April 30, 2007
KnitOff Finals: Day 3
7:48am -- I can feel the anticipation mounting -- who will be the first to yell BINGO? For some strange reason -- perhaps it's fatigue -- I'm particularly drawn to the wrong side center of my doilie.
2:11pm -- Integrating production style knitting into the responsibilities of day-to-day life has been challenging and has helped me appreciate the generations of women who have supplemented their household income by knitting. Can you imagine knitting a sweater a week -- week after week -- while raising your children, running your household, and working. Thank goodness this is only a fun, light-hearted competition.
On a different note, have you ever wondered what 1344 stitches would look like on a 40" circular needle? Wonder no more...
5:17pm -- I just had a visit from one of my knitting friends who brought me a few necessities -- Peet's coffee and candy. Thank You Esther! Based on yesterday's swatch, I've decided to add some color to the final border of the doilie.
5:33pm -- Michelle has finished her doilie. She's an awesome knitter and a well deserving KnitOff Champion. I have 7 rounds left to go and plan to finish tonight. This was an excellent pattern and the perfect "final" challenge. I definately wanted to win, but to quote nona-son-the-younger -- "I'm over it already". Knit On!
5/1 1:29am -- I was intent -- some might say obsessed -- with finishing my doilie tonight, but have bonked out with only half the crochet bindoff left to finish. Will finish tomorrow and post a photo. This is an amazing piece of lace, which I think can be a shawl once it is blocked out.
April 29, 2007
KnitOff Finals: Day 2
Many, many thanks to you all for your cheers and support. You keep me smiling and knitting -- Thank You!
8:57am -- Knitting lace reminds me of the classic children's story of the ugly duckling. While the lace is on the needles, it resembles a muddled mess at best. To get glimpses of its real beauty you need to forcefully spread it open. Just be sure you don't force the stitches of the needle -- whoops. My hands were a little sore this morning, and I a bit groggy. But once I got knitting -- and had my coffee -- I found my rhythm. Knit On!
3:06pm -- Background sound helps keep me focused through the many hours of knitting. I don't know what I'd do without my PAL radio. Besides the fact that it looks super cool, it's portable, rechargeable, and can serve as speakers for an i-pod or CD play -- allowing me to listen to baseball games, music play-lists, audio books, and lecture series. What would I do without my PAL?
7:38pm -- I was desperate for a few more stitch markers, so made a few out of scrap yarn. I love this bright yellow-green against the coral and am thinking about working the last few rounds in a couple of accent colors. When in doubt, swatch.
11:01pm -- I'm starting to feel like the Energizer Bunny -- still going.
April 28, 2007
KnitOff Finals: Day 1
6:45am -- I've been up for over an hour knitting away on this for the 5th -- and final -- round of KnitOff 2007. At 5:48am I was zipping over to my LYS -- hee, hee I have a key -- to get some Shetland Spindrift yarn for the shawl. I wanted a yarn with a bit of bite, which I think will help me go faster in the end. If you're interested, I'll be posting my progress throughout the day. Back to the needles...
11:14am -- Are you as shocked as I am that Brady Quinn didn't go to the Miami Dolphins as the 9th pick? What? Not watching the NFL draft? It's the perfect knitting accompaniment. I'm off the double pointed needles, off the 16" circular needle, and onto my wonderful 24" Addi Turbo lace needles. Looks like a fancy hair net, doesn't it!
3:57pm -- Ouch! I made a silly mistake that took about an hour to recover from. I suppose this is one of the joys of lace. I was forced to take a working lunch to recover the time -- leftover spicy chickpeas, yum.
9:44pm -- Sometimes loving math is not a good think, especially when coupled with curiosity. I peeked ahead, did a few rough calculations, and realized we'll have over 800 stitches per round by the time this beast -- I mean doilie -- is complete. Luckily both Michelle and I are enjoying the lace knitting, although I'm going to try to forget about the behemoth rounds in my near future. A big thank you to the nona-mom who brought us dinner tonight -- Thanks Mom!
Lots and lots and lots of stitches with lots more to come.
P.S. -- Thank you, kind readers, for all your support, cheering, and fun comments -- I appreciate you so much!!!
April 23, 2007
Worth the Re-Knit
I faught the Battle of the Bulge and won. No, slim-and-trim reader, I did not loose 5 pounds, but I did get the edging on nona-niece-the-youngest's blanket to lie nice and flat. It was definately -- most definately -- worth the rip and re-knit.
My first attempt at the blanket's vertical yellow borders rippled and bulged dramatically. So much so, that I immediately frogged the darn things and set my gray-matter to work on sleuthing out the problem and a solution. If you're curious in the results, read on...
Ripples and bulges are a clear indication of too many picked up stitches. In general, it takes fewer stitches than rows to fill an inch. The difference between the stitch gauge and the row gauge is called the stitch-to-row ratio, which for stockinette stitch is typically 3-to-4 (or .75). This is why many patterns instruct you to pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows. When I initially worked the vertical border, I didn't think -- my first mistake -- and blindly picked up 3 stitches for every 4 rows -- about 208 stitches. This was obviously too many stitches.
I needed to calculate my own stitch-to-row ratio based on the stitch gauge of the 2x2 Basket Weave used for the blanket's edging and the row gauge of the 2-Color Star Stitch used for the blanket's body. The stitch gauge -- 21 stitches in 4 inches -- divided by the row gauge -- 36 rows in 4 inches -- is the stitch-to-row ratio -- 21 / 36 = .59, which I rounded to .6 (6/10). So, I needed to pick up 6 stitches every 10 rows or 3 stitches every 5 rows. Following this ratio, I picked up 164 stitches and produced a well behaved, flat border.
The Moral of the Story
Different stitch patterns have different stitch-to-row ratios. Take the time to calculate your ratio before embarking on the pick up.
April 19, 2007
To the Finals
Please beg my pardon, cheering reader, nona's been terribly rude to keep you in the dark. My excuse? Well, I've been caught up -- some may say self absorbed -- with my Rowing Out dilemma and with your many helpful suggestions and tips. So caught up, that I forgot to mention the KnitOff 2007 results. Unofficially I won my semi-final match against Marie, finishing a massive hunk of Entrelac -- which, by the way, I loved knitting -- Tuesday at high-noon. The finals are set to begin Saturday, April 28. I'll be facing the extremely speedy Michelle. I'm going for it, my friends, going for it!
April 18, 2007
Thank you to all the creative commenters who participated in Sunday's Quiz. Many of you sleuthful knitters correctly deduced that the textural difference observed in my Baby Bell Bottoms was due to knitting back and forth -- the legs -- verses knitting in the round -- the body. Although it's possible -- as Ava suggests -- that "one too many of the aforementioned Starbucks beverages" might have played a marginal role.
And the cause? I knit using the "Western" method, which means I wrap my yarn counter-clockwise when both knitting and purling. Although this sounds impressively consistent, it does mean that my purl stitch uses slightly more yarn than my knit stitch. I first discovered the inadequacies of my enlarged purl stitch when solving my saggy ribbing problem. Priscilla Gibson-Roberts calls this phenomenon rowing out and comments that "it is not a mark of excellence". Ouch. My rowing out is not always visible, but Calmer -- a cotton and microfiber yarn -- seems to accentuate the slightly bigger purl stitches.
The solution? I suppose I have 3 solutions -- 1) live with it, 2) add more tension to the yarn when purling, or 3) create my purl stitch using the same amount of yarn as the knit stitch by wrapping the yarn in the opposite direction -- clockwise. I think this calls for some swatching!
April 16, 2007
In the Throes
April 15, 2007
On Friday, for a variety of unrelated reasons, I spent 7 hours in the LAX airport with a broad sampling of humanity. Needless to say I had plenty of time to knit, read, people watch, and drink several Starbucks beverages. Plenty of time in fact to finish a pair of Baby Bell Bottoms for nona-niece-the-newest. These adorable pants were quick and easy to knit. I used Rowan's Calmer -- remember the swatch -- and love the soft stretchy feel of the fabric.
Time for a quiz. Look carefully at these pants, sleutful reader (click on the picture for a larger view). Can you see the texture difference between the legs and the body of these pants? Do you know the cause? Answer reveled tomorrow...
April 10, 2007
Battle of the Bulge
The battle of the bulge, my friends, the battle of the bulge. This inevitable struggle is periodically encountered along the journey we call life -- though more frequently in these middle years. For some the battle is fought around the waistline, while for others it's waged around the blanket. Consulting the dictionary reveals several definitions for bulge; "to jut out" -- yep -- "to bend outward" -- sad, but true -- and "to become swollen or protuberant" -- sums it up.
Will I stand for the bulge? No way! Will the bulge claim me? Never! I stand here before you, fist raised, in solidarity against the bulge. Ripples are to be left where they belong. Three cheers for Rip and Re-Knit.
April 09, 2007
My daily -- almost daily -- ripple is turning out to be a treat. Each morning I lay out my ripple blanket with the yarn for the next color. If my day is going smoothly and I've been a good girl I sneak in 20-30 minutes to crochet the next ripple. Mindless and satisfying. I've decided to go for a beachy palette -- blues, greens, yellows, tans -- with a hit of 1950s color.
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