy desert town tying of the nuptial knot.
I found two more tricks to try yesterday, and visited with Monika at Woolen Treasures in Loveland, getting another idea.
(I was on that side of Loveland, alone, before 5PM, which pretty much calls for a stop-in to see what is in the sale bin, don't you know.) (Elsabeth Lavold Silky Tweed, 60% off, for any that are curious.)
But I have to say that I am pretty close to saying short row toes and heels are a technique that I cannot get the hang of.
I have tried.
Lorday, have I tried. Grandbebe Girls Three each have a new pair of shorty socks (and round two is starting) with short row heels and toes (heels and toes heels and toes..sing with me, won't you?). The youngest two especially don't mind if the craftmanship isn't perfect, and wear doesn't play a factor. The socks won't be walked in, after all.
I am glad I have somebodies to practice knit for, and my test articles are not just tree ornaments.
I have a book with short row heel directions. I have watched YouTube videos with short row heels demonstrated. I have downloaded 3 or 4 different blog entries with 3 or 4 different takes on how to do short row heels and toes (heels and toes heels and toes). I have gone to the TechKnitting blog. There are a couple I have not tried, that involves SSSP on the back side. (Seriously? SSSP?) And the Japanese dig and pin or some such label. I couldn't figure that one out, and it always seems to be the last option given. (Which does not seem to bode well for directional effort, being 4 on a a scale of 1 to 4.) (Just sayin'...)
But I might try the SSSP before I am through. Because I am that way. Often, I cannot say die.
The problem is not that I don't understand short rows. I know short rows. I do short rows on dishclothes, for pete's sakes!
The problem is how, on socks, one closes the gap left by turning. I do what I am told, as close as I understand it, and what I am left with is...fairly neat on one side, and I am pretty sure will neaten up with practice. But the other side looks like poo. Loopy, gappy, uneven poo.
And the frustrating part is I have not been able to figure out if I am doing the knitting-back side tidy, or the purling-back side tidy! I look and figure and flip and twist and calculate...all to no avail.
Of course, some of the suggested techniques have left both sides evenly poo-like.
So frustrating for me. I have knit four socks, and am on my fifth. By now, most techniques I would have had down pat, and have figured out whether I really liked doing this, or if it was something I just didn't find interesting.
But to have it elude me? To read directions and not catch on? To not knit up something and have it look spiffy?
Most recent effort was probably the most successful, but I am anxious to try what Monika offered, too. I feel there is hope. But it is a thin thread, and I am prepared to admit that perhaps...
...that perhaps I need to take my socks into the LYS in person and have someone demonstrate exactly what it is I need to do...
Wonderful Guy spent two days last week in Denver, and will be there all this week. Le weekend was spent catching up and getting ready.
A few other things were accomplished. Taxes were started. The ubiquitous slippers were finished, started, finished, started... A couple of trips were made to the supposed yarn sale to find the garage door closed. (pooh!)
This week I am in charge of everything, though. Feeding the fish. Dosing the dog. Bringing in the trash bin. Sorting mail. I seriously hope it doesn't snow! Other than that, I feel I am up to the task.
I do get to feeling a little hinky when I find myself talking to Best Dog Ever in the evening. And realize, when I hear my voice, that is the first 'person' I have spoken to all night. Depending on my days at work? Sometimes it's all day.
I subscribed to Interweave Knits this weekend. And thanks for all the input about the cardi patterns. Especially Mary...who added ANOTHER to my list.
So, yes, the clan is preparing to gather the end of the month in Desert Crazy Town for Middle Daughter's tying of the nuptial knot. All the Offspring will be there, except for Only Step Son. All my Sibs will be gathered, and we always have a really good time together. My plan was to travel to Philly from Denver, but instead, I will go to west before I go east. In fact, Eldest Daughter & ManFriend, Precious Niece, DSis, and I will all be heading east together on the same day, but not on all the same flight. Alas. I will be alone on my plane, while they will be together.
In the cold.
And the dark.
In the rain.
I am sure they will start the Philly party without me.
With some of the comments Thursday, I feel the need to address them in post format. Don't know why, but I do, so I am.
Your comments were way too reinforcing. I fear I feel the need to go back to the sell-off today...the siren song of the bargains call to me....
So the book, Actic Lace is by Donna Druchunas, who is local, and has given some knitting seminars at LYSs around here. The subtitle says "Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters", and on the back? "Qiviut, or musk ox down, may be the world's most luxurious fiber. It's extremely soft, warm, and light-weight. People who experience it become obsessed." Sounds exactly like something meant for me. But seriously, Qiviut yarn goes for about a gazillion dollars an ounce, or maybe just $90, and spun to laceweight at about 200 yards per ounce. Alot of yardage, but still, really really pricey.
There are slippers to be made still. There are many pairs of feet to be covered in my circle of trust, and the feet will all be gathered the end of the month for some nuptials in Crazy Desert Town. So good for mass belated Valentine's Day gifting or for whatever else I what to peg it on. (If they read, now they know...and they probably guessed anyway...but they don't know which is for who...)
Kathleen - when you are back in the area this summer, I hope we have a chance to meet for coffee.
Wunx - exactly why I can buy books without a second thought and no need for justification. My mother alos approved of books.
And Mary - I do need to justify the purchases. I do! I really do!
It’s really wonderful being of 40% cashmere, 30% lambswool, 30% virgin wool and all. And there are 1140 yards of it. And it is of fingering weight. It is also discontinued, and has been for some time, and there is none to be traded for on Ravelry.
I have checked. So 1140 yards is all there is.
I love the color. I believe it is calling to be a sweater for me.
And therein lies the rub. Many sweaters call for a heavier yarn, or for more yardage.
It’s tricky! I know! I have looked!
I have some ideas, but I am not sure they are perfect.
'I Take the Fifth' Slippers are done. Even Wonderful Guy says I have the hang of them. Well said. He is good at saying the right thing.
Remember here when I mentioned I wanted the book Simply Felt?
And here when I talked about my ginourmous long sz 15s causing me to be unwieldy in my knitting of the above pictured slippers?
Well. Former Young CoWorker Knitter Peep discovered a neighbor selling of the remains of her yarn shop on Sunday. She spoke to the former proprietor of her knitterly peeps, and we were invited to a private browsing/shopping experience. I know! I almost hyperventilated!
Bargains were to be had. And items sought after were found.
Books! For not many dollars. I mean, seriously! Hardly any. And see there? Simply Felt!
Shorty sz 15s! And pretty ones, too! (Sixth Slippers are ready for seaming and felting. Seventh will be green!)
And yarn of much variety, prudently looked over, thoughtfully appraised and pondered, then brought home after forking over not much.
I am still heady with the excitement. Alas, my goal of my stash being less at year's end than at year's beginning looks less attainable.
Unless I forgo all other hobbies, work, housecleaning, and eating for knitting.
Oh, that reminds of one other purchase, which I did not photograph. Why, one may wonder, did Iron Needles buy herself the book, Dyer's Companion?
Because, I think, we can all agree, Iron Needles needs herself another craft. There were natural dyes there, too. I could not pass up a container of cochineal and one of madder, among others! It just sounds too cool! All earth mother-y and all.
I know. It's all crazy.
Except for the part about the books. Because books are always good.
And the needles, because I was needing them.
And the yarn, because it was all such a good deal, and good deals...are good.
I have been reviewing the few knitting magazines I have accumulated over the last few years. Most of them have come by way of Wisest Sister. (Thank you ever so much!)
Some have been found at the LYS as old issues at a discount. (I am such a tightwad.)
And I have several Spin-Offs I picked up for FREE at a fiber gathering. In a box of magazines. Marked ‘Free, Help Yourself’. I looked around, and it appeared they meant me! So I picked up 8 or 10 copies from 2000 through 2005. Seems that spinning articles aren’t that dated really. Much like the art of spinning. Go figure.
My intention is to find the perfect, yet elusive, sweater pattern, that will fit the bill regarding yarn weight and yardage, my skill level, my style and wearability, etc, etc, etc.
What I have found is…
An article on dying with food coloring
The Tahki Stacy Charles free pattern website
The Vogue Knitting website
There is one EZ book I don’t have yet
I may have to subscribe to Interweave Knits
Vogue models look way. too. serious. to be modeling mittens
A vintage weave-it loom to decorate my felted slippers would be an excellent addition (and I wonder if DSis has one…)
I want the book ‘Simply Felt’ by Docherty and Emerson
Three different articles on EZs life and times
Excellent how-tos for picot cast-on and cast-off, fleece washing, and kitchener grafting
The difference between fulling and felting and boiling (which I have forgotten now) (but could look up) (if I could find the right Spin-Off)
Plenty of patterns that I want to knit. Enough to keep me shopping for yarn for a very long time.
(And plenty of patterns that give me those what were they thinking moments…)