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)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Join Me in Helping

When I donate time, money, or knits to charity I like to know what I've donated is going to get to the people who need it.

Sending CIC knits to the distribution person, I know those knits will be traveling to Eastern Europe in the suitcases of adoptive parents. They're delivered right to the caretakers of the children who need them and love receiving them.

Salvation Army delivering food in a boatI always felt that sending money to disaster relief was like throwing it into a black hole until I stumbled onto the Salvation Army. They have the reputation for being there in times of trouble and delivering what is needed to the people who really need it.

Click here to read about how they're on the spot delivering food, water, and shelter to victims and first responders of Katrina. Then, if you want to be sure your help is really going to help, click on the donation button and join me supporting this pragmatic and generous organization.

Monday, August 29, 2005

CIC Socks for July, August Challenge

Six pair of handknit toddler socks for CICThe CIC sock challenge for July and August has resulted in a approximately 400 pairs of warm wool socks for the Eastern Europe orphans. My six pair are washed, packed, and ready to mail tomorrow, the day before the challenge mailing deadline.

Now I'm back on track for my 2005 goal of a pair a month. When the challenge started in July, I'd only knit two pairs of socks. These six pair are for March through August.

I'm administering a vest and sweater challenge for September and October. I have enough Lopi for at least five toddler sweaters, but I doubt I'll get that many done. Instead of a personal goal for the challenge, maybe I'll just see how many I can knit within my new knitting guidelines to knit for CIC on weekends.

It's always fun to knit the little sweaters and vests.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Knitting Log for August 27

I've been following my guidelines for Knitting Peace:
  1. Have no more than two projects at a time, a weekday project and a weekend project.
  2. The weekend project will usually be CIC knitting, unless I've completed my CIC goals.
So far I like the result although there were a few times I had to remind myself about my new resolve to concentrate my knitting time on fewer projects.

Last weekend I knit the final pair of CIC socks for the sock challenge. They didn't get completely done, so I finished them up this morning and washed all six pair. I'll take a picture before I mail them out on Tuesday.

Back of Hanover Jacket After finishing the second More Fun Than Cables sock last week, I knit on the Hanover Jacket from Jean Frost Jackets in Knitpicks Elegance.

The back is done and the left side is two-thirds done. I figure that's approximately a third of the jacket, but then I always underestimate the amount of knitting in the sleeves.

It was a peaceful experience to sit down and know exactly what to pick up to knit.

Yesterday I had a minor spasm and ordered some medium lilac Blackberry Ridge lace weight silk blend for the Violets by the River Shawl.

I do have to think about the next project, you know. The true test of my guidelines will occur when that yarn arrives and I'm still knitting on Hanover. I'm preparing my will power now.

Sydney smiling and showing her first tooth I swiped this picture from Tah Tales, my son's blog.

Granddaughter Sydney's first two teeth came in with hardly a whimper from her, the smiling girl with the happy personality. I sure wish I could give her a hug.

Thanks again for all the concern about Sunny. She's acting happy and healthy and I've stopped worrying about her. When the antibiotics are gone in a little less than two weeks, she'll have another blood draw.

The ladies at doggy school, several who work in vet offices and have seen everything, think she may have had a low grade bladder infection that didn't show up in the urine. I like that theory.

Friday, August 26, 2005

More Fun Than Cables Sock Pattern

More Fun Than Cables socks in Opal UNI-Solid 29Size: 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 UNI-Solid #29.

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

The stitch pattern does NOT pull in like real cables. If known, use the same number of stitches and the same size needle as you would for a stockinette stitch sock.

k = knit
k2tog = knit two stitches together
p = purl
p2tog = purl two stitches together
slip = slip purlwise unless pattern specifies knitwise
ssk = slip knitwise, slip knitwise, knit two slipped stitches together
yo = yarn over

Special instructions for cross 4:
  • Slip 4 knit stitches as if to purl, popping corresponding yarn overs off the needle and letting them drop. The result is 4 elongated stitches on the right hand needle.
  • Grab the rightmost 2 elongated stitches with the point of the left needle and lift them over the two leftmost elongated stitches and onto the left needle.
  • Slide the remaining two elongated stitches onto the left needle.
  • Knit the crossed elongated stitches onto the right hand needle, being careful to keep them in order.

Close up of stitch pattern in More Fun Than Cables sock

More Fun Than Cables Stitch
(multiple of 16 stitches)
Round 1: k2,p,k4,p,k2,p,k4,p
Round 2: k2,p,k4,p,k2,p,k,yo,k,yo,k,yo,k,yo,p
Round 3: k2,p,k4,p,k2,p,cross 4,p
Round 4: k2,p,k4,p,k2,p,k4,p
Round 5: k2,p,k,yo,k,yo,k,yo,k,yo,p,k2,p,k4,p
Round 6: k2,p,cross 4,p,k2,p,k4,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.

k2,p2 ribbing for 1.5 inches.

Knit More Fun Than Cables Stitch until cuff measures desired length (usually 7-8 inches), ending after Round 1 or 4.

Center Pattern -Shift by 1 Stitch
With the heel side facing you, knit the right knit stitch onto the instep needle.
On the left side of the heel needle, slide 1 knit stitch from the instep needle onto the heel needle.
You now have 32 stitches on the instep needle and 32 stitches on the heel needle.

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

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 17 times.
Repeat Row 1 one more time. (18 slip rows, about 2.25 inches)

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:
k,p,k4,p,k2,p,k12,p,k2,p,k4,p,k (32 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 32 stitches remain on heel needle.

Continue knitting around keeping the 32 instep stitches in the Instep Rib Pattern.

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

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

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 16 stitches remain on instep needle and 16 stitches remain on sole needle.

Repeat round 1 until 8 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

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tale of Two Mugs

Blue pottery coffee mug with dogs on the front and backI've been drinking out of the same coffee mug every morning for (I'm guessing at this) seven years.

It's a blue and gray ceramic mug with dog silhouettes on the side. Possibly they are supposed to be wolves, but I think of them as dogs.

The shape tapers in toward the top which is great for not slopping that first cup of morning coffee when I'm barely awake. I usually carry the full mug back to bed, throw on an extra pillow to prop up my head, and snuggle in with Bob and the little dogs to drink my coffee in the almost dark.

The blue dog mug was a gift from sister Carrie in North Carolina. I remember getting it for Christmas. When I opened the package I thought the mug was nice. I didn't realize at the time it would become a favorite possession.

Coffee mug with 80s working woman on the sideI drank out of the same coffee mug at work for twenty years.

It's a white porcelain mug with two very 80's looking professional women - one on each side - and the words

"Forget the whales... Save the working woman."

This mug was a gift from my then fourteen year old daughter. I don't remember the occasion. I do remember laughing at the sentiment and thinking that maybe she did have a little inkling how difficult it was to be a full time working mother.

Daughter Heather doesn't remember giving me the mug. That's OK. There are tons of important things that I don't remember. I enjoy imagining her seeing this mug in the store and thinking "My Mom would like that." Knowing Heather, it must have happened something like that. And she was right - I like it.

Now that I'm no longer working, this mug mostly sits in the cupboard. But it's full of history and I intend to keep it for the rest of my life.

Note: This post was originally posted on Seasons of Violet, November 3, 2003. Minor changes have been made.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Update on Sunny

Thank you for all the kind words and well wishes for Sunny. The blood work news was good, considering all the awful things it could have been.

Sunny has an elevated white cell count (19,800. Normal is 6,000 to 17,000.) indicating an infection. She has antibiotics to take for two weeks before getting tested again.

She's looking and feeling healthy and playful. I feel like I've been through the wringer. Those who love a pet will understand.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Please Pee in the Pan

The More Fun Than Cables Socks are done. I'll post the pattern as soon as I dare use the phoneline long enough to get it ready to publish.

The reason I am stressed out and haven't been online is a very long story which, to most people, would be completely boring. So I'm going to try and tell it in as few words as possible.

While running a urine check on Sunny to attempt to figure out why her incontinence medicine wasn't working, the vet found her specific gravity to be way below normal range. This greatly concerned him and he proceeded to tell us all the horrible - and mostly incurable - things it might indicate.

He's been running tests on her for the past two days and I have been knitting and sitting by the phone to hear the results. Except, of course, when I've been outside trying to slide a pan under her butt when she pees.

We've gone to this vet for fourteen years now. He's extremely competent. Unfortunately, I also know him to be pragmatic and willing to wait and see how things develop when there's no urgency about a condition. Therefore, I have to conclude that even though Sunny seems healthy, this could be the start of something awful.

The big news from the blood work should come tomorrow morning, when I'll be knitting and sitting by the phone.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

End of Summer

Goldenrod starting to bloom in the field To an unknowing observer, this picture looks like a weedy field with some willow trees (left) and a tulip tree (right) in the background.

What this picture, taken today, really represents is the End of Summer.

See the golden tone of the weeds? That's the goldenrod just starting to bust out into golden bloom. The goldenrod towers above all the other weeds. Some patches of it are taller than me. By the first week in September, the entire field will be screaming gold and looking as if there's nothing growing there but goldenrod.

Autumn in SW Michigan is a beautiful season, but way way too short. With just a little imagination, summer lasts until the middle of September. By the first of November the leaves are on the ground, the days are cold and short, and everyone has located their mittens and boots.

This very week my mother mentioned tentative Thanksgiving plans. Could it really be that close?

Even more horrifying, last Thursday evening Gail at doggy school asked us to start thinking of ideas for the Briarwood Dog Training entry in the Kalamazoo Holiday Parade, formerly known as the Kalamazoo Christmas Parade and still frequently called by that name. One of her first thoughts was to have the dogs be sheep and their people be shepherds. Fourteen pound Pappy will need to be a newborn lamb. At least he's the right color.

I am just NOT ready to think about Christmas yet. Please. No.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sock Status

There have been some questions about the More Fun Than Cables Sock.

The pattern is written and I'm knitting the second sock using the pattern while noting clarifications and corrections. The cuff is almost done.

As stated in my Knitting Peace guidelines, tomorrow I'll be setting the More Fun Than Cables sock aside and knitting a pair of socks for CIC.

I'm so tempted to keep knitting until the More Fun sock is done and then knit the CIC socks. But really, what kind of plan for knitting peace is that if I break the guidelines before the first week is over?

Assuming life goes on as normal, the pattern should be posted sometime the second half of next week. It will appear as a blog post.

I'm so pleased that numerous knitters are waiting for the pattern and plan on knitting the socks. I'm looking forward to hearing about and hopefully seeing pictures of your More Fun Than Cables socks.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Second Doggy Beach Party

Pappy swimming in Lake MichiganThree weeks ago after the first doggy school picnic at Hagar Shores on Lake Michigan, we immediately planned a second.

Last night was the second doggy beach party. Like the first, the bring-a-dish food was great, the weather was beautiful, the company of other dog lovers was very pleasant, and the dogs had a great time.

Unlike last time, I brought Pappy instead of Sunny and the waves were gentle enough so the little dogs could swim.

Teacher/trainer Gail took Pappy out in water way over his little doggy head and gentle sat him down in the lake. I was waiting for him at the shoreline and he swam right in to me.

Check out his tail. I never noticed until I saw this picture that he kept his fluffy tail up over his back and it didn't get completely wet. In doggy body language that means he was happy. Or at least I'd like to think he was happy.

Dogs on the beach at the second doggy school picnic

From left to right:
  • Jazz the Maltise
  • Sis the toy Poodle
  • Molly the Sheep Dog mix. Jazz, Sis, and Molly are all part of the same human family.
  • Dahle the Bull Terrier
  • Pappy the Papillon, looking wet because he is wet
  • Riley the Boxer mix
  • Favor the Australian Cattle Dog
  • Downy the Chow mix
  • Casper the Corgi
  • Effie the Corgi

Please let me know if I misspelled a dog's name and it will be corrected.

Both pictures were taken by Downy's Mom, Anna. Thanks Anna.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Quest for Knitting Peace

I'm capable of using any rationalization imaginable to start a new knitting project when there are already projects on my needles. The result? Too many projects going at once, stress about which project to pick up and knit, the feeling that nothing is getting done, and a general uneasiness about my knitting.

This lack of self discipline has been on my mind since before I went to Idaho, it stewed in my sub-conscious while I was gone, and has become a problem to be addressed now that I'm home and knitting again.

It's become apparent that in order to enjoy the process of knitting, I need to concentrate on one project at a time.

I've come up with two simple guidelines I believe are going to make my knitting life more enjoyable and productive:
  1. Have no more than two projects at a time, a weekday project and a weekend project.
  2. The weekend project will usually be CIC knitting, unless I've completed my CIC goals.

My overly detailed mind keeps trying to write more rules and guidelines, but that's overkill. The key is having only two projects at a time, and a timeframe defined for when to knit on each of them.

The immediate problem is how to get my knitting down to the required two projects.

Right now I have four projects going.
  1. Hanover Jacket (1/8 done)
  2. Unplanned Scarf (1/3 done and set aside for now)
  3. More Fun Than Cables Socks and pattern (1/2 done)
  4. 6 pair of CIC socks by the end of August (5/6 done)

Next weekend I'll knit the final pair of CIC socks.

The jacket and the More Fun Than Cable Socks are fighting for my weekday attention. So far this week the jacket has won, but I want to get the sock pattern posted. Every time I knit on the jacket, I think I should be knitting on the sock.

So, the sock it will be. It will go quick. Starting tomorrow I'm going to work on that second sock until it's done and I can cross the sock project off the list. Then I can work on the jacket with a clear conscience.

That's a plan. I feel better now.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Pictures from Idaho

Beautiful Idaho taken from a sea planeWhile we were in Idaho, we did something that I've always wanted to do - we took a ride in a sea plane. It was a beautiful flight. This is one of the pictures I took from the air.

Selected pictures from the trip are in a Picturetrail album called "Trip to Idaho, August 2005. Take a peek if you're interested.

And, if you want to read and see more, Son John has written a blog post about our visit showing some of his pictures. The post includes a fascinating picture of me, first thing in the morning, in my nightgown.

I thought I raised him better than that.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Tattoos of Life

Seasons Change but Tattoos are Forever
I saw a young woman with massive snake tattoos on her arms and shoulders. Oh honey, I don't think that was a smart thing to do. Don't I remember that it hurts to have tattoos removed?

Life changes us. Our interests change as we age. While it might be interesting to have a tattoo history of things we used to find important, it's more likely that we don't want to be so frequently reminded.

Thinking of my own life in ten year intervals, here's my imaginary tattoo history:

1955, 10 years old - New tattoo is a picture of Howdy Doody.

1965, 20 years old - New tattoo has hearts and says "Harold Forever".
  • Harold was my first husband. We married in 1965.
  • Howdy Doody was removed in 1958, as soon as I could earn enough baby sitting money to pay to for the procedure.

1975, 30 years old - New tattoo has flowers and says "Bob Forever".
  • Bob is my second husband. We married in 1975.
  • You can bet that "Harold Forever" has been removed.

1985, 40 years old - New tattoo is a picture of running shoes.
  • I imagine myself finding the meaning of life during a runner's high.
  • "Bob Forever" still works, except I'm about twenty-five pounds heavier. The tattoo is looking a little distorted.

1995, 50 years old - New tattoo is a Christian cross.
  • I'm a new Christian and it really is the meaning of life.
  • The running shoes have to go. I have arthritis and a bad back. I'm lucky I can walk.
  • "Bob Forever" still works, except I'm now about fifty pounds heavier. The tattoo is looking very distorted.

2005, 60 years old - There is no new tattoo.
  • Can't decide between a dog, a violet, knitting needles, my laptop, or the names of my granddaughters.
  • "Bob Forever" still works. I lost forty pounds so now it's only distorted by the wrinkles.

Note: This post was originally posted on Seasons of Violet, September 22, 2003. Minor changes have been made.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Me and my two beautiful granddaughters sitting on the couch in IdahoHere I am sitting on the couch in Idaho with my two wonderful granddaughters. What great memories.

The trip was wonderful. I have many many pictures which are not uploaded yet. I'll post the link when they're ready to view for all who are interested.

Ten days without knitting. It was a nice break. Today I picked up the needles and knit a few inches on the back of the Hanover Jacket.

There are two more posts I had ready to publish while I was gone that never made it. I'll be posting them in the next few days while I catch up on everything and life returns to normal.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

How the Greatest Trumpet Maker in the World Got His Name

Dave Monette and his motherWynton Marsalis with a Monette trumpet
Monette -The Greatest Trumpet Maker in the World
is my little brother Dave. That's Dave on the left with our Mom. On the right is Wynton Marsalis with one of Dave's masterpieces.

Back in the 50s when Mom was pregnant for Dave, Davy Crockett was very popular on the Sunday evening Walt Disney show. Mom, mother of three girls and sure she was going to have another, said that if she had a boy she'd name him Davy Crockett.

Dave was born a few months early and weighted in at three pounds three ounces. His eldest sister (me) remembered what Mom had promised and knew Mom would keep her word and name him Davy Crockett.

Mom fudged a little and named him David.

She told all the relatives that he was named after the David in the Bible because he was so little and had so much to overcome. Made a great story. But now the truth has been published on the internet. The Greatest Trumpet Maker in the World was named after Davy Crockett. I was there. Trust me, it's true.

Note: This post was originally posted on Seasons of Violet, November 30, 2003. Minor changes have been made.

I'm on vacation but I'd still love to read your comments.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Up Up and Away

Two four leaf cloversWhen I found these lucky four leaf clovers in the middle of July, 2004, I expected something special to happen, and it sure did.

First I learned that son John and daughter-in-law Anne were coming to visit, their first trip to Michigan in six years. They live in Idaho.

The second clover's luck was extra special. I learned I was going to be Grandma in eight months.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005, granddaughter Kimmy and I are headed to Idaho to visit our four month old cousin/granddaughter Sydney and her parents, John and Anne.

We've been talking about taking a trip out west to see Uncle John and Aunt Anne for several years now. The time has come to actually do it and we're both excited.

This will be Kimmy's first plane trip and first time to see mountains. She has window seats on all four flights.

We live in SW Michigan. You can't get there from here without at least one connecting flight. We're flying Kalamazoo to Minneapolis to Spokane.

If you see a midsize rental car in eastern Washington or northern Idaho being driven by a gray haired grandma who looks lost, honk and wave.

Travel day to return is August 10, big long nap day is August 11, and things should be back to normal by August 12.

There will be some non-knitting related posts while we're gone if I can find a few spare minutes to sit at John's computer. But the granddaughters take priority over posting for the next eight days.