Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

If it was a perfect world.. September 28, 2006

Filed under: Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 8:38 pm

Blurry FreiaIf you saw that your dog was not relating well to another dog at the dog park, you would call it away from that other dog

If your dog was actually in a fight (or the beginnings of one) with another dog you would do more than just stand there and stare

You would actually notice that your dog was getting amped up and would notice when it could use a time out

You would take the time and make the commitment to train your dog, it’s safer for you and the dog

If you were in an area where leash laws applied, you would obey them as you would realise that having your dog off leash is not fair to the on-leash dog who is now vulnerable to your dog’s whims, good or bad. As it happens, my dog is friendly, but don’t be foolish enough to assume that all dogs are.

Likewise, if your dog is off leash and someone is walking towards you with their dog on leash, call out to the other owner and ask if you need to call your dog back or not, it takes a second, it’s polite, it’s an icebreaker and it’s the right thing to do.

You would know that not all dogs need to meet and be friends. It’s OK to just walk by – after all, do you talk to every person you pass on the sidewalk?

And of course you would love your dog and try to give it the best life you could

If it was a perfect world..

but it’s not, so here’s a pretty picture instead.


Knitting Tip #2 – Twisted Stitches

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips — knitwhits @ 1:37 pm

The plague of the twisted stitch.

Stitches Not TwistedLet me start by saying there is no right or wrong way to knit, however you do, theoretically, want your stitches to look even and pretty, and you probably want knitting to be fairly easy, smooth and quick.

Stitches that are not twisted have the yarn lying in even rows, smoothly bumping up to, but not crossing over it’s neighbor stitch, or itself. The stitch presents itself to you politely on the needle and is easy to pick up and to work. In stockinette stitch shown to the right you have nice, even little V’s all in tidy rows.

Then you have the twisted stitch, it fights back, you can’t figure out where your needle goes, it’s hard to work each stitch, your knitting is not as nice as what you’ve seen around you and you start asking yourself at what point does knitting become relaxing??

Twisted stitches can happen a few different ways, and there is not one simple answer as to how they occur or how to fix them as we can all knit differently, and may knit differently one project to the next depending on the yarn, the mood, the needles or just for the heck of it. The causes and fixes are related to the following:

  • You pick up your stitches through the back loop of the stitch, or
  • You pick up your stitches through the front loop of the stitch
  • You wrap the yarn counter (anti) clockwise, or
  • You wrap the yarn clockwise.

Playing with these four basic elements, (make it eight elements when working alternating knit and purl rows) is what will create or take away the twisted stitch.

Stitches Twisted on Every RowHere is an example of stitches that are twisted on every row. To create this, on my right side (knit) rows, I picked up my knit stitches through the front part of the loop and wrapped my yarn clockwise to creat the Knit stitch. With my purl stitches, I picked up again through the front of the loop and wrapped the yarn under my needle and over, also clockwise.

If you compare this to the first picture, you will see that each little V is now crossed at the bottom, instead of just touching. It’s actually not bad looking, but every stitch was a battle and this sample took me about 3 times as long to work up compared to the untwisted version.

When knitting the 1st sample of untwisted rows, I picked up my stitches in the front for both the knit and the purl rows, and wrapped my yarn counter-clockwise.

Stitches Twisted on Alternate RowsA lot of knitters, when just learning, will have twisted sts on just one row and untwisted on the following. They are still figuring out what goes where, and are feeling all thumbs, wishing they had a third arm to hold anything as it’s all so confusing.

Here in this 3rd sample is what that can look like, I’ve again picked up my yarn from the front, but on my knit rows I wrapped the yarn counter-clockwise, and for the purl rows, I wrapped it clockwise.

So, you will see that in all these samples, the only thing that has changed is whether I’ve wrapped the yarn clockwise or not.

Habits are easy to make and hard to break, and the direction the yarn is wrapped is a tough one to change for some. In that case, a way to get rid of the twist would be to pick up your stitches through the back part of the loop, instead of the front and see what happens. So on which row do you do that, the knit or the purl? Again, no real right answer, since it ultimately depends on what you are doing that is causing the twist.

If it is an alternate row twist, then the first thing to try would be to pick up the yarn in back on the row that is fighting you back, you will all of a sudden find the stitch wants to be knitted (or purled), and ta-da! in a few rows you will see the twist is gone!

If you are twisting all your stitches on every row, then it will probably be a two-step trial and error process to see what works best for you, comfortwise, to change, whether it be the direction of the wrap, or the way you pick up that stitch from your needle.


Aggressively Friendly September 27, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Knitting,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 6:45 pm

The talented and always well dressed Larisa Snydal came over on Monday night for a stroll and dog walk at the Berkeley Marina.

Upon Larisa’s arrival at my door, once Freia realised there was a visitor, she barreled down the stairs at breakneck speed gruffing and barking with a growl thrown in for good measure. I did my best to catch all 60 lbs of her at the door, nabbed her collar and led her back away a bit. Asked her to sit and lie down which she did!! I rewarded her with a tug toy which she relished her attention on and then she greeted Larisa politely and calmly with a tail wag and a snuffle – pretty good for a 6 month old! I was very impressed. Someone else described her as “aggressively friendly” – it couldn’t have been said better any other way.Freia really is actually growing up – I have mixed feelings about this, but I’ll save that for later.

Tia Clutch From Offhand DesignsThe following day I had to drop off some items at Larisa’s studio and was charmed when she gave me my very own Tia Clutch. I had noticed at the park Larisa had her own snazzily attached to her belt loop. The Tia can hold a set of keys, your ID and a cell phone safely in a snap shut clutch. It comes with a removable strap handle in luscious black velvet. I selected “Crewel Bird”, one of my favorite of her fabric choices, it’s a muted colored embroidered design. The clutch will be significantly more elegant than my usual option which is finding a pocket and ungainly stuffing it.  I think I may need to invest in the matching knitting bag! Thanks Larisa!


Knitting Tip #1 – Smooth Edges September 26, 2006

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips — knitwhits @ 4:41 pm

Edge with Slipped StitchSmooth Edges 

To keep your edges of your knitting smooth, if the pattern allows for it, slip the first stitch of every row. This means, if you are right handed, that you would transfer the first stitch from your left needle to your right needle without knitting or purling it, and then work the remainder of your row in whatever stitch or pattern as called for in your instructions.

What this in effect does is reduce the amount of yarn used at the end stitch, keeping your work a bit tighter and tidier. Newer knitters often have difficulty with tension in their knitting until they become comfortable enough to get a good smooth rhythm going while they work, and this can often be most apparent in the edges.

The other benefit to slipping that first stitch, particularly for newer knitters, is it can make it easier if you have to go back in later on and sew two edges together, since you will have clearly demarked rows to work with. To the right is a picture of garter stitch worked with a slipped stitch at the beginning of each row. On the other hand, more experienced knitters, whose work (and tension) has become more uniform, may prefer not to slip that first stitch. When assembling a garment, such as setting in the sleeve of a sweater, you will have a nice, tight and even “ladder” to work with when joining pieces with mattress stitch.

Having said all this, if you are working on something using a fuzzy novelty multicolor yarn, no one will ever know the difference if you do or don’t slip that first stitch. However, it’s not a bad habit to learn and store away in your “knitting muscle memory”.


9 1/2 Weeks September 25, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever — knitwhits @ 1:59 pm

Freia at 9 1/2 weeksNo, not the movie, the dog of course – the center of my inwardly spiralling universe.

Here she is at 9 1/2 weeks – a few days after I brought her home. If you click on the photo and look at the full size view you can see that her eyes are still greenish in this picture. When I very first saw her they were blue, just turning green, then they went from green to gold. Now she is completely monochromatic.


Two Cavities

Filed under: Knitting — knitwhits @ 1:35 pm

I have the best dentist in the world. I think they are the Nip/Tuck of dentists – the office is all fancy and everyone is high style. Dr. S is nice, gentle, attentive and explains everything he’s doing. His assistant is also very sweet. They had to replace two old fillings (apparently I grind my teeth) and I was well numb! You are also offered a warm neck wrap and a hand massage while they are working on your teeth, and there is a video playing on a flat screen of some hunky trumpeter (yes, there is such a thing) playing the kind of music I normally can’t stand, but he is very cute which offsets the Muzak factor.

The bummer is that one of the cavities may be demoted to a root canal in a couple of years. Not looking forward to that one – (or it could happen in the next 3 months… lovely).

I’ve never had any pain from going to the dentist, though it is invariably uncomfortable it’s not painful, and certainly is inelegant, but to be on the reclining chair having a hand massage and being gently told “breathe in, breathe out” really is not a bad thing. Kind of takes your mind off the vulnerability of the drill, water suction, two total strangers peering down your throat and god knows what else is that is going on around your face.

I also will now have to wear a night guard (refer the teeth grinding) only I don’t think I really grind my teeth, I think I just grit them, but it was $150 and doesn’t look too much like something forced upon Hannibal Lechter, so I was fitted for that too.. I pick it up next week, then I have to make sure I use the damn thing. The way things are right now, the dog and cats are the only ones who will see me wear it anyway, hopefully it’s only marginally humbling.

Multi Zig Zag ScarfOTK: Multi zigzag scarf – Here’s just a taste – Did a grand total of two rows so far today, one at dentist and one in the parking lot. I really am a true professional. Speaking of which.. lots of KnittyGritty email today – which means the bikini show must have just re-aired again – and I’m getting questions that I really couldn’t possibly answer, but try I will.


That was then… September 24, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever — knitwhits @ 7:56 pm

Skinny DippingThis is the first picture I saw of Amber’s pups, she had 13 of them! I asked my friend to not send me any more photos as I did not want to want what I couldn’t have. But it was too late, the damage had already been done.