Knitting by Judy @ 11:22 PM
tags: , , , ,

starting the repairs
starting the repairs

Thank you, everyone, for your kind thoughts and encouragement on the hole-ish disaster during the Great Green Glob blocking.

Today I picked up the GGG from Tangle. I will have to stop calling it the Great Green Glob. While still green, and hopefully great, it is no long globish in any sense of the word. But for this post, I’ll call it the GGG just for old time’s sake.

So, I picked the GGG up and brought it home to assess the damage.

By suturing with sock yarn (I’m not sure, but I think that is STR Rooster Rock), I had stopped the general hemorrhage of dropped stitches. But the repair had left a scar. The GGG still required a bit of plastic surgery to minimize the appearance of the wound.

My surgical implements included a bit of left-over yarn, my cool crochet hook/dental pick tool, tapestry needles and pins. The plan was to duplicate stitch (and in some cases actually create knit stitches) with the yarn to hold the whole thing together and make it look at least similar to the non-damaged part of the shawl.

half done
half done

The cool thing about blocking lace, apart from the general magicalness of the whole process, is that the yarn stays in the configuration it’s given during blocking. That meant that I could take the sock yarn out and even tease the stitches apart with the dental pick, and not risk more dropped stitches. The rest of the yarn just stayed exactly as it was blocked.

Taking a harder look, I think what happened was that I had dropped a stitch when attaching the border. Twice. Oops. 😳 I had two holes that needed to be fixed. I wove the piece of left-over yarn through the stitches to hold everything the way it was supposed to be. There were no stitches missing, just one or two that needed a little help staying where they were.

This picture shows one of the fixes completed. The pin is there to hold the tail of the fixer yarn so it doesn’t get misplaced. This stuff is fairly fine, after all.

Then I turned my attention to the second hole. This one had stitches actually missing — i.e. a mistake in my knitting — as well as stitches dropped. Some of the fix was made by pulling the stitches into shape and holding them there. Some of the fix was made by creating new stitches with the fixer yarn.

a little blocking
a little blocking

Once all of the fixes where done, I trimmed the tails of the fixer yarn and spit-spliced them to the main shawl. This merino felts if you so much as breath on it, so this was not as drastic as it sounds.

Mission nearly accomplished, I pinned out just the fixed area and applied a bit of water and steam with my iron and then left it to dry and block.

It’s not perfect. Nothing really could be perfect, gentle reader, except not making the mistake in the first place. But it’s not bad. As it dries, the patch is becoming less and less noticeable. I think that once I take the pins out it’s going to look reasonably OK.


I will show you the results as soon as I’m home when there’s light and I can get some decent pictures of the finished product. It’s purdy. And will henceforth be known as The Pacific Northwest Shawl or The PNW Shawl if I’m in a hurry. 😉

Knitting by Judy @ 8:44 AM

half blocked
half blocked

Anyone who wonders why I love knitting lace has only to look at this picture.

The Great Green Glob was too big to bock — even at Tangle — all in one go-round. Only half would fit on the blocking board, and there just wasn’t room for the whole thing. Saturday I showed up at Tangle and pleaded my case (no blocking wires, not enough room, etc.) to the lovely Alice, who said that of course I could block in their class room and use her wires and blocking board. I blocked out 1/2 of The Great Green Glob, knit for awhile with the local knitters — Alice has tons of new yarn to fondle, too!

Sunday, I unpinned The Great Green Glob and removed the wires.

To me, blocking lace is a miracle that never gets tired. On the left, lovely blocked Pacific Northwest Shawl. On the right, unblocked Great Green Glob. Every time I do this, I can’t believe that it will actually stay the way I pinned it out. I love blocking! So after everyone oooed and ahhhed over the blocked part, I started in industriously blocking part the second back in the classroom.

OMG!  WTF!!!  ACK!!!
OMG! WTF!!! ACK!!!

I tugged gently on the diagonal to stretch it out.

Ting! OMG! A stitch dropped. I jumped back and then stood in abject horror. I’m usually a pretty relaxed knitter, even in the face of adversity. But I actually felt sick to my stomach.

I apologize to any Tangle patron who might have heard some rather colorful language from the direction of the classroom. Really, I’m usually more refined. I hope you will understand that I was feeling extreme angst.

I stood and pondered and tried to figure out what to do. Note, that this whole time I’m standing all the way across the room from that hole, because I didn’t want to even breath on it for fear the whole GGG would collapse into a great green pile of tangled yarn.

I took a deep breath and eased closer. OK. It looked like a dropped stitch. I know how to fix dropped stitches, even in lace. I can handle this.

emergency surgery
emergency surgery

I started searching in my knitting bag. OK. I had some sock yarn that had been left over from some pair of socks. I had this really cool little tool that’s a crochet hook on one end and a dental pick on the other. I had pins.

The main thing now was to do enough emergency surgery that the patient could survive blocking. Then, once I could get it home, I still have plenty of that green merino laceweight. I could repair it better at home and with it already blocked. That, at least, was my working hypothesis.

I carefully examined the hole. It really does look like a dropped stitch. To actually repair it, I’d have to unravel all of the I-cord and most of the border. Not going to happen. But, I reasoned, I could fix the holes and then, when I get it home, duplicate stitch with the same yarn. It should, I hope, be fairly unnoticeable when I’m finished.

I hope.

So here the emergency surgery is in process. I have some stitches being held by pins, some already tied together with sock yarn, and I’m in the process of closing up the last part of the hole.


Once everything was tied together, I finished stretching and pinning. I had to hurry now in order to get it pinned before the classroom was needed for the Sunday afternoon kid’s knitting class. Although they might have actually enjoyed watching me block, I wasn’t sure I was up for that right then.

Once it was all stretched out and pinned, I set the blocking board in the hall, where it would be out of the way. Note the orange sock yarn sutures tying up the wound. The already blocked half is carefully pinned up at the corner to keep it off the ground.

I could have blocked it larger than I did, had the blocking board been bigger or more room been available. I didn’t block it as severely as I sometimes do. But I do like the way the blocked part looks.

Of course, the real mystery is: how did I drop a stitch and not notice it all the way through finishing the last few rows of the shawl, all of the edging, and all of the I-cord. How did that stitch hold together all the way through that without forming a hole?

Stay tuned for updates on how the surgery turns out.

I don’t think I will ever again feel quite so cavalier about blocking lace.

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 11:08 AM
tags: , ,

Long ago I pondered on these little mysteries, but none of them have ever been explained. If you have any insight, gentle reader, please don’t hesitate to share it.

Why does the top of Moo Cow’s head (just the top) smell like ketchup? Except when it smells like flowers? It has since she was a kitten. She’s an indoor cat with access to neither ketchup (really) nor flowers (usually). But there it is. Both of the other cats smell like… cat.

Why do spoons disappear, but not knives or forks?

Why do the cups multiply in the cupboards, but I can never find a clean glass? No, they’re not in the dishwasher either. Is there a wormhole in the time-space continuum that sucks up glasses? Or are they out cavorting with the spoons (seems an unlikely pairing)?

Why is it that a medium pizza isn’t enough for two (when one is a teenager) but a large is way too much? Can’t the pizza places sell a medium-large? We have never been a cold-pizza-eating family.

Where did my Cat Stevens CD go? I’ve been looking for it for more than three years. Believe me, it’s not #1 Son’s type of music.

When their fibers and colors are so gorgeous, why can’t Noro sell a skein of yarn that doesn’t have a knot in the middle (starting over with a random color), and that isn’t full of sticks and twigs and random ickiness?

Some things in life, it appears, are just not explainable.

Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 3:07 PM

Ravens, lace beads
Ravens, lace beads

So you didn’t really expect that I was winding all that lace-weight silk with no plans in mind, did you, gentle reader? Nah… I thought you knew me better than that.

Thraven was slated for The Wings Of A Dream, and that is what it is becoming. I swatched yesterday, decided I liked the swatch, and went for it. I’m using my Options Harmony needles, and I just love them for knitting with this silk. They have just enough grab to hold on without being a drag, if ya know what I mean. I’m sort of obsessively knitting on this project right now. But I can see already that it’s not something I would dare use as take-along knitting. It needs too much attention.

The highlighting tape, by the way was a prezzy from my Sockapalooza pal, Marie.

Today I am not joining the throng out in search of a good deal on Black Friday. This actually starts my do not shop in malls season. For many years I have pretty much refused to go into a mall any time between Thanksgiving and New Years. While I love to shop, I hate crowds and crazed, stressed fellow shoppers.

But today there is another reason.

Today is Buy Nothing Day in the US – a day that aims to help people think about how they can live more simply all year, and not just today. Black Friday, of course, has more significance here in the US than in other countries. World-wide Buy Nothing Day is celebrated on Saturday, 11/23.

When #1 Son first told me about Buy Nothing Day, I said, I’ve done that for years! It might have been the first time he thought that his poor old mom actually had a glimmer of intelligence (hard as it is to believe).

If you were out braving the crowds today, I hope you had a great time and found many bargains. But do consider bringing the philosophy of Buy Nothing Day into your life on other days.

Tomorrow, is Buy Local Day here in Portland. This is a day organized by The Sustainable Business Network of Portland, a group that sponsors Think Local Portland.

In the spirit of Buy Local Day, may I suggest patronizing your local yarn shops?

Furry Friends |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 10:05 AM

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA. This is a day when families and friends traditionally gather to celebrate together, eat turkey with all the trimmings (my family’s recipe for Candied Sweet Potatoes is over on the Freebies page), watch a game or two on TV, and be thankful.

Of course there are other traditions that are uniquely American — for readers outside the US, there’s probably a U-Tube video somewhere of how to make a hand print turkey…

And, if you are wondering what to do with all those leftovers, you are welcome to my recipe for Post-Thanksgiving Turkey Shepard’s Pie.

I try to start every day by calling to mind something that I am thankful for. I will admit that some days it’s not easy. But it’s good for me to remember that even when things look blackest there is usually something that makes me glad.

Today, I am thankful for many things:

#1 Son, you give me so much blog fodder! But I am so, so thankful that you are part of my life.

My family — wonderful, quirky individuals all. We are spread from coast to coast and do not see each other often enough. But I am so thankful to know that you are out there.

All of my friends. How could I ever get by without you? How blessed I am to have such good friends in my life.

My knit-buds and fellow knitsters and sisters/brothers of the fiber. Those at Tangle, who put up with a lot from yours truly. The PDX Knit Bloggers. (I can’t believe that the PDXKB has been a going concern for less than 6 months. I could swear I have known you all forever!) The wonderful knitters I have met at retreats this year. All of my friends (and I do count you as friends) who live far away but touch me through your blogs and through comments and emails. Knitting has brought such richness to my life.

And I am thankful also for the more mundane things: I have a good job that I almost always like, a nice roof over my head, food in the pantry, a warm bed to sleep in surrounded by my fur kids.

I’m thankful for the cat companions: for Phoebe who keeps me warm at night, for Kidd who is my special buddy (and a little wacko), for Moo Cow The Queen Of The House…

I am not thankful when Moo eats my yarn, or the leaves off my silk plants. I do have to draw the line somewhere.

I hope that your Thanksgiving Day — even if you are not celebrating it — is wonderful and warm and filled with many things to be thankful for.

Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 2:57 PM

Tinker Toy swift
Tinker Toy swift

Yes, gentle reader, I’ve finally decided to join the rest of the… what? 12th century or so?… by actually acquiring one of those newfangled gadgets: a swift.

I found the link to this on Ravelry. But here is a direct link to Crafting Jen, who, I’m sure you will agree, is also very crafty.

Yes, that’s right, it’s made from Tinker Toys. Who wouldn’t see such a lovely toy tool and instantly want one? And there’s a toy tool store just right down the street. Isn’t that convenient? Because for some unknown reason, #1 Son, although the proud possessor of blocks and Leggos and Lincoln Logs, apparently never had Tinker Toys. At least I can’t recall that he did. But the Classic Jumbo Set is readily available at the toy tool store and comes with more parts than you can shake a tinker toy stick at.

It only took about 10 minutes of playing with my toys serious building to come up with a working swift. Mine is constructed a bit differently from Jen’s. I wanted mine to sit a little higher so that it’s at the right angle to turn well when sitting on my footstool. It’s very stable and turns very well. The beauty of using Tinker Toys this particular construction method is that it’s really easy to rebuild in any configuration should I want it higher or lower, or the arms longer or shorter or extended to keep a puffy skein from falling off.

It’s small and light enough to go anywhere — like up on a high shelf where Moo Cow can’t get her paws (and teeth) on the yarn. And, when I’m finished with it, I can take it apart and put the pieces back in their can, and they’ll be there the next time I need to wind some yarn.

That, by the way, is Blue Moon Silk Thread in Thraven. It takes awhile to wind 1,250 yards of yarn, so portability is a real asset. Especially since I’m going to have to wind two skeins before I can start what I want to do with this yarn.

Speaking of Moo, she ate her breakfast this morning and it has not come back up. She also seems a lot more like her normal self. I have hope that this means either that she is able to somehow digest silk leaves from my fake tree, or she managed to get rid of all of them. She is very interested in the silk that is on the swift. We had words.

And speaking of #1 Son, he was too ill yesterday to go to work and had to have a special excuse from the doctor. But when I called to see how he was doing, he was in Eugene. So apparently he was not too sick to drive 100 miles with his friends. Parenting continues to be an interesting exercise in futility experience.

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