Of Frogs and Tomatoes

We knitters have lots of strange and wonderful terminology that normal people don’t use.  Every time I try to type “tink”, my smart computer changes it to “think”.  So helpful.  Not.

I’ve done plenty of “tinking” (changed helpfully to “tinkling”) and “frogging” (thankfully a real word) in my time.  You know those nice socks I showed you in the last blog post?  Frogged back to the toes.  This means that something went completely and irretrievably wrong, couldn’t be corrected, and had to be ripped out, unraveled.  Started again.

The problem with the socks was that I tried to wrap the stitch pattern around the sides of the foot without really leaving room for gussets and then trying to make a normal heel from there.  Of course it didn’t work.  I then tried to make a short row heel, but that uses at least 60% of your stitches and if 60% of your stitches are a fancy lace stitch pattern, it just doesn’t work.  Frogging was the only answer.

I modified the stitch pattern again, made it different for the foot and leg sections and decided to try Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel.  Now here’s a woman who has a way with words.  She uses the cutest terminology for the techniques she develops, like the “thanks ma” method for short rows.  You have to look it up or buy one of her patterns to get the explanation.

She calls these heels Sweet Tomato because the resulting fabric is so smooth and perfectly curved that it’s like a perfect tomato.  Who can resist that?  Here’s my result.

And here’s a photo with the sock turned inside out so you can see what my inside looks like.

I wanted the heel to be reinforced so I slipped every other stitch on the purl rows.  And I offset those slipped stitches every other purl row.  It makes for a nice cushy reinforced heel that fits really well.

Here’s the sock, still not quite finished, but now being worked up the leg.  I’m not sure how I will finish off the stitch pattern, but I have a few ideas.

I like this heel, but it won’t work for all types of stitch patterns.  You have to be able to use 60%-65% of your stitches for the heel without messing up your pattern work.  That won’t always work.  But when it does work, it’s a great heel to use.  I fits and feels great and it’s easy to modify it to fit your foot.  I highly suggest buying one or more of Cat’s patterns, or her entire e-book, to learn about the heel and it’s possibilities.  I bought the Zebra sock pattern and then modified the heel for my slipped stitches.  She also sells a pattern with padded heels but I haven’t checked that out yet.  If you are a seasoned sock knitter you can probably figure it out yourself.

Now, back to knitting these socks to find out if the ending comes out as planned.  Designing your own socks is a nice adventure!

My Own Bird’s Nest

Last Wednesday night I went to a one evening class at DIY Textile School to learn how to make something from fabric and “stuff”.  I ended up making a bird’s nest and I have to say I’m darned proud of it.

We had to bring a glass bowl to use as a mold.  We then proceeded to cover it with whatever stuff we wanted, using gel medium to glue it down.

Ginni had lots of stuff on hand we could use to cover our bowls with.  She had bright colored silks and organza fabrics.  Feathers, string, ribbons, wood fibers, etc etc etc.  I was inspired by the small bowl shape and all the natural things on hand to use.  I used wood fibers soaked in water and stretched out, feathers, and plant fibers that looked like stuff birds would love to pick up and carry off to build with.

Here you can see a couple of other projects being worked on.  At the left if are a couple of finished vases made bright colored fabric and fibers.

At the end of the night we wrapped our projects in plastic wrap to take them home to dry.

And when I got home I unwrapped it, but left it still on the bowl form, and hung it upside down on a bottle to dry.

A day later I took it off the glass bowl and it looks like this:

You can see that it’s translucent and all the layers of stuff show up.  Here’s a photo of the inside, looking down into it:

Those white string bits are actually bleached wood bits that were soaked in water first to make them flexible.

It’s still not super hard and sturdy, but I will paint some paver pol on the inside which will make it hard and water tight.  You could actually cover a glass vase using this technique, paint it with paver pol on the inside, and use it as a flower vase.

Here’s a photo of another example the teacher had made.  It’s simple, but really beautiful.

I also learned that you can use this technique to do loads of things.  I now have big plans to transform our small downstairs WC.  It’s covered in ugly white wallpaper and frankly needs a complete remodel.  No money for THAT, but I can cover those walls with fun stuff like paper fish, cloth fish, photos of fish, shells from the beach, rushes from the dunes…… it will be amazing.

Socks in Process Plus Food

I’ve been knitting like a fiend lately and this is all I can show you – a sock, and not even a finished sock!  Not even a PAIR of socks!

I’m spending most of my time knitting something that I’m going to submit for publication, so of course I can’t blog about it (yet).  And I’m also working on a present for my mom, so of course I can’t show you that either (yet).  The only thing I can show you is this sock that gets worked on while I’m on the train, or waiting for an appointment somewhere.  It’s my travel project.

The yarn is Madelinetosh sock in color Celedon.  It’s left over yarn from the sweater I made last summer.  I’ll have matching socks and sweater!  Sweet.  The pattern is my own.  I found a nice stitch pattern in a Japanese pattern book but it was too complicated for socks and too lacy.  I modified it slightly to be more sock-friendly and to fit nicely on a foot sized piece of knitting.  This is my submission for the April Sock Knitters Anonymous Ravelry group KAL.  It’s DYO (Design Your Own) month, which is my favorite.  I imagine at some point I’ll get around to writing up the pattern for others to use.  I’m taking notes along the way.

And that’s all the knitting I can write about at this point.  Sorry.  I have stacks of projects laying around me, top secret.

How about some cooking talk instead?  Good.

For Easter breakfast I made these delicious little cheese and potato nests.

The recipe is here.  Even looking at the photo makes my mouth water.  They were so yummy!

Here at home, and at my CELTA school, we talk a lot about Denglish – a combination of Dutch and English which is what you end up speaking when you live in both languages.  Well, on Easter I made some Denglish food.  I started to make french toast with some fat sourdough bread.  I never put sugar in the batter – just egg and milk – so they were not sweet at all.  Then DB said he wanted a toasty (Dutch for grilled cheese).  So, after one side of the french toast was done, I flipped them, and put thin layers of cheese on one piece and slices of ham on the other piece.  By the time the second side was cooked, the cheese was melted and the ham was warm.  I put them together, et voila! Denglish breakfast – a french toast toasty.  He ate the whole thing in seconds.  Yum.

By the way, see the white pan?  That was a present from my in-laws.  What a super pan it is!  If you see any of these for sale, buy it.  Its slick surface takes some getting used to, but it’s VERY non-stick and lovely to cook with.

Now, enough talking to you.  I have to get back to my knitting……..