Monday, September 19, 2016

Niddy Noddy? What is it do you need one?

One of my mistakes when I was searching for this was spelling it right, for the longest time I thought it was "Knitty Noddy" but it turned out that the correct spelling is "Niddy Noddy". Thank you Google, what did I ever do without Google?

The question is does a knitter need a Niddy Noddy?

Spinners have a great use for this because they can skein their yarn to be able to wash it or set it or the next step in the process. But does a knitter need one? I think it can be handy if you take a project apart and your yarn is curly, this is the way to straighten it out. 

You would wrap your yarn and wet it and let it dry while it's still on the Niddy Noddy. This is another advantage of having plastic pac pipe so it can get wet. If you have a wood one the wood may warp. 

It is a brilliant invention and the simple pvc pipe version is simply genius. Easily can be constructed as a DIY project but can be purchased online for about $10.00. I'm looking at one on Etsy. Here is one I found for $15, this one is adjustable and it has a drawstring storage bag. It will depend on the size of the skein you want to make, 1 yard up to 2 yards.


For me it’s worth the money, I’m lazy and don’t want to go looking for the store to get the pvc pipes and either have them cut or cut and assemble and sew a bag. It’s worth $15 but as I say easily made at home.





If you already have one and it's not adjustable like the one I have here is the way to figure it all out. One wrap around this Niddy Noddy is approximately 56". To figure yardage for your skein, count the number of wraps around and multiply by 56". Take that number and divide by 36" and you will have your approximate yardage.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to Wash Hand Knitted garments

Wishy Washy

How do you wash your hand knitted garment?

I spend many hours of knitting on a project and want to preserve it's shape and drape. After carefully picking out the fiber, colors, the pattern I want to keep it as new looking as possible for the longest time. Many trial and error hours spent, I have found this guideline to work the best for me.




It may work for you:
  • Hand Wash Do NOT throw in the washing machine!
  • Some fibers are more sensitive than others. Use common sense. 
  • Cool water, not too cold and not scalding hot. It needs to be gently warm. Not shocking the fiber or your hands. 
  • Fill the wash tub with water first, Do NOT run the water on top of the garment.
  • Add mild Soap ie. shampoo, mild dish detergent like Dawn. If it works well for your skin it will work well for your fiber. Wool and hair are related! Swish around so the soap is dissolved in the water. 
  • Add the garment and gently make sure it is covered with water. Squeeze and get it all wet evenly.
  • Let it soak for a little while, I sometimes leave it for an hour or better. 
  • Do not agitate, gently squeeze. Give it a massage and gentle massage. 
  • Rinse well, soap residue is attracts both bugs and dirt.
  • If you have scratchy wool use hair conditioner to soften the fibers. This sometimes works on synthetics also. 
  • Do NOT wring use clean dry towels to get moisture out. Hand squeeze gently and place in towel and roll gently. You may need to use more than one towel. 









I use Pantene on my hair so it's handy smells nice and it works.



When storing hand knit delicate fibers we do not want bugs or critters anywhere near. Air them out once in a while and before storing make sure the garment is clean. Keep it dry and airy place, plastic bags are not recommended. 

What to do if you accidentally "felted" or "shrunk" your garment? One solution is to make something else out of it. But first try one of these methods which may work. What do you have to loose? Warning you will never be able to get it back to the shape it was originally. At least I never have but give it a try.

  • Soak the garment in a solution of cold water and hair conditioner. Let it soak overnight. Check once in a while and try and gently pull and "stretch" the fabric.
If that does not do the trick. 
  • Soak the garment in a solution of cold water and a half a cup of vinegar.
It that does not work here is the most extreme method. I've never tried this but have heard that this may work.
  • Make a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. Put the garment in a large pot and gently boil for 10-20 minutes and check how it's progressing 
Good Luck. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

I named it "Big Bear Hug"


Have you ever had a big bear hug? That is exactly the way this shawl feels. Everybody needs a big hug once in a while. This shawl is big and soft and it just feels like a protective arm around you. The mohair and silk is light weight yet, very warm and the sock yarn is strong and stable. This combination of fibers feels soft as a cloud yet is strong and wears well.

I like to travel and this shawl is my perfect companion for those long flights. It is easy to pack. It can be worn as a casual wrap or if you add a beautiful shawl pin or brooch, you are dressed up! Designed with all quick and easy knit stitches, no purling! Great for those times when you just want to knit without much attention. I knit with friends often and the lively conversations at the tables sometimes takes my attention away from intricate knitting patterns. This project is perfect for those occasions.

If you want the pattern send me an eMail: bananaknits@gmail.com

Monday, September 05, 2016

My favorite stitch.

A long time ago my aunt showed me her favorite stitch and how she did it. When I was visiting her daughter many many years later she looked at one of my projects and recognized the stitch. She told me that was a family stitch. A family stitch? Yes we all learned it from our grandmother. Wow I did not even know this. Then she ran in the other room and searched for knitted projects and there it was the family stitch. I'm sure it has a name and I'm sure my grandmother did not invent it but we all learned it and added it to our knitting dictionary. Now I love the stitch more than ever.

Here is a picture of my aunt and my father and when I looked closely I see she has a sweater on that she knit with the "family stitch".  We all knit because that was just what you had to do if you wanted to stay warm in the cold winter months. 



I made a YouTube video on how I do it.



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hug me Now Shawl



I was looking for a summer shawl, to cover my shoulders for those heavily air-conditioned places. As a rule of thumb I usually knit shawls with a “looser” gauge than suggested. A looser fabric also drapes better and you get the most out of the yarn’s yardage. 
The sample I knit is in a gauge that I am comfortable with. I think it’s more important that you create a fabric that you are comfortable with rather than trying to match my exact gauge.
This shawl is knit in two stages, section one is a top down triangular shawl with 4 sts. increase every other row. The center “spine” is 3 sts. knit in the back leg, this gives a little bit of texture and lays nicer (Knitters choice). The increases are at the beginning of the row, at either side of the center spine and at the end of the row. This is the right side, wrong side is knit all the stitches. Section 2 has 6 wedges. 

I've been wearing this shawl very happily and I named it the Hug me Now shawl because it does feel like a big hug when I put it on. The yarn I used made a very light weight and very soft fabric. It's been my go to shawl all summer. When I see knitting friends I'm always asked what pattern I used. Not pattern I just made it up, knit what the yarn dictated. 

But I want to make one too they say, ok I wrote the pattern. This turned out to be a big job for me. First of all I have to reverse engineer it, then write down every single step. No “that goes without saying” everything has to be written down. Often I am a bit insecure with my writing because English is not my mother language and my grammar is ….. well could use some improvement. I have trouble with the commas and the running sentences….. oh well…. Sometimes dear friends will help out! Thank you Ellen Bloom!

Happy Knitting

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I miss my blog

I started this blog August 4th 2005! And have more or less kept it going for years. Periodically I have taken a hiatus because of different reasons. Sometimes I just got tired of creating content out of laziness but I always miss it.  I blog about my knitting which is why I started this blog to begin with.

I am a "recipe" knitter and I needed to keep a record of the details for the project I was working on. Writing notes in different scraps of paper or even having notebooks etc. was not efficient. I needed pictures details and most of all a searchable data base. A knitting blog seems to be the perfect solution, I could post pictures stories and details of the projects and when I needed to remember how I did something I could look it up. With the very handy search option "search this blog" on the upper left margin.

You might wonder what I mean by "recipe" knitter. I call it recipe because to me it's sort of like cooking. There is a basic recipe for say an omelette and there can be variations of ingredients within the parameters of an omelette. To me it's sort of the same, say a basic sweater, the shape is the same but the details of the stitch patterns can be varied.

I grew up in Budapest and when I learned to knit as a small child we did not have patterns published or magazines so it was just like family recipes we shared for cooking. We also had family recipes for knitting, a sock recipe, a sweater recipe, a hat recipe etc. If you wanted to get creative and make yours look different you could add in your own stitch that maybe somebody showed you or even as a playful kid make some of them up.

When my mother died and I was going through her house and belongings I found these gloves she had saved. Carefully put in a plastic bag in a special spot where she had her little momentos saved. I remember knitting it, at the time the choice of yarn was very limited, the war was over but we still did not have luxury items like that available to us. After all we were behind the "Iron Curtain" and living under Communism and standing in long lines for everything was our daily life. 

When I was given this angora mix in yellow, yellow it was. It was part of a set I knit I was about 11 or 12 years old. I made a scarf and a hat and gloves to match. Only found the gloves the hat and scarf were long lost. 

Notice the fingers are a bit short, I guess my hand was smaller then.



BTW, I have the gloves saved too, in that very special spot where I keep my momentos. I wonder if my son will ever realize what this meant to his grandmother and I, sweet memories. I miss my mama.




Monday, June 01, 2015

A Knitting Cruise Boston to Quebec, Canada

It was a Craft Cruises event! Always a first class organization, Melissa and her staff do a terrific job. Every detail is taken care of no matter how many times you ask, Melissa or her staff patiently answer.


Boston to Quebec

Arrival in Boston

I took the red eye and not a direct flight. I think I'm too old for red eye flights. Arrived really exhausted and asked if Uber was allowed in the airport, I was told NO. This was a lie but ok. So I took a cab, a filthy torn seat cab. I felt like my clothes would tear from the worn out dirty seats this cab had.

They don't like Uber! Check out the sticker on the cabbies window. The fare was $47 dollars and if I took Uber it would have been half that. No wonder the cabbies do not like Uber.




Got to my hotel, and realized that there was a yarn store near by so I headed there. After having a bite to eat I found a friendly face at the yarn store! Welcomed me and made me feel at home. The neighborhood was charming.

The Stitch House in Dorchester in the Polish Triangle
 (Happening Hoods: The Polish Trianglewcvb.com)










As if I needed a reminder! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Millinery Techniques for Knitters: Felted Fedora Class.

I'll be teaching a class in making this cute Fedora Hat at the Knitting Tree L.A. on March 22nd, 2015 and April 11th, 2015 9am to 11am.



The Knitting Tree, LA | 6285 Bristol Pkwy | Culver City, CA 90230 | (310) 395-3880 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm back to almost "Normal"

I can almost walk normal, sort of but definitely on the road to recovery. Yes I can drive any time anywhere I want to. One forgets how precious this simple privilege is, I took it for granted but no longer. It has been a learning experience for me, this is the first time I've broken anything and literally could not walk!

Side note is that I discovered Uber, it's an app on your smart phone. Very clever and worked like a charm. It really depends what area you are requesting a car. On the West Side of Los Angeles there are cars available day and night. The most I've had to wait is 3 to 4 minutes. A whole lot better than taxi cabs. And certainly cheaper.

The price between a Taxi cab and Uber can be half. You do have to sign up and link your PayPal account but money never exchanges. You do not tip and you don't have to worry about having the exact change. You are able to request an estimate on how much it will cost and when you request a car it is there in minutes. Both the driver and the passenger get star ratings and you are able to pick a different driver if you don't like the one you got.

When you request a car you are sent a picture and make & model & the driver with their ratings. If you don't like the car or the driver or the ratings, simply cancel and request again. So far every driver and car I've had has been very satisfactory. Actually better than many cabs I've taken. The cars have to be 3 years old maximum, so you sit in a fairly new car. The driver handles the traffic and you sit back and relax.

I still have a slight limp and minor pain but definitely much much better. Thank you to all my friends who helped me I am very blessed to have good friends. 



Thursday, October 23, 2014

An event that changed my life!

October 23, 1956

This is the 58th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. This is the event that changed our lives, my mother and father and we became Political Refugees. We had to flee our home and homeland.

War is ugly no matter where or when it happens! The memories are still vivid and dark!

This is the apartment we lived in the address was Lenin Korut 101. Before the Communist renamed the boulevard it was called Terész Körut and again after the cummunists regime fell it is again called Teresz Korut as it is today. Located about a block away from the "Nyugati" (West) Train Station. Click Here for a Map of Budapest.

We lived on the first floor apartment #10. The tree was right in front of our windows. This is one of the main "round" streets in Budapest so during the revolution there was a lot of "action" right in front of our building. This is a picture I took about a year ago when I was visiting.

During the revolution this was our view of the tree.... yes including the dead body hanging by his feet....Now that I'm writing this it sounds so horribly ghoulish but at the time we were numb to all of the horrors.


This is what the street looked like, the building on the left is our building. The debris on the ground included human body parts, sometimes the tanks ran people over....

Here are some more images from 1956 what we left....




This is a magazine that Life Magazine issued as an extra addition and sold for .50 cents and the proceeds went towards helping the Hungarian Refugees. I found a copy at an old magazine store on Main Street in Santa Monica. A couple of years ago I paid $50 dollars for it but to me it is one of my treasured posessions.



Links:
http://www.hungary1956.com/journeyhome.htm

PestCentric a Blog about Budapest in English

Hungarian Dictionary

The Terror House Museum
This one is in Hungarian about the Revolution
www.freedomfighter56.com
www.hungary1956.com
www.1956.lap.hu
www.hungaria.org
www.hacusa.org

Friday, August 15, 2014

Then this Happened!

I fell and could not get up! Rushing around with two bags of groceries in each hand, not watching where I was going carefully, it happened. I tripped at my back door and went down with my right foot twisted under me! OUCH!

Talk about seeing stars! I immediately knew that I hurt something bad. Got my husband to rush to help me as I was laying on the ground. He came running and it kind of freaked him out too. I asked him to please get some ice! Ladies believe it or not he asked where we kept ice? That's a frazzled husband for you.

Sure enough after x-rays it turns out that I broke my ankle and my 5th metatarsal bone. As you see in the pictures my whole foot turned black and blue. Then I got this lovely boot. Recovery time is estimated 4 months. Which will take us into November.

The good news is I have plenty of time to knit. Here are the projects I have finished. 

I will post the details and patterns in a future blog post. 







The good news is I have plenty of time to knit. Here are the projects I have finished. 

I will post the details and patterns in a future blog post. 




Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's been a while but here I am blogging again.

So many changes, new hobbies and new way of eating. I want to share this recipe for a Paleo Cauliflower Soup. I just made this up with what I had on hand and my limited understanding of the Paleo way of cooking.



1/4 pound of ground beef
4 strips of bacon (oven cooked)
1/2 medium size organic sweet onion, chopped fine
Coconut oil or Olive Oil
1 head of Cauliflower cut to small pieces
2 carrots, grated
4 T almond meal 
Sea Salt to taste
water or organic chicken stock
chopped parsley
dash of hot paprika

In coconut oil Brown chopped onions with half of the grated carrots to almost burned 
add ground beef pinching dime size pieces, 
add chopped bacon, stir and sear
add salt and a dash of hot paprika
add the almond meal stir well (in place of a roux) for about a minute 
add 1/4 of the cauliflower stirring well for another minute
add all the cauliflower and the remaining of the carrots
4 cups of water 

Bring to a good boil, do not over cook. 

***********************


My new hobby is making Jewelry. I've been taking Metalsmithing classes and boy is it rough on the manicure. I'm just taking a little rest from knitting, although I still always have a project or two and knit a row or two just because I love knitting. I should have said new hobbies in the plural because I've also been doing some millinery hat making. I LOVE making hats!

I will post pictures and links to this new and exciting adventure I'm on. 




Friday, January 24, 2014

Skipping right over Fall and we are in the middle of Winter




Although judging from our weather here in Southern California winter has not showed up yet. The Swing Vest kick that I'm on right now have been perfect for our climate. Keeps me warm yet not too warm, I've come to the conclusion that vests are my favorite garments to wear.

A friend of mine asked me how many of these swing vests have I made and it stopped me to count. I confess I've made several. It all started with the "Wingspan Vest" made out of Noro Silk Garden yarn. This piece was a great success, feels nice and an easy wear.




And if and when it gets cold enough I wear this shawl that I made years ago and so happens to match.


Too warm so next came "Rusty Wings" made of sock yarn.


When I was teaching at Newtons Yarn Country I fell in love with their Nevada yarn. It's a wonderful rayon and drapes really beautifully. I named this one "Birds of a Feather".



 

Then when I got this wonderful wool in Estonia I made the "Vera Vest", decided to add a collar and this one I think is my favorite. I love wearing it.


And then there is this one that I kind of updated with my leftover felting.


And on the needles soon to be finished (I hope). The working name is "Squiggly" for obvious reasons.