Monday, October 31, 2005

Hurricane Wilma Week 2 or BITE ME REALLY HARD, JEB!!!!

First off, Pumpkin and I want to thank everyone for the support. Every single comment means more than I can hope to convey because it helps me feel connected in this surreal tableau that continues into yet another week...

We are still without power here at the hovel I now call home Casa de FKD. I have a rudimentary door out front that doesn't lock and the back glass door maintains it's precarious perch unchanged. Water is dwindling and food is getting pretty scarce, last's night's meal was some defrosted pasta sauce, hold the pasta :) -- ya gotta have a sense of humor, right? My carpets have all been ripped out because the mildew was running rampant on my saturated floors. Power may not be restored until NOVEMBER 22!!! And because my life isn't interesting enough, I now have a wicked cold that I'm convinced is bird flu with the luck I've been having!

Here's the latest FEMA fubar...I registered for assistance on Oct. 27. At that time I was told that the agent would attempt to contact me but if he couldn't he would "just show up". I called back today to make sure my claim was in the system and verified with the FEMA phone person that the agent did NOT need to contact me directly for an inspection to be made because I still have no phone service and no where to charge my cell (but for the kindness of a neighbor with a generator but I hate to impose!) and this time I was told "oh no, the agent will attempt to contact you three times and if he can't reach you, WE CLOSE THE CASE!! Fucking GENIUS!! And just how is he supposed to do that when I HAVE NO POWER?? Sheesh!!

I have a few minutes computer time now and again thanks to said kind and generator endowed neighbor so I'll say hi when I can.

I finished the Hurricane Socks, now I'm on Wlma's Week 2 Socks.

Pumpkin's hanging in there, still really jumpy and nervous but still a handsome devil and keeping his Mom's spirits up!

And asshat Jeb?....I HAD provisions for three days....YOU DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THREE WEEKS!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Wilma - 1, Fluffy Knitter Deb - 0

I'm posting this mainly to have a permanent record. Pumpkin and I are ok, Casa de FKD is not!

This morning at about 8 am, Wilma arrived at FKD with a vengence. The winds had been clocked at 120 miles per hour (category 3) and were howling like a freight train outside and rain that sounded like machine gun fire was pelting every window. The front wall of Wilma was to last about 90 minutes, the eye about an hour and the back wall another 90 minutes. She made lanndfall on the west coast of Florida and headed for Broward County with a spiteful gleam in her eye.

The winds were so brutal and frightening, Pumpkin and I retired to the safety of my walk-in closet. I brought my knitting for comfort, some Diet Coke for me and Greenies for the P-Man, a cell phone and a flashlight and we hunkered down to ride out the storm, thinking that all would be well by noon.

At about 8:30 I heard an enormous BOOM and my whole condo shook!! With trepidation I peeked out my bedroom door and to my shock and horror, saw that my front door had been blown right off its hinges and a giant, twisted hunk of metal was wending it's way over my threshold and right towards me!! I quickly shut the door and ran back into the closet.....

Suddenly, another huge BOOM....the pressure from the missing front door caused the huge sheet of glass that was in the the sliding glass door in the back of my condo to be sucked right out of door frame, sucking the vertical blinds out with it!!! And the wind and rain that was now ripping thru my HOME was almost strong enough to knock me off my feet! I grabbed on to my bedroom door and with Herculean effort slammed it closed and ran back to the relative safety of my closet where I could do nothing but shake and cry. I have never been so frightened in my entire life!! Poor Pumpkin was curled up in a firghtened ball way in the back of my closet. I know he was crying too!

At about 9:30 everything became eerily silent....the eye of the storm was passing over. I ventured from my "bunker" to see what damage had been done....OMG! I returned to my closet and my uncontrollable sobbing, as the raging wind and rain again began to batter my condo in resumed fury.

At about 11:45 am the winds began to slow and the pelting rain to taper. I has gained a modicum of composure by this point when I heard a male voice calling my downstairs neighbor Alberto, had come to see if I had survived. I thought it was the voice of God.....

This is what I saw when I by Alberto. Click to see a larger view.

door from outside

door from inside

wood from door frame

giant metal roof piece

roof chunk in living room, flattened door behind it

living room

shattered glass curio cabinet


kitchen 2

sliding glass door to balcony

back door with bowed out glass, verticals sucked thru

I have no power and my computer battery is about done. I have no front or back door so I can't leave, and I've had no word from Mom and Dad who live an hour north! What else don't I have? Well, that would be homeowner's insurance.....I'm a "starving" Grad student, remember? I do however have leaves everywhere, a completely saturated carpet and a melting fridge and freezer, torn screens on my porch and raisins scattered everywhere as they were sucked from my kitchen cabinets. The good news? I , and my condo association president I might add, do see this as clear culpability on the condo's part since the giant, flying metal thing that caused all this just happens to be big hunk-o-condo ROOF!! ( there were other peices hanging from tree branches and scattered around the property) Between the condo association's insurance and FEMA, we should be ok altho it will take a while and I'm not sure where I'll be staying or when I'll be able to post again but thanks for all your well wishes! Imagine if the P-Man and I didn't have those? ::::shudder::::

Oh, and knitting content? I actually turned the heel of a new sock thru my tears by flashlight, in my closet.

Hope to be back soon.... addendum: Bro in Sanfrancisco spoke to the 'rents, they are fine, no damage but no power.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Follow up on using the Turkish Cast-On

I've gotten a lot of feedback on this technique and how I used it for the socks and the little pouch.

For the socks: I cast on 12 stitches (6 wraps) and worked the first two rows per the instructions. I then switched to 4 DPNs - 3 stitches per needle - as this is my preferred method for knitting socks (those that use magic loop or 2 circs can easily adapt this for your preferred method) I wanted to use a "star toe" so I increased 4 stitches EVERY row as follows: At the beginning of each needle K1, M1, knit to end. I increased in this manner until I had a total of 24 stitches and then increased EVERY OTHER ROW until I had 64 stitches (for a woman's medium and an 8 inch circumference). At this point you can add whatever pattern you choose - keep in mind that the pattern you choose, if you are designing your own sock, may decrease (lace) or increase (cables) the number of stitches you need.

If you prefer the standard wedge toe: Cast on 12 stitches (6 wraps) and work the first 2 rows as instructed. Distribute stitches on 4 DPNs and increase every row as follows: K1, M1, knit to end of needle 1. Knit across needle 2 to last 2 stitches, M1, K1. K1, M1, knit to end of needle 3. Knit across needle 4 to last 2 stitches, M1, K1. Continue to increase in this manner EVERY row until you have 24 total stitches then increase EVERY OTHER ROW until you have 64 stitches. For magic loop or 2 circs follow the above with 6 stitches per needle to start.

For the little pouch: I cast on 40 stitches using the Turkish Cast-On (20 wraps) I worked the first 2 rows as instructed and 2 additional rows. I then increased 4 stitches: On the next row K1, M1, knit to last 2 stitches, M1, K1. Turn. K1, M1, knit to last 2 stitches, M1, K1. I then worked even for 3 inches. Next row K2, yo, k2 tog repeat to end. Turn. Repeat eyelet row. Work 2 more rows even then bind off. Make a cord of your choice ( crochet, lucet, I-cord, twisted) and thread thru eyelets. No SEAMS! Voila!

Feel free to leave any questions in the comments or email me!


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Knitting Made Easier - Turkish Cast On Tutorial

The Turkish Cast-On was recently featured in an article by Meg Swansen in the fall issue of Vogue Knitting.

I found this technique so brilliant I thought I would share it.

The Turkish Cast-On is an invisible cast on that forms a closed end. It is perfect for things like sock toes, mittens, glove fingers, pouches and I worked it I even thought, "wow this would be a great cast on for the legs and arms of a stuffed teddy bear!"

To work the Turkish Cast-On you need two same sized circular needles. For this demonstration I used two US # 7 (4.5mm) needles - a 24" Addi turbo and a 26" Crystal Palace bamboo so you can differentiate between each needle.

ETA: This technique is easily adapted to the magic loop method, using one circular needle to execute the technique rather than two. However, using two different types of circs as I have for this tutorial does make the technique a bit easier to visualize when first starting out.

On the bamboo needle make a slip knot.

Hold both needles paralell and in your left hand with the tips pointing to the right and the silver needle on top.
Hold the working yarn behind the silver needle.

With the working yarn behind the silver needle, working left to right, wrap the yarn loosely around both needles.

Wrap as many time as equal to HALF the total numer of desired stitches. In the sample below, 15 wraps = 30 working stitches.


With your right hand, pull the bottom (bamboo) needle to the right so that the wrapped loops are now on the cable of the needle. Allow the bamboo needle to dangle.


Grasp the non-working end of the silver needle and bring it up to knit into the loops on the silver needle.


After knitting the loops on the silver needle, turn the work.
Slide the bamboo needle loops on to the tip of the bamboo needle.

And slide the silver needle to the right so that the loops are now on the silver needle cable and the silver needle is dangling.

Slide the slip knot off the tip of the bamboo needle and undo it, just allowing it to hang. With the working yarn coming from the last stitch on the silver needle knit across the loops with the bamboo needle.

Step 7:

Pull the bamboo needle thru to the right so the new stitches are on the cable and the bamboo needle is dangling.
Slide the stiches to the tip of the silver needle and knit across with the other end of the silver needle.

Repeat from Step 5 alternating needles with each row. As you alternate between the two needles a firm, seamless two sided "pocket" will form.

The instructions may seem a bit verbose and daunting but if you "Just Do It" it's really very easy...get 2 different circs and some yarn and work step by step and it will all become clear once you put the tutorial into actual practice!
I used the Turkish Cast-On for my toe-up Chervon Lace's a close up

I found the Turkish Cast-On much easier than all the other toe-up cast on's that I've tried and I prefer not having to worry about any waste yarn.
I also used it to whip up this little pouch for a special friend to store her stitch markers in. Notice the seamless construction of the Turkish Cast-On and the lovely Lucet cord :)

I really like this cast on and I see so many practical uses for it....I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I have!

Happy Knitting!


Sunday, October 16, 2005

What Debi Needs or Debi's busy preparing her next "Made Easy" tutorial....

I'm still on Sleeve Island despite all Pumpkin's help and diligently at work on the next "Made Easy" tutorial for the Turkish Cast-On so no knitting pics today.

Instead I nicked this from Liz cause I thought it was funny....feel free to nick it from me too!

Google Your Name needs as in "Debi needs" and see what comes up. Here's mine......

Debi needs historical updates

Debi need to raise at least $2500 ("at least"...that's for sure!)

Debi needs help copying, collating, stamping, and stickering

Debi needs some help with a history project

Debi needs a haircut (and some serious Loreal Preference Medium Auburn)

Debi needs water wings and an inner tube (huh? FYI, *fluffy* FLOATS!!)

Debi needs silence (tutorial genius at work, hehehe...)

Debi needs to leave (but she'll be baaaaaack!!)

Because the P-Man is such an important contributor to FKD I gave his name a google just for giggles....his hits are much better than mine!! Must be the season.....

Pumpkin needs to be more noticeable (YAY!!)

Pumpkin needs to live

Pumpkin needs to grow (see below)

Pumpkin needs satisfaction (don't we all?)

Pumpkin needs a vent hole (YIKES!!!)

Pumpkin needs to break 1000 pounds (and with our new
Greenies supply he's well on his way!-- thanks Lucy and Auntie Agnes!)

Pumpkin needs the most amount of space

Pumpkin needs to be Pagan (sorry, we run an non-denominational cat household here at FKD)

Here's the P-Man getting himself busy with grooming chores and catnip mouse activities while he too waits for some knitting content!

I didn't want to steal the thunder from all the Rhinebeck Returnees and their spoils so I'll be back on Wednesday with the tutorial. See you then!

...Oh, Debi says bye too :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I've got a new toy and I return for more punishment

I always wanted one of these and now I finally have one! Any guesses what it is?

It's a bloodwood LUCET

What's a lucet you query? Here's the definition from Wickipedia:

Lucet is a method of cordmaking or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking era. Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. It closely resembles knitted I-cord or the cord produced on a knitting spool. Lucet cord is formed by a series of loops, and will therefore unravel if cut.
The only tools necessary to lucet are a length of
and a lucet, also called a lucet fork. The lucet fork is normally made of wood, with two prongs at one end and a handle on the other. It may also have a hole through which the cord can be pulled. The yarn is wound around the fork, forming loops, which are then lifted with the fingers over the working yarn and tightened to form the cord. The cord is wrapped around the lucet handle as it grows.
Lucet cord can be used for decorative edging, draw-strings, lacing, and any other use where a strong cord is needed.

I love exotic wood and this bloodwood lucet matches another of my special knitting accoutrements, my bloodwood darning egg, right Margene?

I have a design rolling around in my head that calls for a drawstring so rather than knitting miles of I-cord I thought a lucet would be much more fun! I practiced with the little cord in the pic and it is FUN!! It seems to be much sturdier than knitted I-cord and a bit faster so all in all, I'm really enjoying this new toy! I got mine
here if you want one too.

And the gifts keep on coming.....
I got some $$ for my birthday with the express instruction to "buy myself some yarn with it" so I did :)

I know I must be a glutton for punishment but I went back for more Euroflax laceweight LINEN (eek!)
This time I picked some in the color Sage. The color in the pic is pretty true, it's a dark Sage cause it's much darker than the [Martha Stewart for K-Mart] Sage blanket it's resting on! All kidding aside, it's a really lovely color and it will make another beautiful, drapey, lightweight shawl someday soon (I'm addicted too,
Catherine!) I also bought the lovely Cherry Red Louet Gems Opal yarn for some juicy red socks for ME! See, I finally knit myself some socks and now I'm unstoppable, muahahahahaha.....

I also wanted to share my dealer source for Euroflax Linen. It's Nancy at Nancy is very helpful with great customer service, excellent prices (and frequent sales too!) and the yarn comes coned directly from Louet so you get the best right from the source! She also has lots of nice sock yarn and other interesting wares....go pay her a visit and try a little linen, you know you wanna.....

As far as knitting here at FKD, I've knit maybe another inch on the Ocean Lace Stole so no pics there but I did finish both fronts of the Manly Ribby Cardi and I've now cruised over to Sleeve Island!

I'd like to finish quickly so I can order the zipper and get this project done but I'm sure with the assistance of my lil helper, I'll be rescued from Sleeve Island real soon! See.......

Such a helpful lil guy, my P-Man is :)

All those fiber lovers lucky enough to be off to Rhinebeck this weekend bite me have a wonderful time!!! And to those of us left behind, remember misery loves company :) Have a great weekend no matter where you are!!

Next week as promised, a pictorial on the GREAT Turkish Cast-On so see you then!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Two by two by two....

Well I'm finally back.....miss me?

Where have I been, you ask? Well, in the last TWO weeks I have -

Had TWO hard drives bite the dust !!

Finished TWO current projects

Started TWO new WIPs

Are you sensing a pattern here :)

About the hard make a long and painful story short -- NEVER BUY A GATEWAY!!!!!

I think ::::fingers crossed:::: I have things under control now and should be able to resume my place among the virtual world once again!

Now on to more pleasant works in progress!

First we have Ribby Cardi, the manly version. This is my second Ribby, the first having been completed last spring as a very early Chanukah gift for my Mom. This one is the Dad version....yes, the 'rents will be "The Family Ribby" this holiday season, hehe......

This one is Peruvian Highland Wool from Elann in color Redwood. I've completed the back and have started working on both fronts simultaneously.

For my second WIP I wanted something a bit more portable. This is the Ocean Lace Stole from Just One More Row. It's a very simple lace pattern done in baby loop mohair. The yarn is a royal pain to work with but the colorway is just gorgeous! It's hard to tell in the pic but it's a lovely teal blue, violet and kelly green. This is a gift for a special friend and (dare I say it?) the completion of my holiday knitting for 2005!! YAY!!!

The finished objects over the last 2 weeks consisted of two pairs of socks. The first are the pair I designed myself. These are my very first toe up socks and I used the previously mentioned Turkish Cast-On. These are for a friend who is quite tall as well as *fluffy* so these will fit a size 12 (!) and a very full calf and ankle. They have a pretty chevron lace panel down the front of the entire sock and 3 additional lace panels were added to increase the circumference of the ankle/calf. The stitch count could easily be adjusted to fit smaller or fluffier feet so if there is an interest, I will write up the pattern. Edit: The original pic I posted of these socks was so horrible, I waited for a bit of sunshine and tried again !

Have you ever heard the story of the shoemakers children who went barefoot? Well up until now, I was " barefoot" as this avid sock knitter NEVER knit socks for herself !! Now, all that has changed and I give you the first ever self knit Fluffy Knitter Deb socks........

TA DA!!!

These were knit in the pretty Sockotta given to me by Agnes for my birthday and I must say It's about time and I will be knitting lots more in the future!!! Pretty nice short row heels there, hmmmm? I love these beautiful socks, thanks again Auntie Agnes!

Keeping in the theme of TWO, here is the P-Man engaging in one of his favorite pastimes....sitting on my bedroom window sill, gazing serenely at the world below ( I live on the fifth and top floor)

And view number TWO

TWO times the cuteness :)

It's good to be back! I hope it sticks.....