Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Video - Burgundy Mohair Tucked Rib Scarf

Here's my new video, a pretty, fluffy lace scarf that you can make on a standard machine with patterning and a ribber:

Inspiration - Pooled Yarn Shawl

Wow. Gorgeous:

Burn-Testing Yarn Writeup

I had to link over to this excellent writeup at My Brother and I about how to burn-test your yarn to see what you have:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Inspiration - Heidi's First Socks

Heidi (1Strickliesl of Germany) has been conquering her knitting machine, and sent us a picture of her socks knitted circular, using my pattern and DVD. Beautiful workmanship, and very pretty yarn, as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Inspiration - Cardigan

Here's Diane's cardigan! She's been following the lessons.

Diane used clasps instead of buttons and followed a hand knitting pattern for the neck shaping:

Crazy Woman Puts Scarf In Tree

The hand knitting blogs are full of scarves, and why not? They're fashionable; they're a terrific gift item since you only have to deal with preferences and not fit; and they're an accessory to add a dash of color, feminity, or warmth to really make an outfit special.

This lacy scarf was made with a thin burgundy mohair blend, really a novelty yarn, and didn't use any lace techniques. The yarn has some other colors in it and some sparkle, but I stuck it in the magnolia tree to get some light behind it and show the lacy effect. We have a soft breeze today, which is why the tails are fanned out. The finished scarf weighs in at just over 3 ounces of yarn, yet it's a substantial scarf, 8" wide by almost 6 feet long, with some thickness.

I knitted it on the standard machine with ribber and using a tuck stitch and a simple 1x1 needle arrangement. I've filmed it, and it'll be on a video. Piece of cake, except that it's over 500 rows in length! Just keep on moving those weights up.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Curious About the Shadow Lace Tool (Jaws)?

I've got a new YouTube video showing the basics of using a Shadow Lace Tool (Jaws) to move stitches from the ribber to the main bed, and back again. You can move all the stitches or some of the stitches, whatever you desire, either up or down. This tool saves a lot of time!

Before buying a Jaws tool, make sure it fits your machine. It's a 4.5 mm tool for the standard machines with a ribber, and fits Toyota, Brother, Studio, Silver-Reed, Singer, Knitking, Juki - in other words, it fits the standard Japanese machines. You can always put a ruler in front of your needles and measure the distance from the center of one needle to the center of another.

Jaws will not fit Passap, which has a different needle spacing.

The little book that comes with Jaws is written for the Studio/Silver Reed machines, so the machine settings will seem quite foreign if you have a different machine. Still, once you get used to it, this is a very useful gizmo. The tools are not too to find if you contact the dealers on the internet, especial the Studio/Silver Reed dealers, either by phone or email.

Machine for Sale in Central Texas

This is for sale from a lady in the Central Texas area. I haven't seen it, but if it's in good shape it's an amazing deal at $400. This is somebody's chance to move up to a terrific electronic machine (Knitking is a Brother machine) for very little money. Or, heck, start right out with machine knitting in a deluxe way!

However, I do think you'll need to be able to drive to her and pick it up.

Email me if you need her contact information.

Knitking Compuknit III Knitting machine, including stand, main bed, ribber, Lace carriage, color changer, pushers, aligning & other tools, dust cover, weights, manuals. $400.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Beating the Yarn-Looping Miseries

Last night I went to my friend Sylvia's, and one of the things we did was knit a sock together. It was making nasty loops at the edges of the knitting, and even worse, getting caught on the loops and tearing holes in the knitting! Sylvia is very patient and had been plugging away trying to learn the machine on that sock pattern. She had made a pile of attempts, but sooner or later, the Toyota always ruined the sock.

This morning, I had a note on YouTube from a knitter in New Zealand with yarn looping problems on a Studio machine. I answered her briefly, and thought, this would make a great blog post. This same problem has come to my attention twice in two days!

On the Toyota, we did a couple things, and it's knitting much better. Here are some things you can do to beat the yarn-looping problem:

First, make sure your overhead take-up spring is nice and springy, and it pulls the yarn up enough. You could try tightening the tension on that upper wheel. Also, you can replaced the wire "antennas." I replaced a pair once and gave a machine a whole new lease on life! I got replacements from a dealer. If that antenna is saggy, then the yarn at the beginning of the row is loopy.

Also, knit only just far enough at the end of a row. Listen for the click, which means, "stop." Knitting too far draws out more yarn to form a loop.

The Toyota had brush problems. Your machine might, too. Take the sinker plate (metal part in front of the carriage) off, turn it over, and try to spin the wheels with brushes. If those wheels won't spin, those brushes are going to give you nothing but trouble! Take a screwdriver and remove the wheels, and pick out any lint or yarn that's gumming up the works. Put it all back together with a drop of oil and see if they spin now. On Sylvia's machine a couple washers were missing, and one of the wheels was tightening down as she knitted.

Feel the brushes for a bristle sticking down into the area where the yarn passes. You might have to snip off that bristle so it stops snagging the yarn.

You can also remove the offending wheel-brush and see how your machine knits without it! Sylvia and I knitted all evening without two of her brushes and we didn't miss the nasty little critters at all. Her husband is going to replace the washers and get those wheels spinning again.

NZAK Update

Thursday night I took maybe 20 minutes and actually knitted a heel! I adjusted the heel weight (the NZAK has a heel weight to take up the extra yarn when you change directions short-rowing), and I brought the needles up using the heel lifter (such a clever gadget). Then I slowly worked the heel.

Every machine is different, and here's what I learned about Valentina: (1) I really have to figure out how much to weight the heel forks and where to put 'em, (2) when returning a needle to work (short-row increasing) the NZAK likes the needle pushed all the way down, just like the video says, duh (3) when short-rowing, the NZAK requires needs me to go a little more distance than I'm used to on past the needles I'm moving before they're out of the pathway and can be moved.

It felt like a victory! I plan to make a string of heels before I make some pairs of actual socks.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Helen Griffiths' Really Good Ribber Wires

I'm a fan of Helen Griffiths' machine knitting designs, and hope you'll check out her redesigned site and browse around:

To get to the ribber wires I recommend in this blog and in my videos, look on the right hand side of her homepage for the DVDs/Ribber Wires link, and then scroll down. These are nice, non-bendy wires that are SO much easier to slip into the ribber combs. And, they're not expensive! A great gift idea for your knittin' buddies.

Bungee Jumping Video


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Miscellaneous Updates

NZAK: I've been guided to the Yahoo Group, sockknittingmachinefriends, and have received some good advice already. I also found a CSM person I didn't know in Georgetown, Texas, which is not far away.

The NZAK was knitting an excellent tube of ribbing last night, but John and I plan to take it apart and do a careful lube job before I knit more. I have an assortment of questions and a list of small parts and other items I need.

Weight Watchers: Weighed in, gained .4 pounds, having attended a couple parties and eaten out a few times all in the same week, while not being especially careful. I have messed up, faced the music and am getting back to business!

Video Project: A friend is going to teach me some things about video editing, and I'm going to help her with her knitting machine. This is an exciting development.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knifty Knitter

Some of my friends have been making hats and other projects with the Knifty Knitter. I've got a set I haven't played with much, myself/

Check out all the free patterns I found:

US Readers - Please Look - Article in Investors Business Daily

Article about crooks, to the tune of BILLIONS - and they get away with it if the public isn't informed:

Knit Natters Meeting Saturday

We met at Sylvia Moore's house, and I completely embarrassed myself by getting lost and being late when I had perfectly good directions! Too much reliance on Ms. Garmin is my weak excuse.

Sylvia had told us about her Toyota 787, but I was astonished to see this 1970s machine looking like it was sold new yesterday! Gleaming and pristine, and knits easily. I had almost forgotten about the 787 - my first Toyota was the 901, but the 787 had both a 24-stitch punch card and a set of 12 pushbuttons with a "zigzag" wheel. You can move the whole push button design to the right or left by turning the wheel. This was incredibly useful - lots of patterns are only 12 stitches wide, and you can personalize with a name with 12 stitches. Besides, you didn't have to punch a card for single use.

The 787 also had Simulknit, which is a Toyota ribber technique like double jacquard, except that it is plain on the back and patterned on the front!

Sylvia and Doug couldn't find a properly-sized Toyota 787 sponge bar. They're terribly rare, but does anybody have one, maybe a nasty one that could be rehabbed with new foam? They put in one that's slightly long, but it interferes with the extension rails and they hesitate to cut it off with a hacksaw.

I demonstrated the flatbed sew-as-you-go sock, guessing at the tension and getting a stiff little something about right for a 12-year-old, but everybody thought it was interesting anyway. I explained that my purpose with that pattern was to come up with a sock for the people who emailed me and said they didn't have a ribber, couldn't do patterning, etc. This sock requires only a standard flatbed and a couple tools. C'mom folks, try one!

It was a pleasure to have a turn at that wonderful vintage machine, although I made a bunch of mistakes, and everyone was sweet about them. And, Pat was surprised at the quality of the Toyota manual, which was full of details and color photos. I used to wish that we could buy the terrific Toyota manuals from Toyota to sell to people with other makes of machines.

Toyota also had a wonderful every-other-needle weighted comb which was a great favorite of mine, and of course I got to use one yesterday!

Pat had brought her finished Norwegian gloves, absolutely gorgeous. I hope she enters those blue-ribbon gloves in a show. She also brought a geodesic hat (I know, Pat, that's not what you said it is called, but that's what it looks like to me, all equilateral triangles), and a fascinating, utterly personalized hand knit sock pattern and socks. Every time Pat got to a variegation in the sock yarn she switched from knit to purl, and they have a wonderful spiral texture from that. Pat also brought a little heart pillow all made in entrelac. Pat is a wizard and we are so lucky to have her!

We had a very nice new person, Karien, who has a Passap and a Toyota 901 but went inactive when she needed to put them away out of the reach of little fingers. It was fun getting to know her a little - she's a sweetie. We did our best to nudge her back into MK!

Mildred was there, going strong, with scarves and hats she's knitting. Mildred, who does almost any needlecraft and is an accomplished Passap knitter and weaver, has been getting great use out of a Mattel-style knitter and an Innovations machine. I always get a kick out of the way Mildred thinks about some UFO or unusual item and figures out something completely cool to make. She made a remarkably thick, fluffy, hairy hat using the Innovations, which turned out smooth on the knit side and furry on the purl side. She's also knitting diagonal garter stitch scrubbers with some tough cotton yarn of unknown origin - maybe carpet yarn.

I brought along a few things, but the truth is, the main thing I had to show for my knitting month was the little package containing two disks and labelled "Garter Bar Course." I am very proud of that course, which is two DVDs.

Mary brought some fleece, very interesting stuff. She has some surprisingly soft wool fleece from her friend's sheep and some of her own alpaca mixed with bamboo. Mary's alpaca is unbelievable. She's gone earth-mothery with her little spread in San Angelo and her alpacas and other critters, barns and land, and is also learning to spin. She was knitting with some of her handspun, and says she's improving all the time. I sure do love Mary's natural yarns.

Sara couldn't make it, but her mom Pat told us they are driving north to pick up a spinning wheel that Sara's wanted a long time, and they've found it with a private party sale. It's probably too big to bring to club, but maybe we can persuade Sara to have us to her beautiful condo again sometime and show us her latest goodies and her expertly spun yarns.

Sylvia threw a heckofva Valentine's party for our little group - candy goodie baskets made with her Cricket paper cutter (I had NO idea Sylvia did all these beautiful things), bouquets of Tootsie Roll Pops and bright colored die-cut cardstock flowers, pink cherry cake (yum, I'm in trouble at Weight Watchers this week, even without that cake), but let me tell you about the highlight of the day for me:

Sylvia has the most amazing embroidery machine. It's a professional outfit, the size of a desk with hutch. It has a tray about eye level that holds a dozen cones of embroidery thread, and the threads go through a dozen tension and needle assemblies. Sylvia puts the design on her nearby PC, selects all the colors for the needle numbers on the fancy machine, and after just a few minutes fiddling, she pushes a button and off it goes. It makes all the noise you'd expect from a giant sewing machine going full blast, and it starts, sews, and ends each color all on its own. It pads the patches of color by under-sewing and creates the textures. Sylvia can walk way and do laundry, and unless a thread breaks (which makes it beep) the thing sews the entire picture! It has little hoops and giant hoops, even a cap attachment. Fascinating. I stood there staring at it embroidering an apple still life, and Sylvia said, "It's hypnotic, isn't it?" She pulled out her notebooks full of designs and her piles of samples and let us browse. Wow.

Knit Natters has always had a rule that we are interested in what each member is up to, and it doesn't have to be knitting. I think that has helped to make our club so much fun and such a highlight of the month. If my passion that month was a quilt or an event in my personal life, Knit Natters is a place I can share.

We missed you, Barbara, and plan to descend on you again next month!

My Pretty Red Valentine's Gift NZAK

Looking inside the big Fed Ex box with the New Zealand Auto knitter! It had been carefully packaged, and once I removed the layers of foam, here were all these individually wrapped mysterious pieces.

I decided to unwrap pieces, lay 'em out, and see what was there.
Dear husband, who usually does mechanical duties, was off at his Model A club, so I went on YouTube and started watching the how-to-assemble it videos. (When he got home, he found me a washer I needed and an Allen wrench.) Luckily for me, the seller had only taken it apart only enough to ship it, so I just had to put the stand together, put the handle on, and attach the row counter and yarn mast.

I was especially puzzled about the row counter, but followed the directions.
. Isn't she pretty? Very Valentine-y. A little darker red than the photo.

There was a tube hanging from the machine, bundled up in such a way that I thought the machine might not have been used much - or ever, once they did the tube for a test and to ship to the customer. There are also no markings on any of the cylinders. I will mark them with red nail polish showing the number of needles for heel shaping. The machine and the knitting that came on it are with the compound 60-stitch cylinder, so I started up with that. The machine is very new and stiff, so I put on lots of oil and am knitting away and feeling it loosen up.

I tried short-rowing, and am fascinated by the needle lifter, since I'm used to lifting the needles by hand with one of Barry's tools. The needles are very stiff to bring up and down, so I think I'll save my fingers with "finger cots" (those rubber thimbles you use in an office for paging through papers). I bought a whole box years ago and keep them in my sewing stuff. They're great when you're sewing something where it's hard to pull the needle, say binding stitch in needlepoint. You get traction!

I haven't tried ribbing yet, and I am surprisingly bad at short-rowing for a person who has knitted hundreds of socks on the Legare. These things are all about practice. I was trying to use an unfamiliar machine Saturday, having not used it in months, and I was terrible, so why would this new one be any different? Then, once you've practiced a great deal, it's all automatic and you can come home tired and crank a sock. (Sometimes I came home so tired my socks had two heels...)

The row counter is awesome, absolutely accurate as far as I can tell! I've never had a row counter on a sock machine before. I tried a couple of add-ons but didn't work at it enough to get them going, probably because I was so used to counting in my head. In fact, I sometimes forget to use the row counter on the flatbed. Now I am going to reacquire the row counter habit because it's a real blessing if the phone rings!

I have knitted yards and yards of tubing, and I finally used too thin a yarn, which broke and now the knitting is off the machine. Today I will try the setup basket and ribbing just like the videos!

The girls at Knit Natters asked me Saturday why I'm doing this, since I've been talking downsizing, and I explained that every time there's an ad for one, I read it to my husband and this time, he told me to buy it. So it really is a Valentine machine!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

from Valentine Bear...

I did finish his sweater, but haven't got the video together yet. It would be nice, though, to have a video showing how to do a round yoke, so I'll just have to see how this one turned out.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Smart Swatches

Swatches are not very glamorous, but they're an amazing tool to ensure knitting success.

At one point, I dragged out every swatching tip I ever encountered and made a Knit Natters demo out of it. I incorporated that demo into the beginner course in this lesson:

When you routinely knit a swatch this way, you get all these benefits:
  • It's the right size for the Knitleader (and good for DAK, too)
  • There are a bunch of places where you can measure width, just in case you stretched a little too much in one area when blocking
  • It's big enough so you don't have to measure to the edge for anything
  • It's big enough to really feel the texture
  • The eyelet holes give you a permanent marking of your tension settings
  • Both cast-on and cast-off are finished, and you can launder it like the real garment without fear of it unravelling (and you need to launder it like the garment)
  • Doing a pattern stitch? Of course, knit the swatch in pattern! This helps you assess what it's like to knit and gives you measurements of the real deal.
  • The swatch is big enough that you can weigh it and measure it and those square inches can help with planning the yarn requirements.
In the past, I've gotten a nice cone of yarn and made the swatch, then rolled it and tucked it inside the cone for the day I could actually begin to knit that yarn. That swatch gives me a better idea what the yarn will be like than looking at and feeling the cone.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Video Survey Questions - Want Your Opinion

Would love to hear some opinions, folks.

Originally, some people wanted me to sell all my videos on CDs so they could play them on their computers, since YouTube can take forever to download if you don't have a high-speed connection. Do you think I should do that? (those materials do not make good DVDs for television play.)

Second question: do you plan to play my DVDs on your computer? I originally intended them to be played on a hi-def television with a DVD player, but maybe I need to do some research on how to play them on a computer. I found that because they are huge hi-def files, they took a horribly long time to load, but once loaded, played okay with the DVD software in my laptop.

I can be emailed at diana_knits AT (AT means @).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine Bear

I need to be realistic about not having had much knitting time weekday evenings this week. Poor Valentine Bear is going to be late, probably knitted on time but the video won't be edited and up. If you want to make one, and you're good with directions and don't need the video, you can use the Teddy Bear Sweater along with this heart chart. Videos will have to come later.

NZAK - Some Parts Arrived

The first New Zealand Auto Knitter box arrived, and it's full of cylinders, a 54-, a 72-, and a 96-slot. I am curious what it will be like knitting with a 48/96 combo. That sounds big enough for a hat!

The cylinders are aluminum, very solid but surprisingly light. They look so shiny and new, and the slots look so slim and perfect! Can't help but wonder how a needle will fit in those little slots. I suspect this sock machine won't be loose and sloppy like my hundred-year-old Legare.

The rest of it is probably at the post office, but no little slip again tonight asking us to pick another package up and sign for it. When this baby is all here, I will take some pictures.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Round Yoke Notes

Have you ever knitted a round yoke fair isle sweater? Here are some more tips and ideas:

  • Usually, the round yoke is knitted first. I remember, many years ago at a Newton's Knits Spring Fling, hearing Joyce Schneider (who really blazed the trail on MK round yoke fair isle sweaters) say that she did a number of yokes ahead of time and then knitted the sweaters for people, matching the size they needed with the yoke design they liked best.
  • The yoke is a decreasing-evenly-across-the-row job. Yes, it can be done with waste yarn, but the best way to do it is with the garter bar. If you did a round yoke trying to increase, say knitting from the neck down, there would be too many increases and it would be too stretched. For instance, this teddy bear sweater has a decrease every 3 stitches. I don't think the yarn will pull out that far.
  • After you do the yoke, you do the neck ribbing. The easiest way I know is to transfer some of the stitches to the ribber, add the heavier weights, rib, and cast off. I almost never add a ribbing by binding it off with the body, because I dislike the looks of that seam. Because I have to cast off in ribbing, and that's going to show, I use a loose row and then a loop-through-a-loop bind off on the main bed.
  • Bottoms Up! Once the yoke is done, the other pieces will be knitted upside down by picking up the stitches on the yoke and doing the shaping, then the under-arm increases, knitting on down and finishing with another upside-down ribbing and manual cast-off.
  • Because the yoke is rightside up and the body pieces and sleeves are upside down, it works out that every ribbing cast-off is alike.
  • However, if I want the sweater to be warm, I often do a doubled ribbed neckband by knitting longer, folding it for a hem, and sewing it down.
  • A round yoke sweater is a variation of a raglan sweater. The round yoke replaces some of the raglan shaping. Therefore, follow the shaping for a raglan.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Knitting a Round Yoke

I love circular yokes, and I love to draw out the designs. I tend to draw quite a few designs at a time, and then choose my favorite. Here's the design for the teddy bear yoke that I'm making right now.

This teddy bear sweater follows the pattern at exactly except for the heart design for the yoke. In fact, all those sweaters are alike except for the yoke design.

You might think it's a waste of time to knit a circular teddy bear sweater, but it's a great way to try a circular yoke before you put one on a big project. For most sweaters, you have to make a circular yoke for the front and another for the back because the machine only has 200 needles. These yokes are wide. Big sweaters need a taller yoke and more decreases, as well, but all the techniques are the same.

A circular yoke needs some blank rows where you can do the decrease shaping - that's what the white rows above and below the hearts are for.

A circular yoke needs a border design. It's a rectangle, like the design above, but the decreases will bend it into a circle. And, there's a certain math to a circular yoke. You need whole repeats to fit in the number of stitches for each part of the yoke.

The teddy bear year begins with 160 stitches + 2 stitches on each edge for seaming. 160 is evenly divisible by eight, the width of the scallops below the hearts. Then you decrease to 120 stitches + 2 for seaming, and the heart patterns are 24 stitches. 24 divides evenly into 120, so that's good. Then in the second white rows, the decreases take it down to 80 stitches + 2 edge stitches - and that scallop is eight stitches in a repeat.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Now Available: Garter Bar Course

The two-DVD garter bar course is available now!

It has 18 lessons, all freshly filmed in 1080p for high-definition clarity, which include:
  • Adjusting and using the stopper
  • Using the garter bar as a stitch holder
  • Decrease evenly across a row of knitting (two methods)
  • Increase evenly across a row of knitting
  • Simple method to calculate and place those increases or decreases
  • Making garter stitch efficiently
  • Quaker stitch, which is unusual and easy to do
  • Turning simple cables fast with the garter bar
  • Moving only the desired stitches with the garter bar, while all the other stitches stay securely in place inside the machine's needle hooks
  • Fancy cables using the machine's patterning (needle selection) capability
  • Eyelets and hand-manipulated lace
  • Fancy lace using machine's patterning capability
  • "Parking" stitches to knit later when dividing and knitting a neckline (no waste yarn, no marking from needles being in hold, no tedious rehanging)
  • Getting all the stitches back into the hooks quickly
  • Speed ripping - pull out a whole row of knitting in a single tug!
  • Mitered, folded Vee neckband
  • Gathering a ruffle
  • Vertical weaving
Have you got a garter bar you hardly ever use? Probably the most useful but underutilized machine knitting accessory, the garter bar can make your knitting more efficient and enjoyable. It can be used for stitches and techniques you thought were impractical on a machine - for instance, the garter bar can make hand-tooling lace accurate and efficient on a machine with no lace capability. There are eighteen lessons on two DVDs, great for your own reference, and great demonstrations for knit clubs or students. Packaged in a slimline double-DVD case, $25 plus shipping.

Shipping costs: US, first class mail, $3 for 1 or 2 items, $4 for 3 or more copies. Priority Mail 1-4 items, $4.90, 5 and up $8. Very reasonable overseas rates.

Assorted Updates

I've got a sore jaw/face/mouth this weekend, and a swollen lump on the side of my face. I've been keeping busy and aware that it's only normal swelling and discomfort considering last Wednesday's dental implant work.

I haven't done a Weight Watchers update in quite a while. I am still at it and have lost 30 pounds so far. I don't lose fast, but do lose, and a friend pointed out that over the long haul I'm losing about a pound a week, which is a good rate. I discarded a huge pile of two sizes of too-big clothes and have to shop for smaller clothes! I expect to have a loss this week, since I've been careful, and the way my mouth feels is making me think twice about anything I eat.

Steven was home a little while from College Station last night with three student friends we didn't know before, two boys and a girl, all just adorable. We gave them milk and fresh chocolate chip cookies (I keep frozen homemade dough on hand) and visited with them. The kids were surprised as Steve raided our pantry and filled a bag with groceries, but we are just thrilled that he's close enough to home to do that and has a kitchen so he can cook his favorites. We'll replace those Steven-preferred groceries so he can raid again next weekend.

It's much cheaper to have Steven in Texas. We were paying about $1000 a month for the dorm in NY, and he shared one little bedroom with two other boys. At A&M, he's renting a room he doesn't have to share in a house, for $300/mo!

For the garter bar course DVD sets, John and I laid out the package inserts and the DVD disk labels for the garter bar course yesterday, and we'll stop on the way home from church and get a few printed today. This means that I make the sets, take photos and run an ad for the garter bar course! I'm pricing it at $25 for the two-disk set, which turned out well, has some new material. Best of all, the HD means you can see everything, including every stupid false move I made. Look at it this way - if I can knit, anybody can.

I purchased the domain "" a while back and haven't designed the page yet, but that's going to be my shopping site. I didn't need it until I had two actual products, but now we're getting there.

I've priced sending all this tedious work out, but I don't sell enough items to make that worthwhile, at least not yet. I'm currently working out what my next thank-you gift will be to send along with orders, hopefully a very cool surprise for customers.

I finally began the Valentine Bear project, which was held up by the garter bar project. It's a red sweater with a heart-patterned circular yoke. He'll make a great little gift item. I hope to finish it, and finish filming, this afternoon. I was going to dress a teddy bear I already had, but I found a very fluffy, cute one at the grocery store yesterday. He has pellets in his bottom so he sits up well, too. The store had lots of stuffed animals for Valentine's Day.

Got a call from the lady who is selling me the NZAK. She's shipping it Tuesday. I'll take some pictures when it comes, but have to discipline myself to get other things done in preparation for knit club on the 13th. We're meeting at Sylvia's house, and I believe I will demonstrate the sew-as-you-go single bed sock on her Toyota. I should have Valentine Bear done to bring along.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Unusually Good Microwave Chicken Parmesan

My mom gave me this recipe several years ago. I don't know where she got it - but YUM. Who'd think chicken could turn out this well in a microwave? We had it tonight.

Chicken Breasts Parmesan

1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 t garlic salt
1/3 C cornflake crumbs
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 t dried parsley flakes
2 lg boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Mix the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and garlic salt in a 2-cup measuring, cover, microwave on high 2 minuters. Stir, then microwave on medium 5 minutes. (This spatters, so cover it)
2. Mixs the corn flake crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley flakes. Dip the chicken breasts in beaten egg, then crumb mixture. Place in rectangle baking dish. Cover with waxed paper. Microwave at 70% 9-14 minutes until chicken is tender, rearranging after half the time. Do not turn chicken over.
3. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle on mozzarella cheese, and microwave at 70% for 2-5-1/2 minutes.

Help Finding Knitting Machine Manuals

This is a wonderful page to have in your favorites. You never know when you'll come across a mystery machine for which you do not have a manual!

And, she is trying to continue increasing this collection, so please make a .pdf of any OOP manuals that you have and share them with her so she can add them.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dental Implants Today

Today I have a 10:00 a.m., appointment with my periodontist (a beautiful, funny lady doctor, who is careful and does not hurt me) to have the next step in my dental implants. Here is my interpretation of the steps:

Step 1: Get a miserable sick tooth, take two different antibiotics to kill the infection. Go to the regular dentist and then to the periodontist, who tell me the tooth, a decorated veteran of previous dental battles, has to go.

Step 2: Get the wicked thing extracted and the bridge it was holding cut down into a crown. It's amazing how well a tooth is attached and how long she has to work at it, even though it has too little bone to save.

Step 3: Wait several months for that to heal, wearing a partial thingie named Flipper (yuck).
Step 4: Implants installed (today).

Step 5: Wait another long time for that to heal and solidify, I suppose wearing Flipper.

Step 6: Crowns installed at the regular dentist, another beautiful lady who does great work. I have nothing against guy dentists - we just happen to have two gorgeous lady dentists who take care of our family! (I should do a blog sometime comparing the incredible medical care in Texas to other places I've lived. They treat you so well here! They are KIND.)

Step 7: Appreciate lovely, natural feeling teeth! Fortunately, Step 7 is the longest step. I understand implants hold up beautifully.

I am just a kid. How did I get this old?

Maybe I'll update this afternoon under the influence of a pain pill. Who knows what I'll say?

Update: All done, home again. It wasn't bad, just a long time in the chair. I'm grabbing some lunch, then a pain pill (the instructions say not to wait) and a nap. Glad I opted to be awake, which will allow me to enjoy my afternoon at home. I'll have a busy day at work tomorrow.

Update: 6:11 p.m., relaxed pretty much all afternoon, junk TV, dog in lap, and dozing. When my pain pill's 4 hours were up, and I tried getting up and doing a few light tasks, my jaw started to hurt, so took and second pain pill and decided to goof off. John is headed home, decided to forego Wednesday night church and come hold my hand, and I have soup on. Planning to bore myself until he comes in, watching my re- re- edited GB course videos to see if they're "good enough," whatever that means.

Gotta tell ya, my doctor is great! She can give you a shot, and if your eyes are closed so you don't see the needle, you wouldn't know it! She kids around; at one point, I told her my face was wet, and she said, "That's because I dwibbled on you," and then for a while, she stuck with the Elmer Fudd voice. I love the way she distracts me, and yet I always feel that she's being very, very meticulous.

A friend said this about his dental implants: "It only hurt in the wallet." I think I agree with him.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All Discouragement is From the Devil

I read this quote many years ago in a Catherine Marshall book, and I like it. Discouragement is such an evil thing.

Lately, everything, especially at work, has been uphill, and gradually, I felt drained. I went in the office today in an evil mood. Absolutely nothing was seriously wrong, but the last few weeks, some little thing or other seemed to go sour with everything I touched.

I'd be driving, and someone would narrowly miss hitting me. I kept getting tiny injuries - would you believe a paper cut on my lip? And banged up hands, broken nails, a huge bruise on my hip from a hotel door handle, klutsy stuff.

I'd work on a project, but there'd be a missing piece and it couldn't be finished. Small half-day projects lingered on my desk with missing bits, taking a week or more. I called for repairs on a bit of computer equipment, and something went wrong with the part order. I purchased an office computer, and a critical item wasn't in the box. I'd call somebody, and they wouldn't get back to me. I'd say something to someone, and it would be exactly the wrong thing to say.

I knew my mood was poisonous before I left the house this morning. I was a miserable critter in the car, praying that I'd get my act together because I knew the things bothering me were nothing more than an unusually large crop of very small annoyances. Nobody should have to put up with me in that state of mind.

Then, I got some surprises. I realized I had forgotten my antibiotics (having dental surgery tomorrow, maybe part of my "mood disorder") and asked John, who hadn't left the house yet, if he could pick them up at the pharmacy. I could meet him at his office and get them - well, he ran them by my office later and took me to lunch!

A friendly, cheerful technician showed up to fix the broken equipment that had been waiting on the part, and completely solved that problem; another person got back to me with information to solve a government paperwork issue for us. I managed to cross off several items from that stubborn "to do" list. We had a website problem, but the programmers fixed it right away.

At some point, checking my personal email, there was a lovely note from an old friend. Also, the cutest slipper photo showed up (no, not my pattern, a clever warm felted one) and when I asked about the yarn, that knitter sent a clear explanation of what to buy and how to do it. There were two appreciative notes from people who are learning to machine knit, and a marvelous email from a new knitting friend telling me a little of her story and encouraging me to slow down and get my priorities in order. There was also a quick call from the dentist's office saying that I don't need sedation and can be awake and drive myself home tomorrow.

I am not sure when the mood lifted, but all is well. I had forgotten, for a little while, how terrific people can be.

How Weird Am I? I love this video - Fold a T-Shirt in Seconds

I got the biggest kick out of this a while back, picked up from
and use it all the time now when I'm putting away laundry. Don't you love it when some tiny piece of your life is all tidy?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Video Updates

Whew, I think I'm finally through editing the garter bar videos. Three times now I've found something or other in the GB videos that was wrong, so I had to re-edit and re-render. Tonight I'm rendering disk one and tomorrow, disk two, and of course I still need to watch them and see what other stupid things I might have done.

These won't be just like the YouTube course. Most of the basic subject matter is the same, but without the ten minute limits, I did some extra things and some different things.