Thursday, July 9, 2015

July Knitting and Listening

It's been since WWKIP Day since I blogged.  Summer will be freer, now that July has arrived.  

Just as a point of catch up info:

I'm still working on my Rainbow Top by TSC. Unlike the earthen version on the pattern

mine is navy, sparkly white and a weathered reddish/violet an white. Although the colors are not exactly, it looks like a red, white and blue top, which was my intention. The front is done and I'm nearly finished with the back. I expect the FO will be ready to wear in a week or 2.  (I'm multi-craftual, otherwise, I could probably have it done by this time next week or sooner. I think I will get  a lot of wear out of this cotton top.

I have been catching up on the various podcasts to which I listen regularly and have added a few to my favorites.  I generally enjoy knitting, Mac, iOS, tech and Christian shows.  I know what it takes to put a good show together because I did over 100 Guitar Technique Tutor podcasts a few years ago, so I listen not only for the actual content, but also for the production and quality of the podcast.  (My first shows were done with a terrible sound system and insufficient software, but by the time my show was established, the sound wasn't too bad.) 

I have added 2 new-to-me podcasts, that I have heard other knitters and knitting podcasters mention:

I thoroughly enjoy Knitting Pipeline with Paula, which I had  been hearing positive comments about for quite a while.  She's just so salt of the earth!  She's  a musician, too, so perhaps there is some deeper connection than just the knitting, when I listen to her shows.

The other podcast I have been thoroughly thrilled with is the PomPom Podcast. I love, love, love  Sophie and Lydia.  They're young and have a great sense of humor. I think one of the reasons I enjoy them so much and am so sad that they only podcast monthly, is because they remind me  of a dear dear British friend who passed away several years ago.  We were very close and although she was from Cheshire, and  Sophie and Lydia's accents are not, they still remind me of Kath Lewis, with whom I shared such a long, warm friendship.  

Both above-mentioned podcasts have been a great addition to the former list that I listen to daily, weekly, monthly, or whenever-ly.  I still miss Yarn on Tap, the podcast Wendy from Knitters' Brewing Company used to do.  

I'm also in the midst of a free 3 month free trial of Audible.  I use my county libraries' digital services, including audiobooks, but their collection is limited.  I just finished my first free Audible  book, the biography of Oswald Chambers, and it was excellent.  With my Amazon Prime membership, the usual 1 free month and 1 free book trial extends to 3 free months and 2 free books.  I haven't chosen my second book yet.  I will compare audible to downloading audiobooks from  iBooks as well as  the Kindle app.  I'm not sure whether I will take a monthly subscription to Audible or not.  If not, it will not be for any lack of quality service or product.  It will be a budgetary decision.  

I am having an absolute romance with a device/web app that I plan to write a separate post about this week.  Stay tuned. 

Friday, June 12, 2015


That's the official hashtag for tomorrow's event.  So use it you're coming or from the venue or watch it for news of the the day.

The great news is that we won't have any weather issues.  No library back up is necessary. We will have partly sunny and partly cloudy skies - which is okay for a hot day.  We will have a lot of shade available, but please bring hats and sunscreen if you usually use them.  

Just a reminder about  the facility: the Ramsey Municipal Pool usually requires all guests to be accompanied and hosted by a resident member.  Tomorrow, everyone is welcome but at the entrance be sure to indicate you're with the Knitting in Public event.  There is a small fee for the full use of the facility, ($5) which is a significant discount from the usual $15 guest fee.  

Food and beverages are  available to purchase, or bring your own.  There are grills at the other end of the property, which you are welcome to use, if you wish.  

The pool is pristine and there are depths for waders through lap swimmers.  

On site restrooms, changing area and showers are available. 

Across the street are tennis courts, if you wish to bring your racket along with your knitting.  

There's free Wi-Fi.

Please remember  pool rules : No Glass Bottles
                                                No Alcohol
                                                No Tobacco

Once inside, look for the gazebo with large colorful tassles.  If you have a Ravelry button with your Ravelry user name on it, wear it!  You'll find me in a lime green T-shirt with my Hello My Name is Sealed4Ever Ravelry button (and maybe a few other knit-ish ones.)

If you're bringing a beginner with you, I'll teach a lesson at  12:45.   Please bring size 6 or 7 needles and some smooth, single color yarn.  I don't have extra needles but I will bring some leftover yarn balls in case  they are needed.

Ramsey Municipal Pool is on East Oak Street in Ramsey, NJ, between Wyckoff Ave and South Central Ave.  See you and your knitting, and I hope, your knitting friends from  11:00 - 4:00.

Friday, May 29, 2015

WWKIP Day 2015 in Ramsey Pool Rules Update

Just to keep you informed, everyone is welcome to join the group of knitters that meet for this celebration.  Here are the most pertinent Ramsey Municipal Pool Rules that attendees with which attendees will be expected to comply:

No Glass Containers Allowed
No Alcoholic Beverages or Alcoholic Beverage Mixes Allowed

The pool facility is a Smoke Free Zone, so No Smoking

The above constraints should not hamper anyone's enjoyment of the pool'a park-like setting and all it offers the group.

Looking forward to seeing you in Ramsey on June 13th.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WWKIP Day 2015 in Ramsey, NJ

Save the date! June 13. 2015 - for the 10th anniversary of the first  World Wide Knitting in  Public Day.  Knitters from all parts of the world will be coming together to knit in public and draw attention to the craft we love.  Let's face it, knitting isn't something that only grannies do to while away their time.  In the 21st Century, knitting can become anything from a humble dish cloth to a runway garment to the creative yarn bombing of public space and anything in between.

Last week I went looking online for a local WWKIP Day activity near me.  Yes, I know half of the east coast will probably descend on Bryant Park in NY, for the day, but for me, it isn't convenient to go there.  Honestly, I'm mystified that the nearest other event was several counties away.   So... I'm hosting a local WWKIP Day gathering.

This is a call for northern NJ and Rockland/Suffern County NY knitters: Go to your LYS as soon as you can to pick up some yarn for that next project you're dying to start  -- or go deep stash diving for that yarn that needs to be turned into something now.

DATE:  June 13, 2013

TIME:11:00 AM - 4:00 PM or as long or short as you'd like to stay

PLACE: Ramsey Municipal Pool, East Oak Street, Ramsey, NJ 07446

The Ramsey Municipal Pool has been voted Best Pool in Bergen County by readers of the the prestigious 201 magazine.  The pristine, newly renovated pool has water attractions, an adult swim and lap section and barrier-free access.  There are tennis courts across the street, beach volley ball on site and plenty of shade trees.  There are shaded picnic tables set back from the pool, a snack bar with offerings above and beyond the usual burgers and dogs.   There are bathrooms, showers and changing stalls.  Free WiFi is available, too.

WHAT TO BRING: food and beverages if you don't care to purchase them, optional bathing suit, optional shade umbrella (but there are plenty of trees), sunscreen, optional hat, beach supplies and oh, yeah, KNITTING!!

FYI: There are grills available if you'd like to bring your own charcoal for BBQ-ing

COST:  I did my best on this one: This is a premier members-only town pool and the regular guest price for non-members attending with a sponsor member is $15.00.  The Director, Mr. Bach, has graciously reduced the guest price for our event to $5.00.  You will be my "guest" (each attendee paying their own entrance fee unless they are already Ramsey Pool members) and as event day approaches, I will post/message more about your entry procedure.  

CHILDREN/YOUTH; If you bring a non-knitting child or youth, they are your responsibility. All children must be under the care and control of their attending parent or guardian to insure everyone's safety and enjoyment.

INTERESTED IN LEARNING?: I will offer a brief beginner lesson at 12:45 PM.  If you or your companion would like to learn to knit, please bring a pair of size 7 needles and a partial skein or ball of smooth, single color worsted weight yarn and add your name to the sign up sheet when you arrive.

If you are an experienced knitter and would like to assist  beginners, please let me know. 

I will create a Ravelry group for this event in a day or so.  I will request that you indicate to me whether you're planning to attend, just so I can give the pool an estimate of the size of our group.

So, get out to your LYS for yarn and a new WWKIP Day project, unless you already have stash and projects :-)  Or, bring your current WIP (work in progress.) 

We will have our event at the Ramsey Municipal Pool whether sunny or cloudy. If it's a stormy day, the alternate location will be the Ramsey Public Library, 3 blocks away, at 30 Wyckoff Ave, Ramsey, NJ 07446. Watch this blog, the Ravelry page and Twitter for details if the weather on June 13 is iffy.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Kate's Shawl Hat Downloadable .PDF

Kate's Shawl Hat Pattern

In August of 2013, I finished my Kate's Shawl. Because I had yarn left over, I made a hat and cowl to go with it.  

On my Ravelry project page, I posted a final sentence, that has finally nudged me out of my complacency, to write out the pattern I "unvented" for the hat.  A few people have DM-ed me and requested it.  I  meant to do it last year when the weather became cold, here in the north east, but I broke my wrist and wasn't keyboarding much.  We have had snow a few times a week recently, and each time I have worn this hat, it has whispered in my ear, "Write out the pattern, write out the pattern, write out the pattern." So, I'm finally doing it.

If you knit or attempted to knit the Kate's Shawl pattern from Red Heart, you very quickly discovered that the pattern stitch written does not work with the yo increases.  As written, the two sides of the shawl have different patterns.  I am so thankful that Ravelry user lizacorrea noted the modifications she used to create the fabric for this cape, as pictured on the Red Heart  pattern page. You can find those mods here.  

When it came to making the hat, those mods weren't  necessary because there were no yo increases.  The following pattern is what I used. It's extremely customizable.  Swatch to get the density/stretch you like. 

Kate's Shawl Hat Downloadable .PDF


Red Heart Soft: 2 oz/6 gr for average woman's hat - swatch not included

Needles: 2 US 6/4.0 mm 24" circular needles OR  a single circular for head circumference size [stretched to 21"] OR long circular for magic loop OR  4 or 5 dpns - type of needle is knitters' choice

Marker: 1 removable to mark 1st stitch of the round, 5 to mark decreases

Gauge: 18 stitches x 24 rows IN PATTERN STITCH = 4"

Pattern Stitch:

Row 1: (Right Side)  *K1, slip 1, k1, yo, pass slipped st over both knit st and yo, k1; repeat from * across.

Row 2: Knit

**In the original pattern this row was a purl row, but since you will be working in the round, you will still be working on the "front" of the hat, so you knit.

Repeat rows 1 and 2


Kate's Hat

Cable Cast On 84 stitches (or any multiple of 4 stitches to achieve the gauge you like)

Join: If using 2 circs, slide half the stitches to the second needle. 

Straighten  your stitches, hold the needles next to each other and slide the stitches on both needles to the opposite ends (where the first and last cast on stitches are, not the center of your cast on stitches) I never thought of photographing these early steps as I improvised this hat

Lift the first cast on stitch (with the loose yarn end) off its needle tip and onto the other needle tip.

Lift the stitch next to the stitch you just moved, which is the last cast on stitch (with the working yarn) over the first stitch you moved, and onto the other needle.  

      Result: the first and last cast on stitches have switched needles, which connected your work.  This is where you want to re-examine that your stitches are all sitting properly on the needles, without any twists.  If you find problems, fix them and take a deep breath. It's easy sailing from here.

Ribbing: K1, attach marker to the stitch you just made, K1, P2  *K2 P2*  to end

Continue in the K2 P2 rib to length of 1.5 inches (or any length you like, if you have extra yarn)

Hat: Begin Pattern Stitch, alternating Row 1 and Row 2. Continue in the round, moving the beginning of the row marker as necessary until hat and rib measure 5.5 " or 4" longer than the ribbing. If you prefer a slouchy hat, knit longer.  Transfer  End with Row 2

Decreases: Count your stitches, divide that number by 6. (example 84 divided by 6 = 14) If you don't get a whole number, no worries - fudging on top of your head is allowable.  place 5 markers (M) ever 1/6 of the circumference of the hat (no need for the first stitch)

Row 1: *K2tog, continue in pattern until M*

Row 2-12 repeat Row 1, 11 more times - total of 12 decrease rounds.

6 stitches remain

Cut long yarn so you have a 10" tail.  Thread it on a needle and sweep through the  6 stitches left on the needles. go through a second time if you can. Pull tightly. Knot on the inside.

Finishing: Weave in ends and enjoy your hat. Wear it with Kate's Shawl or with anything else.

I enjoy wearing this hat because it's stretchy and has just enough texture to be interesting but understated.  

If you find any errors here, forgive me and let me know. I'll revise the pattern. I didn't make any notes when I knit Kate's Hat, 2 years ago.  If I make another - which I'm entertaining, and devise any improvements, I will amend the pattern. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's Like Quilt Making, But Not Exactly

So, while I was frustrated and convalescing with the wrist fracture that changed my life, i was kind of antsy.  I couldn't play guitar to any level of satisfaction, was very limited with knitting or crochet, yet I wanted to make something. I like to cook, but that wasn't what I was yearning for.  Forget baking - teeny oven in a teeny apartment.

The answer was cards.  Not playing Bridge or Gin Rummy, but making cards.I don't take and print too many pictures, so scrapbooking, as creative as it is, just isn't for me. But a little creation, made of papers, embellishments, stamped, textured and/or otherwise adorned caught my fancy.  My interest was further piqued when the MGs and I went to a Scrapbook Expo.  Again, the scrapbooking wasn't that appealing, but the card making, that was a perfect fit.  

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I'm  a  real card mailer because I love to use my various sealing wax seals.

I have been developing my skill, little by little and accumulating tools and supplies.  

The cards I created at first were extremely basic. I used stamps and some punches as well as any embellishments that seemed right.  

A pretty simple thank you

A little more embellished welcome card

When I got a Vintaj die cutting machine, it was a real blessing and freed my creativity.   It enabled me to use shapes within the composition.

This is a marvelous tool.  I have to be careful. Once I begin playing with it, I can't stop!

The advent of die cutting allowed motion and 3-dimensionality in my cards.

Still simple, but using more techniques

By the time Christmas rolled around I made some sets of cards as gifts, which I'll post at another time, and the Christmas card I made my honey, E-Rex was probably my most adept creation up to that point.

This card is a bit more interesting than those before, with a balsa wood panel, 3-D inside sentiment, some sparkle, embossing, pigment ink etc.

Here is my latest.  Again, for E-Rex - his Valentine's Day card.

Using more dimension and layers.

I was trying to determine what attracts me to this new found craft so much.  I think it's because it's like making an art quilt - just smaller and faster.  I enjoy the whole aspect of composition and layout.  There are several techniques I'm interested in learning and mastering such as stenciling and using watercolors.  

In future, I will upload the slide show to my cards.  I'll do my best to put them in chronological order.  

My next project is to organize my work space a little better.

Sunny Spread

I finally completed a UFO that was hanging around too long.  (See blog post Mojo Killer Slain or Finally an FO for the reasons, if you're interested.)

This was an afghan I made for a young couple from church, who were married in May.  I wanted to make them something and thought, afghans are pretty universal. My only previous afghan experience was with the Summer Baby Blanket, made for my friend Rossi's baby, a couple summers ago.  I was a knitter before I was a crocheter, and although my experience with crochet isn't too long, I have gained a lot of confidence. I don't ever look at a crochet project and think, "I could never make that." I'm at the point where my only limitation is my interest - and that's a comforting place to be.  

Generally, per square inch, crochet is much faster than knitting, so I decided that Stephanie and Jay were going to receive a crocheted afghan. I looked through some crochet patterns I queued on  Ravelry and found Sunny Spread in the Jan/Feb 2008 Crochet Today! magazine. 

It's by Ellen Gormley, who writes great crochet patterns, teaches, authors books and blogs.  I have seen her teach on the Knit and Crochet Now! TV show - which is now, a netcast.

I liked the pattern because, done in a neutral, it has a contemporary, sophisticated look and will go with just about any decor.  

I don't know Steph and Jay's taste. When I mentioned to a few people, that I was going to make them an afghan, they told me about the still-hideous granny square afghans they received in bizarre colors.  Their reactions made me think, "Okay then, granny squares are out," which I never really entertained.  They inoculated me, just in case.  

The pattern called for SuperSaver yarn.  It's a great economy (budget) acrylic, but even after laundering, it's a bit stiffer than I like for an afghan.  I used a premium acrylic, because I can't assume the newlyweds will be inclined to hand wash and flat dry a wool afghan.  I have had good experiences with Knit Picks Brava worsted, so that's what  I used.  It's extremely soft and smooshy after washing. I chose the color cream, which is more ecru than it appears in my photos.

When I swatched, I tried to use a J hook, but although I got gauge, I didn't like the fabric well enough.  It was a little stiffer than my idea of an afghan.  I went up to a K.  It was a little better, but I didn't settle on the drapability of the swatch until I made it with an 8 mm L hook.  

The afghan took forever, but I enjoyed each and every motif I made.  When I had finally assembled the 64 squares, not including the swatched motifs, I thought about modifying how I was going to connect the motifs.  I thought about crocheting them together, but after all my drapability hijinks, I thought the crocheted connections would be too stable and inhibit drape. I resigned myself to whip stitching the motifs into rows and then whip stitching the rows together, as Ellen's instructions direct. 

The resulting afghan appears seamless and the whip stitching was fiddly but not terrible.  

AFter weaving in the last end, laundering it, and attaching my label, I made a "fix it" bag" and the project was really and truly done.

I emailed the bride's mom, for the couple's address, in Seattle, so I could mail the 9 month late wedding gift.  She replied that the lovebirds were here in Jersey and I could give it to them at church this morning.  Great! I didn't have to mail it.  Not great!! Church was cancelled because of icy roads and bad weather.  I guess I'll need that address after all.

Mojo Killer Slain or Finally an FO

Friday, February 20 (2015)  marked one year since fracturing my left wrist.  That's a pretty simple statement and a plain sentence, but it doesn't begin to capture the profundity of it.  

I won't bore you with reiterating  the whole, life-long guitarist with a broken left wrist thing. If you've been reading about Bono never playing guitar again since his wrist fracture, you get the drift. I can hold and so-called, "play," but I can't really play anymore. 

Aside from the professional and personal pursuit of my whole life dying in a way, some collateral damage from breaking my wrist was that my beloved yarn crafts also suffered.  My therapist encouraged me to do my knitting and crochet therapeutically, as tolerated.  And it took quite a while to tolerate long periods of knitting or crocheting.  All the effects of the broken wrist were literally, depressing.

It seemed as though I was working on Ellen Gormley's Sunny Spread, which is now a free pattern from Red Heart,  forever.  I began it in late December of 2013, after Christmas, as a gift for a young couple from church who were getting married in May of 2014.  I thought I would have plenty of time to finish it. Crochet goes quickly. Right???

After splint and casts and tons of physical therapy, I gradually rehabbed enough to crochet for limited periods in which I could actually get something done.  Every time I looked at my WIPs, which morphed into UFOs in my mind, I felt so sad and as though even thinking about ever finishing them, was futile. I repeatedly tried to set dates by which I would complete them.  When that wasn't working for me - in fact, causing me all kinds of distress, I resigned myself to that the very late gift would be completed when it was completed - hopefully before the couple's first anniversary, in May.  I couldn't even think about the other projects. 

Everything changed on Thursday, February 19th.  I wove the last end into Stephanie and Jay's Sunny Spread afghan.  

detail from Sunny Spread

I couldn't believe I had finally finished it.   It was late in the evening, and I had been at it for a while.  To my surprise, the first thing I did, after setting the FO aside to be laundered prior to giving it to the newlyweds, was to pull the 2 WIPs, which had been in hibernation. 

I had stored them somewhere out of sight, because every time I looked at them I had a swell of emotions - not good ones - which were usually accompanied by tears.  This whole past year has been an emotional roller coaster. 

I have already resumed happy, mindless knitting on my Clincher bandana, which I thought I'd be wearing this winter, but perhaps it will be finished before  spring weather arrives.  The block-of-the-month KAL afghan I tried to knit during the summer and couldn't, has renewed appeal to me.  I still like it and will definitely finish it.  

So, I'm encouraged to report that the mojo killer (my late wedding present, which seemed to take forever to crochet) Sunny Spread has been laid to rest, and with it, I am sincerely looking forward to finishing my WIPs and beginning some new projects. I think that because I completed the project before the anniversary of my injury, in some way, it made a difference.  Sort of like the psychological difference between the prices of $9.99 and $10.00.  

If your mojo has been killed by some external influence, I hope you will be able to climb out of the fog, and have your zeal and attitude refreshed.  For me, it took getting that project done before the 20th. I feel like I can breath again, and that my gloom is lifting. 

For info and photos of my Sunny Spread project, it will be my next post.
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