Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chat Back for February 13

Answering questions from comments and email.

Susan asked . . .
I'm wondering when you'll tackle a pair of toe up socks from Wendy Johnson's book. I've started a pair myself.......

When I do, it will be my first pair of toe-up socks.

Someday I'm going to pick up that book and give it a try, but there is no set date. Could be next week, next year, or next decade.

Jan asked . . .
Will you be participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count?

I think these counts are more to get people interested in their birds than to gather valid scientific information. My mind has been trained to be accurate and logical. Just the thought of trying to count our birds makes me dizzy.

For example, I have 5 Cardinals at the feeder, 15 visible in their favorite staging bush. While I'm trying to count, birds are flying back and forth between the bush and the feeder. Then there are the dozens of finches hopping around while the Titmouses (Titmice?) and Chickadees dart in, grab a seed, and take it to a tree to crack and eat it.

And what about the feeders on the other side of the house? And the birds that are present, like the Pileated Woodpecker, that don't come to the feeder?

So no, I'm not attempting a count.

Kathy B asked . . .
Do you call them Flickers? We call the big one a Flicker. Are we off here?

Flicker above, Red-bellied Woodpecker below. (The Flicker picture is from Birdsource.)

They're about the same size, the Flicker is just an inch or so longer.

The Flicker has a tanish gray and black back, the Red-bellied has a bright black and white back.

The Flicker has a black mustache not present on the Red-bellied.

The most noticeable difference when they're in motion is the yellow wing shaft on the Flicker. Red-bellies don't have any yellow.

Flickers like to insect feed on the ground. Their favorite food is ants. They even bring ants to their hatchlings. That can't be easy.

Red-bellies stay for the Mid-west winter, Flickers normally migrate to warmer climates in the Southwest.

So which do you have?

Thoughts on the blog redesign.
  • I was pleased to find Blogger has gotten much easier to use since the original Stitches of Violet formatting in 2004. It all went smooth. It was even fun.
  • Now that I've upgraded to the newest, easy to use, Blogger layout software, I'll be making changes more often.
  • I especially had fun with the colors.
  • After noticing the profile picture with the red sweater didn't match the blog color scheme, I found a picture with a green background and a purple sweater. It's more important to have the right colors than to show my face. (I think I'm just kidding.)
  • Long time and/or serious readers know the Violet in Stitches of Violet refers to an online name I've used in the past. It was chosen because I love the wild blue violets that bloom in the spring and has nothing to do with purple yarn.

    So even though it's not spring yet, I made the violets my blog theme for now. Tentative plans are to change the header and footer to reflect the season, but no promises. I love the violets.
  • The only complaint I have about the new format is losing my Haloscan comments.

    With Blogger comments there is no easy access to a reply email. In many cases there is no email information at all.

    Also, there is no instant way get the blog URL of the person leaving the comment. In many cases there is no URL information at all. You may have noticed I left blog URLS out of the Chat Back questions this week. And probably will going forward.
  • Blogger gives us the opportunity to stop comment spam in several different ways, all of which I hope to avoid. I want to do everything possible to encourage comments because I love getting them.

    Typing in the letters in the box is the first line of defense. I dislike doing it on other blogs, so it's not turned on for this blog. Yet.

    Mandatory comment review by me before posting is the second line of defense. I hate it when I leave a comment on someones blog and don't get to see it immediately. I hope spam never gets so bad I have to do this.
  • Another safeguard is to not allow anonymous comments. There was a nice anonymous comment this morning from someone who bought the Beautiful Knitting Patterns book and is going to knit a pair of black socks for her husband using the same stitch pattern as John's socks. Is this someone I cyber know? Do I read her blog? If I didn't allow anonymous comments, would she have identified herself? Or not left a comment at all?

    Note to anonymous commenters: Even if you don't want to give Blogger your id, you could be friendly and type your name at the end of the text. Please.
  • Some of my archived posts have text running down the right side of the picture where there isn't room for text running down the side of the picture. As I notice these, I may go into the html and fix them. If I link to an archived post, it will be reformatted so all the text falls under the pictures.
  • Did anybody actually read all this babble?


Luise Erdmann said...

Read it all. It's helpful to know your reasoning, etc. Onward. Luise (lmerdmann@aol.com)

Allison said...

Yep, I read it, too.

Donna said...

I read every comment you make all the time!!

Kath said...

I like the new blog!
I am working on 'your' More Fun than Cables socks as part of my Olympic Challenge.

I am working them in Schaeffer Nichole -- but purchased 2 skeins of Stalwart Sock because I love your BFF socks.

I can't wait to try it out on my next pair!

PghCathy said...

I read it all, too. And am totally impressed that you actually know how to do all of this!

Ann said...

I love your new blog look. Of course, i read everything you wrote. Happy blogging.

Anonymous said...

I don't like how Blogger deals with comments, either. That's a big reason why I went to Wordpress.

The other reason was how difficult it used to be to mess with the layout. I'm glad they've fixed that.

I love the header picture and yes, I did read everything you wrote. :)

BeadKnitter said...

I like the changes. Very pretty!

Do you have spam problems with your blog? I don't. I've had maybe 2 or 3 spam comments that I had to delete. I wouldn't bother unless you actually start getting spam.

If you don't want Anonymous comments, don't allow them. There's a perfectly nice Name/Url choice if they really want to say something.

Jan said...

Lovely new look. Blogger is much easier to use than previously. Photos used to be extremely slow to load from downunder. Perhaps they were upside down. (just joking.)

I've reluctantly turned on word verification for comments. I've had quite a bit of spam in the last two months where I previously had none at all. No pr0n, but spam nevertheless. I really didn't want to do it, but so many now have it that I think most accept it.

Megan Olson said...

I read every one of your comments on the new blog layout, too!
Regarding toe-up socks, I've made a few pairs of the Slip Stitch Heel Basic Socks from Wendy Johnson's book and I really like the pattern. It took me a few tries to understand how the short-row heel turn and heel flap shaping work and now that I understand it, the knitting goes quickly. I've decided I like this toe-up pattern better than a cuff-down pattern because it allows me to test-fit the sock to my foot first. Also, for me, using Judy's Magic Cast-on instead of the kitchener stitch for the toe makes a world of difference to me. I've had a hard time learning how to do the kitchener stitch.

Dorothy said...

I read every word! I need to check and see if Wendy's book is at the library to preview it before I buy. I've made several pairs of toe-up socks and I do like doing them, but it's always easy to fall back on the top down because I can go on cruise control. We have Flickers - sometimes you'll see quite a few of them stabbing around our yard.

Robbyn said...

Yup - read all of it. Every bit :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I did read it all. Love your birds and snow and socks.
Lesley F.

Kathy... said...

Yes, I also read every word. Oh...and we have Flickers too!

I'm having issues with my photos. Not sure why, but sometimes they are in the center, and sometimes not. I know where it says you can adjust the placement, but it doesn't seem to work all the time. Other than that, it's ok with me too.

I have Wendy's book. I have made two pairs of toe-up. IMO, you're not missing out on anything. I knit my toe ups prior to getting Wendy's book, however - so perhaps I need to readdress the issue. No reflection on her book. Just my stubbornness I guess.

Lynn said...

I read the babble and I love the new look!!!

Anonymous said...

I wrote the anonymous comment about the pattern book and socks. I meant no offense by not signing the comment - I plead ignorance for not knowing blog etiquette. You have e-mailed me personally when I have had a question and I really appreciated that.

I love your socks, dogs, family, birds and all the beautiful nature pictures. Do you edit your pictures before you post them?

I have been a long time follower of your blog and I love reading the comments.

Diane -who needs to get an ID!

thistledown musings said...

Yup, read it all! I use blogspot also and was not aware there was an update. Will have to go back and check it out. Love the new blog, violets are my favorite. I married in the fall, but had a violet (fake, unfortunately) bouquet for my wedding.

Marie said...

I read it, but as long as YOU understand it AND it keeps your blog going, I'm all for it, whatever it means! :)

pat said...

Read every word - I just lost my Haloscan too and don't have the option of Blogger comments. the replacement (NOT UPGRADE as far as I'm concerned!) is horrible - much worse than Blogger - people have no idea how to leave their identification information and I don't know who anyone is (unless, of course it is someone I recognize from before).
OK enough ranting - I LOVE your new blog look - the purple sweater matches the violet perfectly!

Bonnie said...

These are great shots. Just gorgeous!

Petunia said...

Two thoughts - on my blog, I've now got everyone signing in because I am REALLY getting hit my spam. Once they "get your number," it doesn't let up. Most of it is caught, but some still gets through. (I use WordPress on a private server)
And Violet, I use "Petunia" because it was a nickname my older brothers gave me when I was a preschooler, and they still use it, now that I'm white-haired.