Hope for Pencil Necks!

neutrals

lean and green

Big new idea for summer tees! Are you a pencil-necked geek (like me)? Or, alternately, do you like cotton t-shirts but find that the neckline stretches out in an unattractive and decidely unfashionable way over time. Refresh that neckline with Knit Kneck Tees™. Simply poke holes with a yarn needle at regular intervals along the facing of the neck of your fav droopy tee. Then pick up either complementary or contrasting cotton yarn with a crochet hook and align it correctly onto either one small circs, two circs, or DPNs. Knit around with your fav pattern until neckline has been built up to your liking. Bind off with EZ’s stretchy Sewn Bind Off. Creates a dressy touch for tees. Wanna make it x-tra girly with a built-in necklace? Use metallic cotton or beads for fast bling! Wanna be all macho about it? Go monotone and finish with 2×2 ribs. Super fast and easy. Really. Any idiot can do it … I did!

cream on white

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Vest Adaptation Excites Millions

Or, at least, me!

I’m very happy with how this vest came out. It may be the best, most well-fitting vest I’ve made. Especially, I like how the garter-stitch running in different directions gives the heathered Mushishi even more texture and dimension. I’ve said it before, EZ’s generally blocky and dated designs (60s, 70s) can really benefit from a) short-row or other shaping, and b) using zippers rather than buttons for a sleeker, more modern look. Behold my proud creation:

Will try to replicate in another yarn. I took notes as I went and it actually is a pretty simple hack on the EZ ASJ.

Has a bit of an ancient Japanese armor vibe, no?

Keep a Good Thought for Japan Tonight

I haven’t posted in so long here. Have been busy with so many projects but I was moved to say a few words about the devastating earthquake that has hit us here in Japan on Friday afternoon at 3:30 pm (3/11/11).

My family and I are OK but it was a HUGE scary event! The fifth largest earthquake in recorded history (8.9 on the Richter Scale), we in the Tokyo/Yokohama area had wide train stoppage (voluntarily, to check the rails) and cell/land phone outages but are otherwise just shaken up. The situation in northeastern Japan is the footage you have seen on the news: towns leveled, tsunami water and salt damage, thousands dead and missing.

We are in a tentative state, with hourly tremblors/aftershocks and a 70% chance of another big quake (3/12- 3/15).

There have been explosions of nuclear facilities, with limited radiation leakage, but I think they will largely be able to contain and limit that damage.

Yet, already, I can say that no place on Earth is better equipped to handle this catastrophe than Japan. People have been orderly, organized, generous,  other-directed, well-prepared, and civic-minded. I have not heard of one incident of looting or panic or disorder. This whole high-tech society has opened up to care for each other and, despite all the pain and suffering, that is a life-affirming thing to see.

If you are knitter who sees knitting as a meditation (kind of like a rosary), then knit a row— or 50— of kind thoughts/prayers for the people who are cold and hungry and sad in Japan tonight. They are the most deserving of that universal healing at this moment.

Or visit Knit for Japan and knit your bit for displaced evacuees.

Cool Vest or Hot Mess?

Back on track. Have been very busy for a while and unable to really write this blog correctly. I’m back now for a few months (my work cycle is very cyclic . . .) and have lots of time to knit.

As I’ve said before, I’m really not a collector of anything, so not a stash person. I like knitting a project from beginning to end. For me it’s about the interplay of the colors and textures on the needles; uncommitted balls of yarn look kind of lifeless IMO. But, despite my spartan outlook, yes, I have amassed bits and pieces from previous projects. These were bothering me as they were on the verge of  assuming “stash” status, thus ruining my stash-free reputation. Over the new year’s holiday, I got a great idea. I dumped all the bits out onto a shelf, and culled out anything not at least 80% wool, anything too bulky or lace weight, and any very bright colors or black. Then I sorted the yarn into color groupings: blue/grey, green/blue-green, brown/rust/tan, cream (no bright white), and Noro ends with red and black removed. I lined them up and first cut them into 4 metre lengths and then tied these together with square knots, moving in order from group to group and then repeating. I plan to let those ends show in a regular pattern on the front of the work. The resulting yarn is one that I like very much. Reminds me of the sophisticated striping motifs used by Missoni. but also has a bit of the raggity look of used sari yarn. 

The un-stash

 

Enjoined Yarn

Ends Swatch

 Swatch Close-up

Interesting side note: Livejournal diva/sage sleepsong noticed fron this pic that I had been purling the wrong way, causing a twist in each stitch. I am so grateful. I might have gone on forever screwing up project after project in ignorant bliss! I spent all yesterday doing purl swatches to get the right way into my fingers. It is amazing how much better my knitting looks now! (Duh!)

Thinking of making a sweater vest for me out of this glorious ragtag yarn. Can see it really popping with a brown turtle-neck! Here’s the thing: the last few sweater vests I’ve made,  I’ve thought that the Noro or other striped yarns I like have not offered a flattering horizontal stripe across my body. Anyone relate to that? So, I’d like to do a sweater knit from side-to-side to make my new yarn stripe vertically. Subequent to writing  this I have decide on the Bold Zebra pattern from Guy Knits , done in the vest design from Knitting with Balls. It really allows a striping effect of alternating yarns that I really like while still emphasizing the vertical up and down lines without being knit side-to side. I think this will be a cool vest.

Finally, Knit Time!

At long last, I get time to knit. I should explain. As a Japanese university lecturer, I roughly follow the Japanese school year schedule. That is, school is in session mid-April to mid-July, off from mid-July to mid-September, school from then through  late-December, off for small winter break, then back for two weeks, then off from mid-January to mid-April. I get paid all year but work for about eight and a half months.

So, projects in queue: Forks in the Road sweater, Seraphim shawl, and Bold Zebra sweater vest.  each has its own good points and difficulties.

The Forks in the Road has been started and stopped  so much. I need to jump in and really enjoy what I began. Have frogged it twice due to mistakes, not easy with mohair. I think it will go well now that I can get a rhythm.  

Seraphim Shawl: I’m not exactly feeling it and I had a big shock yesterday. One of the Livejournal diva/sages, sleepsong,  generously pointed out that I have been purling incorrectly, twisting each purl stitch from the wrong side. She was spot-on correct; all projests I have done to date have been flawed with this. At this point in Seraphim, I have totally finished the 58 repeats of stockinette before the lace pattern begins. It took me forever. If I frog it, I will abandon the project. I just can’t redo that boring expanse. So, go on correctly with the lace pattern? Or should I keep purling the wrong way on this project to make it consistent? My inclination is to now continue, purling correctly. I think I will just proceed on and see how it goes, if the change is very apparant but I can justify it with ” this is where it changes to the lace pattern” then I will keep it, If not, maybe froggy pond, here we come. 

Bold Zebra is my current passion, fueled by the fun new yarn I created from odds and ends.  I’ll devote a whole entry just to this. 

More later on my great Christmas knitting ideas this year and plans for a podcast in the New Year!