Sunday, December 30, 2012

Okay, Where Was I?

When I wrote last summer I was working on a blanket for my granddaughter, who was due to be born in late October.  She's here, although she took her own sweet time and arrived safe and sound on November 7th.  Her name is Makayla Skye and she is a sweetheart...and I'm not just saying that because she's my Granddaughter!!  Mom and baby are doing very well, as is the rest of the family.


The blanket was such a joy to knit.  I love Shelley Kang's design.  It's addictive.  The link will take you to the free directions.  You can also purchase a printed copy of the directions if you like. 

You can make the blanket in any size and I found that 334 diamonds was the perfect size for a baby blanket.  I decided to fill in the edges with triangles and you can find the instructions on how I did it - click here.  The directions for the small corner triangles are here.  My daughter tells me that she gets many compliments about the blanket, almost as many as she does about Makayla.  ☺


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Shelley Kang's Sock Yarn Blankie (link, above)
I named the blanket "Floyd" because it's pink!
I added triangles between the diamonds on the edges, small corner diamonds.  The border was done, one side at a time then seamed, in garter stitch, increasing on every other row to make a mitered corner.

Size:  I didn't measure it, but I think it's approximately 38" x 47"

Yarn: Every pink sock yarn, washable fingering and baby yarn I could get my hands on!
I participated in a pink sock yarn exchange on Ravelry and was also given some yarn lengths by generous friends and knitters.  Each diamond used only 8 yards. The colors are not strictly pink, but each block had to have pink in it.
 
Needles: US 1-1/2 / 2.5 mm
Since I never had more than 31 stitches on the needles I wanted short needles.  I used two double-pointed needles with a stopper on the end of each - worked perfectly.

Notes:  I'm also working on a larger sock yarn blanket for myself, which is almost finished - only a few more edge triangles to go, plus the border.  I'm already planning to do two more of these afghans (I can't stop!!) and I'm collecting yarns for one done in Southwest colors (shades of turquoise, tan and coral) and another in various shades of blue.  I couldn't resist starting the blues afghan - 11 blocks finished! 

There are more pictures on Ravelry (you have to be a member to see them) - click here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

HELLO....Hellooooo...hellloooooo.....

I don't know if anyone is still around.  I had decided to give up my blog last August.  I just plain ran out of steam and found it harder and harder to think of things to write about.  Now I find that I've missed writing, so I'm back...at least a little.  I won't be writing as often as before as my day job keeps me pretty busy and my mind just needs to rest when I get home.  I hope to write about once a week, probably on the weekend.  Another reason my blog is active again is that there are posts on Ravelry that I've written, and they link back to my blog and I'd hate to lose the technique links.

For now, the address is:
http://www.rhythmoftheneedles.blogspot.com

Somehow the settings aren't accepting my domain address of  rhythmoftheneedles.net but if it ever gets figured out, then I"ll change it to that and will let you know.  (You may remember that the rhythmoftheneedles.com domain got taken out from under me. I still don't know how that happened).

So, if you're reading this page, thanks for dropping by.  Why not say hello so that I know that you're here?

I'll write a post sometime this weekend, a bit of a catch-up.

Joanne


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Packing

On Saturday I'm heading out for a week of knitting, classes, sightseeing and eating in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico with a group organized by Jane Thornley.  I must take a deep breath and think logically about packing.  I'm not worried about clothes: a couple of pairs of jeans, one good pair of slacks, t-shirts, comfortable shoes, toiletries, hair stuff, etc. - the basics.  The knitting, on the other hand, takes more planning. 

Why is it that I always overpack, even on a knitting-related vacation?  We're being given yarn to make our class project  There are a number of yarn stores that we'll be visiting where there will undoubtedly be temptations.  I think I'm planning to pack too much.  Here's what I've got so far, and keep in mind that the trip is 8 days long, not 8 months:


On the right is "Floyd", the name that's been given to my pink afghan by my always humorous friend, Pam A.  Floyd. Pink.  Pink Floyd.  Get it?!!  Pam cracks me up.  I've got around 175 more little blocks to make and I've been cutting 8-yard lengths from balls of yarn and winding them into little butterflies for the trip.  I actually have *4 afghans* in the works at the moment and I'd really like to complete something before I afghan again!  More about them later in this post.

To the left is the scond Maryland sock.  The first was finished almost a month ago and I'm only now working on the cuff of sock #2. With so much sock yarn in the stash I need to keep going.  Besides, I do have that goal of finishing 12 pairs of socks in 12 months.  I'm on track to succeed so I can't slow down now.  Nine pairs are finished and I know that knitting time is sometimes limited towards the end of the year.

Above that is the yarn to make another Airborne cap.  You may remember that I was making hats for my friend's grandson, Tyler, and his friends, who were in Afghanistan.  Now, Tyler's brother, Brent, has just finished his Airborne training and needs a cap, too.  He's still in the US, by the way.

I think that's enough knitting.  I hope so.  I also have to be sure that I have the needles, patterns and supplies that I'll need.  My brain hurts from all this planning!  Besides the knitting, I'm taking along my new school textbook.  My first class is on September 10th and I thought I'd get a head start on the reading.

Okay, the *4 afghans* that I mentioned:  (1) Moderne Log Cabin from the ladies at Mason-Dixon Knitting.  The link goes to the free pattern posted on Amazon.com - the one I'm doing is on the left.  I started this back on July 18, 2008.  It's time to wrap this one up.  I have done all except the last 2 blocks, #9.  I set it aside when I started thinking that it was big enough already and maybe I should do the border and call it done.  I never really decided, or picked it up again. It is big enough and needs to be finished.

(2) The Sock Yarn Blankie is so close to being finished that I'm actually able to use it in it's unfinished state.  I'm now working the little triangle bits to make straight sides, then I'll do the border and it'll be done.

(3) Floyd.  This won't take long as I'm motivated to finish as soon as possible and it is coming on vacation with me.

The plan is to finish these projects within the next month to six weeks.  I'm getting itchy to get back to challenging intarsia, fairisle sweaters, and, especially, my Bohus and the Triangle Squares Cushion


(4) Lastly is my Travel Afghan.  I'll need to take more trips before I'll have all the blocks completed so I'm not really in any hurry to finish this project.  I am, however, a year behind.  I currently have 3 blocks that need to be done and after next week that number grows to 4.  Getting caught up is high on my list of priorities.

Feel free to nag me, ask me how these projects are coming along and if any are finished!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang

If you look on the sidebar you'll notice that I've added another countdown timer. (NOTE: It was taken down after the concert.) I put those there for myself more than anything else.  Part of the fun of going on vacation or going to a concert is the anticipation.  I like checking the timers and seeing the event growing closer and closer.

The new countdown is for a concert.  I managed to snag good seats at the upcoming show starring Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang.  It's no secret that I love excellent guitar playing and I like the blues, so this concert scores on both counts.  Buddy Guy is the kind of player that other musicians want to play with.  The Allman Brothers Concert that I went to in July was on the same day as Buddy Guy's 76th birthday and the band said Happy Birthday to him and then played "Wake Up Little School Girl" in his honor. 

Here's a clip I found on YouTube that's 15 years old and it sounds as good today as it did back then.   Jonny Lang is only 31 now so you can appreciate how good he was when he was only 16, playing with long-established musicians.


So now, I'll patiently (sort of) wait for one full month until the show, watching the time grow closer on the little counter. Enjoy the video clip.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the Pink

If one is good, then two must be better, right?  At least that's my theory when it comes to making afghans with lots and lots of little blocks.  I'm almost finished this afghan (click here) and I've been enjoying it so much that I decided to make another.  This time the theme is PINK.  Some generous people sent me some lengths (each diamond uses 8 yards) of yarn and I joined a pink yarn swap on Ravelry.  The swap is finished and the group has been archived.  This is what came in the mail:


Most of these are rich, deep pinks with a few light ones mixed in.  The 20 mini skeins are enough to complete about 40 of the 334 blocks I'll be doing.  I did some stash diving and found out that I have some pink yarns, too.  I've done a few more blocks since taking this picture last night and I've finished about just over one-third of the afghan.  I'm planning to go through the stash again on the weekend to see if there are any more pinks hiding out.


I love how this is turning out, so bright and cheery.  Am I sick of doing all this little 3-inches blocks and weaving in the ends?  Not at all.  Already I'm thinking ahead to possibly doing one more, this time in southwest colors.  I might even try to organize the blocks into a geometric pattern.  All that will be in good time, however!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation - FInale

Of course, I couldn't go on vacation without checking out a yarn store in the area.  This time, I went to two of them.  The first was All About Yarn in Columbia, MD.  I walked in the door and was greeted by a friendly "hello" from the owner as well as the ladies who were sitting and knitting.  The shop is packed with lots and lots of yarn from many of the major companies.  I found a couple of skeins that needed to immigrate to Canada.  I had difficulty, however, finding a yarn that would specifically remind me of this vacation and the area for my Travel Afghan.  I like to choose something from a local dyer if I can.  I picked up one ball of yarn that I hadn't seen before in variegated blues, for the blues I was going to be hearing at the concert.  It's from a company called "smc select" and the yarn is Extra Soft Merino Color.  It's very pretty, denim-y shades of blue and I might be tempted in the future to get enough yarn to make a shaker-stitch pullover to wear with jeans.  That is, IF I ever get caught up on my gazillion other projects. There's even more to the shop than what you see in this picture. If you walk to the back on the right and then turn left there is another big room.


On my last day, a Monday, I decided to visit Cloverhill Yarn Shop just a few miles up the road in Catonsville.  I wanted to visit this particular shop and Monday was the only time I was going to be able to get there.  Imagine my disappointment when I found out that it's closed on Mondays. 

Just as a coincidence, I had been 'talking' with a lady on Ravelry about the Allman Brothers/Santana concert as she was going, too.  Her name is Jolene.  It turned out that she wasn't just another knitter but was a yarn store owner, too, and her shop is Cloverhill Yarns!  I had hoped to meet her.  I sent an email saying that I was sorry that I missed her on this trip and she wrote right back telling me that she was going to be in the shop and that I could drop by.  How nice.  I was very pleased to be able to see the store and to meet her afterall.  Her shop is full of lots of great yarns and many were from local dyers - just what I was looking for.  One of the dyers was Jolene herself.  She didn't have any yarn on hand that was the right weight for my Travel Afghan but she's going to dye some for me and it'll be coming in the mail.  Perfect.


I really need to get caught up on my Travel Afghan as I'm a year behind.  It think it'll be moving to the top of my must-do list this weekend.  I want to get up-to-date before I head out to Santa Fe & Taos in September.

If I'm ever back in this area (maybe for Maryland Sheep & Wool...hmmmm......) I'll definitely be visiting Jolene's shop again.  I'd also like to spend more time in Catonsville.  It appears to be a music mecca in the area.  I noticed that as soon I drove downtown.and saw the many music shops.  So much world.  So little time!

Monday, August 13, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation - Part 3

The concert was on the last day of my trip, but on the first full day I decided to take a trip to the Antietam Battlefield from the Civil War in Sharpsburg, MD. 

It felt a bit odd to me to be driving through the countryside at ~60 mph, air conditioning on and Led Zeppelin playing on the radio, a bottle of water in the cup holder.  My mind drifted to what it must have been like to be a soldier heading to battle on foot with little to eat or drink, shoes in poor repair if he had any at all and most likely frightened but not wanting to show fear.  Fields and forests stretched out on either side of the tree-lined road.  The trees were so large that I imagine that they were still there back in September of 1862.  How many soldiers took cover or shelter behind those trees?

Click on any picture to enlarge it.
Driving through the towns close to the site was like stepping back in time.  I didn't see any large 'big box' stores or parking lots, no billboards advertising a chain of restaurants.  The towns were small, the road getting narrower.  I stopped at the field, above, just outside of Sharpsburg to soak up the scenery, so quiet and peaceful now.  Before long I saw the sign indicating that I was at the Battlefield.


As the sign says, this was the site of the bloodiest one-day of battle in US history.  There were approximately 23,000 casualties, almost 4,000 of those were killed.  Everywhere there are memorials to the troops from the various states.  This is just one of the many:


Later in the afternoon there were reenactors demonstrating part of the battle.  These men represented the South.


It was a very moving and humbling day.  Before visiting Antietam I watched the Ken Burns' documentary, The Civil War.  I very glad that I did as I learned a great deal, much more than what was taught in school.  If you ever get a chance to see it (I borrowed the DVD from the library), I highly recommend it.  Then, if you visit places such as Antietam and Sharpsburg, you'll not only know what's going on, you'll feel to your very soul.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I'm Pouting

For many years I had wished that there was a yarn crawl in the Denver area.  Denver is blessed with many shops and it would be fun to visit them all as an organized event.  At the time I was working at A Knitted Peace in Littleton and I remember that a yarn crawl was a topic of conversation.  However, that's all it ever was then...a topic of conversation.

So.... now that I'm living in Canada I find out that it is finally happening.  Yarn Along The Rockies is taking place from September 8th to 16th.  However, I will console myself as I see that it's being advertised as an annual event.  Is it too soon to think about a vacation back to Denver next year?  Hmmm.....


To my friends in the Denver area who will be checking out the shops, keep me posted and I hope to see you next year for the yarn crawl.  And, shop people in Calgary, it could work here, too.  Just sayin'.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Old Dog, New Tricks

There is a saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  I hope that there is no truth to the saying as, in my case, I'm the old dog and going back to school is my new trick.

I have just been accepted into the BA program with a concentration in photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design, also known as SCAD!


They have an eLearning department and I can join into class discussions, get assignments and learn by way of my computer.  Isn't technology wonderful (much of the time)?  While I would love to be able to be in Savannah and take a full course load on the campus it's not possible to be in two places at the same time and the daily commute from Calgary would be a killer!

This is going to be a multi-year undertaking on my part, taking one or two classes every semester.  I'll be starting with the fall semester which starts on September 10th.  I'm hoping to visit Savannah again next spring and I'm planning to take a tour of the campus and visit some of the professors. 

It's all very exciting and a little scary.  It's been a long time since I was last in school on a regular basis.  I'm hoping that it won't take too long to get back into the rhythm of studying and learning.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fourth of July Socks

Back on the 4th of July I started a new pair of socks in red, white and blue.  The yarn was part of the Regia Circus collection, but this color looked more patriotic to me than anything.  It seemed only right to finish them in July, too, and I wove in the last end on July 27th.


THE DETAILS

Pattern: Generic
60 sts, 2x2 ribbed cuff, stocking stitch legs and feet, short row heels
(my normal sock "recipe")

Size: Lady's Medium

Yarn: Regia World Circus Color
#03754 - Dompteur (Trainer, in German)

NeedlesUS #0 / 2.0 mmdouble-pointed needles

This is pair #9 in my quest to complete 12 pairs of socks in 2012.
I'm pretty-much right on track, so far at least.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation - Part 2


It's hard to know what to say about Santana, either the band or the guitar player.  Words like amazing, sensational or talented just don't begin to say enough.  I've been lucky enough, now, to see them four times:  3 in the Denver area (Pepsi Center, Red Rocks and Fiddler's Green) and now during my trip to Maryland.  When I heard about the concert and decided to go I thought that the Allman Brothers were to be the only act and that was good enough for me.  Then, I found out that Santana was also going to be playing and I felt like I'd won the lottery. 


Every song they played was perfect and polished.  The band is enthusiastic.  It's nice to hear two wonderful bands that are all about the music and not about the flash, theatrics and costume changes. 


Singer, Andy Vargas (above), puts a lot of feelings and emotions into all of his vocals, as does Tony Lindsay.  Tony made me laugh.  At one point during the performance I had my hand under my chin.  He came to where I was and mimicked my pose exactly.  Too funny.


Check out Carlos Santana's shoes.  Not many men could pull off wearing all that pink.  I guess that being on stage helps.  The man was stylin'.  Actually, I wouldn't mind having a pair like them myself!


Near the end of the show Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes, guitarists from the Allman Brothers Band, came back on stage and played with Santana.  For someone like me who loves good guitar playing, it doesn't get much better than this.  The only thing that might have made it better would have been if David Gilmour from Pink Floyd had've joined them!


The biggest highlight of the concert was hearing the Allmans do the song "Jessica".  I was beginning to think I wasn't going to hear it and then they started playing it as their last song before they were called back for an encore (Whipping Post).  It made my night.  Second to that was hearing the Santana band playing "Smooth".  The song has been around for a number of years but I never get tired of listening to it.


The concert was on the last night of my trip and the main reason for it.  However, there was something else, something very different from the concert that I did.  I'll post about that soon, but next up, I have a pair of socks finished (not the Maryland socks) that I need to record.

Rock on!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Maryland Socks

I can't believe I only packed one knitting project for my trip to Maryland.  I have a bad habit of packing twice as many projects as days that I'll be away.  Okay, so I did pack extra needles just in case I picked up some yarn and had the uncontrollable urge to start knitting immediately.  I was good this time around.

I cast on the stitches for a sock while I was waiting to board the plane in Calgary at the start of the trip and knit through the day on the plane, and between flights in Chicago.


I knit a little in Maryland, but the trip was busy and time was short.  However, I did finish the sock on the flight home - except for doing the Kitchener stitch to close the toe.  I didn't bring a large-eye needle with me on the plane.


The color is a little weird as it's not always easy to get decent lighting on a plane.  I've only just started the second sock.  Other projects at home, like the sock yarn blanket, are tempting me away.  BUT, I will not give in to Second Sock Syndrome.  These socks will be finished soon.

Next up, back to the concert - Santana!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation - Part 1

Do you remember being asked that question when you returned to school in the fall?  I always hated it because, usually, all I did was hang out with friends and the teacher wanted more than one line in the essay.  Later, when I became a teacher, I realized that it was an easy way for the teacher to start the first day, minimum preparation!

So, here I am, writing about my summer but at least I have interesting things going on.  Last weekend I flew to Maryland as there were two things that I wanted to see, plus the requisite stop at a yarn store.  My main purpose to was to go to the Allman Brothers/Santana concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion.  I have always wanted to see the Allman Brothers and here was my opportunity.  The fact that Santana was also on the bill was a huge bonus. 

The concert opened with music filling every molecule of airspace.  It was loud and driving and continued well into the night.  After decades of wanting to see the band I was finally hearing the songs live, not just on a CD.  I was in heaven! 

Here are two talented lead guitarists, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. Behind them are Butch Trucks (Derek's uncle) and Mark QuiƱones. You can click on any picture to enlarge it.

(c) Joanne Conklin - all photos
Derek was just listed in Rolling Stones' latest issue as being one of the best guitarists in the world.  I couldn't agree more.  To say that he's amazing is an understatement.


Gregg Allman has lived a life full of music, drugs, alcohol and medical problems (I've just finished his autobiography) and it shows in his face and in his mannerisms.  He looks rather frail and distant but when he sings, the voice is still there, as is his organ playing.  I was lucky enough to be sitting in the front row, close enough to check out his tattoos.  At one point he was looking my way and I gave the peace sign and he waved back. 


Playing bass is Oteil Burbridge.  This picture was taken when the smoke was released onto the stage.  He complimented the others all through the show and shone, particularly, during the encore when he played the opening bass notes of Whipping Post.  If you know the song I'm betting that you're humming those notes in your mind right now!


Not only did I see the musicians when they were on stage but I saw them walking around off stage, to the side, as the instruments were being set up.  It's a good thing as it was my only opportunity to see drummer Jaimoe Johanson.  From my seat all I could see were his drums, and the cymbals blocked my view, other than his elbow.


The concert was being professional recorded and CDs were being sold after the concert.  Now I can be back there again and again.  Seeing the Allman Brothers Band was an item on my bucket list.  However, now that I have finally been to one of their concerts I want to go again and again.  Hopefully I'll have the opportunity again one day.  This was one of the best shows I've heard, and I've been to many.

Next time, knitting, and after that, Santana!  Here's one more picture before I go and knit and listen to my CD...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Corner Triangle

Now that I've figured out how to make the triangles to fill in the sides of the afghan I needed to decide what I wanted to do with the corners.  As you can see, they aren't squared up.


I could have left the corners the way they were.  There's nothing wrong with a rounded corner except that they aren't what I wanted.  So, next, I had to figure out how to make a small triangle.  I tried out a few methods, with more stitches, less stitches, center double decrease - none of these were pleasing to the eye or didn't lie nice and flat.

Finally, I hit on the right combination of techniques.  Here's what I did, keeping in mind that my base number has been 31, so yours might differ.  For this piece, you'll need an odd number of stitches.

With the right side facing pick up and knit 15 stitches.

Row 1 (wrong side):  Sl 1 purlwise, knit to the last st, k1 tbl.

Row 2:  Sl 1 purlwise, (sl 1 knitwise, k1, psso), knit to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1 tbl.

Repeat these two rows until you have 5 sts remaining, ending after a wrong side row.

Next row (right side): (Sl 1 knitwise, k1, psso), k1, k2 tog.

Next row:  K3tog.  Fasten off.

And there you have it, a small corner triangle.


The corner triangles and the ones between the Vs work up very quickly and use very little yarn.  I'll have these done in short order, I'm sure.  After that, the next thing I'll have to think about is the edge and how do I want to finish it. 

Again, don't forget our "deal" from yesterday's post!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mitered Triangles

In Tuesday's post I talked about the possibility of adding triangles between the Vs on my sock yarn afghan.  The purpose of them was to make my afghan into a rectangular shape with straight edges.  I tried a few experiments and was not happy with my results, but persisted.  I figured out that I would have to decrease 4 stitches on every other row to make a triangle. 

If you look at all the diamond-shaped blocks you'll see a line in the center of each where the double decrease was worked.  I was hoping to keep that line in the triangles to make it consistent, but it wasn't working out.  I did some research online and found that others weren't totally happy with their attempts either.  Next, I thought I'd make the triangle with no center line at all, working the decreases on the edges. 


This triangle is on the right-hand side of my afghan and, as you can see, it doesn't look very nice.  While the outer edge is straight, the block is more of a U-shape rather than a V.  I scrapped that idea.

It became clear to me that I was going to have to maintain the center double decrease.  I thought about the fact that the decrease line on the diamonds was going to be vertical, but the decrease lines on the right and left side edges were going to be horizontal.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was really okay with it.


In fact, I more than okay with it, I actually liked the fact that all the decrease lines in all the triangles would be pointing towards the edge of the afghan.  I was also very happy with the sharp V-shaped edges. 

As for the triangles at the top and bottom, there was no problem at all.  They are vertical, like the rest of the blocks, and, they also point towards to outer edge of the afghan.  Now I have 10 triangles worked on one of sides (so far) and I have a nice straight edge to my afghan.  I couldn't be more pleased.


Here's what I ended up doing, and will be doing for a gazillion, more or less, more triangles!

First of all, my blocks were worked on 31 stitches, so if you're going to follow what I did, you'll have to adjust your number if you didn't use 31 as your base.  Secondly, you have to use a number that is divisible by 4, plus one 1 more stitch.  I decided to go with 28 +1 stitch.  Working with 29 stitches instead of 31 is close enough.

Abbreviations:  st-stitch; sl-slip; k-knit; k2tog-knit 2 together; psso-pass slipped stitch over; tbl-through the back of the loop. k3tog-knit 3 together.

With the right side facing I picked up 15 stitches along each side of the diamond, to give me 30 sts.

Next row:  Sl 1 purlwise, k13, k2tog, k13, k1 through the back of the loop.  (29 sts.)

You can just k1 at the end if you prefer but I like the snug stitch it gives at the end of the row when you knit through the back of the loop.  The k2tog in the middle tightens up the center stitch and makes the point sharper.

Row 1 (right side):  Sl 1 purlwise, (sl 1 knitwise, k1, psso), k10, (sl 1, k2tog, psso), k10, k2tog, k1 tbl.  (25 sts.)

Row 2 and all wrong side row to end of Row 12:  Sl 1 purlwise, knit to the last st, k1 tbl.

Row 3:  Sl 1 purlwise, (sl 1 knitwise, k1, psso), k8, (sl 1, k2tog, psso), k8, k2tog, k1 tbl.  (21 sts.)

Row 5:  Sl 1 purlwise, (sl 1 knitwise, k1, psso), k6, (sl 1, k2tog, psso), k6, k2tog, k1 tbl.  (17 sts.)

Row 7:  Sl 1 purlwise, (sl 1 knitwise, k1, psso), k4, (sl 1, k2tog, psso), k4, k2tog, k1 tbl.  (13 sts.)

Row 9:  Sl 1 purlwise, (sl 1 knitwise, k1, psso), k2, (sl 1, k2tog, psso), k2, k2tog, k1 tbl.  (9 sts.)

Row 11: Sl 1 purlwise, (sl 1 knitwise, k1, psso), (sl 1, k2tog, psso), k2tog, k1 tbl.  (5 sts.)

Row 13:  Sl 1 purlwise, (sl 1, k2tog, psso), k1 tbl.  (3 sts.)

Row 14 (wrong side):  K3tog.  Fasten off.

You're welcome to use this technique.  You can even post it on your blog or on Ravelry if you like, but with one catch.  You must include a link to my blog when you do:  http://www.rhythmoftheneedles.net/

Deal?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We Have A Winner

The random number generator chose number 1, who is Cyndi in BC.  Cyndi, if you email me with your postal address I'll get the yarn and pattern off to you as soon as possible.  Thanks to everyone who posted the new URL for my blog.  It was frustrating to have the old URL taken away like it was and your help has been much appreciated.  I wish I had prizes for all of you. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

To V or Not to V

I'm approaching the end of knitting the little blocks for my Sock Yarn Afghan.  I only have 12 left to go.  The final tally will be 534 three-inch blocks and 8 larger ones.  It's time to think about how I want to finish this.  There are several options and the one I'm thinking about right now is to fill in the pointed edges, the Vs, with triangles all the way around to make a large rectangle.  I would finish it off with a garter stitch border.


I've been trying out differnt techniques on the side of the afghan to make the triangle but so far they have been messy and don't lie flat.  I still have a couple more ideas before I give up and go with a jagged edge afghan.  I have a feeling, although I haven't tried it out yet, that the top triangles might work out better.  I'll give you an update after a bit more experimentation.  I'm open to suggestions, by the way.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aurora

Like many of you today, I've been following the coverage of the shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.  I feel so sad for all of the victims, and also for the shooter's parents who must be in shock at what their son has done.  As well, I feel very proud of all the first responders and hospital personnel who treated the wounded.  For nine years I worked at one of those hospitals, the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, supporting the doctors of Radiology and I know how dedicated they are.  May the victims and families find the answers they need and find peace in the days ahead.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Leftovers

I've designed a lot of patterns over the years, sold quite a few, too.  Then, my day job and life got in the way and printing and mailing patterns to knitters became difficult.  There weren't enough hours in the day.  Now, with the ability to download patterns rather than waiting for the postman to bring them, I am preparing my patterns to put them up on Ravelry and Patternfish.  There are already some available (even a couple of freebies!) and I will be adding more as they are ready. 

My goal is to have consistency, so I'll be putting all the patterns under the Rhythm of the Needles name and using the great artwork that Dennis did for me.  I'm also hoping to add more photos.

The one that I'm getting ready now is the Leftovers Sweater.  It's a design using up your ends of sock yarns, highlighted by bars of a complimentary color to "pull it all together", taking away from a scrappy look.  The finished sizes range from 37" to 57".  If you've ever made this sweater, I'd love to see a picture, and if you'll allow me, I'd like to post it. 


My plan is to have the Leftovers pattern available on Ravelry by the end of the month.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Calgary Stampede

It's been Stampede Week here in Calgary and it's been a very successful year for the world's biggest rodeo.  This year the Stampede turns 100.  Added to that, the fact that the weather has been mostly perfect and you get record-breaking crowds.

I didn't go to any of the rodeo events or musical stage shows.  I did go to family day and wandered around some of the animal buildings, walked along the midway, ate greasy food and drank a large container of lemonade with a whole lemon inside.

Braydon got to meet a horse, a Clydesdale, I think, judging by the furry feet.


We saw many real Clydesdales.  What large and magnificent horses they are.  Look how high the back is in comparison to the height of the man who is holding the rein.  What you can only see a little is that there is another man in behind who is cleaning the horse, with a vaccuum!
 

It seemed like many things were on a grand scale, including this tractor.  Drew and Braydon had to check it out, sitting inside one of the gigantic tires.


Celebrations went beyond Stampede Park and for a week, it seems like everyone was a cowboy, cowgirl or cowkid.  Cowkid?  Is that a word?  Some were authentic, some wannabees, but it was all good.  We were allowed, encouraged, to wear jeans to work and there were many people who also wore cowboy hats and boots.  On Tuesday the company I work for had a wonderful Stampede breakfast that went way beyond just pancakes, also including eggs, bacon, sausages, potatoes and beans as well as a live band.  On Thursday we had our BBQ.  The catering company brought along their huge barbecue and offered chicken, beef and pulled pork along with mashed potatoes and lots of salads, and more.  Tomorrow, it's back to business attire and a sandwich for lunch.

Knitting content:  Of course there were sheep, including a black one, a.k.a. unfinished sweaters!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wish You Were Here*

* I'm having a Pink Floyd moment!

It's been a while since I've had a contest.  It's time for another one, don't you think?

If you read earlier posts on my blog, you know that my domain got taken out from under me somehow.  I still haven't figured that one out yet.  Click here for the most recent blog post about it.  I've had no way of letting people know my new URL.  I've been able to alert some people that I know and some people have stumbled upon my new address.  This brings me to the contest...

CONTEST ENTRY:  If you put a link of my new URL on your blog, or mention my blog with it's new URL, you're entered. Alternately, you can leave the link on a Ravelry bulletin board or anywhere else that is viewable by a number of knitters.  You'll have to send me an email or post a comment so that I can see where the URL is listed. 

THE PRIZE is a nice one:  8 balls of Sirdar Persia Chunky yarn, a beautiful blue / almost teal color, #0398.  I don't see this color listed on the Sirdar website, so perhaps it's been discontinued, not sure.  While you can make whatever you like with your yarn, should you win, I'll include a pattern that will work with this yarn. 


There is enough to make this single-colored cardigan up to a finished size 41.5" / 105cm. However, if you want to make it larger, you could always find a source for the contrasting colored yarn, buy 3 balls, and you'll have enough for a finished size 49.75" / 126 cm.  Of course, you could use a different chunky yarn for the contrasting trim.

THE YARN: 
52% Wool, 42% Acrylic, 6% Nylon
Ball weight: 50g
Yardage:  85m / 93 yds
Needle size:  about a US #9 / 5.5 mm
Gauge:  14 sts x 19 rows = 4 inches / 10 cm on 5.5mm needles

 DEADLINE:  I will be choosing a winner at random from all entries and posting the winner's name on Wednesday, July 25th. 

Thanks for your help in getting the word out and GOOD LUCK!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Google Rant

When I lived in the US I was able to access Google's American AND Canadian sites, as well as Google from other countries.  Now that I'm in Canada I can't go to google.com.  The page automatically switches to google.ca.

Yesterday was one of those days where I wanted to look at the American site.  A friend told me that I must check out the 4th of July doodle (later he sent me the picture in an email):

However, this is the doodle that I saw, the Hartland Covered Bridge in New Brunswick, which was on the Canadian site:



It's a nice picture but not what I was looking for.  I did a bit of research and learned that if you don't want Google to redirect you, type in the URL - http://www.google.com/ncr.  NCR means "no country redirect".  Now, I might have gone to the US Google site (but I'm not sure), but I still was not able to see the US picture.  I still could only see the Canadian picture.

I find this to be irritating and it feels like censorship.  Why can't I visit the Google site of my choice without being redirected?  It would be nice to have option to go where we want to go.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Fourth of July

If you're celebrating the Fourth of July, what are you doing today?  Me, I've cast on for a new pair of socks.  The yarn is from Regia and part of the World Circus colors.  To me, it doesn't make me think of a circus.  It looks patriotic.

The color is #03754-Dompteur, the German word for Trainer.  I've had the yarn for a couple of months but I bought it specifically for knitting a pair of socks, starting today.