Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

 Another year bites the dust.   Hope your new year is terrific.

Note:  The picture links to all my 2007 photos... all 340+ of them.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Knit discussion groups

The first time I subscribed to a knit list was in the 1990s, the "original" KnitList when it was still on IForgetWhat dot edu.  Since then the explosion of discussion groups is truly impressive and full of learning opportunities, friendships made, feelings hurt, and snore-inducing detritus.

Now there is Ravelry, which is shaping up to be the most innovative social knitting web site ever.  They, Casey and Jessica, deserve the Newcomers award this year.

Since this is the time of year for reflection, I think now would be a good time to recognize Joan Schroeder, who has been a member of knit discussion groups for a long time.  She has been giving, giving, giving, generously for years.  She is a tireless teacher.  She is never rude and always offers technical help.  I can't think of anybody else who has as generous a head and heart as Joan.  And... she has one of the corniest senses of humor around :-)

And, lest I sound too syrupy, this is my top 10 pet peeves about knitting lists, a list of knit discussions I never want to read again....

  1. Knit for significant other curse.
  2. I'm sick.... Thanks, I'm better.
  3. My family member is sick.  Here's the hourly update.
  4. I cross posted to 4 lists telling why I'm depressed.
  5. Me too, I hate/love whatever - short, useless msg.
  6. Coy flirting for the entire group to read ...
  7. My knitting wasn't appreciated by the recipient.
  8. Somebody told me not to knit in church, a class, a meeting, etc.
  9. I knit in the Dr's office.  Let me tell you all the gory details.
  10. I don't have anything to say about knitting, but....
  11. Asking an interesting question and not summarizing the answers.

Monday, December 24, 2007

So long Oscar Peterson

So long, Oscar.  You were one of the greatest musicians of my time.  What hands you had!


I got this picture from here and here, and I heard about his passing here.


20071224 Persy and Sock toesI can knit socks, have knit many pairs of socks, but I am being humbled by the Cat Bordhi socks.  I've switched to the Riverbend master pattern because the Coriolis pattern didn't show the spiral very well in this yarn. 

I've discovered that gauge is really very important on toe up socks, especially the row gauge.  Because... the arch expansion starts at a point where increasing every third row will yield the right number of stitches at the top of the instep.  If you have too few rows per inch, then the sock will be too long when the increases are finished, too many rows per inch and they'll be too short.  If you tell your calculator that you get 13 rows per inch, but you really only get 10, then you will have 1.3 inches in 13 rows instead of 1.  And it's all different after washing....  So, get you rows-per-inch gauge right! 

The Riverbend pattern has the increases on the bottom of the foot.  Some other blogger (forget who?) spoke about putting the gusset on the bottom of the foot.  It's a cool way to leave the top for a pattern.  In this yarn, the color is enough.

Friday, December 21, 2007

On Vox: A Free Life

View Diane in Chico, CA�s Blog

Ha Jin is a fine writer. The first book of his that I read was War Trash, which I recommend.This one, A Free Life, is also good. It's a Chinese Immigrant's version of "the grass is always greener on the...

� Read more on Vox

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Knitting Daily's Grafting on the Needles

I copied all of the following from today's Knitting Daily blog post.  Thanks, Sandi Wiseheart!  (If you copy this from me, don't forget to give Sandi credit.)

Grafting On The Needles

Step 1: Knit your socks to the point where the instructions tell you to graft together the final stitches.
Step 2: Divide the remaining stitches evenly between two double-pointed needles.
Step 3: Hold both needles parallel in your left hand, so that the working yarn is on your right, and is coming off the rightmost stitch on the back needle.
Step 4: Cut the working yarn to a reasonable length, say, 12".
Step 5: Using a third dpn, PURL the first stitch on the FRONT needle.
Step 6: DROP the stitch off the left front needle, and pull the yarn all the way through the dropped stitch so that there is no longer a stitch on the right (working) needle.
Step 7: KNIT the next stitch on the FRONT needle, but this time LEAVE the stitch on the left front needle; pull the yarn all the way through as before.
Step 8: KNIT the first stitch on the BACK needle.
Step 9: DROP the stitch off the left back needle and pull the yarn all the way through.
Step 10: PURL the next stitch on the BACK needle.
Step 11: LEAVE that stitch on the left back needle and pull the yarn all the way through.

Repeat Steps 5 through 11 until you get to the last two stitches; work these two stitches together as established and drop both stitches off the needles. Pull the yarn all the way through. Thread yarn onto a tapestry needle, bring yarn to inside of sock, and weave in ends, tacking down the last "ear" loops as needed. (You can pull any excess loopage to the inside to make tacking it down a bit prettier.)

I made up a little shortcut chant for Nicholas to help him remember what to do when:


PURL FRONT OFF � purl first st on front needle, drop st off
KNIT FRONT ON � knit next st on front needle, leave st on
KNIT BACK OFF � knit first st on back needle, drop st off
PURL BACK ON � purl next st on back needle, leave st on

Hopefully Helpful Hints:
Keep your tension a bit on the loose side when you are pulling the yarn through each stitch. Then, when you get to the end, before you weave in the end, use your tapestry needle to adjust the tension of the grafting stitches so that they match the rest of your work. When you are working your knits and purls, pass the working yarn under and between the two left needles, not over them.

Cabin Fever

I spent the entire day, almost, playing on the Internet.  This pattern, Spring Breeze, looks like a good use for some of the cotton yarn I have piled up around here....


Only I think I would do cap sleeves instead of the short sleeves shown here.  The nice thing about Cabin Fever is that they like top down, seamless styles.  Lovely, no sewing :-)

Right or Left Brain?


I was about 55% right brained and 45% left brained, preferring nonverbal communication on both sides of the brain.  Click on the image to take the test yourself.

20071219 Knitivity Sock Yarn

There are no Spiral Coriolis socks in this zip lock bag... only yarn that has been rewound because I messed up trying to knit one sock with needles different than the other. Knitter's Logic told me it would be okay....

Oh, well.

Christmas is only ...


... six days away!  I think I'm ready, maybe.

This year we bought a little live tree, a grand fir.  It's shorter than I am, but it smells like a Christmas tree is supposed to smell.  We bought some (probably made-in-China) preservative which is working - you put treated water in the holder and wait a couple of days, then you re-fill the holder and add some little crystals which turn into jelly-like, water-absorbent things that keep the tree wet for weeks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

WSJ Talks About Sock Wars - Sock It to Me: Competitive Knitters Get Deadly Serious* This article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days after 12/17/2007.

I can't believe the Wall Street Journal is spending ink, paper, and online bandwidth to talk about the knitting world's "Sock Wars".  Amazing!

... and the article mentions Ravelry.  W00t!

Speaking of socks, I ripped out my Coriolis socks because I knitted two socks with needles made by different manufacturers (Addi Turbo and Knit Picks Harmony)... and, of course, they were not the same size.  The sock made with Addis was bigger than the one done on Harmony needles, even though they appears to be the same circumference.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


You've heard of HTML, maybe you've heard of XML.  Now there is KnitML!

The KnitML web page explains that KnitML is a markup language which aims to standardize knitting patterns.  That means any software application, web page, etc., could read KnitML and render it for users.  This is an example sock pattern written in KnitML.  It's about as easy to read as a regular sock pattern, I think.  But you wouldn't be reading KnitML, you would be reading your native language (English for me).

Right, it can be an international standard.  Patterns can be displayed in any language (English, French, German, Spanish, etc.), as long as you have software that can understand KnitML and display patterns in the desired language.  A person could export a KnitML pattern from his German software and send it to somebody in Mexico who would import it into her Spanish language software.  Cool!

Standardized charts are part of the plan.  You could see either a pattern in words or a chart, or both, depending on your preference.  Oooooo, me likey!

These patterns could be stored in databases and searched.  Ooooh cool!  The folks at Ravelry will want to hop on this right away :-)

Geeky types will love this :-)

If Ravelry can get off the ground, then this markup language can fly too.  All it takes is a small team of people willing to work work work work.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men: **** Very Good

no-county-old-men No Country For Old Men is a movie about a villain, a psychopathic killer who feels no guilt and who decides whether or not to kill some people based on the toss of a coin.  The psychopath is played to beastly perfection by Javier Bardem (pictured left).

There are other cast members - the good guys.  Josh Brolin is a Vietnam vet who finds $2M in drug money while he is out hunting.  The psychopath is hired to find and retrieve the money, so there is a cat and mouse game (more like two pit bulls) between the man trying to keep his found money and the man trying to retrieve it.  The movie is set in 1980, so $2M is worth more than it would be today.

Tommy Lee Jones (I love Tommy Lee Jones!) is the sheriff trying to stop the crime wave that litters the path of the psychopath.  The sheriff is old, and crime has escalated and changed so much that he's thinking maybe it's time for him to get out of the business of keeping the peace. 

All the parts are well acted - every single one of them is well acted.

There is much more to this movie than simple violence, but it is rated R for violence and violence is at the core of it.  Even so it didn't depress me.  I recommend it either on the big screen or on DVD.  If you see it on the big screen you get to enjoy the Texas landscape, but the goriness of of the film is larger than life.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Knit Picks Harmony Circular Needles

I like smooth needles that yarn slides over easily.  If you've ever listened to Brenda Dayne's Cast-On podcast, you are familiar with the sound effect that goes with Addi Turbos - kind of like an electronic mark of Zorro.  I like needles that go like lightning, and I have several types that suit my fancy... Addi Turbos and Knit Pick Options are among my favorites.  Nice, smooth metal needles with good joins on circular needles.

But, those Knit Picks Harmony Wood needles are so pretty that I was charmed into buying some to try on my latest pair of socks.  The Harmony needles come in US size 0, so I ordered a couple of circulars to try.  They have nice sharp-but-not-too-sharp points and good joins.  I started using the Harmony needles on my toe-up Coriolis socks by Cat Bordhi.  After about a week, I gave up and started using my Addi's again.  The Harmony needles are just not slippy enough for me, and neither are the cables.  I was pushing and shoving the yarn around, and my hands and shoulder were beginning to complain more than normal.

Brenda's Addi Turbo sound effect could be a sigh of relief as far as I'm concerned!

But, if you like needles with some drag, the Harmony needles might work for you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

No Knitting, no pictures

Here are some of the things that looked interesting to me on the WWW this morning...

Have a nice day!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December garden update

Those of you living in places where it snows, please allow me to remark on my California weather.  It has been sooo cold (about 29F when I got up this morning).   


The new orchid plant is a brave little thing.  It's hovering next to the house with a sheet around it.  Even so it's making beautiful blooms.

The little maple tree is making nice color.  I can't remember when it has been this bright! 

The roses are finished.  There is one pink rose.  Surely this is the last. 

... and the Mexican sage is beautiful, but it's growing sideways instead of up because it had to lean so far out to get sunshine during the Summer.