Knit or not?

Stitch markers
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
Somehow I got it into my head that the stars had aligned that all the projects on the side could be finished simulateously; this theory actually worked really well until I didn't weave in the 8 ends for the fingerless mittens for multiple days. (Right now? 3 out of 8 ends woven in. Um.) So the knitting is stalled, even the swatching, which is some limbo state that doesn't even exist on the sidebar.

Instead, I present my foray into making stitch markers. This was motivated partly by owning a string of gorgeous green lizardite beads, bought at a bead show that I went to with a beading friend, many years ago. Rock! Pretty! Had to have! Of course nothing was ever done with these, since I don't bead. But now I have enough tools and doo-dads (not to mention two more strings, of different shades of jasper) to produce stitch markers. The more recent motivation was for the finish of Knitty SP4, to get them off to my SP. You said you had a guess as to who I am, so if you receive these in your package, you were right! I actually made six sets, only two are pictured.

The ones with multiple links are for counting rows between increases and decreases. You start at the white end, and increment every row (1-6 rows between activities) or every two rows (7-12 rows between activities). I got the idea from String or Nothing, but upon showing my creation around I've been told it is common to use yarn tied into multiple loops in a similar manner.

The internet ate my brain, part II...

Way, way, way back I posted about the desire to design an inexpensive swift. It was a nice little engineering challenge, come up with a design that was cheap and easy to make. Yet again, all my fun was taken away. A few days after that post, I discovered that my knitting geologist colleague from GeoKnitting had already found an elegant solution: behold the $10 swift...
Side view of lazy susan part
Back. Note elaborate assembly methods
Front. Lots of wood glue for stability
Arms. Note sophisticated yarn-holding mechanism (binder clip)

Too many geeky knitters around. Bah. Need to thin the herd, or else stop using the internet!

Falling off the wagon...

Loot from Yarnover
Originally uploaded by thomasina. far off, it is only a tiny cart on the horizon. I only brought a little bit of cash, and thought that it would not be that tempting since I usually need to see and think about yarn for a while before I become tempted to buy it. However, the same obviously does not hold true for knitting equipment.

Continue reading "Falling off the wagon..." »

Equipment ideas, part one

Here are the Denise needles, with two different tip sizes: 13 on the bottom, 11 on the top. Since I was having problems getting the stitches over the stationary needle in the Addi Turbos, and the working needle sets the stitch size, I thought that it would be worth trying a smaller size on the stationary needle. Also, being able to set the cord diameter more exactly to the project might also help move stitches around the needle.

Continue reading "Equipment ideas, part one" »

Fiber, of a sort

The local sewing shop was having an anniversary sale, and I wanted to get some fabric for making a knitting bag and needle case. So now we can present the proud start of a fabric stash:

Fabric for Knitting Bag
Fabric for Knitting Bag


Fabric for Needle Case
Fabric for Knitting Needles

Next step: learn to sew.

Equipment ideas

Other thoughts I've had recently:

Since the working needle sets the gauge, and right now one of the things that is slowing me down is moving stitches off of the stationary needle, why not use a smaller gauge needle on that side? Just go down a size or two. I've been getting better about not knitting too tightly (otherwise known as figuring out how to make the Addi Turbos go fast), so this is becoming less of a problem, but it would still be fun to experiment with. This would mean purchasing a set of Denise needles or equivalent.

It should also be possible to develop an inexpensive swift substitute. I believe that the adjustibility of the swift is primarily to go in the opposite direction, to turn balls into skeins. I think it would be an interesting engineering challenge to come up with a swift made out of off-the-shelf parts, that could be made for $20. Since the manual ball winders are sometimes available on sale for under $30, an entire setup could be made for under $50. This will especially benefit people that don't live near yarn stores, and need to mail-order yarn. One initial design is a cone on a lazy susan, where the skein of yarn just falls to the correct circumference. Depending on the variability of size in skeins (which will set the height of the cone), there might need to be some weights inside to adjust the inertial moment of spin. If people want to go from balls to skeins (say for dyeing), that might still be possible by putting a "collar" around the cone at the desired circumference.

My new ball winder: Or, a tale of unfaithfulness

Ball winder
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
To begin: I love my local neighborhood yarn shop, Borealis Yarns. I will dedicate an entire post to them later, but short story: they just opened at the beginning of the summer, and I would like the store to have a long and fruitful life. I started knitting after learning at the open knitting night on Tuesdays (6-8pm!), and as I learn more and more, I can better appreciate how lucky I am to have them near. And I definitely do my part to keep them in business.


Continue reading "My new ball winder: Or, a tale of unfaithfulness" »

Knitting Books

I like books. I'm enjoying my forays into knitting. I forsee this list growing.

Books in order of purchase:

Stitch n' Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller. I learned how to knit (cast on, knit, bind off) from the local yarn shop. I mostly bought this book as a means to start learning how to read patterns. My first real project was the cat bed, where I learned how to follow (and modify) a pattern. I learned to be suspicious of patterns with the Windy City scarf, where the proportions didn't work out at all for me. I don't actually use the stitch references much, I find it is easier and better to google until I find an explanation that clicks for me.

Knitting for Anarchists by Anna Zilboorg. I halfway learned how to purl at the local yarn shop for the Windy City scarf, but when I got home all I got was a tangled mess. When I pulled out the SnB, I obviously did not do what they intended, because I ended up wrapping the yarn around clockwise (which results in twisting the stitch on the needle, so I knitted eastern crossed for that project). On my next project, the fingerless mittens, I learned how to knit combination-style k2 p2 rib and stockinette. Fortunately I started reading Zilboorg before trying to figure out seed stitch; the stitch pictures and descriptions are what has finally made the process of knitting click for me. Plus, it is a good reference for a novice trying to adapt patterns and develop new patterns. (It is no substitute for consultation with an experienced knitter, of course). The only disappointment was not much discussion about how to fix dropped stitches, especially laddered ones. It is one thing to causually toss off that people are too afraid of dropping stitches -- but to my mind, without knowing the remedy, it is something I am overcautious of, and I think reasonably so.

The two new additions: Elsebeth Lavold's Book one: The Viking Knits Collection and Book three: The Embraceable You Collection. I became interested in the silky wool when browsing through many yarn choices for the next DNA scarf. I really like the cabled and armored-inspired designs. I'm not sure that I want to commit to an entire sweater, especially in the near future, but there are also some great armbands and hats. And I wanted a backup plan in case the DNA scarf did not work out in the silky wool.


I thought it would help to keep a list of needles that I own, since they are often with a project rather than in a central location.

#11; 32" circular Addi Turbos [pillow; in use]
#10.5; 24" circular bamboo [SnB Cat Bed]
#9; 24" circular bamboo [SnB Windy City Scarf]
#7; 9" straight bamboo [cat toy; practice]
#6; 9" straight bamboo [knit swatch for tectonics shawl]
#5; 9" straight bamboo [knit swatch for tectonics shawl]
#4; 9" straight bamboo [DNA scarf]
#4; double-pointed bamboo (5) [fingerless mittens; in use]