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e_moon60

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Tending to My Knitting [Apr. 20th, 2011|11:47 pm]
e_moon60
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

Long, long ago (45 years, thereabouts) my mother taught me to knit.  (That's after wasting years trying to teach me to sew...)   I took to knitting.  I knitted a fair amount of simple things for some years after that, as time allowed (the USMC, a second degree, and graduate school interfered somewhat...)  Then came here, with EMS duties, an adopted kid who turned out to be autistic, and serious writing, and the knitting sat in the corner and waited.

That was then.   Now, thanks to the knitters on Robin McKinley's blog, and some hand pain that I thought knitting might help,  I began to think about knitting and finally one night, in a fit of whatever, tried to cast on using pencils for knitting needles.  And lo, it worked (amazing, really.)   Admitting this on McKinley's blog led to nudging that verged on shoving, and I busily worked through casting on, remembering the knit and purl stitches, making and unraveling little patches, etc.  And then I found a project (a blanket for The Linus Connection)  and ordered yarn and ran up a gauge patch (tonight before choir practice) to see if 7 was the right size needle.  On my earlier practice patches, I was using size 4s, and some old wool yarn of my mother's.   For the blanket project, I needed a machine-washable yarn, so went to nylon/acrylic.

I decided early on (before looking for the right yarn) that I wanted to make blankets that would appeal to both boys and girls (girls who liked not-typical-girl colors) and in a larger-than-baby-toddler size.  I remember as a kid liking richer colors than kids my age (especially girls) were supposed to like.  The yarn I ordered did not exactly match the color in the on-line catalog (and I didn't expect it to--everything from the light in which it's photographed to the color balance of my monitor would almost ensure it wouldn't) and I'm sure the pictures below won't really match it either.   However: there's the multi-colored yarn that will be most of the blanket, and a green multi that will be stripes on it, and a sea-colors ball that will be for a different project.   

This yarn (Berroco "Comfort" worsted weight 100 gram skein)  is very comfortable to work with.  The knitting gauge on the skein suggests US size 8 or 9 needles, but I like the look I'm getting with 7s.  I may try a patch with 8s or 9s to see.  I still haven't found all my mother's knitting equipment.   




 
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: teriegarrison
2011-04-21 06:04 am (UTC)
Crocheting is my gig. Here are some pix of an afghan I made for a friend last year:

http://www.teriegarrison.com/photos2010/afghan_0925.jpg

http://www.teriegarrison.com/photos2010/afghan_0927.jpg

With all this online talk of knitting from you, Lynn Flewelling, and a few other online friends, I'm beginning to think it's time I learn how to knit. :-)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-21 04:58 pm (UTC)
Lovely! I find knitting a little easier on my hands than crocheting (and mostly what I used to do in crochet was granny squares and straight crocheting, for hot pads. Now I can't remember how to do granny squares, darn it!)
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[User Picture]From: teriegarrison
2011-04-21 08:30 pm (UTC)
The first thing I learned to crochet was granny squares. They're easy, and I'm sure when you sit down with instructions or someone to show you, it will come flooding back and you'll be fine. They're great for working on in hot weather (which I hear you get occasionally in your corner of the world ;-D), since you don't end up with a big thick wodge of blanket spread over you. The downside for me is having to stitch them all together.

Actually, I'm partial to broomstick lace. So easy and so fast and so pretty. I've just started one, and when it gets too big to keep working on in summer, I'll start another one, then finish them in the winter when being draped with them will be wonderful.
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[User Picture]From: made_of_paradox
2011-05-02 12:40 am (UTC)
I did straight crocheting some when I was young, haven't done it in years. I have a friend who is making hats for people (my daughter, her twin brother, my husband, said friend's boyfriend, etc.), but I think I'd prefer to work on re-learning or learning something new that would let me make blankets.

My sister made herself a bedspread with granny squares. She was working on it around the time of my wedding. (That was almost 20 years ago.)
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[User Picture]From: dirtwitch
2011-04-21 06:37 am (UTC)
E;
I spent several months trying to learn to knit (again) last year (I knit with my Gramma lots when I was a child) I downloaded video's, talked to friends, got books, and practiced most nights..

but, if i missed a night or two, I had to start at the very beginning. Again.
Each time.
After the aforementioned several months, I just gave up, it simply would not stick!
What the heck..
So, I took up cross-stiching, some nice designs not full of pink flowers, and the like. I like it pretty well...
But, I wish I could knit.

Hope you bring by your project some time! I love the sounds of the clicking needles. And the colors are good.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-21 05:00 pm (UTC)
If your muscle memory doesn't work with knitting then it's going to be a tough road. Mine, for some reason, does. I will say that when I started up again, it took repeated practice sessions before I didn't have to start at the beginning again. It's getting better, but we're talking a month (but not every night.)
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[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2011-04-21 11:11 am (UTC)
Nice! :) And yes, by all means stick with whatever needle size is giving you the look and gauge you want for a project. Lord knows I do.
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[User Picture]From: seitherin
2011-04-21 01:50 pm (UTC)
I'm a devoted lurker on your group on SFF.net and I think I've delurked a couple of times to comment on things, mostly technical stuff I have some experience with. Like you, my mom taught me to knit 40-odd years ago and I was a knitting demon as a child. Between my knitting and my mom sewing, I had the best dressed baby dolls in the neighborhood. And like you, life got in the way and I gave it up until a few years ago when I rediscovered it. Unfortunately, life is getting in the way again and I've let it slide the last couple of years. However, there is one lesson I learned early on that I'd like to offer up.

Gauge only matters on garments.

I've never in all my life knit a gauge swatch for a blanket. Does it really matter if the blanket is X by Y size per the instructions? Unless you're knitting for a dictatorial tyrant, not really. What matters is how tight the stitches are and the effect on the pattern, if any. If you're going for warmth, smaller than recommended needles make a nice tight stitch. If you're going for light and airy, bigger needles do the trick. The only thing you have to keep in mind using the "what the heck" method (which is what I've always called this approach) is the amount of yarn is going to vary from the amount listed on the pattern. Generally, small and tight means more yarn while light and airy means less yarn.

And all of the above nonsense - wry grin - is just a prelude to say I really like the colors and I hope you get the joy and ease of mind out of knitting that I do.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-21 05:19 pm (UTC)
I want a certain "feel" for this blanket...comforting/cuddley, not too dense but also not too loose and snag-prone. I don't have a pattern, just a rough size (shooting for "about" 40 inches by "about" 48 inches as suitable for slightly older kid.) This would fit across the top of a single or twin bed (32 inches, so 40 would be wide enough), and be long enough for a kid 4' tall to nap under or a taller kid to use as a lap afghan. Of course, for my first one maybe I shouldn't go that big. They want 30x30 to 54x70 (inches) and "child-friendly" colors (do they ask children??? I don't know. This blend has passed muster with guys I asked "Would you have wanted this when you were a little boy?") I'm thinking kids at 5 years have definite color preferences, and some of them will like it.

Anyway, I'd also like to know sooner rather than 3/4 of the way through that I have enough yarn, so if I don't I can order a coordinating color to fill in with. And I need to know how many stitches to cast on. The gauge patch is telling me about how many stitches/inch I do with these needles, and I can then multiply inches desired by stitches per inch, which right now appears to be 4.44444...very close to their 4.5 st/in with a 9. Going up a needle size could be too loose for this yarn, in a blanket that's supposed to survive use by an upset kid and possibly foster parents.

I'm planning a garter stitch border (less curl--uses that on scarves back in the day) and a sort of checkerboard of garter and stockinette (at which I need practice) in the body of it. I don't have the knowledge to do any cables. Yet.
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[User Picture]From: seitherin
2011-04-22 04:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, my. Everyone seems to put a lot more thought into their knitting than I've ever done. My mom never knit a swatch for anything in her life regardless of the project and that is how she taught me to knit. I will admit it here, I do not swatch for anything. I pick a yarn. I pick needles. I cast on. I knit. Maybe it's a German thing. My grandmother was the same way. The only thing I knit I pay close attention to is socks. You can't hide a bad fit in socks.
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2011-04-21 02:21 pm (UTC)
Welcome back!

If it looks and feels right, then it is right. Needle sizes are a suggestion, not a rule :)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-21 05:23 pm (UTC)
Well, then, now I need a circular needle size 7 that's long enough to hold 200 stitches. About to order same off the internet. Advice? I'm looking at the bamboo needles at eknittingneedles.com.
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[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2011-04-21 05:47 pm (UTC)
Jumping in for an unrequested 2 cents....

I strongly recommend KnitPicks Interchangeables, or something similar. The KnitPicks cables are awesomely resistant when it comes to unwanted curling. But that's not all! The Interchangeable system means that you can mix and match the needle size with a cable length for whatever project you need. So instead of buying a 36-inch size 7 circs, and then later on buying a 60-inch size 7 circs, you can buy the size 7 tips (in wood, acrylic, or nickel-plated) and whatever cable length you need for a current project.

I took a deep breath and invested in the Options Interchangeable Nickel Plated Circular Knitting Needle Set a couple years back, and it's been AWESOME. Since then I've bought Harmony Wood tips in size 7 and 9 (very useful for when I'm knitting with soysilk or bamboo blends) and I've bought a set of 60-inch cables, but that's it for circs. Any other needles I've bought have been of the DPN variety.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-21 07:23 pm (UTC)
I looked at that site, and am delighted to have your input on it. While we're on the topic, how do you figure what length cable for a given width of project?
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[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2011-04-21 07:33 pm (UTC)
If I'm knitting from a pattern, I look to see if there's a particular length recommended. If they don't specify a cable length, I check the expected finished measurement of the project and go from there.

On many occasions, I admit, I've grabbed whatever cable has been handy and gone with that. Generally I find that for the projects I tend to knit, I use my 24-, 36-, and 40-inch cables. The big exceptions are the bigger projects, like the seamless raglan sweaters I've been doing lately, where I'll start out on DPNs, then move up to a 24-inch cable, then up a few more steps to generally the 60-inch cable. Which is another reason why I love the Interchangeables: if/when I discover I'm using the wrong cable length, I swap out on the next round/row. It's a little tricky to manage that at first, but practice makes it easier.
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[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2011-04-21 08:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, the Harmony tips are GORGEOUS. I have a set of Harmony DPNs I use for when I'm knitting socks for my mother-in-law; she's allergic to wool, so I like to use soysilk or bamboo blends when I'm making socks for her. The Harmony DPNs are perfect for slippery yarns.
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2011-04-21 06:24 pm (UTC)
I don't know what that particular brand is like, but I do like bamboo needles in general. I've got several sets of Crystal Palace needles that have done stirling service.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-04-21 03:52 pm (UTC)
The needle size on the yarn balls is definitely a suggestion. I am a loose knitter and always have to go down at least 2 sizes in needles to reach the gauge in patterns.
Beverly
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-21 05:20 pm (UTC)
It looks like where I am. My stitches/inch on 7s is about where their 9 is.
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[User Picture]From: mrs_redboots
2011-04-21 04:41 pm (UTC)
Yay for the knitting! I do hope you are safe from these dreadful wildfires that are dominating the news lately?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-21 05:21 pm (UTC)
We've had them here in the past but aren't having them right now. However, the fire danger is very high. No outside fires at all, not even barbecue (I hope nobody breaks that rule for a holiday weekend!! One first in another part of our county was in fact started by someone grilling in their yard.)
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[User Picture]From: grassrose
2011-04-23 12:11 am (UTC)
I live to the northwest of you (San Angelo), and I'm dreading the 4th of July. Especially if we don't get a good dose of rain between now and then. There's always some idiot who doesn't think, or doesn't care.

Come to think of it, I pity the fireworks vendors, too. This isn't shaping up to be a good year for them.

My grandmother taught me to crochet, but I never had the patience to knit. It felt like the pattern emerged faster under the crochet hook. Maybe that's just because I had that rhythm down a little better. Grandma used to make bead rope necklaces, thick white ropes of beads crocheted together with thread, punctuated by flowers - a circle of pink around a single gold bead, with a bit of green under it. I still have one of those - beautiful! At one time, I could make them. I haven't played with it in years, though :o(
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[User Picture]From: grassrose
2011-04-23 12:20 am (UTC)
The basic rope necklaces in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mSAEs5UWaQ&feature=related look like Grandma's. She didn't do the wild stuff that they also present.

Thanks for bringing back a happy memory :o)
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[User Picture]From: forestcats
2011-04-21 05:52 pm (UTC)
http://www.amazon.com/Knit-Your-Own-Royal-Wedding/dp/1449409245
Knit Your Own Royal Wedding
Saw this yesterday and really considered taking up knitting just for the corgi patterns. Art Quilting is my passion in the fiber world.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-21 07:19 pm (UTC)
Another knitting friend pointed me at this before...cute, but not my thing.
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[User Picture]From: weaverjohn
2011-04-22 02:14 am (UTC)

Fibre Fixations

It looks like it will be a beautiful blanket. As men in my family weren't taught to knit, I've taken up weaving as my primary fibre addiction.

I also just finished _Kings of the North_ and I must say WOW!

WeaverJohn
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-22 03:28 am (UTC)

Re: Fibre Fixations

Thanks--glad you enjoyed the book.

I just found out recently that in the Dales area of the UK, men, women and children all knit--children were taught knitting in school (and songs to knit by.) Although I sorta-kinda understand simple weaving (those metal frames with teeth standing up on the side, and colored loops to put on them, were a common kid's craft in my childhood, and I made dozens of potholders) the looms I've seen in shops look very complicated. I can understand stripes and plaids (sort of) but not how the other patterns are created.
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[User Picture]From: aviatrix18
2011-04-22 04:08 am (UTC)
The only problem I have ever had with interchangeable needles (Denise and Boye) is that I have the bad habit of twisting the needle as I knit, and I've detached the needle from the cord/cable mid-row, at the join point where the needle attaches to the cable. I have not worked with the Knit Picks Needles, so I can't compare them. I tend to use a 29 inch circular for the afghans that I knit and that tends to be fine. I prefer Addi turbo needles and use them when ever I can.


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