Monday, December 11, 2017

Trying To Understand

Something has been happening lately when Thaddeus and I are out riding our bicycles that I am having trouble understanding.

Feedback Requested

So here are two scenarios that have happened multiple times:

There is a bridge and attached sidewalk that crosses the Delaware River from Stockton, NJ to Center Bridge, PA.  Despite the fact that there are signs stating you can't ride your bicycle across on the sidewalk, we do when the little bridge house at the NJ end of the bridge isn't occupied with an official.  There are rarely people walking on the bridge, but when there are, we will often dismount and walk when we pass or wait until the pedestrians have crossed over before riding across.  I know it's against the rules and maybe even illegal, but we ride our bicycles across anyway.  Twice lately, people have felt compelled to tell us that we're required to walk our bicycles...not ride.  They didn't tell us as a simple matter of fact, or in a way that was helpfully letting us know something...they chided us for breaking the rule/law.

The second scenario is similar...there is a brief period of our ride when we're required to ride on a street in New Hope.  The other day, we came out onto that street on the left-hand side of the road and road down the left side for a short distance while we waited for traffic to clear so we could cross over to the right side.  One of the cars passing by had his window opened and yelled out his window, "Wrong side!"

So, here are my two questions:

  1. Why do people feel compelled to chide bicyclers for bad behavior, while other seemingly worse transgressions are happening at the same time in the same place? (As an example, the bridge with ride across instead of walk has a 25 MPH speed limit and people are constantly driving 40 MPH or more over the bridge).
  2. How would you respond to someone that chided you while cycling?

Current Knitting

Despite my continued obsession with the circular sock machine, I have been knitting by hand as well.

This is going to be a simple cowl/circular scarf when it's finished.  It's 52 stitches of garter and eyelet garter panels using Shibui Silk Cloud...a Kid Mohair/Silk blend in an incredibly lustrous silvery taupe color.  I plan on sewing up the ends of the scarf so that it will be a cowl when it's finished.

Friday, December 08, 2017

CSM Obsession

Like many of the fiber arts, working with a circular sock machine (CSM) can get a bit obsessive, so you may want to just ignore my next year of blog posts as I spiral into a bit of craziness.

Current CSM Progress

Since Wednesday, I have:
  • Set up the 80 slot cylinder with a new set of cylinder needles
  • Liberally oiled the crank and cylinder
  • Used the metal cast-on bonnet to cast on multiple test tubes
  • Attempted multiple times (unsuccessfully) to add in the ribber attachment and knit 1x1 ribbed tubes
  • Watched Thaddeus glue on the yarn tensioner wire
  • Watched Thaddeus unglue the yarn tensioner wire and put it back on in the correct direction (my fault, not his)
Here are a couple of videos of the machine working:

Suffice it to say, I'm getting faster and faster at casting on a new "sock" and I'm getting quite good at inserting and removing needles from the cylinder.  I am thinking that I may need professional help with getting the ribber working.

Current Knitting

Other than tubes of waste fabric, I have also finished working on a pair of orange slipper socks for a friend.

The pattern is quite simple and works well for a quick gift.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Thanks to readers like Kim, I have a list of awesome resources from someone who's been through what I'm going through (also known as an enabler):

I have two Gearharts (1890-ish and 1924-ish), and am madly jealous of your antique stand. It looks as though you have a very complete package, and shouldn't need much more. Although more gadgets are always good.

1. Be prepared for a significant learning curve. I've been hand knitting for 40+ years (started as an infant, honestly...) and am modes tly mechanically adept. It still took longer than I anticipated to crank a functional sock.
2. Check out http://stores.erlbachergear.... They manufacture new CSMs based on the 1924(?) model. Depending on your year/model, you may be able to get additional cylinders and ribbers. They have a large selection of accessories and patterns, too. Call - Greyson is an absolute sweetheart and is a font of information.
3. - monthly subscription, absolutely recommended. Jamie (Greyson's sister, I believe) from Erlbacher does training videos. They're worth every penny and a delight to watch. Subscribe now!
4. Ravelry, of course. There's several excellent forums. A search for CSM will get you started.
5. Circular Sock Knitting Machine society - Newsletter, list of crank-ins, history, all excellent.
6. YouTube - it's a bit hit and miss. I particularly recommend Steve Ashton - He's on Rav as TheWizardofBC, and is extremely generous with his knowledge.
They are addictive little beasts. As a handknitter, I was well into SABLE territory with sock yarn. Hah! I cranked through that in a year. What surprised me the most is in addition to socks, of course, is how very versatile they are. You can do mitts, gloves, scarves, flat web. I'm doing a sock yarn scrap afghan right now.
I find the social history to be absolutely fascinating as well.
As a complete aside, we shared an elevator once (Edmonton, AB). It was 7 am, I was still mostly asleep, and you were in a conversation with a colleague. By the time I processed - that fellow looks familiar, why does he look familiar - you and your colleague had already reached your floor. So, a very belated "good morning!".
Happy cranking,

Happy belated "good morning" to you as well Kim - one of the few reasons I wish I still did work up in Edmonton!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Inspired By A Celestial Angel

Okay...she's not technically a celestial angel, but her name (Celeste Angello) probably means that in some language somewhere.

Starting Again

Years ago, I purchased an antique, circular, sock-knitting machine (CSM) with all the bells and whistles.  The craft shows I did last year and this year featured a vendor (Celeste) who used a modern version of the sock-knitting machine to make and sell hand-cranked socks.  It made me really yearn to get my CSM back in working order.

So I took some inventory:

I seem to have the following:
  • Gearhart Circular Sock-Knitting Machine (circa 1905??)
  • 80 Needle Cylinder
  • 100 Needle Cylinder
  • Yarn guide
  • Ribber Attachment (with 40 and 50 needle beds)
  • Old and new 12 and 18 gauge cylinder needles
  • Old and new 12 and 18 gauge ribber bed needles
  • Floor Stand
  • Original Crate it was shipped in
  • Downloaded instruction manuals 
  • Metal/wire Cast-on Bonnet Basket
  • Hanging weights
  • Table clamp swift
  • Table clamp cone winder with two regular size wooden cones and one small wooden cone

Ideally, I'd love to be able to get this back into working order so that I can knit standard ribbed-ankle socks using standard sock yarns.

We'll see how it goes!

Current Knitting

A friend asked if I'd make a pair of bulky slipper-socks, so I found a seemingly easy pattern design on Ravelry and got approval for the design and the yarn:

So I knit up the first one last night and started the second one.

One minor problem after I've sewn up and woven in the ends on the first one...when I printed the pattern, it did NOT print the toe shaping at the top of the I think I'm going back and re-doing it.  So annoyed with myself.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Definitely Extroverted

Every time I find myself in situations where I'm interacting with people, I always find that I'm more energized after the experience.

Tire and Energized!

Having just done a two-day craft show this past weekend, I was constantly interacting with the organizers of the show, the other vendors and customers.

Physically, I'm not used to standing all day, so my body is a bit tired, but the mind is loving the frenetic activity and fond memories of being around so many people.

Overall, I did a little better this year than the same show last every aspect.

Sales were slightly better.  My inventory was better this year (by quite a bit).  My organization of packing, setting up, breaking down and taking care of customers was better this year.  My interactions and networking with the organizers and the other vendors was better this year.

This craft show last year seemed to have very little promotion and advertising, so this year, I offered to help promote the vendors and the show on Facebook, and that efforts seemed to be minimally effective.  I estimated about 50 more people came to the show because of my efforts.  It was interesting for me to realize that most of the social media reach isn't at all fact it's mostly people in locations no where near to I did have to rely on friends and other vendors who had a more local network for promoting the event.

One of the great things about doing the show this year was that I had about 20 friends/family show up to support the show.  I'd try and list them all, but I know I'd forget exactly one of them and feel awful about I'll just say how much I enjoyed seeing you all and how much I appreciate your effort in coming out to Stockton and shopping the craft show!

I ended up having about 190 items in inventory and sold 20 items over the two days (including 5 coffee cup interesting that some people thought they were RIDICULOUS while others thought they were AWESOME and many in the middle).

Current Knitting/Crochet

Since the last blog on Friday I did end up finishing the Tunisian Crochet Scarf and I also did a bit more work on the Linen Stitch Scarf.

I hate the Tunisian Crochet Scarf and will probably just throw it out and I did so little on the Linen Stitch Scarf that it's not worth taking a new photo.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Vitamin C+ - Caffeine!

Keeping very busy lately, so I need to keep up my energy.

Craft Show, Holidays and Basement Flooding

With my last craft show of the year this weekend, the holidays coming up and all the planning that goes into that, and TWO basement flooding in the last couple of weeks, I have needed to keep my caffeine levels up!

But that doesn't mean that I  don't still want my caffeinated beverages to be unattractive, so I definitely try and add a little art in with my frothed milk.

For those who want to know how I do my very mediocre latte art, here's a brief  tutorial video.

I'm still quite inconsistent with how it turns out, but even this level of mediocrity took years of practice!

I am fully prepared for an excellent craft show this weekend and very organized.  We were able to clean up both basement floods (one from the humidifier and the other from water heater).  And as for the holidays, I still have some work to do regarding gift buying.

Current Knitting/Crochet

I got a little bit more finished on the Linen Stitch Scarf and I also started a new project.

I thought perhaps I'd try doing a lengthwise Tunisian Crochet Scarf that I could more easily finish in time for the Craft Show this week and then I'll go back to work on the Linen Stitch Scarf which I had very little chance of finishing by this weekend.