around n round she goes

A blog for my knitting, spinning, quilting, violin-playing, or whatever else floats my boat

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Location: Texas

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

6 Weird Things About Me

I've been tagged!

Of course, nothing about me seems weird to me, since it's me. Let's see what I can come up with that might seem weird to someone else.....

1. Most of the time I sleep sitting up. From years of allergies and asthma, I have a hard time breathing when lying flat.

2. I'm terrified of going to the dentist. I realize that lots of people are scared of dentist visits, but my blood pressure has gone so high (it's normally very low) that they've had to wait 45 minutes before working on me.

3. I walk around with a book in hand all the time; even if I know I won't have time to read it. (Just think of Linus and his blue blanket.)

4. I have to read before I go to sleep. Sometimes it's only a few minutes, but I need to switch off before trying to sleep and this is the only way.

5. I considered the cheesy sci-fi tv show Lost in Space scary when I was young.

6. You know how some kids want to be teachers or firemen when they grow up? I wanted to be a nun. Mom told me that Methodists don't have nuns.... (I totally blame movies like The Trouble with Angels and The Singing Nun and tv shows like The Flying Nun.) Since I couldn't be a nun, I wanted to be an Air Force pilot. Then I found out that you couldn't wear glasses and be an Air Force pilot. So I'm an accountant instead?

I'm not tagging anyone (just because).


Saturday, December 23, 2006

50 years ago today...

Roy came up from South Texas and Suzanne came down from Oklahoma. They met up in Dallas - after all that was half-way. Besides, they both had family in the area - aunts and uncles.

Other people assembled; a brother, sisters, parents.

Suzanne was demure in a brocade suit; Roy was a long, lean Texan with dark curly hair.

A wedding happened.

Happy Golden Anniversary, Mother and Daddy!

By the way Mother, I love that you still have that ruffled polka-dot sun suit that Daddy admired you in....

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Greetings!

In case you couldn't tell from my last two posts, I've finished my holiday knitting with time to spare. Hope you all have a great Christmas (or any other mid-winter holiday you might celebrate). If you're not celebrating anything, then I hope you have a nice weekend.

Wide-Ribbed Socks

A sock with traditional top-down construction and a heel-flap and gusset.
This sock is designed for a man's medium or woman's large size. A finer yarn or tighter gauge will result in a smaller sock.

Yarn: Fortissima Cotton Socka 100 gram skein
Needles: US size 1 1/2 (2.5 mm) dpns
Gauge: 8 sts/inch, 10 rounds/inch over stockinette

Cast on 72 stitches loosely. I use a knitted cast-on; any stretchy cast-on is fine.
Arrange stitches evenly over 3 or 4 dpns and join (making sure not to twist your work!)

Rounds 1-20: (K2, P2) to the end of the round. Cuff should be approximately 1 3/4 inches long.

Round 21: Knit Rounds 22-78 : (K5, P1) to the end of the round (ending on a purl stitch). From the top of the cuff to the bottom of the leg is approximately 7 inches long.

Heel flap: The heel flap is knit back and forth. (The 37 instep stitches are held on 1 or 2 needles and not knitted until after the gusset)

Starting with the first knit stitch of your pattern, knit 35 stitches and turn.
(Slp1, P1) repeat across until last stitch, p1 and turn.
Slp1, knit across and turn.
Repeat the last two rows until you have 19 chain stitches on the edge of your heel flap.
End ready to start a knit row.

Turning the heel: (aka short rows)
Slp1, K19, Slp1, k1, psso, k1, turn
Slp1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn Slp1, K until 1 before the gap, Slp1, K1, PSSO, K1, turn
Slp 1, P until 1 before the gap, P2tog, P1, turn
Continue this pattern until you've purled across to the opposite side. There will be 21 stitches on the heel needle.
Knit across.
Pick up 20 stitches along the right hand side of the heel flap. (I usually pick up through both loops of the stitch)
Knit in pattern P1, (K5, P1) across the instep stitches.
Pick up 20 stitches along the left hand side of the heel flap and 10 of the heel stitches.

Gusset: The beginning of the round is the middle of the heel
Round 1: Knit the remaining 11 stitches on the heel and the 20 picked up stitches (needle 1). Continue knitting the pattern stitches across the instep (needles 2 & 3) and knit the second set of heel stitches (needle 4).
Round 2: Knit to the last three stitches on needle 1, k2tog, k1. Knit in pattern on instep needle(s). K1, Slp1, K1, PSSO, knit remaining stitches.
Repeat rounds 1 & 2 until there are 31 stitches on the heel needles. (68 stitches total)

Foot: Continue knitting each round, keeping in pattern on the instep stitches, until length from back of heel to needles is 7 inches (or 2 1/4 inches short of the overall desired length of your sock). Move 2 stitches on each side of your instep from the instep needles to the heel/sole needles.

Round 1: Needle #1 Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle #2, Knit across. Needle #3 Knit across. Needle #4: K1, Sl1, PSSO, K across.
Rounds 2&3: Knit
Round 4: Needle #1 Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle #2, K1, Sl 1, PSSO, K across. Needle #3 Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle #4: K1, Sl1, PSSO, K across.
Rounds 5&6: Knit
Repeat round 4-6 one more time.
Repeat round 4-5 until you have 11 stitches left on your instep needles and 11 stitches on your sole needles.
Knit needle #1s stitches onto needle #4 and arrange your instep stitches onto one needle.

Kitchener (graft) the toe closed.

Repeat for next sock!

Need instructions for grafting a toe? Go here. That's part of a really good online demo of sock-making called Socks 101.

Any questions? Leave a comment (and your email address-seen only by me) and I'll try to clarify.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cat's Paw Scarf

Another traditional Shetland lace pattern with many variations. Wendy recently used this pattern for her Lucy socks and charted several of the variations, in case you would prefer a different version. I added a simple seed stitch edge border to keep the stockinette from rolling.

Yarn: Jojoland Cashmere 2-ply fingering weight, 400 yd, 2 oz skein in color C255 (baby blue)
Needles: US 4, 3.5 mm (I used Clover bamboo straights)
Blocked dimensions: approximately 43" length, 8" width

Cast on loosely 61 stitches

(The first stitch of each row is slipped for a nice chained edge, but that's a matter of personal preference. Slip purlwise on garter stitch rows, knitwise on the seed stitch borders.)

Set up: Knit 4 rows

Row 1: Sl1, K1, P1, K1, P1, (K3, K2tog, YO, K1, YO, K2tbl, K9) three times, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 2 and all even rows: Sl1, K1, P1, K1, P across to the last four stitchs, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 3: Sl1, K1, P1, K1, P1, (K2, K2tog, YO, K3, YO, K2tbl, K8) three times, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 5: Sl1, K1, P1, K1, P1, (K3, K2tbl, YO, K1, YO, K2tog, K9) three times, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 7: Sl1, K1, P1, K1, P1, (K9, K2tog, YO, K1, YO, K2tbl, K3) three times, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 9: Sl1, K1, P1, K1, P1, (K8, K2tog, YO, K3, YO, K2tbl, K2) three times, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 11: Sl1, K1, P1, K1, P1, (K9, K2tbl, YO, K1, YO, K2tog, K3) three times, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 12: Repeat row 2

Repeat Rows 1-12 until the scarf is approximately 41" long (or you've got about 4 yards of yarn left). Finish on either row 6 or row 12.

End: Knit 4 rows
Cast off loosely.

Block to open up the lace pattern (and keep it from curling).

If anyone wants the chart to go with the written instructions, leave me a comment and I'll email it to you - my charts don't translate well onto the blog. (Edited 9/17/09 - The chart is now at the top of this post. Click on it to make it bigger. I apologize to those who requested the chart and I never got back to you. I lost the darn thing and only just now found it again.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A big box

is going to Parkland Hospital. We've got itty-bitty sweaters, hats and blankies. We've also got baby & adult size fleece lap blankets (the baby ones we made ourselves).

Many thanks to my knitting group (which is down to 2 dedicated knitters besides me).

The comments I get when I talk about swatching are always hilarious. My favorite one from Friday's entry is from Marina "Unlike Brigitte, I believe in swatching ... ~41 inch circumference x 4 inches. Any bigger and it's a garment ;-)" Glad to hear that you make such a nice big swatch, Marina. You can really be sure of your gauge that way, right? (giggles)

After all my enthusiasm, did I actually swatch this weekend? Ummm.... no. I'm so wishy, not to mention washy about all this. I'll get around to it after I finish my Cat's Paw scarf and the Wide-Ribbed socks. I am actually writing down the sock pattern this time and typing it in draft form into Blogger as I go. Cat's Paw will get written up and posted, too.

Pattern-writing is a really good exercise. It forces me to think about every part of the process. It's easy to leave out a really important bit of information just because I do some things automatically. Hopefully, if anyone ever tries one of my patterns, they'll let me know if any improvements or corrections need to be made.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Still-life with Sock

Thrilling title, no?

More of the same yarn I used for the Gentleman's Fancy Sock. A simple 5x1 rib top-down, with the heel-flap and gusset. I may actually write this one down and add it to my free patterns. If nothing else, that way I won't lose the pattern when I'm getting ready to do Sock #2.

This one is going fairly quickly, but that means I haven't been working on the Cat's Paw the last few days.

Seredipity! I've been struggling with the all-over background pattern for my Pictish Fair Isle. Just couldn't quite get what I wanted. A co-worker left some Christmas stocking patterns on my desk this afternoon and I was casually looking them over.

All the sudden, the pattern on the cuff of one of the stockings caught my attention. That's what I've been trying for! There's a chart and everything!

Now let's see if it actually works...... swatch, anyone?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Reasons to belong to a local knitting guild (in no particular order):

1. Hanging out with really neat people that share your obsession

2. Discussing the merits of knitting two together through the back loops rather than slip slip knit (I really had this conversation last night - turns out, I prefer k2tog tbl and she prefers ssk)

3. Showing off your handknits to people that really understand the effort it took to make them

4. Learning new techniques

5. Impromptu reviews of yarns, patterns, and yarn stores from your table-mates

6. Sharing patterns for baby booties and hats

7. Getting to meet knitwear designers like Beth Brown-Reinsel and Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer

Beth (author of Knitting Ganseys - in it's ninth printing!) was at our guild last night and showed slides and examples of twined knitting, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish sweaters, Estonian sweaters, mittens and socks and other marvels. She's going to be coming out with a new book on knitting Scandinavian sweaters and some of the sweaters that will be in the book were there. If you like stranded knitting you may want to take a look at this book when it comes out.

I purchased her Compass Rose Sanquhar Glove pattern (towards the bottom of the page on that link) and she signed it for me!

Can you tell I had a good time last night?

Monday, December 04, 2006

More bits and pieces

I very carefully wrote down everything I did for Sock #1. I know I did. It's on a piece of nice, thick notebook paper with all the little dangling bits on the edge that you get from ripping a page out.

How many stitches cast on, how many rounds for the cuff, how many stitches reserved for the heel, how many stitches for the short rows of the heel, how many stitches for the kitchener toe. I was very thorough.

I was also very forgetful and don't remember where I put the darn piece of paper!

Everything in the knitting bag got dumped out and pawed through. Everything in the other knitting bag was also dumped out and pawed through. I would have gone through knitting bags 3 and 4 if I wasn't positive I hadn't been in them for several months.

The laptop bag was disassembled. The various knitting books were opened and shakened upside down. The miscellaneous stacks of paper were dissected and discarded.

I looked everywhere and I can't find the bleeping piece of paper so I can finish Sock #2.


So I finished it anyway.

This meant looking at Sock #1 very, very closely and re-counting everything at least twice. It took three tries to get the heel turn to look right.

Pattern: based on Nancy Bush's Gentleman's Fancy Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Fortissima Cotton Socka in color 6610 (blue/black marl)
Needles: Brittany Birch US Size 1 1/2 (2.5 mm)

I'm saying it's based on Nancy Bush's pattern since I changed darn near everything (another reason why I wrote everything down). Thicker yarn meant a change in needle size and a change in number of stitches cast on. I didn't bother with the leg shaping, used a different heel, stopped the pattern after the gusset and don't even know if I'm using the same toe (I stopped reading the pattern long before that).

For all that, I'm really happy with how they turned out.

And I'm half-way through the Cat's Paw scarf!

Stolen time:

I'm taking a 10-month management course that's sponsored and taught by my company. Once a week I listen to the HR director talk about the course material as it applies to our company and watch his online presentation from the privacy of my office. There's a test after each of the three books and so far I've passed book #1 - yay!

Of course, I also use this opportunity to knit! He's aware that I'm doing this, by the way. He doesn't mind - I'm paying attention and contributing to the group discussion. I always study the chapter ahead of time, too.

All this means that I get an extra uninterrupted hour or two a week to sit and knit at work. How great is that? I almost feel guilty!