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, March 31, 2009

Off to Idaho

Idaho from the airTomorrow morning, April 1, I'm headed to the airport before the sun comes up to spend a week with Granddaughter Sydney and her parents.

I'm taking a vacation from blogging while I'm gone. Lord willing, blogging will resume sometime around April 9.

I'm also taking a vacation from knitting. Vacations are an opportunity to give my hands and wrists a rest. Not a single knitting needle or scrap of yarn is going with me.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook for March 30

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Monday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY March 30, 2009...

Outside my window... The sun is shining and the bird feeders need filling. It's so nice to see the sun after the rain and snow we had over the weekend.

I am thinking... About all the things I need to do before leaving for Idaho on Wednesday. Most important is laundry and packing so that's what I'm working on today.

I am thankful for... Having the taxes under control and delivered to the accountant.

From the kitchen... One of the less desirable signs of spring - the first ant invasion of the season.

I am wearing... A red, long-sleeved fleece top, jeans, handknit red socks, New Balance walking shoes.

I am creating...
The boring part of the Lighthouse Gansey is done and I've just started on the fun, interesting stitch patterns. Details in a future post.

I am going... To Northern Idaho on Wednesday morning for a week with Granddaughter Sydney and her parents.

I am reading... Just finished (actually I skipped through a lot of it) It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh after seeing it in the library and wondering if it might provide motivation to sort some things out and tidy up.

The result? Motivation is still tepid. After all, I don't want to get too tired before my trip.

I am hoping... For a good visit with my Idaho family, ontime flights, and stress free airport experiences.

I am hearing... The Phoebes' call. They just arrived back last week.

Around the house... There are piles of sorted laundry, an open suitcase, and the quiet noise of the washing machine.

One of my favorite things...
All the little signs of spring.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Wednesday I'm going to arrive in Spokane, drive to Post Falls Idaho, and give everyone a big hug.

Thursday morning I'm going to babysit Sydney so her dad can go to work earlier than usual.

Friday morning I'm going to Sydney's preschool to help color Easter eggs. Afterward the kids are coming back to the house for a 4th birthday party.

Saturday is another birthday party with family friends.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Mr. Cardinal had a great time washing off the remains of winter in the creek.

Same bathing Cardinal in the water. I didn't notice the second Cardinal on the branch until I loaded the pictures onto my laptop.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chat Back for March 28

Answering questions from comments and email.

Dorothy asked . . .
I didn't know you were taking a trip. Is it to Idaho? When are you leaving?

I'm leaving for Northern Idaho before the sun comes up on Wednesday, April 1. Granddaughter Sydney is having her 4th birthday during the week I'll be there, complete with two separate parties.

Here she is admiring her birthday socks that arrived a few weeks ago.

Son John also received birthday socks in March. I swiped both of these pictures from his blog, Tah Tales, where there are more Sydney pictures.

Betty asked . . .
I was wondering if you had a not-so-difficult suggestion for making the knitting (of a 19 inch leg fencing sock) a little more interesting.

Having never knit socks with a long cuff, I'm totally unqualified to answer this question. I'm guessing a 19 inch cuff hand knit sock won't stay up without elastic, even if knit all in ribbing and especially when playing sports.

I would stick with the ribbing and see how it goes, especially for the first pair.

Do you have a pattern? For 19 inches, there's probably some shaping required?

Does anyone who really knows the answer have suggestions for Betty?

Renna asked . . .
I do hope your vet bills have not been due to anything serious!

Nothing serious at the vet.

Glory had her annual checkup and shots and we bought a year's worth of heartworm preventative. She's twelve years old now and in good health for her age.

Pappy got taken in with an anal gland infection. I'll spare you the details of that. He's being treated with antibiotics and seems to be much better.

Carrie asked . . .
You have two weird comments on your blog that I don't understand -- do blogs get spam??

Yes blogs get spam.

I’ve been deleting the spam comments as I find them.

I hesitate to start using the box where you have to enter the misshapen letters to leave a comment because I hate doing it on other blogs. If the spam doesn’t go away soon, I’ll have to reconsider. Haloscan is usually pretty good at keeping out the spam and I’ve been reporting it to them.

Shirley asked . . .
Maybe you can wear your Trekking socks just for fun.

Regular 64 stitch socks knit for others don't fit my narrow feet as snugly as I like, so I didn't keep them.

They have a new home on Mom's feet. She's been wearing out some of her handknit socks and needed some replacements. Plus, she likes them!

Mom's happy. I'm happy because Mom's happy. The socks are happy to be loved.

Sue asked . . .
Did you use your tried and true 7x1 rib pattern? (For the Panda Cotton socks)

Having no confidence in the Panda Cotton to stay up with a k7p1 rib, I used a k3p1 rib. Since there is no self-patterning in this yarn, they look fine with the narrower ribbing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gold Socks and Gold Finches

This color, Panda Cotton Sahara, is a magic color that's actually yellow and gold but photographs as beige and tan.

I didn't knit these socks overnight. The yarn picture posted two days ago was actually taken a week ago. The socks were started last week.

The Panda cotton (55% bamboo, 24% cotton, 21% elastic nylon) was a nice, smooth knit. The yarn is a little splitty. I had to watch my stitches to make sure I wasn't leaving any loops sticking out. I think the pointy Options needles helped keep the stitches clean and even.

The yarn passed the test of OK to knit. It has yet to take the tests of socks being worn and socks being washed. I'll report again when testing is complete.

Pattern: Basic cuff down sock knit on 56 stitches around.

Yarn: Panda Cotton, 55% bamboo, 24% cotton, 21% elastic nylon blend.

Color: Sahara, which is really yellow even though it looks beige in all the pictures.

Needles: Options 2.5mm.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch.

The male Gold Finches are turning more and more gold.

The finch on the right is a female. They don't change color.

We've been having some nice weather. 50s in the daytime, low 30s at night. This weekend the temps are going to dip and "snow likely" is the forecast. It's going to melt quickly. Or else!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Whining About Color

A few months ago I grabbed up this Trekking XXL yarn (Color # 311) at my LYS thinking it was gorgeous. It did look pretty in the skein. Knit up it looks not so gorgeous. I realized this after just a few inches on the first cuff but kept knitting just to keep it out of my stash.

The stitch pattern is a knit/purl V over seven stitches. The Vs are separated by a purl column.

The colors are not bright and clear. There are blotches of other colors in the bands, making for a muddy look in what I imagined would be bright colors. Why didn't I notice this in the store?

The original plan was to knit these as birthday socks for Daughter Heather, but these aren't nice enough for birthday socks. Good thing there's still almost two months before her birthday.

Little Sister Carrie has a birthday in April. She is Vegan and doesn't wear wool, so we're going to try some Panda Cotton, 55% bamboo, 24% cotton, 21% elastic nylon blend.

Her request was "I would LOVE some primarily beige/tan socks or (second choice) some primarily navy socks." Doesn't that sound easy?

After checking several online yarn stores, I ordered Sahara, the color in the picture. (This picture was swiped from the yarn store.) On my monitor it looks like beiges and tans. Perfect.

When it arrived, it was bright yellow with several shades of gold. Very pretty, but no one in my sock recipient universe wears yellow.

Online I went to try again. I tried several online yarn stores with large Panda Cotton color selections and couldn't find a beige/tan mix without some other color(s) mixed in.

Hummmm. Even in my picture, it doesn't look yellow. Sahara is the top color. Trust me, it's yellow.

I gave up on finding beige/tan and ordered a navy mix. The newly arrived color on the bottom is Mood Indigo.

The yellow is going to be a test pair of socks for me. Since I've never used this yarn before, it will give me a chance to get an accurate gauge and get a feel for knitting with the bamboo and elastic. Most important, I'll get to wash them and see what happens. Maybe they'll fade to beige?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chat Back for March 21

Answering questions from comments and email.

Dorothy asked . . .
Are you using the same blue? (as the swatch for the Lighthouse Gansey)

Yes. I ordered the two skeins of swatching Cotlin in Glacier/light blue thinking if it knit comfortably and washed nicely I would use it for a Gansey. After I got the yarn I remembered I've been wanting to knit the Lighthouse Gansey, so I ordered the pattern.

When I went back to Knitpicks to order enough yarn for the sweater, I noticed they have many new Cotlin colors for spring. Some were tempting, but I still stuck with the blue for my order.

Susan . . .
Ooh, have you seen that Knit Picks will have Comfy in sportsweight?


After washing a Comfy sweater multiple times, I wrote a brief yarn review of worsted weight Comfy here.

Kathleen asked . . .
You were doing this (Chenille) as a KAL with someone else weren't you? I was just wondering how her sweater was coming?

Dorothy is a smart lady. She caught on to the pattern problems before I did and stopped knitting before completing the entire sweater back. She plans to frog.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chenille, March 2008-March 2009, R.I.P

Chenille has been frogged.

After Tuesday's post, I spread it out to look at it one more time. That's when I noticed that even the washed and blocked swatch did not transition well between the garter border and the start of the cables. There was no love left.

Thursday morning shortly after my first cup of coffee, I grabbed the bag, ripped out the stitch holders, and started frogging. There is now nothing left of Chenille except some slightly kinked light pink alpaca and the swatch. Since the swatch has been washed and blocked, I don't want to use it in whatever this yarn eventually becomes, but I'll have it if I need it.

According to the pattern found in Janet Szabo's Aran Sweater Design, she "took advantage of cable splay to make the bottom edge flare out a bit giving the illusion of waist shaping."

In this picture from the book, I don't see a wavy bottom edge, not an illusion of waist shaping.

There are still many things I like about this pattern. If I were to start it again, I'd begin the cable with the crosses and forget the cable splay idea.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Swatching for Lighthouse Gansey

The Lighthouse Gansey has been on my mental want-to-knit-that list for several years now, but I didn't even have the pattern until a few days ago.

The pattern seems to be well-written and follows the Gansey traditions of knitting all in one piece, no seaming, underarm gussets, and drop sleeves.

A few weeks ago I bought two skeins of Knitpicks Cotlin, a DK weight 70% Tanguis Cotton, 30% Linen yarn. I like a firm fabric when knitting cotton so I figured I'd want to knit it at about 6 stitches/inch - the same gauge as the Lighthouse Gansey. So I picked up some #3 needles and knit a 70 stitch swatch.

Gauge was perfect! The knitting was pleasant and the stitch definition good. Cotlin looks like a great yarn for this pattern if it passes the laundry test.

This is the swatch after laundry.

Unlike my winter woolens, my summer sweaters are laundered frequently and I have no patience for hand washing or other special care in the summertime.

The swatch went through a regular warm load of laundry and a regular warm cycle in the dryer. It came out just slightly damp and looking good. It retained its shape and stitch definition. I was so pleased, I signed right on to Knitpicks and ordered enough for the Lighthouse Gansey.

A couple cautions:
1-There was no shrinkage in stitches/inch but I forgot to measure the rows/inch before washing. There may have been shrinkage in rows/inch. I plan to do all my length measuring by counting rows and using the washed row gauge to calculate the measurements.

2-The washability and other desirable characteristics of this yarn are based on a 6 stitch/inch gauge. That's a nice, firm fabric. Knitting at a looser gauge may result in bagging and/or stretching that I didn't experience.

Pattern: Lighthouse Gansey by Anne Bosch.

Yarn: Knitpicks Cotlin. 70% Tanguis Cotton, 30% Linen. DK weight.

Color: Glacier.

Needles: Options #3.

Gauge: 6 stitches/inch, 8.5 rows/inch in pattern.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Forsaken Projects

Peacock Plumes Bolero
This has been sitting in plain site in a knitting bag since last June. It's my oldest unfrogged, unfinished project and I want it done. I just don't want to use my allotted knitting time to finish it.

Wonder how long it would take to finish it. It needs sewing together and there's a knit on front border band with a knit tie.

The yarn isn't something I'd use for another project, so frogging isn't a good option. Maybe when it's done I'll be surprised at how much I love wearing it? But I doubt it.

The last post on the bolero is here. It has all the project information.

Many hours of knitting went into this sweater back before I decided I don't like the light pink color for me and that garter stitch bottom band looks awful.

I swatched with a garter band and it blocked out OK, but I'm not sure the larger sweater is going to follow suit.

My tentative plans for this sweater are to finish it and send it to Akkol, Kazakakhstan. To do that, it needs to be done by August.

If the bottom band doesn't block out nice, I'll cut it off and knit on some ribbing.

It is not a good thing to grow to dislike a project before even starting the sleeves. There are many other projects in my head I'd rather be knitting. Chenille is not safe from being frogged yet.

The last post on Chenille is here. It has all the project information.

Immediately after posting about how much I didn't like the way this scarf was turning out (you can read it here), I frogged it.

It is now a hat for Akkol, Kazakakhstan. The yarn is happier and I'm happier. I only wish I'd been as decisive in the early stages of the bolero and Chenille.

Pattern: Simple stockinette hat with ribbed fold back rim.

Yarn: Patternworks Bretton. 70% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 5% alpaca knit along with some fingering weight wool/mohair from the stash.

Color: Pink Diamond.

Needles: Addi Turbo #9.

Gauge: 4 stitches/inch.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Little Signs of Spring March 14

Things are still pretty colorless. One has to look hard for the signs of spring.

There's still an occasional pile of dirty snow lingering around unmelted. (But not in this picture.)

This past week it's gone way below freezing at night. Next week there will be some nights it doesn't hit freezing. How exciting.

We're not ready to plant annuals yet, though. In SW Michigan the average last frost date is the middle of May.

The bluebirds are back and checking out the nest boxes.

Robins are back, as well.

Yesterday I was thrilled to see a little white snowdrop poking up through the oak leaves.

Today was even more exciting. There was a bee on it. The first bee spotted this spring.

Little things mean a lot.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Flashback Friday - Pappy Learns to Play

On the second Friday of each month I go back five years to pick out one of my favorite blog posts for that month and repost it here on Flashback Friday.

This post was originally written in March, 2004.

Pappy Learns to Play
Autumn 2002, we spotted a little adult Papillon on Petfinder who needed a home. (Warning: Petfinder is one of the saddest sites on the internet. If you're soft hearted for animals, don't go there unless you want to add to your family.)

Pappy was 250 miles away living in a foster home. The details of his history are unknown. Unpleasant things had happened to him as evidenced by his broken ear, the scar across his back, and his tendency to run and hide. He didn't know how to play.

Rescue groups are usually very careful about placing their dogs. I understand. It may be the last chance a dog has to find a stable, loving home.

It took over a month to get approved to adopt Pappy. We had to fill out a seven page application, provide personal references, vet references, and have a home inspection.

Finally the day arrived when we could meet Pappy in person and bring him home. He came into the house and displayed his fear by peeing on at least a dozen upright objects and running under the bed. That night he climbed on top of the bed and slept at our feet. It was a beginning.

Most rescue dogs come with "issues". Pappy was no exception. He didn't know he was safe and loved. He was a long way from being comfortable enough to play.

Picture of Violet holding Pappy
The first month we loved him when he would allow it. The rest of the time we left him alone to get used to his new home. Then, he started doggy school.

His first homework assignment was an exercise created just for him. He was to be held and petted by person A while person B fed him little pieces of turkey dog. It worked. He started to learn about love and trust and letting us hold him. He still wasn't ready to play.

Whenever we played tug with Sunny, our other dog, Pappy headed under the bed. By the summer of 2003, he would watch the tug game from the far sidelines. When we tried to get him to play, he acted like he didn't know what to do. One day he grabbed a toy snake in his mouth and ran under the table and shook it back and forth. He wouldn't hold onto it when we tried to take the other end, but it was a start. It was almost like playing. Very tentative playing.

Pappy is very intelligent. He excelled at doggy school beginner class and intermediate obedience class, so he was promoted to advanced class where the dogs do agility. Time to play!

Oops! Pappy didn't know how to play. The first week was awful. I dragged him around the agility course three times. He was so upset that I wasn't sure I could bear to bring him back for the second week.

Week two he was excited to go to doggy school. He really wanted to be there, but he was still afraid to do the agility course. I dragged him through again.

The third week was about the same as the second. Gail the trainer coached me to have patience. We could both see that he wanted to do it. I decided to give it a little more time.

Week four was a miracle. It was as though he'd been pep talking himself all week. "Pappy, you know you can do that stuff and it looks like a lot of fun. You have all the love you need and now it's time to play!"

He was very excited to be there. He relaxed and went sailing over the hurdles, through the tunnels, up and down the A-frame, and through the hoops. Pappy was playing and loving it!

Now Pappy will tentatively play tug with his snake. He always acts like he's thrilled to be trying, so we keep working on it.

It's only been sixteen months since he joined the family. He still has more to learn about living in a home where he's loved and where it's OK to play.

Picture of Pappy with the snake

Follow up, March 2009
Pappy is totally relaxed now. He knows he is loved and cared for.

He loves to play, he still does agility, and he never goes under the bed.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Birthday Socks Done, John and Gail

The extra skein of yarn arrived from Harmony Yarn in Idaho and the socks are done and ready to be mailed out for Son John's March 18th birthday.

Pattern: Basic cuff down sock on 70 stitches around.

Stitch pattern is Boxed Cables from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 2 - Cables, Pattern 141.

I like that it has cables but still has plenty of stretch and give like socks should have because each cable ends after three crosses. It's manly and something about the looks of it pleases my eyes. Plus it was really fun to knit.

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet, 90% wool, 25% Nylon.

Color: 01

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch.

Dog Trainer Gail also has a birthday on March 18.

She wears my socks almost exclusively now that she's built up a collection. A few months ago she mentioned a green pair she once noticed on my feet and was hoping I was knitting her a pair from the same yarn.

Next doggy school evening, I took every pair of socks I own with green in them so she could show me the desired yarn. Rainforest II Raupe, a retired Opal pattern.

At the time I told her the yarn was no longer available. Then I came home and found/bought a skein on eBay. She will be surprised to see them.

Pattern: Plain wide ribbing, k7, p1, on 64 stitches. When I knit this colorway for myself, I tried several stitch patterns and frogged them. It begs to be by itself and show its caterpillar colors. Also, Gail likes her socks plain and snug.

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

Color: Rainforest II, Raupe. Raupe is German for caterpillar.

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday Wings - Gold Finch Update

A little more yellow than the last picture from two weeks ago.

This evening, winter is winning the tug of war with spring. Low tonight will be 18 F/-8 C with some light snow flurries. But winter is going to lose this battle eventually. The yellower the finches get, the closer to spring we are.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trying Out New Pathways

If you like muttering to yourself while trying to figure out what a book is taking about, I highly recommend New Pathways for Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi.

The first chapter, called the "Entryway chapter", gives instructions for knitting two little sample socks in order to "be ready to travel happily along brand new pathways of sock architecture."

I knit one of each, but I'm not sure I'm traveling yet. I am certain I'm not traveling happily. I'm traveling with hesitation.

The sock on the left is the Little Sky Sock. Little Coriolis is on the right.

Little Coriolis is my first toe up sock ever. It uses the figure 8 cast on and I was way overdue to learn that sock knitting skill.

Front views of the two socks above.

My two sample socks are done. Now I have to ask the question: Is there any reason to knit more socks using these "new pathways"?

If there is an answer to "why?", it's to do it for the fun of it. Or the challenge of it.

I haven't come up with the final answer yet, but for now I need to finish some March birthday socks using old, simple pathways.

If you've knit socks from this book, I'd love to hear your comments on the process and/or the finished result.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Knitpicks Needle Sizer

For my entire knitting life, I've always had Boye knitting gauges. Cheap. Available at the discount store.

It never occurred to me that there could be something better until recently when I started using two different sizes of #1 needles, 2.25mm and 2.5mm. Somewhat difficult to eyeball the difference between the two.

The Boye needle sizer has only one #1 hole, 2.25mm, but it's plastic and I can force a 2.25mm needle through the hole if I try hard.

Suspecting, but not being sure that the Knitpicks needle gauge has a separate hole for each #1 size, I added one into my last order to help get to the free shipping minimum. Needle gauges are something I mislay often and I like to have multiples, so I was willing to take a chance at only $2.99.

I was pleasantly surprised at how superior it turned out to be. It has the following features not found on the Boye:
  • Made of thick heavy plastic. No cheating allowed.
  • A centimeter ruler and an inch ruler.
  • A magnified gauge counter strip that goes all the way up to 6 inches and 15 centimeters.
  • The frequently used 4 inch/10cm measurements are vividly marked - and they're not the same line. 4 inches is NOT 10 centimeters. 4 inches is 10.2 centimeters. 10 centimeters is 3.9 inches. When is this important in knitting? I'm not sure, but I hate to see the difference ignored in patterns and on yarn labels.
  • Needle sizes not found on the Boye -
    3mm labeled as a second #2
    #17=12mm (Who uses needles this big? Do you still call it knitting? Or log throwing?)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Chat Back for March 7

Answering questions from comments and email.

Laura from beautiful West Mich asked . . .
Isn't it so much fun when you make something for someone and they really like it?

Almost everyone is polite enough to act as if they really like what I make them. The true test is if they wear it.

I don't want anything I knit packed away or saved for good. I want it worn and enjoyed until it has holes in it.

Wouldn't it be nice if people who didn't like or want their knitted gifts had a nice way to tell us so we knitters don't spend hours knitting them something else they don't want?

Phoebe asked . . .
Any signs of spring in SW Michigan?

Even after two days of temperatures over 60 degrees, we still have piles of dirty, unmelted snow.

And lots of mud.

Although though we expect at least one more good snow before this winter is over, it's time to plan for warmer weather.

The lawn tractor got picked up for its spring maintenance this week. Once the grass turns green and starts growing, the tractor will be ready to mow.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Wednesday WIngs - Pileated Woodpecker

For the last several decades the Pileated Woodpeckers have been extending their territory into SW Michigan where I live.

Across the street from our property is a many acred woods with wonderful old tall trees. This will only be the third summer the Pileateds have made it their home.

I hear them more often than I see them. Their raucous call carries a long distance from the tall tree tops where they stay.

Once in a while we get a visit to the wooded area just west of our house.

This picture was taken out the bathroom window with my zoom lens. The woodpecker was high up in an oak tree and I was on my knees on the floor in order to be able to aim the camera high enough to catch him.

They don't cross the street to our property very often. To my knowledge a Pileated has never ventured down to any of the feeders even though suet and peanuts are both visible from where they hunt for food.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

John's Birthday Socks in Progress

Good news! Melody at Harmony Yarn in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is sending out a third skein of this yarn so I can finish Son John's birthday socks, hopefully before his March 18th birthday. John bought the two original skeins at her shop.

And thanks to Idaho friend Linda Jo who volunteered to track down a skein for me if needed.

I ran out of yarn just before the start of the toe decreases. Maybe if I hadn't done the cables, there would have been enough yarn. But then the socks wouldn't be as interesting, so I'm not sorry I used a moderately complex stitch pattern.

Pattern: Basic cuff down sock on 70 stitches around.

Stitch pattern is Boxed Cables from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 2 - Cables, Pattern 141.

I like that it has cables but still has plenty of stretch and give like socks should have because each cable ends after three crosses. Plus, something about the looks of it pleases my eyes.

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet, 90% wool, 25% Nylon.

Color: 01

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch.

Close up of boxed cables stitch patternJohn's socks are the second pair of socks I've knit with Boxed Cables. The first pair, for me, is a solid color showing the stitch pattern a bit better.

Next up, dog trainer Gail's birthday socks. Her birthday is the 18th, same as John's. While it's not customary to give birthday gifts to a dog trainer, Gail is special and she loves my handknit socks. This will make her seventh pair. I check her feet out every time I'm at doggy school, and she almost always has on a pair.

I love that she loves them.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook for March 2

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Monday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY March 2, 2009...

Outside my window...
Winter is hanging on. Last night the low was 5 F/-15 C and tonight it will be the same if not lower.

Daytime temps are not going above freezing so the left over snow isn't melting.

I am thinking...
How much my life stays the same. One Simple Woman's Daybook could be substituted for another without much accuracy being violated. That's why I've been doing this the first Monday of the month instead of every Monday.

I am thankful for... So many things. But right now, this very moment, I'm thankful for a quiet, peaceful Monday and the opportunity to sit with my laptop and write this blog post.

From the kitchen...
Last year's bills and records are spread out on the kitchen table to mark the beginning of income tax time.

I am wearing...
Buejeans that are a size larger than is good for me, an old light blue cotton cabled sweater from Land's End, blue handknit socks, and New Balance walking shoes.

I am creating...
Instead of putting the few little balls of left over Bretton away, I unraveled the swatch to add to them, found some wool/mohair to knit along with them, and cast on a scarf with a knit/purl heart pattern.

Now, with about a foot done, I'm not loving it and wishing I would have made a couple of hats instead. The stitch pattern is not fun to knit and the result is mediocre at best.

Frogging double stranded knitting is tedious and an invitation to make a knotted mess. It's in time out for the moment. Every time I think about knitting four or five more feet of this scarf it gets closer to the frog pond. I predict it will be croaking soon.

I am going...
To get up and practice trumpet in a few minutes.

I am reading...
Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz.

Sometimes total fluff is just what's needed for a cold, lazy afternoon and nobody writes fluff better than Jayne Ann Krentz/Amada Quick. I always smile and grab when I see she has a new book at the library.

I am hoping...
To stay healthy in March. There's a lot I want to get done before the serious yard work starts in April.

I am hearing...
Grumbling from my little sister Carrie in North Carolina who thinks she's going to get sympathy for four inches of snow today. I'm trying, but so far all I can do is laugh. She grew up in Michigan. I'm sure she can handle it.

Around the house...
The bird feeders are almost empty of birds. It may be bone chilling cold outside, but the birds have staked out their nesting territories and they're not anxious to leave them.

One of my favorite things...
A box of goodies from Knitpicks came in the mail today.

I only buy a new knitting book if I'm sure it contains something that isn't found in my many, many other knitting books. After seeing Pat's Socks from New Pathways for Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi, I knew I had to have this book to play with.

Every knitter knows that Knitpicks has great prices on knitting books PLUS if the order reaches $50 there is free shipping. And who wants to pay shipping when they can buy knitting stuff with the same money?

The needle sizer has separate holes for 2.25mm and 2.50 mm (the two sizes that are both called #1 in the US), something my other needle sizers are missing. The blue Cotlin is to knit a little trial something to see if I like the yarn enough to use it for a larger project. The rest are Options needles and needle pieces to help fill out my collection. Options are my favorite needles.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Finish John's birthday socks to the point I run out of yarn. Start Gail's birthday socks which are going to be plain, just the way she likes them. Peruse the Cat Bordhi book and possibly start knitting something interesting from it.

It's going to be a busy week, so I may not get that far. Three trips to Kalamazoo are scheduled: Lunch with a friend, haircut followed by (not confirmed) lunch with Mom, and trumpet lesson.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Even the trees are cold today.

But it's not snowing and there is no snow in this week's forecast - another thing I'm grateful for.