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This week’s images are here. The highlight of the whole lot is the crocheted portrait of James Dean. Please, do take a look.

For the first time in a long while I can say that I may be starting to feel better. Yesterday I felt like mush, but today I’m feeling a bit more like uncooked oatmeal, a bit sturdier.

The interesting news, however, is I got the muffler on the car fixed yesterday and for the first time in ages I rolled up the driveway and was not greeted by Sammy! I gingerly got out of the car, careful not to slam the door shut. Looked fore and aft, even under the car. No Sammy. Perhaps it was the muffler noise that attracted him. Bad news is I am kind of worrying about him. I hope he’s alright wherever he is. On the other hand, I walk around the yard on tippy toes expecting him to suddenly appear.

Yarn Rascal has a tick infection. We are going to start the medication routine tomorrow. We give him preventive flea and tick medication monthly so how this came about is something I want answered. Yarn Rascal is very sensitive to all medications so any time we have to go the medication route it’s a bit unnerving. He gets reactions to his normal yearly shots. I’m going to get out his favorite Shetland Yarn and put it in the bed with him. Maybe it will be a lucky charm and we’ll get through the course of meds without any complications.

The blanket I am making my father is here. I nixed the turquoise, he’s just not a turquoise person, and substituted a dark heathered brown. I kept the dark and light greys and the cream. I wanted the blanket to resemble the colors of agates I have seen and admired. The knitting is going nicely. I haven’t hit that point yet where nothing seems to move forward, but I’ve only completed 2 of the 8 strips.

I am going to try taking pictures on my cell phone and uploading them to my computer to see if that is less aggravating than camera to computer. But I suspect it is the photo software I am hating and not the tech items.

As of yesterday, I am officially rooting for winter to arrive. Temperatures of 90 F / 32 C are beyond me unless I’m a cactus.

Still Alive

All is normal here, that is to say going down the tubes as fast as everything can. I thought I’d just check in to let you know I still live, though the summer cold I caught is now trying to kill me. It defies every natural aide I’ve shared with it. So in an act of desperation I saw a regular doctor on Friday. He agrees it is a cold, wrote some prescriptions, told me to fill them and I should be back doing the funky duck by Sunday. Well…between Friday and Sunday comes Saturday, when the medicines entered my system. A small trip to the hospital because of severe reactions and no funky ducky on Sunday. The cold is still alive and well.

A special thank you to Mollie and Claire. A very special package greeted me on my return from the hospital with the most wonderful and delicious yarn in it. Yarn Rascal was besides himself over it and I couldn’t help but feel he sensed Mollie. He smelled and gently rubbed his face all over the yarn. I am going to post pictures of this wonderful gift, but first this dang computer and I, along with the camera, need to be able to work together nicely. We haven’t quite found that balance yet. (And they want to release Windows 10!! Silicon Valley is filled with sadists.)

I am working on my father’s blanket and need to order more yarn. The yarn counts in the pattern aren’t right. It’s a good pattern, which I will be sharing pictures of as soon as the computer from hell, and the camera and I can all play nicely.

My best new summer friend, or at least I think he’s trying out for the spot, is Sammy. The Snake. For now just let me say he meets me in the driveway, a self-appointed greeter. Some families had butlers greet them when they came home. I have a snake.

This is my life.

This week’s Sunday Images are here.

At the moment, I am having a different kind of knitting experience. After much dithering I am knitting a blanket for my father that I hope to finish before his life ends. He is always cold lately and I thought a knitted blanket was a nice solution. I’ve made one crocheted afghan so I know the time and energy that goes into a large project like this. After I completed that afghan I felt done with ever doing another. To think of knitting an entire blanket was beyond what my mind could comprehend. Who in their right mind would ever consider such a project?

After Dad’s recent hospital stay, I overwhelmingly felt he needed a knitted blanket. Part of my mind rejected the idea of knitting it and said go out and buy him one. The other part of me felt that wasn’t the point at all. The buy him one side posed a valid argument that I don’t know how much longer Dad has and was I willing to start a blanket knowing I might not complete it in time? How would I handle that failure? The other side said that’s right I don’t know how much time he has left so I better get knitting.

Usually when I am knitting for someone the hours are filled with thoughts of them enjoying and using the item over time. It’s reaffirming a continuation of life. The hours spent knitting this blanket are not like that. Projecting forward in time brings me to placing it in his casket so it will always be near him. It’s a very different knitting experience. I see how I have associated knitting with hope and life and a continuation of positive things going forward. The connection between knitting and hope is, perhaps, the strongest for me. The act of knitting means hope and pushes away the feeling of despair.

While I have not fallen into despair knitting the blanket, the knitting is more solemn. Just to be on the safe side, I’d like to complete this blanket by September. So that’s where I am right now: at the hottest point in the summer, knitting a blanket made with bulky weight wool.

Sunday Images are here. A new wrap style I see a lot is shown in the photo of the Tumeric Wrap by Rowan.

In an ideal world all knitters get stitch and row gauge and happily produce a garment that fits well and they love. Reality says that this is a rarity. Knitters may get stitch gauge but not row gauge or vice versa or they might not meet either gauge at all. From all that I have read knitters mostly focus on getting stitch gauge if they embrace the importance of gauge at all. Row gauge seems to be a bridge too far for most knitters, hence the length of the pieces are better off being given in inches and centimeters rather than in specific row counts.

When a designer designates row counts as the sole identifier of length bad things happen to the knitter. While knitter X may get 2″ (5) cm out of 14 rows, knitter Y may get significantly less or more. I am not saying row count can’t be included in a pattern. What I’m saying is it can’t be the only marker for length that is in the pattern.

If the designer must include row count in his / her directions say it like this: “Knit 14 rows or until piece measures 2″ (5) cm.” This gives the knitter a tangible goal. If the 14 rows don’t measure 2″, then the knitter has the okay to continue knitting until the 2″ goal is met.

Another thing I am noticing in patterns is the standard X stitches and X rows = 4″ (10) cm is starting to fall by the wayside. Lately, I’ve seen patterns by indie designers that use X stitches and X rows = 2″ (5) cm. The 4″ (10) cm standard is there because knitting that amount gives a more true idea of how many stitches and how many rows are really in 1″ (2.5) cm. The width and length of the standard 4″ (10) cm allows for all the idiosyncracies to be offset.

When I ask indie designers why they use 2″ rather than the standard 4″ their answers deal with math. They don’t want to work with fractions or decimal points in their calculations. This is crazy. Knitting, garment creation, is all about fractions and decimals, knowing when to round up and when to round down to help a garment fit and lay right. The only way to become comfortable with fractions and decimals is to work with them over and over again.

Knitting design is math centered. It’s not the warm and fuzzy math of 1 + 1 = 2. It’s geometry and algebra, fractions and decimals included. Designing is having an idea then running the numbers to see if it is mathematically doable.

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