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March 28, 2007

Confidential, Top Secret

alt_hereConfidential.  Top Secret.  I'm only going to tell you -- yes you -- so you're on your honor to keep it under raps.  I've secretly started my own Ripple blanket.  I know, I know I was only going to swatch a few ripples, but the lure of the Ripple Siren was too much for my weak constitution.  To maintain my sanity and the sanity of those around me, I've limited myself to one ripple per day.  Remember this is top secret and you did not hear it from me.  This post will self destruct in 5 seconds -- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....

March 28, 2007 in Project - Crochet | Permalink | Comments (24)

March 27, 2007

On The Flip Side

The flip side of a blanket, a 45 record, or a pancake is often neglected -- you get what you get.  Today I took a close look at the flip side of my hefty baby blanket and you know what, I like it!  I love how the colors and yarn blend together, creating a nice juxtaposition to the graphic sharpness of the blanket's front.

March 27, 2007 in Knitting for the nona-nieces | Permalink | Comments (21)

March 25, 2007

The Heft

Blankets -- even ones for itty-bitty babies -- grow so slowly, progressing in fits and starts.  You knit and knit and knit only to find the thing a mere inch or two longer than the last time you measured.  Knit, knit, knit.  And then, all of a sudden -- almost out of no where -- you feel it.  The heft.  The heft of the blanket when you pull it out of the knitting bag.  The heft of the blanket when you place it in your lap.  The heft of the blanket as you knit, knit, knit.  Suddenly it's growing, quickly.  The heft, the Knitter's Tipping Point.

I'm cruising along, now that I've hit the tipping point.
nona can feel the heft.

I'm not sure if it's my old butt or this old chair, but I leave the biggest divot when I get up -- especially after watching several hours of March Madness.  Speaking of which, we have a new leader, "cknof", who is leading the way with 104 points.  If you're one of the leaders -- look to the left to see -- and I don't have your blog let me know so I can link to you.

March 25, 2007 in Knitting for the nona-nieces | Permalink | Comments (10)

March 23, 2007

Variation 2 & the Edge

March Madness baby!  A time, like no other -- except for Wimbledon and the U.S. Open -- to sit on your ass and knit.  The pleasure of knitting yesterday's swatch -- inspired by Jane's 8-patch quilt -- coupled with another basketball game resulted in Variation #2 of my 8-patch log cabin.

To quote a favorite children's song,
"2nd verse, same as the first. 
A little bit louder and a little bit worse."

If all goes as planned, I'll knit 6 variations on this simple motif and combine them into a small wall piece.  My swatching has provided ample opportunities to experiment and refine my improvisational knitting techniques.  I've recently begun using a new edge stitch taught to me by a friend who, in turn, learned it from Irene York.  This edge is excellent for proportionally square fabrics, such as garter stitch, making it neat and easy to pick up stitches or to join pieces while knitting. 

Here's the skinny:

On every row, knit into the back of the first stitch and then slip the last stitch purlwise with yarn in front.  Tersely for your enjoyment.  First stitch -> ktbl.  Last stitch -> sl wyif.

March 23, 2007 in Improvisational Knitting | Permalink | Comments (18)

March 17, 2007

Knit Off Round 2

The 2nd Round of Knit Off was a mad dash -- an outright sprint -- to the finish line as the 16 of us knit a lace doily.  The DK yarn I'd prepared for this round was not the ideal choice for a doily, but at 6:30 in the morning one is not particularly choosy.  I luckily squeaked past my worthy opponent, Maureen, and am onto Round 3.  In Round 3 -- which begins March 31st -- I'll face the speedy Sarah.

March Madness Pick'em
After the 3rd day of March Madness the Knit Pickers have a new leader, "hepinblanc", who is closely pursued by  Deb, Donna, and Maryse -- all just 1 point behind.  We still have lots of knitting time -- I mean basketball -- ahead of us! 

March 17, 2007 in Fun & Games | Permalink | Comments (16)

March 16, 2007

New Things

I like new things.  I like change.  I like experimenting.  With the blanket I'm knitting for 3 day old nona-niece-the-newest -- who, by the way, is super cute -- I'm trying several two new things; the Addi Turbo Lace Needles and the Russian Join.

nona loves trying new things and is hooked on the needles

The new Addi Turbo lace needles are wonderful -- dare I say perfect --- and worth every single doggone penny -- 1595 of them.  The tip, the cord, the metal, the join -- what more can a girl ask for, except a larger range of needle sizes.  Excellent review and additional details here

Weaving ends in is my knitting nemisis.  It's high time for a change. Time to try one of the many yarn joining techniques out their.  For this yarn I selected the Russian Join.   So far so good -- the join is a tad bit bulky, but is not visible with this yarn and stitch pattern. Are you ready for a change?  Try something new!

March Madness
6:00pm PST -- March Madness is in full swing!  We have 4 "Knit Pickers" tied for 1st place -- Deb, Melissa, Preeti, & Kate -- with many more in hot pursuit.

9:30pm PST -- All the games are in for the evening and we have a new leader -- Preeti, with 24 points.  Following close behind with 23 points are Kate, Jennifer, Deb, and Melissa.  We'll see what tomorrow brings...

March 16, 2007 in nonaReviews, Tips and Techniques | Permalink | Comments (10)

March 14, 2007

Acid Green

Welcome to the world nona-niece-the-newest!  Good thing I've started your blanket -- the opportune word being started.  Some projects come easily, while others are more of a struggle.  I swatched, and swatched, and swatched, and swatched for this blanket before settling on this variation.

I love the soft, feminine combination of the petal pink, dusky raspberry, and butter yellow with just enough acid green and strong orange to keep the whole thing from getting too sickly sweet.  Because, my friends, in our family we like our girls to have a bit of kick and vigor!

March 14, 2007 in Knitting for the nona-nieces | Permalink | Comments (21)

March 12, 2007

March Madness

If nonaPicks, then you can too!

March Madness, my friends, March Madness.  No matter what your level of College Basketball knowledge, joining a March Madness NCAA Pick'em Pool is a must.  My top 5 reasons for joining a Pick'em Pool:

Reason 5:  Everyone else is joining.

Reason 4:  There will be prizes.

Reason 3:  You can impress the males in your life by uttering the simple phrase, "Who do you have going to the final four?"

Reason 2:  The competitive spirit is good for your complexion

And the Number One reason for joining a March Madness Pick'em Pool:

There are lots and lots of games to watch, which translates into lots and lots of knitting time!

Don't have a pool to join?  nona's got you covered!  I'm hosting a Pick'em Tournament for knitters on Yahoo Sports.  It's easy and fun to join and seriously, you don't have to know anything about basketball to get into the spirit.  If you're interested in joining, please leave a comment or send me an email -- nonaKnits at gmail dot com -- and I'll send you the link and sign in information.   

March 12, 2007 in Fun & Games | Permalink | Comments (40)

March 11, 2007

Improvisational Tutorial

My love for color, short rows, and log cabin construction coupled with my fascination with the quilts of Gee’s Bend and Nancy Crow have inspired my improvisational knitting.

I've written a tutorial for those interested in giving improvisational knitting a try.  Curiosity and a sense of humor are the only prerequisites for learning this style of knitting.  Once you understand — and are comfortable — with the techniques please abandon my instructions and let your own creativity take over.  Experiment!  Be curious!  Don’t be afraid of failure!  What’s the worst that can happen!?  It’s only knitting.

Not interested in a full tutorial?  Continue reading for a list of improvisational knitting "rules of thumb". 

Here are a few heuristics to consider for your own improvisational knitting.  These are not hard and fast rules, please experiment and find what works best for you and your knitting.

  • Work in garter stitch.
  • Use the YO short row technique — it’s fast and easy to work, especially with garter stitch

  • Whenever you encounter a YO, knit the YO together with the next stitch.  This closes the gap caused by turning mid row and keeps your stitch count consistent.

  • Add a new color on a right side row.

  • You’re going to have a lot of ends, so knit your ends in as you go.  I typically knit the old color’s end in on the 1st row of the new color and the new color’s end in at the next opportunity.

  • When you add a new color, level off the current shape — more or less — before adding any new wonkiness.   This keeps the piece from getting too lop-sided.

  • For greater complexity and depth of color, use several shades or textures of the same color.

  • Think about line verses shape.  2 rows will read as a line, while 4 or more will read as a shape.

  • Keep it improvisational!  Don’t think or plan too much.  Turn when you feel like turning!  Likewise, change colors or work in a different direction when your eye or intuition tells you it’s time.

March 11, 2007 in Improvisational Knitting, Tips and Techniques | Permalink | Comments (30)

March 05, 2007

Knit Off Round 1

I told you didn't I?  Told you that I'm competitive?  Yes?  Well then, it should come as no surprise that on Saturday morning I jumped out of bed, ran to the computer, scribbled down the pattern for the first round of Knit Off, casted on, and knit like hell. Julie – aka Yarn Monkey – picked an excellent pattern for the first round. Uniscarfity designed by Jodie required practice -- and several rounds of ripping -- to get the Brioche Stitch right and a little inginuity to get the borders flat.  Once down, the stitch pattern had a nice rhtymn and the scarf grew quickly.

Since we were working at varying gauges, the scarf was declared "done" after 72 repeats of the contrasting color.  So even though I "finished" the scarf for the competition, I'm going to keep knitting to make it longer -- Knitter's Choice.

In this initial round, Julie grouped us into pools of about 6-7 knitters.  The first knitter in each pool to finish moves on to the 2nd round -- a round of 16.   Onto Round 2 for nona -- starting March 17th.

March 5, 2007 in Fun & Games | Permalink | Comments (23)

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