Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Midweek Meditation

I missed my (usually on Wednesday) "Midweek Meditation" last week because the Knitcircus, Issue #15, Fall 2011 went live that day!...and my first ever published pattern was in it!!!

But, I cannot do this very often, because I have many far too many non-knitting friends and family, and I have told them that Wednesday is a good day to look in on my blog for non-knitting content.  Of course I can tell that they hardly ever never do.  But still I carry on...

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.  ~Michelangelo

I do love a good creativity quote!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's Here!

What is it?

Page 51 starts an article on WomenHeart and the Health and Love scarf design contest, with my winning design sketch and the following photos of the scarf that I made from Briar Rose "Glory Days" DK.

Pages 110/111 have my scarf description and inspiration with a link at the top corner to download the pattern, which is free to encourage charity knitting.

As I say on my pattern page at Ravelry, please use my pattern to create a scarf for a WomenHeart group or other deserving charity.

I will be popping in at the Love & Prayers Womenheart KAL (which will be starting very soon) at the Knitcircus Group Forum on Ravelry.

This Saturday, August 27, at 1:30, I will be at Gosh Yarn It!, my LYS, for the kick-off of a Love & Prayers WomenHeart KAL.

(All photos are courtesy of Knitcircus Magazine.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Coming!

What is it?

Knitcircus Magazine, Issue #15, Fall 2011

This Wednesday, August 24.

What will be in it?
Fall 2011 will feature a record 27 knitting and crochet patterns!

And what else?

My very own LOVE AND PRAYERS Scarf pattern!  (Only a sneak peek for now.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sock Blocking

There is no good reason to block a sock other than to make it photograph well.

Socks on sock blockers.  I made the two smaller ones from cardboard.

I cannot get a good sock photograph unless the sock is on a foot or has been washed and blocked.
The four socks above were made from my Fingering Weight TATU Sock pattern in each of the four sizes:  child's medium, child's large, women's and men's.  This pattern is being test knit now and will soon be available on Ravelry.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kitchener Stitch Bind-Off Tutorial

As promised, I am posting a tutorial on the Kitchener Stitch Bind-Off which I learned from THE KNITTER’S BOOK OF FINISHING TECHNIQUES by Nancie M. Wiseman [Martingale & Co, 2002].  My tutorial will show this bind-off being worked in the round, and more particularly, on the top of a toe-up sock made from my Fingering Weight TATU Sock Pattern.
After you work the six rows of 1 x 1 ribbing; gather the sock, still on two needles; a spare needle (close to the same size), a tapestry needle and scissors.

Half of the stitches are on each of your two circular needles, and each needle begins with a knit stitch.  Place the stitches that were last knit (in the back of the above photo) on a spare needle.  Mine are on a slightly smaller needle with a purple cable in the photo below.  Slide the remaining half of stitches (in front) to the right needle tip as if to be knit (also shown below).

Find the left tip of the same needle and hold it with the tip of the needle that you just removed from the back stitches.  Begin to separate the knit and purl stitches onto these two needle tips.  All of the stitches are slipped purlwise.  Slip the first (knit) stitch on one needle, and then behind this, slip the next (purl) stitch on the other needle.  Repeat across.

Slide the stitches to the right needle tips.  When viewed from front or back, knit stitches are facing you.

Cut the working yarn long enough to go around the top of the sock plus about 24 inches.  Thread the yarn through your yarn needle.  (This next part may sound familiar to you, if you have mastered the Kitchener stitch for grafting.)  With the yarn needle go through the first stitch on front needle as if to purl.

Then go through the first stitch on back needle as if to knit.


* Go through first stitch on front needle as if to knit and through next stitch on front needle as if to purl.  Drop the first stitch.

Go through first stitch on back needle as if to purl and through next stitch on back needle as if to knit.  Drop the first stitch.

Repeat from * until one stitch remains on each of the two working needles. It is very important to tension the bind-off to match the stretch of the ribbing.  Periodically stop and pull the top of the ribbing out to the right as shown below.

When you have only one stitch left on each needle,

turn the sock and move stitches on the spare needle to right tip of needle.  Then one by one move the knit stitches to your front needle and the purl stitches to your back needle, as before.

Slide all stitches to the right as before.  Continue to work the Kitchener bind-off from * above.

Finish by passing yarn through last stitch on front needle as if to knit and drop it.  Pass needle through top right side of next knit stitch to the left as if to purl.  (This is shown in next photo below.)

Then pass needle through the last stitch on back needle as if to purl.  Drop it.  Pass needle through top right side of the next purl stitch to the left as if to knit.

Weave in end.

This is my favorite way to finish a toe-up sock.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Midweek Meditation

"A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it."   Alexandre Dumas


Sunday, August 14, 2011

What the Heck is the Kitchener Stitch Bind-Off?

In a recent post I showed you a lovely pink garment on which I used the Kitchener stitch bind-off in four places.  Here is a new photo of it on the top of a toe-up sock.

It does have some limitations.  It is best used on 1 x 1 rib.  I have to admit that I never tried it on anything else.  It is very stretchy, and as I said in the aforementioned post, I really love the way it looks.  I learned how to do this bind-off from THE KNITTER'S BOOK OF FINISHING TECHNIQUES by Nancie M Wiseman [Martingale, 2002] also mentioned in that recent post.

When I wrote my original TATU (Try A Toe Up) sock pattern (available here) I chose to use this bind-off, and I wrote my own instructions on how to execute it on the top of a sock.

But, the question still remains, "What the heck is the Kitchener stitch bind-off?"  After doing some research here on the internet, my conclusion is that it is actually a tubular bind-off, but it is 'set-up' on a front and back needle, so that it is more like 'Kitchener-ing' to work.

Two points remain:  (1) You can find tubular bind-off directions that DO have the stitches separated on front and back needles, and you can find tubular bind-off directions that DO NOT. (I cannot imagine how much more difficult it would be all on one needle, but it is possible.  I have seen it on the internet.☺)  (2) Most directions for the tubular bind-off have you work four set-up rows that involve slipping half of the stitches.  (I never did this.  Nancie's version has none of that.  By rights, I should try it once to see if it makes a difference, but I am quite satisfied with the results I get without doing so.)

And finally, the only real grumbles (just a few) that I heard about the TATU Sock Pattern were about this bind-off.  It does have to be tensioned correctly to match the stretch of the ribbing.  Anyone who does not like it can use a sewn bind-off instead.

For my next 'serious knitting' post, I will be working on a tutorial of the Kitchener stitch bind-off.  I have a Fingering Weight TATU Sock Pattern being offered for test knitting in the Free Pattern Testers Group Forum at Ravelry.  I am hoping that this might help the test knitters when they get to it.  But, maybe they won't need help?☺

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Midweek Meditation

Alex Haley said,
“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.”

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”

“Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.”

While I do like the first two, it was the last one that made me smile.
Alex Haley was born on August 11, 1921.  (When I created this post I thought that the 11th was a Wednesday!  Oh,well.)
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Book I Recommend

I have often recommended Nancie M. Wiseman's book on finishing techniques to my knitting students.  It is aptly titled THE KNITTER'S BOOK OF FINISHING TECHNIQUES [Martingale & Co, 2002] and the publisher's description may be found here.

I have learned much from this book, though I have owned it for only about five years.

I have learned to make all kinds of woven seams.  It is a fact that back in the dark ages, when I first learned to knit and seam sweaters, my mother taught me to make back stitch seams (it was the only kind of seam that she and her sisters ever used).  I could do a decent job with these, but it was always a pain to have to keep turning the work to see how it was coming out on the right side.  Woven seams are done with right sides facing and are practically invisible.  The book covers all possibilities in woven seams.  Now I always adjust my ribbing for seaming as on page 66-67.  Often I wonder why I did not think to do that on my own.  But I did not.
See more on this project here on Ravelry.
See more on this project here on Ravelry.
There are side seams in the middle of each photo above.
My favorite button hole is the One-Row Buttonhole -- Revised Method, pages 116-117.
See more on this project here on Ravelry.
My first tubular cast, pages 20-23, really impressed me.
See more on this project here on Ravelry.
What I plan to talk about even more in my next post is Nancie M Wiseman's "Grafting or Kitchener Stitch Bind Off", pages 54-55.  It really is a beautiful thing!

See more on this project here on Ravelry.
I modified the above sweater just so I could use the Kitchener bind-off (in the round) for all of the ribbing.

Final thoughts:  There are so very many knitting videos out in the world today.  I have students who literally learned to knit from videos.  I do tell those students that this book might not appeal to them.  It is somewhat old-fashioned with finished photos followed by only words and illustrations to describe what to do.  But in just five years it has taught this "old dog" some "new tricks".
Thanks, Nancie!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some Things I know About Grandma S

I mentioned my grandmother's sewing in a recent post.  Here is a photo of her crocheting on a family vacation to Canada a very long time ago.  (Sorry about the quality of the photo, and that she is not smiling.)  (I am sure that she made her outfit.  She hardly ever wore pants, so I would call it vacation attire.)

I know that Grandma S, the daughter of Polish immigrants, did not have nice kitchen curtains in her home when she was a child.  She told me this in order to explain why she had so very many sets of kitchen curtains which she changed with the season.  She made all the curtains herself.  My favorites had pretty machine appliqued flowers on them.  I am sure that they were her own design.

I know that my grandmother married at 18, and that my grandfather was a coal miner.  They raised five children (my father was their oldest) during the Great Depression.  I know that there was one winter during the hardest of those years when Grandma S went without a winter coat (her only coat was given to a sister).  She told me this in order to explain why she had a whole closet full of winter coats that she made herself.

The night that my grandmother died (after a long hospitalized coma) I was 23 and living alone in a new apartment.  I could not sleep.  In the middle of the night I made curtains for my kitchen window from some white eyelet fabric that she had given me.  It was the kind of crazy thing that I do to stay sane.

Grandma S did not really have to explain why she had so many kitchen curtains and winter coats, but I am glad that she did.  I know where my 'crazy' comes from and that it is not all bad.

I also know that Grandma S was proud of me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Midweek Meditation

In keeping with a fashion design theme:
“Clothes aren’t going to change the world, the women who wear them will.” —  Anne Klein 

Today is the birthday of Anne Klein, a pioneer in women's sportswear design, who went on to establish the Anne Klein fashion label which continues to this day.  Anne Klein was born in 1924 and died of breast cancer in 1974.
"Sportswear started out as a fashion industry term describing informal and interchangeable separates (i.e., blouses, shirts, skirts and shorts), but now describes clothing worn for a wide range of social events. It was developed to cater to the needs of the increasingly fast-paced lifestyle of American women."
"Sportswear has been called America's main contribution to the history of fashion design."
 -- Sportswear quotes are from "Sportswear (fashion)", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, August 3, 2011.
 -- Some information on Anne Klein was obtained from "Anne Klein", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclpedia, August 3, 2011.