This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Some Hats

I made some hats! My first ear-flap cap and a beautiful bear Fair Isle hat. One worked out well, the other, well, not so well. The first, the ear-flap cap, was knit in undyed alpaca which I had bought at Rhinebeck in 2011. It's worsted weight, though not tightly spun, so the effect is that it feels softer than alpaca normally does. I got the pattern for free on Ravelry, one by Deby Lake, though I added my own design elements. In the middle section, rather than using a Fair Isle motif, or self striping yarn, I used a solid milk-chocolate colour. I like the way it looks, and I think it will be very warm for its recipient, who lives in upstate New York.
 The only negative thing I can think of about this pattern is the I-cord. They are so boring to knit.

The second hat came out beautifully. The colour work looks good, I like the yarn, since it's my favourite, Madeline Tosh Vintage. The colourways are Celadon and Whiskey Barrel, and it looks so good! Unfortunately, even though I went up a needle size when doing the colourwork, the hat is too tight. I can barely get it on, and when I do one can see the floats under the knitting. And I know the person I made it for has a larger head than I do. So I have to scrap this one and figure out how I can knit it so that the floats give more stretch. I might also add a few stitches to the hat, and rework the decreases.

These hats are done, and I am already on a second forray of Cthulhu's Unspeakable Hat, a Christmas gift my friend Phyllis wants to give to her husband. The ribbing is done, and I've just started the stockinette portion. I hope to have it done by the middle so this week, and if I do, I'll post a picture!

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Naked Eye

I am 55 years old.
I have been wearing glasses since I was 12.
I have been wearing contact lenses since I was 18.
I have been wearing bi-focals since I was 35.
I have been wearing bi-focal contact lenses since I was 49.
This morning I realised that I can see my knitting best when I am not wearing any glasses or contact lenses at all. That's a hell of a thing to realise after going through as many eye exams as I have.

My very dear and beloved friend Lisa is visiting me in New Orleans, and since we've been friends since we met in 1975, having her with me is like a homecoming. We've gone to the yarn stores, we've walked along the Mississippi, we're going to have beignets this morning. And this morning I woke up earlier than she, and sat in the kitchen knitting a hat, wearing my glasses, looking through the reading lens and realised that when I needed to tink a stitch, or count the stitches on the needle that I was peering under the glasses, using my naked eye. I took off my glasses as I continued to knit, and was amazed that I could actually see my stitches better than I could when I was wearing my glasses.
Lisa at one of the many Little Free Libraries in my neighbourhood
 I have known for a long time that I have better vision with glasses than contacts (this has to do with how my very slight astigmatism is actually not corrected in my right eye, because it isn't bad enough to warrent correction). But since I detest wearing glasses I have put up with slightly less than perfect vision in my right eye for the last 37 years. I've learned to adjust and compensate. And I am now wondering if the reason I've stopped knitting as much as I did when I lived in Boston is because, since I usually don't take my lenses out until bed-time, the discomfort of knitting has become greater than the pleasure. Not that I took the damn lenses out earlier, but there seemed to be more light in my room than there is in my current living room. Or maybe my eyes are growing dim with age.

Since I do not want knitting to be uncomfortable, I shall endeavour to remove my lenses earlier in the evening so I can get some after-work knitting in.
Knitting without glasses

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Commissioned Hat!

Since I cannot do anything else, I shall write about my current knitting.

I have been commissioned to make a hat for someone with ear flaps. While I know the theory of making such flaps (garter border, stockinette inside), I never knew how many stitches should be between the flaps in the front or in the back. Sure, I usually cast on 96 stitches, but how should those be apportioned between the ear flaps? Luckily, we have Ravelry, and I found this pattern, by OC Knitiot Designs, Deby Lake, which I will modify (in other words, I'm using stripes, not Fair Isle).

I cast on the two I-cord ties, and determined immediately that there is nothing in the world more boring to knit than a couple of I-cords. But I persevered, and am now on the far more interesting ear flaps. Another 11 rows of these, and I'll be able to cast on the body of the hat. I have wanted to make one of these for a while, and this is offering me a fun opportunity to do so. No pictures yet, since there isn't anything to see.

Of course one needs to have yarn if one is going to make a hat. I searched my stash for undyed alpaca. I had several skeins to choose from, but wanted something in a worsted weight. Way back in 2011, at the only visit I've ever made to Rhinebeck, I bought a bunch of yarn, including these three skeins of undyed alpaca.
I got them a the Red Maple Sportswear booth, where they sold lots of already-made hats and gloves and other goods. But they had some yarn, and if I remember a-right, they were one of the first booths we encountered, and I was at that point in love with undyed yarns. So I got these three skeins. There isn't enough of any one of them to make a single hat, but I am thinking about stripes after I finish the ear flaps. I have started the I-cords and flaps with the middle darker chocolate yarn. It knits up really nicely, and is very soft and pretty. When I have more than a couple I-cords with tiny triangles depending from them, I'll show some photos. In the meantime, I remember that I knit so I do not kill people.