My current work in progress:

1. Drachenfels, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Madelintosh Pashmina in the Black Walnut, Seasalt, and Mineral colorways on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

A Slick Trick

This is not a knitting trick, but a trick for the Droid phone, which is my new favorite toy.

I was all set to purchase the multimedia docking station for the Droid — the one that charges it while displaying weather, time, photos, etc. I figured I’d replace my alarm clock with this nifty little solution that costs $29.99.

Well, you can download a free app from the Android Market called “Dockrunner.” It puts your Droid into multimedia mode without the dock. Here’s my little Droid running multimedia mode and going commando without a dock. icon wink A Slick Trick

Multimedia111609 240x180 A Slick Trick

You need to plug your charger in on what is now the bottom of the phone, so you do need some sort of stand for it if you want it to stand up nicely on your nightstand.

I ordered this stand from ThinkGeek.com for $3.99. Beats $30!

I’ve had my Droid for a week, and I am still in love with it.

Current Knitting

I’m working on a sock design using the lovely MacKintosh Iona sock yarn pictured in yesterday’s blog post. Here is the first sock, which I completed yesterday:

Sock111609 160x240 A Slick Trick

I’m calling the design “Thistle and Heather Socks” and it will eventually be available for sale from MacKintosh Yarns.

SockCloseup111609 240x160 A Slick Trick

Or maybe “Heather and Thistle Socks.”

We Have a Winner

The winner of the Nicky Epstein book is Carol R., chosen by the great and mighty Random Number Generator. Thank-you to everyone who left a comment. If your name is Carol R., check your email. icon smile A Slick Trick

Psssst! I’ll have another book to give away later this week . . .

Meanwhile, Lucy hasn’t done any more mountain climbing.

Lucy111609 240x160 A Slick Trick

Shaky Old Geezers of the World Unite

I’m happy to hear that I’m not the only one who finds the lack of a viewfinder on a point and shoot camera unacceptable. Yes, even with image stabilization, I find my photos too shaky. But most of my blog photos are taken with this:

SLR111509 240x180 Shaky Old Geezers of the World Unite

That’s a Canon SLR camera. It’s an older model — I bought it in 2006. There are newer models now that do much more, but this one works very well for me.

Speaking of stuff that works well, I recently bought the new Boye electric ballwinder. It retails for around $70 – $90, depending on where you buy it. If you do a Google search on “Boye electric ballwinder” you’ll find a bunch of buying options. Here it is in action:

Ballwinder111509 240x160 Shaky Old Geezers of the World Unite

It has a big suction cup on the bottom of it so you can attach it firmly to pretty much any flat surface. And it has variable speed, which you adjuct by sliding the on/off button.

Ballwindera111509 240x160 Shaky Old Geezers of the World Unite

And it does a nice job of winding.

Ballwinder111509b 240x160 Shaky Old Geezers of the World Unite

What’s that yarn I’ve wound up?

Mackintosh111509 240x122 Shaky Old Geezers of the World Unite

That is a skein of MacKintosh Yarns Iona fingering weight, which is a blend of 80% superwash merino, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere. The colorway is “Maude.” I’m doing a sock design for MacKintosh Yarns. But I’ll talk about that later.

That means that I finished my Cloister Socks.

CloisterSocks111509 240x169 Shaky Old Geezers of the World Unite

Lucy has taken to mountain climbing. Here she is on top of the wall unit in my living room.

Lucy111509 240x160 Shaky Old Geezers of the World Unite

(I had to get up on a step-stool to get her down because she was scared to jump down.)

Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch

Nicky Epstein has a new book out: Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch: Creating Gifts for the People You Love.

kies cover 201x240 Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch

You may know Nicky Epstein from her many designs that have appeared in Vogue Knitting and other magazines over the years, and from her fabulous edging and flower books. I own a couple of her knitted edging books and the knitted flowers book. (There are also crochet edging and flower books for you crocheters out there.)

This new book is a collection of projects to knit as gifts for loved ones — perfect timing for holiday knitting. It is divided into chapters according to recipients: kids, girls, guys and special friends.

The kids’ chapter has several adorable hats, a baby blanket, a cute little hoodie, and some girly beaded socks. All of these projects are fairly quick knits, so you could whip a couple out as last minute gifts. My favorite project from this chapter:

Kitty111209 224x239 Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch

The Meow Kitty Cap. How cute is that?

The girls’ chapter includes several pretty wraps and a scarf, some bags, a hat, legwarmers, and mitts. I love this tote:

Tote111209 186x240 Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch

The Cable-and-Leaf Tote, with an appliqued leaf that makes it distinctively a Nicky Epstein design.

The guys’ chapter includes gloves, scarf, socks, a throw, and a cap.

The gloves are Fisherman’s Gloves:

gloves111209 218x240 Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch

Great for keeping the hands warm while maintaining dexterity for fine motor tasks, perhaps tying a fly?

The Special friends’ chapter is my favorite. It includes a lovely afghan knit in blocks, so it would make a great charity project for a group to knit. There’s also a microwavable neckwarmer, footies and socks, spa cloths, a doggie hat/scarf combo, travel tags, and a scarf. And this:

Mat111209 240x207 Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch

A kitty play mat, complete with knitted mice. You can felt the mat, or leave it unfelted. Most cats love wool so this is a great idea for a present for your furry little friend. I’m betting Lucy would enjoy snuggling up on a mat of her own.

In the back of the book there’s a guide to organizations that accept donations of knitted items. There’s also a nice glossary of abbreviations, techniques, and sources.

My overall impression? This is a great book for someone who wants to knit for others. You will find something for everyone on your gift list (as well as for yourself) within its pages, and the projects are all original and fun.

As a bonus, here are a couple of tips from Nicky Epstein:

Tip 1: Simple Storage Solutions
Use an empty “Altoids” or any candy or cigar tin for storing T-pins, stitch markers and any other knitting paraphernalia that will fit in the tin.

Tip 2: Yarn Tracking
When using the long-tail cast-on, pull off the extra yarn for the tail to prevent running out of yarn and having to start all over. This extra yarn can be tied up and used for sewing seams later. Also, place a marker every 25 stitches in case you lose count of the cast-on stitches.

Now, I was sent two copies of this fun book — one for me, and one to give away!

Want my second copy? Leave a comment on this post by 4:00pm Eastern time on Monday, November 16, and we’ll draw a name at random to receive the book.

It’s been cold and rainy here for that past couple of days, which means this is what Lucy looks like most of the time:

Lucy111209 240x160 Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch

When she is not in my lap, that is.

I Heart My Droid

This has absolutely nothing to do with knitting, but I got my new Motorola Droid phone yesterday and I love it.

Droid111009 160x240 I Heart My Droid

I had an LG Voyager previously and the difference between these phones? Wow!

The screen resolution is amazing, and once I got used to it, the phone is incredibly easy to use. Just a matter of learning how to do things. And there are a lot of great apps for it. But no knitting apps yet.

Droid111009a 160x240 I Heart My Droid

I set it up to use my wireless network at home, which it does automatically. Both on my network and on the 3G, it is VERY fast, unlike the Voyager.

DroidOpen111009 240x160 I Heart My Droid

The desktop mount is apparently not available yet — I’ll get that as soon as it comes out. Then I can get rid of my clock on my nightstand and use this instead. It does have a very nice alarm clock app pre-installed — very customizable.

And it’s great how it syncs with your Google account. I have all my contacts in Google, so those downloaded without a hitch, as did my Google calendar.

Speaking of Technology

A couple of you asked what type of camera I used for the weekend photos I posted yesterday. That was the little point and shoot Canon that lives in my purse. It does a very nice job, doesn’t it? It’s the Powershot SD770IS.

One thing that annoys me about a lot of the newer point-and-shoot Canons is the lack of a viewfinder. They have the LCD screen only. I need a viewfinder. If I try to take a photo using the LCD screen, I have to hold it a few inches from my face in order to see that shot, and I invariably shake the camera. With a viewfinder (which this little camera has), I rest the sides of my hands against my face while I take the photo and that stabilizes the camera so I don’t shake it.

Does anyone else have this problem or am I just a shaky old geezer?

Yes, I’m Still Knitting

See?

SIP111009 240x160 I Heart My Droid

This is the second sock of the pair, so this project will be done in a couple of days.

Sock111009 160x240 I Heart My Droid

Lucy Sez

Lucy111009 240x160 I Heart My Droid

“Yes, it is a little warm in here.”

Bittersweet Socks Pattern

You might recall the Bittersweet Socks pattern that I designed for the Dye Dreams Four Seasons Sock Club.

BittersweetSock110909 125x240 Bittersweet Socks Pattern

I designed this to be their November sock, and it is now available. (As I write this, the Dye Dreams website seems to be down, but check back there if you are interested.)

This past weekend I did my annual trip down to Graves Mountain for a weekend of fun with friends

A photo mosaic of Graves Mountain:

GravesMosaic110909 192x240 Bittersweet Socks Pattern

1. IMG_0535, 2. IMG_0536, 3. IMG_0537, 4. IMG_0538, 5. IMG_0539, 6. IMG_0540, 7. IMG_0541, 8. IMG_0542, 9. IMG_0543, 10. IMG_0544, 11. IMG_0545, 12. IMG_0546, 13. IMG_0547, 14. IMG_0548, 15. IMG_0551, 16. IMG_0550, 17. IMG_0552, 18. IMG_0556, 19. IMG_0576, 20. IMG_0577

A photo mosaic of Kid Hollow farm, where we visited on Saturday:

KidHollowMosaic110909 192x240 Bittersweet Socks Pattern

1. IMG_0557, 2. IMG_0558, 3. IMG_0559, 4. IMG_0560, 5. IMG_0561, 6. IMG_0562, 7. IMG_0563, 8. IMG_0564, 9. IMG_0565, 10. IMG_0566, 11. IMG_0567, 12. IMG_0568, 13. IMG_0569, 14. IMG_0570, 15. IMG_0571, 16. IMG_0572, 17. IMG_0573, 18. IMG_0574, 19. IMG_0575

And a photo mosaic of a parade of classic cars that arrived at Graves Mountain yesterday:

CarsMosaic110909 120x240 Bittersweet Socks Pattern

1. IMG_0579, 2. IMG_0580, 3. IMG_0581, 4. IMG_0582, 5. IMG_0583, 6. IMG_0584, 7. IMG_0585, 8. IMG_0586, 9. IMG_0587, 10. IMG_0588, 11. IMG_0589, 12. IMG_0590, 13. IMG_0591, 14. IMG_0592, 15. IMG_0593, 16. IMG_0594, 17. IMG_0595, 18. IMG_0596

And this is the little bundle of purrs that was waiting for me when I arrived home yesterday afternoon:

Lucy110909 240x180 Bittersweet Socks Pattern