Mom is doing very well, in fact she's getting around so well you'd think her transfusion came from the Fountain of Youth, instead of anonymous donors to whom we will always be very, very grateful. Because they are worried about internal bleeding they've stopped her blood thinner, and between that and the transfusion, she feels warm for the first time in years. She'd often have on three sweaters in 72° temps in the past, but now only one.
There's another test scheduled later this month, a capsule endoscopy. The geek in me says "Cool! Swallowing a camera!". The son in me says Mom isn't up to repeating the prep. The technician let us know that there is a second option which requires drinking only two litres of liquid instead of four, so we will go with that. The problem is that it's the same substance, but double strength. Some folks can't handle the volume, which Mom definitely had problems with. Others can't handle the stronger dosage well, so we have to hope Mom can.
Many thanks to Terry Kinch of Craft Gossip's Knitting department for the beautifully photographed Celebrity Scarves book! It's interesting to read about what inspired each actress to start knitting or crocheting- some since childhood, some are new to the craft. The patterns are mostly garter, and all are easy, but the yarns are gorgeous, and sometimes that's as inspring as a challenging pattern, isn't it? I'm sure most of you know that Craft Gossip is a great resource for all types of crafts, offering frequent giveaways as well as scouring the web for great tutorials, reviews, product news and offers.
On the knitting front, I have three FOs to tell you about, but only one came home with me and got a photoshoot. The others stayed with Mom, and I hadn't brought the camera with me. Not that they really need photos anyway.
First, I made her another pair of booties similar to those from two post ago. They're less colorful - unlabeled thrift shop wool, double stranded, cream and med/dark brown for the foot, the cuff in cream and navy. The cuff is about twice as high as on the first pair, so they'll stay on if she wears them to bed.
She'd lost these fingerless gloves at the hospital, so I worked up a simple pair in some Avocado green sock yarn. Just st st with rib cuffs and a thumb slit. They were longer the others, and I finally made a pair both the same length!
It was my first time working two items at the same time on the same needles. I only have my Boye interchangeable circs at Mom's, so it was a bit of a problematic process. Boye cords are only available up to 21" and are very stiff, so magic loop really isn't an option. I used the two circs method, working from both ends of the skein, to make the gloves. Since there are only two of each size needle (though you can buy additional needles separately), I used different sized tips on each end of the cords, knitting onto 5s and off of 3s. This is one nice feature of interchangable needles, as sometimes it comes in very handy to be able to knit off of a smaller needle, particularly if you have to knit several stitches together or are working with a non-stretchy yarn. This was fine for working in the round, but when I came to the thumb slit I had to work back and forth, so it meant swapping the needle tips end to end for every row, so I'd always be working with the right size.
At home I use Denise needles, but they have their problems too. The cords are more flexible, but thicker, so the needles only go down to a size 5 while Boye goes down to size 2. Denise cords are available (separately) in 40" and 56" lengths, and I recommend getting them if you work large projects.
Boye needle tips and connections are aluminum. Denise is all plastic, making them more likely to break, but they also have an inexpensive replacement parts guarantee. I've broken the connector on one Denise cable, but haven't replaced it yet. The way they are constructed I could just move a connector from cord to cord, but the need hasn't come up yet. I've also had the screw of a Boye cord break off in a needle tip, and couldn't get it out, so both the cord and the needle were lost. No guarantee that I'm aware of (should have kept all the packaging!), so I bought replacement needles and said bye-bye to the cord.
The Boye tips screw on, and can eventually come undone, but you'll probably notice your yarn catching in the join before the tip comes completely off. You'll also get used to checking and tightening them occasionally. When they're tightly screwed on they tend to stay put for quite a while, but once loose they unscrew quickly.
Denise tips attatch with only one half-twist, and can come off very easily, and, for me at least, do so often. The tips have holes in the sides, through which I thread a short, thin bit of yarn before attatching to the cord. This makes for a snugger fit, that doesn't come apart as often, but still will sometimes. As usual, sorry for the bad close-up shot, I'm still working on the new camera fund (and finding one I like as much this old beast!)
The Boye cords originally had a bend in the metal tips, and although I like that in some of the non-interchanable needles I have, I couldn't stand them in this set. I think it was because of the stiffness of the cord, the bends always seemed to be facing the wrong way somehow. I straightend them out with pliers. If you do this, be sure to protect the metal from the pliers, or they will create gouges that can snag your yarn. Sorry I don't have pics, but the Boye set is at Mom's, and again the pics would be fuzzy at best, more likely completely useless.
In either set, two cords can be joined to form a longer one, but you wind up with a rigid section of about 1½" on Denise and longer on Boye, that can bottleneck your work. With the Boye cords these joins are pretty stable, as you'd have to twist the whole cord length to get them to unscrew. The bend on a Boye set formed a kind of z shape that really keeps the work from flowing smoothly, so this was another reason to straighten the connectors.
The Denise half-twist method means the connection joining two cords is just as likely to come apart has having a needle tip fall off. However, if you invest in the longer cords you won't be joining cords often. The only time I join cords with Denise is to quickly transfer two sections of knitting to one longer cord, such as joining sleeves and body sections in a raglan or yoke neck sweater. The yarn-through-the-holes method can be used on the connectors.
Either set comes with end caps that can create a straight stitch holder by capping each end of the cord, or even making a flexible single point needle by capping one end of a cord and and using a needle tip on the other. Often I will join both ends of one Denise cord together to form a loop for holding live stitches, like around a neckhole or sleeve, and this is usually very stable because the cord isn't being manipulated constantly. This is nice because the loop means there is even tension on all the stitches, while an open-ended holder would tend towards a U shape that would strain and pull the stitches at the ends.
The loop method can be done with Boye - but because of the direction of the threads, you just can't screw both ends a cord all the way into the same connector. You'd have screw a connector all the way onto one end, then as you screw it onto the other end, it comes unscrewed from the first end, leaving it loosely half-screwed onto each end. This is the one instance where the Denise join has been more stable than the Boye.
I do about 90% of my knitting using these two sets, and despite their respective problems, am glad to have both sets. I managed to get them both at ½ off or better, so they were good deals. If you prefer wood, bamboo or stainless needles, there are other sets out there, but I'm not interested in trying any of them. These certainly fill my needs, and I imagine any other set would have problems as well.
Now for a special treat, check out this tutorial from Rheatheylia on how to create your own custom length cables for the Boye set! I just discovered this today, so I haven't tried it yet, but it looks super cool!
Many moons ago, before I got all oppinionated and long winded, I mentioned three FOs. The third is this earflap cap:
Unlabeled thrift shop chunky wool. I started by making the two flaps in garter, adding stitches between them for the back, then a few more rows of garter so the back would be a little longer than the front. Then I added more stitches for the front, joined into a round, and continued in 3x3 rib.
So that's what up around here, what's your news?
PS: Mom found the other pair of gloves. I think it was all a trick to get a new pair, but I fooled her by making them Avocado, a color with which she has very little affinity.