Tag: geek-a-long

Randomly, on a Thursday 8

Finns Hat

This has been a banner week for communication. Sometimes it seems impossible to accomplish anything when it involves appealing to far-away people I don’t know for a response. It can feel like my phone calls and emails are just wafting off into the void. The last few days have been different, though.

One communication success didn’t have anything to do with knitting, but I’ll tell you about it anyway. I wanted to express my views on a particular situation to the mayor’s office. I couldn’t find an email address and so resorted to calling, thinking I’d either reach an administrative assistant who’d just mark down my position on a list or, worse, that my call would be routed into voicemail hell. As it turned out, I did have to leave a message, but to my huge surprise, the mayor himself called me back not twenty minutes later! Can you believe it? I was blown away. We talked for about ten minutes. He gave me some suggestions about additional people to contact, and I walked away a happy citizen. Imagine that.

There have been a number of other minor communication successes, but the really fun one you might actually be interested in has to do with knitting. I’m teaching a class on double knitting at the upcoming Knotty Ladies Fiber Retreat on Roan Mountain. I’ve been enjoying poking around trying to figure out how the popularity of the process evolved in recent times, and I kept running into a significant gap.

Double Knitting

There aren’t a ton of resources available on double knitting, but up until the late 80’s, it seems like everything out there proceeded on the assumption that the technique must be accomplished in a particular way. If you know about double knitting, the “way” is with the knit or purl one and then slip one method. This allows you to do things like work a tube with two straight needles or to make a piece of flat knitting that has two layers. It gets the job done, but because it takes two passes to complete each round, it’s slow.

The modern way of doing things is to knit each side (of the tube or of the double-thick flat piece) simultaneously. It’s much quicker and more efficient. I learned this method from Alasdair Post-Quinn. His book and his Craftsy class are amazing resources.

DK Books

Anyway, as I perused some of the earlier explanations of double knitting, I started wondering if Alasdair was the first to use this modern method. Before his book, the most comprehensive examination of the topic was Beverly Royce’s book, Notes on Double Knitting, and she does things the old way.

So I sent Alasdair an email last night via his website and figured, not that that was the end of it, but that it would be at least a week or maybe even a month or more before I heard back. The man has a full-time, non-knitting job, plus he writes and travels all over the place to teach classes.

Well, guess what. First thing this morning, I had an information packed response from him that was just as helpful and nice as you could ever hope to get. It absolutely made my day.

In case you’re still following along with the technical end of this and are interested, the short version of the answer he gave me was that he wasn’t the first to use the modern method, but that the earliest source to which he could trace it didn’t present it with the sort of fanfare you’d expect to accompany a true innovation. This makes him think that someone, somewhere must have introduced this technique before. The other things published around the same time as the article Alasdair mentions and those that immediately precede it all seem to teach the old method, though, so it appears we’ve still got a missing link. But thanks to Alasdair’s terrific response, it’s a little gap in my understanding of the timeline now rather than a massive, gnarly one.

If you’re not interested in double knitting, this is probably a pretty boring blog post. But maybe the take-away can be that, every now and then, reaching out to someone in the public sphere for direction or information can actually produce real results.

Checks and Balances

In other news, I’m still working like a maniac and just getting my knitting in where I can. I’m almost finished with the front of Paul’s Checks and Balances sweater, and then I’ll just need to do the sleeves and join everything together.

I also started a double knit hat for my godson who left for his freshman year at TCU this week. That’s it in the photo at the top of this post. Since there’s about a 101% chance Finn doesn’t read the blog, I’m not at all worried about spoiling the surprise.

Poor Alice is moulting.


Augie is pretty much living in this blanket pile because of the crazy thunderstorms we’ve been having . . .


Everyone thinks they’d feel better about the weather if they could mooch some homemade ice cream.

Ice Cream

The garden is winding down.


And there were peanut butter cookies.

PB Cookies

That’s it for now. Knit on, my friends!

Just Peachy 6

Today, I ate the best peach I’ve had in at least a decade. It changed everything.


Since my last post, I’d managed to come out on the other side of my work nightmare and walk right into being really pretty sick. I ended up with my third case of shingles. It’s rare to have it more than once, but it happens.

I’d been feeling sorry for myself for several days and basically doing nothing but the work I absolutely had to get done and knitting on the endless rectangle that is the Easy Folded Poncho.


The knitting was knitting, so it was great, but the stir crazy was setting in. On a whim I went for a drive.


I happened upon a roadside farm stand. Just visiting with the farm stand people and seeing the pretty fruit and veggies was nice, but the peaches. Ohhhh, the peaches. Language is not adequate to describe the peach I bit into after lunch. It’s amazing how one thing can change your perspective. This peach did. I’m pretty sure it healed me. I might have heard angels. I definitely closed my eyes and wimpered for several seconds.

I’m telling you about this because it’s what I have right now. Thank you for indulging me.

Here’s the Geek-A-Long square I finished in the tiny window between work hell and coming down with the plague.


Now that I’ve been healed by the peach, I think I might return to my English Mesh Lace Scarf and leave the poncho for car knitting. I’ll be back with an update of some sort soon.

I hope you are well and knitting and about to find a peach as wonderful as the one I had today.


Or some plums.


Knitting On 2

Finished up my Week 6 Geek-A-Long square!

Katamari Damarcy 1 2

This is Katamari-Damarcy. I have no idea what the game is all about, but I liked Katamari, so here he is. (I think he’s a he.)

And here are all of my squares so far:

6 squares

I’m still having fun with this, but I feel the need to work on some other projects. The plan right now is to pick back up with my Gramps Cardi and then move on to a sweater for Paul. I’ll probably work on knitting Geek-A-Long squares here and there in between.

The Looped Loop is getting some love as well, but I’ve only been working on it when I’m on the go. Here we are taking a coffee break at the grocery store on Sunday. It was pouring outside, and by the time we made it the half hour to the store, a moment to wind down from driving in the crazy hard rain was in order:

Cowl 1 sm

Here’s Looped Loop at the Bee Meeting last night:

Cowl 2

I’m clearly using knitting and coffee as a talisman against the weather. Will it ever stop raining?

Here’s Looped Loop spread out so you can see how much I’ve done—relatively little actually, but I guess it’ll be finished some day.

Cowl 3

Namaste 4

Night Knitting

The current Geek-A-Long square is moving a bit more slowly than the others. It’s straightforward to knit, and I like the design, but I’ve been  distracted with other things. Work, of course, but more importantly, yoga.

Snow Headstand

I think I’ve mentioned here before that one of the big revelations of my older and wiser self has been that you can’t always know where you’re going before you head out. Some things, sometimes BIG things, only show up once you’re walking the walk. Put another way, the mind has its limits. You can’t think your way through everything. There are pathways that open in the doing that aren’t available through thinking.

Being a die-hard thinker, this has been a difficult concept for me to warm up to, but it’s been proven to me over and over again in recent years. It happened with spinning. I only finally started to “get” spinning when I started spinning, not while I was reading and thinking about spinning and trying to understand spinning in my head.

It’s also happened with yoga. Yoga helps me in ways I don’t understand. Doing yoga makes me happier, more open, more alive, less dark. I don’t know how or why—and believe me that’s been a great source of mystification—but it does. And guess what. The more I do yoga, the more I get out of it. Shocking, I know, but there it is.

Whether it was the oppressiveness of the cold damp of winter or something else, I was losing traction there for awhile. I managed to get to yoga, and it helped. I did yoga on non-class days, and it helped more. I’ve been doing yoga every day, and it’s helped a ton.

Now, my curiosity is aroused. Why is it helping? How does it work? Where could it lead?

Yoga 1

I know, I know. I was just talking about getting out of my head. But zebra. Stripes. All of that. And as with knitting, even though thinking about it isn’t a substitute for doing it, the thinking has its own rewards.

I really had no intention of writing about this here, this being primarily a space for knitting, but when I sat down at my keyboard this morning, it’s what showed up. Hope you don’t mind my sharing.

Yoga 2

Now, I’m off to yoga. Paul is driving. I can knit on the way.


Keeping On Keeping On 2

Howdy, knitters! Sorry for the radio silence around here. I’ve been knitting, working, yoga-ing, reading, knitting . . . you know, the usual.

There has been ongoing Geek-A-Long knitting, and the most recent square was a challenge! Check it out:

05 Psychonauts 2

This is the Psychonauts square. See the question marks in the bottom left portion? To make those appear in the right orientation on the opposite side, you have to dip into what’s called “extreme double-knitting.”

Extreme Double-Knitting is a term coined by Alasdair Post-Quinn, and as far as I know, he was the first one to publish anything about how to do it. His book Extreme Double-Knitting: New Adventures in Reversible Colorwork explains the basic principles and shows how a non-reversible double knitting chart might look. He doesn’t go into the technical details about how to actually produce such a chart, however, and I had no idea how to accomplish such a feat.

After a lot of looking and thinking, it seemed like the best thing for me to do would be to try to create the chart in Excel. It took awhile, but I finally managed to figure it out. Here’s the “back” side of the square:

05 Psychonauts 1

I can’t tell you how happy those properly oriented question marks make me. It’s the small things, I guess.

This week’s square is from a game I’ve never heard of called Katamari Damacy. I have no clue what it’s about, but I like the square. I started it during the Super Bowl.

GAL Week 6

The weather here is: snow.


What’s going on in your knitterly world?

Handknits In Action 4

PC Hike

I love it when I’m wearing something handknit, and it turns out to be absolutely perfect for the occasion. My friend D and I went on a hike yesterday. When I was getting ready, I couldn’t decide how to dress. It was in the forties but was supposed to get warmer. I didn’t want to be cold, but I also didn’t want to have a big jacket to lug around if I got too warm wearing it. What I decided to do was layer up and wrap my Thin Edge of the Wedge scarf around my neck. 

In the car on the way to the trail, I was already thinking I’d overdressed, that I should have left my scarf at home, shouldn’t have worn all the layers, etc., etc. Once we got off the main road and back up into the forest, though, it turned out to be quite a bit colder.  There was actually still ice and snow on the ground in places, and as we were heading out, I realized there was a pretty stiff breeze. I snugged up my scarf around my neck and instantly felt warmed.

PC Hike 3

Over the next couple of hours as we hiked in and out of sunny spots, I loosened and rewrapped the scarf half a dozen times, and that single thing made any other jacket changes or even a hat or gloves completely unnecessary. It was absolutely perfect. Handknits-in-action to the rescue. Thin Edge of the Wedge saved the day. I love that.

Last night, I finished up all but a few rows of Sonic the Hedgehog.


Now that I’m into the double-knitting groove, this square was a piece of cake with its long stretches of the same color. The square that came out yesterday is much more complex and even involves a bit of “extreme double knitting,” so we’ll se how that goes. I’m planning to start it tonight.

We wrapped up the weekend with a homemade pizza. It was absurdly good.


 Here’s to a great week, my friends! Hopefully, it will involve lots of knitting!

Knitting and Erranding 12

So I didn’t win the 1.6 billion dollar Powerball jackpot. Shoot. I had big plans. I took heart when I heard that one of the winners was from Chino Hills, CA. That’s where my cousin lives. I sent her a message. She didn’t win either.

I’m finding solace in the Geek-A-Long.

Pong Knitting web

Here’s my first finished square.

Mario Kart 1

The tablet on the right gives an idea of the size.

I’m almost embarrassed by how much fun I’m having with this. I’m knitting along, doing my thing, and then I turn the piece over, and wow! The colors have switched places! Magic!!

Mario Kart 2

The whole dimensionality thing is pretty neat too. Just by knitting and slipping, you can make a tube or a pouch. Or a pocket! I love pockets. Here’s Augie playing with a tiny little test pocket. He thinks it’s his, so I guess it is. Not sure what he’s going to keep in it.

Augie and Pocket web

Today was errand day which meant we got to visit Miss Lucy at the feed store.


To keep things somewhat knitting related, here’s a handknits-in-action shot.

Handknits in Action

This is my 28thirty cardigan. It’s easily my most worn sweater. The weather was cold and wet today and got worse as it wore on. Having a handknit sweater on made me feel fortified against the elements. Paul actually said without any prompting from me that it seemed like “wearing a hug.” That. He’s next in line for a sweater.

Here’s what the weather was like. That’s my current double knit square in the corner.


Here’s a better picture of the square.

Pong in car

It’s Pong! I actually remember my dad coming home with the first version of Pong a million years ago and setting it up on the TV for us. We loved it. Had we only known what today’s video games would be like! Ha!

Speaking of interesting pastimes, I’ve been meaning to mention an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal just before Christmas. It’s about people who love to untangle tangled yarn. Apparently, this is a thing—as in, there are a lot of people who do it, and they actively compete for the most tangled of the tangled messes. The worst cases end up being mailed from person to person around the globe, each detangler making as much progress as she can and then mailing it on to the next person. I feel no kinship whatsoever with these people, but it’s strangely comforting to think they’re out there.

The other piece of knitting news I’ve been meaning to pass along is that the Mason-Dixon Knitting ladies have come out with a knitting coloring book!! This feels like a big deal. Doesn’t it? Release the mouse, Cari. I’ve already ordered one for each of us. 😉