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, December 30, 2006

Test Knitters Wanted for Big Kids Cozy in Cables

Cozy in Cables 32 inch size in red Lamb's Pride BulkyPattern: Cozy in Cables size 32 inches

Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky

Color: Deep red

Needles: US #10.5

Gauge: 3 stitches, 4.5 rows per inch in stockinette

Anyone interested in test knitting a Cozy in Cables sweater pattern for the big kids in one of three sizes, 32", 36", 40"?

This is how it will work -

I supply: the pattern, support, communication, and corrections as they're found.

You supply:
  • Yarn - The 32" size takes about 600 yards of bulky (3 stitches/inch) yarn. I haven't knit the larger sizes so you get to tell me the yardage required.

  • Time - Ideally the sweater should be done by Monday. (That's a joke.)
    I'd like to get the sweaters knit by January 15 so we can share the pattern with the rest of the list.

  • Knitting skill - The pattern is easy, no sew, drop sleeves, boat neck. You do need to have enough knitting insight to recognize when there's a typo or other problem.

  • Feedback - I need to know every problem you encounter so I can edit and correct the pattern for the CIC_Knit List.

Our reward? A pattern the list can use to create easy, attractive, warm sweaters for the CIC_Knit List big kids.

Interested? e-mail Me or leave a blog comment with questions and/or to sign up. I will let you know where the pattern is and add you to my distribution list of test knitters.

Cozy in Cables top of sleeve Not sure you can get done in time? Give it a try. Worst that can happen is you'll have a big kid sweater to send to CIC for the challenge after the pattern is published.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ribbing Rewards

Bob with his new hat on his headBob's New Hat On Bob

Yarn: Opal 6-Ply #1253 stranded with Knitpicks Essential Dusk
Needles: Addi Turbo 5
Gauge: 5 stitches/inch in stockinette

After frogging the lower half of the hat, starting over, then frogging the top third of the hat and reknitting it shorter, the hat still looks a little too tall.

But that's because he doesn't have it pulled down over his ears. Also, he could roll up more of the cuff. Anything so I don't have to frog it again.

DH Bob has been very polite about this hat and worn it everyday since receiving it on Christmas Eve. Still, yesterday he did mention that maybe hats weren't meant to be knit at such a firm gauge. I'm hoping that washing will soften it up for him.

This hat is not one of my most successful projects. We all have these accidents. Right?

My socks knit with leftover hat yarnLeftover Hat Yarn Socks

Pattern: Classic k1p1 Sock with Sailor's Rib in the cuff to alleviate ribbing boredom
Yarn: Opal 6-Ply #1253 stranded with sockweight yarn described below to create a worsted weight blend
Needles: Addi Turbo 5
Gauge: 5 stitches/inch in stockinette

During the busy pre-Christmas days, I knit myself two more pair of heavy socks for winter walks if winter ever returns - not that I'm wanting winter back, but it's likely to happen sometime before April.

These were knit with the leftover 6 ply Opal from Bob's hat. For the cuff, the 6 ply is stranded with some leftover navy Opal UNI-Solid. For the foot, the 6 ply is stranded with some left over Opal Cool Ocean.

These socks were meant to be warm, washable, and wear inside winter boots. Looks were secondary. They're not ugly, but they do look like I was trying to make practical use of leftover yarn. Right.

My socks knit with Raggi My Wonderful Raggi Socks

Pattern: Classic k3p1 ribbing
Yarn: Jarbo Garn Raggi, 70% wool, 30% nylon, heavy worsted weight available at Patternworks
Color: 1562 - denim surprise
Needles: Addi Turbo #5
Gauge: 5 stitches/inch, 8 rows/inch in stockinette

These were more fun to knit. The Raggi yarn just flows off the needles and the colors are so pretty.

I started with two skeins and knit both socks at the same time, one from each skein. There is enough left over for a child size pair of CIC socks.

I'm still loving this Raggi yarn for it's warmth and softness. Maybe I'll buy some Raggi to try another hat for Bob.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Knitting Related Christmas Gifts

Victorian Lace today bookTotal eye candy!

Someday I'm going to knit some of this lace. In the meantime, I will enjoy browsing this book over and over again until I can't stand it anymore and something jumps on my needles.

Thanks Mom.

Paton's worsted weight red merino from MomMy Christmas list contained a request for CIC yarn, and I got it.

Mom bought two skeins of red worsted weight Paton's merino, perfect for CIC socks or a toddler size gansey or something else.

There's a skein of gray Paton's merino in my CIC stash. I'm thinking maybe a two tone sweater. But it's way too early to commit this yarn to a project. I'm having too much fun thinking about it.

Worsted weight wool in four colors from IdahoMore CIC yarn from Idaho. Ella Rae classic wool from Romania.

I've never heard of this yarn before. It's worsted weight and appears to be perfect for CIC socks. And I have 100 grams of four different colors so I won't get bored.

Step sockyarn for me The Coeur d'Alene yarn shop where Son John bought Opal for past Christmas gifts went out of business. The new Coeur d'Alene yarn shop doesn't sell Opal, but I'm not disappointed at all with this Austermann Step.

The Post-it in John's handwriting says, "It's not Opal, but I was assured you would like it if you like Opal."

Right! Smart yarn shop lady! I love it and plan on using it for my birthday socks (for me) in January.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Grasshopper Finished and Enjoyed

Finished Grasshopper being worn on Christmas EveOh the shame. This beautiful alpaca sweater had been sitting in a basket waiting to be seamed up since August.

Motivated by acute embarrassment over my procrastination and a desire to wear something new on Christmas Eve, I dug it out, sewed it up, and blocked it early last week. And, while I was at it, I scolded myself for letting it sit so long and made a New Year's resolution never to do that again.

Granddaughter Kimmy took this picture Christmas Eve, indoors and with the flash. I took a few more pictures in natural light today to show the detail and color better.

Finished grasshopper - detail of eyelet patternPattern: Grasshopper. Made it up as I went along. Original inspiration was the Larkspur Lace Pullover in the Spring 2005 Cast On, but no part of Grasshopper is exactly the same as Larkspur.

I named this sweater Grasshopper because it's green and it jumped on my needles unexpectedly one day last May.

Yarn: Knitpicks Andean Treasure, 100% baby alpaca

Color: Lagoon

Needles: Addi Turbo #3

Gauge: 6.25 stitches/inch, 8.5 rows/inch

Finished grasshopper - more detail of eyelet on sleeve and lower ribbingI wore Grasshopper all day Sunday starting with early morning church and ending in the evening after the family Christmas party. It was worn right next to my skin with nothing but soft pleasure. No scratching.

I love the colors, the feel, and the drape of Knitpicks Andean Treasure yarn and will happily use it again if the right project comes along.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Snowless Christmas and Sky

Pappy checking out the plate of cookiesWishing you all a great weekend, whatever it is that you celebrate.

In my family, we celebrate Christmas. This year we're celebrating in the afternoon of Christmas Eve so Granddaughter Kimmy can spend the rest of Christmas with her father and half sisters.

Everything is ready, except the snow. With all the snow we've had so far this year, it looks like Christmas is going to be snowless.

Saturday Sky for December 23, 2006Yes, this was taken in the daytime. It was a dark and dreary day, but that's not a complaint. It was nice to have iceless, snowless roads for the last minute Christmas errands.

Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, the weather forecast is for 50 degrees and sunshine. But by Monday, Christmas, the temps are going to drop back down to winter normal and there may be snow. I'll be home hibernating by then and ready to enjoy some of the white stuff.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Pappy's Christmas Party

Pappy after the partyPappy boy partied hard.

He did a great job on all the games especially the relay where he helped his team win by quickly riding a skateboard from one end of the building to the other and back again.

How exhausting.

The dogs had fun and good food - I baked, brought, and served a second doggy cake.

The humans stuffed themselves on potluck buffet while talking about, what else, dogs.

Pappy party dogs on a sit stay

Over twenty dogs partied with Pappy last night. Here are some of them.

That's Pappy in the front row snuggled up to teacher Gail's Australian Cattle dog, Favor.

The man is Gary, dad to Gracie (front row by his foot) and Jane (middle row by his foot). Jane is a pit bull puppy who just finished her puppy class, so Gary is helping her stay for the picture.

Normally I would have cropped Gary out of the dog picture, but his mother reads my blog so I left him in.

Pappy party dogs on a down stay

More party dogs on a down stay. (Only Jane and Favor are repeat from the picture above.)

We were playing a game to see which dog would hold their stay the longest while Gail did all kinds of loud, noisy, and obnoxious things to try to get them to move. Pappy lasted until Gail got too close to him.

Teacher intimidates him. He knows that sometimes she makes other dogs yelp. Even worse, she used to try making him fetch a dumbbell.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blogiversary Questions - Knitting Favorites Part 2

Jean asked . . .
What is your most favorite item you've ever knitted, and why?

Here are my favorites. For detail information on an item such as pattern, yarn, and gauge, click on the link given.

Marguerite wearing her freshly finshed heavy wool FLAK on a hot summer dayMy favorite cabled item: FLAK.

FLAK (Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong) is my first ever wool Aran sweater. The knitting was intense and challenging, but oh so worthwhile.

I love the color. I love the fit. I love the warmth. I love the cables.

FLAK reigns as my all time favorite knitted sweater for myself.

I am wearing and enjoying this sweater frequently now and a second Aran is on my want-to-knit list.

Barbara shawl from the frontMy favorite lace item: Barbara Shawl.

It's beautiful.

I admire it often as it hangs in my closet. But the only time I've ever worn it was for my nephew's wedding rehearsal dinner. It felt like I was wearing a giant doily, and I've come to the conclusion I am not a shawl person.

Is retraining possible?

Cozy In Cables Sweater in red lopi My favorite charity item: Cozy in Cables Toddler Vest and Cozy in Cables Toddler Sweater.

They are a quick, easy knit I designed specifically for CIC_Knit List knitters who don't have expert knitting skills, but want to knit something warm and attractive for the kids.

And, sometimes the expert knitters use the patterns as well.

knit helmet hat My most worn item: Helmet Hat.

Many times a day, five months a year, I pull this over my head, zip up my squall parka, and go for a cozy warm dog walk in the Michigan cold.

When it's only kinda cold, the chin piece goes under my chin. When it's totally frigid, the chin piece comes up over my mouth.

Dena asked . . .
Your socks are so beautifully knit. What is your favorite sock pattern?
Variety! I love trying different stitch patterns in socks. Still, there are some favorite sock patterns I come back to over and over again.

Classic Socks for the FamilyFor learning to knit socks, basic socks, and as a basis for original sock designs: Yankee Knitter Designs Classic Socks for the Family

If one knows how to knit and purl, it is possible to learn everything you need to know about how to knit a basic sock from this leaflet, including how to use double points, turn a heel, pick up the gussets, and kitchener up the toe.

I know that is true, because this pattern was my one and only sock knitting teacher.

As well as being an excellent tutorial, it has numbers for fingering, sport, and worsted weight socks for the entire family, baby to daddy, done in stockinette, k1p1 rib, k2p2 rib, or k3p1 rib. Once you get the basics down, it's a great reference for the rest of your sock knitting years.

Yankee Knitter patterns are sold at many yarn stores, including Web's.

Shetland Lace Ribbing socksMy favorite lace pattern for solid color yarn: Shetland Lace Rib Pattern.

Since I don't like droopy socks, I judge sock patterns by how likely they are to stay up.

Most lace socks don't stay up for me, so I came up with this variation on Shetland lace that includes some ribbing in the stitch pattern.

Rainbow Ripple socks in Opal Tutti FruitiFor self striping yarn: Linda Dziubala's
Rainbow Ripple pattern.

I've used this pattern for several gift socks. It's as pretty as Feather and Fan but has less holes.

And the socks stay up.

Opal Rose Hips Basketweave Ribbing Socks done For variegated sock yarn, my favorite standby pattern is Basketweave Ribbing Socks.

Because the stitch pattern base is a k3p1 ribbing, it works well for gift socks when I don't know the ankle or foot size.

It's more fun to knit than plain ribbing yet has the same elasticity.

It's gender neutral - great for men's socks when I want them to look a little fancy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Blogiversary Questions - Knitting Favorites Part 1

My overly analytical mind goes berserk when someone asks me to name a "favorite" something. Thinking of my favorites is never simple.

For example, asked "What is your favorite color?", I need to know what kind of color? Color flower? Color wall paint? Color car? Color sweatshirt? Color yarn?

Maybe the question is more specific like "What is your favorite color yarn?" I still can't give a straight answer. Fluffy yarn? Sock yarn? Worsted wool? For CIC knitting? For myself? What season? What am I knitting? What day is it? What mood am I in? I can think of endless qualifications.

Now that I've confessed to favorites not being my favorite, I'll attempt to answer some blogiversary questions about my knitting favorites. Forgive me if I ramble instead of giving absolute answers.

Joanne asked . . .
Knitting inspiration comes from many people. If you could pick one "traditional, long known" knitter and one "modern, on-the-cutting edge" knitter, which two would you pick?
After all the preamble excuses, I can actually answer this question with no hesitation!

Bookshelf with knitting books including the four Barbara Walker stitch treasuriesMy favorite traditional knitter is Barbara G. Walker. Her stitch treasuries are my most treasured knitting books. They are not only loaded with wonderful stitch patterns, she gives a wealth of information on how to form the stitches and what type of fabric to expect when they're knit.

Knitting From the Top is another Walker book I frequently pull off the shelf. Her formula for knitting set in sleeves by picking up stitches at the shoulder and short rowing the sleeve cap is genius. I use it whenever I can.

My modern, on-the-cutting edge knitter award goes to Kathy Zimmerman.

Woman's Cabled Pullover by Kathy ZimmermanOver and over again I spot a beautiful knitting pattern in a magazine or catalog and I can guess before looking it's a Kathy Zimmerman design. I've never knit one, but I love to look at them and I've been inspired by them.

This Kathy Zimmerman masterpiece has been sitting in my folder of recent photos for a month now. Every day I admire the beauty and genius of the cable flow.

Because I know someone is going to ask, this is a Classic Elite pattern, shown here. I haven't found a place to buy it yet.

Yvonne asked . . .
What is your all-time-favorite brand and type of needle?
Almost all my knitting is done on Addi Turbo circulars with an occasional switch to double points. I never knit with single pointed straight needles.

The Addi Turbo circulars are my favorite by default. They were available at a convenient yarn store when I started building my needle collection. When I used them they were adequate in every way, so I bought more as needed.

I'd like to try some of the wood circular needles - rosewood, ebony, etc. But what if I love them and have to end up purchasing a complete new needle collection?

Kristy who blogs at Simple Elegance asked . . .
I love that your knitting is varied -- lace, cables, socks, socks, socks -- what do you most enjoy knitting?
Knitting is my pleasure, my hobby. I have an informal rule that if I'm not enjoying what I'm knitting, I don't continue. I frog it. If the yarn is part of the unenjoyment, I give it away.

There are exceptions to this - projects where I've plowed through until the end for some reason. If you read this blog regularly, you've heard me whine as I finish them.

Sometimes the enjoyment comes not from the knitting but from knowing the recipient is going to love and/or really need the item. Most CIC knitting and some gifts fall in this category.

Now, for a straight answer to the question: On most days and in most seasons I most enjoy knitting socks with an interesting stitch pattern. Socks have no seams, no sleeve island, and they're usually done before I'm tired of looking at them.

Tomorrow - Favorite knit items and favorite sock patterns

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sunny's Christmas Party

Group photo of dogs at Sunny's Christmas partyLast night Sunny and I went to the Christmas party for her agility class that she left last March.

We had fun trying to get the dogs to all stay still at the same time for a picture.

Yes, these are advanced obedience dogs. Very smart dogs. They are so smart they knew it was party time and not time to do a boring sit and stay.

That's Sunny center front, glaring at me. Two seconds later she was up and gone.

Dog food cake at Sunny's Christmas partyWe ate, played doggy games, the dogs ate dog food cake (recipe at end of post) and exchanged gifts.

Sunny is not a sociable dog and noisy events freak her out, but she enjoyed the party in her own Sunny way. I think I had way more fun than she did.

Pappy is a sociable dog and he loves noisy events. It will be a completely different experience when I do it all again with Pappy on Thursday. I will have fun, but he will have way more fun than I do.

Dog Food Cake

2 c. flour
2 (6 oz.) cans Hi Protein dog food
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
4 eggs
4 tsp. baking powder
Milk - enough for batter consistency (I used a half cup)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes in 9 x 13 inch pan. Recipe can be "halved" for smaller cake.

Frost with whipped cream cheese.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sky and Coyotes

Blue sky with white clouds on December 16, 2006The snow has all melted and temps have been in the 40s for several days now. There is blue in the sky and some of the clouds are white and fluffy.

Still, without the clean snow on the ground to brighten things up, the feel of the outdoors this time of year is cold and dark.

As we approach the shortest day of the year on December 22, many of us need some extra coffee to get through a normal day.

Today, December 16, sunrise is 7:55 am and sunset is 5:01 pm.

Coyote picture from the Michigan DNR siteCoyotes in the neighborhood are new since we moved here fifteen years ago. Now sightings are frequent and night time howlings are common.

Never before have the howlings sounded like they were right outside the window - until last night. Our three dogs woke me up with their barking and hysterical running around the house at a time when I knew they would rather be sleeping. The noise outside was bone chilling.

Soon everything was quiet again. But the memory lingered on this morning. I checked out the Michigan DNR (Department of Natural Resources) site for some information and found these helpful coyote facts and tips:

  • Coyotes have dispersed into southern Michigan without assistance from the DNR.

    OK, we won't blame the DNR for importing coyotes.

  • Coyotes are opportunistic and will eat almost anything available. . . .They will also prey on unattended small dogs and cats, if opportunities exist.

    This is too horrible to think about.

  • Minimize potential conflicts with coyotes: Never approach or touch a coyote

    Really? Well, OK. Thanks for the advice. Well worth my taxpayer dollars to fund your agency.

  • Never intentionally feed a coyote.

    I'm much more concerned with the unintentional feeding of a coyote.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Frode - The Pattern, The Yarn

Frode with one happiness sign done

Pattern: Frode (with modifications) by Elsebeth Lavold in Viking Patterns for Knitting
Yarn: Knitpicks Shamrock, 100% Peruvian wool, heavy worsted weight
Color: MacNamara
Needles: Addi Turbo #6
Gauge: 20 stitches/4 inches 28 rows/4 inches
Note: Size XS, 37.75 inches. Knitting for CIC_Knit List big kids sweater challenge

I've been having so much fun knitting this! I stayed up way too late last night to get the first happiness sign finished. (The happiness sign is that symbol in the center.)

Two more happiness signs to go. But I really need to set Frode aside for a while and knit some other things with holiday/birthday deadlines. Maybe I'll make a short list of love knitting and reward myself with another happiness sign when the list is finished.

Frode in Viking Patterns for KnittingPlanned Pattern Modifications
This is Frode as pictured in Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting.

Frode is designed in four pieces, front, back, and two drop sleeves. The front and back are rectangles with no sleeve shaping.

I'm knitting front and back together in the round. Other than the two shoulder seams done in three needle bind off, my version of Frode isn't going to have any seams.

The pattern calls for the sleeves to be knit flat and cuff up. I plan on picking up armhole stitches and knitting the sleeves top down in the round. More boring knitting - all purling no less. I may knit them stockinette or, as Dorothy suggested, inside out. Haven't decided yet.

Instead of duplicating the three happiness signs and the braid cables on the back, I'm putting a happiness sign in the upper, center back. That will keep the back from looking totally plain, but not be a time consuming effort.

Time considerations are important when knitting for CIC_Knit List. I want the sweaters to be attractive, but I also want to knit warm things for as many kids as possible.

From past experience, I know the shoulder seam would never look pretty with two braid cables coming together from front and back. Another reason to leave the braid cables off the back.

Closeup of Knitpicks Shamrock yarnYarn Review
Knitpicks Shamrock yarn is not as soft as their Wool of the Andes, but it has great stitch definition.

I'm knitting it at a tight gauge - 5 stitches/inch for a heavy worsted - which makes it even stiffer. I'm sure it will soften up when I wash it, but it's not a pleasure to feel while I'm knitting.

It's a four ply yarn. Three plies are in the main color, the fourth ply is variegated.

The plies are a little loose and it's easy to split a stitch. I have to watch my knitting very carefully.

Would I buy it again? Maybe, for the right project. I do like the way it's working for this sweater.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Saving my Knitting Sanity

Hat that doesn't fit BobThis hat is driving me crazy. It looks nice in the picture, but ridiculous on Bob's head.

It's just a little too tall. The ribbing goes in around the top of his head and then poofs out into a ball shape. The resulting effect looks like the first two snowballs of a snowman.

This is the second time I've knit this hat. The first time it was too small around and I frogged and cast on with twelve extra stitches. Now there will be more frogging as soon as I figure out what I need to do to make it right.

Use stockinette at the top instead of ribbing? Or will just making it shorter work?

Somewhere I missed the Hat 101 class.

Start of my Frode

Pattern: Frode (with modifications) by Elsebeth Lavold in Viking Patterns for Knitting

Yarn: Knitpicks Shamrock, 100% Peruvian wool, heavy worsted weight

Color: MacNamara

Needles: Addi Turbo #6

Gauge: 20 stitches/4 inches 28 rows/4 inches

Note: Size XS, 37.75 inches. Knitting for CIC_Knit List big kids sweater challenge

This does not fit well into my December knitting plan, but it had to happen. I was burning out with knitting boredom and needed something a bit more challenging than a simple ribbed hat that refuses to fit Bob's head.

After the hat, I have three more . . . what shall I call them? I don't want to call them boring, because they're going to be knit with love. Maybe call them basic, love projects.
  1. Anne's birthday socks
  2. A 32 inch Cozy in Cables Sweater pattern
  3. A 40 inch Cozy in Cables Sweater pattern

Ideally, they all need to be done by January 1, the start of the CIC_Knit List big kids sweater challenge. That's way too much knitting for eighteen days. Time for a reality check.

Frode in Viking Patterns for KnittingThis is Frode as pictured in Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting.

My Frode with modifications is going to look very similar from the front. I'll write more about the modifications in a future post.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Blogiversary Questions - Photos

Three related questions that I'll answer as one, and then a final question from Greg.

Kathy asked . . .
I would like to know what kind of camera you use? The pictures in your blog are always great. Have you had special training in photography?
Suzanne asked . . .
What kind of camera do you use for those lovely photographs? Do you ever print them or do you just store them in your computer and share them on your blog?

Sherie who blogs at Whimsyknits asked . . .
I'd like to know if you've taken any photography classes. Your sky pictures and the pictures of your knitting projects and the areas around your home are fantastic!

Canon A70 digital cameraMy little Canon A70 is over three years old now and I still love it.

I use it as a point and click - all automatic settings because I've never bothered learning how to do otherwise. The camera does a great job of producing good pictures without me having to know anything special.

You've probably guessed by now that I have not had any classes or special training in photography.

When I'm outside taking pictures, I take lots of them. Then I bring them in, load them onto my laptop, and delete, delete, delete. Usually there are a few in the batch that are worthy of keeping.

For knitting pictures, I use a table in an East window. The indirect afternoon daylight usually gives good definition and true color.

For blog posting, I usually crop a shot to get better composition and/or to focus in on just what I want to show. I use the basic photo editor that came with the camera.

I never print the knitting pictures. I rarely print the outdoor pictures. I do print family pictures so they can go into an album.

Greg asked . . .
I love the pictures of your landscape. What is your favorite season to photograph?

Sunny running through the snowI've never considered this question before tonight, and the answer surprised me.

My favorite season to photograph is my least favorite season to endure - winter. I guess it's because we do winter so well in SW Michigan.

My favorite season is spring. But by the time we have daffodils here, most everyone else is planting their annuals and I've seen daffodils on dozens of warmer climate blogs.

Autumn is a beautiful season, but I'm always disappointed by my fall pictures. The colors that are awesome in real life look blah in my pictures.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sky, Frog Report, and What American Accent Do You Have?

Bright, sunny, cold Saturday sky on December 9, 2006Just a little whining. . .

It's cold, sunny, and crisp. By crisp, I mean that the forecast given yesterday (temps above freezing) has been revised. The temps may get above freezing tomorrow (Sunday), too late to avoid shoveling if I want to go to church tomorrow morning.

And I do.

So I did.

Frog Report
And a little more whining. . .

For the past two days I've been knitting on Bob's Christmas hat. Five stitches/inch with two strands of yarn held together. Last night, I tried it on his big head, and it was too small.

Before going to bed last night, I frogged the whole thing. I hate frogging something knit with two strands - meaning I'm winding off two separate balls - meaning a tangled mess or two before I'm done.

And that's why there's no knitting news today. Maybe tomorrow.

What American Accent Do You Have?
I loved this quiz. It had me pronouncing words out loud to answer the questions, and the results are right on!

When I go grocery shopping, I take the "pop" bottles back. I'm an "Inland North" gal all the way.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Friday, December 08, 2006

Two Pair Boring Brown Socks

Two pair of boring but very warm brown ragg wool ragg socksMade it! Got two pair of very warm socks out of three skeins of this yarn. The pair on the right are Bob's Christmas socks, the pair on the left are mine.

I call them "boring" in a fond way. They are rather boring to knit, but super wonderful to wear on a cold winter day in SW Michigan. Since my pair isn't a Christmas present, I'm wearing them out into the cold snow today.

Pattern:Bob's socks are k1p1 ribbing cuff and stockinette foot on 48 stitches. My socks have a simple three stitch basketweave pattern on a 42 stitch cuff and a 36 stitch foot.

Yarn: Jarbo Garn Raggi, 70% wool, 30% nylon, heavy worsted weight available at Patternworks

Color: 1574 - brown ragg

Needles: Addi Turbo #5

Gauge: 5 stitches/inch, 7 rows/inch in stockinette

With just a little reservation because the socks haven't passed the test of multiple wearings, washings, and time, I pronounce this the nicest worsted weight sock yarn I've ever used. It's soft, springy, warm, and wonderful. I'm assuming with the 30% nylon that it's tough.

This is only my second pair of worsted weight socks for myself. They are way snugglier than I expected. I want at least seven pair to get me through the winter week.

Blogger Upgrade
If you happened to notice 25 Stitches of Violet posts in Bloglines, it's because I converted to Blogger Beta yesterday. There are several interesting enhancements I'm looking forward to exploring.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Another Foot of Snow and New Yarn

Snow scene with a foot of snow on December 7, 2006This morning we were greeted with a foot of new snow with more falling.

Tuesday's snow was light and fluffy, easy to shovel, quick to melt on Wednesday. And, it's a good thing that it did melt on Wednesday, because in the early morning hours of Thursday (today), we got another foot of snow.

The Thursday snow is denser, heavier, and much harder to shovel. I cancelled a non-critical medical appointment and decided to stay home.

Pappy in the deep snowIt's Pappy's doggy school night, but we may skip it. I'm willing to shovel out for him and/or Bob is willing to drive us in the Jeep, but Pappy is exhausted from jumping through snow that is almost over his head.

The only reason the snow doesn't look over his head is the several inches that are compressed under his cold little feet.

Why I Had to Buy Yarn

Our CIC_Knit List Mom Elizabeth wrote:
A trip to Russia, possibly as soon as this spring, is being discussed, which means people will be going to the orphanages where the older kids live. And this means we have a chance to send things to them. Many of us have wished we could knit for the big kids, too; here's our chance. Most of these kids are now "too old" to be adopted, and can look forward to several more years in institutional care, so make it nice! Socks, vests, and sweaters are all needed, as usual - but this time for kids aged 8 to 16.
Knitpicks Shamrock yarn in colorway MacNamaraWhile knitting mittens and now knitting on some very basic winter socks, I've been dreaming about what to knit for the older kids.

The dreaming resulted in some stash acquisition so I'll be ready to go once the starting bell rings.

This is Knitpicks Shamrock, a 100% wool heavy worsted tweed, in color MacNamara. I haven't finalized the pattern I'm going to use. One possibility is something out of Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting with variations by moi to make knitting and sewing up quicker and easier. Especially the sewing up.

24 skeins of bargain Lamb's Pride Bulky in deep red and bright blueI also bought 24 skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky mill ends from Sheep Shed Studio. Carol has this 15% mohair, 85% wool yarn for $3 a 4 ounce skein in many bright, kid colors. Service was great and I'm so pleased to be able to fill up my CIC stash bulky bin for this great price.

For the non-knitters in my family who looked at my Christmas wish list and decided this would be a good year to buy me yarn, do not despair! I DO NOT have enough yarn! I can never have enough yarn. I love getting getting new yarn! It's really one of the very nicest gifts you can give.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Surprise Snow

Goldenrod stalks with a foot of snowThe Lake Effect Snow started yesterday about noon. Not a blizzard, just a concentrated dumping of pretty, fluffy flakes. At times they fell so fast the visibility was zero.

By the time we went to bed last night, there was a foot of snow. I canceled my lunch date for today and happily snuggled down in our flannel sheets.

Doggy path wiht a foot of snow this morningHere's the view this morning as we headed out into the back three acres for our first dog walk of the day.

Glory and Pappy went out with me and romped in the snow.

Sunny decided to skip it and stayed up by the house with Bob.

Glory warming up on the radiatorAfter the walk, Glory was happy to nap by the baseboard radiator.

You don't want me to go out again, do you? Just take that picture and go away. I need to rest for a while.

Pappy on his back with his tongue hanging out That was a bit more exercise than I'm used to in the morning. It's not easy plowing snow with my chest.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Knit Unto Others is Over

Knit Unto Others KAL button

10 pair of assorted mittens for AkkolWhat a pleasant knitting interlude.

For the past two weeks I've ignored all holiday knitting and all unfinished object knitting to knit mittens for kids who live in a colder climate than I do and really need them.

These ten pair of mittens in assorted colors and sizes are going to the CIC_Knit List December mitten challenge and eventually to the kids home in Akkol', Kazakhstan.

Many thanks to Margene and Carole for hosting Knit Unto Others. I already have it penciled in on my 2007 calendar.