Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tutorial: 2-1-2 Left Leaning Cable with No Cable Needles

So I have been knitting the Bramble Beret from Vintage Modern Knits for my sister for the past month or so (we won't go into too much detail as to why it entered the UFO bin for the summer).

I got the book back in January. I didn't start the pattern until May even though I had yarn specifically for this purpose.

I was afraid of the 2-1-2 left leaning cable. This is a cable stitch that goes, "slip two stitches onto 1st cable needle, hold in front. Slip 1 stitch onto 2nd cable needle, hold in back. K2, p1 from 2nd cable needle, k2 from first cable needle."

Say what. TWO cable needles?

I finally did figure it out, and then when I worked on my Sea of Japan hat, came across the same cable again. That time, I figured out how to do it with just one cable needle.

Why not no cable needles at all?

It CAN be done. First, hie thee to Grumperina's website and familiarize yourself on how to cable without a cable needle in the first place. It's a great site and this is how I learned how to do cabling - I have never used a cable needle, except for one cowl in bulky weight yarn that had a cable with 16 stitches. Yikes.

So this is what the cable looks like in terms of setup: k2, p1, k2. We need to get the k2 stitches to cross, with the p1 still in the middle.
Here is how I did the 2-1-2 LC (red boxes are to help point out what I am doing with the stitches):

1. Slip the first 2 stitches onto the right needle.
2. Bring the yarn to the front of the next stitch (the purl stitch) and slip that onto the right needle.
3. Knit the next two stitches. All 5 stitches will be on the right needle.
4. This is where Grumperina's tutorial really comes in. First we need to get that purl stitch to the left side of the 2 stitches that were just knitted. Slip the left needle behind the purl stitch. "Pinch" the first two knit stitches with your left thumb and forefinger.
 5. This is why we "pinch": slip the right needle out from all 3 of those stitches (the two stitches already knitted on the left, and the purl stitch in the middle). The purl stitch will remain on the left needle, and the two knit stitches are hanging in the air. Bring the right needle in front of the purl stitch, and insert into the two knit stitches that are floating.
6. Purl the purl stitch on the left needle. Now on the right needle, you have 1 stitch purled, two stitches knit (that were originally on the right of the 2-1-2 combo) and two knit stitches still not yet knit all the way on the right. We need to bring those two knit stitches at the end all the way to the left.
7. Take the left needle and bring it to the front. Insert into those last two unknit knit stitches.
8. Pinch again, and slip the back right needle out from the stitches. The three stitches that were originally in the front of the two knit stitches now on the left needle are in the air; catch them with the right needle behind the left.
9. Knit the two stitches on the left needle and Voila! 2-1-2 left leaning cable with no cable needles.
Hope you enjoyed the tutorial - this is the first one that I've written so it's not quite perfect, but do drop a line if you have any questions.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Episode 17: Pattern Binge

On the Needles
Because I left my February Lady Sweater in my parent's car on Sunday, and there was a miscommunication between my dad and I about him coming by so I can get it back, I didn't get the sweater back until Wednesday night. I was still traumatized by the Snapdragon Tam and wasn't up for much else, so I decided to cast on for a pair of Dionysus Socks which is a free pattern, using Knitsch Fingering Weight yarn in the colorway Mansfield Revisited.

On Friday night, I cast on Norie from The Shetland Trader by Gudrun Johnston. Inspired by seeing the version by Rachel of the bmore crafty blog - join the Small Knits Knit-A-Long on twitter by using the hashtag #skkal.

Knitting Travels
My mom, sister and I went to Socrates Sculpture Park on Wednesday night to see Biutiful with Javier Bardem. It has an outdoor cinema - the most popular and well known cinema is at Bryant Park where there is the big race to grab a spot on the lawn, but there are other locations as well.

This is where I tried to knit in the dark for the first time; granted it wasn't pitch dark b/c of the film and general NYC light pollution but it was dark enough to try it out.

Hung out with Abby at Knitty City and after that we had lunch at this vegan cafe called Peacefood Cafe - first time at a vegan restaurant but the food was pretty good. As a result of eating there, am doing some research about sheep shearing and treatment of sheep. Sheep do need to be sheared, lest they look like Shrek, but the fleeces do get heavy and can cause them to overheat.

Knitting Finds
I did go to Knitty City with a mission - I needed some wooden circular needles to prepare for my trip to Turks and Caicos this Monday. I like wooden needles, though I do make exceptions for my signature DPNs and also, the ChiaoGoo metal lace needles that I picked up at MS&W. GreenTriangleGirl from A Playful Day podcast also talks about them as well in a recent episode. ChiaoGoo also has wooden circulars, made of Moso Bamboo.

Jared Flood recently came out with Wool People, a collection of patterns by various designers highlighting the Shelter line.

Interweave Knits and Knitscene Fall are out, but except for 1 or 2 patterns that I would wait for to be published individually, aren't really worth it.

Anyone up for a Fall-Winter Knit-A-Long? More specifically, a Knit the Queue-A-Long. We all have patterns clogging up our queue and I would like to start up a new KAL so that we can get those must-want-to-knit patterns off the queue and into the projects page. More details coming soon - for now, I would like to see who is interested.

Closing song: "The Summer Wind" by Madeleine Peyroux from Half the Perfect World

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Episode 16: Chicken and Rice

Off the Needles
Towards the end of my program, I was getting severe startitis. I also really really wanted to knit from my stash and just do something with my hands other than write fake lesson plans and write on chart paper during summer school. I needed a reprieve. How does one get a mental reprieve?

Well in my case its finally completing your first knitted FO from a Japanese pattern book, called "Favorite Aran Knits." I knitted cap #7 by Mariko Oka which I call my "Sea of Japan" hat - partially because it is a Japanese pattern, and partially because I knit this up in Fresh from the Cauldron Merino Silk Worsted in Poseidon which is a lovely blue-green sea color with a bit of shimmer.

Two things really helped me with this hat: I finally purchased "Clear and Simple Knitting Symbols" which had most of the cable stitches, but not all of them. However, the cable in the Bramble Beret from Vintage Modern Knits is the same one in Cap #7.

I also completed another Turn a Square for a classmate of mine who asked for one very nicely during the 6-day seminar that I attended immediately after teacher training.  In exchange, he bought me lunch. More specifically, Dominican Food. I never had Dominican before so I picked a basic chicken and rice platter at a place in Harlem near where our seminar was located. It was SO good.

But this experience begs the question: what do I do in the future if someone asks me for a knitted object? What do you guys think? Any tips for deflecting future requests?

On the Needles
I cast on for the Rock Island Shawl by Jared Flood. I want to have a few more shawls in my wardrobe and give the Traveling Woman a bit of a break. I cast on for the lace edge in Creatively Dyed Sami in Fresh and  Persimmon Tree Farms Piggy Toes SW and I saw this lovely forest/hunter green and sky blue yarn.

I worked on this mostly during a seminar I took the week after my program ended - it was mainly about how students have all different ways of learning and there are neurocognitive causes for that and the students have strengths and weaknesses in these certain areas, like memory and attention.

So why am I mentioning this? On the first day we did introductions - and as part of my introduction I mentioned that I am a knitter and participated in a cognitive study at Columbia University last fall which examined the link between doing repetitive tasks (such as doodling or knitting) and attention and retaining information.

I said this for mainly one reason: if I am going to sit in a chair for 6 hours for 6 days, I am going to knit. Otherwise I will go bonkers. So this was my way of politely declaring it and also asking for permission - I wanted to get a sense of what their reaction was - which was really positive!

The man in charge of the entire program for the NYC Department of Education talked to me about how his grandmother knitted and that there need to be more studies on the connection between memory/attention and knitting. One of the facilitators put down "Knit, sketch, purposeful movement" on our guidelines and norms for the week.

This experience reminded me of the Miss Manners article about knitting in public that came out a few weeks ago and fired up all over twitter.

Knitting Trainwrecks 
I did get the February Lady Sweater back on track - bit of an issue with the cast on of the 7 underarm stitches when separating for the sleeves. 

After I finished the Sea of Japan hat,  I casted on the Snapdragon Tam by Ysolda Teague.

However, last Sunday was a day of epic, epic, fail. Not just knitting trainwrecks, but life fail as well.

That Sunday, I am happily knitting along on my Snapdragon Tam and just about finished. I noticed it was coming along 2:45 - its a 20 minute walk to my yoga studio and I really wanted to go to a particular class at 3:30. So I race to complete the last two rows, cast off's too big. This time, it involved...FROGGING.

So that happened in the 5 minutes before I had to leave for yoga. To top it off, while walking to yoga, my flip flop broke. I missed yoga.

Spin Right Round
A very minor update here - of rather what did not happen during the Tour de Fleece. I was a part of Team Sasquatch and was off to a great start - I finished the first ounce of polwarth that I purchased from Gherkin's Bucket in the colorway Motley. Plus, I even got to spin while watching the actual Tour de France when they did the recaps that fourth of July weekend.

My goal was to spin at least 15 minutes a day - but what I didn't anticipate was feeling so tired during the course of my program that when I got home, I needed those 15 minutes either to sleep a bit more or do the assignments that I had to do and submit on time.

I am definitely going to finish up that braid and came to a realization - I really do enjoy spinning. But man is spinning on a spindle slow. I'm going to have to start saving up for the Lendrum, which I will be able to try again  at Rhinebeck! I am 90% definitely going for sure that October 15 (it will be 100% once I purchase the ticket).

If anyone else is going and will be around that Saturday, do let me know b/c I would love to plan a small meetup and get to meet you all.

Knitting Finds
I must be very strange because for the most part, a lot of the fall knitting patterns are not that appealing. This is why I didn't look at the new Twist Collective when it came out lest I be tempted, but overall this is actually a good thing - I can use most of this season to catch up on my queue and knit from my library.

Knitty First Fall: Double Heelix, Lingerie, Dragonwing, Bosnian (this last feature and pattern goes well as a companion piece to an article in Knitty from 2006 about the History of Knitting).

Twist Collective: Boundless, Evendim most of the Spirited Away section such as the Hawthorne Hat and Mitts, Sheepcote and Loure.

Twist also had some really great articles on seaming and the last wool mills in Ireland

People have been talking about Google+  lately and there are a lot of knitters on there which is another great way to network. There is also a knitter's database that is being compiled so that you can share your information and join in on the conversation.

Finally, I want to mention a blog called Falling Stitches, which is run by Ariane,  a French Canadian knitter living  Montréal. She has some great designs and one of my favorite things about her blog is the What's Hot on Ravelry Series.  Definitely want to knit one of this week's selections, called the Imogen Cowl.

Thanks for Listening!
Closing Song: "Big as the Sky" by A.M. 60

Monday, August 8, 2011

Episode 15: Proofreading

Need to make a minor retraction - when I reviewed Twist Collective last time, I failed to realize that when you click on the "More Information" button especially in the Paper Dolls section you can see the patters on real people. Thanks to heyfatlulu for pointing that out.

Off the Needles

Completed the Cabled Feather Cowl. Sarah loved it, and she came up with a new term to always give me a chuckle when I am cursing over weaving in ends: Proofreading. 

On the Needles

Still working on the Bramble Beret; I messed up in my stitch count in one of the cable repeats so I am debating to either fudge it, tink it or keep going - I am more of the keep going/fudge it school; Leah won't notice it too much because it's only on one of the repeats and its towards the top.

Right now it's on scrap yarn because I needed the 16" cable for a cowl I am designing; I got some yarn recently  and didn't like the patterns available for that DK weight yarn for a cowl - went to my Cables and Arans Harmony Guide and looked for a bit of inspriation. 

Stashers Anonymous

So you know how I am talking about ways to get over knitter's block? Well...getting new yarn that you normally cannot get in an update from indie dyers helps a bit too. Even though MS&W was recent and I added to the stash there as well, and was a bit overwhelmed by it there are just times when there was a yarn when you have wanted/kept and eye on  for a very long time and if you have the chance to get it, you do. It's like waiting for months and months for a pair of boots that you like to go on sale and when they do, you take the opportunity. Especially if you do have plans for it which is usually my MO.

I was able to get a skein of Leah Clearwater from Fresh from the Cauldron in a June 1 update from her new site. I really wanted it b/c the colors are lovely: plum, rose pink, brown, mint green, kelly green and also to knit something for my sister with it beacause her name is Leah - she approved.

I may be able to get two cable hats out of this - going for the very slightly slouchy look and I am going to design these as well - I looked at what was available for fingering weight hats, and they were either too slouchy, too lacy/leafy or too poofy for me. I sound like Goldilocks here, but this is also a good opportunity for me to flex my brain a bit too. Again, I think I am going to go for a dense fabric, and intertwining cables. One word about this yarn: SQOOSH.

Prior to that, I actually caught a Skein update! Skein is an indie dying company run by Kristen in New South Wales Australia. I've had my eye on her yarn for quite awhile and never seem to catch an update, and love her use of color - bright but still subtle and rich earthy and jewel tones.

I did get a skein of Super DK 100% SW Merino in Blush (deep rose pink and cream with hints of rosewood, wine and burgundy) which is what I am using for the cowl I am designing, and a skein of TopDraw Sock 85/15 Merino/Nylon in Tuscany: cream, brown, red, sienna - both of these are not my usual colors but I loved them a lot.

Tuscany reminds me of my honeymoon in Italy when we were in Florence. Stitch definition on the Super DK is excellent - the cables really pop! So I am definitely going to buy from Skein again, especially for sweaters since it would be a great investment. I definitely see this yarn knit up in either the Goodale, Larch, or cardigans.

And then...there are the Harry Potter skeins. Tri'Coterie is run by Maylin who is in France and does alot of self-striping sock yarn; every month is a theme and this month is Harry Potte, so I picked up Ravenclaw for me, Gryffindor as part of Leah's birthday gift. 

Knitting Travels

Summer in the city means outdoor knitting in beer gardens; the NY Times recently published an article about them. A few weeks ago, No Sheep Till Brooklyn met up at t.b.d., a beer garden in Greenpoint that is close by where we usually meet. Hung out at Spritzenhaus on WWKIP Day which was also the day of Renegade Brooklyn.


Did not complete my Rose Lace Stole (evil Provisional Cast On) but I had a lot of fun hosting. Congrats to phoenixfire and lapurplepenguin! They will receive stitch markers from Velvet Hippo.

I do have a prize/sponsor for a future KAL from Creatively Dyed and would like to hear from you about what you would like for us to do next.


Thanks again for your patience during the (unintended) hiatus and for this episode which is a bit of a catch-up epi.

Closing Song: "Take Back the City" by Snow Patrol from A Hundred Million Suns
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