The captain completed the application of the name today. Another highlight was the sighting of a pod of dolphins heading down river this morning. I got a picture, but if I posted it, you’d have to believe me that it was a dolphin.
I have been a toe up sock convert ever since I wanted to use some heavy hand spun to make myself a pair of house socks. I must have cast on and frogged a dozen different patterns. Then I took a workshop called Bosnian Toes and Turkish Heels (basically after thought) from Lucy Neatby and voila, the answer is toe up.
It is a crime that I haven’t shared my method yet. I have taken the basics from this workshop, modified the toe to get a more traditional shape, added a short row heel and now have what I consider a fool proof recipe to use any yarn, appropriate needles, and fashion a custom fit sock for nearly any foot.
In preparation for a KAL with the Yahoo Holiday Mystery Knit group, which I’ve agreed to sponsor in July, I have put some helpful tips, and pictures here to support the written instructions we will use.
Tips below: Starting, Fit, Bind Off, Heel Alternative
My fall back toe begins with a small square or rectangle knit flat. This can be worked in Garter Stitch if desired. I aim for a cast on to achieve between 3/4-1″ in width, but any amount will work.
Stitches are then picked up on three edges and you begin to knit in the round and increase to fit foot.
A good fitting sock is made with 10% negative ease so that it stretches to fit the foot snugly. A lot of complaints regarding premature wearing, discomfort, or socks that ride around on the foot can be traced back to being too large either in the whole or in one part like the heel flap. I find that knitting toe up allows you to fit the toe of the socks as you go in order to get fit on the foot, where it matters most, rather than the calf. If increases are stopped when the toe just barely covers the little toe, the 10% negative ease should be built in.
For length of foot, there is a handy trick which involves wrapping the sock around the palm of the sock recipient, or someone of a similar size. When the tip of the toe just meets the live stiches, it is time to begin the heel.
I use the length of the foot to gauge the length of the leg. For me I like my socks when the leg is equal to the length of the foot. This is easy to measure by folding the sock at the heel.
My palm (size medium) measures 7.5″, so for size small you will want around 6.5″ and for large 8.5″, but if at all possible measure as above for the best fit.
A stretchy bind off is essential to a sock you can pull on comfortably. For me, I like Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind off click here for a You Tube video of this technique.
Alternatively, For my grandsons’ baby socks, I will use the following: *Bind off 3sts, move last stitch to left needle, knit 1*. Repeat around. This introduces an additional 25% stretch in the bind off.
More or less stretch could be accomplished by binding off fewer stitches ( more stretch) or more stitches ( less stretch) between knit stitches.
Heel Alternative-After Thought
This option was not included in the write up for simplicity sake, I find this a go to whenever I am knitting a particularly complicated sock and I don’t want to worry about one more thing. Basically, you work to heel, knit half of your stitches on to waste yarn (make sure they are parallel to your toe or you will have one odd sock) on one row. Continue to finish sock knitting over waste yarn on next row. Once done, carefully pick up one leg of the stitches below the waste yarn, then do the same for the stitches above. Now pull out the waste yarn checking to make sure you haven’t dropped any stitches, arrange heel stitches on 3 needles so that all of the bottom stitches are on needle one, and half of the top stitches are on needles 2 and 3. Attach yarn and work as below picking up additional stitches at the corners on the first round if needed:
Odd Rnds: Knit.
Even Rnds: K1, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches of needle one, k2tog, k1, k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts on needle three k2tog, k1
Continue the above rounds until heel is one inch short of desired length, then knit only the decrease round until the number of stitches cast on for toe remain. Kitchener stitch the stitches together as you would for a toe.
After writing the post below twice and losing it, I found it here. Sorry for the non-knitting content, but it will kill me to do it again. For more adventures on the loop see http://cruisingwiththecarricos.wordpress.com
We spent our Sunday in Charleston. We got there by a three mile ride in the dinghy to the Charleston City Marina. The ride was pleasant in the early morning hours before the water way was crowded or the winds and waves kicked up. The city marina was huge, so big they use golf carts to run around the docks.
From the marina it was a long hike into downtown past the Coast Guard Station. We had been hoping to pick up the CARTA free bus, but decided a tour would be a better way to see the city. We found a nice market café for lunch and arranged for tickets on a horse drawn tour, the only type licensed by Charleston for the historic area. It turned out to be a pleasant way to see the city without wearing ourselves out. And to get some perspective on the city and its history. After the tour we headed back to the dinghy and across the Ashley River which was a little bit busier and choppier than it had been in the morning, but not to worry, Paul’s desire for a fast dinghy paid off and we were safely back on the narrow cut home. We did however, declare it Miller Time and stopped at a local watering hole The Crab Shack before heading too far.
Monday morning we cast off at first light and headed back up the same cut then passed Charleston. We encountered our first bridge cluster when we hit the Ben Sawyer Bridge with a height of 31 feet. There were two trawlers and about 5 sailboats waiting for the first opening of the day at 9am. It was 8:58 when we got to the first sailboat and we proceeded to wind our way between them as they waited. Luckily the current was running against them so they pretty much just adjusted to throttle to stay in the same spot. We got to the bridge at 9:04 and it was just starting to open.
The rest of the day was spent on narrow rivers and cuts behind barrier islands, we rarely saw the Atlantic, but we could feel its power in the currents as we crossed inlets where the tide was flowing out. At about 3:30 we hit the Winyah Bay and headed into Georgetown. We joined several looping boats in waiting out tomorrow’s nasty weather.
Miles Today: 59 Total Miles: 668
Total States: 3
Total Locks: 5
It has been awhile since I’ve posted any knitting content, but I intend to get back to it. Life has been in transition for the last few months what with retirement, relocating to the boat, and getting ready for the big “adventure”. I have been keeping an infrequent journal of the Loop Adventure at if you are interested.
Similar to Number One Thnigee Two is also a wrap/shrug garment with a variety of ways to wear the garment in an effort to keep warm. Originally I made this as a two rectangle poncho, but I really am not a poncho kind of person, so I never felt comfortable wearing it. I loved the fabric though and could not bear to get rid of it. In a bout of organizing my extensive collection of knit wear, I came across it and thought, maybe I can refashion this into something I’ll use.
So I undid one seam leaving a t-shape piece of fabric pictured in the diagram here. Obviously this is not to scale 😦
Gauge: 12sts/24 rows /4” in Garter Stitch.
Piece 1: With MC CO 108sts knit in Garter Stitch working random ridges (two rows) with various CCs until piece measures 20in, BO.
Piece Two: With MC CO 168sts knit in Garter Stitch working random ridges (two rows) with various CCs until piece measures 20in, BO.
To wear as a shrug slip arms through piece one with Piece Two to neck and wrap Piece Two around as you would a scarf.
|CC||Contrast Color||MC||Main Color||Y||yards|
|In||Inch(es)||* * repeat instructions between * *|
The captain completed the application of the name today. Another highlight was the sighting of a pod of dolphins heading down river this morning. I got a picture, but if I posted it, you’d have to believe me that it was a dolphin.
Seen along the Pine River while sampling for water quality yesterday. This will be my first Autumn color in 5 years.
Hip hugging with a flouncy ruffle bottom, knit in two directions for gauge-less knitting resulting in a custom fit. This ruffle proceeds directly on stitches picked up from the previous layer, rather than being an extra piece of knitting applied after the fact.
Can you tell I hate gauge swatches? I hate even more to get several inches in to a big project only to find out I mis-measured my gauge or my gauge has changed and have to frog and reknit.
When I knit my first skirt I devised this method of construction to avoid any such catastrophes. It all starts with a hip hugger piece knit sideways in alternating bands of Stockinette and reverse Stockinette stitch which duplicates a wide band of rib stitch.
The “recipe” I formulated and hints based on three skirts under my belt are given here in hopes that they will be of use to someone else.
Cast on between 30 and 60 stitches depending on gauge and depth of the hip section you desire, and maybe your height. I am 5’3” and using Opal cotton sock yarn in the tropical colorway, I cast on 60 stitches on size 3 needles. The result is a tight fit through the mid thigh region. In my heavier days I might have avoided a tight fit in this area, but for now I am grateful it works (did I mention I hate to re-knit?). For the first skirt done in three tiers I think the CO was closer to 30 stitches and hits just above the thigh. You want this piece knit at a fairly tight gauge for structure and modesty.
Work in 4 rows Stockinette followed by 4 rows reverse Stockinette working Yo, k2tog eyelets at top of Hip Piece to run a tie for keeping your skirt on.
Row 1 RS: K1 through back loop, knit to last st, with yarn in front slip 1.
Rows 2 & 4 WS: K1 through back loop, purl to last stitch with yarn in front slip 1.
Row 3 RS: K1 through back loop, k3, YO, k2tog, knit to last st, with yarn in front slip 1.
Row 5 RS: K1 through back loop, purl to last stitch with yarn in front slip 1.
Rows 6 & 8 WS: K1 through back loop knit to last st, with yarn in front slip 1.
Row 7 RS: K1 through back loop, p2, YO, p2tog, purl to last st with yarn in front slip 1.
Repeat the 8 rows above until the Hip Piece is able to fit snuggly around your hips, with about 1-2” negative ease;
Either Bind off to sew this piece together or do a graft if you like that sort of thing.
On long side, opposite eyelets for tie, using a larger needle for the lace (I used size 6 needles here), pick up 1st in each slipped stitch along edge. Join to work in the round as follows:
Rnd 1: *YO, k2* rep around. Adjust number of YO or knit stitches between YO’s to get a stitch count multiple of 10 for set up of lace shown below. Or use your favorite lace pattern adjusting stitch counts to suit it. Place marker at beginning of round.
Rnd 2: * P1, k3,(YO, k1) 4x,k2 *, rep * * around. This sets up the lace repeat and increases the lace panel from 9 sts to 13. The purl stitch divider will increase to 3 stitches on the next lace row.
Rnd 3: Resting round. * P1, k13 *, rep * * around.
Rnd 4: * P1, YO, *k2tog, k1, k2tog, (YO, k1) 3 times, YO, ssk, k1, ssk, YO, p1, YO *, rep * * around end YO.
Rnd 5: Slip marker before last stitch of Round 4. *P3, k13*, rep * * around.
Rnd 6: * YO, sl2 purl-wise, Y around slipped sts, p1, pass slipped stitches over (leaving YO before p1), YO, k2tog, k1, k2tog, (YO, k1) 3 times, YO, ssk, k1, ssk * rep * * around.
Repeat rounds 5 and 6 until length desired. If more laciness or fullness is desired you can increase the size of the needles after a few inches (I went up to size 8’s to finish). If even more fullness is wanted, the purl divider can be increased to 5 sts by working YO’s before purl sts without the ssp/p2tog decreases for one round. On future lace rounds work dividers as: “YO, slip, slip, purl slipped sts together, p1, p2tog, YO.”
The bind off on this lace leaves an attractive saw tooth edging which will finish off the skirt nicely; if desired beads can be added for an extra feminine touch. I used 6/0 clear beads on the center stitch of each lace panel for the last 7 lace rows and then 3 more on either side of the center during the bind off. These were placed with a small crochet hook.
Finally work an i-cord ( I used 4 stitch i-cord) tie to thread through the eyelets at the top of the skirt.
For a three tier skirt, try adding a layer of your favorite lace to a shorter hip hugger before finishing with the ruffle described here. A more modest stitch count increase (@20%) will add the necessary fullness.
Double knitting was on my list of techniques to try out this year, well, truth be told it was on the list last year too. This may be why I’ve jumped in first thing this year to put it behind me.
That and the fact that I need a new pair of warm mittens for next month’s trip stateside. I made Glitten’s a great pattern by Kathy Cochran last year for this trip, but alas the dye from the red ran into the white and they have lost their luster.
The plan this year is to first learn to double knit, then adapt the Glitten’s pattern to be worked in double knit, minus the fingers however, because I think that I have quite enough on my plate what with learning plain double knitting, increasing and decreasing, and inserting waste yarn in double knitting then picking up and finishing a thumb in double knitting.
So yesterday, I did some looking around on Ravelry. I found some patterns for double knit mittens, but all were in worsted weight yarn. Unfortunately, after my Christmas knitting, I have only about 100 yds of worsted weight in five little balls of different colors left. It is high on my list of acquisitions for our upcoming trip, but for now, I’ll need to use DK weight.
I found a hot pad pattern on Ravelry TPHPE and thought that would be a nice easy introduction, no shaping; the cast on was simple and straightforward…..
However, I found a few things left unsaid; the first was that I needed to knit into both of the strands held together for the cast on in order to get enough stitches to work the graph. Checking a few other resources cleared this up. I tossed aside my second attempt at the chart when I found that cotton yarn is just not forgiving enough on either my hands or the vagaries of tension I was combating.
So pulling out 2 of my 5 little balls of worsted weight yarn, I started again. Using a cable cast on with both yarns held together, I cast on 26 stitches; followed the directions for slipping the first stitch knitwise and purling the last stitch with both yarns held together and knit into one of the strands and purled the other for each cast on stitch while holding both strands together as the directions called for and trying to split them with my needle to get the right yarn for each stitch.
I again gave up on reading the graph and made up my own simple pattern, starting with stripes, that I could keep in my head while I worked on the hand movements necessary. I found it slow going to hold both yarns together and try picking the one needed for each stitch. Another search of the internet turned up Knitty’s directions for double knitting two socks at one time – this may go on next year’s list, but for now I have my hands full. I did notice that they were holding one yarn in each hand. This is a skill I have!! Would it work??
Back to my knitting I went with one strand in each hand and while it did introduce the possibility of a random float appearing if I forgot to bring one yarn forward, it speeded the knitting up considerably and I soon got the rhythm. Once that was comfortable I moved on from stripes to checker blocks and a diagonal pattern and found that the key to reading my knitting was to ignore the purl stitches and look at the knit stitches on the side facing me.
At this point I started imagining working in the round – I am thinking it will be easier. While I can’t picture increasing and decreasing yet, I can imagine it as being possible.
I can’t wait to try more double knitting. The next experiment will be a small mitten. This will give me a gauge swatch for a full size mitten, get me comfortable with double knitting in the round, and let me play with increasing, decreasing and working in a waste yarn.
What is it that drives us to Design? What is it that drives someone who designs to knit from a printed pattern without making design changes of their own?
I have only started designing again and it struck me as odd that I had ever stopped. As someone who never had the luxury to knit by visiting the yarn shop for pattern and yarn for a project, designing my own, became a matter of course.
Of course, there were those first forays into following the pattern using yarn copped from my mother’s stash of largely weaving yarns. And the resulting sweaters were largely unwearable due to the fact that I didn’t know of or bother with gauge. They still were a part of the learning process and got me out of studying for those nasty organic chemistry exams which were so bad I even resorted to cleaning house when they were on the horizon.
So why is it that I spent the first two years here in Ghana knitting almost exclusively from printed patterns and designing very little?
The answer is probably several fold. I had resolved to become a proficient lace knitter and designing in lace is still something that requires more brain power than I have to give most days. I am in awe of those designers like Lankakomero, Mawelucky, and Mmario, to name a few, who seem to pump out a myriad of complex designs without breaking a sweat. Many friends benefitted from the plethora of lace shawls that moved out of my house into their hands during this period.
So what is it that decides whether to follow the crowd or go off on your own? Do we require a certain stability to design? A comfort level? A supply of raw materials or is it inspiration that is needed?
What do you think? Have you noticed a correlation in creative output linked to any of the above? Or is there something you can identify that keeps you knitting off the pattern?
The economy has brought us to Africa where we are grateful for employment. Working 12 hour days though
with 2 hours of drive time, leaves maybe an hour or two a night for unstructured time before we fall into bed for the 4:45 alarm.
So where does the knitting time fit in ??, on the drive, of course. And with the hours we work, one
way is bound to be in the dark (although this changes with the season even on the equator, interestingly enough). Guess who is so obsessed with knitting that she will knit even if it means knitting in the dark.
I had thought of naming the blog knitting in the dark, but upon googling found that referring to Africa as the dark continent was thought to be politically incorrect by some, so….. not wanting to deal with that issue, it’s just knitsabout.
A few principles for knitting in the dark which have occurred to me while knitting in the dark or preparing to knit in the dark .
1) This is found time. You may have to rip, but if you don’t, you are better off. So
relax, enjoy the process and don’t get too upset if you have to redo a day’s (night’s) knitting.
2) Don’t try this until you are ready. You may want to try some knitting while watching television (or reading) first, when you find you are not looking most of the time, you are ready- if you just relax and let the force be with you.
3) Feel your knitting…. You can feel stitches for a k2tog without having to see them. Follow the principle, If it feels right, it probably is, if it doesn’t feel right, stop. For a minor issue (like a split stitch) it can
often be sorted out in the dark, for a major issue (like dropping any number of stitches in lace knitting) wait until you can see. Not that lace knitting in general should be tackled in the dark, mind you; although a true Jedi Knitter may find this possible.
4) Take advantage of any light you can. Street lights, the headlights of other cars, your interior light, be ready to use these if you need to see or just to check that things are on track. If you have an especially supportive driver, you may be able to use a reading light or a fishing head lamp, but on the roads
of Africa, this will probably be too stressful even for the most serene of drivers.
5) Mindless, this helps, but isn’t always fun. Although starting out, the simpler the better. Work your way up to the lace. Cobweb weight yarn will never be on my knitting in the dark list.
6) Predictable may be the next step up from mindless, especially if you use stitch markers to
indicate a change is coming. Super Spiral from Meg Swansen’s A Gathering of Lace was a lace project
that fit this bill. It consists of 8 sections alternating stockinette with yo, k2tog mesh, every other row was just
knit. Hard section markers and a different kind of marker to indicate start of round were the key to knitting this in the dark. The pattern was predictable, once you had it down, the rest was easy.
7) Use your seeing knitting time to set yourself up for knitting in the dark. While the Super Spiral shawl above is doable in the dark, starting any circular shawl on DPNs is difficult enough. I wouldn’t want to try it in the dark. Once the pattern is established and markers are placed – knit on.
8) Light colored yarn – while not visible in the darkest of dark, at twilight, it is amazing how much more you can see on light yarn.
What I have knit in the dark
Any other suggestions for patterns to knit in the dark?
As an American used to driving mainly in small towns of Northern Michigan, where rude driving is avoided due to the fact the person you honk at or cut off, may actually be a friend or neighbor, the roads of Ghana were overwhelming. It appeared to my untrained eye that cars moved along the road in a random unpredictable manner and that no rules existed to govern the drive. It amazed me every time I made it to a destination that I had actually made it in one piece. It amazed me that there were cars on the road which had no dings and dents given the driving habits of their owners. It amazed me that every trip I did not encounter multiple fatal accidents.
After months of observing as a passenger, I finally found that I was able to predict with some (albeit not perfect) accuracy, what a car/driver was likely to do in certain situations. I have decided to put my observations and inferred rules of the road on paper in the hopes that they might be of help, or at least amusement to other foreigners hoping to drive in Ghana.
Rules of the Road:
So, for all those new to driving or contemplating driving in Africa, rest assured it may look like chaos on the road, but there are rules which are followed and take heart that most everyone makes it to their destination unharmed.
The moniker knitsabout was chosen by me a few years back because it seems to me that most of my knitting was being done outside the house; knitting about town so to speak. In the hectic pace of life as a working mother, if you don’t carve out time to knit outside the house, you may not get much knitting in.
It was a light bulb moment for me when Lily Chin pulled her knitting out at a TKGA banquet and proceeded to knit through most of the evening. (I didn’t look, but I don’t think she ate during dinner. Although if anyone could accomplish that feat, I am sure Ms. Lily could.) Why not bring your knitting out when you are sitting and listening? It can go out in public after all.
So, from that day, I started to evaluate my out of the house time for its knitting potential and I found that there are many of those otherwise wasted moments when you could get a few rows (or rounds) in and watch your knitting grow. I found knitting time at my daughter’s swim meets, doctor’s visits, staff meetings (under the right circumstances), whenever I was in a car (and someone else was driving), when my car was stuck in traffic or stopped for a train, when traveling by train (great knitting time, by the way), when traveling by air, when traveling by… well you get the picture. I found that knitting outside the house opened up whole worlds of possibility.
So for me the moniker seemed appropriate.
Perhaps it is a weird case of life imitating art that now it is not only outside the house that I am knitting about, but around the world.
In the past few years the economy of the world has had a few upsets. We found ourselves caught up in the turbulence of a crashed construction industry and, being the resourceful guy that he is, my husband found work. It may be halfway around the world from home, but it brings in the bacon so to speak.
So know I knit in Africa. Knitting about the world, who’d have thunk?
I’d like to use this blog to share not only about knitting (which if you haven’t yet deduced, is a passion of mine) but also a little about living in Ghana, West Africa. I think there are unique perspectives to be shared from both aspects of my life that I hope will be of interest to some one else.