Friday, August 16, 2013

TKGA Master Knitter Level 1 - Week.... Whatever!

It seems that summer overtook me.  I have been, in dribs and drabs, working on swatches for the program but......   So I wasn't exactly happy with how the swatches were turning out.  I was using the Cascade 220 wool yarn and had serious issues with the aesthetics of that yarn.  I didn't like the lay of the stitches.  I didn't like the twist - seemed 'loose' to me. My swatches just were bleh.  At some point in the season, I was knitting a little baby jacket out of Plymouth Galway and really liked the feel of that yarn so - ReBoot.  I've been reworking all the swatches using the Galway.  Have swatches 1-3 done (but I will redo #1).  I'm much happier.  Now, maybe I shall have consistant progress over the next few weeks.  It's a lesson in using the right yarn, no matter what the project.  If you don't like the yarn, you won't like the project.

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven... A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away."    Ecclesiastes 3:1,6

Monday, May 20, 2013

Master Knitter Monday Week 3

Short and sweet, today.  This week, I acquired the Susan Bates Quicksilver needles -  straights; 10 inch, Size US7 from local craft store (How is it that with all my years of knitting... with one gigundo Plano Fishing Tackle Box loaded with needles... I did not have that ONE!?)   and am very happy that I made the switch.  The Addi Turbo just was not working, both in terms of the tips and in terms of holding the small (16 inch circular) needle shaft.  My hands are much more comfortable with the straights.  More comfort means better tension and more tapered tips means better execution of the stitch.  Here's the number 3 swatch, not blocked -  a seed stitch beauty... fairly dense but I'll practice a bit more.   I also purchased some blocking mats.  Got the ones from KnitPicks -  9 quares to a pack.....  yes, I might have payed less for those similiar things at the hardware store but these ones are a pretty sort of mauvy pinky lavender color.  Tre Girlie.

Bible verse for this morning:
"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."  Hebrews 10:36

Monday, May 13, 2013

Master Knitter Monday Week 2

This past week was spent in collecting supplies, doing some more practice knitting and going through the books - researching techniques.  For this program you will need:

Worsted weight yarn - Use a very light color.   I would NOT recommend anything but wool as acrylic is not conducive to blocking very well and cotton's or other plant-y yarns may present problems, as well, in the blocking process.  I have chosen to use Cascade 220 worsted weight.  It is 100% wool and seems to be one of the yarns of choice for those who have already gone through the Master Knitter thing.

Needle -  This has been a bit tricky for me.  I tried several different ones and thought I had settled on an Addi Turbo, size 7, 16 inch circular.  All of the swatches that I practiced on, so far, have been made with that needle. But.....   I don't like the tips on that needle.  They are a bit 'dull' and when making seed stitch (especially) one has to be very tight for this project and it's hard to get the dull tips into the tight stitch.  I'm moving on to try Susan Bates Quicksilver.  I like the long, tapered tips of these needles so will give them a go.

For the Notebook -  A notebook (obviously) and plastic sheet protectors are needed.  Also, tab dividers to organize the project.  You will also need some sort of string/hang tags.  You can make your own, if you like.

For the Blocking - This requires a ruler.  It is NOT recommended by the overseers that you use a measuring tape.  A ruler is more accurate.  Get some Rust PROOF pins... lots of them.  I ordered some T-pins from Lacis as they claim to be rust proof.  Many companies claim their pins are rust resistant but I'm not trusting anything but rust proof stainless steel.  I don't want to be surprised with rusty stains on the swatches. You will need towels for squeezing the water out of the swatches and you will need some sort of pinning surface.  After a cruising of the TKGA Ravelry forum for the Master Knitting Group, it seems the popular thing is to get some of those spongy, foamy floor square/mat things that they use in gyms/exercise rooms.  It seems you can purchase them from the likes of Lowes, Home Depot, etc.  Of course you can use those lovely blocking boards that are offered specifically for knitting at knitting suppliers.  I have, yet, to get something to do the blocking on.

I've spent a great deal of time reading through postings on the TKGA Ravelry Group forums and surfing all the internet sites that are referred to, there.  I've also read through the entire Master Knitter Level 1 Packet (several times and will read through it in its entirety several more times) and started going through every book that I own looking for what I may need.  I've marked and notated all those pages with those Post-It Notes tab posties.  I've knitted several practice swatches of the first three swatches to identify weak spots and to use to practice blocking.  At this rate....  I'm gonna need some more yarn!

Today's Bible Verse:
"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men...."
Colossians 3:23

Saturday, May 11, 2013

An Aran Sweater for Jimmy the Squid

So Jimmy the Squid requested an Aran sweater some long time gone ago.  Wow, it's hard to find a good pattern for a man and one that shows charts and, dare I say it.... free.  I came up with about three choices that I liked the sequencing of the cables but only one had charts..... The Inishturk Sweater... It's the winner.  Good Ol' Lion Brand.  You'll have to be registered at the Lion Brand site to view that.  Notice that it's got a photo of a girl modeling the sweater.  We won't tell Jimmy the Squid.  What a bear to get started.  And even after three starts there is still a mistake or two.  I'm leaving it. Remember, how do you
knit an Aran?  1 Row at a Time.

Bible verse for today:
"May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you."  Jude 1:2

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Adventures in Crock-Pot and Kool-Aid Yarn Dyeing

I wanted to try some crock-pot dyeing.  Here's what happened:  

I bought several flavors of Kool-Aid for this project, with no particular color plan in mind.  I was somewhat limited to the color choices, as my local food store was limited in their selection.  So be it.   

 Place a hank of wet yarn into the crock-pot, cover and set to "high." Lay the hank as you wish.  
How it is laid into the water will determine the design of color placement.  

 After it gets hot, remove cover (set this aside as you will not use it again), open one packet of Kool-Aid and, very gently, sprinkle the powder over one half of the yarn.  Do not replace the cover and do not move the water at all. Stirring the water will really muddle the colors.  When the color has absorbed,
 repeat with a second color of powder on the other half.  Again, wait for the color to absorb.  
You will notice in the above photo... that I did not do that on this hank.  
The second hank I waited between each color and liked the results much better.  

When the water is completely clear, take two large spoons and very carefully, lift and flip the entire hank in the crock-pot to the other side.  Wait for the water to quiet...  then sprinkle a third color right down the middle.  After the water is clear, again.  Turn off the crock-pot and allow it to cool down, completely.  

Remove from the pot and very thoroughly and without much agitation, rinse completely in cool water.  
Squeeze gently and roll in a towel to remove the excess water.  Hang the entire hank where it can dry.  
(I hung mine outside on a shepherd's hook plant hanger.)   

This colorway was: Tangerine, Lemon-Lime and Grape

 This colorway was: Pink Lemonade, Lemonade, Blueberry-Raspberry and Grape.

TA-DA   Very Pretty All Knitted Up!
Pattern for these Mitts is:   Susie Roger's Reading Mitts

Today's Bible Verse:
"Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?"  Song of Solomon 6:10

Monday, May 6, 2013

Nostepinne Your Way to a Ball

Did you ever use a nostepinne?  That baton-stick-sort-of-thingy that one can use as a working base to wind up a ball of yarn from a hank of yarn?  I bought one.  I tried it.  I searched the YouTube place for a video of instruction.  Found several and discovered that there are two different methods to wind.  One, being an angled wrap, continually in the same direction, while turning the nostepinne slowly in one direction which creates a sort of cake-like ball.  The other is a Figure 8 move which is fun to execute and creates an egg-shaped ball.  My favorite video is in the German language.  I understand nothing of it... but what does language matter when yarn is involved?    A nostepinne, a Scandinavian word, is called a wickeldorn in German.  I like saying that word!

Wound With Angled Wrap - Not so Cake-Like.  My Later Tries Were Better.

Wound in a Figure 8 Motion - Kept Forgetting Which Side of the 8 I Was On.

Bible verse for Tonight:

"Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course."  Proverbs 15:21

Master Knitter Monday Week 1

The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA) offers a
'certification' of Master Hand Knitter to their members
(you must be a member).  So I joined and decided to
take on the challenge.  Some twenty years ago, I thought
about doing this but was a bit intimidated.  This course of
action, while not difficult, in the sense that the knitting is
hard, is a very exacting and detailed study of one's own
knitting and the ability to analyze EVERYTHING whilst
knitting to precise instructions. Level 1 is the beginning
and I begin.... Reference books are accumulated, practice
swatches are being worked...  I hope to document
my progress each Monday.  I hope there is progress.

Today's Bible Verse:
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your
own business and to work with your hands...."
I Thessalonians 4:11

Friday, March 29, 2013

A King, A Son, Good Friday

"The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”   II Samuel 18:33

Samuel tells us that …."In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him." This beautiful son of King David was a man riddled with rebellion and hatred. He avenges the rape of his sister, Tamar, by her brother Amnon by murdering him. He lives many years totally estranged from his father- never seeing David's face and sets in motion a conspiracy to take the  throne of Israel-the throne of his own father-by a coup d'etat. In the end, as he is riding his mule, he is caught in the crotch of a tree, hanging by the neck and ultimately killed by Joab, who plunged three javelins into his heart as he hanged in the tree.

What a picture to be seen! We live our lives as Absalom, being the center of our universe, thinking ourselves equal to the King, looking to overthrow and set ourselves up as the ruler of our lives, our own kingdoms. Thinking ourselves wise and confident and in the right, we live in estrangement from our Father King, going for times upon times without seeing our Father's face. David loved his son deeply,  "And the spirit of the king longed to go to Absalom"….. Absalom's father was powerless to stop him.

Today is Good Friday. Today is the day that our Father King became His own Son-an obedient Son-in
whom was found no sin, no blemish. A Son who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and was hanged
on a tree and pierced in the side with a spear, a Son who, for a moment in time, became the sin and
rebellion and was totally estranged from His own Father.  Our Father King - whose Spirit longed to
come to us - became the Son and died in our stead. What David wished he could have done for his
child, our Father, who is not a powerless Father nor a powerless King, did do for us.

Bible Verse for Good Friday:
"It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until
the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was
torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit
my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing
what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 
Luke 23:44-47 (NIV)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Knitting on the Train

               Leaving New York City, I arrived a bit early for the 3:30 train. It was at the track and the doors were open so I entered and chose a seat (next to the window) on the side with three seats with the idea that it would give me a little more room for knitting if the train were not so crowded.  The two gentlemen were very tall, slender and silver haired, similar in build and gait, perhaps they were brothers.   
               “Excuse me,” the older one said.  “Are these two seats taken?”  Well, so much for my hope of extra room. 
               “No,” said I, motioning with my hand, "please, sit down."  We all settled in, me with my knitting on my lap, they with their conversation.  It was clear, by their conversation, that they were educators.  The older man, sitting next to me was, apparently, a college professor.  The other man, in the aisle seat, seemed to be an administrator of some sort.  They talked of student initiatives and the progress of new and old programs, Montessori education and how integrating handcraft into the children’s lessons was very useful in the overall educational developement of students.  I smiled a knowing smile. They discussed their families and how their respective wives were.  After about 15 or 20 minutes into their catching up with each other, I became aware that the tightness of our seating situation and my method of throwing with my right hand as I knit may just be irksome to my seatmate. 
               “I’m sorry, sir, is my arm motion bothering you?”
               “Absolutely, not.”  He placed his hand on my shoulder and continued, “My daughter is also a knitter.  She knits all the time.  You make me feel like I’m right at home.”  That is a true statement about the effects of knitting (even on those who do not knit) and one of the nicest things anyone as ever said to me.  

Bible verse for today - 
" Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."   Hebrews 13:2

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Resolve to Be Thankful and Knit On

     January... Winter....  Holidays kept me sooo busy, getting little bits o'baking in as I could, in between work, decorating, shopping and Christmas gift knitting.  You saw some of the presents that went out in the previous couple of posts.  So, now the Have-To knitting is done and the Want-To knitting begins.  It's one of the things I love about winter.  Hot tea, Real Flame fuel gel in my fake fireplace, knitting on the lap.  Okay, I'm, actually, out of the fuel gel.... I'll get it on order, soon.  But sitting in the rocker with the rhythm of the needles is so pleasing and satisfying to both body and soul, especially needed in these times - sometimes hard times.  Working on a sweater for myself... yep.... myself.... from yarn (Inca Cotton from Joseph Galler) I bought 12 or 13 years ago from Patternworks (when I was employed there) using a pattern I bought 12 or 13 years ago from Patternworks (Knitting Pure and Simple Neck Down Pullover).  I felt sorry for it... languishing in the To Do bin.  At last, it sees the light of day!
     It's going to be really cold, tonight. Arctic air rolling in, stronger winds will blow through the leaky bits of the window frames but, hey, it is Winter.  A new year spurs us to make resolutions.  Maybe the cold has something to do with that, too.  Maybe cold steels us to look forward  - to look forward to not only, the warmer days of Spring, but better days, days of being a better person, maybe a person who is closer to God than the person from last year.  Yes, I made a New Year's resolution.... a single one, a relatively small one.... to keep a Thankfulness Journal, to write down, each day, at least one thing that I am thankful for.  Being thankful in hard times... hard to do, maybe.  These last few days, I've fallen off the resolution wagon. But I'll get back on, there is a whole year ahead of me and I won't be discouraged about my lack of discipline.  Blessed is he (she) who perseveres -- (is that in the Bible?).
     I guess I'll need the extra thick tea cozy on the teapot, tonight, and an extra wooly blanket on the bed.... jeepers.... Wish I had ordered up that Real Flame fuel gel.......  Thank You, God, for wool!

Bible verse to Remember to Be Thankful -
".....give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Monday, January 7, 2013

Maria - A Plush Chenille Scarf

Maria Scarf

A Quick Knit Scarf – Bulky Knit

1 skein of thick chenille yarn (Lion Brand Chenille – 100 yards)
This will make about a 44-46 inch scarf.  Use two skeins if you
wish it to be longer.

Size US11 Needles

CO 10 or 12 stitches

Knit 6 rows = 3 ridges (garter stitch)
Knit 4 rows in St St =
  RS - Knit one row,
  WS - Purl one row,
  RS - Knit one row,
  WS - Purl one row,

Continue alternating 6 rows of garter stitch with 4 rows of stocking stitch until there is enough yarn left to knit the last 6 rows in garter stitch.  Bind Off.

Bible Verse for Tonight:
"I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness 
and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High."  Psalm 7:17