Sunday, October 31, 2010

A better way to do Fair Isle/Stranding?

 A while back I did some testing to see what was the easiest and most consistent way to knit "Fair Isle" or "Stranded Knitting. I decided to come back to that idea after hearing some of my students in a knitting class talk about how they had never tried this type of knitting. And others said they tried it but did not have alot of success.

 So it got me to thinking again about Portuguese Knitting and what I thought was a superior way to knit Fair Isle/Stranded (FI/ST).

This lead me to do some testing. On the swatch above, the two rows of snowflakes was done using Continental and English. In other words holding one yarn in each hand. The first thing I really wanted to test was which color would sit above the other in the work. What I found was that the yarn held in my left hand is the one that sits a bit higher and that comes out the most. You can see how with the yellow strand in my left hand the bottom row shows a well defined snowflake. When I put the rust color yarn in my left, in the second row, you can see how the snowflakes disappear and are really not well defined.

The problem however that kept bothering me was that the stitches were not even. I did another gauge test and saw that my continental was much looser than my english stitches.. This bothered me as I felt I was not getting an even work.

The other problem here was that many people could not knit with both hands. And because of this they either slogged through doing FI/ST with one hand or just passed on it.

The next idea I had was to use a combination of Continental in my left hand with Portuguese knitting in my right. This worked great, however again the continental stitch was looser and again I had the same problem.

This left me trying portuguese style in both hands. Portuguese is a very interesting style of knitting. The yarn goes through a pin on ones shoulder and then sits on top of the needle. Knitting a stitch is as easy as moving the yarn over the needle with your thumb. If you want a demonstration go to Portuguese Knitting.

What I found and you can see it on the top two rows of the above swatch, is that my stitches were very even in tension with portuguese. Not only that but it was really easy to hold both yarns for getting tension. And finally choosing a color to knit was as simple as picking up the right color with your thumb. I hope that I can soon show some pictures of how I set it up.

In the mitt to the right the bottom row was done with continental and PK. You can see how the snowflakes again are not well defined. This is because the continental stitches are larger or looser. I was holding the black yarn in my right hand. Now if I switched the black yarn to my left then the white color would have had better definition but they would also dominate the mitten. Here I really wanted the black yarn in my left hand. So I switched to doing PK in both hands and voila! The stitches are even.

So, if you are like me and struggle to have even gauge between continental and english or you just have trouble with Fair Isle knitting. Then my suggestion is to learn Portuguese knitting and you'll be amazed how easy it will be to accomplish great results in this style of knitting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saying bye to a good friend

Today is a very sad day for me in which I have to say goodbye to a good friend. This is not the type of friend who calls you on the phone or listens to you gripe. Instead it was a place. A place that I loved dearly. The one place where I was able to find peace, and solace. A place where I shared great memories with my kids.

I wish I did not have to say goodbye. And to tell you the truth I didn't. That is what makes this sadder. I owned this property with my brother. And over the 10 years that it was owned I had done the maintenance on the place and paid all the bills. Basically looked after the place. At times I would get upset thinking that it wasn't fair that I was doing most of the work. But I always said that it was family so let it go.

I am not going to go into the whole painful story, but the end works out that the same brother decided for a few thousand dollars difference that he wanted to sell it to someone else. So to accomplish this he went behind my back on numerous occasions in order to get this done. I can't count the number of ways that he went about screwing me. What makes it worse is that through it all, I kept hearing from my father that "that's just the way he is".  Well, the cottage has been sold and I am pretty devastated. Not just to lose it but to once again find that my family condoned the actions of bad behaviour.

So in the end I have not just lost the cottage but will lose part of my family. For I have come to the time where I can no longer take being slapped in the face because that is how people are. I have come to the time where I yell out STOP! Family or not that is not acceptable.

Today I sit realizing who exactly my family is and choosing that I will no longer consider them family. I will no longer put up with  people behaving poorly under the guise that "that is how they are". I mean is that what we should say about murderers and thieves. Don't put them in jail, because that is how they are?

As a parent I hope I have the strength to speak out if one of my kids is being unjust to the other. Not to keep silent with a fear that they might hate me. For as a parent I can't worry if my kid likes everything I do or say. I just have to make sure that what I do/say is right and moral.

I lost a good friend, which was my cottage. And with that I am okay. I had the memories that I wanted and now someone else can create some new memories. But I also will say goodbye to part of my family. And for this I don't have many good memories. Only painful ones. And although this makes me sad that this is the type of family that I have, I at least have a choice whether I accept it.

And today I don't.

Sorry for the rant but my heart really feels low today and maybe writing about it will help it a bit.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Final Thoughts on my Cat Sock

Well, I forced myself to finish my sock based on Cat Borhi's book. This new way of making the sock I earlier said I really did not enjoy knitting. Of course each person is entitled to their own likes and dislikes. That being said I finished it and tried it on. While it did fit nicely I still really did not like the way that the heel looked at all. For me I have decided to stick with my old tried and true method of cuff down socks. I guess though it is always a good thing to try.

I am working on another Nancy Bush shawl now. So far I have cast on twice and ripped out twice. Does it ever matter how long a person knits or is it just a fact of like that we knitters must rip things out. I read the yarn harlots blog and take solace that she seems to rip many things also. Well I have cast on for the third time and we'll see what happens. At present I am not sure I really like the yarn I am using. I bought it originally for the color as my SO said she would like something in that color. The yarn however really feels a bit rough and I am hoping that it gets softer once I block it. Well, back to work......

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mittens for Mom

Mom's Mitten Front
My mom's 77 and it's been a tough year for her. Some days she grows so weary of it all. She is staying home for the winter this year for the first time since I can remember. So, she asked if I could knit her a pair of mittens.

I have to say that when I was young mom knit quite a lot. Everyone remembers getting a blanket or sweater done beautifully from her. These days she does not knit anymore. She does say however she gets a big kick out of me knitting. And I like to knit things for her because she made so many memories for me.

So far I knit two pair of socks for her which she seems to love. Other than that though she really didn't want anything else.
So I was really happy to hear she could use some mittens. I had some great Lang New Angora yarn I bought on sale and found a pattern that I could utilize. Now the funny thing is that I love the look of the mitts, but the pattern name is "White Witches Mittens". And you would think this would make a funny name to give to your mother. Or any other women for that matter. But, I will just have to keep the pattern name quiet. And they really don't seem to fit the name anyways. I hope :).

Of course I had to go down to my LYS and purchase a great book on mittens. I seem to be the type that has to find out as much as I can about something when I do it.

I hope my mom likes them and that they fit. I finished one and will be seeing her on Thanksgiving (Canada style). to try it on.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Will everyone hate me?

I am in between projects just having finished an earflap hat for my daughter and waiting for measurements to start some mittens for my mother. While deciding which project to start next I thought I would start up a quick sock. Now I have knit many socks and most times enjoy it thoroughly. This time though I thought I would try the new construction idea from Cat Bordhi's book the Insouciant knitter. Not sure if I spelled that one right. Now I most surely am not the most accomplished knitter and from all my readings Cat is someone very highly regarded. And in a lot of her stuff I must agree. So I found my book and began casting on to make a demo sock in this new style.

Now the instructions are certainly well done, and I have been knitting along quite well. I did the whole sole section, and then put in my lifelines and finished the heel section. So far so good you would think.

The problem is that I am really not enjoying this knit. I really am not sure how the heel will stand up against the traditional slip stitch heel that I usually use. And well it does seem to fit well, I never had much of a problem with my cuff down traditional method. All in All I really don't believe this is a type of sock I would make again.

In saying so I feel like I am angering one of the knitting gods, but the truth must be told. I DON"T LIKE THIS. Yes it works and might even fit better but still I DON'T LIKE KNITTING IT.

So, I am sure that I will be kicked out of the most prestigious knitting circles for saying so but what can I do. This blog is all about being honest so there you are.

I will certainly finish up the sock. Actually I am going to add some mosaic patterns as I do the leg just to practice my mosaic, but otherwise I really can't wait to be finished. And perhaps I am just not in sock knitting moods these days. Either way I think I will go back to my old way.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kissing the Frog

I was really exited about making a hat for my daughter who just left for her first year of University. I got the perfect colored yarns and was going to make an earflap hat with a lining to keep her warm in the winter. I was so excited that I cast on as soon as I had the design figured out.

Everything was going great and in about a day I was half done the outside of the hat. The colors and design were working perfectly. I was doing a small stranded design of her university letters WLU going around the hat; I then planned to use duplicate stitch to put the university name on above the band. I figured since I was doing a lining I didn't have to worry about strands.

As I kept knitting away in this blissful, exciting state I had that familiar feeling in the back of my head. "This is looking big" .  Now everyone knows that when you here that little voice in the back of your head basically screaming "WARNING". you listen. And of course knowing this I chose to ignore it because I was just so blissful and excited about my progress. As I reached the decreases to close off the hat I couldn't contain my feeling of accomplishment. A pat on the back as I thought about how much my daughter would love this. Wow, isn't this going to be great. On and On I could go but I think you are all beginning to know where this is going. Perhaps because you too have gone on such a journey.

Well...although my elation was at a peak, so too was that voice in the back of my head. Finally just to prove it wrong and shut it up I stopped to really look at the hat. It was then I started to realize  that it was going to fit someone the size of "Big foot" instead of  a young lady. Just to be absolutely sure I tried it on and watched as it slid over my head, past my ears, coming to rest around my neck. There it lay looking not like a beautiful hat for my daughter but instead like a mishapen ugly cowl.    UGGGHHH

It's quite amazing that every time we choose to ignore tried and true knitting rules we are invariably visited by the voice in the back of our head. I myself had been doing many socks and shawls in which either gauge was not important or I knew the wool from previous knits. In this case I did not know what my gauge was for this wool  and should have done a swatch.  I actually tell people this in classes I teach. ALWAYS SWATCH FOR GAUGE. It is one of my most important knitting rules. Right up there along with "DON"T DO LACE AFTER 10PM.

Those rules are in place for very good reasons. They can be your friend and save you many hours of frustration. They should be adhered to. But of course, we as knitters always test those rules and every time we do we find out why they are good rules.

So, in the end knowing what the real truth was, I pulled my needle out of my stitches. A feeling very familiar to many a knitter. And then proceeded to rip out the stitches row by row till all that was left was my provisional cast on.

So you see in the end I was not the prince of this tale. I was the one kissing the "FROG" ...ripit  ripit.....ripit

Monday, September 27, 2010

Out From The Ashes

It's amazing how a project can take on a life of it's own and then proceed to take over a small part of your life. As most of you have read in earlier posts I have been working on an Argyle Planned Pooling Project. If your not sure what I am talking about then stop reading and go back to an earlier post.

Anyways, For the longest time I was dying to try this type of project but couldn't find the proper yarn. I finally found the yarn and then proceeded to tangle it into a huge mess.This became the first time I wanted to just throw this project away. I persevered though and finally got the mess straightened out and began knitting. Second time coming up of wanting to throw it away because I realized I would be short enough yarn to make a scarf.

Pretty much was thinking,"oh well", but I didn't want to just give up on the project. The yarn had such perfect colors and the pattern was working. So I changed the scarf to a pillow and finished the first side. Halfway thought the second side I again realized that I was going to run out of yarn before I ran out of project.

Really.... was someone trying to tell me something. It seemed like the gods had transpired to make sure this project never got finished. If you are keeping score this would be the third time I was ready to throw it all away.

Still, I wouldn't quit. So I noticed some black fingering weight yarn leftover from my Haruni Shawl and got an idea.

I could knit a black backing on the pillow. But then I had another idea.....I could knit two rows of the black between two rows of the handpainted yarn.

With that last thought I ripped back my previous attempt and started again. And lo and behold I was once again winning the epic battle that was being waged for my projects survival.

And now that I am almost finished I am loving this second side better then the first. It first of all broadens the argyle which helps to bring out the subtle colors that run around the bolder patterns of purple. It also takes on an illusion look with the black stripes disappearing the farther back that you move. And I really think this back of the pillow is quickly becoming the front of the pillow. Who would have thought.
This project has really become a part of me.

Of course I hope now I haven't jinxed myself.

Keep you posted.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Knitting (unfortunately) towards the beginning

Sometimes knitters, it's just one of those days. The kind where you find yourself knitting towards the beginning. Yes, I know that the goal is to knit to the end, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way.

I started the morning working away on the second piece of my argyle pillow that used to be a scarf. I was getting a bit bored so I put it down and decided to start a new pair of ankle socks just for a change of pace. I figured I could try and use some patterns from my New Barbara Walker books. I just got three of them a few weeks back.

I looked through the book, found the pattern and then found some colours in my stash that I thought would look great. So far, it's been a good day and everything is moving towards the end

After I finished the first repeat of the pattern, I thought I would take a break and go back for a bit to my argyle pillow. And that was going to be the start of the end or in my case the start of the beginning.

After three or four rows I noticed that the colours in the argyle were harder to control. I knew something had to be wrong, and then there it was. Two dropped stitches. Now in stockinette this would really be no problem but in garter stitch I can't say the same. Well, I fixed the two areas, but knew it was not quite right. I talked myself into knitting forward and that it would be fine in the grand scheme of things. But alas a few rows later I kept coming back to that area. Okay....relax....get a drink and come back to it.

The drink gotten I now tried to fix that spot, and again began to knit forward, knowing full well that it was going to be a futile effort. Sure enough, after a few more rows I couldn't take it and quickly ripped the stitches from the needles and began to rip back. Here I began going towards the beginning. I finally got the stitches on the needles but it still was not quite right. Don't worry just start knitting backwards. You know, towards the beginning. Two more rows and the mistakes were all out of the piece and I was ready to move forward. But I did not want to tempt fate and upset the knitting gods, so I figured I would put the piece down and work on my sock again. This was to be my second mistake.

I knit about 5 rows of my sock, when I noticed something was not right. Yes, think how I felt. Well, it seems that instead of two rows of each colour there was this single row of colour sitting there all by itself. Of course I know what this means, so there I went knitting backwards towards the beginning again.

Well, I have finally gotten both pieces back into a mistake free mode but you gotta know what my next question is.

Do I tempt the fates and knit anymore today. Or should I understand that some days knitting just wants to go backwards towards the beginning.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How a Scarf becomes a pillow

My argyle has been coming along great but with each row I knit there is a voice screaming that the scarf is going to be way to short. Given the 76 stitches this would be a pretty wide scarf. I figured that I could just seam it and double it up into a tube. That would solve my too wide problem, but I am starting to think that nothing will fix my "not long enough" problem.

The ball of yarn is getting smaller and I am convinced that I don't have enough for a scarf. Thinking about the problem I have bandied about the thought of making a pillow instead. And now that I am at the point of no return I am faced with two choices.

The first choice would be to keep on knitting and hope for the best. The problem is that if I am right, and I am so sure I am, then I would be left with a table runner. Or perhaps a scarf for a very, very small person. Either way it would be devastating.

My second choice is to STOP KNITTING.... and put the stitches on holders. I can then cast on again and knit another piece. Then using a three needle bind off and seaming could make the two pieces into a pillow. So this is what I did.....made an executive decision......moved the stitches.....and the part that is so hard.....broke the yarn.

Okay the hard part is done. I have officially dove into a pillow. To try and shake it up a bit more and experiment a bit with argyling, I decided to change up the yarn pattern. Instead of using the purples on the ends to begin and the gray in the middle, I reversed it. Now I have 6 stitches of gray on each end, and the 18 purples in the middle. Same 76 stitches as before.

What I am wondering is that in making this change will it change the look of of the argyle and how the colour move, or will it just offset the two pieces? We'll find out soon.

So that is how a scarf becomes a pillow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Argyle Planned Pooling

I wanted to write about a cool technique that I learned from a couple of really inventive women on Their user names there are "Statnerd" and "Wenat". I first came upon this technique reading a blog post from yarnfloozies.

The idea was to take hand painted yarn. Instead of allowing it to stripe and move about like it wants to, you instead take control over the colours. Wenat showed how to get the colors to stack up instead of stripe. My first attempt came out okay. I was not tight on the colours but the technique was really fantastic.

I loved this new way of thinking about hand painted yarn. Not only can the knitter start to control the colors of the dyer, but the dyer could provide calculated color segments for this type of technique. What has really gotten me excited is what Karla (statnerd) then did. She began to make the colors move in a planned way so that they started to make an argyle pattern. I really loved what she was doing and wanted to try it myself. The only problem was finding the right hand painted yarn. For months I looked in my two Local Yarn Stores but with no luck. All the hand painted was done in a way that would not work. Then I read about a third LYS in my area and stopped in. After opening up many skeins of yarn, in which Connie, the owner, had to then put back together ..thanks Connie for your patience... I finally found the perfect skein.

It was a merino fingering weight hand painted yarn from Tanis Fibers Arts.

The color was prism and I knew immediately it would work perfectly. You can see in the yarn how the Blue, Green, and Pink on both sides of the skein match up. The purple and Grey are at the ends. Man was I excited.

Argyle Pooling

Okay so now let me try and explain how this technique works and how I best found to plan it out.

The first thing I had to do was figure out how many stitches each colour would knit up. I was going to do garter stitch so I only had to worry about a knit stitch. I cast on about 30 stitches and then began to knit. As I did I counted how many stitches were in each colour. Now, one thing I will say about planned pooling is that you really get to be intimate with your stitches. It can really show you how your tension will fluctuate at times. The other reason you have to test this is that the dye segments can vary a bit also. So what I did was set up a chart.

There were four main colours that I was going to worry about.


And so after my swatch of about 10-15 rows I found the following stitch counts

Purple 18, 20, 19, 21, 20
Green Blue 16, 16, 15, 17
Gray 13, 13, 12, 12
Pink 8, 10, 9, 9

From this I was able to take some averages. Also I knew that if the choice was between 19 or 20 stitches for a colour I would use the lower number. It is easier to get a bit looser but there is a limit to how tight you could get. Okay so now I have the following:

PURPLE 18st GREEN/BLUE 15st GRAY 12st PINK 9 st

The next thing to decide was how they would work on the needles. By pulling out the yarn and looking at it I could see that with purple on one end and grey on the other, the other colours would meet up with themselves when knitting the back of the garment. Look back up at the skein and you will see what I mean.

So based on the colours and stitch counts above it would mean the following total stitches

PU 9st (1/2)
GB 15st
PK 9st
Gray 6st

TOTAL 39 stitches

But that would not be quite enough so I though about it more and decided I could put purples on each end with the gray in the middle. Doing so would still cause all the colours to match up.


And if I used 9 stitches for each purple, then I would have a total of 9+15+9+12+9+15+9=78 stitches. Now to make the colours move to form an argyle pattern I needed to cast on 2 more or less stitches. In this case I chose less and cast on 76 stitches. If I was going to slip the first stitch on each row I would have added one more stitch, but I decided to just knit everything.

So then I used the backwards "e" cast on, starting halfway down the purple. Once this was done the rest was so easy.

All I had to do was to use the stitch counts for each color that I had above, and count away. The two less stitches would then automatically takeover. easy.

Now if I came near the end of a color and there was too much of that colour still to go I would loosen up my tension a bit. And if the colour looked like it was going to end before the amount of stitches I needed for that colour then I would knit tighter. Sometimes I would even take my left needle and tighten or loosen stitches already knit on the needles.

And so that is about it. There are so many incredible things that can be done with this planned pooling technique and so many talented knitters out there tackling it. I just hoped I could help anyone to understand this technique so they can have some fun with it too.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Some good, some great, some sad and some downright ugly

It's been quite a while. I have really been on a tear knitting shawls this summer. I seem to love the intricate work. I finished perhaps my favourite piece, which was Nancy Bush's Estonian shawl "MADLI". Just love it. It certainly belongs in the great feelings category. This week also brings the end of the summer and a time in 1 day when my daughter will be going off to University for the first time. I knew it would be an emotional time for me but never thought it would be this hard. I am so proud of her, and this week we have been getting her stuff together. It's all sitting in the front room ready to be loaded in the car. Each time I pass it today I have felt immense sadness and happiness all at the same time.

Sadness because my baby is moving out. I know that each time I pass her room I will wonder how she was doing. I will not be able to see her each morning or night. And there are going to be many days when I probably won't even hear from her. And I will feel so far away (it's only 2 hours). On the other side I find myself with great happiness. Because my daughter has achieved what no other child in our family has done. Going to college. And she is doing it, allow me to brag, on the deans list with a 90 average. I feel happy for her and the many exciting adventures she will take as she grows into a woman.

Yes, it is that time when everything in your life changes just a little bit. On the downright ugly side, I have a family problem. It is something that popped up that shouldn't have. Something that takes this special week of mine and tries to taint it. It is a problem that makes me want space from my family. It is also a problem that will very likely change things for the very worse. I don't want to bore all with the details but it involves a sibling who goes behind your back,and a parent that makes excuses for bad behaviour.

Yes a tough week in all respects. I guess my next post will no longer be from me. But from me who has changed even slightly.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Always something new

Lately I have been knitting socks and slippers for so many people. I love them and their quick but I was getting a bit bored. No sooner then I thought that then a night on ravelry spiced things up. I found two great groups that had me excited. The first was one on Illusion knitting. You can see my first try at it in the picture. this knit when looked at head on just looks like stripes but when you move away you see the picture of snape. The amazing knits that are done using this technique and mathematics was simply amazing. No sooner did I get wrapped in these projects then I came across another site which featured "Pooled knits".

Actually it was planned pooling. In other words figuring out how to control the colours in handknit yarns. The website yarn floozies had a great tutorial and some beautiful works. Another person on ravelry had figured out how to create great patterns that were controlled.

I guess that's the great lesson that if you look and sometimes even when you don't something comes along that teaches you something you didn't know the day before.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So Why do we get up each day?

I have been spending a lot of time with my parents these days. They are at that stage of their life where medical concerns start to dominate their lives. Their memories while once sharp now have dulled. My mom has quite a few physical challenges and has just returned home after almost 3 months in the hospital and rehab. Dad, while pretty good physically is starting to forget more and more things. I have tried and help them out through moms medical challenges. This post is not about their medical concerns but rather about how ones life changes and how to cope with it.

I watch my dad a lot lately. In his early life he was a great people person. All his life he was in charge of people and things. He had kids to look after and raise, and money to earn to support his family. Every day he got up, there was somewhere to go and something to do. He was the "GOTO" guy at home and all of his kids would look to him for guidance. People relied on him and he always came through. He was a people person, and loved talking to people.

Now at age 77 he is having trouble coming to grips with where his life is now. He no longer has a job to go to, nor people there who look to him for decisions and guidance. His children have all grown, have kids, and now come less and less to him for guidance. He looks after my mom but other than that really does not have a lot to do. And in a total role reversal it is now he who relies on his children for guidance and assistance. How hard that must be for him. Who he was and what he awoke each day for has changed. So now what is his role?

Sometimes when I am with my parents it's like being with my kids. It makes me see how much life turns in a full circle. I think that it is important that a person always has something to get up for. Something that they still want to accomplish. But, also important to understand that the roles constantly change and so we have to constantly redefine ourselves within those changes.

I too am hitting those changes. My kids are growing up. My daughter, just turned 18 is now legally responsible for her own actions. My son is going to be 16 and he too is moving forward. Sure they still respect what I have to stay and certainly are reliant on me financially, but not like when they were young. When I was their everything.

I talk to my dad about figuring out what he wants to do with his life, but I now realize that I too am at that very stage. My kids will need my time less and less, and for any parents reading this you surely know how much time that gives you back. And now, my main role of being a dad is no longer the same.

I guess what I am really saying is that in life we all have to meet change head on. We don't have to fight it but embrace it. And not be scared to walk down that road that is not so comfortable. The one we may not have walked on for a long time. The ones that we have never walked on.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Kids 18...Oh my

My Daughter is turning 18 in one hour. Oh my. Gulp. She is now legally responsible for herself. Of course I will always be there. It's so hard to look at her now a beautiful women and not see my little girl. I have to remember though because indeed she is well on her way to becoming a woman. One with thoughts, and morals, and goals and fears.

Soon she will be moving out and going to university. I remember the first time she went to overnight camp. We took her to a parking lot to meet the bus. She got on and then the bus drove off. And with it went my heart. I was depressed for days.

Sometimes now when she is away from home, I forget and many times find myself waiting up for her.

I hope that she has a good life. That she chooses her paths wisely. That she shows kindness and compassion. I wish so many things for her as do all parents for their children. But for now.

I just want to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dear Ravelry

Dear Ravelry

It’s not that I don’t appreciate you, but what have you done? It started simply with a quick view of your site that first time. And that pattern I found that made me run to my LYS to buy Yarn. But it wasn’t one pattern was it? No, because I found another and another and back to the LYS for more Yarn I went. Again and again.

But it got worse. I found your forums and groups. So, what in the heck was Portuguese Knitting. And so there I was on-line ordering DVD’s and Pins to learn this new thing that Ravelry was showing me. And what about those stranded friends that I have found. They began to talk about Alice Starmores book and lo and behold back to the LYS I went. And there it was right on the counter. It wasn’t there before? Was Ravelry and my LYS the same thing. One giant knitting empire? And of course I needed more stash and more stash. But that was okay because my Raverly friends would help to show me the way.

And way they did because what about Double Knitting? Wasn’t there a Lucy Neatby DVD on just that subject. I must call my LYS again. So on the phone I went placing my order. “How much is it”? I asked, although we both know the answer wouldn’t really matter.

Where will it all stop? My kids have left and my wife has divorced me. My dog shakes his head at me everytime I walk by on the way to my LYS. My Job has just become another way to fund my Ravelry habit. Do I give all my earthly possessions to Ravelry?

Looking around at my DVD’s, Knitting pins, Needles, Books, Stash and piles of projects both finished and half finshed I can’t help but wonder how it all happened?

Yours Sincerely

A Happy Knitter

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The most dramatic blog yet!

Was just watching an episode of American Idol and working on a pair of socks. Each episode seems to contain someone saying at some point..."Stay tuned for the most dramatic episode yet". As a matter of fact almost every reality show out there says the same thing. And of course each week you tune in and it really isn't that dramatic. But that got me to thinking. What else could they say. I mean if we knew that the priors week show was the most dramatic and nothing new would be better, then we would never continue to watch. What's more this very statement that the most dramatic was yet to come gives us hope. Hope that the future holds something even better. And then I realized that this was really a metaphor for life.

What if we had nothing to look forward to? How hard would it be to wake up knowing that. But if we always think that the most dramatic or exciting thing was just about to happen. We would always look forward to the future with anticipation. We would be eager to wake each day so we could find out what that "MOST" thing was. Maybe thats why we are all so infatuated with reality shows. They give us in a most perverted way a sense of hope. A sense of something to look forward to. As a matter of fact thats probably why a show like Jerry |Springer is so popular. If I ever was going to consider suicide I would just watch an episode of Jerry. Afterall how bad could my life be when I see the people on the show.

So even though it's annoying every week to hear that the next week was going to be the most dramatic. It is also a way to live by?

Must be late at night!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

LYS Infidelity

How much longer can I keep this up? Stuck in the middle. Who to choose?

I have two Local Yarn Stores in my neighborhood. A year ago when I started knitting I began to go to one of them. The staff and owners that I met were young, great to talk to, and really helped me to get going on my knitting. I was even asked to teach a class in Continental Knitting. I would look forward to needing yarn or needles so I could pay a visit. Life was good and simple then.

One day however, while taking one of my daughters friends home I noticed that there was another LOCAL YARN STORE. I felt a rush of excitement as I laid my eyes on it. What was in there? Who was in there. And best of all it had a parking lot. My Local Yarn Store didn't have a parking lot. You had to park on the street. That is if there was a spot. Sometimes you would have to drive around a few times. But not here? Just pull in and park! Oh the possibilities.

A few days later I found myself getting in the car to get some wool. I first went by my LYS but for some reason didn't get out of the car. Instead the car turned around and headed to that NEW LYS. I arrived and pulled right in, parking right in front of the store. Cool.....I walked in. I was greeted by one of the owners. Wait!..I know her. I looked around and this store was much bigger than my LYS. And so many different yarns and needles and books. Lots of books,

I dropped by a few more times and each time found myself talking with the owner. She had a great knowledge of knitting. Was honest, and experienced, and kind. I found myself soaking up any knowledge she cared to give and then rushed home to try it out. I even took a course and can honestly say that she changed and revolutionized my thoughts on knitting. Wow..

But what about my OLD could I just abandon it. I was wracked with guilt. I went by the old LYS and bought a few token balls of yarn. I wanted to buy more. But at my new LYS if I bought yarn they would give me more advice...more ideas. But I really liked my old LYS and they were there for me in the beginning. I was even scheduled to teach a class. How could I show my face there given these circumstances.

I decided I couldn't let one LYS know about the other. I would just have to juggle them both never letting one know that I knew the other. I could do it. I was sure! But it wasn't that easy. I would finish a project and want to bring it in to show it off. But where did I buy the yarn. I couldn't , afterall, bring it in where I didn't buy it. That would give me away for sure.

Or what about when I had a question about a project? Who sold me the yarn on that project? I found myself creating an elaborate system to catalog my stash so I knew exactly where it came from.

I was doing okay keeping it up with both of them. It was stressful but I was pulling it off. But then one day it happened. I was grocery shopping one lazy day. Just walking up and down the aisles aimlessly thinking of my two LYS's when I heard someone say "HI". I looked over but even before I saw I knew from the sound of that voice who it was. It was my young and fresh LYS. "Hi" I said back. My initial smile dropped a second later when I realized that the hat and scarf I had on were not hers. "Maybe she wouldn't see it", I thought. But I could tell by the hurt in her eyes that she knew. At that moment she knew everything. I was caught! ...After an awkward silence we both managed to mumble a few uncomfortable words to each other and then said a quick good bye. The cat was out of the bag. I was busted.

I was a two timing LYS'er!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Did it really matter?

I got mad today! Boy oh Boy were my feelings ever hurt. Someone so close had said something I thought was so selfish. And I spent my day ruminating on that anger. Stewing in it and carrying it like a torch. Here was a fight that needed to be fought.


You see over the last month I have found myself spending many hours at the hospital. My mom is still in there and I went there to help both her and Dad deal with the different doctors and nurses.

The first week my mom was there they gave her a room in the "Cancer" ward. Mom, who was a bit loopi from an infection that got to her brain, thought she herself had Cancer. I kept telling her she didn't but she would just smile and look at me like she knew better. I remembered the look she gave because it was the same one she gave me when I was a teenager. She would smile and say "I know what you are doing, you can't fool me". And I would laugh because she never did know what I was doing. The truth was that she didn't have Cancer. She would learn this as her head cleared.

That week though, I was around some very sick people. Many had a hard time doing the simple stuff that we take for granted. Most of them were fighting for their lives. You could imagine the pain they would go through during that time. I knew that some would eventually lose that fight.

Although my mom was also sick, she was probably the healthiest person on that ward. Explaining to her that she only had an infection it kind of felt as if the other patients would envy us. We were not one of them, and our fight while very real to us, it was only a fraction of what everyone else on that floor would face. Sometimes when Dad would get impatient at the doctors, I wanted him to just quiet down because I felt that the other patients really needed the doctors much more than we did.

After a week mom was moved up to the Acute Geriatrics ward. In the bed next to her was an elderly lady who would scream morning, noon, and night. It was very irritating and I think everyone not just in the room but on the whole floor wished she would stop. We came to learn however that she had been in the "Concentration Camps" in Germany. And her screaming was the result of nightmares. And suddenly you could just imagine the fight she had in her life and the horrors that she faced every time she closed her eyes.

So why am I telling you this? Well I guess tonight as I was thinking about why I was mad, the main thing that I kept thinking was ....Did it really matter?

Is that really the fight I need to fight?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Portuguese Knitting

I just received my video and pins from Andrea Wong. She has been great to deal with. Lately I have been dealing with a bit of stress as my mom is having some medical issues. Knitting when I get back home from the hospital has helped keep me calm. I am just about finished my Almost Double knit scarf and can't wait to start a project using the new Portuguese knitting technique. Whether it will replace my continental is debatable, given that I am pretty quick and even in that method, but I can see some really good uses. The video shows some great stranding techniques that I think might help with eveness compared to now when I use Continental with one hand and english with the other. I am going to try an sock or mitten with the PK and see how it goes. Still fiddling round with tension at the moment to get it right.

It's amazing how many different techniques there really are to make a knit and purl stitch. Besides the three I have learned I see a forum on Ravelry that talks about Russian Knitting. And how about the Norwegian Purl stitch I learned last week. Amazing how you can do the same thing so many different ways.

I'll let you know how my PK knitting progresses but one thing for sure it's the first knitting style where it's easier to Purl than to knit. As well it looks like doing lace might be a breeze. Thanks to Andrea for her help along the way.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Teach and old dog new tricks

I always have loved learning new things. Fooling around on Ravelry forums I came across Portuguese Knitting. I had no idea what it was so followed a YOU TUBE entry to Andrea Wong knitting this style. It looked so different that I had to try it. Over the last few nights I spend a bit of time learning this style. I don't know if it will ever replace continental as my main way but I notice that I can knit a bit tighter with this style. Also that the stitches are very even. And of course purling is just a joy in this method. I don't have any problem purling in continental but this really was the quickest and easiest purling method I have learned.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hiding from friends

I started the year knitting a simple ribbed hat for myself. Wanted something warm for when I was out shoveling the snow. While I was knitting one day a few of my sons friends came by. Each time they walked by the room I was in I would lower the knitting and move it off to the side. Why on earth would I hide it? Well, I think I am worried about embarrassing my kids. Now, once again it is not that I am embarrassed about being a knitting male, but more that society may not be as accepting. I don't want my kids to take a ribbing because their dad is "Justaknittingmale". I remember the first time when I went to my LYS and took my daughter. I figured that I could get her to buy the wool and it would look like I was just there to pay. You see, for some reason back then it was just weird for me to be a knitter.

My kids on the other hand are fine with it. And while I hide my knitting from their friends, the real fact is that their friends all know that I knit. This is because they see the stuff my kids wear that I made for them. When they were asked whether their mom made it, they let it be known that it was their dad. Actually most of their friends want me to make them something too. I have to give credit to my kids becauase they support me and my knitting. So again why is it that I have such a worry about people knowing I knit. I mean I have no problem telling people but always feel the need to explain it at some point. Weird.

Well, I guess it's all part of the process of coming out of the closet. Yes I am just a knitting male!

Friday, January 1, 2010

So why is it such a big thing?

I spent part of my New Years Eve with some friends. At one point one of them decided to tell the room that "I am justaknitting male" And for some reason, I found myself defending myself? I never really understand why it puts me on the defensive. I mean, I really enjoy knitting. Do I really care what someone else might think about me being a "Knitting Male"?

Well, yes I guess in some way I do care. Really, when I think about it it is the new "Male Knitter" coming out of the closet. Yes it is no longer the decade of gay comings out but the one of Male Heterosexual knitters coming out. So weird to feel like you can talk about knitting with woman but should hide it from other guys. The best yet is that when someone else mentions to a room that I knit.....I quickly announce that "I COACH FOOTBALL". There! See! I really am a man.

Who would have thought that knitting could threaten ones masculinity? So then is that my New Years resolution? To come out of the knitting closet for good? Well....I'll have to think about that one.