Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Turning over a new short row

So, I finally turned my first heel semi-successfully last night. After about 4 tries at it. At first I realized I was purling on the RS and knitting on the WS, which would not have been that big a deal but I also realized about 30 wrong short rows in, I forgot to Sl1 before knitting/purling to last st, which means I kept knitting the wrapped stitch and doing the same # of stitches on each short row. It actually looked kind of interesting but definitely wrong.

I ripped that up, did the short rows properly the next time but discovered a hole under the vicinity of some wrapped stitches. I must've dropped a stitch by accident with the constant shifting on the DPN's. I couldn't figure out how to undo the loops and reloop them so it is correct with the wraps so I frogged that again.

Third time, I did it half right, slipped that first stitch, wrapped correctly, no dropped stitches, then some rows forgot to slip the stitch. But I said, screw it I'm not ripping it, just do it when you remember, it still looks ok. I just pushed on through and turned all the rows on the heel. Hurrah it almost looks normal! Then the regular full round of the sock began again which meant going back to the 3k 3p ribbing.

During the first few rounds of this, I was shifting the stitches back to the other needles evenly so I had the same # on each needle, instead of half on 1 needle for the heel. I must've YO'd or something because my pattern came out all funny because I had added on a few extra stitches which screwed up my ribbing. FROG!

Ripped it to the end of the heel. I'm not doing THAT again. There was still a gap on the very last wrapped stitch but I did something with it to reduce the gaping hole to a small hole. So yes my first sock is not perfect but I sure learned a lot about paying attention to the heel part of a sock pattern. Anyways, 1st sock now done...OY!

(ps...Yes there is a long hair on the floor that is mine...the carpet needs vacuuming)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Knitting Magick

The idea of knot magick has always interested me, so has the association of weaving with the complex design of life. In fiction and folklore, the "weaving" of energies by wizards and magicians is a beautiful analogy for magick. It would make sense that knitting should have the same characteristics as these types of magick to infuse intentions into a knitted piece. The only variance I can see is that the finished piece has a different nature than knotted or woven work, thus the time frame and method for its magic to take effect will differ also.

The way I see it, most knotting projects are small, ready made in several days so they are great craft projects. To the non-superstitious, they are usually meant to be decorative. To the magickally inclined, they serve a double purpose: as amulets to be hung on a belt, over a door, on the bed, etc. Sometimes they are buried or burned but the knotted piece is small that it is not a big deal when destroyed. The knot can be easily undone or cut, its energies released. Its existence is meant to add the infused intention to whatever it is attached. It is a visual & speedy approach for fast results.

Weaving is used commerically to create large pieces/rolls of fabric to make clothing, carpet, canvas, etc. In the old days, anything from cloth, paper & tapestries were made for everyday use as well. In modern times, there are probably very few people who weave their own fabrics unless they have a loom in their house which can take up a lot of space. Intricate designs can be worked into the resulting piece and the intended use is likely for a longer period of time. Honestly, I do not know much about weaving but from what is created with woven fabrics, one can infer the expected length of usage. Thus, if someone were to use weaving for magickal purposes, its magick should be expected to create/or store a background energy inducive to the magician's intent and the "information" stored could be very complex. It would be rare for magically woven fabric to be cut, buried or destroyed on purpose by its creator because of the amount of hours, possibly days of work & energy spent on its completion. Due to the large scale of this type of project, the magick in such a piece will probably be very strong. Since the creator spends so long with the work during its making, the piece will probably bind itself strongly to its maker thus if someone wanted to undo the magician's work or diminish his/her power, destroying the woven item would definitely have a great impact.

Knitting on the other hand is widely used for making commercial fabrics but also extremely popular as a craft*. It is quite unique as a skill that is often passed down through the generations whether the knitters continue with the craft in their lifetime. It is something that many people (women mostly) have at some point in their life had the opportunity to learn. The basic techniques are standardized amongst all knitters and there is almost a universal langauge that allows knitters to communicate to one another. Depending on the skill level of each individual, handknitters create a vast array of projects ranging from large throws & afghans to sweaters, socks, gloves, coasters, hair accessories, even wedding dresses! You name it, knitters have made it. These projects can be as portable as an amulet, worn to absorb/affect the energies of the wearer or placed strategically in a space to affect the atmospheric energies. For both crafting purposes, it is just so versatile!

Now, I haven't done any in-depth research in the printed world on the subject of knitting and magick but considering the popularity of knitting and its recent boom due to its proliferation on the internet; as well as the internet being a haven for pagan communities, it is surprising that there is little to no information on magickal knitting. Could it be that knitting is not thought to be appropriate for magickal use? Does it have something to do with the structure of the knitted fabric or the way the loops come together that the final piece does not actually store energy?

Here are 4 relevant articles, only 2 of which is specific to magickal workings with knitting. The other 2 verges on modern folk/netlore but at least it combines the two ideas as one and keeps the concept on the fringes of the forefront.

Knot Magick « Birch Grove
Blogickal: December 2006 Archives - December 6, 2006 entry
Knitting the World
The Keyboard Biologist Knits: The Memory of Dragons

* We can probably extend this discussion to crochet'd work but because I am not a crocheter, I do not recognize if there are many crochet'd fabrics made via large scale productions.
** Update 07/27/2007 - I actually found several magick-related patterns for crochet today on Llewellyn Journal. They were all designed by a Karen Glasgow
Cauldron Bag
Dream Pillow
Tarot Box
Rune Set

Saturday, July 14, 2007

First DPN Experience

When reading posts and articles online about knitting with double pointed needles, those who teach about DPN's always stress how easy it is and that it should not be feared. The truth is, the principle of it is incredibly simple and I am sure that with practice it only gets easier and the awkwardness will diminish over time just like the first time I picked up two needles. I stopped by the craft store and picked up a ball of Kroy Sock yarn to try it out today so I can eventually knit the bf some socks. Wowee, is it awkward!

I knew I should've made the detour to the LYS to get a proper DPN set that comes with 5 needles but The Susan Bates set was only $3.94. For some foolish reason I thought my Denis Interchangeables had size 3 tips which would work well enough as the 5th needle, I was mistaken. Now the loops on one side are ever so slightly bigger than the others. Maybe blocking the final product will fix that in the end. *fingers crossed*

Why would anyone make a 4-pk DPN set anyways? It really boggles my mind. Anyways, I decided to learn how to do the magic cast-on featured in a past Knitty article. Using it on DPN's makes the first round of knitting very difficult since the stitches on the bottom needle (needle #2) are so tight against the stitches on the top (needle #1), it's really hard to pry them apart in order to get your 3rd needle in to knit. The pictures where they show knitting the first round uses the magic loop method with a long cable needle. With that method, since the bottom row of stitches are moved to the cable, they become more flexible, thus "prying" the bottom row apart to knit the top is easier. I ended up using the Denise 5" cable as needle #2 during the cast on, then switched in the size 5 tip (3.75mm) during the first round. Yea...that's wrong in the picture, actually 2 size difference! I was hoping...

I think more experimentation is needed to get this to work with what I already have without buying a lot of new tools.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Secret Project

I know it's kind of stupid since I can't show pictures of my secret project. The main part of it is done, it just requires the picot trim (still figuring out how many initial stitches to pick up because I modified the length of the whole piece), sew the seams, a lining, interfacing and then searching for the perfect finishing piece. I'll probably stop by the LYS tomorrow and get a few tips on the picot trim tomorrow, either during store hours during the knitting group that'll happen every Thursday night starting last week.

After that is done, it needs to be shipped off to the receiver and then I'm wondering if I should work on the yoga mat bag, the cable bag or I feel like I should make something with the extra yarn for my bf. He's been whining (jokingly) how I make something for everyone else important in my life but not him yet. He asked me to make him a sweater but well, I do know about the sweater curse so I just told him it takes too long. What would be a good small item to knit for a not at all fussy guy in the middle of summer? He said he wanted wrist bands but I know he's not gonna wear them. I need some ideas.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Catering to Evil

There is a new game out by Codemasters called Overlord. I have yet to actually play it but from the looks of reviews, screenshots and in-game videos, it's right up my alley. Not being a video game junkie or avid follower of gaming news, I first knew of the game after seeing a TV commercial for it. Instantly, the announcer's description reminded me of previous games I loved and played obsessively like Dungeon Keeper & Black & White. After further research, I learned that it is compared to these games very often.

Going by what I have seen so far, I would liken it to playing WOW as a warlord or hunter except you command a legion of pets instead of one. Each class of pet has its own abilities and weaknesses and they do your bidding like Dungeon Keeper creatures minus the building aspect. It's like Black & White in that your minions will gather materials and treasure for you and you have the ability to sacrifice them for whatever purpose. The rest appears to be story driven with the main purpose of wreaking havoc upon citizens and NPC's in the game world. There isn't much written about the multiplayer aspect of the game but when my computer is upgraded with a new motherboard and chip to specs, I'll let you know. We can probably classify it as a third person RTS RPG.

If you're like me and like to control minions who'll fight your battles, be greedy and gather treasure all day long, sacrifice your own creatures just for laughs, smote your enemies with powerful spells and swarm them with your gruesome army, then you might want to check this one out.


I'm so excited I just want to go home and do nothing but knit, knit, knit away on the new yarns I got from the LYS. Even though it is so boring at work, I am just giddy with anticipation of getting my hands back on the new secret project, already in progress. If only I could just knit blind, under the desk and have some silly contraption involving functioning or non-functioning prosthetic arms smashing away at the keyboard as if to type as I stare blankly at the screen, silently whispering to myself, counting my stitches and rows. It'd make a hell of a comedy skit, that's for sure.

Anwyays, for just over $100 after taxes, I got 23 balls of yarn in total, enough for 3 bag projects and then some. Everything was purchased on sale. 4 balls of Sublime at only 10% off but the yarn is so soft and smooth I think it's perfect for the project at hand. 9 balls of Artico Mondial, for a cable shoulder bag pattern at Garn Studio. These and the Twilleys Freedom Cotton DK in an awesome yellow I got at an amazing 75% off. The 10 Freedom balls came out to $17.50 all together!!! Amazing! There's nothing like a good sale of anything and everything. The yarns I got for the secret project and Garn's pattern are a little less chunky than they should be but I'll just have to adjust. More details will come later on the progress of the projects and new ideas.

I was a kid in a yarn candy shop! So many colors, so many textures, so much on sale, it was wonderful to touch, feel and dream about. It was difficult to hold myself back but it had to be done. Otherwise I would have about 50 balls of yarn in my house right now. For now, the addiction is sated.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Wrist Watch Alarm Clock Radio

Let's face it. Most of us have problems waking up when faced each day with a dreaded 8 hours of mind-numbing work even though often there is no real working involved as I so blatantly whine about here. Everyone has a different wake-up routine and our habits are varied.

Over the years, I've found that the only routine that works for me is to annoy the hell out of myself with a loud alarm that rings repeatedly. That's what clock radios with snooze functions are for, right?. Ah, no. That doesn't work for me. I have to set 5 alarms at random times within the one hour before I absolutely MUST be up. However, since living with my boyfriend and sleeping beside each other and all, it is just inconsiderate to have 5+ loud alarms going off in the morning when he doesn't need to get up until after noon (He works the afternoon to night shift and doesn't go to bed until at least 3AM. Actually neither do I but that's a whole different problem.)

So at one point, my compromise was to use my cellphone as an alarm clock, its ringtone when placed directly under or near the edge of my pillow is piercing enough to the ears that I will wake up from it yet muffled enough as not to wake him up. It is also close enough for me to instantly shut off the alarm until the next one goes off. Unfortunately, that cellphone is no longer functional and my new cellphone only allows me to set ONE stupid alarm!

I started thinking, it would be great for many other couples who work different shifts, to make a wrist watch alarm clock radio with snooze setting and headphone jack. When the radio alarm goes off, you already have your earbuds on the night before and you are good to go in the morning without any worry of waking up your partner. I think that's a great idea with marketing potential. It could save resentment in a lot of couple's lives, especially for those young families working opposite shifts so someone can stay at home with the kids. They're already cranky and stressed. If they can just get more uninterrupted sleep, they would at the very least NOT blame their partner for waking them up, for ruining their lives, tying them down, etc. Everyone is happier when they get better sleep and they won't have as many crazy thoughts.

Anyways, in search of something like this on the market, I came across this site called Wrist Dreams. It's a daily blog showcasing the latest fashion/gadget watches. I haven't gone through too much of the site but it does look like mostly men's watches but god, they are so cool! That's another gripe I have though, why can't they make nice, classy but cool gadget-y watches for women too. There're plenty of geeky fashion conscious babes out there! We want something too!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dreaming of Loopy-Loops

It's a slow day at work. Month-end madness is over, it's a lazy (though gray) mid-summer Wednesday. Everything's grinding to a halt. It'll be the perfect day to skip out early. The boss and men with offices are all out, and with 5 full hours to go, I pretty much have nothing to do. How is this possible? Well, I won't get into that on this blog, but all this boredom leads me to think about possible knitting projects.

Actually, I already have 3 bags lined up for knitting, but the possibilities are just endless. I've been meaning to make my way down to the LYS to take adavantage of their sale and just to get a better feel of yarn textures out there. The first time I stopped in, I was still "tied down" to a project. I am practically free now. The half-made afghan is just to tide me over until the next fix, it's my knitting rations. Knitters Attic is actually having a sale until this Friday and I tried to get in Sunday but they closed earlier than I expected. I figured on the weekend I would have all the time in the world to pick out what I wanted. Now I'm left with tomorrow only with a measly half to one hour after work if I make it there in time. It's probably for the best. This way I don't have a chance to overspend.

While I dream of the wonderful possibilities, it leads me to reading and research on new techniques far ahead of my skill level but it is just so gosh darn interesting. There are some great pictures and instructions on double-knitting at Stitch Diva and a nice toque pattern on Knitty. Aside from creating a thicker fabric and a positive/negative effect in color, there doesn't seem to be much more use for the technique. Since I don't really like knitted materials that are too hot, it doesn't sound like there is anything I want to try and make. Although in the back of my mind I am convinced there is more to be discovered in it. I'm even reading about crochet but I find diagrams for that to be much more confusing somehow. Maybe I'm tackling too much at the same time, juggling while running before learning to walk kind of thing.

On another note, I noticed today the owner of Knitters Attic had left me a comment on my post about the shop. I have to say I am a little embarrassed because first: I didn't think anybody would ever read my blog but I guess she saw a track back somehow because of the link to their site; second: I am embarassed because I said she was too nice for my taste and I wanted to be a loner. While that is who I am, I hope she isn't offended by my remark. I'm just shy and weird sometimes (most of the time). I meant no harm at all.

I submitted my derivative Barcelona Bag pattern to Knitting Pattern Central over a week ago, hoping to get some people to read this blog, or at least enjoy the feeling that possibly other people in the world are making "my" bag. When I submitted I got a reply from the site owner but it's still not up. Maybe they thought it was a rip-off of the original pattern. It is and it isn't you know? Anyways, I'm a little bummed because I felt so good about it before, oh well.