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)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sleeve, Socks, and Snow

Some knitting is getting done, but not as much as you might think considering we're up to our knees in snow.

Yesterday we had to dig out so I could make a two hour crown prep appointment at the dentist twenty miles away. Wouldn't want to miss that fun.

Today there's more snow and I could star in a BENGAY ad if I had some BENGAY. I'm not planning to shovel out again just to buy some.

First Frode Sleeve

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.

To see a post with picture of pattern, list of modifications I'm making, and discussion of the Shamrock yarn, go here.

One sleeve done, second sleeve not started. Maybe this afternoon, maybe tomorrow. Or, I may do the neck next for a break in the sleeve action.

The marker pins are counting the decrease rows. The aqua pins are one decrease row, the coral pins are five decrease rows. I'm leaving them in until the second sleeve is done so the second sleeve will match even if I can't find the little piece of paper where I wrote it all down.

Even more likely, I'll be able to find the little piece of paper but won't be sure what I wrote on it. The pins are way more reliable than my notes.

Winged worsted weight red socks for CICPattern: Winging Worsted Weight Socks 40 stitches around

Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool Merino

Color: Red

Needles: #5 Pony Pearl double points

Gauge: 5 stitches/inch

This is the second of five pair of socks I plan to knit for the CIC_Knit List big kids challenge.

Worsted weight socks feel like comfort knitting while I'm sore from shoveling. The third pair is on the needles and will be done soon. Maybe even before that second sleeve.

Pappy in the snowPappy thinks if I really loved him I would shovel out more places for him to do his business.

I do love him. He can go in the driveway if he wants a shoveled spot. And he better hurry, the driveway is filling up with snow as I write.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lake Effect Snow

View out the front window on Sunday morningThe snow wasn't such a surprise when I got up at 6:30 this morning. After all, it is January in SW Michigan.

The quantity of snow exceeded expectations, though. 10 inches and still dumping. That is more than was forecast.

This was the view out the front living room window. Just on the other side of the chain link fence is the road and the rest of the woods is across the street.

Today we are right in the middle of the lake effect snow band.

803 AM EST SUN JAN 28 2007




Cardinals at the plank feederI debated the wisdom of going to church. On Sunday mornings the snowplows aren't as diligent as work day mornings. I decided to stay home and make sure the birds had enough food.

The cardinals are the first birds to arrive at daybreak.

We have a ten foot plank sitting across the back balcony because cardinals like to eat on a flat surface. It's loaded up with black oiler sunflower seeds and dozens of cardinals take turns flying in from the nearby bushes to chow down. They'll be joined by bluejays, and juncos as daylight progresses - the birds that don't like the hanging feeders on the other side of the house.

View out the East window from where I sit with my laptopSitting on the loveseat with my laptop, I look out on the feeding plank.

This picture and the cardinal picture are a bit fuzzy because they were taken through the window glass during a lake effect snow dump.

The top picture was taken with the window open during a lull in the snow fall action.

Creek on the 10 am dog walkThis picture was taken on the 10 am dog walk as we crossed the bridge over the creek to the back three acres.

Beautiful, isn't it? But we have enough. It can quit now. Please.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday Sky, Save the Bluebirds, and Sleeping Dog

Cloudy winter morning sky for January 27, 2007This was the eastern sky on our 10 am dog walk.

If I had not already heard the weather forecast, I might have imagined the sun breaking through the clouds for a sunny day.

The battle was brief. The clouds won. It was a cold, gray day with some snow in the afternoon. We're expecting more snow tomorrow and Monday.

New meal worm feeder hanging in a treeBluebirds have been using the nestboxes for night time shelter from the wind and cold.

One dawn last week I saw four fly out of one box as the dogs and I approached. (Yes, I felt terrible that we were the cause of them going out into the world before they were ready. We're trying to remember to walk a different route in the morning.)

What do they eat in the winter time? They are bug eaters and never show up at the feeders near the house. I can't imagine where they're finding food.

These bluebirds are my babies and I want them to make it through the winter, so today I bought a meal worm feeder and 500 mealworms. We hung the feeder in a favorite bluebird gathering tree about 15 feet from the nest box where I'm guessing most of them were hatched. I also bought some wonderful smelling seed mixed with dried fruit to scatter around the feeder edges.

Those white splotches visible in the upper part of the picture is the snow coming down.

Pappy curled up on the bed taking a napNap time.

Pappy knows what to do after a snowy walk on a cold, gray winter day.

Friday, January 26, 2007

More Questions While I'm Still on Sleeve Island

JoLynn asked . . .
Happy Birthday and did you wear your new knit socks?
My birthday socks knit with Christmas gift Step yarnI have to admit I haven't worn them yet. They're still sitting by my main knitting seat being admired and I'm saving them for a special occasion.

They have inspired my future knitting plans. I need a nice red sweater to wear with the new socks.

I see a new red gansey in my future - probably just in time for summer.

Shelly who blogs at Knitting and Praying asked . . .
Well, have you ever made a really huge knitting mistake? Tonight I have discovered the biggest knitting mistake that I have ever made. And, I continued to unknowingly knit past it to almost the completion of this big lace project. argh!

Have you made huge knitting mistakes from which you have recovered?
Unhappy faceOuch! I feel the pain in those questions!

Certainly I've made huge knitting mistakes, mistakes that there was no possible way to recover from, mistakes that required radical frogging.

Once discovered, the only thing to do is ask yourself if a) you want to frog and reknit or b) frog and put the yarn back in the stash or c) just secretly toss the whole thing in the trash and pretend it never happened.

I've had occasion to do all three of those options. Option c can be very satisfying if you ended up hating the yarn.

A few weeks ago Liz who blogs at A Stitch in Time asked . . .
Are you still looking for the perfect maroon shade for your son's (Washington Redskin) socks? I live in Redskins Country and have 3 skeins of a maroon that I think is pretty darn close. I'd be more than happy to gift them to you.
Special Blauband Redskin red sock yarn from LizBingo!

Son John had blessed the dark burgundy color I was going to use as acceptable but not perfect. I had given up the hunt for the perfect Redskin red when Liz offered her yarn.

This yarn arrived from Liz last week. I knit up a small swatch, and sent it off to John.

Yesterday John emailed the happy news:
Redskins yarn looks great. It matches my hat almost perfectly.
Thank you Liz. Watch your mailbox for something in return.

Kathy asked . . .
Great sock! About how much yarn did it take to make your sample pair of socks?
And Kelley who blogs at Kelley's Yarns asked. . .
What size needle did you use?
Red worsted weight winged sockThis single sock was knit on #5 needles and took about 1.4 ounces (85 yards) of Patons worsted weight merino.

That information has been added to the original post.

I took a break from knitting sleeves and whipped up one sock so I'd have a picture to post with Winging Worsted Weight Socks.

So, what's worse project timing than to have four unfinished sleeves? How about four unfinished sleeves and a second sock?

Good thing I made that resolution about not having more than three projects on the needles, or I'd be casting on something else this evening. Instead I went to the library, checked out a few more audio books, and I'm ready to finish a sleeve this weekend.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Winging Worsted Weight Socks

One red generic sock in worsted weight yarnAs promised, here is my formula for winging charity socks in knitting worsted. Whatever size they turn out, they will be in human proportion and will fit someone.

This is NOT a pattern. It assumes you know the basics of sock knitting such as how to turn a heel and decrease for a toe.

The sock in the picture was knit on #5 needles using the instructions in the example sock below. The yarn is 1.4 ounces, 85 yards, of Paton's worsted weight wool. The cuff measures 5.5 inches and the foot measures eight inches from back of heel to tip of toe.

It fits me, a woman's shoe size 6. For the CIC big kids challenge, I would call it a medium.

  1. Cast on an even number of stitches from 30 (toddler size) to 48 (large teen size).

    Example: Cast on 40.

  2. Rib until the number of rows = ~1/3 the stitches.

    Example: 1/3 of 40 =13. I like even numbers so I ribbed for 14 rows.

  3. Finish cuff so total rows = number of stitches around.

    Example: 40 total rows - 14 cuff rows = 26 pattern rows.

    If you're doing a stitch pattern, adjust the number of rows so the bottom of the cuff ends on a pattern row that looks nice. All these numbers are approximate.

    If you've got plenty of yarn, the cuff can be a little longer. They can always be turned down at the top if the child is short.

  4. Work heel on half the stitches.

    Example: 1/2 of 40 = 20 stitches heel and 20 stitches instep.

    Once again, a stitch or two isn't going to ruin the shape of the sock. I often do a cuff stitch pattern I want centered and end up with 19 stitches on the heel and 21 stitches on the instep. A make one in the middle of the first row of the heel brings the heel stitch count back up to 20.

  5. Knit heel flap back and forth with the number of slip rows = ~ 1/3 number of total stitches around. On the last slip row, don't purl back.

    Example: 1/3 of 40 = 13 slip rows and 12 purl backs.

    Slip 1, knit 1 across right side. Purl back on wrong side. Repeat these two rows 12 times, then knit the slip row a 13th time.

  6. Turn heel.

    First Row: Slip 1, purl # of stitches = half the heel stitches, purl 2 together, purl, turn.

    Second Row: Slip 1, knit 3, ssk, k, turn. Continue turning heel.

    First Row: Slip 1, purl 10 (half of 20 = 10), p2tog, p, turn.

  7. Pick up gusset stitches. # gusset stitches on each side = #slip rows or whatever works so you don't get a hole.

    Example: Pick up 13 or 14 gusset stitches on each side.

  8. Reduce gusset stitches every other round until back to original number of stitches around.

    Example: That would be 40.

  9. Using the gusset pickup row as Row 1, work foot until number of rows = number of stitches around.

    Example: Work 40 foot rows from gusset pickup.

  10. Toe decrease every other row until half the stitches are gone.

    Example: Toe decrease every other row until a total of 20 stitches are left.

  11. Decrease every round until 10 or 12 total stitches remain.

    Example: Toe decrease every row until a total of 10 stitches remain.

  12. Kitchener and done.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Birthday Knitting Loot and Weird Question

Yarn from SherryThis is my generous birthday gift from longtime friend and fellow CIC knitter, Sherry. She knows what I like.

On the right are three skeins of Paton's Merino for knitting CIC socks. On the left are two skeins of Opal for Me socks. There's a UNI-Solid dark teal color and Elements, gray with a bright blue stripe.

Into the stash they go to wait their turn. Until their time arrives, I'll enjoy looking at them and knowing they're there.

My knitting goal for the week is to complete four sleeves. The goal may be too optimistic, but I'm plugging away on them.

On the Peerie Brocade, one sleeve is two-thirds done, the second sleeve is one-third done. On Frode, one sleeve is half done, the second sleeve isn't started.

I'm making a mental note to plan my knitting better to avoid double sleeve limbo. It's not only boring knitting, but it's boring blog content as well.

Be warned: When I get a sleeve done, I'm going to post a picture of it. Cheer me on, please. I need encouragement.

StitchionarysDaughter Heather and Granddaughter Kimmy got me the first two Vogue Stitchionarys for my birthday.

While I'm thrilled to have them for my knitting library, I have to admit to being disappointed in Volume One, Knit and Purl. The stitch patterns aren't new and/or inspiring, some of the darker swatches are hard to see, some of the swatches are downright ugly, and the patterns aren't charted.

Volume Two, Cables, is a different story. Some of the cables are different from any cables I've seen before and I'm looking forward to trying them. And all the stitch patterns are charted. I'm going to have fun with this book for many years.

Question of the Day
As you read the "6 Weird Things" meme traveling through knitting blogland, do you find that most of the things listed are not all that weird?

Or maybe I'm just a weird person with weird family and and friends, so I don't recognize weirdness when I read about it.

You'll notice I have not done that meme.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blogiversary Questions - Knitting

I'm still pluggin away on the blogiversary questions. They're perfect blog fodder for a Monday where all I have to show for weekend knitting is one-third of a Frode sleeve.

Shelly who blogs at Knitting and Praying asked . . .
Marguerite, I'd like to know when and how you learned to knit.

Crazy For Yarn in Alabama who blogs at Yarn Collectors Anonymous asked . . .
When did you learn to knit and who taught you?

Julie who blogs at Noolie Knits asked . . .
My question is when did you learn to knit and who taught you. Also, do you crochet?

I learned to knit from a little green Coats and Clark book I bought at the dimestore about 1960. I knit several sweaters out of acrylic yarn from that same dimestore, but they didn't fit right and I don't recall ever actually wearing one of them.

Throughout my life I had knitting spasms where I would pick up the needles and knit something that turned out to be unwearable for one reason or another, usually related to poor yarn choice and/or gauge. There were long periods of time - years - when I didn't knit at all because I was too busy doing other things like going to college, raising children, and working fulltime.

About ten years ago I got internet access at work and found knitting lists, knitting books, knitting friends, and eventually knitting blogs. What an encouragement, inspiration, and wealth of information.

Now it's a rare day when I don't knit at least a few rows, and never a day goes by that I don't think about what I'd like to knit in the future.

Angie asked . . .
Do you knit "english" or "continental", you seem to get things done so quickly.
I knit continental - pick the stitches - no throwing.

Lora J. who blogs at Krazi Knitter's Place asked . . .
OMG- how do you knit SO much? I am lucky to crank out 3 or 4 big items a year and I have been knitting for about 7 years now!
I'm retired and knitting is my entertainment.

In the evening I snuggle down on the sofa in the back room, put an audio book in the CD player, and knit. On doggy school nights, I usually work in some afternoon knitting time.

Twig who blogs at Twig's (mis)Adventures in Knitting asked . . .
Do you ever let mistakes stay in your knitting or do they drive you nuts until you fix them? (This is, of course, assuming you make mistakes.)
I make plenty of mistakes and they offend me. I almost always fix them.

I try to remember to check my knitting often so I don't have to frog more than a few rows. But if it has to be done, I do it.

Michelle who blogs at Lighthouse Designs by Soap Fiber Gal asked . . .
Wondering in-between all in your life do you knit for everyone in your family including yourself and what percentage of your knitting goes to family/friends and how much to charity? How do you juggle all your time between family & knitting?
I'm having a difficult time with this question because I don't quantify my knitting. There are no annual lists of what I've completed. So, let me tell you what I do know about my knitting habits.

Six family and friends get birthday socks. They are scattered throughout the year. Occasionally and rarely I knit something else for family/friend.

At the start of a CIC_Knit List challenge (charity), I set a goal for myself to help keep my charity knitting in perspective. I'm more likely to think I should never knit for myself while children are going cold than to fail to knit a reasonable amount for each challenge.

For the January, February, March CIC_Knit List big kid's challenge my goal is:
  1. Cozy in Cables pattern published in big kid sizes (done)
  2. 3 big kid sweaters (1.5 sweaters done)
  3. 5 pair big kid socks (1 done)

In January, most of my knitting time has been for charity. In February, I will be knitting two pair of birthday socks and finishing up my CIC goals. In March, I'll probably be back to knitting for myself.

At this time in my life, I don't need to juggle family time and knitting time. It's no problem to find knitting time and I'm very thankful for that.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Birthday Sky

Saturday Sky for January 20, 2007Cold and mostly sunny with occasion clouds and light snow.

According to my mother this is a "lovely sunny Saturday, as it was the day you were born."

It always amazes me when she says that.

I remember many things about the day I gave childbirth, but I have no idea about the weather except the roads were dry and we didn't have any problem getting to the hospital. Maybe I'd remember more if it hadn't happened in the middle of the night.

Another picture from last weeks minor ice stormWe still have some ice left over from last week's minor ice storm.

This is one of our dog walking paths on the back three acres. When the ice was at its heaviest, it was like walking through the inside of a diamond.

We Keep Getting Older and We Are Not AmusedToday I turn 62, the magic age for senior discounts at Meijer and possibly other places I shop. I'll pay closer attention now.

It's also the year I get to start collecting Social Security. I'm all set up and ready to receive, but the first payment won't happen until the third Wednesday in March.

That sounds like a long time away on this cold January day.

It's become an annual tradition to post this card on my birthday. It makes me laugh. Here's hoping it gives you a chuckle, too.

No big celebration plans. Bob and I both think it's a pleasure to stay home and hibernate in January. He fixed a yummy breakfast of eggs, bacon, and biscuits. We have steaks in the frig for dinner.

He downloaded and burned two new Janet Evanovich books for my listening pleasure while I knit sleeves. I'm content.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Comment Questions From the Past Two Weeks

Comment questions pose an interesting dilemma to a blogger. If answered in a responding comment, will the reader who asked ever come back to see the answer? If answered in a private email, will the other readers think questions aren't being answered? And what about comment questions where no email is provided?

My usual policy is to answer questions as quickly as possible in a private email to the asking reader. Sometimes I like to share the questions and answers on my blog. Like today . . .

Beth who blogs at Diamonds and Purls asked . . .
Sock questions - do you always knit both socks at the same time? How much do you knit on Sock1 before switching to Sock2? Do you do this to avoid 2nd Sock Syndrome?
Over two years ago when this blog was new and I had two readers, my mother and my sister, I wrote a post that answers these questions in detail. You can read it here.

Marianne who blogs at Busha Full of Grace asked . . .
Where would I find those little wooden feet?
The sock blockers?

I bought them from Heartstrings back when it was an online retail shop. Now they only sell wholesale and no longer carry the sock blockers.

There are some handmade oak sock blockers in Chappy's eBay store. A Google search on "chappy sock blockers" will get you there.

Susan who blogs at Mommy Susie Knits asked . . .
Don't we just adore our dogs?

Sunny on the sofa in the back roomYes!

Debi who blogs at Fluffy Knitter Deb asked . . .
Do you ever do argyles Marguerite?
Never. I don't enjoy color work and rarely do it. Very rarely. Like I can't remember the last time.

Marie asked . . .
Any chance of a picture of your favorite knitting spot?
How about as soon as I get it cleaned up and organized?

Marie asked . . .
Also, I'd like to start a pair of socks for CIC but have never knit for kids before. May I ask the length of the leg, heel flap and foot in the socks you just made?
Love this question because the answer is going to turn into an entire post of its own. Stay tuned.

Marianne who blogs at Busha Full of Grace asked . . .
The toes on your socks are so impressive! Tell me how to get mine to look so perfect???
It's the same toe I knit over and over without variation because I like it too. There are detail toe instructions in any of my sock patterns on the sidebar, but here is the general formula.

Round 1: On heel side of sock k, ssk, knit to last three stitches, k2tog, k.
On instep side of sock k, ssk, knit to last three stitches, k2tog, k.
Round 2: Knit a round without decreasing.

Repeat these two rounds until half the number of stitches you started with remain.
Do Round 1 until 10 or 12 (total) stitches remain.
Close the toe with kitchener.

Janice in Georgia who blogs at Knitting With Dogs asked . . .
Do y'all have many pine trees up there? Ice storms + pine trees = trees falling on powerlines EVERYWHERE.
We have pine trees, oaks, maples, tulip trees, and many others. They all break in a major ice storm and do great damage.

We were fortunate to be spared this past week. Our ice storm was minor and there was no wind.

Jenny Raye who blogs at Loves to Bike and Knit asked . . .
What kind of zoom does that new camera have?

Cardinals in an icy snowball bushIt has a 12X optical zoom and 6 mega pixels.

These cardinals were about 20 feet away outside the window.

I'm looking forward to some milder weather so I can take bird pictures without shooting through the glass.

And the funniest comment this week came from Pat who blogs at Pat's Knitting and Quilting
Looks like you've got that new camera all figured
out -

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Frode Progress and Woodpecker With Tail

Frode front knit up to the armholesPattern: Frode (with modifications) by Elsebeth Lavold in Viking Patterns for Knitting. Size XS, 37.75 inches.

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: Frode is for CIC_Knit List big kids sweater challenge

To see a post with picture of pattern, list of modifications I'm making, and discussion of the Shamrock yarn, go here.

I'm totally enjoying this sweater with the cables and happiness signs. (The happiness sign is that center cable with the four loops.) But soon I'll have two sweaters, this one and the Peerie Brocade, on the boring, endless sleeves. Bad planning indeed.

Frode back completeAs planned, I put a single happiness sign in the upper, center back instead of the three happiness signs and the braid cables called for in the pattern.

It was just enough to help relieve the monotony of reverse stockinette and cause me to stay up too late finishing the back instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour like a sensible person.

Female Downy woodpecker eating suetI'm still heavily into new camera learning mode. It will be awhile before I get it figured out to my satisfaction.

Although the picture of the male Downy woodpecker was impressive, it was a first attempt at using my zoom lens and I chopped off his tail.

This entire woodpecker with tail is female Downy who came to feast. The picture was taken through the glass because it's too cold to have the window open.

The suet is frozen solid and does require some effort. I love the way the woodpeckers brace themselves with their tails to counteract their forceful pecking.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cozy in Cables Big Kid Sweater Pattern

Cozy In Cables Sweater in Lambs Pride bulky

Sweater is knit in the round from the bottom up to the underarm. The upper front and upper back are knit back and forth and then joined at the shoulders with three needle bind off. The sleeves are picked up at the armhole edge and knit down in the round.

No seams. No sewing required.

The 32 inch size is given first with numbers for 36 inches and 40 inches in parens.

The back and front are the same.

Yarn: 600 (750, 900) yards of bulky weight wool. Sweater in picture was knit with Lamb's Pride Bulky.

Needles: Size 10.5, 24 or 32 inch circular plus your preferred needles for knitting sleeves in the round: 10.5 double points, second 10.5 circular (for 2 circular method), or long 10.5 circular for Magic Loop.

Other needs:
cable needle
2 stitch markers
A second circular of same or smaller size OR a large stitch holder
tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Gauge in Stockinette: 3 stitches per inch. 4.5 rows per inch. (Approximate gauge is OK for CIC. It will fit some child who needs it.)

Finished Size: 32 (36, 40) inches at chest, 21 (23, 25) inches in length.

k - knit
p - purl
C4F - cable 4 to the front. Put 2 stitches on a cable needle and hold in front of work (toward you). Knit the next two stitches, then knit the two stitches off the cable needle.
C4B - cable 4 to the back. Put 2 stitches on a cable needle and hold in back of work (away from you). Knit the next two stitches, then knit the two stitches off the cable needle.
k2tog - knit two stitches together (right slanting decrease)
ssk - slip knitwise, slip knitwise, return slipped stitches to left needle and knit them together (left slanting decrease)
p2tog - purl two stitches together.
RS - right side
WS - wrong side
*k1, p1* - repeat knit 1, purl 1 the number of times corresponding to the size you are knitting.

Body of sweater from ribbing to underarm
Cast on 98 (110, 122) stitches, loosely.

Join and place marker (left side marker).

k1, p1 ribbing for 49 (55, 61) stitches.
Place marker. (right side marker)

Continue k1, p1 ribbing in the round for 2.5 inches.
End at the left side marker.

Circular Cozy In Cables Pattern:
Round 1: k10 (12,14) , p2, k4, p2, *k1, p1* 6 (7,8) times, k1, p2, k4, p2, k10 (12,14) across front. Repeat across back.
Round 2: k10 (12,14), p2, C4B, p2, k1, *k1, p1* 5 (6,7) times, k2, p2, C4F, p2, k10 (12,14) across front. Repeat across back.
Round 3: k10 (12,14), p2, k4, p2, *k1, p1* 6 (7,8) times, k1, p2, k4, p2, k10 (12,14) across front. Repeat across back.
Round 4: k10 (12,14), p2, k4, p2, k1, *k1, p1* 5 (6,7) times, k2, p2, k4, p2, k10 (12,14) across front. Repeat across back.

Work Circular Cozy In Cables pattern for approximately 10.5 (11.5, 12.5) inches, ending at the left side marker after Row 3. (Total length, 13 (14, 15) inches.)

Knit Row 4 of Circular Cozy in Cables Pattern across 49 (55, 61) stitches of sweater front.

Put the 49 (55, 61) front stitches on holder or slip onto a second circular needle, removing markers.

Upper Back
Continue around working Row 4 of Circular Cozy in Cables Pattern across 49 (55, 61) stitches of sweater back.

Turn work.

Flat Cozy in Cables Pattern:
Row 1: (WS) p10 (12,14), k2, p4, k2, p1, *k1, p1* 6 (7,8) times, k2, p4, k2, p10 (12,14)
Row 2: (RS) k10 (12,14), p2, C4B, p2, k1, *k1, p1* 5 (6,7) times, k2, p2, C4F, p2, k10 (12,14)
Row 3: (WS) p10 (12,14), k2, p4, k2, p1, *k1, p1* 6 (7,8) times, k2, p4, k2, p10 (12,14)
Row 4: (RS) k10 (12,14), p2, k4, p2, k1, *k1, p1* 5 (6,7) times, k2, p2, k4, p2, k10 (12,14)

Knit Flat Cozy in Cables Pattern until measurement from underarm to top measures 6.5 (7.5, 8.5) inches, ending after Row 3.

Back Neck Ribbing
Row 1: (RS) k10 (12, 14), *k1, p1* 14 (15, 16) times, k11 (13, 15)
Row 2: (WS) p10 (12, 14), *p1, k1* 14 (15, 16) times, p11 (13, 15)

Work neck ribbing until total sleeve opening measures 8 (9, 10) inches, ending after Row 2.

Leave stitches on needle or place on holder if you need the needle to work the front.
Do not bind off.
Cut yarn, leaving 8 feet of yarn attached to sweater for later use in binding off.

Upper Front and Front Neck Ribbing
Join yarn to start Row 1 of Flat Cozy in Cables Pattern, a WS row.
Work same as upper back and back neck ribbing.

Shoulder Seam and Bindoff
With right sides together, bind off 10 (12, 14) stitches on the first shoulder using 8 foot yarn tail and 3 needle bind off.
Without breaking yarn, bind off VERY LOOSELY in ribbing across the outside (away from you) neck edge, stopping with 11 (13, 15) stitches remaining on needle.

Turn sweater and bind off 10 (12, 14) stitches on the second shoulder using 8 foot yarn tail and 3 needle bind off.
Without breaking yarn, bind off VERY LOOSELY in ribbing across the remaining neck edge and weave yarn into first shoulder bind off.

Turn sweater again and finish binding off the first edge weaving yarn into second shoulder bind off.

Make sure the neck opening will pull over your head before you cut and weave in the ends.

Starting at underarm, pick up 26 (30, 34) stitches before the shoulder seam and 26 (30, 34) stitches after the shoulder seam.

The four stitches centered on the shoulder seam will be the cable and need to be on the same needle. (The entire cable pattern with the purl stitch border is 8 stitches, but only the actual cable stitches need to be together on the same needle.)

Place first marker 4 stitches before the shoulder seam to mark the start of the cable. Place an underarm marker at the center underarm.

The Sleeve Rounds start at the underarm marker.

Sleeve Rounds Without Decreases
Round 1: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 2: knit to first/cable marker, p2, C4F, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 3: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 4: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker

Sleeve Rounds With Decreases
Round 1: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 2: knit to first/cable marker, p2, C4F, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 3: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 4: k1, k2tog, knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to three stitches before underarm marker, ssk, k1

Knit the 4 rounds of Sleeve Rounds Without Decreases two times.

Knit the 4 rounds of Sleeve Rounds With Decreases until 32 (34, 36) stitches remain.

Knit the 4 rounds of Sleeve Rounds Without Decreases until total sleeve measures 15 (16, 17) inches, ending after Round 2.

Decrease 6 stitches around sleeve as follows:
k5 (6, 7), k2tog, k5, p2tog, k, k2tog, k, p2tog, k4, k2tog, k4 (5, 6) k2tog. 26 (28, 30) stitches remain.

Note: The p2tog, k, k2tog, k, p2tog in the decrease row should fall in the 8 stitches of the cable pattern.

Sleeve Ribbing
Sizes 32 and 40: k1, p1 for 8 rounds.
Size 36: p1, k1 for 8 rounds
Bind off in ribbing.

Knit second sleeve same as first, substituting C4B for C4F.

Wash the sweater in mild soap (I use baby shampoo).
Lay out flat to block and dry.

Copyright Marguerite Byrne, 2007.
Send comments and corrections to knittingviolet@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Even The Bluebirds Have Icicles

Bluebird house with icicles The ice from the minor ice storm lingers on.

Blue sky and icy tree topsThe good news:
The sun is shining.

The ice is beautiful in the sun.

The air is calm.

Thanks to the snow covering, it's not slippery in most spots.

The ice is not too heavy for the trees to hold without branches breaking.

We still have power.

Dog walk field on an icy morningThe Worrisome News:

It's much colder today and the ice is not going to melt in the sunshine.

If a breeze comes up, there will be trees and tree limbs down all over.

All the power lines out here are above ground and strung through wooded areas. You can see ice covered power lines in this picture taken on our back three acres.

Close up on ice on the evergree branchesHere's a closeup of some evergreen branches. As well as being heavy, the ice makes them brittle.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Minor Ice Storm

Overview of minor ice storm taken out the front windowMarguerite's definition of a major ice storm: Freezing rain and slippery conditions with trees and large branches crashing down and/or causing a power outage of over two hours.

So far, this has been a minor ice storm for us. There are some small and medium branches down and the power is still on at our house. Surrounding areas have not been so fortunate.

It may stay a minor ice storm as long as wind doesn't blow and there is no more rain or snow until the ice melts.

Close up of ice on evergreen needlesRight now we have about a quarter inch of ice topped with about a quarter inch of snow.

The top picture was taken out the front window.

See the evergreen branches (lower right side of picture) dragging on the ground? I zoomed in on them with my new camera to better show what's making them drag.

Downy woodpecker eating suet We feed lots of suet in the winter, bringing the woodpeckers right to the window.

This male downy woodpecker is the first bird shot with the new camera.

We have many woodpeckers nesting on our property: Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied. We've spotted a Red-headed woodpecker and a Pileated woodpecker, but they were just passing through.

Sunny looking disgruntledSunny had her annual checkup and shots last week and passed her weigh-in with flying colors. She is much happier, healthier, peppier, and more agile with the extra weight gone.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sky, Socks, and Shade of Purple

Monotone gray Saturday Sky for January 13, 2007 with brown landscapeWhen the sky is monotone dreary, I like to include some bleak landscape in the Saturday sky picture for more interest.

My personal rule: If it's winter and the roads are safe and the power is on, I will not complain about the weather. So, if this sounds like complaining, it isn't.

Last week we had unseasonably warm weather, but the temps have fallen back below freezing today in preparation to deliver the snow and sleet forecast for tomorrow (Sunday).

Raggi CIC socksThe little balls of Raggi left over from my Raggi socks were sitting on the table near my favorite knitting spot.

A few evenings ago when I couldn't face knitting another row of Peerie Brocade (yes, I'm plugging away at that second sleeve), I picked up some size 5 needles, took a guess at how big I could make CIC socks with the leftover Raggi, cast on 32 stitches, and enjoyed knitting these pretty little things.

I think they're just big enough to qualify for the CIC_Knit List big kids challenge. If not, some little CIC kid can wear them and be warmer.

Pattern: Basic 32 stitch sock with k3p1 ribbing cuff and instep

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, 7 rows/inch in stockinette

This quiz does an excellent job of taking some of my personality challenges and stating them as positive attributes. Also, I like the color grape a lot.

You Are Grape

You are bold and a true individual. You are very different and very okay with that.
People know you as a straight shooter. You're very honest, even when the truth hurts.
You are also very grounded and practical. No one is going to sneak anything by you.
People enjoy your fresh approach to life. And it's this honesty that makes you a very innovative person.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Blogiversary Questions - Children

Time to answer a few more blogiversary questions. Today is family day.

Nancy asked . . .
I know that all your family is not in the state. How many children do you have and what states are they in?
I have two children, Heather and John, and each child has a daughter, Kimberly (Heather) and Sydney (John and Anne).

Daughter HeatherDaughter Heather, the eldest child, lives in Michigan about 45 miles to the East.

Ever since she was a child, Heather's face has done strange things when it has a camera pointed at it.

She's a beautiful woman and occasionally I try to get a picture of her when she doesn't know it's happening. This is one of them.

Granddaughter Kimberly LouiseKimmy (Kimberly Louise), Heather's daughter, is 11 years old and in the 6th grade.

Let this be a warning to all grandparents - those babies grow up fast!

Kimmy has the same problem being photographed as her mother. There is no moment in real life when her pretty smile looks like the smile in this picture.

Son John and SydneySon John, the youngest child, lives in Idaho about 2,000 miles to the West of my house.

He is married to Anne, and their daughter Sydney will be 2 years old in April.

Sheri in GA who blogs at Scrappy Knitter asked . . .
My question is about your 2 granddaughters, Kimmy and Sydney. Do you knit for them? Sydney is a doll! Is Kimmy going with you to see Sydney this trip?
When Kimmy was little, I did knit for her. She outgrew things as quick as I could produce them.

As it stands now, the girls have so many cute things to wear that I'm uninspired.

I'm not sure when Kimmy will be going to Idaho with me again. It can only happen when school is out, though, so she didn't go with me on the last November trip you're asking about.

Shanidy who blogs at Purls and Curls asked . . .
I think that Sydney is just adorable...her face and her name. Was she named after someone, or just a name that mom liked?

Anne and Sydney in Anne's hatSydney was named after Sydney, Australia, the city where her parents decided to have a baby.

Her middle name is Anne, after her mother, Anne.

Jill who blogs at Just Another Creative Thing To Do asked . . .
What is something you do to make the distance less of an obstacle grandparenting-wise other than frequent trips? It is clear you are the doting grandma. ;o)
No one in the family, including me, is very talkative on the phone, so this is a problem.

So far I've managed four* trips a year to Idaho and will try to continue that schedule. But, that doesn't answer your question.

The most appreciated way we have of communicating is John's blog which has turned into the story of Sydney's life complete with pictures.

*I only flew to Idaho three times in 2006. I cheated and counted the visit the Idaho family made to Michigan as one of my trips.

Linda asked . . .
Do you have any "rules" for being a grandmother - or do you just "love them to pieces?"
The A#1 rule is that the parents are the parents. Do not give unsolicited advice and not to scoff at any of the modern ways of doing things.

Occasionally I find myself mentioning how things were done almost 40 years ago when I had my babies. When I'm alert, I can see their eyes glaze over and we change the subject.

I'm so thankful both my granddaughters have good parents. I have no advice for situations where that isn't true.

Kathy who blogs at Runs With Needles asked . . .
When do you plan on teaching Sydney to knit?
There are women in my family who don't knit and don't want to knit. Now that I think about it, I'm the only one who doesn't fit that profile.

When and if Sydney shows some interest in knitting, I'll be happy to help her get started. If it's not something she loves doing, I will understand and won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Birthday Socks Done

My birthday socks knit with Christmas gift Step yarnPattern: Basic sock with wide ribbing on cuff and instep

Yarn: Austermann Step with Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil, a Christmas gift from John, Anne, and Sydney

Color: 18 (grays and red)

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

Thank you John, Anne, and Sydney for this wonderful, soft, pretty sock yarn which is now my finished pair of birthday socks.

The socks are going to sit by my knitting place for a few days so I can fondle them. I'm going to wait until my birthday, January 20, before wearing them. I'll even plan ahead and have something red clean to wear with them. Because who wants to wear gray on their birthday?

I'm conservative enough to like my socks to somewhat match what I'm wearing.

Here is the quiz to prove it:

You scored 76% which means you are


You believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals.

Conservative or Liberal
Create MySpace Quizzes

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Sock Yarn

New Sock YarnThe mail lady brought a box of sock yarn from Simply Socks Yarn Company. It's all earmarked for birthday socks but I reserve the right to change my mind.

Son John and dog trainer Gail both have a birthday on March 18. Gail is the only non-family member who gets my handknitted socks.

Son John asked for maroon socks to go with his weekend Washington Redskin gear. I don't think he expected this to be a difficult request, but I've had a few failed attempts at coming up with the right color red yarn.

On the bottom row of the picture is Meilenneit deep red (left) and Meilenneit burgundy (right). I think the deep red is too red and the burgundy is too dark. Sigh.

Next step, I'm going to send him a sample of each and get his opinion. It's getting to be knit time if the socks are going to be done by March. He doesn't have huge feet, but they're a lot bigger than mine.

When I asked Gail about a color preference, she pointed to her 2005 Christmas socks she was wearing and said she like the colorful ones. We who know sock yarn know that Opal Lollipop 1010 is only moderately colorful, so I selected moderately colorful Petticoat 1291 (upper right in picture) for her.

Gail is a basic dresser so I'm still deciding if I dare knit some lace in her cuffs. Petticoat is very pretty with lace cuffs.

Hundertwasser SeeschlangeDaughter Heather with a May birthday asked for brown socks, but she does like them a little interesting.

On the upper left of the yarn picture is Opal Hundertwasser 1436, a sock yarn with colors inspired by this Hundertwasser painting.

I'm hoping this will please her, but I have plenty of time to come with alternatives while I'm knitting the March birthday socks for John and Gail.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday Miscellany

Icy Sidewalk in the Back Yard

Icy sidewalk on an icy morningLast night (Sunday) it started to rain. The temperature was dropping and I was giving thanks that I was not going to be driving to work before sunrise on Monday morning.

Sure enough, this morning (Monday), the local road report was full of black ice (invisible ice on the asphalt) warnings and reports of slideoffs and collisions.

An also retired friend and I decided to postpone our monthly lunch together until next week, and I settled in, happy to stay home on such a day.

Celebrating Severance
Tomorrow is the three year anniversary of my severance date. It hardly seems possible it has been that long since I've worked in Corporate America.

I was well-suited for my job. Most of the time I enjoyed it. But I like it even better being retired.

Mom and her new microwaveNew Microwave

I've been wanting to post this picture of Mom and her new microwave ever since I took it on Christmas Eve. The subject hasn't fit into a post until now. How can it not fit when the title is "Miscellany"?

Mom and I picked out the model she wanted and put it on her Amazon Wishlist. Then, sister Doris bought it for her and UPS delivered it right to Mom's door on the third floor of her apartment building.

All I had to do was remove the old microwave and get the new one out of the box and onto the counter.

The hardest part was removing the old one. We guess it was about fifteen years old and microwaves were heavier fifteen years ago. They were also less powerful but way more expensive.

Mom was certainly past due for a microwave upgrade and she's very happy with it.

Pappy up closePappy, up close.

We don't know how old he is, but in the past year he's gotten gray on his cheeks and eyebrows. He still has plenty of spirit and energy, though. Especially when he spots a rodent.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Step Socks, Sky, and S3 IS

Step 18 socks with cuffs almost donePattern: Basic sock with wide ribbing on cuff and instep

Yarn: Austermann Step with Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil

Color: 18 (grays and red)

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

These are my birthday socks knit with yarn from a Christmas gift. The perfect knit to fit in while I'm procrastinating finishing the second Peerie Brocade sleeve.

They're pretty basic. I did try a little purl pattern on the cuff to jazz them up a bit, but it doesn't show well in the almost black yarn and wasn't worth doing. Although it did give me a little break from the ribbing.

The yarn is soft and lovely. I'm looking forward to getting these socks on my feet. I'm not looking forward to getting another year older.

Saturday Sky for January 6, 2007The sky keeps trying to clear and the dark clouds keep moving in to prevent it.

This past week we've had unseasonably warm weather, a few days in the low 50s. Instead of enjoying it, Michiganders are concerned about the fruit trees thinking it's time to bloom when there are three months of winter ahead.

Next week the forecast is back to winter weather. Remind me not to complain. After all, it is January.

New S3 IS digital cameraThis was my Christmas present from Bob. I hadn't asked for a new, bigger, better camera and was completely surprised and excited to get it.

It's a tad more complicated than my little point and click model, but once I figure out how to use it I'm going to have great fun taking better pictures to share with you all.