Monday, June 22, 2009

The Bamboo Forest

Warning there is nothing about knitting in this post but lots about bamboo.

About ten years ago I decided to plant some bamboo. Not knowing much about this I just liked the way bamboo looked. At the time I did not really know the difference between "running" bamboo and "clumping" bamboo. I thought oh good running it will propagate and multiply and I will have lots of bamboo.

Ignorance is bliss, I should have known when a few people would just roll their eyes and sort of wish me good luck. Over all it has been pretty good though a lot of work. Each spring and early summer I have to cut back the new shoots and I think last year I just did not feel like doing this there was too much knitting to do. And there was the SeaSocks excursion to Alaska so who had time for bamboo trimming?

I'm paying for it this year, even though I would love to start knitting more socks to get ready for the Sock Summit in a couple of months and some projects that are screaming to be finished, no can do. I have to work on my bamboo forest because if I skip one more year I may not be able to get out, the bamboo may have over taken me and my whole house.

This is what I learned: There are many many different types of bamboo there are more than 400 kinds. I think I have about 4 different varieties in my garden.
Did you know bamboo is a grass?
Did you know there was a Bamboo Society? I almost joined.

I will let you in on a secret: how to tell if a bamboo is a running or clumping kind.

In the picture below is a clumping "Buddha's Belly" and the way you can tell is that the stalk is perfectly round like a plastic straw.

The picture below is "Hawaiian Golden" bamboo and it is the running kind. See the groove right where the joint is? This means that it's running bamboo.

Smooth stalk = clumping
Groove in the stalk = running

This bit of knowledge took me lots of research checking books reading etc. and finally this little Japanese lady at a nursery on Sawtelle showed me. Now you know.

BTW I have used bamboo fiber yarn and it was terrific very soft and easy to knit with. The uses for bamboo is endless.

Oh I know I said there would be nothing about knitting in this post but I could not help myself. This is the project I knit with bamboo fiber. I called it "Worms".


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Arriving at the park

Arriving at Clover Park for the Knit in Public Day, my knitting bag and my dog in tow. The park was lively full of people having a grand time. The weather was nice the grass was soft but Lucy would have none of it! She was too comfy in the knitting bag to come out.

Lot's of pictures on Ellen's blog, take a look. Ellen is a wonderful blogger and documented the events perfectly. First we were at the Original Farmer's Market then at Clover Park in Santa Monica. Photo's by Ellen.

"Mommy please let me just sit here in the knitting bag, I LOVE yarn"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

World Wide Knit in Public Day!

Go out and KNIT!

I'm going to the Original Farmer's Market on 3rd & Fairfax. Meeting up with my friend Ellen & her stitch & bitch group.

I'm doing something wrong...

I'm not sure where I started weering off course but the numbers do not add up. The pattern is "intermediate"? I must be a beginner knitter! Ok so I'm better at making up my own pattern than following somebody else's, especially charts. Maybe it's my new glasses.... these tiny little squares and symbols are really hard to see. I know I could enlarge the chart but that means I would have to go to Kinko's and have them do it my copy machine is not working right now. The yarn I'm using is Koigu and the colors are really nice and I thought I was making such good progress! I guess not, back to the spot where I think I went wrong. "Frogging time" the stitches are off the needles!

Now for a bit of "venting" about my new glasses. When I was younger and had perfect vision I used to think that wearing glasses was so cool. I was looking at them more as a fashion statement than something that one needed to see with. It never dawned on me that if you wear glasses you can't see without them. I know I was young and did not understand these things.

I remember I went to the optometrist with a friend of mine and had glasses with clear glass made so I could wear glasses when I felt like it. Yes FELT like it is the key word here, I could see perfectly without them so I could just wear them when my outfit or hairdo or occasion called for glasses. I was very foolish, I now know the truth about glasses and not being able to see without them. Mother nature's cruel joke: getting old.

Markus T

I have not changed my prescription for a number of years now and thought that I should maybe have an eye exam and get the "proper" prescription instead of my version of what it should be. Yes I asked my friend Cliff what each number meant on the prescription and modified them to my liking and so far it worked. I thought that the doctor could magically write a new prescription and I would magically see better. Just get new glasses (I love that part) and off I go.

Not so fast! When one gets a new prescription you never know exactly how they will turn out. But in order to know this you have to spend the money to have new glasses made so you can try them out. This can be an expensive proposition, what if the prescription is not right? You have spend hundreds of dollars on the glasses and the lens is not right? Who is making the mistake? The doctor? The optician? Now I have to make another appointment with the doctor and see what is wrong unless I just guess and have my optician order the prescription I think should be.
I have a pair of glasses that I bought about 20 years ago at a garage sale. They are strong and magnify things really well. I've used them when I really wanted to work on detailed things. But they are single vision and real glass and not so attractive but I can see with them. I am wearing them right now and I can see the screen perfectly. I don't think this is rocket science I think I will just have the same magnification put in my bi-focal lenses that I get.

The two pictures above are my new frames I'm getting. As soon as I can resolve this prescription problem I will show you how they look.

I am also lusting after these frames by Theo

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sideways Sox Supreme

For some reason my newest "kick" is to knit sideways socks. The traditional way of knitting socks is not flat but a tube, when knitting socks flat from side to side there is some grafting involved. You need to join the two sides and it's done with the Kitchener stitch. I happen to love to do the Kitchener stitch I know lots of knitters who will do anything to avoid it but not me. I enjoy seeing the "join" it's sort of magical. 

Like in the April Fools Sock there was grafting done all the way down the body of the sock

I think it's kind of cool the way the Kitchener stitch just looks exactly like a stitch and makes it look like you've knitted it in the round.

The Sideways Sox Supreme is from this Socks-Socks-Socks book. A very nice book well photographed by Alexis Xenakis of Knitting Universe I met him up at Stitches West, a very nice man and talented. I like this book so far, this is the first pattern I'm knitting and so far so good.

The chart, but they also have the pattern written out in the back of the book, which I like because I have problems seeing the small print of the chart. And to make a larger print of the chart is kind of challenging. I need one of those magnifying rulers to see the chart, the right tool is always helpful in a project.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, June 06, 2009

All finished

Cat Bordhi Moebious, shoulder warmer.

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, June 04, 2009

April Fools?

I managed to follow the "short rows".
But why?
Why are we cutting the yarn sooooo many times?

I've got more ends here than a whole sweater! When I knit socks I try very hard not to have "joins" no knots, my little "piggies" are very sensitive. The princess and the pea comes to mind.

I followed the instructions to the letter, well almost except for that "does not add up" part. But when I tried the socks on this elaborate "short rowing" was really not necessary. Regular short rows would have worked or this part eliminated all together. The sock would fit better.

The after thought heel and toe? They leave a seam and that is part of the reason why I like to knit and wear custom socks is to eliminate those seams that always bother my feet in store bought socks. Would I knit this again? Maybe with heavy modifications. I love the colors and the stitch pattern is very nice.

I wrote to the author but I have not gotten an answer. Janel Laidman will be teaching at the Sock Summit so she might be busy preparing. I see she is scheduled for 5 different classes, that's a lot of work.

Janel Laidman

Janel Laidman is the author of “The Eclectic Sole, socks for adventurous knitters” as well as the owner and editor of, an online magazine for handspinners. Janel is a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest, where she is hard at work on her next book.


Paint Your Toes! Stranded Colorwork for Socks

Knitting stranded colorwork for socks (Fair Isle technique) can be tricky, because it is a less elastic fabric than a regular knit. In this class, we will discuss strategies for compensating for this lack of elasticity and how to keep your tension even. In addition, we will discuss how to design your own colorwork sock, shaping considerations, color choices, and color effects.Each participant will receive an original design pattern. Students will begin the pattern in class and will be able to finish the sock on their own. We will look at various techniques for knitting with two colors, including carrying both yarns in the same hand, carrying the yarns with both hands, knitting inside out and others.

Class Level:Intermediate
Class Skills:Students need to know how to knit socks, have some familiarity with the concept of colorwork, and be able to knit in the round and follow charts.
Class Length:3 hours

Rivendell and Beyond

Learn to knit the popular Rivendell sock from “The Eclectic Sole.” Students will be guided through the tricky wraps, learn to read a chart, and work on completing the cuff portion of the pattern in class. Students will also receive an alternative wristlet pattern to practice all the juicy bits of the Rivendell motif on without knitting an entire sock, and a limited edition gauntlet pattern.

Class Level:Advanced beginner. Students will learn to read charts, knit through the back loop, and create the wraps that make the scalloped edge.
Class Skills:Students should be comfortable working in the round.
Class Length:3 hours

Sidekicks - Socks Knit from East to West

Go beyond the novelty of knitting your socks sideways and explore the unique design possibilities of the sideways sock construction. Learn several different techniques for knitting sideways socks like the popular Monterey and April Fools socks from Janel’s book, “The Eclectic Sole,” and several patterns from her new book, “The Enchanted Sole.” We will cover reasons behind knitting sideways and review different strategies for shaping and heel construction. Students will receive two original patterns for fancy sideways socks. We will knit a baby version in class, and students will be able to knit adult versions on their own.

Class Level:Intermediate
Class Skills:Students will benefit from having some experience from more traditional sock construction techniques, such as knitting, purling, short rows, increase, decrease, ability to read charts, two-stranded colorwork, and kitchener stitch.
Class Length:3 hours

Spinning a Painted Sock

Spin a rainbow of color for your feet! Socks are hard wearing garments that benefit from durable yarns. Explore the best fibers, blends, and yarn structures to make these wonderful foot coverings, while at the same time learning how to get handsome color effects from that hand-painted roving in your stash. Topics we will explore include superwash, blends, carry-along thread, twist, plies, and (of course) color! This class is suitable for anyone who can spin a continuous thread and may be accomplished by wheel or drop spindle.

Class Level:This class is for advanced beginner spinners up to experienced spinners.
Class Skills:Students only need to know how to spin and ply to participate. Should be able to spin a yarn and ply it. The class can be done with a spindle or a wheel.
Class Length:3 hours

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It does not add up?

The final outcome is supposed to look something like this. I chose a different colorway but somewhat similar.

The book is The Eclectic Sole by Janel Laidman
The sock I'm knitting is called April Fools

I've never knit a "sideways" sock before so this is uncharted territory for me. I am trying my very best to follow this pattern to the letter!

I have been progressing fairly well until this little paragraph:

Now I'm not the greatest in math or reading instructions but according to my math 3 slipped stitches + 8 stitches in color B does not equal 10. According to my math 8+3=11?


-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, June 01, 2009

I feel like Mrs. Winchester

I decided to "update" the little apartment "mother-in-law" unit we have above 2 car garages on our property. I just wanted to update the bathroom maybe paint a little etc. Well it's been a can of worms. We had to "plumb" and I figured I mind as well put in copper pipes then the bathtub was old so build a shower ...... then the kitchen .... and we were off..... I now feel like Mrs. Winchester 

Running to Home Depot for a little more paint, for the new heater and endless details but we are almost there. A few more windows a little more paint.... did I say almost there? Maybe I spoke too soon .... this is the problem with starting any construction no sooner one area of the house is done I realize the other part of the house needs a little something too. I have been letting workers in and listening to hammering and saw noises for months now.

I have to remember any construction is going to take 3 times longer than you think and are promised and cost much more than expected. The details are endless....... but the little apartment is turning out really nice I guess it's al worth it.