Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out With the Old . . .

It's New Year's Eve. The year 2008 is almost over. For me it had some highs and some lows. One of the highs was so high it mitigated the lows.

I flew to Rome, spent a couple of days there then I went on to Venice by train for a Mediterranean cruise that stopped at Croatia,


and Greece.

After returning to Venice it was another train ride to start a week-long stay in Italy's Umbria region for food and wine and knitting and fun. The whole trip was enveloped in shopping, shopping, shopping. Divine! My travel buddy is my friend and doll-collecting knitting guru and traveler extraordinaire, the one who proclaimed me to be a bona fide knitter. I couldn't have made the trip without her.

My knitting year started off slowly. I had to miss the Pottstown Knit In and Maryland Sheep and Wool because tendonitis in my ankle made walking impossible for the first five months. I sat and knitted, but can't think of a thing to show for it except socks. However the year ended on a knitting high. After knitting all over the Mediterranean and Italy in September and on Cape Cod for a month in October, I went to Stitches East in November. I allowed fiscal responsibility to finally take hold and was conservative in my shopping. However, accustomed to pampering after the cruise, I think I spent more money on the luxury hotel and room service than yarn. Well, maybe not . . . quite.

Recently I've been on a roll and have something to show other than socks for all my knitting time. Without the ubiquitous sock my needles, I have been able to finished three projects in record time. And I can remember what they are! I went back to my knitting guild meeting in November and December. Next year I'm going to take advantage of all the features of Ravelry and keep track of my projects, yarn, needles and books. Yes, it's that time again. Time to "start anew and do better" (in lieu of "making resolutions").

More on the fruits of my labors tomorrow.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, December 18, 2008

UFOs to FOs

I think I've hit upon something big. It will be a boon to my UFO reduction. I went back to my first UFO from this current reincarnation of knitting (2001) and finished it in a few days. Then I started and completed in another few days the second project I bought back then and had never started. They were so easy to do now that I'm a "Bona Fide Knitter!" I will not dwell on the fact that I messed it up ON THE BIND OFF ROW and frogged the whole thing! That touch of OCD I have kicked in.

In case you're wondering, it is . . . er . . . was a triangle scarf made of two Trendsetter novelty yarns held together. It was quite hairy upon completion. The yarn was bought at Stitches 2001 when scarves of novelty yarn were in vogue. When I was near the end I wondered if I would ever wear it. Maybe messing up the bind off was a Freudian slip. Are there Freudian slips in knitting? For the moment the point is moot because the scarf is no more.

I frogged it and I started a new item, the ribbon shawl from the fall foliage colored ribbon I bought at Stitches East this year.

That's my strategy--one old project and one new project, one at a time. Once the shawl is done I will make the hairy scarf again. Then on to a new project--one old, one new, that is the plan. The plan contains a moratorium on sock knitting, but I don't know if I can stick to that.

In fact, right now I am contemplating making toe up socks to use the remainder of that extra ball of yarn I had to buy to finish the Italy Socks. I'm thinking "2 on 1, toe up." Translation for non sock knitters. Two socks done at the same time on one circular needle, from the toe up. With Cat Bordhi's help I will master Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On.

So, right now on the needles--the working needles, not those which are hibernating--is the colorful ribbon shawl. I need to go put some inches on it.


Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Needle in a Haystack

How do you find a needle lost in a haystack, or more accurately, big honkin' Addi Turbo size 19 circulars with plastic tubing as the cable? One would think a needle that big would be very easy to find. Not here. Not in this den of chaos and clutter. I can't start the shawl of the ribbon in fall foliage colors until I find that needle.

So far in the search I've found:

  1. at least 15 circular needles

  2. at least half a dozen cables missing from my various needle sets

  3. two red Kotcha-Kotchas (row counters)

  4. more UFOs than I care to mention

  5. multitudes of patterns printed from the Internet

  6. many purchased patterns in their plastic sleeves

  7. innumerable hanks, skeins, balls and cones of yarn forgot I had

  8. a bevy of little pattern books

  9. more knitting bags/totes/carriers than I could count

  10. a few dust bunnies bigger than my Bichons

What I didn't find was the Addi 19s. Oh, and I didn't find my Swiss Card.

Drats! I've finished a project and can't start the next one until I find those needles! I refuse to pay $30 to buy them over again.

The good news is I found the project that began my new love affair with knitting.

Picture this: it was 2001. I went to my first Stitches. It was Stitches East held in King of Prussia/Valley Forge, PA. I was enthralled. I was smitten. I bought yarn to create the latest rage--a scarf! Not just any old scarf, but one made with novelty yarn, pretty novelty yarn in a colorway that called to my love of purple. I had not been what I would call a knitter in over 40 years (if I don't count the little bit of doll-size knitting I was attempting to do).

That scarf, begun on size US11 aluminum needles from my 40+ years-old needle collection, became my first UFO in the present reincarnation of my knitting. I knitted on it today. I knitted it off the old aluminum straight needles onto some shiny, slick KnitPicks nickel-plated circulars, then after learning the hard way that they were too slick, onto some smooth, fast KnitPicks Harmony wooden circulars. Aaaaah, much better.

I don't have any socks on the needles at the moment. What to do . . . what to do . . . ?

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Italy Socks

The additional skein of Colinette Jitterbug arrived and I finished the Italy Socks.

I took the picture with them folded differently. At the top of the sock on the left you can see the Eye of Partridge heel flap. On the sock on the right you can see the wider toe I like. I end my socks with 32 stitches to Kitchener instead of the usual 16.

Then I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for a toe-up pattern that wouldn't tax this old brain too much. I've never done toe-up socks because, quite frankly, provisional casts-on are my undoing. No pun intended. I've decided to try Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On for Toe-up Socks. I've even watched Cat Bordhi demonstrate it on YouTube and I'm set to give it a go . . . I think.

Aside from the ubiquitous socks on the needles, I'll be ready to cast on something else this week. No, I'm not ready to tackle any of the UFOs right now. They are for 2009. Perhaps if I start my latest project and work my way back, when I start doing UFOs in January 2009 and work forward, by December 2010 I will have knit up everything! That gives me two years and does not allow for starting anything that isn't already in house. What do you think? Can I do it? It's a two-edged sword. Can I knit that much AND can I not buy anything else? Check with me this time, 2010.

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thirty Days Hath November

Gee, that means tomorrow is December. I reached another age milestone in the two weeks since last I wrote. Where did 2008 go? Is time moving in fast forward since I got old? There is only one month left to knit all those UFOs I'd planned to finish. It ain't happenin'! Not only will I not finish the earlier ones, I added more in 2008!

I promised you knitting wows and woes. UFOs are my woes. Hmmm, "UFOs Are My Woes." Should write a song about it. No, should knit or rip them. Anyway, here is one of my woes which occurred through no fault of my own:

These are "Italy Socks," so named because the slightly feminized camouflage color yarn caught my eye just shortly before the trip and I'd planned to knit socks from it in Italy. However, I had "Beach Socks 2008" left over from summer on the needles and they were finished during the trip. I didn't cast on the Italy Socks until the ride from Hotel Villa Pina, Frescati, to Rome Fumicino Airport for the return trip home.

For the first time in my sock-knitting-by-hand life, I ran out of yarn. It was a 100 gram skein of sock weight yarn, Colinette Jitterbug, 128. Using a US 1 (2.5 mm) as usual and doing my usual two inch, 1x1 rib cuff and six inch leg, scant 2-1/4 inch EoP heel flap and 7-1/2 inch foot before toe decreases, I had only the small amount of yarn left (shown above) when I reached that point on the second sock. I have a long foot and short toes, but not that short. Aaaaack! What to do? I went back to my favorite yarn shop, Woolbearers in New Jersey, where I bought it. The cupboard was bare. Myra ordered another skein for me last week and it's there now. These will be my most expensive socks to date, if I don't count my $3,000 first pair of sock machine socks. These will be $45 socks! I will mitigate the cost by knitting another pair, toe up, two at once, with feet long enough for my spouse and legs as long as I have yarn for.

I noticed that the first sock was wider around than usual. The yarn has a different twist than most and is quite springy. Did I swatch? Of course not! Sock yarn? What's to swatch? I can knit socks in my sleep, for goodness sake! Sock yarn weight doesn't vary that much. Famous last words. Will I swatch before the next pair? Of course not. I'll be using Opal or the like. I know what that does. More famous last words.

I need to come up with a knitting wow to end on a high note. Hmmmmm, let's see. Oh! I went to Stitches East in October and didn't break the bank. Driving down I-95 to Baltimore the Fall colors were at their peak and I thought some yarn in those colors would be beautiful. The first thing I saw at the Market Preview Thursday night was wide nylon variegated ribbon in the exact colors at Judy Ditmore's Interlacements. I had to buy it.

I wish I could start and finish the shawl before Fall is over. And if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

Stay tuned.

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's Not Over 'Til the Fat Lady Sings

I'm the Bona Fide Knitter and it's been exactly six months since my last confess . . . er, blog entry.

Where have I been, you wonder? Well, it was not to see the queen, but I did go to Italy and almost saw the pope. Before I give a full accounting of my absence I want to tell you just one small part about my time in Italy because the last time I posted to my blog was Mother's Day and there is a picture of my mother and me with Minnie Mouse in Disney World. It is only fitting that I start posting again with another mention of my mother before I get back to my knitting wows and woes.

One of the many pleasurable times I spent in Italy, was sitting by the pool at Castello di Santa Maria, in the Umbria region, where I stayed most of a week back in September while on a knitting themed vacation. The setting was idyllic. The Castello is high on a hill and overlooks the valley. The view in any direction is astounding. My travel buddy, Kathryn, and I shared a cottage on the grounds and our cottage overlooked the pool which is surrounded by fig trees, pomegranate trees and rose bushes. One particular afternoon the plan was to spend the few hours between one meal and another, or was it one excursion and another, by the pool, knitting. It was cool up on the hill, not swimming or sunbathing weather, but the sun was warm and inviting if you were fully clothed. At one end of the pool I arranged a canvas sling chair facing the sun with a garden chair in front to put my feet upon.

After baking in that direction for a short while I turned my arrangement away from the sun, having the sun against my back. The other women of our group were in lounge chairs along one side of the pool, a little distance away, chatting amicably about knitting and . . . I don't know what. They were just far enough away that their voices carried out over the valley much of the time.

The sun warmed my back through the canvas chair. I had a shawl draped loosely over me. My knitting needles began to get heavy and I rested the knitting on my lap for a while. My eyelids grew heavy. I remember Diego, our innkeeper/chef, coming out and walking to the opposite end of the pool. I saw him open the door to the little shed at that end of the pool before he made his way to a chair to sit down to relax far away from his guests. And then the music started.

Okay, I'm in Italy, in Umbria, at a castle in fact. The language I'd heard most for the past several days was Italian, loads of lyrical Italian. I was even beginning to understand more of it. The music began, a woman singing, her clear, rich voice enveloping me from invisible speakers. It seemed to be coming from the valley. Quietly, richly, warm like the sun, I was bathed in the voice of Natalie Cole, in English, singing The Very Thought of You. I am so sure Diego played that particular CD just for me that you need not even try to convince me otherwise--an African American lady singer for the African American lady guest. Grazie, Diego.

What he didn't know, and I didn't either at first, was that particular singer and those particular songs would evoke some wonderful and pleasant memories and feelings for me. The CD is Unforgettable: With Love. After the initial song it goes on to It's Only a Paper Moon, Route 66, Mona Lisa, Straighten Up and Fly Right, Nature Boy and Unforgettable, to name just a few. Yes, Natalie sings her father's songs and ends in a duet with him singing Unforgettable. I am on my first transcontinental trip . . . all the way to Italy! I'm lounging by a pool at a castle in Umbria no less. Natalie Cole sings Nat King Cole, the music of my childhood, the music recorded on 78s that my mother, Margaret (I called her Mar) and my aunt, Ruby, played and sang along with on the big Zenith console radio/record player we had in our living room in the three-story, brick and brownstone, row house I grew up in. Most of you were not around for 78 rpm records, but you've heard of them I'm sure. They were before 45s and 33-1/3s--not to mentioln eight tracks, cassettes and CDs. This was in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

In the last three years I've lost both my mother and my aunt. Those songs brought Mar and Ruby there to Italy with me. I could feel their presence. Actually what I felt was that on some level I had my mother and my "other mother" with me on this marvelous trip to Italy. As I nodded off and on and the familiar songs washed over me, I remembered fun times back then when we were all young and they were like older sisters to me, my grandmother being the mother of all three of us. My mother was a young widow and my aunt hadn't married yet. Their planning parties, singing along with Nat King Cole and including me in the fun is a wonderful memory. What I thought there by the pool was, 'Look at me, Mar and Ruby! I'm in I T A L Y listening to Nat and Natalie Cole sing our old favorite songs. It's 2008! Who woulda thunk it in North Philly back in 1948?!!!'

I could go on and on along this vein, but I won't. It's a fascinating marvel to me and probably no big whoop to anybody else. The feelings come back to me just typing about it! It was a great day, a great time, a great memory. I dozed. I napped. I snored and woke myself up a couple of times! But the music played on, over and over. There are over 20 songs on the CD and it played more than once. Diego dozed at his end of the pool and I dozed at mine. When The Very Thought of You came on again for the second (third?) time I roused myself thinking, 'This is where I came in.' Diego was gone. When did he leave? The sun was waning and I moved over to join the other women who were nice enough not to mention my snoring . . . that is until I asked, "Did you hear me snore?" It seems they heard snoring in stereo, Diego and I having both ends of the pool covered.

Diego, again I thank you. Grazie.

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Remembering Mar on Mother's Day

Marilyn, Minnie Mouse and Margaret
Disney World 1990(?)

On Mother's Day my thoughts are with my mother Margaret. I called her Mar. She passed away in February 2006. We had some fun times together. The picture above, a fading Polaroid, was taken during our dollhouse miniatures days when we did craft shows up and down the East Coast trading as Mari-Mar Miniatures. We went to Florida for two weekend shows, one in Ft. Lauderdale and one in Daytona Beach. We spent the intervening week in Disney World. What a fun time we had there. I believe the picture above was taken the day we were eating lunch in one of the park restaurants and it was announced that anyone wishing to march in the parade down Main Street "must line up now!" We shoveled the last bits of our salads in our mouths and bolted from the restaurant leaving our spouses behind with instructions where to meet us after the parade. We lined up and strutted our stuff down Main Street with kids and other adults as uninhibited as we were.

Happy Mother's Day!

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rows, Can Ya Count 'Em?

After freeing myself of the projects that weren't doing it for me by either cutting them from the yarn source, frogging and rewinding or filing in the UFO box, I returned to my extreme comfort knitting without guilt. I started another pair of socks, plain stockinette on one US 1, 32" long circular, letting the coloring of the yarn do the work.

The yarn isn't colorful, just neutral. It's wool with a little nylon, 75/25% give or take. I think it's Opal. The ball band got misplaced during windings. It had been wound from a skein to a cone for using on the CSM. However, such a light color might not have fared well on a machine that has been turning out dark wool socks. The color (or lack there of) is good for summer and good for hand knitting and mental therapy. So I wound it from cone to yarn cake, bought a hot pink GoKnit pouch to carry it around, as if I don't already have enough sock totes, and started striving to reach my zen. Buying the pouch was also a good excuse to boost a KnitPicks order up to free shipping level. I finally ordered that super-duper electronic row counter that I decided is the answer to all my problems when it comes to remembering what row I'm on in a pattern, or in plain stockinette for that matter.

Concentrating when the need to count rows arises, which seems to be all the time when I veer from sock knitting, is a major downfall for me these days. So much so that I have become obsessed with acquiring row counters of varied and sundry sizes, shapes and systems. I have a few of those red Kacha-Kachas; however, I just ordered a mini one, a green frog from Patternworks. He's just the right size to keep me in line while using my GoKnit pouch. To round it out, I ordered an indie-made beaded row counter. Not a bracelet, more of a stitch marking row counter. I can't explain it any better than that. Go see for yourself. Hurry, they sell as soon a they are listed on Etsy. They are mainly one of a kind right now. I ordered a red Chinese crystal number. Let's hope my fried brain can follow the directions for using it.

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How's that working for you?

How's that working for you?" That question is one of my favorite Dr. Phil-isms. I've been asking myself the question about my knitting quite often recently, each project I start anymore, it seems. My answer is, "It's not." My knitting is not working for me! I have started many projects that became UFO's. Those from six years ago (I'm talking six or so years ago not 30!) were the result of my taking on something beyond my abilities as a rank beginner of knitting, I mean really knitting, the year I learned I was purling backwards, corrected the problem and my knitting took off! In recent weeks I have started many projects only to find they were not working for me.

Lately, nothing takes off for me. The flirty lacy skirt took off for me in the beginning, until I reached the lacy part and ran into some yo's before and after knits and purls and got flummoxed. I wove in a life line with scrap yarn and went back to where all was well. I haven't gotten back to it. It's not working for me right now because I think I need to lose 10 pounds to fit in it. That's about how much I gained while staying off of my tedonitis ridden ankle and watching my belly get bigger.

I've swatched and started an afghan, a sweater, and a sock. When I can't get through a sock, something is definitely wrong. When I don't have at least one sock on the needles I am really in bad shape. I. don't. have. a. sock. on. the. needles. at. the. moment! I finished the mini marathon of Kureyon Sock socks. The lastest pair are these: (a little faded out from the flash)

They have been off the needles for weeks. I don't want to make another pair of Kureyons right now. I don't want to go back to those three projects I started. They are not working for me. They give me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about them. I don't like them. I'm feeling peevish. I need a change. It's time for: Now you see them . . . Now you don't. And off to the frog pond with them.
I feel better already, just making the decision. I'm falling in love with the the flirty lacey skirt again. I'm feeling the urge to finally block and send my samples in for Basics, Basics, Basics. I am not feeling an urge to start the afghan again, or the holey sweater, or the waffle socks after I frog them. I need NEW on my needles. But I'm not ready for the Vivia Hoxboro or the Hanne Falkenberg. What will it be? When will I do it? You'll just have to wait and see.

Bona Fide Knitter, just trying to make it work for me once again

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I wanted to start with a photo of forsythia in bloom, budding trees, something flowery from outside my window, but alas, there is no forsythia blooming and the budding trees are hardly visible because of the gray and gloom of this morning's weather. So here is the next best thing:

Click and drag your cursor over the page and create your own spring garden.

My mention of being off my feet and off my feed had some wondering if I were worse off than I actually am. Not to worry. It is tendonitis in my ankle. I ended up in a soft cast and have been vegetating in a chair with my foot up as much as possible for the last month. No exercise, no activity and some dental planing had me off my feed as well. What a mess I am from head to toe! Just when I was about to wallow in woe I listened to a knitting podcast where someone was reveling in the fact that she recently had a full day to knit. So how can I complain? I've had four weeks of almost every day being full days to knit.

Too much of a good thing? Yes, I fear it would have been. I broke it up with limping trips out for provisions, a few restaurant meals and lots of laptop Internet surfing and shopping--the latter not being such a good thing.

I've made three pairs of Noro socks, finished an afghan, made some discoveries about my flirty skirt (If I gain another pound sitting around, I won't fit in it if I ever finish it.), swatched for another afghan and plan on swatching for a sweater today. No it is not for the Hanne Falkenberg Mermaid jacket. I am hoping that my Guru who will guide me through the knitting of this masterpiece is not ready to begin. "Let sleeping Scarlet Knitters lie" is a good mixed metaphor for the moment. I have some prep work to do, like rewriting the directions to include every little nuance row by row. No "AT THE SAME TIME dec 1 st inside the outermost 2 edge-st of the collar" for me. I need it spelled out row by row. I also need a new row counter. I have a collection of Kotcha-Kotchas, but this calls for one of those electronic marvels, the ultimate one that keeps track of multiple counts.

Since the weather outside is frightful, I will leave you with the view inside my kitchen window . . .

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where Have I Been?

I can't believe a whole month has slipped by since I last blogged. I've been off my feet and off my feed. Noro socks have been flying off my needles during this period. Check this out:

Remember the pair of socks that brought out the OCD in me because they didn't match? I've made them into two pairs, matching pairs. This pair:

And the pair on the right:All is right with the world. I'm currently working on another Noro sock which I am determined will have a matching mate. I have a Noro sock yarn stash. I'm in a Noro sock yarn frenzy.

I also finished the throw I started last winter, a Knit Picks pattern the Abundance Throw, soothing garter stitch of from Knit Picks. I love the sand and sea colors of it and the soft comfy feel. I'm saving it until the garage conversion to "my studio" is complete. Hopefully that will occur before summer is over. I have plans to move my hobbies, which have taken over the living area in this little house, into their own domain. The Abundance Throw will be my security blanket when I work in my new room next winter. I can see it all now . . . the room might get a little chilly and I will hunker down in a comfy chair with my feet up and knit to my heart's content with audio books or TV as company, my yarn stash as insulation, my comfort of dolls for company. Neither dogs nor spouse will find my studio comfortable for long periods of time, no bed or comfy sofa.

During my confinement I did quite a bit of Internet shopping. More yarn, more patterns and a Hanne Falkenberg kit, the Mermaid Jacket in shades of orange.
What was I thinking?!!! Actually I was thinking more easy, soothing garter stitch. However, this is not your grandmother's garter stitch. Start with an I-cord border. Pick up stitches in color A. Or was that B? Knit. Short row. Keep going and in the meantime shape neckline. What?!!!

My knitting Guru, The Scarlet Knitter, is going to hold my hand through this. She's the one who got me all gung-ho to do this particular Hanne Falkenberg knit. "It's easy," she says. I cannot lay too much blame at her feet. I am very impressionable when it comes to hobbies. Just mention something to me and I'm off and running.

Which brings me to another activity I've been engaging in during my down time, . . . Ravelry! Oh boy do I love looking at the projects and people in Ravelry! I end up finding people who, in addition to knitting, have other interests similar to mine. Cross stitch comes to mind. I went through a cross stitch period some years ago. It was right after my needlepoint phase. Needlepoint . . . hmmm, but I digress. I find myself being tempted to whip out a little cross stitch project just to see if I remember how. So many hobbies, so little time.

I really do wonder if there are any needlepointing knitters. I think I'll go check Ravelry now . . .

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Noro Sock Fraternal Twins

I'm not so sure about these Noro Kureyon socks. They were a pleasure to knit, therapeutic and tendon-healing. However, they are not identical. Okay for twin siblings, but not for twin socks that I will wear. They bring out the Monk in me. I think if they were less close to being identical I could tolerate them better. Since I knew they would not match, I should have made sure they were far from matching. As they are, they look like a mistake. No? Maybe it's just me . . . and Monk. I guess one reason I'm so bummed out about them is that I could have made them identical. I thought that the long color runs would make it impossible, but I had well over two color pattern repeats in the skein, more than enough to make two identical socks in my size using my own basic sock pattern and Magic Loop method.

Anyway, the boring, mindless, resorative knitting was just what I needed. In fact I think I need some more. Just as well because I'm going to knit another pair of Noro socks in the same colorway and see if I can get two pairs of matching socks. God forbid I should end up with four mismatching socks. Or maybe that's the answer! I'll make sure the next two are far from matching each other or either of the first two, giving me four different socks with just the same colors, two pairs of really fraternal twins! I've already purchased another skein of each of the Noro colorways in my stash. I could be knitting Noro fraternal and identical twins well into spring.

Now about those Blueberry Waffles . . .

This is where I left off when tendonitis reared its ugly head and my mind had turned to mush. Yum, yum, blueberry waffles--NOT! My waffles stayed in the waffle iron too long in some places. Looking back on my work I can see my brain was in turmoil and knitting these socks did not put me in the zone. Look closely:

See where the waffles waffled a bit on two rounds? See where the 2 x 2 ribbing decided to be 1 x 1 instead? Those are brain blips. This sock is a picture of my mental turmoil at the time. Now of course nobody will see that when I wear the socks because, quite frankly, anybody up my pants leg (I only wear socks with pants.) and that close to my calf should be my spouse and he never notices anything. However, Monk and I will know those brain blips are there. To frog or not to frog? That is the question. Maybe I'll start the second sock and see if my state of mind has improved. I could compare the two and then decide.

But right now I have a Noro Kureyon Sock marathon looming. Boring stockinette stitch in the round with a heel turn thrown in for excitement at the halfway point. I love it!

Bona Fide Knitter (aka The Sock Lady)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I Like to Knit

Yes, I like to knit. Before you accuse me of stating the obvious since I have blog about knitting, let me 'splain. I like to knit. I mean I like to KNIT. I like to do the knit stitch, over and over, ad infinitum. Purling is okay. I have nothing against purling and I do it well. It's just that I like to knit. Knit and knit and knit. Borrrr-rrrring! I know. But what can I tell you? I like it.

I am a thrower. English or American as opposed to Continental. I've learned Continental and do it with color work, but otherwise I'm a thrower. Continental is said to be faster, less arm movement. I don't care. I like throwing. I also like using circular needles exclusively. They really make the method faster. With the yarn in my right hand, wraped around my little finger, under my ring and middle fingers, over my index finger, I've become a pretty fast thrower. Especially when I'm knitting what I like and get into a zone. When the stitches are at the right place near the tip of the needles I need only flick my index finger to throw the yarn. I go into Zen mode. I can do it with my eyes closed. I can do it in my sleep.

I am a sock knitter. I like to knit socks. Socks, socks, socks and more socks, in the round, on a 32 inch Knit Picks circular needle, usually size US 1 (2.5 mm) and using sock weight yarn. I know what I like. I used to be strictly an Addis girl until Knit Picks came along. I still like Addis, but my Knit Picks cables are more pliable more consistantly. That is because my Addi needle collection contains some Addis purchased during a period of producing stiff cables the company went through a few years ago.

I am a plain knitter. I like knitting plain socks. I'm happy without waffles, jaywalkers, cables, ribbing and the like. I do succumb to 1 x 1 ribbing for the cuffs and will even resort to knitting, slipping and purling for a heel flap. Sometimes I go so far as an Eye of Partridge heel flap. Wooohooo! I never have Second Sock Syndrome. I like starting the second sock so that I can watch the same miracle happen again, preferably identically. Turning a heel turns me on. What can I tell you? I'm easy.

You probably wonder why I ever consider knitting anything else. So do I.

Bona Fide KNITter

Saturday, February 2, 2008

We're Waiting . . .

The projects are waiting, all lined up, for me to get back into the swing of things.

In the meantime the therapeutic sock knitting is going well. I took a few days off from knitting, totally off, and spent a few days knitting a few hours. The Noro sock is coming along nicely. You will not believe how much just plain stockinette knitting in the round (all knit stitches) soothes my soul. Some say it bores them to tears. For me it stops the tears, the pain, the mental turmoil, or whatever else I'm going through. I reach my Zen.

Before I slip completely into the raptures of the knit stitch, let me tell you about Noro Sock. I like it . . . I think . . . with qualifications. The colorways are lovely per Noro fame. The hand is a little scratchy, there are some barnyard elements here and there (dried grass bits or something--not excrement!) and so far I have not come to a knot that I did not put there myself. Which brings me to trying to wind Noro Kureyon Sock onto a cardboard cone for my sock machines using an electric cone winder. It was a nightmare!! The yarn sticks to itself. It tangles unmercifully. I had to break it many times and tie knots. There was no way I would run that knotted cone through a sock machine and try to catch all those knots before they knitted up. So handknit it is for the first of four skeins of Noro Kureyon Sock.

So far the knots have not posed a problem handknitting. I just make spit splices (my own version) eliminating the knots and breaks and keep on knitting. The twist of the yarn varies from tight, tight thinnest lace-like to puffy, fuzzy untwisted roving-like slubs. I don't think any of the four skeins I've purchased will be machine knit. Even rewinding the coned yarn into a yarn cake on the manual ball winder was a test of my patience, I who have the patience of Job . . . so they say.

The yarn is not soft. From the reports of others who have washed it, it does soften up a bit, but does not become an Opal or Lorna's by any stretch of the imagination. However, the wearing is said to feel just fine. My next step is to buy two of my remaining three colorways over again so that I might make socks that match. Remember, I have this aversion to fraternal twins. The socks I'm working on, colorway S92, will look like two completely different socks having the same colors in them. I will wear them though. Heck, if I can wear shoes painted that way on purpose, wearing the socks should be a breeze. However, most of any other pairs of Noro socks I make will be identical. I only wear socks with pants and mainly clogs. I want my heels to match! So sue me.

No Super Bowl for me on Sunday. My husband will sleep through it and I will watch reality show reruns while I compete in my own personal Sock Bowl--a pair of machine socks and more hand knitting on the Noros.

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, January 25, 2008

Too Much T and A

That's Tendonitis and Agitation for those of you with other thoughts.

Both my wrists, hands and thumbs are giving me trouble. Two years ago I ended up in a wrist brace on the right and getting a needle in my left palm for "trigger finger." Knitting needs to be classified as a sport. I keep getting these sports injuries from it. I had a second needle in my left palm a year later. The doctor says next time it will be "snip, snip, cured." Another year has passed and the trouble is beginning again. I say no "snip, snip" for me!

Anyway, I've been at my wits end even without the tendonitis. I'm agitated. I'm fairly vibrating with agitation and don't know why. My houses must not be in the right order. There is a full moon. Maybe that's it. My house I live in is quite a mess of clutter and disorganization. Maybe that's it. Whatever, I'm not knitting for a few days, my own prescription for my hands and wrists. I've bought two new support gloves with wrist bands to wear a few hours every day. Blueberry Waffles (socks), Flirty Skirt (lace), Rose Hearts Shawl (lace) and Basics, Basics, Basics (TKGA) are on hold.

For the agitation, I'm chillin'. I'm freeing my mind and making lists. Lists always bring order and calm. However, not knitting brings an increase to my agitation level so I am starting some calming knitting, easy on the tendons, my fave--plain stockinette socks! I hate it when my spouse doesn't follow doctor's orders and here I am already going against the prescribed few days rest from knitting. Hey, wait a minute! I prescribed that. I'm not a doctor--I'm a knitter! So I will just cut back on the knitting for a few days and wear the support gloves for some therapeutic knitting.

The therapeutic knitting will be done using the new Noro Sock recently added to my stash. I'd wound one ball onto a cone for knitting on my Circular Sock Machine (CSM) and it was such a bad language inducing process resulting in many breaks in the yarn, I've decided to hand knit it. That way I can manage the breaks and there will be no knots in the socks. It would be an ordeal trying to knit on the CSM with yarn knotted at all those breaks. I wouldn't catch them all and the socks would end up with one or two knots in them. I hate when that happens!

No pictures today. My hands hurt! Let the plain stockinette knitting begin.

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pottstown Knit Out--Not

I didn't go. I paid my money and I didn't go. I have no excuse. I just didn't go. There will be no pictures of the alpaca for my blog this year. For flavor, check my blog archive for last year's festivities, January 20, 2007. Oh well, maybe next year.

However, the good news is I have been given special dispensation by the guru of the Rule of Three to expand to a Rule of Four and start the Rose Hearts Shawl. Now if only I could settle on a yarn.

You saw the dark red. I started the KAL yesterday (on time) with the dark red. Let me tell you right here and now that the provisional cast on is not my friend! I had to do one once before for double knitting--disaster! This pattern calls for a crochet cast on with waste yarn and knitting into the back of two out of four chains. I did it, but it was not my friend. Undaunted I completed the first 10 rows and decided I'm not too happy with the yarn. Even though I'm using the rather pointy KnitPicks needles, I'm getting split stitches if I'm not really careful.

Wonder of wonders another Knit Picks order arrived in the afternoon and it contained some lace weight yarn (I'm working with sport weight.) in PURPLE. Hmmmm, . . . maybe I'll go down a needle size and start over. Okay, you know it. I've already frogged the 10 rows I did and am winding purple yarn cakes.

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fish or Cut Bait

I am floundering. Which goes well with the title of this post. I got a KnitPick order the other day and can't for the life of me remember what the dark red yarn was for.

I took the picture on the floor in a little ray of sunshine hoping it would light a bulb in my head. The yarn is Andean Treasure, 100% Baby Alpaca. The color is Embers. I vaguely remember wondering would four balls be enough for the pattern. It's sport weight and four balls give me 440 yards. Could it be for the Rose Hearts Shawl KAL? But I already bought yarn for that in lace weight. But I was considering doing it first in DK weight knowing my penchant for a short attention span when it comes to pattern knitting. Talking this out here on my blog I have come up with the answer to the dark red yarn question I'm afraid. Afraid because why in the world did I want this color for the shawl?!!!

And how much more red am I going to buy? I have two huge cones--one for socks and one for a lace top--and a bag of 10 worsted weight wool bought from Webs at Stitches East 2006 for goodness sake! They are various shades of red, but red nonetheless. Am I channeling my guru the Scalett Knitter? If so I wish I could channel her productivity. I really need to fish. I've already cut too much bait.

I've taken the white lace socks off my project list in Ravelry. I just do not enjoy doing those socks. Is it the yarn? Wildfoote splits like crazy using 000 needles. That must be it because the pattern was not giving me any trouble. I moved on to the Blueberry Waffle socks which are coming along, but require more concentration on my part than they should. Ach du liber himmel! What is wrong with me? I am floundering.

On Saturday I am signed up to attend the Pottstown Knit Out. I am hoping for the shot in the arm I need. I'm not where I had planned to be in my projects. The Flirty Skirt was supposed to be finished by now so that after my class in shadow knitting in Pottstown I could comfortably start the Vivian Hoxbro jacket.

It is not to be. Vivian Hoxbro will have to wait. I will stick to my modified Rule of Threes. Uh-oh! The Rose Hearts Shawl KAL starts January 18. What to do? What to do?

Answer: Fish and stop floundering!

Observation: My bait (stash) runneth over!

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I am thinking houses. Yesterday I sold the family home, the house purchased, according to the deed, by "a widow and a singlewoman" who were my grandmother and my aunt. My grandmother, my mother and lastly my aunt (who later married and was widowed) are all gone now and yesterday I sold the house I grew up in. It's been a traumatic four months and my knitting has both saved me and suffered. Now I'm thinking of knitting houses.

Not to worry. I haven't forgotten The Rule of Threes. I am still working my Blueberry Waffles (socks), the flirty lace skirt is at my feet. I have not felt settled enough to pick it up again yet. The third project, Lesson One of Basics, Basics, Basics is at my elbow and I've purchased the office supplies necessary to label and tag and bag each swatch. Presentation might count. But my mind has turned to houses. I want to knit houses. Not yet. I have to finish the skirt or Lesson One first. But a girl can dream, can't she?

So I'm researching house knitting patterns. I woke up with Kaffe Fassett's house pattern in my mind's eye. In his Knits Again there are a shoulder bag and a vest using his house patterns.

There are many other house patterns for knitting and another that comes to mind is . . . actually my mind just went blank. I realized what I was thinking of are all the house quilting patterns I have. That's a hobby for another day. I Googled and I checked Ravelry and found some wild and crazy things, but nothing to further stir my creative juices. Do you know of any house patterns? No knitted houses, tea cozy cottages or gingerbreads, please.

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy Knit Year

and Happy New Year as well.

I've come to grips with my UFOs. I think some are destined to remain unfinished and I've decided to move on. I am back to an adaptation of my knitting guru's Rule of Threes. It works so well for her, but she is very prolific and can finish items lickety split before her fingers itch to start something else as mine often do. Also I am not a fast knitter.

I used to be a slow knitter. Now I am not. I guess I'm sort of medium, whatever that means. Anyway, at my speed, knitting daily, I get a lot done in what seems like not a whole lot of time. My problem of late has been being able to knit daily. Right this minute I have not knit by hand in over a week. The last few rounds knit were on the Blueberry Waffle sock. And then I had to unknit them. My brain was absent and I could not keep even that simple pattern straight in my head. Did I just knit 2 or were they purls? Should they have been knits? Am I on a knit 2, purl 2 round or an all knit round? Even the 2x2 ribbing suffered due to my absent brain syndrome. Normally a perfectionist, I left the blips in the ribbing to remind me of how out of sync I was in December 2007. No one will be able to see them. (If you have pulled up my pants leg and are that close to my lower calf, you need to back . . . . . . . up!) But I'll know they're there. I'm hoping the second sock will be perfect from beginning to end as life gets smoother in 2008.

Okay, I have Blueberry Waffles on the sock needles, the "flirty skirt" is ripped back and ready to go forward once again as my current project, and today I start TKGA's Basics, Basics, Basics. Those are my three current projects, no UFOs to muddy the waters. With Essential yarn in solid colors from KnitPicks coned and ready to knit on the Circular Sock Machine (CSM), I shall begin 2008 in knit harmony--Rule of Threes in place for hand knitting and a sock machine set up for diversion. I can do this!

Bona Fide Knitter