Wednesday, May 04, 2016

While I'm Waiting...

I figured I'd get a jump on the blog, since I'm trying to communicate with you all a little more frequently. 

A Sweater Is Almost Born...

It's beginning to look like a sweater! I'm now churning along on the other sleeve and front. I'll look and see if the pattern is on Ravelry. It came in a booklet when I renewed a subscription about a decade ago, and it's my go-to sweater. You'd think I could knit it in my sleep. But I still need directions. 

Speaking of which...There's a part where you take off the stitches you held on a holder - put them back on a live needle and "join yarn." The yarn that you cut to do the one half, you now have to put back and immediately bind off a number of stitches. 

I've puzzled over that for a long while and I've tried various methods. The directions simply say "join yarn." Following the dictum of Elizabeth Zimmerman, the doyenne of all things knitterly, I used my brain. Knitting, says the immortal EZ, is not rocket science. See the quote above! 

So below are some photos. The yarn is striping up nicely; it's going to look wonderful on The Little Man. And the 6-month size will be plenty for him to grow into. 

The next photo shows the stitches removed from the holder and placed live onto my circulars. It's a fairly easy job to do so, and just takes a tad bit of time and some patience. You don't have to worry about orientation because this is straight knitting. Nothing fancy. Let the yarn do the work for you. 

Weave in row below live stitches...
I grabbed an easy-threading needle and pulled about 6" of yarn off the ball; I picked an area just below the live stitches, on the WRONG side, so that I could weave it in and it wouldn't show on the front. I put the needle through the first stitch, and then proceeded to weave in and out for a few stitches, dropped down a row, did a little more weaving, and then finish it off. 

You'll notice that I went in on the right side of the needles - it is the WRONG side of the fabric, but you have to attach the yarn so that you can immediately pick up that end as the "working" yarn. 

This technique also involves a crochet hook, which I find particularly helpful in snagging up those last ends of the yarn, and also in pulling through when your needle is long and the tail of the yarn is not.

Go below the row you started in...
Keep a crochet hook in your tool bag. Even if you never crochet, you'll find a multitude of uses for it, including (shudder) picking up dropped stitches, picking up the gusset stitches of a sock (so much easier than "knitting on" the stitches - at least to me...), and if you're a fringe person, a crochet hook is the way to go to knot the fringe on the ends of a shawl or scarf. Or wherever it is you people put fringe...

In fact, if you're ever stumped for a gift for a knitter, a set of crochet hooks, while it might sound counter-productive, is actually a good idea. I find Susan Bates to be just about the easiest to get, and they have a decent size range. I'm not even going to provide a link, because Google comes up with about 6 or 7 ways to purchase them. 

Easy-thread plastic needle is good for yarn thickness...
The easy-threading needle is probably a Clover. Again, Google is great in figuring out where to buy these things. I've tried several different ones, and while I really like the Chibi needles for Kitchener stitch, for this purpose, the plastic one suited the project much better. 

Crochet hook to pull through.
Tool kits are awesome and are easily personalized once you experiment with what tools you may need for the knitting you do most often. Another thing I've done is replicate that tool kit. Yes, I know - sounds counterintuitive. But remember, if you have multiple projects going, then you have multiple bags to work with. Having a couple of tool kits makes it easy to make sure that everything is at your fingertips when you need it and you don't have to (gasp!) stop knitting to find something. 

So now it's a chug for 8" and then I bind off the bottom of the other sleeve. Then the body and it should be done, needles willing, in about 2 weeks. 

Finished weaving...
Which is good, because perhaps The Little Man will be home and this will be nice to greet him with. 

I'm not sure I'll have much left over; I'm thinking he needs some Baby Uggs, and maybe if I can find some red superwash wool in the stash, that would balance out those bright shiny red buttons I have planned for this sweater. It would be cool if I had red - a tiny little cap with a rolled brim? Too, too cute!

And I made this...

Mala Bag
This is a long-ago project that I recently dug out of a purse when I was switching things around for my MIL's funeral. This is hand-dyed sock-weight yarn from my friend, now passed, Sonda. I made a hat with this yarn, had a whack of yarn leftover, and I decided to make a little bag. This is enough to hold a rosary (if you're Catholic), a special necklace, or I use it for my mala beads. 

It's a simple stockinette stitch, and then a ribbing toward the top. I also used yarn-overs to make holes every so often. Then I created an I-cord and wove it through the holes to tie up the bag. The bag seams up the sides; simple weaving stitch. This is a nice way to use up sock yarn, if you need little "trinket" bags. They're relatively mindless till you get to the yarn-overs, and frankly, I did them on either side of a 3x2 to me, this looks like the top of a sock, which is kind of a full circle. Sonda got me started knitting socks...

Knitting Injured...

If you zoom in on this, you'll see a "blister bandage." I'm a pusher. I push off the right needle when I knit. And in this case, with the Kollage steel needles, those stinkers are SHARP! And I've developed a little nick in my left index finger. After several hours of knitting, it gets irritated. 

Band-Aid "blister" bandages - which are useless on blisters, in my opinion - are perfect for this kind of knitting injury. They're cushioned, they're waterproof, and they stick like crazy. Except for the taper at the tip of your finger, they fit nicely, and can be trimmed with a sharp scissor. 

I've used this technique each time I've used the Kollage square needles. I love those needles. They make lovely stitches and they do enable me to knit for long periods of time. 

But they're so sharp that it's very easy to stab yourself. Or someone else, come to think of it! (No, I didn't really say that out loud, did I?)

What we knitters do for our craft!


So Bernie won Indiana and Cruz dropped out of the race. I heard a scary thing today. As the "presumptive" nominee, Trump will get courtesy copies of a version of the President's Daily Briefing. It's a tradition extended to the nominees of both parties. 

Much as I dislike Hillary, I can trust her to keep her mouth shut. Trump? That narcissistic SOB will likely Tweet them out... 

While we're at it, let's talk about civility and keeping friendships intact. 

There's this group I (used to) belong to. It was made up of strong-minded women who differed quite often in their opinions but listened to each other. 

This election cycle? Notice the parenthetical statement. I have just walked away. They've gone nuts. Absolutely insane. If you support Bernie, you're a moron. If you don't support Hillary, you're a traitor to the Ovary Crowd. And some of the Bernie folks have become Bernie-Bots. Several people hurled accusations against each other. Several had and have hurt feelings. A few say they didn't do what they're being accused of. 

So a group which has had at least a decade of friendships has gone pffffth because this election cycle is so warped and so mean. Really. 

Let's just think about this. Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee. 

Trump. Reality show. Serial bankrupt. Selfish misogynist. Wants to build a wall around Mexico and have them pay for it. Has "huuuuuuuuuuuuge" plans, but can't give specifics. A moron. 

The world is laughing at this development, but I believe there's a hit of terror in that laughter because this idiot could be elected. 

If the Democrats don't get their collective heads out of their nether parts, we will lose this election. Period. 

I don't like Hillary. I don't like the idea of a coronation. I do like the idea of a woman president, but I don't like her. But I'm going to vote AGAINST Trump being president. 

While we're at it, can people please stop making ignorant comments about President Obama? Especially his daughters. I mean, seriously people... The child got into Harvard. Her father graduated from Harvard. Her mother graduated from Princeton. 

For God's sake: even George BUSH - not the brightest crayon in the box - had a legacy seat at Yale. 

The kids are off-limits. Even Bush's kids. They're just off-limits. 

So in regard to our group? I'm not sure I'll be back. I'm really not a "take my toys and go home" kind of gal. But I really have been assessing what's healthy for me. Healthy in the sense of, do I really want to be the "mom" of the group? One person has chosen to assert herself as putative leader. She's someone I don't always agree with and I can live with that. What I can't live with is being dictated to. I already have my own mom who is happy to tell me what I should be doing... Don't need it in my social life. 

So I may or may not return to the group after November. But for sure, I will be thinking about how this election has affected families, friendships, and other relationships. 

We need to pull together to think about what's good for our country. But right now, we're so polarized, I'm not overly confident that that will happen. 

Random Picture...

One recipe of my lovely MIL's - and no, I don't have it handy, otherwise I'd post it here. They're Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies and we usually add coconut because we love it. 

Hubby made them. Yes, I've been avoiding sugar. And it's been about 10 days of full-moon-like behavior from people around me, so yes, I've eaten (more than) a few...

I keep telling myself that oatmeal is good for you. And so is coconut, right?


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