Friday, July 18, 2014

Ah, Camping! Well Not Really

For the next 10 days I am going to be "camping", although I can't really call it that because we have a fifth wheel with all the amenities. It is hardly camping, but it is in the woods, and we build campfires, and cook over them, fight the mosquitos and enjoy being away from home.

The beauty of it this time is that while AJ and I are going up tonight, he is coming home to go to work on Monday, but I am staying throughout next week. KC, KB, and LB, my knitting group, are joining me at the campground on Sunday night, staying until Tuesday. Then I will be on my own until the following weekend when AJ will come up again for the weekend.

I have packed a lot of knitting and some designing for a Fair Isle sweater I am working on so I will have plenty to do. No wifi at the campground but it is available near by, so the computer goes along. I'm really looking forward to having the uninterrupted time to do what I want to do - no meals to plan, no phone to answer - oh, did I tell you? phone reception is very spotty, so if you need to get in touch with me, send an email. I will drive in to the town with wifi once a day.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!

I received an interesting email from a friend this week and I just had to share it. It is all so true. The American historian Howard Zin is credited with having written the original document. Enjoy! I did!


First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren't overweight. WHY?

Because we were always outside playing...that's why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day; and, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones,  no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found  them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse. 

We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and -although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! 

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of those born between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS! 

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives  for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Quick Catch Up

I have to take a short diversion from double knitting because I have photos to share. You see, it is deer season here in our neighborhood. Last summer they arrived and ate all of the Hostas - right down to the ground. This year, they seem to have a fondness for geraniums.

We have two large flower pots at the end of our driveway, right along the street edge, and I planted them both with red geraniums this spring. The photo on the top left is a picture of how both of them looked yesterday. Now I have one with flowers and a one without. If you look closely to the photo on the right you will see small green stems sticking up in the air. There were flowers on those stems two days ago. Arg! Most displeased - they looked so nice.

Tuesday night was the monthly meeting of the Evergreen Quilt Guild and I wanted to share the gift they gave to me for surviving a two-year term as president. First of all, the more than 140 members did this all in secret. I was totally unaware that this was afoot. Each member made two 9-patch 6" squares using purples and whites. One of the members made this gorgeous box in which to present the squares.

When I opened the box, this is what I found. There are enough squares to make a King sized quilt and I have figured out how I want to configure it. The plan is to sew 4 of the 6" squares together to make 12" squares. I am also looking for a pretty complimentary border print for sashing and borders. Much fun. Can't wait to get started.

Have a great day and see you all tonight for the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild meeting.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

More on Double Knitting

I think, perhaps, that confusion arises over the term double knitting, because those two words strung together describe a yarn weight, the technique that I began writing about yesterday, and a loose general usage pertaining to anything worked out of DK weight yarn. When I began researching the topic I often found double knit patterns included in the category with "color knitting" because there are almost always at least 2 colors involved with double knitting. I also often found collections of patterns for baby knits labeled as double knits - because DK weight yarn was used.

To further the confusion there are two main techniques used for double knitting. One works both sides of the fabric simultaneously, and the other works or slips each color, one color at a time. So let's arrive at a definition:

Definition: At its most basic, double knitting is a two-color knitting technique that produces a stockinette fabric on both sides of the work, one a negative image of the other. (see photo above left) It can be worked out of any weight yarn, so long as the needle size chosen is appropriate for the yarn weight.

There are two main methods for producing a double knit fabric:

1. Knit across a row with Yarn A while slipping (as if to purl) every other stitch. Then return to the beginning of that row and purl the slipped stitches with Yarn B.

2. Work both sides of the fabric at the same time. Holding a color in each hand, knit with color A, and purl with color B, moving both yarns forward for purls and backward for knits.

I prefer method #2, probably because I am comfortable working Continental and English stitches at the same time.

I mentioned chart reading in yesterday's post as being problematic for me at first. That is because the chart only shows one side of the work, what we will call, for lack of a better term, the right side. Looking at the picture above you see on the right and left of the picture, the right side. The little V of fabric in the middle is the reverse image of the right and left, and therefore the "wrong side" of the fabric. A chart for that might like like this:

When working on the "right" side, the white squares are worked in the lighter color and the black squares in the darker color. When working on the "wrong side" the white squares are worked in the darker color, and the black squares are worked in the lighter color. (This all assumes that you are not working in the round, but working flat from side to side and back. 

Next post will deal with increases and decreases. Oh, and surprise - there are several ways to work those as well. Happy knitting all.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Double Knitting Saga

I believe that this topic will become serial over time. About three months ago I decided to learn how to double knit; my experiences since that time are based upon two texts:

Having been an editor in a past life, the written word is extremely important to me in terms of directions and descriptions. Some authors lack the ability to organize their thoughts in an orderly manner and express them in a way that a new double knitter can understand. Of the two books above, the one by Baber is the clearest to follow. That said, however, Extreme Double Knitting offers much more "how-to" information. I find myself going back and forth between the two.

I started out attempting a hat in the the Post-Quinn book and after several attempts, threw in the towel. At that point I was not completely understanding that the results of my work on Side A was affecting by work on Side B. I ordered the yarn for the coat in the Baber book and decided to try that, as the pattern is worked flat. (The hat was circular, not normally a problem, but in double knitting it was giving me fits.)

When learning a new technique I usually begin by looking for Absolutes. Are there rules that apply all the time? There seem to be just two absolutes: 1. Every knit stitch is followed by a purl stitch and 2. Both strands of yarn come forward before purls and backward before knits, whether they are used or not. Beyond that, everything is up for grabs. Usually, but not always, the purl stitch is in a color that contrasts to the knit stitch, but not always; no absolute there.

The coat pattern is almost entirely in chart form, which is generally not a problem for me, but this time the chart is read from right to left, all the way to the left edge. The stitch at the left edge is called a Pivot Stitch, and from that point you work back to the right edge in the same row. OK. I get that, but every row is worked that way, whether it is a Side A or a Side B. Also, there is no right side or wrong side. Why? Because Side B is an exact reverse image of Side A, so actually the work is reversible. This requires transposing the chart on every other row - a requirement that I found challenging at first. In other words, when working on Side B, you are looking at a light-colored square on the chart and working a dark-colored stitch and vice versa.

Well, folks, that's it for today. I will continue the saga tomorrow. The bottom line is - thank goodness I learn by doing. It has all gotten easier.