Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tomatoes are growing!

Morning, everyone! Hope you're all doing well and getting some good knitting time in, along with all the usual activities. I transplanted my tomato starts into 4 inch pots yesterday and this morning they are outside on the patio to start the hardening off process, before I plant them in their final large pots on the patio. Afterwards, I soaked some more peat pots and planted six artichoke seeds for DH. We'll have to decide where to plant them, as I think artichokes are a perennial plant and will stay in one place from year to year. I was chatting with a customer this past week about building a green house on a small budget and he suggested I try looking on the local Craig's list for shower doors, which are tempered glass and come with either hinges or a track to slide open. I thought I could install rolls of poly inside the walls, to roll down for insulation in colder weather and roll up when it's warm enough. That way we could have salad veggies year round to eat healthier at a lower cost. Now to get DH to buy into my idea, lol.

I finished my pair of Plaited Points socks last weekend and finally got to wear them yesterday, as I wanted to show them to my friends at the Main Office before I wore them and I was at another station the first four days. The pattern is written toe up, but I prefer to knit my socks top down, so I converted the pattern. I decreased too many stitches at the toe so they came out a little more pointed than I prefer but I'm hoping that wearing and washing them will moderate that. I've finished the first Temperance sock and am doing the heel gusset on the second one, hope to get close to finishing them today. The pair of orange handspun socks I was knitting for DH had to be ripped out, as he didn't like the larger fit. I'll restart them in a while using 52 stitches on size 2 needles. But first I'll finish my second Temperance and knit his birthday socks using Cascade Heritage sock yarn in dark variegated greens. His birthday is the last week of the month and he prefers his socks to be just K2 P2 so they go pretty fast, great TV knitting!

I suggested a KAL for 'Baudelaire' socks for my local Ravelry group so the member who is flying to Orlando, FL on Tuesday would still feel connected to the group, but so far there are no takers, so I put my yarn and pattern away for another time. I have already cast on for a pair of 'Latvian Socks' from Nancy Bush's 'Folk Socks' book for the April KAL on the SolidSocks group on Ravelry so I'll just focus on them. They will be a Christmas present for my SIL to be put in my presents basket  when done. I hope to get almost all of my holiday gifts done early so I don't have to rush in November and December when work gets so hectic.

Here's the next installment for those who are doing the Teddy Bear Aran KAL. The stitch counts are for the original size, if you have modified it to fit a specific bear, bunny, or person, you'll need to change them. 

Front and neck edging, knit in one piece on a circular needle back and forth. Pick up 29 stitches along each front edge from the right side, pick up 25 stitches along the neck edge. Start working back with a purl on the front ribbing and ending with a purl at the other edge. If you have modified the sweater, make sure you pick up an odd number of stitches for the ribbed edging so the ribbing begins and ends with a knit stitch at each bottom edge. Work four rounds of ribbing and bind off in pattern, making buttonholes on the proper side on row 3 if you wish the sweater to be closed. You can also add ties or hook and eye closures later, if you choose, for your specific purpose. 

Run in ends, wash and block and enjoy your achievement!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

Hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful, blessed Easter today and for those who observe it, a good Pesach!

Last Sunday I finished my Pacific Northwest shawl, which I had started on May 2, 2001, then put aside when my first DH was drowned on June 1, 2001. I was ready to start the edging but couldn't touch the shawl until about a month ago. Now it's finally done and I hope to wash and block it today so I can take final pics. It won't get a lot of wearing, since it's knit in laceweight 2-ply forest green Merino wool, but it has lots of memories and dreams in it. I cried a little when I ended it, and my current DH held me until I felt better (bless him for understanding!), so now all the sad memories are out of it and only pleasure in looking forward to wearing it. 

Yesterday I finished my Plaited Points socks in some of Stephania's Three Fates Knitting Platinum yarn she custom dyed in heathered Kelly Green for me. They were going to be my March socks for the SolidSocks group on Ravelry, but I didn't get them done in time because I chose to work on the shawl instead. I changed the pattern to knit them from the top down, as I don't like knitting toe up socks. Some folks have asked me why and it's because I don't like all those needles flopping around with only a few stitches on them when you start the toe. I know when I knit socks top down I have the same few stitches on the needles, but I also have the weight of the sock pulling the knitting down, so the needles stay stable and behave. I'm ready to start the toe decreases on my first Temperance sock, also in some of Stephania's Three Fates Knitting BFL Platinum sock yarn in Cherry Bomb color, also a custom dye color for me for the February SolidSocks KAL. Those were interrupted by my FIL passing away, the travel to the funeral, and then Ravelympics. As I'm sure everyone knows, life happens and we knitters learn to adjust our knitting goals as we go along. 

Oh, and I now have two horehound sprouts from the seeds I planted in February, they take a long time to sprout so I'm been patient. Almost all the tomato sprouts have their first set of true leaves now, and one peat pot has three plants in it! I'm not going to thin them, as the seeds are a rainbow variety so I have no idea what kind each plant is. DH is talking about planting the tomatoes in planters and putting them on the patio, so we can harvest them easier than walking all the way out to the garden when he needs a tomato for my lunch. We're discussing building cages out of PVC pipe that we can take apart and store over the winter in the rectangular planters so we don't have to reinvent the wheel each spring. DH is cool to the idea but I'm working on him, lol.

Okay, now that I have the update done, it's time for the next part of the Teddy Bear Aran KAL. Today we're going to do the decreases at the bottom of the body so the patterns funnel into the ribbing smoothly. For best results, do this decrease row no more than one row after a cable twist row, so the cable stitches don't pucker. Don't do it immediately after a cable twist row, because it can be difficult to get the stitches moved correctly. There will be approximately one inch of ribbing, so for those who are knitting the sweater for a specific doll, bunny, or baby, you may need to knit the body longer to fit. Again, I've written all the decreases out very specifically and, since I know this can get confusing, I'm going to break the single decrease row up into several lines here so you can check off the decreases as you make them. To be clearer, you only knit the decrease row once, even though I've broken it into several lines here to increase readability - okay?

K1, P2tog, K2tog, P2tog, K1, P2, K1, P2tog, K1, P2tog,

K1, P1, K2tog, P2to, K1, P1, K2tog, P2tog, K1, P1, K2tog,

P2tog, K1, P1, K2tog, P2tog, K1, P1, K2tog, P2tog,

K1, P2tog, K1, P2tog, K1, P2tog, K1, P2tog, K2tog, P2tog,

K1, P2tog, K1, P2tog, K1, P2tog, K1, P1, K2tog, P2tog,

K1, P1, K2tog, P2tog, K1, P2, K2tog, P2tog, K1, P2, K2tog,

P2tog, K1, P2tog, K1, P2tog, K1, P2tog, K1, P2tog, K1tog, P2tog, K1.

Turn and work back in P1, K1 ribbing for one inch or desired length, working K1, P1 on the right side rows. When the ribbing is the length you want, bind off loosely in ribbing and relax! Take some time to see how the patterns worked into the ribbing, so when you are planning your fall KAL project you will know how to decrease into ribbing stitches. By the way, if you look closely at my St. Enda on Ravelry, you will see that the body stitches flow into some ribbing cables - a fun thing to do on Arans!

Have a great week!