Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm moving!

I've got my very own super sweet new blog location riiiiiight here:

It's like I'm an official grown up or something!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

It's my gauge that's lying. Two sweaters have been half-knit and then frogged due to gauge issues.

Now, I'm a super relaxed knitter. Loosey-goosey, according to some. I knit my socks on 0s and generally don't even bother to swatch with the needle size given in a pattern (I go down at least one to start, and often end up two down!)

But lately, my swatches are lying. I do it the "right way": knit at least a 4" by 4" swatch, wash it, block it, all of what I should be doing, and yet somehow, SOMEHOW... I've twice ended up with a sweater at least two sizes too big.

I ended up knitting the Contrasting Wrap Sweater on US 7s, TWO sizes smaller than what my measurements called for after a horrific failure on the needles I'd used to get gauge (size US 8). When I went back to check gauge... somehow my gauge on the 7s was STILL bigger than what the pattern called for. I would've needed another size or two smaller to come even close.

And now it's Gemini's turn. Attempt one ended in a much too floppy neckline and a body that drooped, and a gauge a full stitch per inch bigger than it should've been according to my swatch.

What's going on with my swatches?!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Al-Alim (99 Names, #19)

I'm on the third circle of names. Beading each bit is slow going, but it's amazing to see how such an abstract concept is turning into a real item.

The Omnicient/All-knowing, Al-Alim (العليم)

This is name #19 on my list, and I'll use it as an example of my process for creating my charts.

For the purposes of chart simplicity, I've removed the article from the word, instead choosing to wrap the numbers associated with it (1, 30) into my center mandala.

The name contains four written letters: ayn, lam, ya, mim, with corresponding numbers of 70, 30, 10, 40. That's 8 digits: 7, 0, 3, 0, 1, 0, 4, 0

I created a grid, 10 stitches tall (for numbers 0-9) and 8 stitches wide (one column for each digit). Since knitting goes right to left, just like Arabic, I charted the bead placement right to left.


And there's the process I'm using to chart each name.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

99 Names (#2)

Work on the shawl continues - actual knitting, now! In a different post, I'll give a few examples of the charts I've made for each name, but right now, I have a ring of names:

This is a simple center increase with five names in the first ring. These names are ar-Rahman (The Compassionate), ar-Rahim (The Merciful), al-Malik (The King), al-Quddus (The Holy), as-Salam (The Peace). Ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim occur the most often in the Qu'ran of any of the other attributes. The names are drawn from the list compiled by al-Walid ibn Muslim. There are several similar lists and some of the later names vary by list; this list is by no means official.

The attributes or names all point to the unity of the Greatest Name, the name of God Himself. It will take all 99 names to make this shawl into something greater than the little beaded doily above.

Friday, January 4, 2013

99 Names of God

I've always admired circular shawls, particularly the Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi Shawls. The math, combined with the delicate lace, make for a gorgeous and geeky knit. I've always planned on knitting one, and I think it's about time.

If I'm going to knit something this geeky, however... I'm going to do it EXTRA geeky. In that effort, I'm pulling out something I haven't used in years. My Arabic.

In Islamic tradition, there are 99 names or attributes of God. Those used most in the Qu'ran are Ar-Rahman (The Compassionate) and Ar-Rahim (The Merciful), and there are certainly more than 99 attributes given to God throughout Islamic texts. One such list sits on my mantle.

  I've decided to do something that might qualify as a bit insane. Using the methodology blogged by my friend (gannet on Ravelry), I've decided to chart out 99 names of God using Abjad numerals (assigning a numeric value to each Arabic letter), and bead the names of God into a shawl.

First I need to design a central mandala, though. Something including Allah in its Abjad form (1, 30, 30, 5), either beaded or in the number of stitches or rows in the pattern or or or...

This might be insane. It will definitely be geeky. And by golly, it will be FUN.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the Wake

In months and years when I look back at this post, I want to remember the heartache I feel. A mentally ill man -- not much older than a child -- walked into a school where his mother volunteered and shot up a classroom of little children. I don't want to remember more details. I can't handle most of the news as it is, with my own darling boys playing before me as we ready the house for Christmas guests and gifts.  There are parents and brothers and sisters and grandparents and friends in a little town in Connecticut, and their networks of family across the country, who are saying goodbye, instead of Merry Christmas.

What I want to remember is the outpouring of grief and support in my own community. In that case, my community is both here in Durham, NC, but also worldwide through the knitters on Ravelry and beyond. I'm part of a Ravelry group knitting critters to send to the children and families affected by the tragedy: 600 Monsters Strong for Connecticut. The lovely ladies at Three Irish Girls are offering colorways with donations going to the town; they are also planning to organize knitting blankets for the bereaved families.

Now how's that for beauty from horror? It makes my heart feel slightly lighter, to use my stitches in the hopes that someone hurting from this loss will feel one tiny ounce of support from someone who they will never meet. As always, the knitters step up.

I love this community.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Busy Little Knits

I've been working on an idea. Working hard. And that idea became something I'm quite proud of.

That idea became the Bull City Scarf.

This scarf has a secret, too. Hidden in the lace is a Durham "D".

Can you see it? I love honoring my adopted home in yarn!