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, October 30, 2010

Chat Back for October 30

Responding to comments left since the last time I did Chat Back.

NMJewel asked . . .
Do we have a candidate in favor of this? (Blocking political phone calls)
If we do, he/she hasn't called yet.

Kellie asked . . .
I am curious as to how the Simply Solid sock yarn would compare to other "house brand" sock yarns that you may have tried?
Good question but I haven't tried any others in the past five years so I don't have an answer.

I can tell you a little bit about the Simply Socks Yarn Company Solids from my limited experience with only two colors, burgundy and gray.

The gray I used for Chain in Pieces was not smooth but not too fuzzy either. There is good stitch definition at the tight gauge used for socks.

The light spots you see in the picture are places the dye didn't saturate. If I had been doing a project that required a "solid" solid color, I would have been disappointed in that.

It would make great sticky yarn for colorwork. The color selection is extensive and a color card is available.

Anonymous got my sympathy with his/her vent on political calls . . .
I thought political robocalls at 6:00 PM were annoying. Turns out it's nothing compared to the robocalls in Nevada at 1:00 AM from Arizona resident Sandra Day O'Connor trying to influence the way Nevadans choose their judges.
The only calls we ever get in the middle of the night are when something awful has happened to a family member. I would be very angry about a robocall at 1:00 AM.

Papiokc asked . . .
Good to see Gloria and Pappy again too. How is Sunny doing? Hope all is well with her too.

Sunny appreciates your question. She is doing well and keeps herself busy monitoring everything in the house and reminding us when it's time to eat.

Julia in KW asked . . .
It looks like when you knit two socks at a time, you are knitting them on two separate sets of circs...is that right? Have you ever tried them on one needle? If they are in fact on two sets of circs, how do you decide at what point to move to the other needles?
And Nancy asked . . .
I have a questions about knitting both socks at once. How many rows do you knit of each sock before going to the other sock? I guess it could be one repeat of pattern? Just curious.
My knitting time is relaxing time. In order to make it as stress free as possible I use two separate sets of needles because for me it's the simple way to do it.

No hard and fast rules about when to change socks, but here is the routine I normally follow when I don't feel like doing it some other way.
  • Cast on sock one. Knit the ribbing and enough of the stitch pattern to tell if I want to finish the pair or frog and do something else.
  • Cast on second sock and knit until I have to get up for something.
  • When I sit down, I pick up the shortest sock and knit until time to stop.
  • If I'm knitting without a pattern I'll do one heel flap immediately after the other to insure they're going to match. Same with turning the heel and picking up the gusset stitches.
  • Then it's back to working on whichever sock foot is shortest when I sit down to knit until both socks are ready for toe decreases.
  • Every other row toe decreases on sock one, then sock two.
  • Every row toe decreases on sock one, then sock two.
  • Kitchener, weave in ends, and both socks are done.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Deer at Dawn

Morning Log.

It's almost 8 am and the dogs are impatient to get outside for their morning relief. It's not full daylight yet and I need to check for deer in the yard before I dare open the door to let dogs out.

Since I have nothing else to blog about today, I decide to grab my camera and see if there's enough daylight to get some decent deer pictures. There wasn't, but I didn't let that stop me from trying.

At first all I can see is one of this year's fawns.

Mom (guessing) came out from behind the tree on the left.

After making sure there were no cars coming down the road, I opened the window and told them to scoot. Four white tails leaped across the road and into the woods.

After a minute, the dogs and I left the house for our early morning walk.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chain in Pieces Socks Finished

This was a fun knit and I'm pleased with the results.

The fit is snug, the way I like it, because of the ribbing. By putting the pattern down the sides, it doesn't sag and bag over the bend in my instep.

One confession: I was a few inches down the first cuff when I remembered the knit stitches in the chain pattern are supposed to be knit in the back of the stitch. After looking at the result I was getting, I decided normal knit stitches would be just fine and kept going.

Knitting in the back of the stitch results in crisper stitch definition. I'll be sure and remember to do it next time I knit another stitch pattern from this book.

Pattern: Basic cuff down sock pattern on 60 stitches.

12 stitch side panels are Chain in Pieces, stitch pattern #23 in Twisted-Stitch Knitting Originally by Maria Erlbacher and updated by Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen.

The remaining stitches are a k2p2 ribbing.

Yarn: Simply Socks Yarn Company solid. Color gray.

Needles: Options #1, 2.5mm

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Oak Leaves Are Hanging On

Oak trees like to hang on to their leaves until it's too far into winter to rake them up. We've been having high winds for the past two days and these big oaks are holding on tight to their leaves.

Most years the oak leaves just turn ugly brown but this year the autumn colors have been gorgeous and the oaks decided to participate in the display.

There's still some color left in the woods across the road as well.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In a Perfect World . . .

. . . once someone has mailed in their absentee ballot, that someone should never have to hear or see another political ad and all political phonecalls should be blocked.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chain in Pieces Cuffs

While the three sweaters I have in time-out are awaiting their fate, I'm still happily knitting socks.

The twisted stitch pattern goes down both sides of each cuff. It has the unromantic name "Chain in Pieces".

Pattern: Basic cuff down sock pattern on 60 stitches.

12 stitch side panels are Chain in Pieces, stitch pattern #23 in Twisted-Stitch Knitting Originally by Maria Erlbacher and updated by Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen.

The remaining stitches are a k2p2 ribbing.

Yarn: Simply Socks Yarn Company solid. Color gray.

Needles: Options #1, 2.5mm

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chat Back for October 24

Responding to comments left since the last time I did Chat Back.

Judy S. asked . . .
Do you always knit two socks at once?
Almost always. After the first sock is done, I dislike casting on a second. Knitting both at once keeps the project fresh until both socks are done.

It’s especially handy when I’m knitting without a pattern because I don’t have to take notes for the second sock. My knitting notes often seem clear when I write them and ambiguous when I try to follow them later.

Judy S. asked about the One-Three Basketweave Stitch Pattern . . .
That's a really pretty stitch pattern. Have you ever used it on a scarf?
The socks I just finished are the first time I've ever used it.

The back side of the stitch pattern, shown below, isn't especially attractive. It might look better in the looser gauge of a scarf.

Shirley/Artsycrafts left me envious with this comment . . .
How pretty! I love the Fall colors but ours will be later this year. It is still warm enough that hummingbirds are coming to our feeders.

My hummingbird feeder is clean and packed away until May.

Linda Doggett knows what's important . . .
$5 versus 99 cents makes perfect sense to me too! Sorta like the drawer full of $20 socks you and I both own.

Mamere Knits Too Much commented on my red hat. . .
I love it! and the color is nice & bright so you can be found when you're lost in the snowbank :)
I didn't think about the snowbanks. I was just hoping it would get me through deer hunting season without being shot.

This comment from Renee is sad . . .
Oh, I miss the chickadees. Every time I put a feeder up anymore I get inundated with House sparrows :( I don't even bother now.
This is something I consider every time I think about moving to a more populated, easy to maintain place.

If I ask a condo or apartment manager "What kind of birds will I see here?", do you think they'll be able to answer? And, if they do, will I like the answer?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Kimmy

Fifteen years ago I was blessed to sit in a rocking chair and hold newborn Kimmy because everyone else in the birthing room was too busy.

We ignored the business around us. I smiled at her through tears of joy and she grabbed my finger. At that point we were totally bonded. She's been one of the best things in my life ever since even though now that she's a teen with a full life of her own we don't see each other as often as when she was younger.

Last night we celebrated her birthday eve with a four generation dinner at Chili's.

Kimmy is driving now. Even in Kalamazoo on Westnedge, the biggest, most congested street in town complete with road construction lane changes. Kimmy's Mom, Heather, in the passenger seat is a bit nervous about the whole thing.

Kimmy thinks Mom/Heather should just close her eyes and relax. Mom/Heather thinks it was wise to only have one child. I just laugh.

Happy Birthday Kimmy!! Hope you have a great time with your friends today.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What's In the Downspout?

Why is the little dog so interested in this downspout?

Because the downspout is a favorite spot for the little chipmunk to hid when the dogs come out the door.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Leaves Everywhere

About 30% of the leaves are off the trees now and they're starting to pile up everywhere.

Leaves in the yard . . .

Leaves on the stairs . . .

Leaves in the creek . . .

Leaves in the birdseed . . .

And, my least favorite, leaves in the gutters . . .

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday Wings - Chickadee

The cute, friendly little Chickadees have no time to sit still for a picture. They like to grab a sunflower seed and fly off to crack it in a nearby tree.

It took dozens of camera clicks to finally catch a Chickadee during a momentary absence of motion.

Normally the niger feeder is full of Goldfinches, but a few Chickadees have been giving it a try and seem to like it.

They stay on the feeder to eat and don't fly off with the little niger seeds like they do with the sunflower seeds.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Red Hat

The past few weeks my knitting has reflected the reality of the season. It will be snowing soon. There have been years when we've had snow by the middle of October.

This is the first hat I've ever knit that actually fits and/or doesn't have a weird looking knob on the top.

I pulled out a skein of red wool and using a 99 cent discount store hat as a template I whipped up a nice warm very basic red hat to wear on dog walks.

In order not to lose my notes on how I knit this hat, I'm going to post my method at the end of this entry. It's not intended to be a formal pattern. Just a reminder.

Anyway, I'm sure all the other knitters in the world know how to knit a simple hat that fits.

Red Hat
Worsted weight wool. #6 needles.

Cast on 90 stitches and join in round.
k1,p1 ribbing for 5 inches.
Stockinette for 4 inches.

k8, k2tog for a round.
Knit a round.
k7, k2tog for a round.
Knit a round.
Etc until after the k3, k2tog round.
Skip the knit round.
k2, k2tog for a round.
Turn stitches to inside of hat and bind off 27 stitches with 3 needle bind off.

Now, instead of buying a 99 cent hat at the discount store, I can spend $5 on a skein of wool and knit myself a hat. Makes sense to me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Slightly Twisted Socks and Stitch Pattern

The Trekking is a woolly feeling, slightly fuzzy yarn. I wouldn't use it for a complicated pattern requiring good stitch definition, but these will be nice warm utility socks for every day wear in the cold seasons.

Pattern: Basic cuff down sock pattern on 60 stitches. k3p2 ribbing with alternate k3 columns knit in a twisted braid pattern. Details at end of post.

Yarn: Trekking XXL, Color # 187.

Needles: Options #1, 2.5mm

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

The base is a k3, p2 ribbing. This results in a nice snug sock cuff and a good fit.

Slightly Twisted Stitch Pattern
Multiple of 10 stitches, 4 rows

X = purl, Space with dot = knit

Row 1: k3, p2, k3, p2
Row 2: k3, p2, twist one stitch to the right, k1, p2
Row 3: k3, p2, k3, p2
Row 4: k3, p2, k1, twist one stitch to the left, p2

When I do twist stitches, I work them as a cable. There are other ways to work twist stitches and your preference will make an equally nice result.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One-Three Basketweave Stitch Pattern

I had a few requests for the details on the basketweave stitch pattern, so here it is.

There are many variations on the basketweave stitch pattern theme, so I'm going to call this one the One-Three Basketweave Stitch Pattern.

The base is a p1, k1, p1, k3 ribbing. This results in a nice snug sock cuff and a good fit.

A pair of finished socks knit in this stitch pattern can be seen here.

One-Three Basketweave Stitch Pattern
Multiple of 6 stitches, 4 rows

X = purl, Space = knit

Row 1: p1, k1, p4
Row 2: p1, k1, p1, k3
Row 3: p3, k3
Row 4: p1, k1, p1, k3

Friday, October 15, 2010

Slightly Twisted Cuffs

I'm calling these my Slightly Twisted Socks because there is a braided looking twisted stitch pattern in alternate vertical columns.

The cuffs are nice and long - seven inches - because winter is in the air. They will be worn for warmth with jeans as soon as they're done.

Pattern: Basic cuff down sock pattern on 60 stitches. k3p2 ribbing with alternate k3 columns knit in a twisted braid pattern.

Yarn: Trekking XXL, Color # 187.

Needles: Options #1, 2.5mm

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Wings - Roadside Turkey, Tufted Titmouse, and Goldfinch

On the way to the grocery store this afternoon I had to stop the car for a flock of wild turkeys in the road.

By the time I got the camera out and turned on, they were out of sight except for this straggler.

There are so many different, delicious seeds and berries in the woods and fields right now that the feeder isn't a very popular place.

This cute Tufted Titmouse is happy to get a fast food lunch. It's so much easier than harvesting his own food.

The Goldfinches have their winter coloring now.

They've been ignoring the Niger/thistle feeder for the sunflower seeds on the platform.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Autumn Scene

Every day the driving gets prettier. It's Mother Nature's attempt to make us glad we live in a place with four seasons before the cold and snow begin. Soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Woodland Basketweave Socks Done

It wasn't until I was editing the picture of the completed socks that I noticed three knit stitches that should be purl stitches way up by the top of the cuff.

I will almost always frog and correct errors, even to the point of ripping out hours worth of knitting. But, no way am I going to frog one of these socks back to the top ribbing.

My plan: Go to bed, go to sleep, pretend I never saw that small boo-boo, and never wear my glasses when I'm putting these socks on my feet.

The actual color shows in the top picture of the completed socks. The blueish picture above is just to show the stitch pattern up close. My error is not included in the close up.

Pattern: Basic sock on 60 stitches using a basketweave pattern on the cuff and instep.

Yarn: Stalwart Sock from Slackford Studio. 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon 4 Ply Fingering Weight Sock Yarn.

Color: Woodland.

Needles: Options 2.50mm circulars.

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

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chat Back for October 10

Answering questions from comments and email.

Susan asked . . .
How did you get the socks to match so well? They're lovely!
Thanks. I enjoy the challenge of getting socks to match. It adds a bit of challenge and sometimes frustration to a simple sock knit.

Getting Socks to Match

Linda wrote . . .
I also have a Super Surgilator that wasn't surging. the repair was relatively easy, quick, and cheap. I hope yours is as well.
Exactly! It was easy, quick, and cheap.

Dan, the repair guy, told me the old washers without electronics are the easiest and cheapest to repair. He uses a 40 year old Maytag at his house.

Guess I called the right guy picking randomly from the Yellow Pages. I've saved his number for next time. There's a nineteen year old dryer sitting next to the washer, so chances are I'll be calling him again someday.

Judy S. asked . . .
I meant to ask you earlier whether you knit that orange sweater you were wearing when you met up with your Whidbey Is. friend? I love it.
Thanks for the kind words on the orange sweater.

Yes, I knit it. I love it and wear it often when the weather is warm – as opposed to some other sweaters I’ve knit that sit in the closet and never get worn.

I also wore it when I met Wynton Marsalis.

If you’re interested in seeing more of the finished project with detail pictures and knitting specs the link is here.

Judy S. asked . . .
Yikes! I'm not ready for this! (Early Morning Frost) How cold was it?
It got down to about 30F/-1C for three nights in a row.

It takes 28F/-2.2C for a killing frost.

Kathy wrote . . .
A lovely picture indeed. (See it here.) So so green for fall! I would imagine spring had I not known better!

Leaves were still mostly green at the beginning of last week, but by the end of the week the pretty fall colors started showing.

Lynn asked . . .
Three strands of sock yarn makes like a heavy worsted weight??
It does.

Judy S. asked . . .
We saw one of these little critters (Woolly Bear Caterpillar) on our walk around Green Lake the other day. What's it mean if it's all orange?
According to Esther Lutz, Naturalist at the University of Illinois Extension:
The longer the larva has been feeding and the bigger it has grown, the more the orange band will grow towards the ends of the body, with the black bands on the ends decreasing in size as the larva matures. So the width of the banding is more an indicator of the current or past year's growth than it is a harbinger of the severity of the upcoming winter.
Very scientific, but not nearly as much fun as all the myths.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Ten years apart, but happy in each others company. These are my two lovely granddaughters.

Kimmy, my daughter's daughter, drove from Battle Creek to Kalamazoo. She's two weeks short of fifteen and I admit to doing a double take when I spotted her behind the wheel.

Sydney, my son's daughter, is ten years younger. Her idea of driving is to hop on Great-grandma's rocking horse.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Sydney Was Here Today

Son John, DIL Anne, and Granddaughter Sydney are visiting from Idaho. What a joy to see them after a year and a half.

I had two little bags of cut up turkey dog for them to make friends with the dogs. It worked well.

Once the dog bonding was done, I remembered to grab my camera.

After a nice visit, John and Anne headed out to the Paw Paw wineries and Sydney and I headed for Mickey D's for lunch. On the way home, we stopped at the Fish Hatchery and had fun feeding the fish in the Show Pond. I forgot the camera.

When we got home, Sydney wanted to pick up acorns. Who can guess what kids will want to do?

As mentioned in yesterday's post, the acorns were easy to find and she quickly filled her bag.

Tomorrow it's famiy gathering and pizza party at Great-grandma Monette's apartment. I'm going to put my camera in my purse right now, but that's no guarantee I'm going to remember to pull it out and use it. Playing with granddaughters is more fun than taking pictures of granddaughters.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Woolly Bear Caterpillar and Acorns

Michiganders like to predict the severity of the coming winter in many unscientific and inaccurate ways.

One of the most inaccurate ways is to inspect the bands on a Woolly Bear caterpillar.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the longer the middle brown band, the milder and shorter the coming winter; the shorter the brown band, the longer and more severe winter will be.

By reading the bands on this guy it appears we're going to have an average winter.

Then there's the acorns. Oh my, do we ever have acorns this year. More acorns than I've ever seen in the nineteen years we've lived here in the oak trees.

When taking this picture I just walked under a large oak and pointed down. No looking for a special, acorn covered spot. All the ground under all oaks looks like this.

An abundance of acorns is supposedly the sign of a very rough winter ahead. I'm picturing snow up to the rafters.