Lima day one

We got here really late and thank goodness we had a room prebooked. At 2 in the morning all one needs is a bed.  We got up in time for the hotel breakfast…scrambled eggs and uber white bread buns with jam and horrible coffee.  Phil may not cooperate like Charles did in Central America… she may give up on coffee too instead of becoming my official tester.  I told charles to let me know when a cup of coffee worth drinking came along and I had one a week or so later.  He drank a lot of swill between times. I love coffee too much for that.

We took a taxi to plaza mayor and started wandering. Fabulous old Spanish architecture all round the downtown. I am a sucker for all that painted plaster. We went into the train station/library firstIMG_20151009_110011

then the monastery of San Francisco IMG_20151009_113220

At this point we were uncertain as to how to proceed so we spent too much on a map from a hawker in the plaza mayor, but this led us to the municipal tourist info place.  From there we went round the corner to the museum of gastronomia

Museum of gastronomia

Museum of gastronomia

…and next door to my favourite of the day another monastery … Santo Domingo with a beautiful cloisterIMG_20151009_134117

a cool old libraryIMG_20151009_134931

and a bell tower IMG_20151009_141658

With lovely panoramic viewsIMG_20151009_140849

We went back down to the street and immediately caught a bus to Cerro San Cristobal, a very large hill with more panoramic views…this time of a way too big and not very green, smoggy cityIMG_20151009_145017

We came down, bought bus tickets to Cuzco and went for supper.  We did not understand much on the menuIMG_20151009_191446

But the tacu tacu was good and the ordering with my very limited Spanish and the waiter’s non existent English was an adventure in mine and gesture.





Yo, Barbara..could you kick Tim Gunn for me? Please.

gillianknits.comI get the pattern thing.  You can look at the picture and know what you are making.  I sometimes wish I could be happy with that.  It would simplify things, I would get to knit all day and most of the frustration would be gone.  I would know what it would look like before I started and I would just have to figure out who to give it to or how to sell it.  It was also easier back when I had all the Barbara Walker books and various other pattern libraries to choose from instead of just the next stitch in a chapter.  It constrains me and makes me want to hurry up and cram as many patterns per item as I can.  I knew I was going to be working with the Bavarian Block Pattern, pg 116 this time, mainly because I couldn’t figure out how to make it into something nice and I wanted to get past it, to nicer things….or at least I hope there are nicer things coming up.  I never look too far ahead because it is no use wishing if I am going to get through this.  And it looks like my obsessive streak is going to make me get through this.

I tried a couple of attempts at combinations of stitches to get rid of other “problems” at the same time…two birds with one stone and all that, but it just made it worse.  I decided in the end to make a narrower band which would go around the head horizontally.  This particular stitch cannot be done in the round, at least I am not sure that it would be the same stitch exactly if I did it in the round because you knit into the back of the stitch on the front and purl into the back of the stitch on the back.  I am not sure that knitting into the back on each round actually equates.  The ribbing on the right has a similar issue.  After I got enough to go round the head, I picked up and knit 110 stitches across one edge and modified the stitch to doing only 6 knit-into-back instead of 10 between the twist 2 cables.  I made a roll by joining back in on itself after 10 rows, then I did an 11 point decrease, loosing the 6 knit stitches first (alternately from either side), then the cables, then the rest of the stitches.  I then picked up along the other edge and did another roll and sewed the seam shut.

It may have behoved me to go to bed at this point and see what I thought in the morning, but no…it did not match my vision and I ripped the bottom roll out, leaving me with not enough yarn to finish it ANY way.

I made two attempts at a roll,the first was a twisting roll that had the twist-2 down the middle but it wasn;t working out so I took the second opton…a stuffed

I’m on the road again…yahoo!


I am going with my sister Phil to Peru for 10 days…short trip but THERE WILL BE MOUNTAINS, MACHU PICCHU, AND AN OCEAN!!!!IMG_20151008_090929Phil has informed me that she will be taking a rolly suitcase.  I guess that means I will have to suffer through taxis…sigh, lol.  i personally can’t wrap my head around anything that is not carry on and carry-able on my back.

I always look like a knob when I travel because I use the fanny pack, but if you want a fake wallet, a rain poncho, an emergency blanket, compression socks, knee braces, earplugs, sunscreen, insect repellent, a tiny plastic case for your sim card, blindfold, binoculars, etc.  then I’m your gal.  It is always packed and ready to go because I just wash the compression socks when I get home and leave them in it.    I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it at home!  Last night I cleaned out the dross of Bhutan and India and got back to the clean slate.

A game of Space Invaders anyone? How about you, Barbara?

gillianknits.xomHeather asked for a Space Invaders hat that was rude inside and reversible.  At first I couldn’t wrap my head around doing these together, because I was stuck on the idea of the phalanx of space invaders one sees in the game. I thought I would have to split it into two hats for her, one with space invaders and one that was rude inside, so I figured out the pixelation that would fit on a hat and went with that.  I was unhappy with the middle set of invaders, they looked ok in my drawing but didn’t knit up well.  I thought the bottom and top ones looked close enough to the real thing for anyone who had played the game, but not the middle ones.  Back to the drawing board (or graph paper notepad in this case) I went and came up with better (more detailed) pixelations.

There are two distinct phalanxes, because each of the guys waves their arms and switches between two modes, so on the second hat I did each of the guys in each of their modes, plus the bonus spaceship.  You can see six of the seven invaders in the above two shots.  Below see Heather sporting her new hat…and her new tattoo peeking out from her shirt.

….and I made it rude inside as per her request… as my friend Jen said when she saw it in progress…it is totally NSFW on the

Oh yeah…and for the Barbara Walker project,  I used Diagonal Wave, pg 275, above the fold, because it is the same on both sides.

Barbara is in stitches over the vertical sampler idea

gillianknits.comThis one went from concept to completion with only minor glitches.  I had to rip back a couple of rows a time or two in one section or another. I was at my brother’s birthday party with about 35 people while I was knitting this so once in a while I forgot if I was on a resting row or not and had to go back a bit.  All the stitches I used except one had a resting row in them.

I have found over time that if you want to rip back blocks of stitches for several rows, the best approach is to re-knit them row by row, instead of stitch by stitch.  You have to put them all back on the left needle each time you do a row.  Place the loose loop corresponding to that row over the index finger of your left hand and grab the stitches to knit European style (i.e. holding the loose yarn in your left hand–look it up if you don’t already know how to do it). You  can usually grab the stitches except the last stitch, at which point things are too tight to knit that last stitch, but it is easy to fudge things on just one

When you do this you have to be careful to line up the right loop with the row you are supposed to work.  If you go back several rows, this becomes more important.

I cast on 102 stitches and did the ribbing (Zigzag Knotted Rib, pg 43) on two needles.  I changed to a round needle for the pattern stitches which were (from left) Spiral Columns, pg 121, Aran Honeycomb, pg 273, Twist Zigzag, pg 119, Bavarian Check Pattern, pg 117, Elongated Aran Honeycomb, pg 273 and Shadow Cable, pg 273—see top picture for these last two stitches.  I did each pattern twice so there were 12 vertical strips in the

Oh, and how do you like them apples Nancy…7 stitches in one hat…now THAT is pattern loading… I could have done 13 stitches if I had not repeated around the hat.  But that may be overkill.  Another time, maybe.  If I get

Barbara is really seeing things in black and white this time

gillianknits.comI love the graphic impact of black and white.  This is a pretty simple hat which uses two stitches. For the ribbing, I cast on 104 stitches and used Twist-Four Mock Cable, page 116.  This is a nice cable and doesn’t take a lot of time because you don’t use a cable needle.  It only works one way though.  If you want the cables to twist the other way, I am pretty sure you would have to bite it and use the cable needle.  The body of the hat is Woven Stripe Pattern, pg 61.  To do the decreases, I knit 6, k2tog around in one of the plain wide stripes.  I did k 5, k2tog in the next, then k4, k2tog…etc.

I finished work last week (yeah! so far) and hope to be more rigorous about knitting and posting. I am only going to do one item per post and I am aiming for posting on Tuesdays and Fridays. We’ll see.

Hey Barbara…have you met Tim Gunn?

gillianknits.comThis hat bears absolutely no relation to the hat I thought I was going to make when I cast on. As I was making this hat, I kept screwing up and making bad decisions, digging myself into design holes that threatened to be graves and cause me to say RIP!  My design style these days basically involves picking the next stitch in THE BOOK (A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker), deciding how many stitches around the hundred mark I should cast on to do the repeats, then wing it from there.  I am still pretty much only working with Patons Classic Wool, worsted weight.  When deciding how much to cast on, I take into consideration how much it looks like the stitch will draw in.  I go up a repeat or two if it looks like it will pull in a little or a lot, and down one if it looks like it will be a loose stitch. Knit-togethers and lots of colour work tend to draw in, at least the way I knit.

I cast on thinking I was going to be doing the Broken Plaid Pattern (pg 62) which is a repeat of 8, so I cast on 104 stitches.  I had a concept in mind, which I will probably make soonish.  As I was trying to set this up, I knitted the first row when I really should have purled and that got the bottom looking funny for what I had in mind, so I decided to put a patterny stitch below the colour work.  To the Fancy Texture Pattern chapter I went and found the next stitch to be Trinity, Cluster or Bramble Stitch on page 129 (luckily a repeat of four, so that would work).  Up I went for  awhile…time to switch to colour…may look funny…maybe put in a roll before…ok…do a garter stitch roll…gillianknits.comI probably should have decided to ditch “the concept” and go up from here because I thought it looked ok and I could have finished it up and had a decent hat, but no, I was still stuck on the colour thing, so roll it I did and then realized that I should be doing Bricks (also page 62), not the plaid anyway…still a repeat of 4 so phew…OK…do some colour work and ended up with… a big hot mess that had taken quite a bit of effort to get to….

a hot mess...

a hot mess…

The roll was too big and saggy, swamping the trinity stitch and it didn’t look good with the bricks.  When Heather was in high school, we spent a lot of (quality?) time together watching Project Runway.  Tim Gunn used to regularly come in to the design studio and find someone with a hot mess on their mannequin.  He always said the same thing…”make it work”.  He is one of my (sometimes annoying) design heroes because of this phrase, and I often hear him saying it to me in my head.  The thing about knitting is it takes a long time so he says it A LOT and I occasionally want to kick him as I knit toward what I hope will be a solution.  I actually had another row of bricks knitted before I realized this was NOT going to fly.  Before I took this picture there was a small rip back so the bricks would be the same height as the trinity stitch when I rejoined to the cast-on row, which makes the hat reversible.  I didn’t want to lose trinity stitch in my stitch count and have to redo it in another project.gillianknits,com

I decided once I got things joined back together that it would look funny on the trinity stitch side if I had a line through the pattern for no reason, so I looked and the design gods were smiling on me because the next fancy texture stitch was Allover Cross Stitch, pg 130, and it both had a four stitch repeat and would look good on the back…yeah!…I did this up to the decrease section, then realized that the only way to reduce this pattern well at the top would be in sets of 4 stitches.  I had 104 stitches which doesn’t lend itself to division AT ALL.  I decided to put a garter stitch top on with a 10 point decrease (I knit 2 together on the knit rows, getting rid of 4 stitches first then 10 per time until I was done).


…and silly me, I just realized I could have done it if I had got rid of one set of four, then done a 5 point decrease…oh, well, the garter stitch at the top echoes that at the bottom, so fine by me…I might also put another couple of rows of garter stitch before the cross stitch, but better done than perfect.  Maybe.