Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I’m three rounds short of finishing the underarm increases of the Relax – so today I will probably split the front and back, and tomorrow I ought to be in a position to show you a photograph. I continue very pleased. And Ariana – comment yesterday, arrived in the last few seconds – you’re right that a circular needle will make a better stitch holder than waste yarn. I’ve even got point protectors – I won’t need to struggle with rubber bands.

My benefactress has sent a photograph of the Pakokku yarn she proposes to give me. Golly! We’re hoping to go to Strathardle next week. It lacks a dedicated knitting project. I’ll take along the current socks, in the hopes of having them near-finished when the Pakokku arrives.

That means taking along a text to help with Judy’s Magic Cast-On. (But of course, I’ll have my iPad.) The current sock is a toe-up, using that start and a Strong-Fleegle heel. I’m currently well up the leg of the first sock.

All I can remember about Judy’s cast-on is that my problem doesn’t lie with the up-down motion of the right hand, as emphasized so strongly in the YouTube videos, but with the question of which way around the needles the yarn is to be wrapped. Maybe remembering that is all I’ll need.


We had a frustrating day with the Surface yesterday. I don’t even know whether it is Word for Windows or the Surface itself which brought me nearly to tears. At one point yesterday, the text my husband was working on simply disappeared. I struggled for fully 20 minutes, tapping every icon I could see or conjure up, before I got it back. I have no idea what he did to lose it, nor what I did to find it.

What we need is a much simpler, more basic word processing program. It must be able to read and Save As Word documents. Beyond that, normal editing functions, block & cut, find, Go To a particular page – that’s about it. Any ideas? Googling reveals that there are several such programs, free. The Surface App store doesn’t offer any, but maybe one could be downloaded from the ether and would actually run, unlike Dropbox.


Thank you, Ron, and stash haus the day before.

Yes, Angel – one of you emailed me yesterday about the trouble at Oberlin. Most extraordinary. Something like that happened while I was there, meant in that case as a joke: a bonfire near the Memorial Arch, with hooded KKK-type figures. We had an editorial in the Review the next week, I remember, with the headline 'Tain’t Funny, Bunny. (Bunny being the name of the undergraduate idiot whose idea it was.)

Shandy, linking yourself to a Chinese peasant via Degrees of Separation isn’t difficult, although you’ll probably need more than four. The peasant will know his local communist party apparatchik. He in turn will know others further up the chain of command. Pretty soon you’re in Beijing with someone who knows James, at least well enough for the purposes of the game. And you know me, since our happy day in Franklin’s class at Loop.

The Amazon Rain Forest might be trickier.


  1. Just wondered if you had Knit Pro (or Knit Picks) interchangeable needles? They come with end pieces to screw onto the cables to keep the stitches on if you want to use the points elsewhere. I have regularly used the cables to hold stitches. I don't know if any of the other interchangeable systems have the same.

  2. I find the TextEdit app that my Mac came with is plenty good enough for creating saveable letters etc. I'm sure there must be something similarly simple that would work for the Surface. I'm all for simplicity myself and really sympathised with your panic when your husband lost his work.

    I don't do toe up socks very often but when I do I use Wendy Johnson's instructions for JMCO from Knitty. Works for me.

  3. Bad news is if it isn't in the Windows store it will not run on Surface. Remember it does not have a full Windows operating system.
    After Mary Lou Eagan mentioned using narrow ribbon to hold stitches, I have started to use paper curling ribbon. It's very cheap and works great.

  4. Have you tried working both socks at the same time, on separate needles? Do one cast on, then do the other; one toe increase, then the other; one heel, then the other; etc. Place the ball of yarn in a Zip-lock baggie. Snip a tiny hole on each side of the baggie and feed the yarn end from the outside of the ball through one hole, and the yarn end from the inside of the ball through the other hole. The baggie keeps the yarn from tangling around itself. I use this method anytime I made two of something....socks, mittens, sleeves, sweater fronts.

  5. Anonymous1:09 PM

    I wonder if you could get OpenOffice for the Surface? It behaves like Microsoft Word and certainly has the "Save as Word" function; it does footnotes nicely (and endnotes, too). IF it exists for Surface it might work, with only a minimal learning curve.

  6. For JMCO, what I remember is that the wrap always ends with the yarn in between the needles from the top, so the working yarn is always coming off the bottom in between the needles before the next wrap. I hope that makes sense.

  7. eadaoine2:48 PM

    I do something even easier for a toe up caston.
    I don't know where I found the instructions so I can't give credit (maybe techknitter). Take 2 short circs of the needle size you will use for your socks. Tie a slipknot in the yarn, slide it on one of the needles. Hold one needle of each of the circs together. Wind the working yarn around both needles making enough loops on each for your beginning toe stitches (Don't count the slipknot as a stitch loop!). No twisting between the needles just a simple round and round. Turn the needles if necessary so the one the yarn comes off of is your lower needle. You will be knitting the stitches on the upper needle first. Carefully slide the lower needle so the loops there are on the cable rather than the needle. Knit the stitches on the top needle. If they are set on the needle backward knit them thru the back loop. Whenever you come to the slipknot just drop it. When you have completed the stitches on the top needle slide the stitches onto the cable portion and then
    turn clockwise. Now slide the unknit loops back onto the needle part of the circ and knit those. The next round you can increase for whatever style of toe you like. I like to switch to dps after a couple of increase rounds but you can continue using 2 circs if you wish. Sliding the stitches onto the cable portion the first time around gives just enough slack to make it easy to knit the first stitches but snug enough so you don't have to go back and tighten as some would have you do.

    cnet's review on SURFACE PRO... to be honest i would give up and go with an iPad... you can get Surface Pro but have to buy MS Office (stupid MS!). if you have a license already maybe you would be able to use it...
    however, you may be able to buy the cloud version of Office - Office 365 (and then there is Office 2013).
    which is not that bad.

    Can you take it back and exchange it for Surface Pro? and maybe they will throw in office 365 ?

    good luck !

  9. csj04233:13 PM

    For Judy's Magic Cast On, try looking at the Knitty article in which it first appeared (2006 I believe). Between the text and the photographs I think you will get it. I had used the videos to the point I knew the words and still couldn't get it. After going through the article, I think I could now probably use it to cast on in my sleep.

  10. Barbara M. in NH4:10 PM

    Jean, I have a skein of slippery, silky ribbon yarn which I would NEVER try to knit with....but I keep it in my knitting bag to use as a stitch holder. It never sticks, even when the knitting yarn is shetland-sticky, and the stitches slide onto and off easily. It doesn't stretch or break easily, and was well worth the small investment.

    I have just been making reservations at hotels in Edinburgh, as I am joining an Arena Travel tour of Shetland there in May. I can't wait to spend more time in your beautiful city, and would love any recommendations for yarn shops or restaurants!

    Barbara M. in NH

  11. I would take a look at -- it's free, it works very well, it does everything the Microsoft products do without the hassles.

    Good luck!