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)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Backyard Leaves Scarf Contest

Backyard Leaves Scarf from Scarf StyleI find myself really enjoying knitting the Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style in Knitpicks Andean Silk.

But I don't want to wear it. I'm a scarf klutz. When I wear a scarf it is always in the way, getting caught in doors, getting snagged on bushes, and refusing to stay in place. If the scarf has a right side - like this one - it is always wrong side up when I glance down.

The fun is in the knitting. I need to give the finished scarf away, so I'm having a contest.

Your first chance to enter will be the April 1 post.

Here are the details. If you don't like details, skip to the last paragraph for a one sentence summary.

The Backyard Leaves scarf in Knitpicks Andean Silk, color Lettuce. Yes, the very scarf I'm knitting.

How to enter:
Leave a comment on a Backyard Leaves Scarf progress post. There will be five scarf progress posts (this is not one of them) and they will be clearly labeled. Be sure to include your email address. (One reason I switched this blog to Haloscan comments.)

Comments entered more than a week after the posting date and time will not be eligible. The date and time stamp on the comment will be used to compare with the date and time stamp on the post to determine when a week has past.

Choosing a Winner:
One week after the final post showing the scarf completed and blocked, DH will pick a number and the winner will be announced on Stitches of Violet. (We have a procedure in mind for doing this in order to make sure everyone gets an equal chance. It involves a random number generator. Does anyone really want to know?)

DH is completely neutral and could care less about who wins. He will be just as fair as a national accounting firm. In fact, he has a degree in accounting.

I will post the winner on Stitches of Violet and send the winner an email requesting their snail mail address. If the winner does not respond with their snail mail address in seven days (using the date and time stamp method described above), a different winner will be chosen using the same method.

Miscellaneous Rules and Disclaimers:
If, for any reason, I am unable to complete the scarf, the contest will close, a winner will be picked, and the substitute prize will be two skeins of KnitPicks Andean Silk.

If I decide the quality of the completed scarf is too poor to share with the winner, the substitute prize will be two skeins of KnitPicks Andean Silk.

Nasty comments will be deleted and ignored. What is nasty? I know it when I see it.

I reserve the right to change the rules or add to the rules as needed to keep the contest fun, fair, and friendly.

In Summary
It's really very simple. When you see a Stitches of Violet post on the Backyard Leaves scarf progress, leave a comment and you might win the scarf.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Switched Comments to Haloscan

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Sydney Anne is Almost Due

Anne a week before her due date

My son John and daughter-in-law Anne are about to become parents for the first time.

John writes:
We’re hopefully in the home stretch. Yesterday, Monday, March 28, 2005, marked exactly one week until the due date. Here’s a picture of my beautiful wife, Anne, on that day, just before we went to our doctor appointment:

Anne has been very lucky to have a very good pregnancy. Other than the illnesses of last month, she hasn’t had many problems. She’s been enjoying the pregnancy and enjoys interacting with the baby in every way she can.

A week ago she told me she was ready. The pregnancy has progressed to the point where she is ready to have the baby and get the pregnancy over with. She’s always tired, swollen, and her fingers and toes sometimes tingle from the circulation problems that go along with the swelling and pregnancy in general.

It’s nothing serious, just interesting to hear when less than two weeks ago she was happy and giggling while playing with the baby and telling me she’s in no hurry to end the pregnancy.

Looks to Grandma like baby Sydney Anne is ready, too. It can't be much longer now.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Basketweave Ribbing Socks Pattern

John's Basketweave Ribbing Socks in Opal Handpainted 14Size: Women’s medium
Yarn: 100g sock/fingering weight.
Needles: 2-24” circulars US 1, 2.5mm. You can easily switch to double points or Magic Loop if desired.
Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch in stockinette stitch

The socks in the picture are knit with Opal Handpainted #14.

This pattern shows best with a solid or almost solid yarn or a variagated yarn with very short color repeats.

The socks in the picture were knit for a very tall, thin man. They are knit on the same 64 stitches as the pattern that follows, but the heel flap was lenghtened to three inches and 22 stitches were picked up on each side of the gusset.

k = knit
p = purl
m1 = make a new stitch by lifting loop between stitches with left needle and knitting into back of loop
slip = slip purlwise unless pattern specifies knitwise
ssk = slip knitwise, slip knitwise, knit two slipped stitches together
k2tog = knit two stitches together
p2tog - purl two stitches together

Close up of stitch pattern in John's Basketweave Ribbing SocksJohn's Basketweave Ribbing Stitch
(multiple of 8 stitches)
Round 1: k3,p,k3,p
Round 2: k3,p5
Round 3: k3,p,k3,p
Round 4: k3,p5
Round 5: k3,p,k3,p
Round 6: k3,p5
Round 7: k3,p,k3,p
Round 8: p4,k3,p
Round 9: k3,p,k3,p
Round 10: p4,k3,p
Round 11: k3,p,k3,p
Round 12: p4,k3,p

Cast on 64 stitches.
Split stitches between two circular needles, 32 stitches per needle.
Join is the beginning of a round and the left side of sock.

k1,p1 ribbing for two inches.

Knit John's Basketweave Ribbing Stitch until cuff measure desired length (usually 7-8 inches), ending after Round 6 or Round 12.

With the heel side facing you, move the left purl stitch onto the instep needle.
You now have 33 stitches on the instep needle and 31 stitches on the heel needle.

Set up Row: (slip 1, knit 1) 8 times, slip 1, m1, (slip 1, Knit 1) 7 times. 32 stitches on needle. Turn.

Row 1: slip 1, purl to end of row. Turn.
Row 2: (slip 1, knit 1) 16 times. Turn.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 17 times. (18 slip rows)

Turn Heel:
Row 1: slip 1, p 17, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 2: slip 1, k5, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 3: slip 1, p6, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 4: slip 1, k7, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 5: slip 1, p8, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 6: slip 1, k9, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 7: slip 1, p10, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 8: slip 1, k11, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 9: slip 1, p12, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 10: slip 1, k13, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 11: slip 1, p14, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 12: slip 1, k15, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 13: slip 1, p16, p2tog. Turn.
Row 14: slip 1, k16, ssk.

18 stitches left on needle.

Pick up Gusset Stitches:
Pick up 19 stitches along right edge of heel.
Knit across instep using Instep Rib Pattern.
Instep Rib Pattern:
k4,p,k3,p,k3,p,k7,p,k3,p,k3,p,k4 (33 stitches)

Pick up 19 stitches along left edge of heel.

Knit a round, ending at center back of heel.

Gusset Decreases:
For gusset decreases, round starts at center of heel needle.

Round 1: knit to last 3 stitches before instep, k2tog, k1, knit Instep Rib Pattern across instep, k, ssk, knit to center of heel needle.
Round 2: knit to instep needle, knit Instep Rib Pattern across instep, knit to center of heel needle.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 31 stitches remain on heel needle.

Continue knitting around keeping the 33 instep stitches in the Instep Rib Pattern.

Toe Decreases:
Start on instep needle 2 inches before desired length of sock.

Round 1: (k, ssk, k to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k) twice, once on instep needle, once on sole needle.
Round 2: knit

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 17 stitches remain on instep needle and 15 stitches remain on sole needle.

Repeat round 1 until 9 stitches remain on each needle.
Kitchener toe and weave in ends.

Copyright Marguerite Byrne, 2005. To be used for private, non-profit use only.
Send comments and corrections to knittingviolet@gmail.com

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Looking Forward to April

I'm looking ahead to what I'm going to knit in April and I'm eagerly anticipating my April knitting projects.

Next Friday, April 1, is the day we get to see the new Six Sox Knitalong project. After skipping the February/March sock, I'm hoping the April/May sock will strike my fancy.

Daughter Heather has asked for red socks for her May birthday and I need to get them started soon. It would be so perfect to have the knitalong socks be suitable for Heather's birthday socks.

I want the Lavold Sweater done in April. I've been knitting on the front and the back a little everyday and hope to have them joined at the shoulders by the middle of next week. In order to meet that goal, I have forbidden myself to think about starting anything else.

When I sit down to knit, I'd rather pick up the Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style I'm knitting with Knitpicks Andean Silk. It's a slow knit because the pattern is complex and I don't have it memorized yet. But it's a very pleasant knit. If I hadn't forbidden myself to think about starting another project, I might be seriously thinking about knitting an entire sweater out of this nice yarn.

The CIC_Knit List is going to have another vest challenge in April. I'm going to be the official vest challenge counter and cheerleader. My personal goal is two toddler vests in April. (What is CIC?)

April is also yard and garden clean-up month. Thanks to some high winds last fall, we have a layer of sticks to deal with along with the usual ton of oak leaves. I'll try to work on it a little each day and not get too sore or whine too much.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sunshine and Mink

Thanks for all the kind comments. Today is better. Much better.

Today started off with sunshine. Real sunshine. Sunshine with no clouds. Sunshine that warms the earth and the souls of people who haven't seen much sunshine in the last five months.

The sunshine brought the temperature up to 50 degrees (10 C) by early afternoon. When I went to do errands and grocery shopping, there were people flinging their coats off every place I stopped. I joined them. Who needs a coat when it's 50 degrees?

After I got home and settled in, Bob noticed something out in the east yard by the edge of the pond. At first we thought it was an otter, but it's too small for an otter. I'm thinking it's a mink. And we spotted a second mink, so we have a pair.

They went in and out of their hole, went swimming in the thawed edge of the pond, and looked like they were happily settling in to raise a family.

Fortunately the mink hole isn't in a place the dogs normally walk.

I'd like to think the little dogs have more sense than to tangle with a mink, but I don't know that. I do know (I think) that the little dogs won't go in the water after it. Glory will. Glory will tangle with it and Glory will go in the water after it.

Anyone have any good advice for peaceful coexistence between dogs and a mink family?

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure what mink eat besides fish. Guess I better do some research. I'm not even sure I have them identified correctly.

More later after I have some facts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Weather Blahs and Knitting Blahs

Glory on a windy fish hatchery walk and a swan in the rough water of the pondYesterday it was windy and cold - but it didn't snow. Glory and I went for a mile walk at the nearby fish hatchery. On the shaded left side of the road not showing in the picture, there is still some snow. Little by little spring is winning the battle.

We're overdue for some spring weather, but the snowflakes are whirling around in the air today. Even though it's a little above freezing, there is a cold wind and there isn't much thawing going on.

It's perfect knitting weather, but I haven't felt like knitting much this week.

Before I started Stitches of Violet, a break in knitting hardly rated a second thought. Last night I sat down and read a paperback mystery cover to cover and had to assure myself it was an OK thing to do even if I wasn't going to have any knitting content for today's blog. I need to continuously remind myself that there is no reason this blog should be altering the way I choose to spend my days.

Do other knitting bloggers struggle with this?

Knitting on the Lavold Silky Tweed sweater is feeling like an endurance contest instead of a pleasure. I do not like knitting with cotton yarn, especially lumpy cotton yarn that splits. It's getting so I can't pick it up without thinking dire thoughts about my yarn buying decision.

I am determined to finish the sweater. I will finish the sweater. I hope it's nicer to wear than it is to knit.

On a brighter side, I've started knitting the Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style using Knitpick's Andean Silk. Andean Silk is the complete opposite of Lavold Silky Tweed. It's soft, smooth, fun to feel, easy to knit, and I'm loving it.

Pictures soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Knitting Log for March 20

Lavold Garnet sweater front knit up to the underarm decreasesIt seems when I have socks on the needles, it's the socks I pick up to knit. So, I'm taking a sock break and knitting on my version of the Lavold Garnet Sweater. I'm up to the first underarm bind off on the front (in picture) and the back (not shown).

This afternoon I sat down with a pencil and wrote out my instructions for the sleeve openings.

Since the pattern has no schematic drawing, the first thing I did before starting to knit was to draw out the measurements that would be obtained if the pattern was followed as written. It was very enlightening.

The band at the hip was 36 inches for a 40 inch finished bust measurement. That doesn't work for my body, so I cast on more stitches and skipped the increases from hip to bust.

The total length of the sleeve opening is 7.75 inches. I suppose there is some lucky young thing somewhere who needs a 40 inch bust measurement and has thin upper arms, but it's not going to work for me. I need at least 8.5 inches to be comfortable. 9 is better.

Close up picture of the Lavold Garnet laceHere's a close up of the lace panel that runs down the front.

Once I get the front and back done and the shoulders sewn together, I'll try the sweater on. If it looks like it's going to fit nicely and I like what I see, I'll make long sleeves and run the lace down the top of the sleeve.

If I'm not impressed and just want the sweater done as quickly as possible, it will get short sleeves like the pattern shows.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Looking Hard for Signs of Spring

Dismal landscape with a little touch of bluebird in a treeMy sister sent dog pictures from North Carolina today. My eye immediately flew to the background where I could see forsythia and daffodils in bloom.

We have no color yet in Michigan except for the red of the cardinals and now the blue of the occasional Eastern bluebird.

Each time we go for a walk in the back field I look for the flash of blue as the bluebirds hang out near the nest box they've claimed.

I took this picture mainly to show the lack of color in the landscape. If you look closely, you can see a speck of blue in the tree. I circled it to help you out. A person needs all the help they can get to locate color in mid-March Michigan.

Daffodil shoots peeking up through the snowThese short green shoots are February Gold daffodils, the earliest blooming daffodils we have. Usually they shoot up during each of the major pre-spring thaws and are in full bloom by the end of March.

We haven't had major pre-spring thaws this year.

If the temperatures will stay above freezing for the rest of the month, the daffodils might make March bloom. They're going to need to do some serious growing in the next thirteen days.

Hellebore with one stem and two flowers This is the only plant in bloom on our five acres. Those two pink colored spots at the base of the stem are the flowers.

This Hellebore is an amazing little plant that starts blooming even before the first major thaw and continues blooming on through the spring, long after it's overshadowed by the more showy flowers.

Actually, almost every other flower is more showy - but none are more indestructible.

This little guy lives in the deep dry shade of a large oak tree in our front yard where hardly anything else will grow. My garden is full of plants that don't need coddling, and this is one of the toughest.

Glory on the ground in the early springSo we patiently wait for the snow to finish melting and hope we don't get any more.

Another month and everything will be green and this field will be hopping with baby rabbits.

Glory is rested and ready for the chase.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Various Thoughts on March 16

This morning the female bluebird was sitting in a nearby tree while the male stood guard on the top of the nest box. How wonderful to have them back and know they intend to use the nest box. Assuming this is the same pair that used the nest box last year, they fledged a total of nine hatchlings. I'd love to have them do the same this year.

No socks on the needles. I can't remember the last time I went a week without having a pair of socks on the needles. Instead, I've been knitting on the Lavold sweater. The front and the back are both almost up to the underarm. When I get there, I'll post a picture. If life cooperates, it will be soon.

Lately I've been wasting time at Jig Zone , Jigsaw Puzzles Online. After trying a few unsatisfactory puzzle sites, I came to the conclusion that doing jig saw puzzles on line was not fun. Then, last December someone on a knitting list changed my mind by posting a Knitting related puzzle from the Jig Zone puzzle of the day and I got hooked.

Monday, March 14, 2005

End of Winter Walk

Picture of ***** Pappy and I went for a walk at the nearby fish hatchery today.

Most of the ponds and lakes in the area are still ice covered, but there is open water at the fish hatchery. It must be because they filter and recycle the water in the ponds thereby keeping it moving. Maybe they even heat it a little - but I really don't know that.

Anyway, this time of year the unfrozen water is a huge attraction for all types of water birds.

When Pappy saw this path full of geese, he was in no hurry to go forward and neither was I.

In some places where people feed the geese, they become very aggressive in their demand for food. I wasn't sure if these geese wanted something from us or not. The only thing I had with me to feed them was Pappy.

Picture of *****It appeared the geese at the fish hatchery are wild.

They didn't want to be anywhere near us, and they flew off while Pappy watched.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Self-Patterning Yarn Thoughts

Susan is having a contest to collect ideas for stitch patterns to use with self-patterning yarn. The catch: She doesn't want to spend a lot of time knitting up a stitch pattern that is obliterated by the patterning of the yarn.

This same question comes up at various times on knitting lists and I always read the answers with interest. The responses are few and the new ideas even fewer.

I'm assuming that Susan defines self-patterning yarn as yarn with obvious stripes. A variegated yarn with short color repeats such as Opal Handpainted, Opal Crocodile, or Opal Mosaic is not self-patterning by this definition.

Neither do I consider variegated yarn with long color repeats that pool and spiral as self-patterning.

Here are three basic techniques I use to knit self-patterning yarn socks:

Opal Lollipop sock cuff knit with a wide k7p1 ribbingWide Ribbing
I like to incorporate some kind of ribbing in all my socks so they will cling to the leg and foot instead of bagging.

This Opal Lollipop cuff was knit with a k7,p1 ribbing. The ribbing is almost invisible and makes a big different in the fit.

Let the yarn do the work. These socks were admired and fought over with no fancy stitch pattern.

In order to center the ribbing down the instep, it's necessary to have an uneven number of instep stitches. For a 64 stitch sock, split the stitches 31 for the heel, 33 for the instep. If the heel design requires an even number of stitches, do a M1 in the middle of the first row of the heel.

Opal Magic sock cuff showing wide ribbing with clover leaf lace in the wide striped areaAbbreviated Stitch Pattern
Knitting wide ribbing gets boring, even when the color pattern is pretty.

To make things more interesting, sometimes I work a stitch pattern in the wider stripes of a self-patterning yarn.

Opal Magic has an almost solid 22 row stripe when knit on 64 stitches. I've used it to play with a stitch pattern more than once and have two more skeins of Magic in my stash where I intend to do the same thing.

This Opal Magic cuff has a cloverleaf lace pattern in the wide stripe. Very pretty and feminine when worn. A Picture of the completed pair is here, along with a description of how I divide self-patterning yarn into two balls so the pattern matches.

I'm planning to do the same type of abbreviated stitch pattern work on the new Opal Rodeo collection.

Opal Elements cuff knit using a horizontal, wavy lace patternHorizontal Lace Pattern
A horizontal lace pattern shows the stripes but waves them up and down in curves or peaks.

Old Shale/Feather and Fan in all its varieties, and Fiber Trend's Peak Experience fall in this category.

This Opal Element cuff was knit in a variation of Old Shale/Feather and Fan.

A Picture of the completed pair is here.

The contest entries mostly fall into these three categories. I have nothing new to add to the list, but I'm going to enter anyway.

The prize is a 100g skein of sock yarn. Just what every sock knitter wants most.

Friday, March 11, 2005

A Hint of Spring

Pappy the Papillon standing in the snowAll week I've been thinking how much fun it would be to take the camera out and find hints of spring here and there. The weather refused to cooperate. All this week it's been below freezing and either snowing or threatening to snow.

Our five day weather forecast shows below freezing temps and snow on every single day for the next five.

Every casual conversation in Michigan starts out, "Is it ever going to be spring?" We are so ready.

First bluebird of 2005 sitting on the birdhouseWe have a three acre field on the back of the property where I walk the dogs several times a day.

The path we walk doubles as a bluebird trail. This morning, sitting on top of a snow covered bluebird house, was a male bluebird - the first one of the season and a sure sign that spring is on the way.

Normally I wouldn't post a bluebird picture where you can't even tell that the bird in question is blue, but this is a very special occasion. This picture was the best I could do under the circumstances.

Trust me, that is a very bright blue, pink breasted male bluebird sitting on top of the nest box. I'm assuming it's the same male who raised two families in that box last summer and has returned to claim it for this year.

Hope he found a warm snuggly place to hunker down tonight because guess what - the wind is blowing and it's snowing.

Is it ever going to be spring? You bet! This week I saw my first robin and my first bluebird. There might even be daffodils coming up under that snow.

Basketweave Ribbing Close Up

Closeup of John's Basketweave Ribbing StitchHere's a close up of the Basketweave Ribbing Stitch on John's Birthday Socks.

They're on their snail mail way to Idaho as of this afternoon.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Socks and Socks

John's Basketweave Ribbing Socks in Opal Handpainted 14The birthday socks are done! Since they were knit for 6 foot 5 inch tall Son John, they're a little baggy on my sock blockers.

The yarn is Opal Handpainted 14, a very rich combination of blues, greens, and purple. I love the way the Handpainted colors knit up in short bursts of color with no pooling and no spiraling.

I'm calling the pattern John's Basketweave Ribbing. I'll be publishing the pattern, downsized to a woman's medium, on Stitches of Violet soon.

There was no sun today, so I couldn't get a good natural light picture. In fact, this afternoon when I was trying to get a picture so I could package up the socks for their trip to Idaho, it was overcast and dumping snow.

I won't say any more about the snow. It would just sound like whining.

Happy Birthday March 18th John! I'm thinking it's possible you might become a daddy on your birthday. Sydney would be two weeks early, but everyone who has seen the picture thinks Anne looks ready now. And the picture was taken two weeks ago.

Old Shale Two Yarn Sock Pattern knit by SusanIt's always fun to visit Susan's blog I'm Knitting As Fast As I Can to see what she's knitting. She has a new and interesting project to show her readers every week. And she's always generous with sharing her knitting secrets and tips.

Last night she posted a finished pair of socks knit from my Old Shale Two Yarn Socks Pattern.

It's a special honor to have Susan select this pattern to knit since she designs and sells her own unique and attractive sock patterns.

The Old Shale Two Yarn Socks Pattern was written with leftover sock yarn in mind, and that's exactly what she used. The cuffs are OnLine leftovers and the solid is some blue Pingouin sock yarn from her stash.

I like the look of just having the cuff in the contrasting yarn. Great idea for some of those smaller balls of leftovers.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Dreams of Future Knitting

I spent the afternoon in leisurely retiree fashion having lunch with a friend, not watching the time, and having a wonderful yak about grandchildren, past work adventures, and how glad we are that we were eliminated from the work force even if we're not sure we can afford to be unemployed.

While waiting for the dogs to get done at the groomer's, I had a chance to knit on John's Basketweave Ribbing Socks, The foot on the last sock is half done so they are on schedule to be in the mail by Friday. Then I'll be down to one project on the needles (the projects mentioned yesterday don't count) unless I start something else - which, of course, I'm going to do.

2 skeins of  Alpaca Cloud in Horizon and 4 skeins of Andean Silk in Lettuce The Knitpicks order arrived late this afternoon and I hurried to get a picture of the yarn while there was still some natural light. It was too late, so this picture was taken with the flash. The colors are not distorted on my monitor.

There are four skeins of Andean Silk in color Lettuce. Andean Silk is 55% alpaca, 23% silk, 22% merino, 100% soft against my skin. I'm going to give it a test knit by knitting the Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style to get an idea of how it works for raised stitch patterns.

Even though the temperature is in the teens this evening, it is spring. I saw the first robin today. Because I'm sure the weather is going to warm up before my new project is complete, it makes more sense to start Ene's Scarf, an airy lace shawl in Scarf Style I'm planning to knit with the two skeins of Alpaca Cloud in Horizon (the light blue yarn on the right).

But sense is going to take second fiddle to what I want to knit: the Backyard Leaves scarf is going to be first.

There were also two new knitting books in the Knitpicks box, Jean Frost Jackets and Best of Knitters Arans and Celtics. I'm looking forward to logging off and looking through them this evening.

If you read yesterday's post about my impatience with knitting cables, you're probably asking yourself why I would order a book of Arans and Celtics. I love looking at them and dreaming about knitting them. There's an almost 100% probability I'll be ordering yarn to knit something from that book. I'll pick something with a lot of stitch variety to keep my interest.

It's been five years since I last started a cabled sweater and couldn't bear to finish it. This time it will be different - because you'll all be watching.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Hiding In The Bins

Last night while blog hopping I noticed a trend for pulling out old, unfinished knitting projects, blogging about them, and giving them a thumbs up or thumbs down for the future.

Today, since I'm really short on interesting knitting content - or even boring knitting content - I thought a bin dive for abandoned projects would be fun and educational.

Before admitting to the three unfinished items I dug out of the bins today, I have to confess that these weren't the only ones. Last year I cleaned out my bins and got rid of several partly finished projects that I didn't like and was never going to finish.

Back of Endless Beginnings sweater from Summer 99 KnittersEndless Cables
This is the back of a sweater I started knitting about five years ago, before I learned the beauty of knitting with natural fibers and before I learned how bored I can get knitting cables. The pattern is Endless Beginnings from the Summer 99 Knitter's. The yarn is Encore DK.

I have a partially knit - about six inches - front to go with this back. It was set aside because I was very tired of doing cables and wanted to work on something else - anything else.

Though buried in my bins, it's never been forgotten. Every time I'm tempted to start a new project with lots of cables, the memory of this partial sweater serves as a reality check.

The verdict: It survived the last purge because I use it as a reminder of my fickleness. It isn't going to survive this purge.

The yarn might make a good baby blanket - or a great donation to the thrift store.

Navy child's vest using multiple lace stitch patternsJust Because
Here's another project from five years ago. I had fun knitting this vest without a pattern using whatever lace stitches caught my eye in the Barbara Walker Stitch Treasuries.

It's a beautiful piece of knitting and I even short rowed the shoulders. All it needs is to be sewn together and the ends woven in.

Granddaughter Kimmy's school has navy and white uniforms and this vest was originally intended for her to wear to kindergarten. She's in fourth grade now. It isn't going to fit. It isn't Kimmy's style, so I don't feel as if I cheated her out of something she would have loved.

The verdict: Sew it up and save it for the perfect recipient. Until then, I will occasionally find it and enjoy looking at it.

Body of red Cotton Ease sweaterI Know Better
This crumpled sweater body is only a year old. I wanted to try knitting top down set in sleeves with picked up stitches, so I bought some inexpensive Lion Brand Cotton Ease, made up a simple stitch design for the front and the back, and started knitting a sweater without a pattern.

I dislike knitting with cotton. It hurts my hands, arms, and shoulders. I was barely started on the ribbing before I regretted this yarn purchase. Stubbornly I continued knitting a few rows every day until I hit the underarms. By then I had completely lost interest in the project and set it aside until I had time to figure out the armhole and neck shaping.

That hasn't happened yet. But it might.

Verdict: This sweater is going to survive the March, 2005 purge.

I still would like to experiment with top down set in sleeves. If they're short sleeves, the sweater is almost done. It will never be my favorite garment, but I'll find someplace to wear it.

If it's still in the bins next time I do bin purging, it will be a goner.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Saturday Thaw

Front yard full of slush as the snow thaws and spring tries to arriveSpring is trying to break through. The air feels different, more humid, a little warmer. The bird calls are changing to mating songs, the woodpeckers are drilling on the trees, and a few ants have started to appear in the house.

Last night it snowed. It was like a white sloppy rain. Today it thawed. Just enough to turn the snow into slush. Not enough to get rid of the white cover.

Perfect weather for getting sick.

When I left Son John in Idaho last Monday, he had the beginning of the flu. By Tuesday, his wife had it. Today DH Bob is sick. I'm not very optimistic about my changes of missing out on the fun.

Meanwhile I'm almost ready to start the heel on John's Basketweave Ribbing Sock.

If everyone's health cooperates, estimated sock completion and picture time is mid week.

Looking at the weather site, it won't be the first beautiful, balmy spring day that distracts me from knitting next week. By Tuesday the high temperatures are going to be back below freezing and there is snow in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

I'm not packing the woolens away yet.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Knitting Log For March 4

It was a nice break from knitting and now I'm ready to get back to the needles.

First thing that needs to be done is . . .

John's Basketweave Ribbing Socks
The first sock is done. The second sock is about four inches into the cuff.

Normally I knit both socks at the same time because I have serious SSS (Second Sock Syndrome, not wanting to knit the second sock once the first sock is done). This pair is no exception.

Fortunately I have a mid-March birthday deadline to keep me going on sock two. Now that it's cast on and available to pick up during spare moments, I expect to make quick progress with it.

Many people have requested the pattern, so I'm attempting to write it down for a ladies size medium while knitting the socks for a 6 foot 5 inch man. In order to test knit the pattern I will need to knit a second pair of socks in a ladies medium.

I'm trying to remember what stash yarn I have that will look good with this stitch pattern. It needs to be solid or have short color repeats. No stripes. I'm sure there are several candidates in my bins that I don't remember owning. I'm looking forward to digging through forgotten yarn.

Six Sox Knitalong Spiral Stashbusters
I'm 95% decided to disqualify myself for the grand prize drawing by not knitting this sock. Sigh. If I had known I was going to skip a sock, I never would have taken time to knit the beaded sock, either.

The pattern itself is a sock engineering masterpiece. It would be fun to try out the new techniques. I just have too many other knitting goals at a higher priority right now.

Yesterday Yahoo decided the Six Sock Knitalong group is X rated. Now anyone who wants to view the sock pictures has to agree they are over 18.

According to Yahoo,
"This area contains material of a mature and adult nature the (sic) may not be suitable for younger users."

Six Soxers had several interesting ideas on how our group got X rated, like this explanation from Sheron:
"Yahoo has committed to hiring the illiterate and they can't tell the difference between 'six', 'sox', and 'sex'.

With that attitude we can give them sox and they will think they had sex."
No birth control needed.

KnitPicks Order
The KnitPicks Winter 2005 catalog has been making my online ordering finger twitch ever since it arrived. Last night I submitted my order and today it shipped.

I'll tell you more when it arrives.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Doggy Snow Fun

Sunny zooming through the fresh snowThis is the first fresh, fluffy snow we've had in several months and the dogs are loving it.

All three of them like to run through it as fast as they can go. The little dogs have to jump around like rabbits to get anywhere when the snow is this deep.

This is Sunny, the little dog who is on a diet and not losing weight. Hopefully now that the crusty snow has been replaced by fluffy snow, she will get lots more exercise and the weight will start coming off.

She has a blue fleece jacket that she wears in the snow because her curly hair is a snow magnet. When she doesn't wear the jacket her chest and tummy get matted with ice balls. We can't pick them out, we have to melt them. Not a pleasant experience for us or Sunny.

Glory making a doggy snow angelGlory, our nine year old lab mix, likes to throw herself down in the new snow and make doggy snow angels.

It snowed on and off all day today, but the total new accumulation wasn't much over an inch. The snow is approximately six or seven inches deep.

According to AccuWeather it's going to stay cold and keep adding little new layers of snow for the next week. Not exactly the spring weather we were hoping for in March.

Pappy taking a nap in the chair on his back with his tongue hanging outA doggy outing in the snow is so worthwhile. When the dogs come in they are ready for serious napping.

This is exhausted Pappy. Notice his little pink tongue hanging out. We think it's cute, but then we would. We're his parents.

I might have spent their nap time knitting. Instead I caught up on my email and lists. I think I'm still a little tired from the trip home because I sure haven't had much energy the last few days.

Instead of casting on John's second sock today, I knit a few inches on the back of the Lavold Sweater. It was completely mindless knitting, but at least I felt like I got a little knitting done.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Back From Idaho

John and Anne before the baby showerIt was a great trip, full of baby fun and anticipation.

This is John and Anne before the baby shower on Saturday.

While in Idaho I spent less than ten minutes thinking about knitting. Does that mean I'm not addicted like the knitters on the lists are always claiming to be?

For the few minutes I did think about knitting, I hauled John's Basketweave Ribbing Sock out of my suitcase, brought it downstairs and left it out where we couldn't help seeing it. Later that day John tried it on and we were pleased to note that it fits perfectly. Once the toe is Kitchenered and the two ends woven in, the first sock will be done.

I thought I might get the second sock on the needles today, but it didn't happen. I'm not sure where today went, but not very much got accomplished. Tomorrow will be better.

Sydney's nursery with a crib full of stuffed animalsWizards, castles, unicorns, and lots of dragons decorate Sydney's nursery.

The walls are painted a periwinkle blue. The crib is full of stuffed animals just waiting for her arrival. They probably don't realize that when she takes over the crib, they are going to have to get out - at least until she's older.

Lake Coeur d'AleneIt is premature springtime in Idaho. It was in the 50s and the sun was shining. Not necessarily a good thing.

They haven't had their usual snow this winter, not even in the mountains.

According to Son John (who I'm sure will correct me if this isn't right), they will probably have a drought this summer since there isn't a snow pack to melt and feed the lakes, streams, and rivers.

Driving around sight seeing on Sunday we could see that the water level in Lake Coeur d'Alene is low. It is still very beautiful.

For anyone interested, there are more pictures of the trip here.

Wish I could send Idaho some of our snow. It's coming down cold and heavy in Michigan tonight. Looks like we've got about six inches so far.

It's March. This snow isn't going to stick around very long. Any day now we will see the first robin and the first bluebird. By the end of the month the Phoebes will be here checking out their nest for another summer of raising little Phoebes.

And most exciting of all, this spring my granddaughter Sydney will be born.