Thursday, June 28, 2007

Trying something new

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Your blanket looks so nice, and I agree with everybody else that you have a great shot at finishing it on time. What a wonderful gift it will be! And awesome "schedule" you have for finishing it. I just have to say that 10,032 is a WHOLE LOT of stitches for only two days!

I moved on to another pair of socks, this time following the directions in the Summer 2007 issue of Interweave Knits for "A better SOCK from the TOE UP". Well, mostly following the directions..... (I moved the "end of round" to be at the side of the foot, instead if in the back, because after casting on, it just seemed more logical to me.....though perhaps it is just because I am unable to follow directions verbatim...

In any case, it uses the Middle East Cast-On (also referred to as the "Eastern Cast-On" in the magazine). Basically, it ends up being just like this (thank you, Debi) except without having to use circular needles. It is just my four sock needles, and the skein of sock yarn, which really appeals to me. No need for waste yarn. No need for a crochet hook. No guessing about how long to make the "long tail".

It all sounds wonderful, except that this:....took me approximately 30 minutes to accomplish.

Well, even the knit stitch seemed difficult the first time I tried it... I think it will be quicker and easier when I get to the second sock. I prefer this to the figure eight method I tried once, only because after doing the figure eight, I had to go back and tighten stitches. With this method, I didn't have to mess around with it at all. (Though, perhaps if I tried the figure eight method again, I could do it a bit tighter and so wouldn't have to go back and tighten things? I don't know.....)

My dh took both boys out for an hour..... My six year old has a soccer class, and my four year old went along because he likes spending time with his Daddy (or maybe he already spent too much time today with me and wanted a break). Anyway, it means I have a free hour to use however I see fit! I think I'm going to work on my new sock!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)
P.S. You go girl! Just think of how great it will feel to have that blanket done! What will you knit next? Hopefully something with a little meat to it, because I feel like a bit of a knitting slacker lately and am counting on you to pull this blog through my slump.....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

10,032 stitches.....

in 2 days.

Thanks for all your encouragement. I have managed the full 3" per day Tuesday and Wednesday. 8 hrs work, 1 hr commute, 4 hours knitting times 2 days = 10,032 stitches!

Oh, I wanted to mention that the goal is 60" OR until the pink yarn runs out plus 2" brown border. I may end up an inch or two short, but I'm not going to try to track down another $16 skein for a few inches.....I may consider making the top border a bit thicker, we'll see.

I have counted out an M&M for each "pair" of rows, and when I've had 12 M&M's, my day is done!


Keep knitting....

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Knitting Delusions......

Greetings and Dear Laura:

First of all, thanks to Arianne and Debi for the tips on the provisional cast on. I'll definitely give it a try on my next pair of socks. I have a pattern that I fell in love with,(hmm, were's that link? HERE it is...) but have since avoided because of the provisional cast-on. While I tend toward the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy (and I love the figure-8 cast on toe!) I like to keep an open mind about learning new knitting techniques. Hey, everything I've learned was new at some point!

Laura, your socks are beautiful! I love the yarn, the colors and the pattern all! Great job. I'm glad you had enough yarn....and I'll be digging into the directions for that bind off sometime next week is my guess.

Because I have delusions. Blanket delusions. And a deadline.

Yes, even tho two weeks ago I accepted the fact that the blanket would not be finished by June 30th, I cannot completely let go of the madness. Despite the fact that I started this blanket in January, and in the next 5.5 months I was able to knit all of 35" (of the 60" that is the goal) somehow last Friday I thought that if I knit REALLY REALLY HARD and did NOTHING ELSE (except go to work) just MAYBE.....

I don't know how these things happen. And I have in the last 4 days knit an additional 10"! (And done laundry and gone to church and a birthday party!) Now I have 15" left. I've started carrying it (gigantic tho it is!) to work for my lunch hour, so that's 3 extra hours to work on it yet this week. The math breaks down like this:

In one focused hour, I can knit 6 rows which is .75" I need 15" more. That equals 20 hours of knitting. I have 3 lunch hours, so I need 17 more hours. The kicker is...the party isn't until Saturday at 5 pm!! SO, if I knit the next 4 evenings for 3 hours, that's 12 more hours, leaving just 5 hours that I need to knit on Saturday!

Here are current pictures - the "brick" side is the pattern, but I think I like the reverse side even better. And I'm amazed at how much less yarn the slip-stitch rows take. The brown is solid garter stitch, and I get 11" per skein. The pink is knit 3 slip 1, and I get almost 17" per skein (same yardage.) Amazing....
Front sideReverse side

Anyway. Keep knitting!! (I know I will.........)

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Monday, June 25, 2007

The case for toe-up socks

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

I give you exhibit A, which resulted after a few days of wondering, "Hmmmm, am I going to run out of yarn":
This is the yarn remaining after I finally finished my Traveling Companion socks. These are socks knit from the top down, and TEDIOUS, and if I had run out of yarn, I swear I would have just left the second toe un-knit before I would have ripped them back all the way to start over with shorter leg parts. (Well, once I got over the shock, I would have probably purchased additional yarn, but really, the best option is not running out of yarn in the first place, so a big PHEW!) In any case, this summer I'm going to try several methods for knitting socks toe-up... I really like the idea of not having to worry about running out of yarn after guessing wrong about the leg length on the top-down variety... Can you stand the excitement?

And so, I finished the first toe-up sock knit from Wendy's pattern. (This next picture might be a little bit blurry, but I had to quickly take the sock off and put my camera down, because as I was sitting on the front porch getting these photos, a strange man rode his bike into our driveway, and I had to at least give this visitor the appearance that I am sane. This strange man happened to be a friend of mine from college (ahem, 20 years ago), and he was on his way home from work. You know how you wonder sometimes whatever happened to friends from your past? Yes, well, now this particular friend can say, "Laura, yeah, um, I ran into her the other day, and she was sitting on a bench in front of her house taking pictures of her feet.") I thought Wendy's directions were pretty straightforward, and I'm really very happy with the results, and it was a quick knit. I did end up picking up two extra stitches on each side of the heel to close the gaps there, and then kept those stitches all the way up the leg so that the leg part would be a little bit wider. I also switched to larger needles about halfway up the leg part to allow for the widening of the calf. For the bind-off, I did what I've seen referred to as a "lace bind-off", in which you *purl two stitches together, place the newly formed stitch back onto the left needle loosely*, then repeat between *, and I LOVED it.
Very stretchy -- exactly what I needed for this sock.

Anyway, back to sock knitting...but before that, a "thank you" to Arianne and Debi for your hints regarding toe-up socks. I'm eager to learn more about this topic, and I'm so glad for your thoughts and information! I'm going to try out your suggestions, and ultimately develop my own "favorite" toe-up pattern incorporating my favorite techniques, so I'm glad to have additional things to try which YOU have found useful!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lets NOT talk about short-row TOES!

Greetings and Dear Laura:

AACCKK!! My brain is overflowing! Short-row toes just push me over the edge. Which is why the criteria for these socks included "figure-8 cast on!"

Seriously, one of the many things that I love about knitting socks is that I can generally knit socks without being 'tied to a pattern.' As long as I know how many stitches to cast on for my yarn & needle size, then I can make a pair of socks. Cuff-down, flap heel, and I can even jazz up the ribbing combinations and/or throw in some lace or cables. Once the lace or cable pattern gets a little complex, I may need a few notes to stay on track. For instance, the pattern for this pair of socks, while rather basic, still takes 2 pages and that's more than I want to carry. The summary that I carry around in my project bag looks like this:

Sock pattern
Originally uploaded by

I figure that once I master the short-row heel technique, whichever I end up with, I'll be able to knit a basic sock, toe up and short-row if I know how many to do a figure-8 cast on, and how many stitches I need to increase the toe to. However, the words "provisional cast-on" give me the heebie-jeebies!! I know I've done it, but only with a book in front of me and well....let's just say I have it in the same category as Kitchner. (To be avoided if possible!)

Marit and Tania - thank you for your short-row heel suggestions. I am going to try them on the next heel - I'm sure I'll have more than one opportunity! I'll definitely be using a lifeline - Marie N, I'm glad that you've found that tip useful. I would still be knitting my first project (a garter stitch scarf with furry yarn - you could NOT find a dropped stitch!) if it weren't for lifelines!

Lauren. Yeah, yeah, spell check will not catch if you use viola instead of voila!! ;)

Guess that's all for today,

Keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

I actually finished something.....

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I DID actually finish something.....though it wasn't the pink, tedious sock. (Another week for that, I think...)

I've had only half of a blind up on one of the windows in the master bedroom for weeks now. Nothing screams to my husband that "Laura has a lot of unfinished projects" more than half of a valence on one of the windows we see every day. I think he must notice it, though, kindly, he hasn't said anything. Perhaps it is my own conscience which is convicting me.

In any case, I finished the rest of the panels. Here they are, the "front side" of one panel, the "reverse side" of another, and the third showing both sides:And here is the finished window:I couldn't get the lighting right on that shot after a dozen tries, but I think you get the idea.

This is what it looked like originally:The new valence is mounted a bit higher, to give the window the allusion of being taller. Also, the fact that I fixed the blind might give it a more "finished" look, too...

Anyway, one window done, and one to go. I'd like to have it done before my class starts on July 2nd....well, that and about a thousand other things...

Knitting in my next post, for sure! I've been knitting socks!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Well, what about short-row toes?

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

At the risk of sounding as though I got a laugh at the expense of your misfortune, I have to say that I was quite humored by your post yesterday about short row heels.

And, this is a journey that you and I are sort of taking together, because look:I HAD to have a mindless break and relief for my hands from the tedious sock I was working on, so I got some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport yarn out of my stash (a wonderful gift from a former knitter who **gave** it to me because she just didn't want it any more, which I'm having a hard time imagining, but some things in this lifetime just can't be explained) and started Wendy's toe-up pattern....which has a short row toe....

This is one of many knitting adventures in which I am totally **late** to the party. I've done one pair of toe-up socks, and I used the figure-eight cast-on for them, so this short row method was completely new to me. It took me a little while to figure out how it was unfolding (because it starts with a provisional cast-on row at a position that is sort of at the base of my toes, then smaller and smaller short rows are worked for a while to form the fabric which goes from the base of the top of the toes out to the tips, then the short rows get bigger again to make the other side from the tips to the base of the toes, then the provisional cast-on is removed and voila' I'm working in the round with a whole toe completed already). It seems like clear sailing to have this toe out of the way, though.....after reading your post..... it sounds like I am in for a bit of a surprise when I get to the heel. Perhaps "mindless" does not adequately describe what I'm about to encounter on this sock. Hmmmm..... More news on that as it happens.....

Elizabeth - Your comment about picking, and that alternating knits and purls would be less tedious that way, made me laugh. I'm sure that Cynthia (a picker) was secretly cheering when she read that, too. I've actually tried the Norwegian Purl method of knitting and purling while picking, and though I was extremely impressed and excited about the possibilities, I didn't take it any further, and my tension was pretty loose, probably because I'm unpracticed at it. Perhaps I should re-visit that, because I know you're right. Also, why didn't I talk to you **before** our trip to get your advice about things like First Aid Kits??

Elaine and Sus - Thank you for your support regarding my class. For the most part, I've really been surprised by how supportive almost everybody is regarding my return to school. I expected that most people would question it, and so have been glad for a response that is so completely the opposite of what I expected.

Well, today's chores while the boys are at Vacation Bible School are to go to the grocery store (haven't yet mustered the courage this summer to take both kids along with me -- I used to do it all the time when they were smaller, but it wasn't a lot of fun then, and I don't think it would be now, either), and then I've got a lot of paper filing to do. And, two loads of laundry..... Plus, some sock knitting.

Have a great day! More soon!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I love short-row heels, really.....

Bottom of sock
Originally uploaded by

Howdy all!

You see, it turns out that I have this.....obsession with short-row heels. I remember making my first sock with a flap heel and thinking, "That doesn't look like a heel!" I've gotten used to it - I've just never really liked it.

I first did a pair of socks with short-row heels several years ago. The directions made no sense whatsoever to me - I just followed step by step and ended up with heels that I liked the look and feel of, but that I didn't enjoy knitting. Too much turning around and being confused.

1st sock, turned heel

So I continued on with the flap heel. And I saw the Lizard Ridge Afghan pattern, and really wanted to make it. The directions recommended learning to knit backwards to eliminate the constant turning of your work. I wasn't ready to start the afghan, but on a whim I decided to learn the knitting backwards technique so that I would be ready when I DID start the project.

I was working on the intarsia-blanket-without-end and it was flat stockinette, so I followed the directions in a book and knitted backwards instead of purling. Turns out it's really easy! It even made intarsia less evil! (Well, I think it helps that I knit continental - the angle helps.) I lost my fear of short rows in general. I've made a couple of Lizard Ridge squares and it's great!

So obviously now I can knit short-row heels, right?? I like the look and feel, and I understand short-rows, AND I can knit backwards. I am all about the short-row heels.

Ahem. You may remember that I currently have a pair of socks in "time-out" because of heel issues? Yeah. Seems I have yet to do a short-row heel in less than 3 tries.

This project? One of my pattern criteria was short-row heels? Right. As I knit the first heel row, I flirted with the idea of a life-line, but decided that this time I really could do it in one shot.

Attempt #1 - Japanese Short Rows. It was the wraps that were giving me fits, so I heard about Japanese short rows - no wraps! I sat down in front of an online tutorial and started in. Apparently this technique requires putting a saftey pin on the yarn at each "turn" to mark the loop. So I have these neat little sections with paperclips hanging off the back of each stitch. Then after you've worked the loop, you remove the pin. I found the technique to be pretty fussy, and so when I forgot to take off the pin a couple of times on the purl side and totally messed it up, I frogged.

Insert lifeline.

Attempt #2 - Ok, no Japanese - how about the no-wraps yarnover method? I found the directions to be confusing. The directions specifically pointed out which of the "pair" of stitches was the yarnover - and then told you on each row to knit to yarn-over and turn. I thought that was odd, and that the net stitch count would not decrease, but hey, I'm following the directions. About 10 rows in I count and discover that I am correct and that I have not decreased the number of stitches at all. Frogged.

Attempt #3 - SO, reading the directions as if it says to knit to the yarnover PAIR instead, I am able to successfully knit the first half of the heel. However when I start working the yarn-over pairs on the second half, the purl side seems to be wonky. There's a point where I'm purling 3 together through the back loop, and it's leaving a HUGE hole. Frogged.

Attempt #4 - This time when I start working the yarn-overs, I notice on the knit side that I am knitting together the newest yarn-over, middle stitch, and the next held yarn-over. I apply that principle to the purl side, and VIOLA!! Like magic! A short row heel!! Fourth times a charm!!!

I spent my knitting time last night on the sock, just so that I could have a HEEL to show in my Tuesday progress report. I'm now working on the lace cuff. I think I have the short-row heel figured out now, so I can't wait to get to the next one. Where you better believe I'm putting in a lifeline the first time.

Keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Remember me?

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

First, your fingerless "jaywalker" mitts are awesome!

Second, so sad about your Chibi. I would never have guessed that they aren't machine washable.....

Phew! Summer is here, and we spent last week on vacation. I brought along my "Travelling Companion" sock, and so I have some progress to show for it. This is hours and hours worth of knitting, in the car, in our cabin in the evenings, etc., shown with its already completed mate: It is a tedious pattern to knit, but it packs well (small) and I had no worries about running out of knitting. Now that I'm past the heel and working along the foot, it goes much faster, since the patterning is only on the top half. YAY! I'm ready to move on to a different style sock...

We went to a cabin in the Minnesota Woods, learning later that it is one of the areas in the state in which the deer ticks (those that transmit Lyme disease) are the most densely populated. On the first day of our trip, we went to the pharmacy because my little guy had a sore bottom, and I hadn't packed any sort of ointments. On the second day of our trip, we went to the pharmacy, because both little guys were covered with mosquito bites. On the third day of the trip, I think we didn't go to any pharmacies. On the fourth day of the trip, we bought a first aid kit in order to clean/remove a splinter. In spite of having scratches and mosquito bites all over, both boys said that they like Minnesota a lot more than Wisconsin and they want to stay there for 20 weeks. I guess that means that we had a great trip.

Summer programming officially begins today, with the boys going to Vacation Bible School for the mornings. I'm going to be taking a class this summer (four credits in six weeks), and am a little bit concerned about the intensity level of it, so I'm trying to "work ahead" in the house in order to make things as easy as possible for the duration of the course. It's sort of like stocking up on paper products and putting meals in the freezer in anticipation of the birth of a child, because you know that first six weeks after you come home from the hospital is going to be a bit hectic.

However, I continue to have knitting projects lined up, and will share those with you as I go, though probably at a slower pace than usual.

I'd better go get some sun block on the boys. I think it is one of my least favorite things about summer, though I'm thankful for these disease preventive "technologies".

Have a great day! More soon!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

I don't like to sew....

Bent Chibi
Originally uploaded by designatedknitter
Ok, but that's not really what happened to the chibi on the top! I had tucked the chibi in my pocket, and it ended up in the wash. Guess it's not "machine washable!"

It was kind of a crazy weekend. My parents were back from Kentucky, so I didn't really get much done. That's just how it goes - mom has even noticed. She says, "I'm sorry you don't seem to get much of your own stuff done when we're here..." but I am glad to have them around and to do stuff for/with them, so it's good.

However, since they were home and have "the good camera," I decided to start photographing my stash. (I heard that starting to put stash photos on Flickr is a good way to be prepared for when I get my Ravelry invite!) I photographed one of the baskets, and uploaded about 20 pics. Then I sat down and added tags and comments and label information. It was fun - I'm looking forward to working on this more. I enjoy remembering what yarn I already have and it makes me more eager to knit with it.

And spending time with my stash over the last few months has gotten me started knitting from it - other than the blanket, the last 5 or 6 projects that I've started have been from my stash, which makes me happy!

All right then....keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Socks zigging and zagging along!

Hello all - thank you so much for you kind comments about the Jaywalker mitts! They were a fun distraction from the blanket project (which I'm not going to talk about much for a while. I'm working on it. It's growing. Not much more to say until it gets close to the end!) The Jaywalker pattern is a great candidate for converting to fingerless mitts. All I had to do to make the circumference smaller was decrease the number of stitches between the increases/decreases, and then add a standard thumb gusset when I got to that point. It's so fun when it works out to be simple!

Here is a picture of the progress of my Sockapalooza 4 socks. Now, I know that at first glance, they look exactly like the first picture I posted. In fact, I staged the photo differently to assure you that it is indeed a different picture! (But you're right, it is at the same point....)

See? The first picture is on the top, the current picture on the bottom. If you look REALLY REALLY hard, you may be able to tell that currently the zig-zag lace line moves toward the middle at the same time and outward at the same time, where in the original pattern, they move in parallel. That just made me twitchy! Gotta have symmetry!

Now that I've got my pattern charted out, it's much easier to get into the rhythm of cabling without a cable needle. I was telling Lauren today while we knitted at lunch that I still have to THINK about how to do it, but by time I've done 2 socks worth of it, I'm sure I'll be able to do it in my sleep! You're so right, Marie - it takes a lot of practice!

The lace pattern is 12 rows, and I can do a repeat in 45-55 minutes. Right now, since I'm on the foot portion, I'm only doing the lace on the top 1/2 of the stitches. We'll see if my time changes once I get to the leg portion.

That's all for today - keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sockapalooza 4 Begun!


Well, another weekend passed at lightening speed. I was really excited to have my new clothesline installed - I got to sleep on freshly laundered sheets that had been hung outside to dry! I love that smell.......

I finished the Jaywalker Fingerless Mitts in time to mail them out on Saturday morning! Here's a picure of the finished project.

I really like the look of them being worn better than just laying out. It really makes a difference. The measurements are smaller than the recipient's, but they stretch and fit really well.

I also included a pair of "Knit & Purl" stitch markers for
Poor Miss Finch to either add to the prize stash or else keep for herself. This knit-along/contest was such a lovely thing for her to do!

I started my Sockapalooza Socks! I kind of made an event of it. Saturday morning I stopped by the Wool Barn to see if the two sock books that I had ordered were in - no such luck. I also "visited" my swift and ball-winder, and wound up my top-two yarn choices. I then drove up to Knitting Today, and purchased a 47" needle so that I could use the Magic Loop method.

Then it was back home to choose a pattern. I wanted: Toe-up with a figure-8 cast on. Short Row heel. Lacy, cabley, something pretty and interesting. Most of all, a pattern that I liked as written - I didn't want to be "tweaking" it. I enjoyed browsing the patterns, and I settled on "Waders."

I was able to cast on and got through 2 pattern repeats. I'm really happy with the pattern/yarn combo. I looked up cabling without a cable needle, and I started out doing that. However, it's a new technique for me, and I got to the point where I had to choose the technique, or "reading my knitting" so that I didn't have to follow the text of the directions. I decided to chart the pattern so that I could move away from the text. I also (cough"tweaked"cough) decided that I wanted the eyelet zigzags to mirror each other, rather than match. So I charted accordingly, frogged back, and found that with the chart and no cable needles, the pattern flows very nicely.

So, I'm off and running!

Keep knitting,

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Friday, June 08, 2007

June already???

Dear Laura:

Well, things have been rather crazy - but not in a bad way! Just a bit overwhelming.....

Memorial Day weekend was grand. It started off Friday evening when I got to babysit my new little baby niece for a couple of hours! Then Saturday I met another niece and her husband and baby for a sushi lunch at our favorite restaurant. Yum!!

Then EVERYONE gathered that evening for the wedding reception of yet another niece! She and her husband were married the previous weekend in the Dominican Republic. The reception was lots of fun, lots of good food, good music, LOTS OF BABIES! (Ok, latest count - I have 8 nieces and 3 nephews ranging from 3 weeks to 25 years old, 3 great-nieces and 2 great-nephews ranging from 10 months to 3 years old, and 2 more on the way. Plus there are God-children, I have another one of those on the way too!!)

After a brief sleep Saturday night, we all gathered for Missy's Baptism, piling joy on top of joy! We filled a room at a local restaurant for lunch afterward, changed clothes and gathered again to watch the bride and groom open presents. Really, I don't know how the weekend could have been better! My parents were home from Kentucky and my nephews-who-kind-of-have-jobs-working-with-a-band in California flew home as well. It was the first time in a while that we had EVERYONE together!

I did manage to get knitting done (NOT at the reception or in Church!) over the weekend. My blanket has grown to over 30", which is wonderful!! It was my main goal for May to have it at 34" by June 1st, and I didn't miss that goal by much. There are 23 knitting days left until the graduation party and I have no idea what size it will be at that point. I'm dealing with a convergence of time and yarn and desired size. The goal is 45" x 60"....I have 1.5 skeins of pink yarn, and most of 3 skeins of brown yarn, so it's kind of a race to see where it all ends up. (I do have a secret ball of the pink yarn in my stash, but I don't want to break into it if there isn't enough brown...I use brown faster than I do pink.) I don't really want it to be a square, so it has to be more than 50". 60" really would be good. In the end, it can go on into July if needed, as long as the yarn holds up. I'm just ready to be done with it tho!! (No picture. Really, without a measuring tape, it looks no different than it did last month!)

I've also been working on a pair of fingerless mitts for a KAL at Poor Miss Finch's blog. I'm using some Lorna's Laces from my stash, and I'm happy to have found a project that it wants to be!! I may be making more of these, since I have several skeins still stashed. I based these on the Jaywalker socks pattern and just reduced the number of stiches between the increases/decreases. They are a bit snug on Lauren's hand (thanks for modeling!) but the intended recipient has a smaller hand, so I think we're good. This one is finished now, and I am almost to the thumb on the second one. I plan to finish it this weekend so that I can get it in the mail in plenty of time for the June 15th deadline. Hmm, if I stay up tonight and finish the second one, I could mail them tomorrow when I make my weekly post office run.....

That's really the end of "May Knitting." For June, my main project is of course, the blanket. My carry-along project is going to be my Sockapalooza 4 socks.
I'm so anxious to get started, so once I get my housework done and my laundry hanging on my new clothesline (YAY!!!!!) I'll be fondling my stash and drooling over sock patterns....I can't wait to see what I choose!! ;)

Anyway, that's some of what has been going on here.

Keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tuesday Sewing

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Thanks for your comments regarding taking it easy with the socks which cramp my hands! Now I'll feel less guilt if I decide to cast on something else and make a "rule" that I may only knit a few rows at a time on the straining sock (Blackberry Ridge "Traveling Sock" pattern). I actually DID take the advice of sage sock knitters and immediately cast on for the second sock before I thought too much about it, so I'm part way through the ribbing. Sadly, that is about all the knitting I've done in the last several days.

I'm continuing my never ending pursuits to organize this home. I think that is taking up some time. On Tuesdays, I work in my sewing room/work area. Such was the case this morning. I have had two small boys' shirts cut out, one of them partly sewn, for almost a year, so today I finished them both. I think they'll fit my six year old. I hope so, because my four year old doesn't like them.

I also did some more work on my valences. I'm not sure what I was thinking with the SEVEN panels, because really, that is a LOT of panels, and it's similar to making socks, except that there are SEVEN of them instead of only TWO. Anyway, my goal is to finish three more panels today, and then I'll have one completed valence.

I start with two rectangles, each cut from a different fabric, measuring 10 x 41 inches. I sew these together, right sides together, leaving an opening in one of the ends for turning. Then, I turn them right side out, and press the edges out. It is critical that these edges be very "sharp", so I generally lick the tips of my fingers, then grab the edges I'm trying to press out and gently roll the fabric between my fingers a little bit until there is no excess fabric in the fold. Then, I press with a steam iron, move over a couple of inches to the next section, and repeat, until the entire rectangle is done. In the area which was left open for turning, I turn those raw edges to the inside and press them flat, too. (That open area will be sewn shut during the next step.)
Then, fold one end over 5 1/2 inches, and stitch close to the edge (which will be roughly 5 3/8 inches from the folded edge). Stitch again 2 inches from the folded edge. Now there is a casing, a little bit bigger than three inches through which the curtain rod may be inserted, and the area above this rod pocket makes a cute little ruffle above the curtain rod. I think this will be obvious when I show the finished valence.

In any case, on the other end of the rectangle, again fold the edge over 5 1/2 inches, except this time to the opposite side. Stitch close to the edge (roughly 5 3/8 inches from the folded edge) and again 2 inches from the folded edge. Now the sewing is done on the panel, and it just has to be installed. I'll show you a photo of a completed panel, before and after installation, in my next post.....

Anyway, we are in our final week of school. Friday is the last day, and then my oldest "baby" will be a "second grader". I can't believe it. Things get more complicated as I try to work on house projects with both kids home..... After school today, we're going to get new shoes. I discovered the other day that my six year old has worn clear through the bottom of his sneakers..... There's just something about a new pair of shoes! I don't know anybody who doesn't love the prospects of having a new pair.

I'd better go get some lunch made.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)