Friday, December 11, 2009

Square Sock toes

This sock toe is great. It's really easy, and it warps to fit any sort of foot. It can be used with most toe up sock patterns....just don't do the toe they suggest, do this one.

Figure out how many stitches you want the foot to be (look in your pattern, or do the math, whatever).

Divide that number by 4. Let's name this number....Alfred (if it is not even, just round it down, and increase those 1-3 sts in the last row).

Cast on Alfred stitches with any provisional cast on you feel like. I like the invisible cast on, here, at (scroll down), but any will do.

Work in garter stitch, knitting each row, until you have Alfred ridges on both sides (this will be Alfred times 2 number of rows).

Pick up Alfred stitches along the next side....if you have two circs, just pick up sts, one per ridge, with the needle tip with the yarn tail hanging from it. Pick one spot at the very edge of the ridge, to pick the st through, and use that same place in each ridge, to make it smooth and even. If you need to, finagle the last sts/ridge just a bit. If you are using dpns, then use a second needle to pick up these sts.

Now take out the waste yarn, putting the new, live sts from the cast on onto another circ or dpn.

Pick up sts along the last side, same as the 2nd side, onto that second circ or a 4th dpn.

Count your sts, making sure you have the required number for your pattern. Each circ should have 1/2 (twice Alfred), each dpn should have Alfred. If you had to round down to get Alfred, now increase to match your pattern and you knit the next row, and put them on your needles as the pattern requires. Continue with your pattern. This toe is a bit shallower than many short row toes, so you may need a few more rows before the ball of the foot. Most patterns measure from the tip of the toe to judge when it's time to start the heel, so changing the toe works for most patterns.

The points of the square will point up the sides, center top and center bottom of your foot.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It's about time I documented the embroidery I did for my synagogue, Congregation Kerem Shalom.


Years ago, our synagogue got a new old new Torah. It was originally in a synagogue in Czechoslovakia. The Nazis murdered all the Jews in that town, and stole the valuables. The Torah was tattooed, cataloged, and placed in storage, to be part of a display in a museum of an extinct race. Ugh.
Here are the red letters the Nazis painted on the rollers. They used to be brighter, but handling has rubbed much of it off. The Torah wasn't well cared for under the Nazis, but it has had some conservation, although I wish it could have some more.

There are many Torahs like this, that were rescued and placed in synagogues for safe keeping. Here is more information.

Sixteen years ago, I was asked to make a cover for this Torah. I drew a tree of life, and embroidered it in wool on wool fabric and lined it in cotton. I kept the stitches simple, it's mostly outline stitch, with long and short stitch, satin stitch, couching, and some simple fillers.

I loved the camel, he was fun!

I really enjoyed the colors, and who could resist adding a lion and lamb to a Tree of Life? As is obvious, I had fun with the animals...when you aren't restricted by reality, you can put a goose into the tree with the seal!

The metal pointer is a yod, used to keep your place when chanting Torah, so that your finger oils don't damage the ink. They are usually decorative, as well as functional, and hang from the rollers, looking pretty, until the scroll is undressed, opened up and read.


Here is a page of the Torah

And here you can see it rolled up, ready to be dressed.

I did much of the embroidery with my then 1 yr old daughter strapped to my back! At her Bat Mitzvah, she carried this Torah around the sanctuary in the traditional processional, and then chanted from it. It's still part of Jewish life cycles, despite its history!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Double Knitting!

I'm learning double knitting, in yet a new way! I've done plenty of it like Beverly Royce wrote about, in the OOP Notes on Double Knitting. Very useful for skinny tubes, but I don't bother with it otherwise. Right now, I'm doing double knitting colorwork, M'lou style! Double Knitting: Reversible Two-Color Designs I'm really enjoying it. I want to do a cap, but I needed a gauge swatch, so, since Abe has refinished my old cribbage table, it needs some here is the first.
the front
and the back.

I'm noticing a lot of unevenness...I think that many of the spots are from twisting the yarns together on the inside. The top bit has much less of this, and that was when I figured out how to make the yarns stay in the same orientation, and actually knit faster!

This is a really fun technique. You have double the number of stitches, and have to pass the yarn forward and back between each stitch, as you knit the stitches for the front, then purl the stitches for the back, working each pair, one in each color. SInce you use each color once for each pair of stitches, the tension problems I usually have when trying to carry two colors in one hand don't happen. So I'm doing this in Contental style knitting, because it's easier to pass the yarn forward between stitches.

I'm finding this hard to put down...I keep wanting to see what it'll look like when I get just one more row done. You can't see the pattern on the row on the needles, because it's doubled, with the reverse video interspersed, so you need to knit another row to see the last row!

I'm using sock yarn now, this is Knitpicks Palate. The cap will be in Regia.

I'm still chugging away on Ellen's sweater...but I've got 5 inches of stockinette to do, and I'm about an inch into it. It's in my bag, for my "out and about" knitting.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ribbing Woes

I'm using Manos Del Uruguay. It's a silk/wool blend. Singles....LOVELY yummy scrunchy crunchy silky yarn.

This is what I want:

But this is what I have got:

What is the difference? Well the pattern yarn is Posh, a cashmere silk mix. Notice the lack of wool. Cashmere and silk ribbing is pretty flat, with very little sproing to just doesn't draw up. If you are making a sweater out of that, that lack of drawing up may make you nuts! So the pattern has these really wide ribbed bands, that don't draw up, mostly for looks, not for holding in power (the pattern photos aren't online. sigh). If I want mine to match, I need my bands to not draw in. As you can see, they are drawing in a LOT. Lovely snug ribbing....just not what I want this time. So in order to get rid of the drawing in I'm trying using a huge needle. It is working, but the stitches are, of course, huge!


Of course, it looks like I'll have to just knit a few inches, and then see. What a nuisance. Relaxed this one is about 16 inches, while the last was only 9. So we are getting there, except for the stitch size/neatness. I'll probably have to compromise with one size smaller needle and some blocking, but I'd rather not depend on the blocking for this one, so I'm willing to risk another 4 inches of frogging...but at least the larger stitches mean fewer rows!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I gotta crow

I'm feeling quite clever.

I just finished my Icelandic Neck Shawl, done as a full size shawl, from the Schoolhouse Press Shawlalong. It's blocking, and still wet....that unspun Icelandic yarn holds a lot of water!

The shawl was pretty easy, except I didn't measure, and decided I wanted it bigger after I finished the base triangle, but before I added the border, so I added a bunch of borders, first, then the pattern's border.

The pattern border is ruffled....this is where the cleverness comes in...see how I blocked it!



I figured, since the ruffle is 3-D, and I can't fit it all next to itself, down on the table, I might as well make it 3-D! I had already laced some crochet cotton through all the loops along the edges, so stringing some blocking wires through the bases/indents of the scallops was easy.

It is taking forever to dry, though!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why is iPhoto not succeeding in transferring things? Is it just to make me nuts? Yeah, that must be it.

Anyway....I have FABRIC!

For Val:


I now have to put these together!

The blue is a bit slatier in person, it's a changeable silk, the folds shimmer blues and grey-blue in the light. I tried light blue and royal.....ICK! Just wouldn't work. This made both Wendy and me smile, so it won!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mum's birthday

At the sheep and wool festival I got my mum a birthday present!

The new knit kits were on display at Holiday Yarns. We were all laughing a bit, because most people think that they looked like birth control pill packs. Abe thought that they looked like toilets. And then when I looked at the package out of the corner of my eye, I thought it said "toilet"! Very unfortunate design. Despite this being the first generation, and I'm sure that the next version will be much better, it's still a handly little gadget. As for it's unfortunate looks, I have a daughter who is quite handy with her paint pens from the craft store (the kind you have to shake and they have a ball bearing to mix the paint, and a brush tip you have to push up inside to get the paint to flow).

Here is what Wendy did to her grandma's new knit kit before we mailed it!

Looks great, now!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I love a good sheep and wool festival! Today at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival it was terrific. Ok, my knee hurt. A lot. That wasn't at all terrific. But the festival was fun. I was a bit restrained in my shopping, at least compared to what some years were like, and compared to what I wanted to buy!

I saw people. I saw some people from La Leche League, who I haven't seen in years. That was fun. I talked to lots and lots of people. I like being able to see someone with a Tsarina kit (the leaves/wine one) and ask if they've done those before, and discuss it, and mention I'm working on the Scheherazade Shawl, and have them say, "oh, I know that pattern...lovely", and not look at me like I have two heads!

I met Claudia! I've read her blog for a couple of years, I've emailed with her, but I've never spotted her and her orange tandem, despite being in the places she rode by many times...but today I finally met her! I was sitting, resting, telling Abe that I was hoping to see Claudia and Julia (Moth Heaven, but I didn't spot her. I met her last year). And then, there Claudia was! That was great timing. When I was talking to The Tsarina, I also met Dan. He's fun, too!

I bought no yarn. Nope, none! But I DID buy fleece. It's red. It's pretty. I love it. Got it from Jennifer, it's dyed by Damselfly Yarns. I have been spinning again, having had to get my wheel working again, to be in the filming shoot for Lexington Historical Society. So I got this nice red. Of course, I MEANT to get something with more distinct colors, and didn't. So, I'll need another, if I go back tomorrow, I'll get Jennifer dyed one, probably.
red roving

I've been able to get yarn, not good yarn, but yarn nevertheless on my spinning wheel all along. I figured it was just a matter of practice to get good. I finally learned to watch the little triangle of drafting fiber, nothing else, and only let the twist into it when I'm ready. NOW I'm getting much more even and thin yarn. I think it'll be sock weight when I ply it, so I'm pretty pleased. So I figured it was time to learn to use a drop spindle. I was never able to actually get yarn on one the other times I tried. I figured that it was a matter of 1) practice and 2) that triangle of drafting, although I wasn't sure how. So I sensibly went to the person I knew who was the most recent and obscessed convert to spinning. The Tsarina of Tsocks. I figured Lisa'd have good advice to a beginner, having just been one, and would know what spindle would likely be good, and be able to describe what to look for clearly. I was right. She had the most evil look of delight when I asked! She sent me to Bosworth for this.

It's purpleheart wood, and weighs 1.13 oz. I will try it out soon!

I got some plain creamy colored fleece. It still smells a bit woolly. It's cormo and alpaca. It's yummy. It's for playing with the drop spindle. It will be fun, it's so soft. I hope to get something fingeringish weight, and to make a really simple shawl out of some forgiving pattern.
cormo alpaca roving

She gave me a quick demo, and I realized that she was suggesting a technique very similar to what I use on the wheel....soon, soon, and I will see.

I've been working on my Scheherazade Shawl for Wendy...prom is this Friday....think I'll make it?
scherctrschercloseup edgescherend
I have about 20 rows in the chart plus a border to that is 40 rows plus 2 borders on the ends.

You are supposed to provisionally cast on, for the center. Then work out to one side, do the border then pick up the center, and repeat. BORING. After I worked a few rows in the center, I picked up the cast on, and with another ball, caught that side up. Now I work the rows twice, one for each side. It's much faster, in the long run, because each row is completely different, so when I do it the second time, I sort of remember it, rather than having to completely relearn it if I were doing them totally separately. It goes fairly quickly...when I work on it!

I added beads to it, that weren't called for. Wendy picked out fairly large purply-maroon round faceted ones. I added them along the zigzags on the sides. The yarn is zephyr laceweight, of course. I really like that stuff!

I've got it in my favorite little bag.

The other side:

Only certain projects can go in this bag. Wendy's prom shawl counts. I've had it 22 years, (I's a number, and it changes. Every year!). I got it on the NY Air flight, with an apple, cheese, crackers and juice in it (remember when airlines gave you food?) I was seated next to this guy...the one who asked me what IHTFP meant (it was on my MIT shirt), because he said he couldn't remember, he knew that there were lots of answers....and then while we talked about that, he mentioned a friend's wedding he'd been to, that many of my friends had gone to...and, well, anyway, we've been married for 21 years, now. So it's a special little knitting bag.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Almost there!

I've been working on, obsessing about, and basically living my earth stripe wrap. It's almost done. I decided to leave off the fringe, and put a border on. It's only one strand of kidsilk haze, on size 5 or 6 needles (needle gauge is awol, as usual...and I even got a new one!). The stole itself is on a size smaller needle, double stranded. I'm using feather and fan, in garter stitch for the border. I picked up stitches all around the stole. I can't be bothered purling for garter stitch, and since I'm changing colors each row, I don't even need to wrap and turn to knit on the wrong side, since I already have to weave in the ends...I'm just knitting a row, then turning, and adding in the new color!

I just started casting off. I did about 6 inches, and realized that I meant to use pink to cast off, but I was using the purple. And I really prefer the pink, so I had to frog, although it's not ripping, it's picking! Mohair doesn't like to ravel!

beginning borderESW

Now, if you do a bit of a swatch on the side of your work, to figure out how many stitches to pick up, and it comes out a little loose....then you pick up that way all around, and then start working feather and fan, would you be surprised that you were getting a bit of a ruffle? Well, why was I surprised? As it turns out, I think I like the ruffle. I hope so, because I don't want to frog a week's worth of mohair!

Now, here is my brilliant idea...put a safety pin through the tightening holes on Knitpicks interchangeable needles. Stitches can't fall off!

earthstripe pinned needle