Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy & Healthy New Year Wishes.

An Andy Rooney quote comes to mind:
"Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes."
This year has flown by and over all it was a good year for my family & dogs. We were all healthy and that is the most important part, the rest ..... anything can be done or enjoyed as long as I'm healthy. The goal or "resolution" for 2010 is to stay healthy.

I may even start exercising! (ha ha ha ha ha) Well it could happen.

I am holding my annual "knit or frog" party tomorrow while I watch the Rose Parade. I love the Rose Parade and my favorite is:

KTLA 5's live, high-definition and commercial-free broadcast of the 121st Tournament of Roses Parade begins at 8 a.m. with expert and lively commentary from Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards.
And on the needles:
I'm knitting socks at the moment, preparing for a class I'm teaching "Socks the Easy Way".

Basically a toe up sock with short row toe and heel. I like to knit socks on one 9" circular needle and this "recipe" allows me to knit the whole entire sock that way. Starts with a crochet provisional cast on. Lucy Neatby demonstrates this brilliant cast on here.

Then the toe and the heel is done with the same double wrapped short rows.

This is one of the easiest recipes I know for knitting socks. Easy Breezy ideal for the beginner sock knitter and fun for the more advanced.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Christmas present from my son.

A few years back my husband gave me a flashlight as a surprise gift and it was so bright it almost reached the moon on a dark night. Ok maybe not the moon but it was really, really bright. I loved my flash light, I used it all the time and showed it to friends and relatives. They all looked at my flash light with amazement! Wow that is really a bright flash light! They would remark, I even took it to my monthly police department meetings to compare it to the cop’s bright flashlight they carry. Oh you should have seen us like little kids comparing our flashlights to see who had the brightest.

One day my son came to me asking to borrow my flashlight, I hesitated. He saw that he needed to up the ante so he started to tell me that he was going fishing and early in the morning when it was still dark sometimes there were Bobcats around and if he had a bright flash light such as the one I had, it could save his life. He would flash the light in the Bobcat’s eyes this would blind it then he could run away. Well in that case here let me get a fresh battery for it and take it, DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE MY FLASHLIGHT!

He was happy, I said good bye to my favorite flashlight. I missed my flashlight so much and it was almost Mother’s day, my son came to me asking me what I wanted as a mother’s day present. I immediately said a new flashlight. He was so happy to buy me something I really wanted. I got a new flashlight, it was a different color but still very bright and my flashlight and I lived happily ever after. ….. Not so fast…. Soon after Mother’s day my son comes to me with sad news he has “misplaced” the original flashlight and now he was in danger again remember those Bobcats? Oh yes honey here take this new flashlight, but I want it back!

As you probably have guessed that flashlight got misplaced and then my birthday was coming up and I got a new flashlight. I don’t know how many times we have repeated this dance, once I misplaced the flashlight myself then my husband borrowed my flashlight so to make a long story short here is my brand new flashlight I got for Christmas. The only difference is this flashlight is MINE! Do not ask to borrow it because it will only work in my hands!

Here is my Streamlight PackMate BuckMasters

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lost in the Magical world of Moebii ....

I am knitting Moebii, that may not be the proper name for plural of Moebius but that is what I'm calling it, because it's like potato chips I can't just make one. It's such a fun knit and like Cat Bordhi says it is truly Magical. Cat has written a couple of books on the Moebius and if you have ever met Cat she is ... well to quote Stephanie Pearl-McPhee the "Yarnharlot" :
...I've met a whole bunch of people that have met or spoken to Cat Bordhi, and not one of them was lead to believe that the woman was a danger to herself or others, and no one has suggested that she is the adult child of an alien experiment, no one used the phrase "one skein short of a sweater" and nobody even vaguely suggested that we should form a petition to take her pointy sticks from her.

That's why, having started Cat's thrummed mobius Wednesday night, I am surprised to discover that Cat is absolutely out of her ever-loving mind. Brilliant, clever, genius likely....but make no mistake. That woman does not think like an ordinary person. I think she melted a small part of my brain with her pattern......
Yes knitting a Mobius is catchy, now I'm coming up with all kinds of new ways to knit this clever and fun project. I'm teaching a class tonight and will be teaching it on the Knit with Color Cruise next October. Here is the class description:

Introduction to the Magical World of Moebius knitting. Once you create one you will want to do it again and again. You’ll be able to step outside the box and let your imagination soar. In this class Ana teaches how to cast on a Moebius project without the tedious chores of knitting a gauge or counting stitches. Ana will teach her simple but clever way to cast on and also take the mystery out of how big will my finished circle be?

Yes NO GAUGE SWATCH or NO COUNTING STITCHES! What a relief to cast on and just be able to knit for the pleasure of knitting while creating something that is truly your own original design. “Stitch Bingo” is what Ana calls it. It It is a fun way to make up your own stitches and patterns. No more following instructions or charts line by line. You will be able to let yourself enjoy the process and enter the magical "knitting zone”, or being in the "flow" a form of meditation.

If you like to knit a guage and follow a pattern and can't take my class Cat has a free pattern on her web site:
A Treasury of Magical Knitting
or A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting.

Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.[1]
According to Csíkszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. It is the same mindfulness as ecstatic lovemaking, the merging of two into a fluidly harmonious one. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task.[2]

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The other day I made a "Honey Do List"

Trying to do a favor for my DH so he would not be bored on Sunday because I was busy teaching a knitting class. I usually do not schedule things for Sundays but it could not be helped or at least I was not willing to change this exciting new class I'm teaching.

I made up a nice short list of things he could fix for me around the house. He loves to tinker and he loves to fix things and he is very handy. I decided that I needed and extra automatic light for the path to the garage. No problem he said and took off for our local Home Depot for parts.

I came home and I did not see a new light but my bicycle was missing. Honey what happened to the new light and where is my bicycle?

Very proudly he points to the ceiling and there is my bicycle hanging way up towards the ceiling of the garage. He built a very complex hoist to get my bicycle out of the way. Oh the light? Are you sure you need a new light?

I'm just saying......

Monday, December 07, 2009

We are having Seattle weather

It rained, it's windy & it's cold. At last I have my wool sweater on & my wool socks!

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, November 27, 2009

I usually do not share this kind of thing but....

My knitting has come to a halt! Just like that, my right thumb is injured and it hurts like the dickens! A turkey was involved, chopping and dicing was involved but it's not serious and will heal but I want to knit!

After cooking 4 turkeys and making enough stuffing for a whole division my hands are thrashed. Tackling turkey necks and gizzards and lifting these huge birds whew I’m glad this only happens once a year. Next year I’m seriously rethinking this big bird frying bit.

As delicious as fried turkeys are I’m not sure all this pain & weight gain is worth it all. I’m having a serious turkey hangover. I’m sure I gained a few pounds and my back hurts and I’m kind of groggy. Gee and we have the Christmas Holiday to go yet, if my family wants turkey somebody else will have to do the cooking and that involves the buying the turkey the getting it out of the car and opening it up and all the preparations. Not like my DH seems to think that he is the "maestro" and I am the assistant. Oh did I mention the state of the kitchen? It looks like a war zone? I must go now with rubber gloves on aching back sore thumb and all the kitchen must be cleaned up!

The dinner for L.A.P.D. Pacific Division went really well, each year we get more food donated and the officers love it all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's that time of year again

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Happy Thanksgiving !

I am chopping and dicing as I usually do for our holiday and yes we are frying turkeys. We usually fry several turkeys not because our family is so big but because I like to feed our police. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday a lot of restaurants are closed and it's difficult for the officers to get food. A group of volunteers take up the cause and we provide a feast for them and the roll call room turns into a buffet of delicious offerings. The turkey and stuffing and ham and the obligatory green bean casserole oh yes and the pumpkin pies ..... each year the feast gets better and better. And the officers love it, well let's just say a good time is had by all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A time for a change.

I've had this blog since August 2005 and I've decided that I was tired of the "layout" so I've gone minimalist. White! Hope you like it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm teaching on a Knitting Cruise

Knit With Color

October 14, 2010
October 23, 2010

Prices start at $799
pp (taxes & port charges not included)
In addition, knitters will have a $100 Workshop fee to cover classes and goody bags!!

Come and Join us! Sign up here or
Call Patricia (our amazing travel agent & she's a Knitter!)
toll free 888-286-9827

We will be aboard Royal Caribbean's "Explorer of the Seas" an amazing and large luxury cruise ship. The cruise will be 9 days in length, October 14 to October 23, 2010, in time to see the beautiful fall colors on the east coast. We will be leaving from, and returning to, the Cape Liberty Cruise Port, New Jersey. The ports of call will be: Portland, ME; Bar Harbor, ME; Saint John, NB; Halifax, NS and Boston, MA. More about the ports of call click here.

We are in the process of planning some exciting shore trips and if there are any costs involved, that will be extra, and minimal. One of the stops that's been confirmed is visiting Lucy Neatby's studio when we stop in Halifax the capital of Nova Scotia. There is another stop in Halifax that will excite knitters that is in the works and will be announced later.

During our trip we will have three at-sea days in which you can take knitting classes if you wish. We are very lucky to have Cindy Fite (visit her site)"I Love to KNIT" and me (Ana Petrova) joining us. We are currently working on our classes and we'll list them on the cruise blog when we have more information. You can sign up for these later.

We both love to knit and teach knitting techniques and you will come away with exciting new ideas and skills. Don't worry if you're a beginner or very experienced, there will be something for everyone. Between us we have many decades of knitting, you will learn tips and tricks that you may never see anywhere else.

Of course, there will be LOTS of knitting time. The ship has many lounge areas, so all you have to do is sit and relax and knit with others, or have some quiet time to yourself.

We've started an email distribution list so that we can notify everyone when there is something new to learn about the cruise.

If you'd like to be added, email Joann Conklin who is organizing all of this fun at:

I almost forgot to tell you. If you'd like to arrive a day or two before the cruise starts, we will be arranging a group rate at a nearby hotel. More on that later when the details have been worked out.

We hope that you will come along and join in the fun. We are very excited about this trip and very much look forward to being with "our people" KNITTERS. We plan to do everything we can to make it fun for you!

You know I will be blogging about this in the next 10 months and 4 weeks but it's Monday and I have a thousand things to do........

Hope to see you on the cruise.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The "Weaver's Knot"

A sturdy tight and small knot to join two ends of yarn or string together. This is one of my new favorite knots it's very similar to a knot my mother showed me oh so many years ago but I think this one is easier to teach and is just as good or dare I say maybe better.

When I get a hank of yarn and have decided the project I want to make I usually wind it very carefully. I feel the fiber between my fingers as I wind the ball to be sure to catch any "factory knots" you know those nasty little knots that some yarn have. I always think that I'm being cheated a little because I don't expect to buy an expensive ball of yarn just to find some unexpected knots. This should be part of "quality control".

This is especially annoying when I'm knitting socks, even a small knot is a problem, socks I would like to have the same strand of yarn without knots! I think my tender little footsies will feel that knot, then there is the dilemma should it be in the bottom of the foot or the top of the foot? Yes folks these are my big worries of the day! Wow how lucky I am. I feel good and I'm off to my Sand and Sea Knitting Guild November meeting.

If yarn manufacturers read this please do not "slip" any knots in my balls.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm on a "Jag"

From the dictionary:
Jag –noun
1. a period of unrestrained indulgence in an activity; spree; binge: a crying jag; a talking jag. (In my case a knitting jag.)
"Unrestrained"? It does seems like that at times that I just can not help myself. I have certainly have been on a "jag" with my XXX elongated stitch. Originally I was looking for a good edge for this sweater I've been working on for a while and I was just not satisfied with any of the stitch combination's I tried. I would put the sweater down and let it rest, thinking that it would come to me sooner or later. Then I remembered this old stitch and it worked perfectly for the edge, it lays flat it has just enough texture and it's easy to do.

Last winter I was doing a lot of felting and when I got tired of knitting things and felting them I decided to go to a thrift store and start buying old wool sweaters and felt them. What's the difference I knit it or somebody else knit it, the knitting police won't get me. I got this real nice wool man's sweater and washed the heck out of it and it felted really nicely, it's soft yet dense and it just had a really nice feel to it. I started to cut it apart to see what I could make out of it and suddenly had a vision.

I had this very nice sock yarn that looked harmonious with the colors in the original sweater and I picked up stitches right into the felted original piece. Like this:

It was a wee bit small on me so I added gussets, threw in a few short rows for shaping and here is what that looks like:

So this is what started my "Jag" with the xxx elongated stitch. Then I thought in case I forget how I do this maybe I'll just make a video and then post it on YouTube and that way if I ever want to do it again I can just watch my video.

elongated stitch XXX zig zag

I now have added this stitch to several other projects and it does not look like I'm stopping. I will show several other projects to you at a later post. Several people have asked me where I got this stitch? And I am not sure, what I am sure of is that I did not invent it because there is nothing new in knitting I am convinced that somewhere on the planet at one time or another it's been done by another knitter. Then I remembered this little sweater my aunt had and was showing me the stitch she used many years ago. Bingo! There it was the xxx elongated stitch and a whole sweater knitted in it. I guess she was on a jag too because she showed it to me all so many years ago when we visited her in Budapest.

I was teaching a class at Needle Points West the other day and showed a couple of projects with this elongated xxx stitch and my students wanted to learn it so my jag may be catchy.

Written instructions for the xxx elongated stitch:
It is done in all knit stitches (garter stitch) 6 + 1 = 7 stitches
(but you can also do it as 6+2=8 use your imagination. Maybe only cross 2 stitches instead of 3 and it becomes 4+1=5 or 4+2=6 etc.)

Set up row: (rs-right side or public side) Knit
Row 1: (ws - wrong side or inside) k3, *yo, k1,* to the last 2 sts. & k2.
(the first 3 and last 3 stitches are to stabilize the stitches but this is optional you can skip it or only do 2 sts. or as many as you would like, I was doing 3 sts. on each the beginning of the row and the end of the row)
You have now doubled the amount of stitches on the needle with all the k1, yo's.

Row 2: (rs) k3, drop the yo, *slip 6 stitches off the right needle dropping the yo's and making 6 elongated stitches. Slip those six elongated sts. back to the left needle purlwise (tip to tip). Knit the 4th st and lift it over the first 3 sts, knit the 5th st and lift over the first 3 sts, knit the 6th elongated stitch and lift it over the first 3 stitches, and knit the first three sts., k1*

Row 3: (ws) Knit
Row 4: (rs) Knit
Row 5: (ws) same as row 1.

And repeat.
If you don't get it watch the video on YouTube my user name is BananaKnits:

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Gauge is for "suckers" my mother told me so...

I absolutely love this YouTube video because it just proves my point about gauge. I believe this lady's name is Kelley Petkun and she is the owner of Knit Picks and a long time experienced knitter! In this video she claims that she knitted a gauge swatch and she was right on gauge. She is knitting in the round and cast on the amount of stitches that her gauge told her to do a 32" circle. She knits a few inches, 260 stitches I believe and if I may say that is already a lot of time invested! Then she takes the stitches off the needles to try it on. Great idea I am a firm believer in trying on but I would rather knit from the top down and make adjustments as I go a heck of a lot more efficient. Also my mother had a method to cast on what I call "gauge is for suckers" it is no swatching no gauge measuring any needle size any yarn size and it works every time. It's like magic! Each time I demonstrate this people are amazed.

In case you can not see this video here is the exact link:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Road Trip to visit Cat Bordhi

I love learning more knitting techniques from other knitters. Cat Bordhi is wonderful inventive and talented knitting teacher / author has invited knitters to come an join her on "her" island. She lives in the Pacific Northwest in the State of Washington on an island in the Puget Sound. She organizes a retreat where she has about 25 students come to Friday Harbor and knit and share and learn for a whole week.

It took me all day to get here but I think the travel is well worth it, here are some pictures of the journey here. I always have an "airline" breakfast which consists of Starbucks coffee and trailmix with tomato juice. Oh the good old days of airplane food who ever thought I would miss it?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cruising and Knitting & Teaching on the High Seas...... Nirvana

Lots of exciting news will tell you more soon.
October 2010.

Life is great!

October 23, 1956

This date I always will remember and each year I post about it because I don't want the world to forget.
An event that changed my life!

Hungarian Revolution of 1956

And yes the tears and sadness still come and the memory still hurts even after all these years.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

XXX ZigZag Cross Over Stitch

I am progressing nicely with this little sweater. The color is wonderful and each time I try it on it seems to fit nicely. Actually I kind of do not want to take it off so I am hopeful that this will be a garment that I will wear a lot. For our climate here is Southern California this short sleeve open sort of jacket / sweater is perfect, just to take the chill off the shoulders. It would be a great addition to a fall or spring wear also.

I have been trying to figure out what kind of edging to do on this and I think I've got it. I first wanted this to be all garter stitch to show off the yarn and I'm pleased of the way it looks. I really do like the all knit garter stitch it gives a nice texture and hangs nicely for me. There is no curling to worry about and it's an easy knit. I knit Continental so the knit stitch is more efficient and goes faster for me than the purl stitch.

I wanted to stay with the knit stitches and looked through many different books of "edgings" but I just could not find anything that was easy, not much counting and that was knit and looked good. Then I remembered this XXX Zig Zag Cross Over Stitch. I am not sure where I learned this who showed it to me but I kind of parked it in my memory for just such a project. It may have come from one of Barbara Walker's books. That woman is so clever.

For future references I made a little YouTube video to show how I do this easy breezy edging.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Saturday notes

On Saturdays I try and not plan too many things on my calendar sort of letting myself relax and catch up with things I may have postponed during the week. This Saturday I am working on my top down sweater pattern that I will be teaching at Compatto Yarn Store in November.

3 Wednesday afternoons starting
November 4th, 11th & 18th. 12 to 2 pm.

Top down sweaters are such fun to knit because they kind of grow and you are able to try them on as you knit along making any adjustments that might be needed to fit your particular bumps or lumps. Oh I mean my particular lumps or bumps you or the person you are knitting for may not have lumps or bumps but may have a short waist and long arms or short arms and a long waist. You know what I mean.

When knitting a sweater the conventional way in pieces you usually start in the bottom of the back, then you knit two fronts and maybe then you could kind of try it on to get some sense in how this garment may fit. If there are any adjustments to be made you practically have to start all over again and this is why so many knitters give up.

The top down class I teach is to give the student an understanding the theory and structure of this simple and comfortable style. Most of all permission to make changes to the written pattern. My pattern is like a recipe, you can of course follow it exactly but you can add in your particular changes. Most patterns in my opinion are just a suggestion or a general outline of what to do, unless you are knitting a pattern like Hanne Falkenberg's Ballerina which is knit side to side and you better follow every single instruction. Then after thousands and thousands of stitches and hours and hours of knitting you sort of hope it will fit.

Sometimes it fits and other times it does not. The first Hanne Falkenberg "Ballerina" I knit turned out ok. Oh wait I had major problems figuring out the pattern not just the rhythm of the designer and instructions but I could barely see the print . The tiny font they used to save paper without any "breathing" spaces letters kerned as close as possible as if they were trying to fit everything on one sheet of paper. Oh no not as if they actually did fit everything on one legal size page. But once I kind of got the rhythm of the designers intent I was finally able to figure it all out and finished the sweater.

However I don't wear this sweater very much because it's back heavy and has a tendency to pull to the back and I end up tugging on it to fit right. So it becomes a tug of war when I wear it. But it has come in very handy to demonstrate to my students how adapting a style to your own body and comfort is very doable and for me necessary.

I modified the Ballerina, calling it the Banana-Ballerina. This version looks about the same but it's a bit longer in the front giving it more weight in the front and I took out a couple of panels in the back making the back lighter. Now this sweater sits on my shoulders nicely there is no tugging and is a comfortable to wear.

Here are some class projects we made for top down classes I did in the past. We knitted a small version of the sweater we had in mind and my little Teddy was a perfect size to knit for but once you learn the theory and the basic concept on how to knit this sweater you can knit any size you want.

This little sweet sweater was knit by Sandi Kagan, this was the first project she ever knit without following a pattern. She was amazed that she was able to do this easily after the first session of the 3 session class I was teaching at Amano Yarn Center.