April 2008 Archives

This page is an archive of entries from April 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

To see all archives, visit the Archive Index.

March 2008 is the previous archive.

May 2008 is the next archive.

KIP Follow Up...

Many people have asked me if anyone ever recognizes themselves as a "Mystery Subway Knitter of the Week". It's happened once.

Although yesterday something somewhat similar happened. I logged on to Ravelry (like you do) and noticed that I had two new messages. Am I the only one whose heart does a little skip when you see that you have messages? Probably not.

The messages were from Mary. [Click through to her Ravelry page, if you can, and read her profile. It's really funny.] One to add me as friend, and another to say "Hey! Remember me? You took my photo in Zaftigs in August 2006."

So I did. Actually, I remember the evening well. To say that August 2006 was an unsettled time in the life of Subway Knitter would be an understatement. To offer some support, some fabulous friends met me for dinner at Zaftigs. It was a fun evening, and really took my mind off of a few things.

And, like it or not, Mary was a part of that evening. And, now, she's a part of my Ravelry network. Awww!

Slip Stitch Patrol

I'm consistently having a problem with slipped stitches with the Provence.

This problem is specifically confined to purl stitches.

PurlProvence0429.jpg

To combat it, I do a thorough check ever couple of rows. If I see that long bar of yarn, indicating that there's a missed stitch behind it, I work over to that stitch, I grab my crochet hook, undo the column, and then reloop, picking up the missed stitch.

It's more of an annoyance than anything else, and probably due to where I'm doing most of the knitting (the subway, of course). When I'm on the train I tend to look anywhere else BUT my knitting (I can do this with stockinette). Purl stitches are a bit harder for me to knit by feel. Because this yarn is so slippery smooth, it's prone to popping off of the needle before I've looped it through the stitch.

Still, this yarn feels so wonderfully smooth and soft that it's worth risking a few (easily fixed) slipped stitches. And, I'm almost at the shoulder shaping, so it's not impeding my progress one bit.

More Cardigan

If I had met the Pope last weekend, I would have taught him to knit. Long hours on Shepherd I would be a good time to knit all of the Cardinals red scarves for Christmas. When you're the Pope, you've got to start your Christmas knitting early.

I'm most decidedly not Christmas knitting right now. I'm working up the back of Thea's fine cardigan (non Ravelry link here):

SweaterBack0423.jpg

When I'm not busy knitting, I'm busy enjoying spring. Because we live in an apartment rather than a house, "enjoying spring" does not include yardwork (I think that I am the sworn enemy of yardwork). But you know, we city people still have it tough. I was in Midtown last week and noticed this project:

PaintTheSkyscraper.jpg

How many of you suburbanites are painting your skyscrapers this year? Hmmm?

Recovery!

Congratulations to everyone who ran the Boston Marathon yesterday! You Bostonians might not believe it, but yesterday in New York, people were going about their days as if it was just a regular Monday! I think that some New Yorkers were not even aware that there was anything the least bit special about the third Monday in April.

Go figure. I guess, however, that the city was still recovering from the Pope's visit. Geez Louise, you might have thought that the Pope's visit was The Most Important Thing Ever to have happened in the history of the city. [Now, I'm not getting down on anyone's religion. If you thought the Pope's coming was cool, then I'm genuinely happy for you. And after the whole Devil Mitten Debacle of 2008, some of you might have thought that he was here to see me personally (he was not).] But, this is New York City. Nothing that happens here is the most important thing ever.

You might know that he celebrated a Mass for many thousands of people at Yankee Stadium. Now, at first I was concerned that this might give the Yankees an unfair advantage. I mean, he is the Pope. But then I remembered that this is the last season for the current Yankee Stadium. Furthermore, although that Red Sox jersey was removed from the new concrete, there must be some lingering karma. I think that we're even-steven on this one.

Anyway, the Pope's visit gave me a chance to stop and reflect. I will never think of my subway rides in the same way again:

MassTransit0422.jpg

Cable Me Beautiful

One of the details that drew me to Thea's wonderful cardigan design was the long row of cabled ribs at the bottom. To top it off, there's a cool little cabling technique about which I knew nothing before this week.

GoldenGoodness0417.jpg

Instead of using a cable needle to hold the unworked stitch, or slipping the stitches off of the needle, twisting, then knitting them, you first knit two together (K2Tog) then you knit again into the first stitch. The whole shebang then goes off your left needle and onto your right. Boom: cable action!

Most of you probably have known all about this technique for years and years. Not me! This is going to revolutionize my cabled projects. Could cabled socks be far behind?

Mystery Subway Knitter of the Week!

Hooray!! As the flowers bloom, the subway knitters are coming out of the woodwork:

MysteryKIP0416.jpg

I wonder if she just cast on for a spring cardi. Like me!

Swatch This!

After the Classic Elite Provence arrived in my mailbox, I didn't waste any time winding it up and casting on for a gauge swatch. The label says I can get anywhere from 5.25 to six stitches per inch using US5s to 6s.

And that's exactly what I got. I tend to knit on the loose side, so I knew that if I wanted to get Thea's gauge of 5 stitches per inch, I needed to swatch with a US5.

Swatchtastic0414.jpg

Upon measuring my (pre-washed) swatch, I got 5.25 stitches per inch. And I was happy. Why? Because I can easily achieve the pattern's five stitches per inch when I block the pieces. Or I can just leave it as is and know that gravity and wear will eventually give me the gauge that I want. As a beginning knitter, one who was still learning about how fiber works, I completely discounted a fiber's ability to stretch. And then I wondered why things never fit right after the first few wearings.

Now, if I had six or seven stitches per inch, I wouldn't be so nonchalant about it--I would reswatch with a bigger needle. You can't compensate for that much difference with blocking. [Conversely, if I had 4.75 stitches per inch, I would reknit a swatch with a smaller needle. You can't block something smaller.] But a quarter of a stitch? That's easily addressed, either by you or by gravity.

Color Me Surprised

Like much of Blogland, I heard last week about the end of MagKnits. And, like much of Blogland, I heard about it via Ravelry. I don't mean to ascribe too much significance to this event, but I think that Ravelry's roll as a hub for exchange about this event, along with other recent happenings (MCY thread-crack anyone?) has cemented its place as the CNN of the knitting community.

I won't give yet another blow-by-blow, here's-what-happened account. The Lumpy Sweater wrote an excellent post that (to my reading) is an objective synopsis of last week's events, if you haven't already heard.

I'm sure that Kerrie felt justified in her actions, much like those who heaped complaints on her felt justified to be complaining. It is honest to write that, as a designer who had a pattern on MagKnits, I'm extremely disappointed at how this was handled. While I don't think that Kerrie had a life-long obligation to pay for server space to keep my pattern "alive" she needed to reach out to us designers with a warning about what she was about to do. As far as I know, there was no attempt made to contact anyone but the most recent contributors. Having written that, I never had the sense that MagKnits had the attention from Kerrie that it deserved, or that Kerrie was comfortable with the amount of time that she could devote to MagKnits. So ultimately this is for the best, although it seems like a bad way to go out.

Just as Kerrie has decided to move on, so have I. I'm happy to have the opportunity to repost the pattern right here, on my blog. I can finally include the cable charts that were omitted from the original posting (and despite a few polite emails to MagKnits very early on, the charts were never included on the MagKnits site). This always bothered me, and now there's something that I can do about it!

And, while I will morn the loss of MagKnits, it has engendered (via Ravelry, or course) some discussion of other online Knitting magazines that are out there. How exciting! I didn't know about any of them (besides Knitty).

Mystery Subway Knitter of the Week (Almost Edition)

Sometimes you just know that you're sitting next to a subway knitter. For example...

YarnInBag0411.jpg

See the yarn in her bag? Could this mean that she was traveling to a learn-to-knit class? Perhaps we're witnessing a subway knitter in the making! This is indeed a historic moment.

So Cute!!!

It's a six pack of cuteness.

SixPackBooties0410.jpg

The Details:

Pattern: the Baby Bootie pattern from this Filatura di Crossa booklet. Yeah, I had all sorts of plans to use a new pattern, but in the end I didn't have time to make gauge adjustments. I knit what I knew.

Yarn: Odds and Ends. The brown and white pairs are cotton. I know that the white is Peaches 'n' Cream. The brown is a mystery yarn that I picked up years ago in a Knitsmiths swap.

Needles: US 7s and 6s.

Will I knit this pattern again? Undoubtedly.

With these three pairs all ready for gifting. I guess that I'm ready for the next knit. This one, of course, will be all about me.

It is Here!

My yarn has arrived. My next project may now begin.

"What is it?" you ask.

GoldenBoy0409.JPG (photo is totally snagged from Thea, but I saved it to my own server)

Thea announced the existence of Golden on her blog, just about a month ago. I beat a cyber path to her bloggy door begging (pleading!) to let me be her test knitter. She graciously consented, and even gave me some time to play around with baby booties.

But the yarny call of Golden was too much to ignore. When Thea mentioned last week that WEBS has placed this yarn on sale, I knew that the time was right. I wanted a navy blue. Apparently, Classic Elite doesn't dye the stuff in that colorway. I think that I got as close as I could:

Marine0409.jpg

It's "Marine" and it's got a touch more green in it than a navy would have. We'll ignore the fact that I bought a very similar colorway in wool last month at Brooklyn General. I know what I like.

Because this is a test knit, I need to swatch and wash, first.

Dear New York State DMV,

Ten minutes. What's up with that? I think that it took me longer to walk there and back.

I decided that it was high time that I surrendered my Massachusetts driver's license in favor of one from the Empire State. I went through the rigmarole of getting my Social Security card reissued (I must have had one before this, I have a Social Security number after all, but I've never seen an actual card in my name before last week.) Prior to Monday, I would have said that the Social Security Administration's Brooklyn office had the market cornered on efficient bureaucracy, but you, NYS DMV, have got them beat hands down.

I await the results of your institutional photography skills.

Sincerely,

Subway Knitter

I went prepared for a long wait. Indeed, when I stepped inside I noticed a few poor souls perched on those light-wood benches in the middle of the room. I walked up to desk number one (the desk where your paperwork gets a cursory review for completeness, and you get directed to the correct line), and I was told to go see the guy at the camera immediately--where there was no line. The camera guy quickly looked at my documents, made some scribbles in a red marker pen, and took my photograph (I hope that my hair was okay). He then gave me a printed receipt with a number, and told me to sit on a bench and wait for my number to be called.

"Ah, ha!" I said. Here's the wait. How much knitting am I going to get done? What's blinking on the board up there...K42. What does my ticket say? K42. Hey, that's me! I was summoned to window 16 without a chance to sit down.

At window 16 I was relieved of $45; my passport, Social Security card, and Massachusetts license were all scrutinized for authenticity. More scribbles were made on my application form. Stamps were used. Getting a driver's license is a serious business these days. I remember when my 16-and-a-half-year-old self showed up at the RMV (it's a "Registry" in Massachusetts, compared with a "Department" in New York) with little more than a copy of my birth certificate and some form that got stamped by the registry cop who administered my driving test. When I officially moved to Rhode Island in 1997, all that I needed was my valid Massachusetts license. When I moved back to Massachusetts, the RMV simply took my Rhode Island license and reissued my yet-to-have-expired old license (yeah, that was some good record keeping there--move to another state and they forgot to cancel my file.) Heck, I applied for my passport with less documentation than what I needed to show yesterday morning.

Anyway, I was done at window 16 in about five minutes. The entire transaction took (and I am not making this up) less than 10 minutes. I left with a paper receipt, a temporary license, and a promise that the real license would arrive in my mailbox within two to four weeks.

So obviously, I am one of a select few eligible to operate a motor vehicle under the flag of New York State. And I don't even own a car! If I did, though, I am disappointed to report that this registration is already taken:

RDSXNTNNYS.jpg

Mystery Subway Knitter of the Week (4 Train Edition)

MysteryKnitter4Train.jpg

Trust me, those are knitting hands. I couldn't quite tell what this woman was knitting. It looked a bit like colorwork. Maybe a colorwork sock? I don't know. Maybe I never will, unless she's a member of the Ravelry Subway Knitters group.

So, are you taking the subway to see the Yarn Harlot tonight? I am not, unfortunately. I must confess that Wednesday night is laundry night chez Subway Knitter. Laugh not. If I get behind on laundry this week, there is no telling what's going to happen. It's also "home night" for me. The one night of the week when I don't have class, or gym, or Spiders, or, or, or.... It is important to my core level of sanity. I need it.

This So Did NOT Work

Can't win every time:

BadBootie0401.jpg

Although the photo doesn't illustrate my failure well, the idea (like the photo--symbolic!) failed miserably.

But it was fun, nevertheless, and thanks to a couple readers, I have no need to experiment further. Two seamless bootie patterns were brought to my attention.

Excellent. I know that booties are a great way to use up tidbits of sock yarn, and I especially like the slipper-type design of the Magic Booties. Add a strap and cute button across the top, and you've got some serious Mary Jane action.

Using the idea behind the Newborn Crawling Booties, my plan is to come up with a version that uses worsted weight yarn (I could adjust for gauge, but I think that it'll be easier to simply design a new pattern.)

Whee! Bootie fun! (Just imagine the google hits....)


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