Tuesday, June 27, 2006

M is for did ya Miss Me?

Did ya miss me while I was gone?

My brother and his family were visiting and I was spending time with my 17 year old neice, Nicole. There was some knitting (mine) and even some of that "C" word (Nicole's) going on but alas no pics because we're having some major computer woes again here at Casa de FKD!

I managed to save these great pics before the "Big Computer Crash of '06" so they'll have to hold y'all over until I get my life finances computer back on track :)

Here's the P-Man showing off his gorgeous tail

And getting ready to do some paperwork :)

Isn't he the handsomest kitty?

So the P-Man and I will be back when we can...try to think of us fondly once in a while.....and knit a few for me :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

L is for Linen

As much as I love knitting with wool it's fun to knit with "exotic" fibers and I don't mean shredded muppet! Beautiful linen fits the bill perfectly!

Altho not the easiest fiber to knit with, linen produces a super strong, hardwearing, light, soft fabric that is super easy to care for and actually improves with age! In addition, to me, the only thing cooler than linen in the heat of summer is well, naked! I have many linen blouses in my closet and I'm thrilled that I can knit with it too!

Linen is a cellulose fiber, meaning it is derived from plant matter.

Linen comes from the Flax Plant

Almost every part of the plant can be utilized.....

Various parts of the plant are used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets and soap and because the flower of the flax plant is one of the few true BLUE flowers occurring in nature, flax is often used as ornamental shrubbery.

Even the seeds are utilized! The seeds can be processed with a solvent to produce Linseed or Flaxseed Oil which is commonly used in painting and varnishing.

Linseed oil can also be cold pressed for human consumption (ask Barry Bonds, hee!)
and is one of the most concentrated plant sources of the omega-3 alpha linolenic acid which is thought to have qualities to prevent heart disease!

Flax fiber is amongst the oldest fiber crops in the world. The use of flax for the production of linen goes back 5000 years. There are pictures on tombs and temple walls from ancient Egypt that depict flowering flax plants!

To make linen, flax fiber is extracted from the skin of the stem of the flax plant. The plant is pulled from the root to maximize long fiber length which produces much higher quality linen. Once harvested the stems are immersed in water in a process, called retting, which causes the non-fibrous material to rot off, leaving only the long fibrous strands. The fibers are then refined and spun into linen that can then be woven into cloth or used to knit with!

Knitting with linen can be a bit tricky because it has a rope like, slippery nature. Once knit, linen is softer than cotton but even less elastic which is why it is suggested that linen be be knit in lace patterns rather than ribbing or plain stockinette.

Linen is perfectly suited for lacy shawls. Here is my first foray into linen knitting....it's my Shaped Triangle from A Gathering of Lace. It's made with black laceweight Euroflax Linen from Louet.

It was a bit of a bear to knit especially since much of it was knit during the 5 day power outage Katrina brought to South Florida before she moved on to New Orleans! Fractious, yes, but worth every stitch because it is soft, light and delicious to wear and I must say it once again.....LINEN REQUIRES NO BLOCKING!!! One of the best properties of the lovely linen is when you're done knitting, you wash it on the delicate cycle, you TOSS IT IN THE DRYER and out comes a soft, cushy, comfortable fabric!! And it gets softer and stronger each time you wash it....BRILLIANT!!!

Here's my curious supermodel again, to show you my linen stash!

The black and red (laceweight) are earmarked for a shell, the orange and pink (sportweight), another shell with matching wrap and the sage (laceweight) will become a shawl.

So thus ends "Linen brought to you by the letter L". Now go out and spice up your knitting life and give linen a try because L is not only for linen, L is for LOVE!

ETA: I've been asked where I get my linen. Go visit Nancy at Handknitting, she'll hook you up! Great prices, great customer service and Nancy is a doll!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Let me bring you up to date.....

Whew!! I've been trying to post for days and Blogger was just not cooperating!

Anyway, if my last post had plenty of knothing, this one has plenty of something :)

I finished the teal socks and ain't they a beauty?


Child's French Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush

Louet Gems Merino Pearl In Teal, US #1 (2.25mm) DPNs

Mods: My gauge of 8 sts/inch was spot on for the pattern but the suggested cast on of 72 stitches seemed huge so I went down to a cast on of 64. I then did a 2 x 2 rib instead of the 1 x 1/2 x 2 combo suggested by the pattern and increased to 66 stitches for the leg. I made the leg much shorter (6 inches vs. 8 inches) and I added my *patented* mini-flap and gusset yo short row heel.

I ADORE the Gems Pearl!! It's so soft and just dreamy to knit with! I also LOVE the pattern....it was fun, well written (of course!) and produced a really classy sock! If there is a knitter out there that doesn't own this amazing book yet....what the heck are ya waiting for??? :)

Remember this?

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It's the button (and link to the website) for the Red Scarf Project. This very noble charity collects red scarves for foster kids/orphans who are in college and struggling to make their way in this tough world without family support! The Orphan Foundation of America will be collecting scarves again this year so here's the humble beginnings of my first scarf!

It's gonna be a seaman's scarf someday real soon! It's Knitpicks Suri Dreams in "Woodlands" and I'm just doing a seed stitch for the "tails" and will do a 2 x 2 rib for the neck section. Why not go ahead and make a scarf or two for these very worthy kids and get a head start on the JANUARY 2007 deadline? Plenty of time so no excuses, right? :)

Also on the needles (surprise, surprise!) another sock!! Yet another pattern from the prolific and illustrious Ms. Bush! This is the Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern from, you guessed it, Knitting Vintage Socks! hehe.....

Thanks to a yarn swap with my bud Dorothy, I'm actually making this sock in *exactly* the yarn used in the pattern which is a first for me! It's Sunbeam St. Ives in the Grouse colorway. It's a pretty heathered plum that's pretty soft. The pattern calls for 8.5 sts /inch on a US #0 needle and these socks are gonna be bulletproof when I'm done! I think they'll last longer than the feet that will own them someday but I love how the pattern is knitting up so far!

On Saturday I'll be breaking into my All Seasons Cotton for my Adrienne Vittadini Cabled Shell because it's finally here....Saturday June 10th is WORLD WIDE KNIT IN PUBLIC DAY!!!

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June 10, 2006

So get out there and Show Your Sticks!! Pumpkin will be waiting on his favorite windowsill wishing he could join you!

Enjoy your weekend and your WW KIP DAY!!!