Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I use them extensively when designing, as you can see in this picture of the shawl I am working on. When I want to try out a new section of lace, I place a lifeline. Then, if I'm not happy with my design choice, I simply slide the work off the needles and rip back with abandon until I come to the stitches held securely in place along the lifeline. This length of yarn, always a different color and preferably a smooth cotton, locks the row of stitches in place, and prevents the work from unraveling further than I would like.
This tool is particularly handy for lace knitting, as the blend of yarn overs and decreases makes picking up a row of live stitches tricky to say the least. However, I recommend it for any type of knitting that would be a hassle to take back or would be heart breaking to unravel too far.
For the lifeline to work properly, care must be taken to thread the scrap yarn through EVERY stitch on the needles. Notice in the picture that I am avoiding running the yarn through my stitch marker.
Once the lifeline is through every stitch, (and I should say here that you would only put the lifeline in after checking that the work knit to that point is error free and the stitch count is correct, etc) make a note of what row the lifeline is running through, so that if you do have to rip back, you'll immediately know what row is next!
Now, press onward with the confidence that comes from knowing if you make a mistake and feel compelled to tear it out, you can rip fearlessly and with abandon because you'll stop at the row of YOUR choosing, and all your correctly knit stitches will be laid out nicely and in order along the length of your lifeline, just waiting to be slipped back onto your needles!
So, cut a couple lengths of leftover cotton yarn, tuck them in your gadget bag with a tapestry needle, and knit, knit, knit!
Yours in knitting,
Monday, July 16, 2007
I loved it so much I immediately purchased enough Cascade 200 to make a pink bag AND a teal bag! It's such a quick and easy pattern, I knew it wouldn't take me long...then reality set in and I knew if I didn't get to work on the rest of the triangle shawl it would never be done in time for the October class...plus there was the need to reread all six Harry Potter in preparation for midnight on July 21st - when we finally find out HOW IT IS ALL GOING TO END!!!!
Plus the birdwatching thing...we saw a bald eagle, a great blue heron, about a billion red winged blackbirds and a yellow warbler. However, I also found a tick crawling on me in the middle of the night which freaked me out enough to seriously consider limiting my future birdwatching to whatever I can see from the relative safety of the very comfy chair next to my front room window...
Regardless, the ella rae bag in waiting patiently in the "on the needles" hide-away for a less busy time. But you can at least enjoy this picture of Rita's nice work!
Yours in knitting,
Saturday, July 07, 2007
"10,000" pops up all around us:
There are roughly 10,000 minutes in a week; 10,000 lakes in Minnesota; 10,000 days in the Vietnam War;
It's the number of seconds it takes to repair a heart valve; it is the number of other neurons in our brain that each single neuron touches; it is the number of steps we should aim to walk in a day to maintain a healthy level of fitness.
It's the name of a band - 10,000 Maniacs; the name of an album - 10,000 Days; the name of a song by Bob Dylan - 10,000 Men.
It is the collective name (The Year 10,000 Problem ) for all potential software bugs that will emerge as the need to express years with five digits arises; it is the size (processor speed) of the enormous Linux computer NASA built; it is the name (Powers of Ten Thousand) of a technique for browsing a very large space using a macroscope.
It is the number of yards from my house to Cultured Purl; the number of meters in a HECTARE; and, the metric length of my husband's favorite competitive road race.
It is the value of the US Treasury note featuring a picture of Salmon P. Chase (US Treasury Secretary under President Lincoln); and,
bringing us finally to the point of this post (!),
it is the number of known bird species in the world:
10,000 different kinds of birds...I've just finished a book about the "Big Listers", those very driven bird watchers whose goal is to see every bird on earth... Only a baker's dozen or so have managed to see 7,000. And 2 have made it to the 8,000 mark. An inspiring story...one of those 2, a woman, had been an avid birder for some time when she received an imminently terminal cancer prognosis. Rather than quietly succumbing to the disease, she decided to spend what little time she had left traveling around the world seeing as many types of birds as she could. 17 years later!!!, she had listed nearly 8,500 birds - a world record...
There are roughly 900 species of birds in North America. And interestingly enough, about 320 pass through our very own Presque Isle each year! Who would have thought, tucked away up here in our little corner of the world, there'd be such a plethora of feathered delights. So, I have been trying to persuade my family (even one fellow avian sleuth would be nice company) that birdwatching would be an exciting and fulfilling hobby to take up, considering how one of the busiest bird sanctuaries is a mere stone's throw away from our house. so far no takers...my husband did raise his eye brows a little when I said all it really takes is a good pair of binoculars and some time: asking, when did I think I would knit...
so, it's looking like I'm on my own with this one. But if any of my knitting friends feel like putting the needles aside for a bit and strolling around the peninsula, let me know!
yours in yarn,
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Shirani will be ordering this soon, so stop by the shop and check out the beautiful range of colors that are available!
Yours in yarn,
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I just blocked a draft of the triangular shawl I'm designing for a class this fall. Here, I've pinned it into shape and left it to dry. This is a lace weight blend of 50% silk and 50% wool, worked on a US3 needle, and blocking will grow it by about 50%. (That needle size, by the way, is for the elusive average knitter. I being perpetually & hopelessly loose, had to use a 1...)
If I had bound off tightly, I could never have gotten the edges to stretch wide enough to accommodate the beautiful openwork of the lace.
The bind-off that I chose here is nicely loose and elastic enough to allow the edges to stretch. Notice the edge between the two T-pins: it lies flat and the stitches are big enough to allow the yarn overs along the edge to open as widely and nicely as the yarn overs throughout the rest of the sample. The bind-off I used is the "Decrease Bind-Off" and it is one of my favorites.
It can be worked as either knit stitches or purl stitches. Each method will give a pretty, decorative, nicely stretchy edge.
For the knit bind-off: *K2tog, slip the newly formed knit stitch from the right needle back to the left needle; repeat from * to end.
For the purl bind-off: *P2tog, slip the newly formed purl stitch from the right needle back to the left needle; repeat from * to end.
In both cases, loosen the newly formed stitch as you slip it back to the left needle, and resist the urge to tighten it up again when you work the decrease.
The decrease bind-off, in either form, is frequently recommended for lace knitting, so much so that it is also known as the "Lace Bind-Off". It is also particularly nice in ribbing.
When working any bind-off, the looser you are able to work it, the prettier and more elastic it will be. One tip that works well for me when using the basic chain bind-off (where you work 2 stitches then pull the 1st stitch over the 2nd stitch and off the needle) is to use a needle 2 or 3 sizes larger in diameter than the needles used for the rest of project. Give that a try and see if it loosens things a bit for you too!
Yours in knitting,
Sunday, July 01, 2007
First it was the big BIG dance show...
then Mike and I took a quickie but action packed trip to Chicago...
the highlight for me was the marvelous shopping... and Mike did pretty well with that too, however I think a close second was our visit to the kinda-freaky-quirky-weird International Museum of Surgery:
Not sure photography was allowed, but I snuck ( or is it sneaked...) this one of an old iron-lung, just looking at it kicked in a little claustrophobia attack...but really the coolest thing there were the ghastly old surgical knives and the preserved skulls with huge holes drilled in them (sans anesthesia by the by) to release the evil spirits...
we ate really well at lots of cool places like RL, Ralph Lauren's restaurant...
After Chicago, my husband did have another (almost unheard of) SECOND WEEK OF VACATION, so we took lots of day trips with the kids, including our favorite: a trek into Cook's Forest.
4 miles down the Clarion River...
followed by an hour on horseback through the forest.
this was a particularly momentous moment for us... prior to getting on this horse, my son had watched his sisters ride for all nine of his years but had always REFUSED to even entertain the idea of getting up in the saddle...
so all that, plus, between the two girls, a seemingly never ending schedule of EYSA soccer games...
has sort of kept me away from my knitting. (I should note here that I did take my little woolly Ella Rae project to this game, however it was about 90 and the sun was beating down, and the wool was DRIVING ME CRAZY...so I gave up)
and just took pictures.
it's the start of a new week, and I have just knit the ruffle of that baby hat in preparation for teaching the class in July... so I'm back in the saddle so to speak!
Yours in knitting,