All is right in my little world again!

Mom_knitting

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know this already. Last Wednesday, my mom had a Transient Ischemic Attack, and Monday she had surgery to clear a blockage in her carotid artery. She’s home now, with what appears to be no permanent damage except that she can’t remember anything from the day she had the episode.

This was the most traumatic thing that I think has ever happened in my life! I see my mom nearly every single day, and I just can’t imagine life without her. Thank you to everyone who kept us in your thoughts and prayers, we so appreciate that.

We see the TIA as a warning for BOTH of us to get into shape, stop our unhealthy habits, and get some exercise! We were really given a second chance, and I can’t tell you how grateful we all are that it wasn’t more serious.

On Thursday, the day after she was admitted I was packing up a bag for myself to take over to her and Nathan suggested that I put in some yarn and needles for my mom. Great Idea!! With all she’d been through, it really did help her to keep her hands and her mind busy, and to feel productive even though she had to stay in bed. We spent long hours together in hospital knitting. I kept thinking of that Elizabeth Zimmermann quotation, “Knit on, with confidence and hope through all crises.”

She worked on single-skein scarves (and finished THREE of them)and I cast on for an off-the-cuff shawl.

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I’m just finishing up my summer Design Your Own Shawl workshop, and so I’ve got shawls on the brain. I ended up with kind of a hybrid of the types of shawls that we’ve talked about knitting. It starts out as the typical two-triangle shawl, with an increase point down the middle and a few hopeful little flower motifs knit in, and then turns into two ruffled sections with increases spread out over them.

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This is truly a prayer shawl, as the whole time I worked on it, I was hoping and praying that Mom would come out of this ok. I used an ombre-dyed sock yarn called Nightfall from Fibro Fibers. (My color is cherry.) I’d been saving this yarn for something special, and used it for this in hopes that I’d start knitting through this dark situation and come out into the light in the end. And I did!

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Hopeful Shawl on Ravelry.

Look what I found buried on my desk!

The lost vest...found!

As I wrote on the Flickr page, this is a sweater that I designed to be published, but then I got pregnant with Olive Bea and couldn’t really check the fit, etc…but look! It fits! If I’d have knit it today, I’d do fewer waist decreases on mine. I’m still kinda paunchy (thanks, Olive!!)

Here, I’m standing a little bit better in this one, but look kinda irritated or something:
The lost vest...found!

It has a nice big open neckline and the shoulders are almost like little cap sleeves. You start out by knitting each little section of the top and then joining them into one piece at the under arm and working in the round. The shoulders are grafted, so the top is seamless. Then the ribbing is picked up and worked in place.

I’m going to try to get this pattern written up one of these late nights after the girls are in bed.

It’s knit in Cascade 200 Tweed. Isn’t it a neat color?? I love the shades that Cascade offers in this line. Really nice brights with that sophisticated tweed mixed in. Edgy but classic!

This fall, after all of the subdued economic depression colors of the past years, I’m back into BRIGHTS. You may need to get your sunglasses on, Yo.

Teaching LIVE in Tulsa this month!

Publicity photo

Are you ready Tusla!? Because Olive and I are coming to visit with you from August 27 – 29 at Loops.

We’ve got a really fun weekend planned, with a meet & greet / book signing on Friday evening, followed by a Shape Your Knits class on Friday and a Convert Flat Patterns to Circular Knits on Sunday.

Both of these classes have been big hits on my online class site, and I’m sure that we’ll have fun in person, too!

I can’t wait!

A little bit of knitting math fun / geekery

Ok, so I’m working on a big new project. In the course of all of the planning, pattern-writing, and yarn-ordering, a question arose.

Why is it that some yarn companies list the stitch gauge on the ball band and omit the row gauge?

And while that question may really be unanswerable, it made me wonder whether there’s a formula that I could use to work out the row gauge (or at least a ballpark expectation of row gauge) from the stitch gauge.

One of the patterns that I’m working on will use a chunky yarn with a gauge of 3.5 sts / 5 rows / inch. I’m shopping for yarns online and would like to just make sure that the yarn that I order is perfect for what I want to do. Without having it here to swatch, I’d like to be able to do some quick calculations to double check.

When planning raglan sweaters from the top, the sweater grows in width at the same time as it grows in length. As I’m adding stitches to the chest I’m also adding rows to the armhole, and I need to keep track of both to make sure that when the sweater reaches my goal bust measurement the armholes aren’t too long or too short. So, for me, the row gauge is just as important as the stitch gauge.

This is where my science brain kicks in. I know that I’m wrapping a yarn of a given diameter around a needle of a given circumference. We can assume that the yarn is approximately the same diameter along its length, and that the same could be said for the needle. (We’re not talking funky fuzzy things or thick-and-thin things, just regular old yarns.) We also assume that we’re configuring the yarn in the same manner each time we perform a stitch. (We are working the gauge swatch in stockinette, not in a fancy stitch pattern.) All that being true, it *should* be true that the width of each stitch will always be some proportion of its height AND that that proportion is the same, regardless of diameter of yarn or circumference of needle. (Again, assuming that diameter of yarn and circumference of needle remain consistent over their lengths.)

I decided to look at a few common examples.

Mission Falls puts their stitch and row gauges right in the name of their most popular yarn: 1824. They expect 18 stitches and 24 rows in 4 inches.

If you divide 24 by 18, you get 1.333.

Another common gauge is 20 sts in 28 rows (or 5 sts / 7 rows / inch) Dividing 7 by 5 gets you 1.4.

I did the same calculation for a LOT of stitch and row gauges, and it turns out that they are proportionate!

You get approximately 1.4 rows for every 1 stitch!

My friend Alexandra the Tech Editor sent me a tweet confirming it! We are both officially math geeks, though she is much more proficient than I (she tweeted me with the 1.4 even before I’d come to the end of my testing!)

SO, if you’re ever shopping for yarn or patterns and confounded by the lack of row gauge…multiply the stitch gauge by 1.4 and you’ve got it.

Sneakiest peek ever…barely a peek at all!

Some more knitting goin' on

I know it’s awful of me to be such a tease! I’m working HARD over here, and not much of it is bloggable in FO form!

This is a little (wink – wink) knit that I’m working on using Conjoined Creations Icon. The yarn content on this is particularly luscious: 15% camel/ 15% silk/ 70% merino. I’ve had allergy problems with merino / silk blends before, but no problems with this one. I’ve also found that merino / silk tends to “grow” over time, but the camel seems to provide some stability.

I’ve finished the sample to the sleeves and have the body hanging up on one of those big puffy hangers that aren’t supposed to stretch out the shoulders of things, and so far, no stretch!

Can’t wait to be able to share more of these projects with you!