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Knitting Hierarchy and Raglans

I’ve been alternately trying  resisting and actively trying new ways of knitting socks.  I love my friend Cristi’s enthusiasm about discovering new ways to bring little socklettes into the world.  I’ve been really trying to get on her fun-filled bandwagon. It ain’t workin’ for me.

Actually I am producing far fewer pairs of socks and am not having as much fun.  So what–other than I am NOT Cristi–is going on.

My friend B.J. took me to lunch today.  I had lots of fun.  We share much more than knitting.  We got into some rollicking theology discussions and the subject of meditation came up.


So–Why should my socks be simple things?  What I think is that they are my prayer/meditation knitting.  Wait.  I’ll explain.  Adding the concept of keeping my place in a pattern to the muddle of thoughts that are always racing through my brain defeats the purpose of meditation.  You know, the “ohm” stuff.

Meditation for me, such as it is, also requires rhythm.  Spinning is rhythmic .  For knitting to be rhythmic, the pattern must be simple enough to be automatic.  Stockinette, garter, seed, ribbing–these all meet that need, for me.  Even repetitive colorwork.  Stopping or slowing to turn a cable breaks the meditative focus. Thus cable knitting represents a different kind of knitting.

You may want to give up on this treatise now.  It’s very possible I’m full of it and you should protect yourself.

Patterns which require some attention are “play.”    They have their own rhythm or beat.  They involve slow- downs and speed-ups.  I don’t get lost in these patterns.  I enjoy them, but often put them aside after 20 or 30 minutes.  Eventually they are finished.  Maybe.

Then there is lace–real lace.  Patterns on both sides.  No purl back on the WS rows.  This knitting is Challenge.  It involves preparation and proper environment.  A strategy–It’s a competition, a war. It is to be conquered and finishing brings a feeling of invincibility.

I don’t do this kind of knitting very often.  It takes too much energy.  But a win here is a long lasting high.

Lay people have no concept of what a complex world knitting can be.  (Of course, their obsession is probably the same.) This is another reason I always have multiple projects going.  This is my rationalization and I am sticking to it.  :)

Oh–about the raglans–

BJ brought a top down raglan to lunch.  After reading my first blog on this issue. she saw fit problems in her new project that she wanted to fix.  it was great for me to be able to fiddle with an “in-process” sweater on a real body.

I’m even more convinced that my problem with raglans is that they are two-dimensional–the back and front have length and width, but no depth.  There has to be a way to add depth to a raglan.  I’m sure it involves knitting the sleeve (top down) to a point before it meets the back and then casting on for a wide underarm depth.

I am trying to figure out a way to research this short of actually knitting a sweater.  I’ll let you know.

Random Kindness

Steve took me shopping for new jeans.  I have trouble getting there on my own.

First stop was Belk’s at Southpark where I originally bought the jeans I was wearing about 20+ pounds ago.  I wanted the same jeans a size smaller.  (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans–Oprah recommends them.  Me, too.)  Belk’s doesn’t carry them in petites anymore–go figure.  But a nice sales clerk said that Nordstrom’s has them.  At this point I usually just go home and mope, but Steve dragged me to Nordstroms.

On the way we stopped at Anthropologie–You guys realize that Target is my normal store of choice, so this was a reat treat for me.  We bought some knobs for the china cabinet my friend Jennie gave me.  (Her mom’s which had been in her garage for years.)  Love the knobs, but enjoyed the salesclerk even more.

She had a fit over my charm necklace and we talked about charm bracelets and why you never wear them.  I told her where to find Bead Lush and I have no doubt she will soon visit and make her own necklace.  Debbie Crane has really started a new trend.  I left the store feeling so happy at the interaction.

Got to Nordstrom’s; found petites; found my jeans.  They now come in colors.  Steve insisted I buy 2 pair–black and dark denim.  Who am I to argue?  Besides he doesn’t want to do this shopping thing again any time soon.

Another saleclerk–“OMG, where do you get your nails done?”  She ws new in town and her hands were wrecked.  Like me she can’t grow any length nail.  We commiserated and I gave her Kim’s name at Fancy Nails and Jewelry, Kings Point on Kings Drive.  I’ve gone there for 10 or more years.  We discusses gel vs tips, etc. and we laughed a lot.  This just made my day.

I skipped back through the mall to the car.

You just never know when a quick smile or a genuine compliment to someone will have a huge effect–even change a life.

Knitters encourage each other all the time with questions and praise.  This is what makes us such a special community.

I guess I’m saying–spread it to the rest of the world————–and thank you to three salesclerks who made my day productive and very happy just by their positive, helpful attitudes

You just never know . . . .   :)

Like Jazz Sock Pattern on Ravelry

Guess I should at least mention on my own blog that I have a new pattern available.  It is the Like Jazz sock which I designed to prevent pooling around the gusset area.  Eliminated the gusset!!  Look up at the top of the page at the Tab labeled Patterns.  It is the only one on there.

You still have to go to Ravelry to download it ($4). The Patterns page tells you how.

This is a picture of the sock in a lighter colorway.This is a picture of the color problem I was attempted to solve.I’m pretty proud of this and the band heel is easy to knit.

Raglans and their problems

I knit  this sweater for Z when he was about 4, but ran out of steam and never finished the second sleeve.  Well, you know how kids are; he grew.  I saved it because I thought I could use it as a sample for class.

Along comes Evan to the yarn shop to see Nana’s work and he wants a sweater.  I turned him loose to pick out yarn—talked him out of the pale pink–but these were the colors he picked. Bought the yarn with a feeling of deja vu.  Search at home revealed Z’s old sweater.  All it needed was an arm.

I could only located one of the yarns—that big declutter a few years ago; I KNEW I should never get rid of yarn scraps–but found a grey that almost matches.  In a couple of hours, we had a sleeve.  I love asymmetry and Evan seems to agree.  He loves his sweater.  I think I’m saying just pack up and hang on to the unfinished objects.

Anyway, I’ve been pondering raglan sweaters.  They are so easy to knit from the top down and lend themselves to lots of color play and stitch patterns.  The problem I have is they don’t fit well.   I researched some patterns on Ravelry by designers whom I greatly respect.  These are examples of what I find if the model isn’t a size 2.Lovely pattern; well knit; but look at the underarms.  Same here–lots of wadding of fabric at the underarms.  And I have sweaters of my own that are even worse.

Why?  Can it be fixed?  Easily?  Here’s what I’m thinking.Great fit so far.Solves the problem by eliminating the sleeve.  Not exactly what I’m going for.

I’ve been swatching and changing the rate of decrease.  I have Shelda’s spreadsheet where she did this. I’m toying with the idea of knitting the sleeve short of where it comes together under the arm and actually adding my copious amount of underarm stitches.  That’s my best untested idea.

I am not being fussy.  If I buy a sweatshirt to wear around, then the sleeves can bag.  But if I’m going to knit it, I’m not so tolerant.

Any ideas?  How have you tweaked a raglan pattern?  Help is greatly appreciated.

Nicky Epstein Rocks!

Well, I’ve run out of journal notes from the cruise.  I didn’t write about Nicky’s class because I was too busy knitting and that is a great thing.  If you get a chance to take a class from her, do it!!!!!!!!!!! She’s positive, silly, encouraging and loads of fun.

Lots of what we did is in some of the many Epstein books I own, but I hadn’t done any of it.  Just doing a few edges and flowers gave me lots of ideas.  We made some circles and then she drew pictures of the dozens of different ways to sew them on stuff that occurred to her in thirty seconds.  I loved it.

Her new books is out. (Charlotte Yarn has it; I saw it there today).  The leaf pattern alone is worth the cost.I just happened to have a little Silk Garden left over from the Lililandia Cowl.

I love these leaves.  I think they will go on a pillow in my den.  Or on a tree in the neighborhood.  Nah, the pillow.

I created this one.  It’s from the Happy Tree.The Epstein rose.  Purl side out.   Out of photos but not ideas.  The woman is contagious.

Last part of the cruise was lovely.  We were excited to get home to our dogs and to call Shelley for her brain help.  She gets me.

Back to the lovely grind of my world.  New pattern (socks) is on ravelry and has already sold.   One or two more going up when I can manage it.

Does anyone know how to make this blog page the homepage for my website?

Tropical Storm Ida, Carla’s Class, Towels

Who says  huge ocean liners don’t wobble and roll?  We have experienced up to 15 foot seas and 60 mph winds.  It’s absolutely beautiful to watch the water and not at all scary.  Sun seekers are a bit bummed, but there are always the inside bars.

Our group is inside for classes most of the day anyway.  We’re meeting in a bar call the Catacombs.  Want to guess how good the lighting is?  Carla Scott is our teacher today.  She is the executive editor of Vogue Knitting and the editor of Knit Simple.  She’s the one who makes certain the instructions are correct and well written.  We did measurements.  She did a neat little graph trick that I will copy in my class.

She said in her experience, young designers tend to make sleeves too full at the top and too long.  You might want to keep that in mind as you look at some of the free patterns on the web.

The afternoon class was to knit EZ’ s spiral hat which involves a special M1.  It is the loop increase, but it must be backwards to the loop caston. I finished mine—looks awful on me–but I think I can tweak it.EZ snail hat 1I don’t know the yarn–no label–but I think it was a  wool/acrylic blend, single spun.  It’s very soft.  When I get home I plan to pick up around the cast on and add a roll up brim of some size to make it look better on my moon pie face.  (Time warp–FINISHED)

After class Carla looked at some of my patterns and said she would put me on her designer list to receive submission calls.  Hands shaking, I thanked her and headed for the bar.  Scotch was a necessity here and it was 5 o’clock somewhere in the world.

Formal night, lobster, and another show.  The shows on board have been entertaining.  The production designer for the shows is a genius.  They even have an ice rink and and ice show.

Late night–10 pm–we headed for a piano bar.  I had the chance to play guitar while we sang “Blue Suede Shoes.”  It was a blue, blowup guitar, but I played so well, I won two Royal Caribbean keychains.

Back at the stateroom the towel artist had struck again.  Levi, our steward, left us towel art every night. Here are some examples:bunny towelmonkey towelVicki is going to loan me a book on towel folding so I can entertain the grandsons.

Tomorrow is Nicki Epstein’s class and they have been a hot bed of laughter.  Can’t wait.

Cozumel, Magnets, FO

Steve at the bowWeds. night was the cocktail party (yeah, this is time warping to tell these stories) where the group was gathered together again.  Everyone wore handknits and praise was heaped.  I wore my linen skirt and an Oak Leaf shawl.

My greatest contribution to the discussion was the use of magnets to hold your shawl closed or your scarf in place.  ($2.95 at Michaels) I felt so proud being shown off to everyone and offering such wisdom and cleverness.  —This morning I couldn’t open my stateroom door.  The magnets had degaussed my room key.  New thought:  keep the magnets away from magnetic strips.  Another pedestal crumbling under me.

Storms started last night.  Lots of pitch and roll.  I stayed on my balcony a long time watching.  Once we sailed into a rain shower and I could see it approaching down the side of the ship.  Amazing.  I love the vast power of the sea—as long as I’m safe of course.

Cozumel looks much nicer and more developed than the other stops.  I didn’t visit.  I knit a while on the top deck with my new friend Doris.  I worked mostly on the second Anemoi mitten, desperately chasing the work FINISHED.

Bordhi toeThe Bordhi sock is rocking, BUT—I think it may be too big.  Do I frog or do I try to find a way to cheat?  Of course, I knit another inch before deciding I needed to frog.  Steve made fun of me.  Even he knows that asking that question means it is time to frog.  Had these socks been for him, he would not have said a word.

The Lililandia Cowl is finished.  It is too small really even though I added stitches.  I think it is beautiful.


Evan loved the cowl and took it home with him.  Fits him perfectly but he was not into having a photo made.  Here’s the cowl on me.Liliandia cowl on meDo you feel stupid trying to take your own picture?

Taking my own picThis is the unedited pic of an idiot in the Malabrigo Neck Thingie.

Belize City and Insults

im_treeToday started badly.  I’m getting a cold.  At breakfast, a 40ish woman asked if Steve were my son.  When I explained he was my husband, she stuttered around and said that if someone had made that mistake to her she would have run right to the spa for Botox.  Just keep diggin that hole, honey.

So, today’s comments may have a slightly negative tinge.

I got off the boat to go for my walking tour.  On shore was the nightmare of shopping centers with loud music, cheap t-shirts, expensive jewelry and DRUGS.  Who knew you could by Viagra and Prozac over the counter in Belize?  And not too expensive.  Of course, US Customs might be a problem.

Dale led our walking tour and he is so proud of his country.  Belize used to be the world’s exporter of mahogany.  Many of the colonial buildings are 100% mahogany.  Yeah, the same wood as your grandma’s dining room table.  Even Mr. Chippendale shipped his mahogany from Belize to England.

We went to his church and school.  All schools are run by churches.  The kids wear uniforms and were very well behaved in the classroom.  I could and did look through the windows.  We passed some middle school students at phys.ed. and they were taunting each other just like every middle school kid here does.  I liked that, too.

There is much poverty in Belize, but people don’t just sit around in it.  They are doing or selling or working to make any money they can.  Of course, many depend on the cruise ship trade.  They make a darn good beer there.  Tastes like an English beer.  We didn’t hesitate to try a few.

42654455-1limeBack on the boat I worked on the socks and the mittens.  I also helped the bartender create a drink that didn’t use sugar syrup—too sweet for me—but did use lots of gin and lime juice.  Had fat free yogurt for a late lunch and am finally relaxed by the pool reading.  Steve is lightly snoring.  All is good.

There seem to be so many couples on this cruise even older than we are who walk around holding hands.  One couple is seated near us, each reading their own book, but holding hands on the table.  So sweet.

I edited out all the negative bits so you didn’t have to read them.  They involved sales clerks, humidity, and the aforementioned cold.

Cruise stops-a slanted view

First stop on the cruise was Costa Maya.  I took four pictures from my balcony.  Two of the land jutting out to the sea.costa maya1Dry, desolate, but with a lovely color combo.  Soft yellow-green, pearl sand, grey trees–sounds like a colorway.  The turquoise water flowing up to the beach makes a great highlight.costa maya 2Costa maya3The brilliant pink and hot peach stucco of the shopping district with the grey thatched roofs is another treat.  Dots of true blue umbrellas, a soft yellow wall add interest.  However—————-this shopping district, built for and by the cruise lines, holds no interest for me.  (No yarns shops) Our personal cruise shopping guide is meeting passengers at the jewelry store to assist them in buying diamonds.  She had a program on the ship’s TV last night about this.  Jane and Steve respectfully decline.

I sat by or in the pool this morning.  Very quiet with all ashore.  I’m working on the Lillandria Cowl from ravelry.Liliandia startI’m using Silk Garden from the stash and double pointed needles as the designer highly recommends.  I used this stitch in my Seaworthy Shawl and do enjoy knitting it.  The Noro colors are stacking nicely.  I’m too relaxed to knit anything requiring more thought.

My last picture of Costa Maya is of the people from the two docked ships walking down the pier to spend money on stuff.Costa maya 4At dinner last night we were alone.  Doris and Ken, our former tablemates, had transferred to another dining room to be with her sister.  We ordered a bottle of Cote du Rhone and had some nice conversation.  Yes, folks, Steve talked!  He looked so awesome in his new suit and yellow tie.  Our table is by the window and looks out over the water–lucky us.

After dinner we hung out in the casino to watch the gamblers.  Lots of money exchanged hands.  I don’t get the attraction, but I ‘ll bet they wouldn’t understand my yarn room.


FINISHED TODAY—ANEMOI MITTENS.  Pic later after blocking.  So happy.

Debbie Bliss Class

We were at sea all day so we had a knitting class.  Sorry I didn’t take my camera.  Debbie Bliss is a wonderful and generous person.  She talked for a bit about her design technique.  Here are some of my class notes–

Lots of texture;  uses Mock Rib a lot in garments (k1, p1 on right side, p on wrong side); img-The_Big_Easyswatches through the blocked periods and then designs just begin to come; no large reverse st st areas; puts her bobbles in surprising places; paneled pieces are knit one panel at a time and then manipulated to create the design; loves moss st.

She allowed us to try on lots of her pieces and the fit was surprising.  All of her samples are knit at 34 inch size, yet they fit a huge variety of people.  She agrees with me and therefore must be right that people tend to knit garments too large.  I tried on a coat from her book  The Big Easy and discovered that I needed to knit the 36″ size, not the 40 or 42 I might have chosen.  img-The_Big_Easy4Isn’t it adorable?  I may have to knit this.

Debbie is not a natural teacher.  The class was great through the fashion show, but then we had about 4 hours left to just sit and knit from a worksheet of stitch patterns and she would help if you needed it.  I will say she did generously help anyone who asked.  However—-the textured patterns were mostly cables.

Yes, Jean, I said cables.  I was 5 weeks into teaching the Great American Aran Afghan and I was not going to knit anymore cables!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I happily went to find Steve and the pool.

OMG!  The bodies.  They were everywhere.  It didn’t matter if they were attractive or not, it was just the enormity of the amount of exposed flesh every where I looked.  I was overwhelmed.   So I drank a mojito and ran off to lunch alone.

I found Steve and we found a really isolated deck with a great view of the water and a good breeze. (Our balcony was currently in full sun.) I did the Cat Bordhi toe from the Discovery Sock in her new book. I like it so far and this new technique intrigues me.  It seems more practical and less showboat than the others.  I mean that in a nice way.Bordhi toeYarn is Yummy from Universal,  a gift from Hal.

Saw Cuba–well, I saw a dark blotch on the horizon, but the captain said it was Cuba.  I don’t think he would lie to me.

Tonight is the first formal dinner.  I asked Steve if he would need extra time to do his hair.  He gave me the skunk eye.  He gets cocky when the socks on the needle are NOT for him.

Am reading another book about AD/HD.  This by Sari Solden about women and adhd.  Shelley is right; I need some testing.  I have so many ideas and I need some strategies to corral them and get my brand on them. (How about that metaphor?)

Tomorrow we dock in Costa Maya and Steve is  going on a biking/kayaking trip.  I have no plans—well, there might be some knitting.

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