Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just Kidding?

I'm just sitting here on a sunny calm day updating my blog and I look over at the Venice Beach Web cam on my side bar and I see this stormy ocean. I take a look out the window and there is no wind no clouds just sunny a little cool because it's early about 65° but nothing that may cause such big surf!

Then I realize that they are "just kidding" very funny! The storm was in December 2005.

Making Friends with the Moebius

It's a lot of fun to knit a "moebius" at least Cat Bordhi's version of it. Do not mistake this moebius with just twisting your knit in the round mistake. Cat's way to do a moebius is different, well it kind of grows from the center. BTW I often misspell this word mobious, but the correct way is moebius. It's named after the German mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius. I just wonder what the plural is maybe mobieii?

At first I did not quite know what to do with this fun sort of piece of moebius knit and suddenly I have a hundred ideas. Currently I've added it as a collar to my top down knit. Wow! Now I'm making one for my dog the little dip in the moebius where it pinches is the perfect spot for her id tag to hang. She is getting older now and needs more sweaters nice wool ones to keep her warm.

Cat made a bed for her kitty cat, see how the "dip" adds to the felted bed. Cute kitty, but I have a dog and she won't sleep in a bed like that she would rather cuddle up in a nice hand knit sweater I may have left laying on the couch. But I digress....

I know the directions call for a circular needle at least 47" long but I felt that was too big for my little dog's neck so I experimented and modified a 30" circular bamboo needle and it worked!

The cast on is similar to a provisional cast on except you are using your needle's cable for the bottom part. Well Cat will explain it better in her video or her book "The Treasury of Magical Knitting":

Here is her cast on method the video Cat produced is to help cast on for a moebius. Experiment give it a try.

Happy Knitting,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all

This is a wonderful American holiday, we remember to give thanks. I usually do not post cliche quotes but here is one I liked. Sometimes I have to remind myself how lucky I am to live where I live and to have my family and friends around me and indeed I am thankful for all my blessings.

Things to Be Thankful For:

  • Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.
  • Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party, because it means you have been surrounded by friends.
  • Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you're employed.
  • Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.
  • Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.
  • Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.
  • Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.
  • Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.
  • Be thankful when people complain about the government, because it means we have freedom of speech.
  • Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means you're alive.
~ Taken from Ann Landers’ column—11/22/01

Monday, November 24, 2008

Organizing my stash

There is an art to organizing all that I've collected not just the yarn but the tools needed for knitting. There are a lot of tools needed for this art, as the saying goes "you are as good as your tools". I learned this early and am a firm believer a good tool can make a job breeze along or not the right tool can make the job a struggle. Then there is the other part of this which is "be good to your tools and they will be good to you" I treat my tools with respect and try and keep them in good shape and organized.

Trying to organize my knitting needles and tools, especially my circular needles has been like a Pandora's box I did not realize just how many I have. The countless of duplicates are because my organization lacked and I simply could not find just the size or length of knitting needle I needed so I just went out and bought another. And circular needles have an unruly character to them they spring out at you or jump out of their confinement and just when you've uncurled them they jump back to their original curly shape.

The holder that seemed to be working for a long time, the hanging kind is suddenly not good enough. It's excellent for the longer circular needles but the little short ones get lost in the pockets. Since I've been knitting socks on 9" circulars I have collected several sizes and how to organize those? Then there are my 12" circular collection they too get lost in the hanging thingie.

Because of my knitting style I often change needle sizes for shaping and sizing so I need several needles and lengths ready and organized by size, it frustrates me to have to drag out the needle sizer to figure out what size the needle is.

I have the options needle sets from KnitPicks and they are nice even though the first case that I got was just lame in my opinion I threw that away. But the second case that came with the "Harmony" set was much better and it accommodates both sets. Although I would have liked to have the actual numbers printed on each needle pocket so I don't have to test my visual sizer each time I want a needle. Is this a size six or seven? I finally got tired of pulling out the needle sizer and labeled the pockets myself.

The Knit Picks set is great but I'm glad I did not throw away all my other needles even though when I first got the set I thought well this just solves all the circular needle problems and I can get rid of my "gypsy" collection of old circulars. But the Options only go down to size 4 and not suitable for all jobs. So the collection grows. BTW one of the reasons I love these interchangeable needles is that I can knit with two different size needles. Say a size 5 on the left needle and a size 10 on the right needle. I knit very tight and often have a struggle pushing the stitches on the left needle, this way the smaller needle lets the stitches slide easier.

At last I have found a case I like for the shorter circulars, it's almost perfect, yes almost. It looks like I may have to drag the sewing machine out and start sewing the perfect needle case I would be happy with. The Della Q "Lily" I'm sort of happy with and I love the way it has numbers but it's not quite just perfect. I guess it will have to do until I design and sew my own.

Now that I'm into organizing I realize that my double pointed needles need sorting too. The sewing machine is out I'm searching for material and here is my first attempt my sock needles. I see this may take some engineering and design. I now realize that this may be an ongoing project and will take some time.

Do you have a favorite needle case? Leave a comment tell me about it.

Happy Knitting,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My favorite Web Cam

I placed this web cam on my sidebar so I can see what the weather is like at the beach. It's located on the sidebar and it takes a couple of minutes to load. It's been put up there by surfers to monitor the surf conditions. That pier is one of my favorite walks. Here is the view from the end of the pier. You almost feel like you are in a boat.

And after my walk my favorite place to have coffee
"The Cow's End" owned by Clabe Hartley a long time resident of Venice.
34 Washington Blvd.
Marina Del Rey, Ca 90292

Venice Beach Heart & Soul

Addicted to sock knitting

One of the advantages of being a sock knitter is the huge collection of socks I've knit for myself. Yes I knit for myself and do not apologize. Besides some charity knitting I knit almost exclusively for myself. That is just the way it is and it works for me. My family does not like hand made socks or sweaters I've tried and they just do not wear them so why make more?

I wear almost everything I make for myself and the socks are my favorite. I now have so many pairs knitted that I only do "sock washing" about once a month. I wash them all at the same time and wear a new pair almost every day (weather permitting).

Then there are all the sock related travels I love, the next one I'm looking at is the Sock Summit 2009 will be August 6-9th at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon.

There is not that much information on the web site but it sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Come one! Come all!
To the Greatest Sock Knitting Show on Earth.
Step right this way where you will find:

  • Your favorite teachers, designers and knit stars
  • A marketplace filled to the brim with sock yarn and supplies
  • Live podcasts
  • Creative and inspiring exhibits
  • A sheep-to-sock contest
  • “The Parade of Socks” fashion show
  • Sock Hop in the Sunken Ballroom of the Portland Art Museum
  • And so much more …
  • Sock knitting history in the making!

Friday, November 21, 2008

One of the techniques I learned from Cat

One of the techniques I learned in Cat Bordhi's class was the iCord bind off. Wow what a beautiful edge it gives. It's in her book, she is so inventive! What an imagination she has! I know she did not invent this technique but the way she uses it is very inventive.

A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting
by Cat Bordhi

When you get to the end of your finished project and you are ready to bind off, cast on 3 more stitches to the left needle.

Knit 2, k2tog and put the last 3 sts. back on the needle and repeat all the way across.

They call it i-Cord because any "idiot" can do it. Well if somebody shows you how that is, like everything once you know how it's so easy.

Thanks Cat.

It's Turkey time!

Getting ready for the holidays. This is one of my favorite cook books, the pictures and the historical references to foods of Hungary is really great. I need to freshen up my collection of recipes of my usual holiday dishes. I think my family is ready for a change, often I get into a sort of rut and rotate maybe 10 or so recipes, maybe I'll watch the food channel too that's always fun to see new ideas in food.

On Ravelry there is a Hungarian discussion group and they have been bringing up different Hungarian foods, it really got me in the mood for cooking some Hungarian dishes for the upcoming holidays. We plan to deep fry our turkey, we've been doing this for several years now and it's delicious and best of all my husband does the whole thing. He has perfected (I hope) the method that works best and it truly is a very tasty way to cook the "bird". We usually cook several because we share, it's a lot of work for just our family. We sometimes cook our neighbor's turkey and extra ones. What can I say there is a lot of Turkey cooking going on this time of year at my house. There are a couple or organizations I belong to and we take turkey and food to feed people in need. We are blessed to have this abundance of food so we share.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So much to do, so little time....

Knitted from the top down in "lace" pattern that I made up and the yarn I used is six skeins of Rowan Kidsilk Haze. I call it "Purple Cloud" because it's so light weight yet warm.

This one below is called "Seaweed" made of Blue Heron Egyptian Mercerized Cotton, knitted from the top down with a crochet edge.

I love teaching but it's so time consuming, not the actual teaching but the preparation of the materials. Planning out how to explain and transfer knowledge of knitting techniques to 10 people at various levels of knitting capabilities can be challenging. Because I've knit without a patterns for so long I instinctively know how to do many techniques but how to transfer that knowledge to 10 people is the fun part. But beginner and advanced knitters all get something out of my classes that is why I did not specify a skill level for the class. Knitting from the top down is a simple concept and can be done easily for the beginning knitter and for the advanced knitter there are lot's of designs and stitching styles to learn about.

The classes have been a great success and I love what I'm teaching, "Design Your Own Top Down Sweater" is such an easy way to knit a sweater and lends itself to your own design elements beautifully. Who needs a written pattern that fits somebody else when you can knit a sweater that fits you, even hard-to-fit sizes, custom fit to your "lumps and bumps" oops. my lumps and bumps your shapely figure.

Then there are the hand outs, oh yes I have to shoot pictures and write text and use some sort of publishing software to be able to lay out the page is a challenge alone. But I've progressed I have actually learned InDesign and have been able to print out a fairly presentable notebook.

I've copied my hand outs, knitted my swatches and organized my tools. I spend a lot of time organizing my tools. When you are a natural gatherer / collector, besides a large yarn stash I have a large collection of knitting tools. I am a firm believer that you are as good as your tools and if you are good to your tools they will be good to you.

The right knitting needle can make the difference of a pleasant smooth knit as opposed to struggling with every stitch knit. My goal is to make garments that look hand made and not home made, not that there is anything wrong with home made look sometimes but most of the time I like to have the finished hand crafted garment look neatly done with fine workmanship. This is where the tools come in when you have just the right little gadget that picks up dropped stitches or a circular needle and in the size you need to make your sweater so it hangs right etc.

Often people ask me which kind of needle is the best, well it depends. It's a tool and it has to suit the job if I have very slippery yarn I like to use Bamboo needles but if the yarn is sort of sticky then the Addi Turbo needle is the best. So you can see with this attitude I might have collected a number of needles. I have the circulars and the double points, the straights and my newest collection of 9" and 12" circulars.

Because we had people on a waiting list I have added another class at Amano Yarn Center in January 2009.

Three Thursday evenings from 6 pm to 8pm January 8th, 15th & 22nd.

A Mano Yarn Center
12808 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90066

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"Closet Knitter"

I have great news I've come out of the closet! I never knew that I was a "closet knitter" but that is what I was told by my friend Kathy. About 5 years ago I was shopping at my local Trader Joe's and I noticed a sign "yarn store" so I stopped in, they just opened and it was a charity yarn store. A cheerful smiling woman (Kathy) came up to me asking if she could help me with my project. I quite seriously asked how she could help, she replied I can write you a pattern for the sweater you want to knit.

You write me a pattern? I was shocked I've never followed a written pattern before. How long have you been knitting, she asked? Most of my life. I've never seen you around any of the yarn stores or events. No I just buy my yarn and take it home and knit. Oh you're a "closet knitter". Wow I've never heard of that before, I'm a closet knitter. I had no idea that there was a whole knitting community out there.

It's a lot of fun to hang out with other knitters, sit around the table and get to meet other people with the same hobby. Hobby? I've always looked at it as a job. If I wanted a sweater I knit it that is how my mother did and my grandmother and I'm sure their mother's too. It never occurred to me that this is a "hobby" that you would just knit for pleasure. I always like knitting and it was a very soothing "yoga" like experience but I always looked at it as a job.

I did not know that there was a whole knitting community out there. Besides I never learned the knitting language or short hand. It always puzzled me to figure out what ssk, or yo, k1,yo, k2tog, all meant. I bought yarn that day and returned to the store and Kathy instructed me how to read a pattern from a book. This was a brand new experience for me, I had never been able to read a pattern before when I knit I just made it up and knit to shape. I just looked at the shape I wanted and knit sort of reverse engineered projects.

Who knew that there was so much to learn out there, suddenly I came out of the closet and started to hang around knitters. I found it to be fascinating to learn new stitches new patterns to follow and hang out with other knitters. Stitch and Bitch groups, knitter's night out knitting guilds and then there are the trips. Knitters go on knitting retreats and cruises to Alaska to knit socks. Wow what fun I've been having, I can not seem to get enough so much to learn and knit and so little time.

Kathy and I became friends and we have traveled together to several knitting events, knitting retreats, Stitches West, Cruises etc. We went to San Juan Island in Washington State not too long ago. We flew to Seattle then took a seaplane to Friday Harbor to learn from one of the outstanding Sock knitting teachers Cat Bordhi. Cat is an author and knitting instructor and full of energy and a fertile imagination.

Our next trip will be in a few weeks to go back to Seattle to the Madrona Fiberarts . Lots of great teachers lots of knitting fun. And today I'm off to the Sand and Sea Knitting Guild monthly meeting and maybe this afternoon to the LASF Machine Knitters meeting. Yup I'm doubling up spending the day with knitters.

Have a great Saturday and Happy Knitting. Come out of the closet and join other knitters it's a lot of fun.