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)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Tuesday Tidbits for October 31

Crashed witch on a broom Happy Halloween!

I always get a chuckle when I see one of these crashed witches.

In the fourteen years we've lived in the swampy woods, we've never had a trick or treater come to the door. So tonight Sunny and I are headed to doggy school like we always are on Monday evening. We're pretty predictable.

Sydney dressed as a Hershey kiss Sydney isn't going trick or treating tonight, but she does have a costume.

Here she is dressed up like a Hershey Kiss. And, believe me, she's sweet enough to eat. Wish I could gobble her up right now.

Questions From the Comments
Judi M. asked how the poochies fared while I was gone.

The dogs stayed home with husband Bob, who is even better at spoiling the dogs than I am. But they did miss me and put on a great show of excitement when I got home.

Mary T. asked how I go about dividing my Opal skeins in two.

Just happens I wrote a post on that last November. Click here for the whole story.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Back to Knitting Socks

Tutti Frutti Opal sock cuffs in a ripple pattern Pattern: Rainbow Ripple by Linda Dziubala

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: Tutti Frutti

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

It's been a while since I knit a pair of socks, but I wanted something simple to pick up and knit during short lulls in the Idaho baby action so I divided the skein of Opal and cast on this bright, cheerful pair.

If they're not too big, they're going to be mine. If they are too big, they will be someone's birthday socks in 2006.

Instead of knitting everyone Christmas socks, I've decided to go with birthday socks. That spreads the knitting out through the year and is much more fun than trying to knit a half dozen pair of socks in time for Santa.

Three new skeins of Opal sock yarn While I was in Idaho, I visited the House of Needlecraft in Coeur d'Alene where they carry Opal sock yarn, my favorite. Unfortunately - but fortunately for my pocketbook - they didn't have the new Opal Rainforest collection. So I got out of there with only two new skeins.

On the left is Opal Lollipop 1012 with deep dark red, dark green, and navy blue stripes. Those are daughter-in-law Anne's favorite colors and just the ticket for a pair of birthday socks for her.

In the middle is Opal Lollipop 1011 with many shades of blue. I need to get out my Opal bin and pick out a skein for Gail the doggy school teacher's Christmas socks. If I don't see anything I think she will like better, this is it.

On the right (not from Idaho) is Opal Rodeo 1154, orange, brown, black and white. What holiday does that remind you of? Well, they may be done by next year.

Anniversary graphicA year ago today Stitches of Violet was launched in an unplanned blogging spasm.

I didn't think I did enough knitting to support a knitting blog, but it seems to work anyway. More readers than I ever imagined come here to read about knitting, dogs, granddaughters, nature, and whatever else comes to mind.

With all the knitting blogs available to read, I'm honored each time someone stops by Stitches of Violet. Some of you have left comments and a few of you have become valued cyber friends. All of you are appreciated.

Thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Introduction to Carrots

Sydney looking forward to a good mealBring on the food. I'm ready for dinner.

Sydney Anne is eagerly expecting a yummy dinner of rice cereal. To this point in her very young life, rice cereal and milk have been the whole of her diet, and that's been fine with her.

Anne, her mom, is getting ready to feed Sydney something new and very different. Grandma (me) and Dad are hanging around with cameras to catch Sydney's introduction to carrots.

Sydney tasting carrots for the first timeWhat was that you put in my mouth?

Sydney spitting out carrotsYou may have put it in my mouth, but I don't have to keep it there.

Sydney making an awful face after tasting carrotsGrandma, Dad, are you going to just stand there and let her feed me this stuff?

The Rest of the Story . . .
Wanting a successful introduction to carrots, Anne mixed some rice cereal in with them so to blah down the flavor. Sydney ended up eating the toned down mixture and the next day she ate more. On the third day, she ate squash.

Grandma (me), not being a cooked carrot or squash lover, thought Sydney did very well with her new vegetables. And I bet she's going to love the fruit when she gets it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Returning to What Passes for Normal

I'm back! My laptop is back and functional! All is almost right with the world and I have so many scattered thoughts I don't know where to begin.

Laptop Update
My repaired laptop beat me home. While I was still in Idaho happily playing with granddaughter Sydney, my repaired laptop beat me home to Michigan sporting a new hard drive, a new mother board, an updated system BIOS, and all the original software and default settings from almost three years ago.

Do you have any idea how unhandy it is to lose all your configuration settings, internet favorites, drivers, and - well everything. It was returned with Windows XP minus all service packs and Norton Virus 2002 with no updates.

The first thing I did was to purchase Norton Internet Security 2006 (virus protection and a firewall), and then I started reinstalling, reconnecting, and reconfiguring. As of this evening, the laptop is starting to look like an old friend.

Idaho Update
Unlike the trip in August where Granddaughter Kimmy was with me and we were out doing something everyday, this time I stayed around the house. John and Anne went to work as usual, and I had an abundance of babysitting time to enjoy sweet Sydney Anne.

I do have a few Sydney pictures to share. Soon.

Knitting Update
Not much.

I started a pair of socks before leaving for Idaho and finished both cuffs while I was there. Picture soon.

Since I wasn't able to download files for the Shetland Lace Workshop, I'm way behind. Now that my laptop is functional, I plan to download the rest of the workshop files. Maybe even this evening.

My Shetland Lace Workshop Contest entry was going to be a pair of socks. The only way they're going to get done by the November 14 deadline is if I start them before finishing the socks I'm currently knitting. It could happen, but I doubt it.

Have a great weekend everyone! Lord willing, there will be pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Everything Will Be Back to Normal Someday

For those of you nice enough to check in to see if I have it together yet, thanks. Things should be back to normal approximately the end of next week.

Right now I'm in Idaho visiting Son John, Daughter-in-Law Anne, and 5 month old granddaughter Sydney. It's been a great visit so far. Sydney had to look me over good to make sure I was OK, and then she smiled and we started our fun time of smiles, laughs, funny noises, and kisses. Sweet baby kisses.

After a quick trip to an IBM repair center in Memphis, my laptop arrived home in SW Michigan today sporting a new mother board and a new hard drive. I won't get to try it out until I return home late next Tuesday evening.

It's very possible I will have a lot of software to load and configure before it's back in usable condition. No blogging or anything else will happen until I get the virus protection and firewall installed.

All in all I'm happy. It's been a nice enforced break from blogging and I'm looking forward to getting back to it - after I'm done spending a week with my Idaho family.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Laptop Blues

Computer Update
It is such a long story I'm not going to write everything that happened this week in my quest to get my laptop repaired without sending it back to IBM. I'll just say that the quest failed.

Monday IBM is having DHL drop off a packing box. I will fill out the forms, pack the box, and send my laptop far away.

The estimate to fix it is right at the borderline of what I determined to be the cut off of what I was willing to pay for repairs - the value of the laptop on the used laptop market. At this point the experts are 85% certain it needs a new motherboard.

There is a little bit of good news. The local repair shop was able to backup all my documents and pictures on CDs before giving me back my nonfunctional laptop.

Whoops, There Goes Another One
Two days after my laptop died, DH's desktop died. It also appeared to be a motherboard. Is that strange, or what?

After considering and pricing out his options, DH decided to just buy a new machine. His was old and outdated.

Yesterday he came home with a big box, and now we have one nice, functional desktop. But it's his, set up for him. I don't have my Favorites, or my Outlook, or My Documents. But he is sharing and I'm able to get online and read my email, write a blog post, and check my flight status for Tuesday's trip to Idaho.

Hairy Mess
Richard, (the computer repair guy) -
Do you have a cat that sleeps on your keyboard? All your keys seem to be wrapped in cat hair.
Me -
No cat. I sit on a loveseat and one little dog snuggles up next to me and the other little dog sits up behind my shoulders. When the laptop is not in use, I shut the lid.
Richard (laughing)-
The fan is pulling the fine dog hair into the keyboard. You're probably not even seeing it fly through the air. I cleaned it out the best I could while I had it apart. The hair doesn't seem to be hurting anything.

I'm not sure what to do about the hair, assuming I ever get the laptop back. Being comfortable on the loveseat and snuggling with the pups while I'm online is one of the reasons I'm willing to pay extra to have a laptop.

Right now I'm sitting in a hard chair using DH's desktop. Pappy is on my lap wiggling around trying to get comfortable. I'm reaching around him trying to type and get comfortable.

The whole family, including dogs, want that laptop back ASAP, hairy keys and all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Temperary halt to blogging while my laptop is in the repair shop.

When I went to boot up this morning, it wouldn't. Have no idea what's wrong or when I'll get it back.

All sympathy accepted with gratitude.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Shetland Lace Sampler Scarf

Pattern: A sampler of some stitches from the Shetland Lace Workshop

Yarn: Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud, 100% baby alpaca, double strand. Color is Horizon.

Needles: US #6

Finished Size After Blocking: 60 inches long, 7.5 inches wide

Shetland lace sampler scarf before blocking This is the scarf before blocking. Or, as Liz says it, before dressing.

Shetland lace sampler scarf ends

Starting from the end of each tail:
  • 3 horseshoe patterns with even rows purled
  • 2 horseshoe patterns with even rows knit
  • 1 horseshoe pattern with even rows purled
  • 12 new shell patterns with even rows purled
  • 8 new shell patterns with even rows knit
  • 4 new shell patterns with even rows purled
  • 2.5 chequered acre pattern with even rows purled

I thought varying the stockinette and garter backgrounds in the horseshoe and new shell patterns was going to look pretty. It hardly shows at all. A totally wasted effort except I learned not to do it again.

This was my first attempt at blocking anything so loose and limp. I need better tools - some good pins and maybe some wires.

I also need to keep the dogs out of the room. Pappy walked on the scarf while it was drying on a towel on the floor and some stitches snagged in his toenails. Fortunately, the yarn didn't break and no permanent damage was done.

Shetland lace sampler scarf mid section, trellis and rosebud The back of the neck part of the scarf is the trellis pattern flanked on both sides by the rosebud pattern.

I charted this trellis and rosebud pattern combination and am totally happy with the way it came out. Just a simple thing, but the kind of thing that Liz encourages us to do in the Shetland Lace Workshop. Play around with the stitch patterns, the yarn, different sized needles, charting, and most important, HAVE FUN.

I'm having fun! Thanks Liz and Elaine.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Saturday Snippets for October 8

Shetland Workshop
The Shetland lace sampler scarf is blocked and drying. I remembered to take a pre-blocking picture so we can appreciate the magic of blocking when I post the blocked picture. Lord willing, that will be tomorrow.

The Shetland Lace Workshop is taking up almost all my knitting time except for the time allotted to CIC knitting. We get to pick and choose our Shetland projects. My next project is going to be a mini Hap shawl. Real Hap shawls are very large, so we're learning construction on a mini.

Hap shawls are practical, heavy shawls worn by the Shetland ladies for everyday warmth. Very different from the light, airy lace shawls they knit from cobweb yarn to sell to the traders. There's a picture here. After you're done drooling over the gorgeous Shetland lace on the top part of the article, scroll to the bottom to see the Hap shawl.

What Obsolete Skill Are You?
The title of this quiz made me giggle. Since they didn't show all the possible results, I'm curious what other obsolete skills someone might be. I'm afraid I may have many of them.

If you take the quiz, please let me know what obsolete skill you are. Don't be embarrassed. It can't be worse than Gregg shorthand.

It 's comforting to say that 'practice makes perfect'....
You are 'Gregg shorthand'. Originally designed to
enable people to write faster, it is also very
useful for writing things which one does not
want other people to read, inasmuch as almost
no one knows shorthand any more.

You know how important it is to do things
efficiently and on time. You also value your
privacy, and (unlike some people) you do not
pretend to be friends with just everyone; that
would be ridiculous. When you do make friends,
you take them seriously, and faithfully keep
what they confide in you to yourself.
Unfortunately, the work which you do (which is
very important, of course) sometimes keeps you
away from social activities, and you are often
lonely. Your problem is that Gregg shorthand
has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

My fingernails longer than they've ever been This is the first time in my life I've ever had fingernails so strong they don't bend and/or split. I think my new, improved fingernails are a sign a new drug I'm taking is working.

Severe osteoporosis runs in my paternal family. I've been taking calcium for about ten years and still losing bone mass.

Three months ago I started taking Boniva. It's caustic, but only needs to be taken once a month so I plan ahead to deal with the side effects.

I get excited every time I look at my hands - not about the fingernails, but about the possibility the Boniva is actually restoring some of my bone density. That would be a very very wonderful thing.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Early Autumn

Fall colors just starting in the trees It's still early autumn in SW Michigan. The leaves have just started to turn. Many of the trees are still green, but not for much longer.

Once autumn begins, it goes quickly. The leaf colors turn dazzling shades of red, orange, and gold. Then they fall to the ground and we scurry to rake them up before the first snowfall. Some years we don't make it.

It's been know to snow in October. November for sure.

Hostas with fallen pine needles and fallen leavesOur average first frost date is mid-October. It hasn't happened yet this year, so the hostas and other tender plants are still green and standing while the leaves begin to fall around them.

The low temperature tonight is forecast to be 41 degrees ( 5 degrees C.). For Friday and Saturday the low is forecast to be 36 degrees ( 2 degrees C.). Those hostas won't be standing much longer.

Goldenrod in the field gone to seed The goldenrod in the field has all gone to seed. Every morning when the dogs and I go out for their first walk of the day, the field is full of migrating birds chowing down on all the yummy seeds.

Yesterday morning there was a flock of approximately two dozen bluebirds flying around the nest boxes. I'd like to think the flock contained some of this year's fledglings from my nest boxes, but it could just as well have been a migrating flock passing through.

Several of the bluebirds checked out the nest boxes. Maybe they were making note to come back in the spring to raise a family here.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tuesday Tidbits for October 4

I was shocked to note that I only posted two times last week. I'll try to do better this week.

Unenlightening Quiz
I found this quiz over on Michelle's blog, Plush Knits.

Blog Component Quiz

If I Were a Blog Component,
I would be the PERMALINK.
I'm constant and dependable. Which Blog Component Are You?
Take This Blog Quiz at About Web Logs!

The quiz only has four questions, and the third question is:

3) Which blog component do you think describes you the best?

Since I answered "Permalink", it's hard to be impressed by the accuracy of my quiz results. But it is accurate.

Shetland Sampler Scarf
The Shetland sampler scarf is almost half done, but I don't have a picture yet. It currently looks like a pile of yarn. I'm proceeding on faith that it will turn into something pretty - or at least orderly - when it gets blocked.

Not So Speedy Knitting
Several readers commented on how quickly I finished the Violets by the River Shawl. I have been feeling under the weather the past few weeks so I've been taking it easy and knitting more than usual.

On a return visit to the doctor today, I learned that my infection is gone but I'm still suffering from allergies. Since I don't usually have allergies severe enough to be bothersome, I'm hoping this is a fluke for 2005, and not something to expect every fall from now on.

My new Rx is Zyrtec-D, which is composed of two components. Cetirizine causes drowsiness and Pseudoephedrine causes wakefulness. I feel like passing out on the floor with my eyes bugging out of my head.

Sydney getting her first taste of rice cerealOn a brighter note, Granddaughter Sydney turns six months old tomorrow.

She has teeth, she's sitting up, and a few days ago she had her first taste of real food.

Well, maybe "taste" is an exaggeration since it was rice cereal.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Violets by the River Shawl Pictures

Violets by the River shawl from the back Pattern: Violets by the River Shawl by Hazel Carter

Yarn: Blackberry Ridge Silk Blend Lace weight, two-ply, 25% silk, 85% wool.

Yarn Color: Medium lilac

Needles: #6

Gauge: 6 stitches/inch, 8 rows/inch

Violets by the River shawl from the side This is my very first shawl ever, except for the Candleflame Shawl knit for CIC which doesn't count because it was heavy yarn and the same stitch pattern over and over and over until I almost croaked from boredom.

Over all I have to call Violets by the River a successful first (well, almost first) lace shawl effort, although it might be more accurate to call it a large scarf rather than a shawl.

The pattern had instructions for making it larger, but I knit the smaller size to see how I liked wearing it. It's a little too small I think, but the verdict is still out since I haven't worn it out of the yard yet.

Close up of Violets by the River shawl upper border For some reason the natural light makes the color look bluish in the outdoor pictures.

This picture was taken with a flash and shows a pinkish violet color on my monitor. The actual color is more pink than the outdoor shots and more blue than this shot.

You can see the little lace bees and faggoting across the top. Not overly noticeable when the shawl/scarf is being worn, but I know they're there and think they're delightful.

I've been working on a Shetland lace sampler scarf for the Shetland Lace Workshop, using two strands of Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud held together.

We're each making up our own pattern as we go along, and I've become an expert on deciding what would look better than what I just finished knitting. The entire scarf has been frogged more than once. Various sections have been tinked repeatedly. I'm not sure any of the improvements are really improvements, but the experimenting is fun and educational.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a piece worth showing - or maybe not.