Saturday, February 25, 2006

Finish Line Photos!

With the help of a very pretty snowstorm and Himself to operate the camera, we are pleased to present the finish line photos of the Olympic Tam, actually fitted on a head.

A full back view of the wheel and upper border.

And, finally, Himself with the Piano Tuna in its native habitat. A work from a couple summers ago. It's a pattern from FiberSpace, made with combinations of Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride Worsted and Wonderful Wool, with, again, Coach Lucy providing color commentary to help me figure out what, out of a heaping selection, works together.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Filler until photo

Need daylight to get an on-head photo of tam. In the meantime, a bunch of folks over at the Team Boston blog were doing these quizzes:
Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

And off of mamacate's blog:
You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"
The Muppet Personality Test

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Just need someone around in daylight

I have finished photos and you'll have to trust me it fits a head (not tightly, but it fits) until I can find someone to take a picture in daylight. Maybe Himself will pose by the light of the hologen tonight.

I'm happy with how well it blocked. The edge is nice and crisp. We were tossing it like a frisbee last night at the Mind's Eye Wendesday knitting group.

And the second photo is the
border and ribbing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Thanks for the kind remarks

I don't normally have a lot of comments, and I appreciate the kind words.

A few other things I've been thinking about today, now that the project is over:
1. eveness of stitches -- stitches that looked horrible and out of proportion while I was working on them don't seem to be so noticeable now. I'm not sure if it's the effect of blocking, or arm's distance, but it helps. I had thought I would need to spend a lot of time hand-adjusting tension on individual stitches, but I'm inclined to leave it be for now. It might be related to the "don't frog after dark" rule.

2. This wool is water repellant. Getting it wet enough to block last night took work -- the water did not want to soak in. (Jamieson & Smith Shetland, available from Schoolhouse Press.)

3. This wool has properties that make it simultaneously easy and difficult to work with. Sticking to itself is a bad thing when you're trying to get a loose length to knit with. However, it also means that you're not likely to overtighten stitches when carrying colors, so long as you stretch the reach from the right to the left. The carried color will cling to the back of the fabric and the other long reaches it finds there.
3.a -- having blocked it firmly on a tammy stretcher, the hard edge to the disk is keeping it's shape nicely off the stretcher.

4. Not sure if I did something wrong, but the corregated ribbing does not have the K/P draw-in I expected. The brim is sized to just fit my head, but it doesn't grip, if you know what I mean.

In the spirit of not being afraid to use "good" stash, I've started a pair of socks from Cherry Tree Hills Supersock. The contrast of texture between the two yarns is amazing.

Monday, February 20, 2006

But can she stick the landing, folks?

The knitting part of the tam is done, but it's not really done until the ends are sewn in, it's blocked, and it fits someone's head.

That's been a part that's concerned me over the last few days, the being sure it would fit. Making flat circles in knitting is always dicey, and I wasn't sure, what with the slightly tighter gauge than what was called for in the guidelines I was following (7.33/inch for me, vs. 7.o/inch book).

But some much can be fixed or ruined in the blocking. The first two pictures are pre-blocking.

This vital tool is a 12 inch tammy stretcher. The sticker says it came from the Tomato Factory (no longer with us) from New Jersey, probably at the Stitches in the fall of 1991 (the one I skipped my grandfather's memorial service to attend).

By a really fortunate co-incidence, the tam just fits it, showing the wheel and upper border on the top, and the lower border and ribbing coming exactly below the fold. The ribbing is doing it's best to stand vertically.

Glad I did it? Yes.
Ready to do it again real soon? Maybe, though I've got a number of other projects I've been hankering to get to while doing this.
What would I think about next time?

1. Maybe going up from a zero to a one. The gauge was a tad tight for this, even with working hard to keep the second color loose.
2. When I get to the top wheel, particularly the small inner rounds, using double points rather than 2 circs in a circle. The geometry of the circle and the length of the needle portion of the 16 inch circ. didn't really get along. If I'd had the double points with me and could have divided the circle into thirds or quarters, it would have made working the stitches much easier.
3. That 3rd color in the middle three rows of the upper border was a bear to maneuver with the other two yarns. Glad I (rather coach Lucy) choose to have the accent, but it was a technically difficult move that got frustrating at times.
4. It was an interesting exercise to see how the pattern came together with the different colors. This is an opportunity for growth for me, but not my next project.

Not done yet until it fits someone's head, right?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Tough choice

Himself is home from helping his folks in Pennsylvania. On the other hand, I've just gotten to the wheel of my tam and if the decreases go anything like a toe decrease, we're into the speed of the giant slalom.

Pictures tomorrow. Possibly of blocking.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Being an object under study is distracting

There has been knitting this week, but not as much as usual. The funk of last weekend seems to have dissapated, which is good.

This week I got to be the second person at the Harvard Kenmore endocrinology department to take advantage of their new purchase of this. While it's not what I really want, I'll be grateful for what's made available to me. But having this thing recording for 3 days and remembering to tell it if you're doing anything special (like eating something, being active, feeling wonky or taking a bolus) and making notes of what and when you're doing (how many carbs in a Reese's peanut butter cup?) can be a distraction.

I'd done it once before, but the timing of the study was such it recorded me being away from home visiting friends and really only showed that it's hard to be a well-managed diabetic when you have no idea what's going to happen, how active are you really going to be, and when and what food will be served. This recorded 3 fairly standard days (though my highs and lows were flatter than usual) and we had a good meeting yesterday, seeing what goes on between the fingersticks, how astoundingly quickly my stomach absorbs breakfast, and making a whole bunch of changes to basal rates, carb/insulin ratio and my standard breakfast.

We'll see what results.

In knitting news, I'm been working on this in the subway this week:
The sock on the right was finished last week. This was what I was working on waiting for my eyes to dialate last weekend. Hmmmm. I've had problems lately with the needles coming out of the work in progress when I pull it out of my bag. Imagine my disappointment yesterday when I went to work on the heel flap, to discover I had left a stitch behind at the top when recovering one of those pull outs. This morning I dropped 3 stitches down to the lost one and pulled 4 stitches back up each row to make it whole. There's a slight tightness, but I'm hoping wear and washing will make it even out eventually.

I've also made progress on the Knitting Olympics Tam:
So far there's the ribbing and the first border. I'm going to do a second border and then the top wheel. This will pick up speed, since I now have a framework to work within and have picked out what I'm doing next, as opposed to last weekend when I was staring at yarn cakes and wondering how to start.

It was a suprize to realize that 7 multiples x 26 stitches comes out to 182 stitches per round -- not that far off from a me size sweater if it were a larger gauge. The top wheel will be an accelerating downhill, though, as double decreases happen at 7 points every other round.

Good thing it's a holiday weekend.

I also got a number of errands done today. Seventeen pairs of socks were mailed to the man with Stupid Sock Creatures on the theory that if I'm not wearing them (not liking so much, worn toes, tragic laundry encounters with bra hooks), someone else might as well use them. I stopped by PCs for Everyone and found out that a very basic laptop will quite adequately suit my needs, so I now have a budget in mind to start saving towards. That makes me feel much better.

Monday, February 13, 2006

With the help of Coach Lucy

We have a framework. Several decisions were made Saturday:

1. The top of the tam use the same chart as the tam titled "Sweet Melodies."
2. The colorway will be the one at the right, with the dark red as a background all through the top, the browns as foreground colors, dark on the rim going to light in the center, with the bright red as a highlight color.

On Sunday afternoon I finally felt ready (or as ready as I was gonna be) to cast on. 7.33 sts. to the inch times 21 inches, minus 20% for negative ease of ribbing means 124 stitches of corrogated ribbing, cream on the knit stitches, brown on the purls, for an inch of ribbing.

There will be a pause as I figure out what the border under the wheel will be.......

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Serious need of inspiration or impetus here

We had chamber music last night, and my Olympic Challenge tam is not yet envisioned, let alone cast on.

Today I have my eye exam with dilation, which will pretty much wreck the afternoon, though on a positive note, I'll have a chance to catch up on sleep.

The bad weather expected tonight has a blessing -- my folks have cancelled having dinner with them, so my evening is now free, if the eyes are back to normal.

I'm just feeling really tired now, and uninspired. It's pre-coffee.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

That's more like it

Would you believe the top and the bottom motifs were knit from the same chart?

I'm much happier with the top one. It give me hope for the project. The two-hands, two color is less lump and more even. I still need to take a gauge measurement...... And if it's a colorway already in use in marketing a particular product, I'm not seeing the product.

I'm a bit discouraged that at this point, 2 nights before we're allowed to cast on, I still have no vision of what I want the finished tam to look like. I usually start a project knowing what sort of a thing I want. It will look like that picture, except...... Well, part of my challenge is that I'm allowed to use any of the charts Mary Rowe includes in her book, but not replicate a particular pictured tam. In general life I can copy, but that's not the point of this exercise, is it?

I suppose I'd best start with measuring my gauge, which will let me know which of the charts will fit the numbers. Then will come how many colors I want to use and how I'll vary the colors within. Then which colors to use.

Trust me, you don't want to be around when I have to choose ice cream at a stand I've never been to.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Talk about having a handicap

It struck me today just when the Knitting Olympics begins -- i.e., This Friday the 10th.


1. That evening we have Chamber Music. One doesn't wiggle during chamber music, one doesn't fidget and one certainly doesn't knit, except socks at intermission.

2. Saturday I have my annual opthomalogy exam with dilation. I have learned, through painful experience, that I should not try to look at anything in the hours while the dilation medication is still active. The muscles that control the focusing of the eye strain hard against the dilation if you try. Bring on the migraine.

3. Saturday afternoon/evening my folks will be in the city and just tonight asked if Himself and I would like to get together with them when their business is done. See #2, but it sounds like we should make an effort.

4. Sunday afternoon Himself and I are invited to a Patience sing potluck at the home of friends of ours. Wouldn't miss it, but that's time not working on something with charts.

5. Monday evening is the monthly meeting of my co-operative house. Also, not the time to be working on something with charts.


Monday, February 06, 2006

If you're serious about knitting needle size

Shown to the right is a tool called a dial caliper, sized in millimeters, which I use to measure the size of knitting needles. Mitutoyo brand name, model #505-671. I purchased it from in May, 2003 for $89.25 plus shipping. If you Google for Dial Caliper Millimeter, there's plenty of places out there that have them for sale.

I've tried those needle gages that are sized holes and been unsatisfied. There's too much variation in the manufacture of needles and gages for me, particularly around US sizes 3 and 4. I've also got a lot needles from over the years that have had their numbers worn off and I use this to figure out what storage pocket random needles belong in. It's a useful tool for me and I figure I've got enough knitting lifetime yet for it to be amortized over that brings the cost per use down.

To measure the item, put it between the jaws that close shut, and turn the thumb wheel on the far right side of the black plastic to bring the jaws together. Stop turning the wheel when it touches both sides of the needle, being careful not to overtighten. Read whole millimeters across the bar the dial rides on, and the fraction of a millimeter on the dial. The fiddly bits on the top are to measure the inner diameter of a hollow tube.

If the picture shows up well, you can see three marks to the right of the zero on the horizontal bar, and then .5 on the dial, for a measurement of 3.5 mm on a Crystal Palace size 4 doublepoint.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Product of our environment.....

The first part of the swatching got finished Saturday afternoon. Here we have 4 -6 stripes of each color available in my collection of J&S jumperweight, arranged with the one ounce balls along the sides in alternating order.

Then I moved into the more worrying part of swatching -- picking a graphic pattern and putting color with it. And made my first mistake. I've read about changing colors within the rows of the motif, but not recently. I thought I'd be clever by switching the foreground and background colors, in this case, swap red for gray and gray for red. Which totally obliterated the four petal image of this chart. There will be more iterations of this chart in the swatch before the end of the week.

I'm relatively happy with my one-color each hand technique, but it's been at least six years since I last used it so I can use more practice anyway. What I'm having trouble with is not having an image in my mind of what I want the tam to look like. I need to see colors come together and pick a graphic that's pleasing. Before the opening ceremonies, which are when?

And then I realized what I had unconsciously picked as my color muse. Brilliant.

Just so long as I stay away from this particular muse.......

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The hands have it bad

Work still progresses on the swatch, but v e r y s l o w l y. The hands hurt and are reluctant to grip. They will be rested over the weekend.

On the other hand, Franklin has listened to the pleas and put a poster of Knitting Kali up in his Cafe Press shop. There is one on its way to me. Also a tote bag to hold the J&S Shetland that will be used in the Challenge.

If I don't withdraw due to injury. On the other hand, there are 38 archive boxes in 2 days ready for pickup tomorrow and the "put completed annual projects for a year here before archiving off-site" shelves are fresh and up-to-date. Workfiles are murder on the already weak pinch grip.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Week in review

Just for kicks, here's the chart of last week's glucose readings. Ya know, for someone whose target is a 120, I seem to spend an awful lot of time above that.

A1Cs recently were July 8.3, October 8.1 and January 8.6.

I read the story in the Globe the other day and thought that person had a relatively easy day of it.

Welcome to February

This is my swatch for the Knitting Olympics. My challenge is to use yarn I bought at Camp in 1991 to make a tam, using the Mary Rowe Knitted Tams book.

So I've started training by swatching each and every color of J&S Shetland I have. Which is part of the challenge accomplished already, given that to bring myself to use the yarn was a major part of the challenge.

This is a (ahem) self-liking yarn. It sticks to itself as I try to work it. Other than that, I'm enjoying it, as much as you can enjoy working on the subway, pick a color, do 4-5 rounds, break off, pick another color, do 4-5 rounds, repeat. I'm not sure what I'm doing with this, but I can see how blocks of color relate to each other. As of now, there's still at least 10 more colors to go.

Still to do before the flame is lit:
1. Pick which motifs I'm going to use to make the tam (she gives charts with decreases. There may be darts involved.)
2. Pick what colorways to use (talk about mental paralysis.......)

Once the flame is lit:
3. Knit the blessed project and
4. Remember where the tammy stretcher I bought in the Fall of 1991 is.

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