Sunday, August 28, 2005

Every woman needs battery operated devices!

No, not *those* devices,this is a knitting blog! :)

After spending the last 48 hours without electricity thanks to Ms. Katrina, I have a renewed appreciation for all things battery operated.

Thank you blogger friends, for all the concern for me and my fellow Floridians (The P-Man and I are fine La and Margene)

My power went out about 6pm Thursday night and stayed off til Saturday evening around 9pm. Honestly, I have never been hotter or more miserable in my life!! Last year, some of the outer bands of Jeanne knocked out my power for about 36 hours too but I don't recall being quite this miserable! My fridge/freezer bit the dust a lot sooner this year too...I had to pitch just about everything. Now our thoughts must be with our friends in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi because what was a miserable 48 hours for me and my lil P-Man in a category 1 storm is now a category 4 storm headed their way!!
Edit: Make that a category FIVE!!! storm OMG!! Please send good thoughts!!

Speaking of Pumpkin, this was his first hurricane and he did pretty well. He freaked a bit (as did his mom!) when a giant tree in the courtyard of my complex fell over and crashed into the pool, taking the power lines with it! Otherwise he was his usual easygoing albeit sweltering self. Here's a pic......

He was so listless, he kinda just layed around. He kept sniffing his catnip mousie, like it was his "smelling salts". He would have a good sniff, play for a few seconds and then remember how ^%$^&* hot he was!....I guess all the wet air refreshed his catnip and made it extra potent. Once the A/C came back on he was running all over the house with his mousie, and we had a special dinner of roast chicken (salvaged from the freezer thaw, how fortuitous, hehe)

So what did Fluffy Knitter Deb do for 48 hours? Why she KNIT of course!! During the day while listening to my battery operated radio I knit madly on my Shaped Triangle linen shawl. I'm now on row 183 (of 188!!) As an aside, this linen sheds like crazy, little tiny black hairs are everywhere! Now here I am, no A/C, sweating like you don't wanna know and I'm knitting this shedding black linen after many hours knitting merrily along I look down and I've turned into WOLF WOMAN !! Black, hairy arms from wrist to elbow!! EEK!! I'll spare you the visuals but I did use my battery operated digital camera to take this cool extreme close up of my almost finished shawl, see?

Now even I am not crazy enough to knit a slippery black linen shawl in the dark so by the grace of my battery operated Radio Shack Book Light balanced on my "front porch" (as Wendy would say) at night I finished these:

These are Go With The Flow socks from IK Summer 2005. I knit them with Elann Sock-It-To-Me Colori sock yarn in the Mexicali colorway and a set of 5 Aero #1 (2.25mm) teflon DPNs. This is a wonderful pattern and it makes a unique, stretchy sock that was a very fun knit!
I really love how these came out and I'm doubly excited because a friend and fellow blogger admired them so much when I posted them as WIP a few weeks ago that I got her specs, made the socks a custom fit and I'm sending them to her!! So heads up
Heather, this sock's for you!

Thanks to modern science and battery operated devices, my stint as "Pioneer Knitting Wolf-Woman" wasn't as bad as it could have been! How did those pioneers do it? Wait, wasn't their life expectancy like 35??? Yup, they died of boredom at 35 cause they had no battery operated devices of *any* kind ;)

So today, the sun is shining, the tank is clean* and I truly am a lucky, lucky woman in so many ways!!

*easy movie quote if you have grandchildren, nephews under 4 y/o (I have 2!) or just love sweet, silly movies at any age!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Lace of my past and the P-Man hears a good joke

Hi blog world!! Long time, no see...miss me? hehe....

I've been really busy with the usual end of semester bollocks
higher learning of final exams, term projects and papers, oh my!! so my blog went a bit fallow. Besides, I didn't think anyone would mind looking at the beading tutorial a while longer since I've gotten such a wonderful and positive response to it! Thanx for all the great feedback and if I can ever offer any assistance for beading (or other topics for that matter) feel free to leave a comment or send me an email and I'll do my best to pay it forward for all the sharing and support this knitting community has given me!

Now I have a whole, glorious six days before classes resume. And, lucky me, one of my classes this term is Accounting!! YIKES!! For a woman who has *never* even balanced her own checkbook, this does not bode well!! (altho, I also have surprisingly never bounced a check!) Send me positive numeric vibes, would you? At least I have my knitting to keep me somewhat sane!

I'm still working on the linen Shaped Triangle Shawl but the end is in sight as I am on row 165 of 188 plus the border. The rows are soooo long and slow now as there are about 400 stitches on the needles but I'm chugging along because I am really eager to finish and see how the linen changes when washed and blocked. Unfortunately, because there are so many slippery stitches on the 32" circs, pics would just look like a tangled mess of skinny rope! I hope this will be a FO in the next week or so and I'll take plenty of pics then! I've also finished 1 1/2 socks of my Go With The Flow socks so they should be a FO and pic worthy soon too.

But just when you think this will be a pic-less post, Lace to the rescue cause everybody *loves* pics, right?

Right before I started this blog I finished Madli's Shawl from Summer 2004 Interweave Knits. I *loved* making this shawl, I *love* the yarn I used and I *love* the finished product so I thought I would share it now.

I used 3.5 skeins of Naturespun Fingering Weight in French Clay and a US #7 addi natura bamboo circ (but knit back and fourth, of course - I don't own straight needles other than DPN's anymore) This was my first experience with the dreaded nupp -- the little bobbles you see interspersed between the vines and on the border. The pattern suggested that you loosely *K1, yo* a total of seven times in the same stitch on the public side and purl SEVEN together on the return row!! I found this nearly impossible as the yo's tightened up to the needle and made it impossible to scoop up all seven stitches no matter how hard I tried! I didn't want to leave out the nupps as I feel they give real character to the finished shawl. My solution was to K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1 in the same stitch VERY loosely...the purls gave the nupp some stability and support and the purls didn't tighten up on the needle the way the yo's did. I found this made a compact, neat nupp with not too much fuss and it prevented lots of vituperatives and tearing of hair :) Here's a close up of the border and those fractious nupps...

Another frightening interesting aspect of this shawl is you knit the border and the body pattern repeats and then leave the live stitches on the needle. You then knit a second border and kitchener the 110 stitches together! A bit daunting at first but not too difficult with absolute silence, lots of caffeine and a kitchener cheat sheet close at hand! (Margene - if you want to knit Madli, you can come for a visit or mail me the pieces and I'll kitchener for ya!)

The shawl was a gift for my Mom and she *loves* it too! I plan to make it again someday soon in black Kid Silk Haze cause I'm a knitter who loves herself some Madli's Shawl and a good challenge! (or has serious masochistic issues, hehe)

Now I know this blog has been suffering some serious Pumpkin withdrawal....
I just *love* this pic cause it looks as if Pumpkin is laughing at the great joke he just heard....A mouse and some catnip went into a bar.....

Pumpkin says have a great week, a good laugh and some knitting *love* of your own!!

Friday, August 12, 2005

By special request, Beading Made Easy!

As promised, here's the scoop on beaded knitting, crochet style. I much prefer this method because it saves me from having to string hundreds of beads onto my yarn, a pretty onerous task if ya ask me! Plus it saves wear and tear on the yarn since you don't have to slide all those beads along the length of the yarn as you do with the knitted on method. Lastly, I feel this method "seats" the bead on the knitting better because you place the bead over BOTH legs of the stitch, unlike the knitted on method where sometimes the beads slip to the purl/private side and are difficult to see in the knitted fabric. So let's begin....

Of course, the proper tools are of utmost importance! You need crochet hooks small enough for the bead to slide *over* the hook...and man, that's tiny! I put a dime in the frame for perspective. From top to bottom: #9, #10, #11, #13...the higher the number, the smaller the hook.

Here you can see just how tiny these hooks really are. You can barely discern the hook part from the shaft.

I use seed beads for my knitting. Here are some commonly used sizes with corresponding hooks.

On the bottom we have size 8/0 beads on a #13 hook.This is used for fingering weight yarn.

The middle is size 6/0 beads on a #11 hook. This is used with sport weight yarn. I have used this size on DK and Worsted Weight yarns but it's a pretty tight fit and pretty difficult to get the yarn thru the bead without shreading it.

On top are size 3/0 beads on a size #10 hook. These are the beads I used on Kiri and would fit very comfortably on yarn as thick as Aran weight. Unfortunately, 3/0 beads are pretty hard to find. You can find 5/0 beads much more easily and 5/0's are perfect for up to DK/Worsted Weight.

Now for the "how to" portion of our broadcast....

Step 1: **For this demonstration I used sportweight yarn, size 6/0 seed beads and a size #11 crochet hook**

With the bead loaded on the crochet hook, knit (or purl, if you choose) to the stitch on the left knitting needle where you want to place the bead. Leave the stitch on the needle and lift the stitch with the crochet hook.

Step 2:

With the crochet hook, pull the yarn thru the hole in the bead while, at the same time, sliding the stitch off the left knitting needle.I hold the bead with my left hand while I do this, and the hook in my right. Make sure to get the whole stitch thru the bead.

Step 3:

Return the beaded stitch to the left knitting needle.

Step 4:

Knit the beaded stitch as you normally would, transferring the completed stitch to the right knitting needle.

Step 5:

Knit on as you normally would, placing beads wherever you choose.
And there you have it....real tough, hmmm?

I find beads look best with at least one stitch between each bead. I also prefer a "plain" (non-beaded) row of stitches between each beaded row.


Here's a close up of my Sockapal2za beaded socks just to illustrate how the beads look in the fabric.. I used 8/0 seed beads on fingering weight sock yarn and a #13 crochet hook. I left a plain row in between each beaded row.

Since I started beading, two wonderful bead shops have opened locally so I can browse up close and personal :)

Prior to that, I got all my beads and crochet hooks from The Beadwrangler Great selection, fast delivery and wonderful customer service!

Another good resource is Earth Faire This is where I found the 3/0 beads for my Kiri. This is a good place to find a unique bead selection and interesting color mixes.

So now that you see how easy it is, get your self some crochet hooks and some pretty beads and get yourself out there beading...add some spice to your knitting!! Have fun!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Next Up.....

First of all I want to say a great big thank you for all the lovely compliments on my Kiri. You all sure know how to make a knitter's day :)

I've gotten some feed back on how I did the beading on Kiri so in the next week or so, I'll do a picture tutorial showing how I crocheted the beads on. It's really easy and fun when you have the right tools and much easier than stringing 1000 beads and knitting them on plus it's easier on the yarn not having to slide all those beads stay tuned for the next episode!!

Since it's still the Summer of Lace, I'm still lacing away. I finished this Caryl's Kerchief to get a jump start on holiday knitting for a special friend. I used one skein of Socks That Rock sock yarn by Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the Pebbles colorway. It's hard to see but I also beaded the edge with 5/0 orange-y, topaz triangular seed beads. This is a fun, quick knit with a lot of pizzazz and can be used as a scarf or shawlette. Note: these beads were strung on and knitted into the cast on as per the pattern but next time I think I'll try crocheting the beads on the edge and see how that works.

Isn't she glamorous?

And keeping right in step with all lace, all the time here a FKD (that's FluffyKnitterDeb shorthand, hehe) I'm also working on some lace socks. These are the Go With The Flow socks designed by Evelyn Clark from the Summer 2005 issue of Interweave Knits. A fun simple lace pattern with lots of ribby stretch for a perfect fit. I'm loving this pattern and I think it looks great in this Mexicali colorway.Ole!

Since finishing Kiri, my "big" project is The Shaped Triangle shawl from A Gathering of Lace (a fabulous book for anyone even thinking of knitting lace!) I am using laceweight LINEN for this shawl, yes LINEN! I'm a linen virgin *blush* but since linen is so cool in the heat of summer, I thought it would make a lovely summer wrap. You can see the spool of linen in the pic and the very thin "string" at the bottom of the shawl. It's rather like knitting with thin rope and slippery as the dickens!! When I swatched I thought it would need the grab of bamboo to tame the slickness of the linen but I found it too grabby. I then tried my Denise needles, again too grabby. Next up, addi turbos...yikes! addi's and linen do not play well together...WAY too slippery and the points are really too blunt for lace! So I ended up very happy with my Inox Teflon Circs. I thought they too might be too slick but they were just perfect. And the Inox Teflon has the **best** points for lace knitting. I just wish they came in lengths longer than 80 cm cause I would really love a 40 inch Inox Gray! I wonder why the Inox Express comes in 40 inch but not the Teflon?

I'm getting an odd, stiff, wrinkled sort of fabric but I'm told by those in the know (hi Kay!!) linen softens up and develops an incomparable drape when washed and dried. Perfect for a summer shawl, n'est ce pas? We shall see....

Now for the kitty portion of our broadcast, the P-Man is something of a velcro kitty. He follows me from room to room and I'm always in his line of sight. Recently, he's taken to jumping into the bathtub as I'm preparing to shower! Here's proof.....

Now if I could only get him to pay my Visa bill.....

Knit on and stay cool!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Presentng Ms. Kiri

Kiri is finished! She was a GREAT knit and I am soooo happy with how she turned out! Here she is for her glamor shots......

Blocked and drying on the bed

A close up of her edging, showing off her pretty pearl bead border

And her lovely center edging (my favorite part!)

An outside pic on a dark towel so you can really see her shapely leaves

And lounging outside, trying not to MELT (it's *HOT* here!!)


Kiri adapted and designed by Polly of All Tangled Up

Used 8.5 skeins of Shine, a sportweight cotton/modal blend from Knitpicks

Size #6 US (4mm) Addi Natura Bamboo 40" circ. I didn't check gauge, just swatched til I found a tension and fabric I found pleasing and that worked with the yarn.

Mods: I enlarged the pattern by knitting 16 pattern repeats instead of the 12 suggested by the pattern and I added size 3/0 pearl colored beads by crocheting them onto the last 2 rows of the edging between the yarn overs and every stitch in the bind off row. The pattern also calls for an SKP for the left leaning decrease on each leaf but I did an SSK instead (I slip my first stitch as if to knit and my second stitch as if to purl for the SSK) I felt it made a neater edge on the leaf and more closely matched the K2tog of the right leaning decreases.

I absoultely *love* how she turned out and she is a knitting project I am very proud of! The stitch definition is amazing, she's incredibly soft, the style is versitile as the pearl edging can dress her up yet she's also perfect with a jean skirt for a trip to the freezing supermarket! Just about the perfect knit project all in all! :::Debi does serious happy dance:::

My poor Pumpkin longs to come outside when Mom does but he's an indoor/screened in balcony kinda kitty. When I leave the house, he stands sentinel in my front window and waits for my return.....awwwwwwwww!
Doesn't he look so sad?

Have no fear, he got lots of chicken when the photo session was over :)

Have a great week !