Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Gotta Light?

Sometimes when a knitting project is drudgery, I need a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel to keep me going.

What's Next?

I need to throw myself into a sweater project that I will really enjoy...but I won't start it until I have finished the Read Between the Lines Shawl.

I started going through my stash to see what yarns I had a sweater's worth of yarn and stopped after photographing nine options.

Briar Rose Wistful - Alpaca Merino Silk Worsted

Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool

Foster Farms Romney Wensleydale Sport

Indigodragonfly MCN Sport - Merino Cashmere Nylon

KFI Cashmerino

Lana Grossa Royal Tweed

Madeline Tosh Merino Cashmere Nylon Fingering

Powder River Alpaca Merino Worsted

Wensleydale Longwool
I know that you don't know what these yarns feel like, but I'd like blog readers to vote on which yarn I use to start my next sweater project.  Please vote for one or more yarns that you'd most prefer to see me use.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Officially - A Cranker

There comes a time when a certain amount of skill and confidence is acquired where I can now consider myself to be a cranker...or someone that makes socks on a CSKM.

Skills Inventory

Having worked in Human Resource systems all my career, I keep thinking that a skills inventory list should be created for those who want to be certified as a cranker.

I feel like a baby with my skills...both that I'm not very adept at using the machine and yet my knowledge grows incredibly quickly.

Years ago when I first acquired Gerty, the resources available were sparse.  There wasn't a wide and varied population of experienced CSKM users, thousands of on-line forums, YouTube video tutorials, CSKM meet-ups, etc.  It was even difficult/impossible to find replacement latch needles for either the two cylinders and two ribber plates I own.

Today, however, it is MUCH easier to get information, learn a technique or get questions answered.  And finding supplies to help get an antique CSKM up and working is simple compared to what it used to be.

Don't get me wrong...I still make a lot of mistakes...some that I can fix, and others that require me to unwind an entire sock and re-knit it.  I also run into problems that I never would have envisioned (for instance, how to bind off the top cuff of a cuff-to-toe sock that's done in ribbing...using waste yarn to start the top of a cuff is VERY different than casting on a hand-knit sock...who knew!).  So I still have a lot to learn, and I still need a lot more experience before CSKM sock knitting is flawless and easy.

But despite that, I consider myself to be a CSKM Cranker.

Current Knitting

I have done minimal work on the Read Between the Lines Shawl, and honestly, I'm hating it.  The knitting is fine...I really hate the colorway and I am just looking to get this project finished.

Someone asked in comments what I plan to charge for this shawl, and I really have no idea.  I will probably put a price on it low enough so that someone wants it despite the ugly colorway.  But we'll see.

I've also completed three socks (not three pairs...three socks) pair of 1x3 ribbed socks and a third sock using 1x1 ribbing.

All of them are done using Trekking XXL yarn and Cascade sock yarn for the toe and heel.  That last sock took me about an hour to make in total...including set up, sock knitting and finishing afterwards.  I'm getting faster and faster are cranking out socks.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Knit Illusions

I've looked at knits from upside down, from inside out, and still somehow, it's yarn's illusions I recall (sorry Joni).

Illusion Knitting - A Thing?

Using the advance search feature on Ravelry patterns, there are over 800 patterns listed that use the Illusion or Shadow knitting technique.  And I don't mean pattern designs like tumbling blocks that have a 3-d effect:

I'm talking about garter stitch with embedded non-garter ridge sections that show up only when you look a the fabric from a certain perspective.  Similar to my current WIP:

Years ago, I tried doing one of these Illusion Knitting patterns, but I found that keeping track of the hidden pattern and when to purl versus knit was a painful process.  My current pattern is easy to follow given that it's in 10 stitch increments, but even that took a while to burn into my brain.

I'm thinking that this free pattern on Ravelry might just be worth the

I love the comment in the pattern description (which is no longer true, but still funny):

 "In the true spirit of the Trump administration, this has not been test knit. Sad!"

I'd be interested to hear about folks that use Illusion/Shadow knitting a lot...especially to make hidden pictures. 

Current Knitting

My current foray into Illusion/Shadow Knitting is making steady progress.

Looks like I still have about 16 inches to go!

I've also been persistent with my attempts at getting proficient with the Gearhart CSM.  I had an exciting breakthrough with it yesterday when I was able to create a 3x1 sock, including the heel with virtually no hiccups.

I'm screwed up shaping the toe and I'm dissatisfied with how big the circumference of the foot is, so I'll be pulling this out and re-doing it, but I'm thrilled with my least for today.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Million Critical Adjustments

Standard flat-bed knitting machines are complex and have a lot of moving parts.  Circular sock knitting machines compound the complexity by converting the needle bed(s) into a circular configuration.  Sock knitting machines with ribbers are even more confounding.  Antique Sock Knitting Machines with ribbers are ridiculous!

Don't Touch a Fucking Thing!

In my latest attempts at bringing Gerdy (my name for my 1924 Circular Sock Knitting Machine) back to an active life, I have done the following:
  • Replaced the cylinder spring which holds in all the needles
  • Fixed chips on the top of the cylinder slots
  • Verified all needles are not broken or jammed
  • Fixed a broken heel tension spring
  • Adjusted the cam lifter springs
  • Adjusted the yarn feeder (both distance from the cylinder and height of the feeder)
  • Oiled the needles, crank and cylinder
  • Adjusted the stitch length (multiple times as this affects the gauge of the knitted fabric
 All of these changes allow me to make a simple tube and do short row heels and toes and faux rib.

With the ribber attachment I have:
  • Verified/replaced all ribber needles to make sure all are working correctly
  • Adjusted the ribber plate height screw
  • Adjusted the centering screw
  • Adjusted the timing screw
  • Adjusted the cylinder slot adjustment
  • Re-adjusted the yarn feeder height
After MANY re-jiggerings of each adjustment on the ribber, I can now (sometimes) create ribbing (knits and purls).

As an example of how persnickety this machine can be, I decided that the delivered yarn carrier head:

Should be replaced with a newer, more easy to use version that is made for machines like mine:

That one "minor" change took days of rejiggering, re-adjusting and cursing to finally realize that I might never be able to get both the cylinder and the ribber I put back the old part and settled for not being able to remove the yarn without breaking it.

I'm hopeful it will be smoothing sailing now that everything seems to be working in harmony...for the moment.

Current Knitting/Spinning

Droning on about my current WIP, I have added a few inches to the ever-growing Read Between the Lines Shawl.

You'll note I have come almost to the end of the first two cakes of yarn, and I'll be debating on what colors to start adding into the fray today sometime.

I also put in some more work on spinning my current favorite roving.

I'm thinking about triple plying these singles into what will probably end up being a DK or light-worsted weight yarn, having someone dye it for me, and then making a sweater or a vest with it.  I know it doesn't look like much right now, but in my mind, that is a photo of a magnificent garment.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Preparing the Gathering of Men Knitters

While not a full time job in any way, organizing the annual Men's Spring Knitting Retreat happens throughout most of the year.

Playing for Work

Now that I'm retired, it occurs to me that if I could have loved the product of my work as much as I love the men's knitting retreat, I would have looked forward to doing my work as much as I enjoy organizing the retreat.

It's an amazingly different perspective.  If I viewed organizing the retreat like I did my work, it would be a list of tasks and chores that I needed to accomplish to have the event be successful.

But fortunately, I see each task as another opportunity to interact with a most amazing group of men.

Processing payments, updating the master spreadsheet, responding to e-mail inquiries, ordering project bags...each of these tasks is one more chance to get to know the guys a little better.  And by the time May rolls around, I am surrounding myself with cherished friends...even if I'm just meeting them for the first time.
  • To give you a small window into my retreat organizing world, here's a few examples of ways I'm acquainting myself with the 2018 group of men:
  • finishing up final payments
  • updating the master spreadsheet and doing initial room assignments
  • discussing potential workshops
  • creating the initial agenda for the event
  • making "bag buttons" (we give out project bags each year, and the guys provided feedback last year that they wanted some way of labeling the bags so it was easier to know whose bag was whose)

Each year, the tasks for organizing the retreat get easier and easier, but the joy of interacting with this group only gets better and better.

I am truly a fortunate man.

Current Knitting

Progress on the Read Between the Lines Shawl wasn't anywhere near what I had hoped.

I added on a good four inches to the project (ever-widening inches, I might remind you), but I still have about 20 inches more to knit on this amply-sized shawl.  While it's a great, mindless project (now that I've embedded the rhythm of it into my hands and head), I'd typically start something new around now to switch between projects...but I'm afraid if I do that, this project might stall for the rest of eternity.  So I remain solely committed to this project for now.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fighting the Urge

It's difficult to tell whether altruistic behavior is a difficult behavior for me personally, or whether it's a characteristic that everyone needs to work hard to be.


Deep down, my inner voice is very selfish and wants no part in sharing anything I have.  Old voices in my head are constantly terrified that I can NEVER gather enough to be certain I won't be left wanting at some future point.

More rational, but equally self-interested parts of my brain say that self-care is important and that I can't help anyone if I don't take care of myself first

But it also hurts a very different part of me when I see suffering or need and there is a push for me to relieve that in any way I can.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of work registering guys for the 2018 Men's Spring Knitting Retreat coming up this May.  The event, by design, is a not-for-profit/not-for-loss event.  So while I want to make sure the event is financially viable each year, I also don't want to profit in any way from my efforts to produce this event.

It's amazing to me how easily my mind goes to ways I can maximize profits for this event.  I was definitely raised and educated to think this way, and I'm starting to think it's inherently a part of who I am.

Fortunately, I like structure and rules in my life and we built altruistic tenets into the regional men's knitting retreats.  So we have scholarships, we never profit from coordinating a retreat, we have volunteers present all workshops.

Overall these tenets have created an atmosphere of amazing generosity in the guys.

It takes a lot more work to be altruistic, but when it comes down to it, I've found nothing more satisfying when I am.

Does selflessness come easy for anyone?

Current Knitting/Spinning

Slowly growing, the Read Between the Lines Shawl is moving along at a slower and slower pace as it grows wider.

I am determined to get this shawl finished by this weekend...we'll see how it goes.

I'm also taking great delight in being back to spinning after a time away from it.

Tommy's roving is just fantastic and I have lots of time to dream of how I will use the resulting yarn when it's finished.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Siren Song of the Fiber World

I find myself powerless to resist multiple calls from the island of Sirens beckoning me to knit, spin and crank.

Triple Siren

Recently I noted how Celeste enticed me back to getting my antique circular sock machine (CSM) back into working order.

I have also seen a video of Tommy processing wool at his mill in Minnesota that made my hands yearn to get back to spinning.

And the never-ending call of knitted projects continues to demand that I stitch.

The CSM continues to draw me in with it's challenges and how it expands my skill set through learning how to fix errors.  I finally got dozens of persnickety adjustments set up in a way that I could successfully knit ribbing on my machine and cranked out this sock with 3x1 rib at the top!

I can't tell you how exhilarating it was to have the machine evenly, smoothly knitting and purling...the clickety-clack of the cylinder needles and the ribber needles working together was completely satisfying.  Unfortunately, a minor adjustment to the yarn-feeder on the machine stymied my attempts to make the second/matching I will continue to work at my expanding skills on the CSM.

I am also back to spinning Tommy's Magic Roving (that's what I call it).  Rabbit, lambswool, silk and other fibers make for both a challenging and delightful spinning experience.  I can't wait to ply up this yarn and see how it knits up.

Finally, I am about halfway through the length of the Read-Between-the-Lines Shawl and even as the number of stitches increases every other row of knitting, I know that I am creating a large and beautiful garment that someone will cherish and love.

I will always respond to the Siren song of fiber never seems to leave me shipwrecked on the rocky shores of some Greek Island.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Word Switcharoo

Memory has never been a strong point of mine, so when I get confused about something, I typically rely on others' opinions more than my own.


I present to you not one, but TWO recent examples of when I was convinced by others that my memories were faulty.

The first one involves this rather odd looking root vegetable.
Growing up, this vegetable was cut, boiled and mashed into a yellow, lumpy side-dish.  It was very common at Thanksgiving dinner, and I always quite liked it.

Recently, I saw this at the grocery and told Thaddeus that I wanted to have some mashed turnip as a vegetable, so we should buy one.  He started to put this into our grocery cart.

Then he proceeded to school me on the correct name for what I wanted...rutabaga...not turnip.  I was convinced it was turnip, but the labels on the grocery shelf showed he was correct.

The second example was when I found myself constantly being auto-corrected when I spelled dilemma as dilemna.  I was always a good speller in school and I was shocked to find I had been misspelling dilemma all my life.  But the dictionary proved me to be a lesser talented speller than I had thought.

Turns out, back in the sixties, they switched the name of turnip (or yellow turnip...or waxed turnip) to rutabaga to avoid confusion with the smaller, radish-like turnip.  So I HAD been told I was eating mashed turnip all these years!

I also found out that large areas of the English speaking world were taught in school that dilemma was spelled dilemna!  I KNEW it!  I used to even pronounce the "n" in my mind's voice so I would remember the correct spelling.

My memory still isn't something I trust with complete certainty, but I'm glad to know that some memories that seem so clear to me have some basis in reality.

Current Knitting

The beat goes on with my current shawl project.

This pattern calls for placing markers every 10 stitches and I'm glad to say that I have sufficient smaller stitch markers to complete this project...I think.

Friday, January 12, 2018

1998 Travel Log - Part Deux

While it's nice to go back and review thoughts I had as a younger, more ignorant man, I want to be clear that as my understanding of humankind grew, so did my empathy for "others" in this world.

I apologize for what may be seen as "shithole-like" comments...I am less ignorant today than I was almost 20 years ago.

Second/Final Installment

18-Feb, 1998
Hong Kong as a city continues to enthrall me, although, my overall experience is being down-graded daily.  Work has been continuing at a frenetic pace and provides daily challenges as Grace dreams up new and exciting ways to torture us.  The weather also hasn’t helped….it’s been uncharacteristically dismal and gray and some rain as well.  Overall, we’ve been lucky enough to dodge most of the rain.
I’m also starting to realize that consulting in “foreign” lands is not very dissimilar to consulting domestically.  Aside from the language difference and some minor cultural differences, I find myself quite at ease with the work.  Don’t get me wrong…this client is more demanding than most and I have to adapt more to her style, but all my engagements to-date have had their unique challenges and I’m happy to say, that this one portends to be a success from our perspective.
I’ve completed most of my logistical situations (e.g., KMan access, picking up my tux), but I am still worrying about issues like my expense account and all of the money I’ve charged for personal things (also, getting through customs with my purchases).
Food here has been pretty amazing.  All kinds of wonderful and interesting foods.  I’m amazed at the variety of Chinese foods alone.  Each restaurant has a different style and quality making it fun to experiment.  Surprisingly, we were told that the ritziest hotel in the city (here) recommended a “locals” restaurant for dim sum that was the equivalent of Denny’s.  Our client couldn’t believe it, although I think that’s an unfair comparison, because the food truly was exceptional.  I think she was speaking more about the type of local who goes there.  But I don’t care.  Cindy and I actually went back there for dinner last night and it was very good.
I’m very much looking forward to the weekend to do a little more exploring.  Unfortunately the work pace doesn’t allow for much going around the city.  Although we have gone over the international section of the city a couple of times for dinner.  It’s very close (only about 5 blocks away), but I don’t think it offers all that much.

20-Feb 1998

Lan Quai Fong is an international district here in Hong Kong where a lot of the European and North American population go to drink after work.  During lunchtime, I’ve never been in such a crowded environment before.  The streets are completely packed with people going to lunch or shopping.  Yesterday we did both and then Cindy & I went back for a very nice dinner.  During our shopping, Grace gave us some interesting lessons in international trade…like how knock-offs made in HK were 1/4th the price of the real item.  An example we saw was a lighter I bought from HK$35 that was HK$165 for the exact same thing except made in Japan.
I’ve been somewhat disappointed that I’ve found no place to buy Thad’s knife nor have I found a place that sells yarn.  It would have been interesting to see what brands they sold and comparative prices.
Last night for dinner we had one of my favorite desserts so far.  It was fruit and coconut milk soup w/white wood ears.  They also served little coconut marshmallow bunnies.  It was fun and taste good.
Today’s work was difficult and demanding (both mentally and emotionally).  It’s nice to get back to the hotel and know I have the weekend to relax and enjoy myself.
It’s raining out again this evening and I have no dinner plans, nor dinner companions.  I’m only praying that the rain is clearing away this weather for a sunny weekend.  I am growing suicidal with all of these gray days.

21-Feb, 1998

Got up this Saturday morning and tried to work out, but my lower back/hip was still bothering me.  Used the steam room and Jacuzzi but it didn’t help much.
Walked over to the Peak Tram and took a ride up there.  Kind of hazy, so while it was beautiful, the pictures weren’t so good.
Decided after that to go over to the restaurant the Cindy & I had dinner at for some dim sum.  Realized that single people in Chinese restaurants who can’t speak Cantonese are REALLY foreigners.  So I cam back to the haven of the hotel and nurse my ego and my hip in the Jacuzzi and steam room.  I then took a nap and debated going out to a gay club in town, but decided against it since my hip still hurt quite a bit.  Mostly I just hung around my hotel room, watched television and considered my dinner options.  So dismal I decided to forgo dinner (I justified it by saying I can’t run tomorrow anyway).

22 Feb-1998

I can’t say how nice it was to order a burger in the cafĂ© downstairs in the hotel and not have to endure the stress of being understood by someone with limited English-speaking capabilities.
Today was a very relaxing day.  I slept until after 8:00 and had a nice relaxing mineral salt bath while I read the Sunday times.  It was a local paper so it was pretty dull.  I then had that stress-free burger and sat at the window watching all of the thousands of Phillipina maids streaming by.
I then had a pretty good massage (acupressure) and spent some rehab time in the Jacuzzi.
Spent the remainder of the afternoon/evening going to Kowloon for some picture taking.  Again, we had lousy weather so pictures suck, but I did get a chance to do a lot of people watching while I waited in a mall for the sun to go down so I could get some night shots of the city.
Some overall observations of the Hong Kong people/culture:
-       Mostly a very ugly group of people.  Short with poor skin and unkempt hair.  The younger good-looking ones dress like 60’s vampires…not a very attractive look.
-       Mostly a very rude (by American standards) society.  With all the crowds streaming through doorways, very few hold the door for others, in fact often strangers would go through while a door was being held for a family member.
Also not an overly bright group.  At least a dozen people tried to push a “pull” door even though many others right next to them were pulling.

Current Knitting

I'm still plugging along on the Read Between the Lines Shawl...

I've finally gotten both the primary and the secondary rhythms of this project, but it will end up being a LOT of tiny stitches to make a rather large shawl.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Regarding the first installment of the Travel Log, GUNTer asks, "was the tuxedo well made? do you still have it? did you get use from it?"

The tuxedo was extremely well-made, but I had the feeling they may have used a less expensive fabric than the one I had picked out...but it didn't matter, I liked the fabric they used anyway.  I think I wore the tux a total of two times (max) and I'm honestly not sure if I still have it...I'll check and give an update.  Even if I do, it wouldn't fit any longer.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

1998 Travel Log

Exactly four years before I started blogging, I was sent to Asia for work and maintained a written travel log for some of that time.  It seems the urge to blog was there years before I actually began writing a blog and well before I actually had the technical skills to do so.


Travel Log Transcription - First Three Entries

In case you'd prefer not to read a slideshow of the actual journal I kept, I'll post the transcription of it here over the course of the next few blog entries (if you've already read it from the slideshow, or don't care to read about this slice of my life, just skip down to "Current Knitting."

11-Feb, 1998
My first full day in Tokyo and I've begun to be less nervous about the overall experience.  In fact I was quite proud of myself for eating at a local noodle shop for breakfast this morning.  I must admit that I almost walked away when the automatic door wouldn't open, but I forged ahead.  Being a foreigner was never so apparent as when I had to be told to use the food tick machine and then I had no idea what I was ordering.  Taking my brother Jim's advice of just eating what they put in front of you worked just fine...I had a delicious breakfast of Udon & Egg and other stuff.
The flight was very nice with a business class that wasn't even half full.  I got about 4 hours sleep which made the time go by more quickly.  I do find I'm missing Thad more just because of the distance.  It doesn't make sense, but it's true anyway.
Overall, Tokyo isn't much different than most places I've stayed.  The language has been the biggest challenge, but not too bad.  Staying in a hotel that caters to English speaking clientele helps a lot.  Also the hotel is very nice.  Small room, but incredibly efficient.  Great closet space, light switches that are convenient w/a master switch at the bedside table...even a kimono to wear.
Weather has also been tolerable...not too cold, about the same as NJ/PA.
Well it's off to my first Japanese sushi tonight...I can't wait.

12-Feb, 1998
Today I had many lesson; Polite meetings with Japanese business people, how to get information from clients about the political atmosphere, getting yelled at Japanese style and the most consistent lesson of all...I will always be geijen in Japan.
Meeting with Yuko Mitani and Masahika Ishida was interesting.  We traded meishi (business cards).  We asked the same questions 3 times before they would tell us the real answer.  We dealt more with interpersonal issues than business. And we accomplished the objective of the meeting by gathering needs.
Asking probing questions from Grace, I was able to get a lot of very useful information.  She gave me more dirt than I expected...I guess I have gained her trust (or she's planning on leaving and doesn't care).
Getting yelled at by Joseph Lee was by far the most interesting lesson.  He politely kept pressing the same issue over and over letting us know how inconvenient we had made his life by having a client who changed their minds.  The issue was brought up in front of the other staff and even though it was all said in the most polite of terms, we had clearly been disciplined.  And if that wasn't enough, he expressed interest in having me transfer to Tokyo for a year...what a joke!
The final lesson was how no matter what I said to the Japanese people I dealt with today, none of it was more well accepted than the chatting done by Hiroko.  With a few personable words of Japanese, she forged a stronger relationship with clients, with support staff and even with the woman that brought coffee to our meeting than I could with hours of English.  I actually resented it...I knew what it felt like to be disadvantaged for the first time.  Not a pleasant experience.

15-Feb 1998 – Hong Kong
My second day in Hong Kong and I’m enjoying myself quite a bit.  The flight here was long but pleasant.  Arrived late Friday night and I was very tired.
Hotel (Mandarin Oriental) is magnificent.  Very nice room with many amenities.  Spent first day by going for dim sum brunch with Cindy.  Came back to hotel and worked out (the gym was even great).  We did some shopping but prices near the hotel seemed somewhat expensive.  I even tried pricing a tuxedo, but 700 USD seemed too high for me.  I decided to shop around.
Did some swimming in the pool, relaxing in the whirlpool and then had dinner and drinks w/Velter and his friend from Singapore.  The club was very cool but clubs don’t really excite me all that much.
Today Cindy & I took the ferry over to Kowloon.  What a mad house!  I spent like a fiend.  I bought a digital camera for 610 USD that they won’t discount in the states for lower than 700.  I ended up finding a tailor who could make me the exact tux I wanted for about 400 USD…much better than the 700 quotes.  I also go some shirts and a little Chinese chop souvenir for Thad.  I also go carried away a little and bought my mom a pair of jade earrings.  It’s the one thing I think I went too far on…but I did bargain for a seemingly very good price.
I thought a number of times how much Thaddeus would like this place.  He could smoke anytime and anywhere he wanted and he’d love the hotel and the shopping districts.

Current Knitting

I've made some additional progress on the Read Between the Lines Shawl by Tammy Canavan-Soldaat.

You can see in the next photo how the "illusion knitting" technique highlights a color patterning more from a different angle.

The pattern is very well written but on US1 needles, it grows very slowly.  I will be showing progress photos of this project for a while.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Susan Writes (via e-mail): "I really enjoy your blog and love the bulky hat you recently finished and posted.  Where can I find the pattern? 
I scrolled back several posts and didn’t see a link.   If you are able to share the hat pattern, I would greatly appreciate it.  I am continually amazed and impressed by how productive a knitter you are!"

The pattern was based on a free Ravelry pattern called Grandpa's Hat by May Shimony.  My hat was done in the round with 60 stitches on US10 needles and I used about 3" of rib and kept trying on the hat until it was long enough to begin decreases. 

Regarding the Shibui Cloud cowl, Kimakhya writes, "The scarf is indeed gorgeous, like your FOs in general! As a math teacher, I'm nitpicking your terminology just a bit. Namely, what you've got here is not merely an "infinity scarf" (i.e., an "endless" loop rather than ordinary two-ended scarf), but a "Moebius scarf", since the loop has a half-twist. So your lovely scarf has no ends AND only one side!"

Thank you for writing this...I always assumed that "infinity" meant Moebius and that without the twist, people were calling it be the wrong name.  Nice to learn I was the one who had it wrong.

Monday, January 08, 2018


Having an aptitude for sensing the cyclical rhythm of a musical piece, or the ebbs and flows of money or the bio-rhythmic beats of human emotion has always eluded me.  I am a classic arrhythmic.

No Rhythm?  Rhythm-deaf?

It's not actually that I have no's just that it takes a lot of effort for me to discern natural rhythms.  More accurately, it often requires someone pointing out the rhythm to me before I can hear/see it.

Years ago, taking music lessons in piano, then trumpet, then clarinet, then saxophone, I could never understand how someone could pick up a piece of music and know how it should sound before ever hearing it...I finally had a music teacher tell me I should take up drums, because I had no natural aptitude for understanding rhythm, and that studying percussion would be the only way I might gain some understanding.

He was probably right, but the thought of learning drums seemed abhorrent to me...practically unnatural.

Years later, when Thaddeus and I got together, he was incredibly adept at seeing the natural rhythms of life and he started pointing out areas of our lives that seemed to be governed by this confounding principle.  For instance, he'd suggest we make larger purchases for our house when finances were good, but start to cut back on spending when income was less...he had a feel for the ups and downs of finances that I was finally able to recognize, but only after he highlighted the pattern for me.

Another example of me needing guidance on tempo was when I started learning to dance the two-step at a local gay bar that did Country/Western dancing on Wednesday nights.  I would rely on my dance partner to establish the rhythm of the song we were dancing to, and once I had it, I could dance really well.  But left to start the dance by myself, I'd struggle to hear the rhythm and would regularly look to other couples on the dance floor to identify the "quick, quick, slow, slow" of the two-step in the song being played.

Alas, even knitting requires this befuddling idea of rhythm.

Learning a new technique or stitch pattern seems to have a certain "rhythm" to  Having just knitted two projects that had similar stitch patterns, I had to constantly re-acquaint my hands to doing 1x1 ribbing and then switch to the linen stitch.  Both those stitches had specific repetitions that my hands had to get re-acquainted with each time I switched from one project to the other.

My latest project has a whole new (and painfully difficult for me to figure out) rhythm.

Current Knitting

I finished up the other bulky hat.

This one is for me and I quite love the colors of it.

Once finished with the hats for me and Thaddeus, I was looking for inspiration for a new project and found it on Facebook where one of the guys in one of my groups was knitting the "Read Between the Lines" shawl by Tammy Canavan-Soldaat.

The pattern seemed right up my alley...fine-gauge needles on fingering weight yarn and lots of garter stitch. also uses the "illusion knitting" technique (not garter stitch at all!).  I restarted this fiddly two-yarn shawl at least 30 times until I think I have FINALLY gotten my hands to memorize the basic rhythm of the stitch pattern.

Lest you think hours of work have resulted in yards of fabric, I've maybe finished four inches of this pattern so far.

Having established one of the rhythms of this multi-rhythmic pattern, it will move along a bit more quickly, but I have a feeling blog readers will be seeing a LOT of progress photos of this project.