Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yellow Flowers and Lace Dreams

Hmmm... I don't know quite how I did it yesterday...getting an image to post in the middle of the text and not automatically have it go to the top. Today I did the very same thing (at least I think so), downloaded the iris' first and then the African Daisy. Although I can enter text between the pictures, I can't put it above the daisy picture.

Maybe this will be as good as it gets...

My Rainy Day Sock is approximately at the same place it was yesterday at this time. I woke up this morning wanting to knit lace. I have some white mohair blend lace weight and I'm thinking about this pattern. Will I? (Startitis is a terrible thing!)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bird Calls

For several years I’ve been hearing a “peculiar” bird call in our neighborhood during the spring and summer months. I say “peculiar” because it was a call I didn’t recognize, and try as I might, I’ve never been able to spot any bird actually saying (singing) this call. For those of you with any musical training, it’s just a descending major second – 2 notes, of equal length. This morning as I was knitting, I had the window open and heard that bird call again, so I went to this web site and after a few tries, I found The Bird! I had suspected that the bird I was hearing was one that we frequently see at our feeders, but that the peculiar bird calls I kept hearing were more of “This-is-my- territory!” calls, or maybe “Hey-girls-lets-have-some-fun!” calls rather than the normal bird chatter that one hears at the feeders. So I typed in several familiar birds and listened to their calls, and sure enough! The bird I’ve been hearing is this…

a Black Capped Chick-a-dee! Singing an entirely different song from his usual "chick-a-dee-dee-dee". I love this web site!

(WOW! Did you see that? I actually got an image placed in the middle of the text! Wonder if I can do another one?)

On the knitting front? Not much to report - I've knit a few rounds on my Rainy Day Sock, but not enough progress to warrant another pic. Early this morning, while knitting, I watched an episode of Religion and Ethics on PBS. Informative and sometimes provocative, it's an excellent reason to watch the telly early on a Saturday morning.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

This 'n That

Yesterday I finished knitting the felted Fair Isle bag - all except for the little loops where the handles will attach. I need to decide if I'm going to go with i-cord handles or purchased leather handles. The leather ones are kind of pricey but I think I'll like them better than the i-cord. That's String Bean striking a pose during the photo shoot. (The Curmudgeon calls him "Nads" most of the time - you'd know why if you could see a South-end view of cat going North.)

I've also knit about an additional foot or more of my Everyday Shawl. It's now long enough to throw one end over my shoulders while I knit on the other end - very comforting on these still chilly mornings. Speaking of weather - we're supposed to get up into the 80s this weekend! I feel so bad for the folks who are dealing with snow, floods, tornadoes, etc. Back to the shawl - I have less than three skeins of yarn to knit up and then it will be finished. (Anthrax insisted on getting in on the photo shoot action.)

I also started a pair of Rainy Day Socks - done my way. I'm doing them with the Sock It To Me! yarn that I won last summer from this wonderful blogger, I'm making them bigger than the pattern calls for, knitting them toe-up (because I don't know for sure how long to make the leg, what with the change in yarn and gauge involved), and I'm using my "regular" short row heel and toe a la Priscilla Gibson-Roberts . I began this first sock with the part of the yarn that I had knit up last summer (and ended up ripping out) and the stitches look very uneven and bumpy. I'm hoping that after being washed and worn a few times the stitches will even out and look OK.

This is the third pair (of socks) in a row that I've begun with a provisional cast-on and from the toe-up. All of my previous socks were knitted cuff-down. I almost feel comfortable with a provisional cast-on now ... doing it this many times in a row has helped me retain the process.

As I was working on the toe, I was thinking about the Miracle of knitting. When it was first invented, surely it must have seemed like magic! Some string and some sticks...and out comes this stretchy, complicated fabric. I've been knitting for many years and I still think it's magical. How could someone have thought it up? And then, all the fancy stuff...can you imagine how the first person to work cables felt? Or the first one to do a yarn over and invent lacy stitches? It boggles my mind.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thanks Hege!

First of all, I can't believe that it's been a whole week since I last posted! I swear it was only a couple of days ago... Could it be that our household has been a busy one?

In my last post, I complained because I couldn't figure out how to place pictures where I wanted them within the text of my blog. Hege commented and told me how to do it! (Well, duh! It seems so obvious - I know how to insert pictures into Word documents...what was I thinking?) Thank you Hege, you wonderful, star-bright person!

But alas, even with Hege's help, it still isn't working the way I'm doing it. I know the answer must be something very simple that I'm doing wrong, or not doing at all...but right now, I sure can't figure it out. So, pics are still at the top. Sorry.

I tried the Eye of Partridge heel and it worked OK. I was using some leftover variegated sock yarn, so it's hard to differentiate the stitches (and the pic is a bit fuzzy, too), but there it is...up at the top. Oh, sigh.

And I finished the Eyelet Rib socks. I bound them off like Wendy's Feather and Fan socks, so the bind-off looks almost ruffly, but when they're on the foot-leg, the ruffle part pretty much disappears. I love the eyelet rib and want to use it with a sock yarn that's not stripey or patterned. (It must be time to order some new sock yarn, yes?)

On an entirely different subject, a lifetime ago I was an elementary music teacher and every spring I taught the fourth graders one of my favorite songs - At this point in my life I can't remember who wrote it, or where the lyrics came from, so I apologize to the writer/composer, but here are the words:
Seeds inside the package,
they can't read the label.
They can't see the picture,
so, how are they able
to know if they're daisies
or greens for the table?
This weekend the "good child" (DS) is going to replace the (shredded) heavy-duty clear plastic on our (extremely) little greenhouse - it's really a glorified cold-frame, and then, seeds will sprout! Here's to sunny days and above-freezing temps.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

If you don't like the weather...

Top picture. Toe and foot of Eyelet rib sock #2.
Next picture. Eyelet rib sock #1 showing more of cuff.
Burgundy sock, still on needles after months and months...oh sigh.

The joke, when we first moved to Idaho, 25 years ago, was "If you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes." It's not quite that changeable, but it's not uncommon this time of year to have snow one day and two or three days later enjoy temperatures in the 60s. Why do I mention this, you ask? Last Friday and Saturday the weather was perfect - just like I hope it is in heaven. Sunshine and warm temperatures. Sunday it rained most of the day and was cold. Monday - sunny again but still pretty chilly. Tuesday - cold and windy, making the wind-chill temp nearly unbearable. And last night??? It Froze! So much for peaches on our peach tree this year. Drat!

I've started sock #2 of the Eyelet Rib socks. Nope, didn't get sock #1 completely done, but I don't want to knit the leg too far and then discover that I don't have enough yarn to knit the second sock to the same length. I really, really do like the eyelet rib pattern and I'm already thinking about the next socks to cast-on after these socks are finished.

Question: Why do I think that I need to purchase more sock yarn, when I have enough in my (tiny little) stash for at least 4 more pairs of socks and I do have at least one pair languishing on needles somewhere (besides the Eyelet Rib socks - they're not languishing but they are on the needles) Maybe part of the "problem" is that within my sock-yarn-stash I have yarn for two pair intended for the Curmudgeon - dark grey and dark heathery blue. This time of year that yarn is about as appealing as cleaning gutters. I do have this lovely, springy-summery yarn sent to my by this wonderful blogger way back last summer...(I ended up frogging it all the way back to nothing because I wasn't happy with how it was turning out - no fault of the yarn, which I love.) And I also have some "when-I-get-old-I-shall-wear-purple-and-red" yarn from Knit Picks - but it looks pretty wintry, too.

And, speaking of next-socks-on-the-needles, I love the look of the eye of partridge stitch heels seen here (the April 11th post). I'm of the short-row-heel persuasion rather than the heel-flap persuasion, so I'm going to see if the eye-of-partridge stitch will lend itself to short-row heels. I'll let you know if it turns out.

(In case you're wondering, I wear socks year round. I think that last summer there was only one day when I went without socks. I suffer from poor circulation and really [REALLY] cold feet.)

I am getting very frustrated with my lack of ability to (figure out how to) control the placement of pictures within my blog entries. No matter where I try to insert them, they always appear at the beginning of my blog entry. I'm wondering if the problem is ME (most likely) or if I need to pursue a different blog host. I've gone through the help section with and can't find any help at all. I've tried to contact and haven't gotten any satisfaction there, either.

So, please accept my apologies for not strategically placing pictures throughout the text of each post. I would if I only could!

Meanwhile, speaking of languishing, I found this site today. I predict that it shall we well fed with projects-that-are-taking-way-too-long. I'd send them a post about my burgundy socks, but honestly - a sock seems like such a short little project when compared to some of the projects shown on Slogalong. All of which, btw, are gorgeous.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Oh how I do love Spring! And she sure has Sprung here in Idaho's Treasure Valley. I'm so glad I don't suffer from hay fever, because the air out in our yard is so full of perfume it almost makes me giddy. The other afternoon my current sock in progress sneaked off when I wasn't looking and I found it out in the Viburnum bush. Silly sock! This morning I finished the heel and am working on the ankle rows. I'm doing a garter stitch heel and toe, and I will do ribbing on the leg - want to do something besides just plain ol' 2 x 2 ribbing... I have only about 5 more rows of ankle before I have to decide. This is the first pair of socks I've made with a garter stitch heel and toe - I really like the way it looks and feels.

Did I mention how much I love this yarn? The way the color changes and develops as you knit along has captured my fancy.

I've also done a few rows on the Fair Isle bag-to-be-felted. I got the pattern from Interweave Knits on what used to be their subscriber-only web patterns, but they're in the midst of changing to something new and right now I can't find the pattern on the web any longer. The only pic I have of it (on my printed pattern) is in black and white and doesn't do it justice, so I won't post it here. I am using 100 % wool from Knit Picks. I couldn't find the exact colors in the Knit Picks wool, but the price was right, and mostly I'm doing this project to see if I can really knit Fair Isle without going bonkers, and also to get some more experience with felting.
Later same day - I decided on an eyelet rib for the cuffs of the new socks. Since I haven't already given them a name (except sock-in-progress) guess I'll call them Eyelet Rib Socks. Now, that's original! I'm only on the third repeat of the 8-row pattern so I can't tell how it's going to turn out (compared to a regular 2 x 2 rib) but so far, I very much like the looks of it.
Teddy agreed to pose with pics of the Feather & Fan finished socks, and the Eyelet Rib socks ... but by the time we got to the Fair Isle Bag, Teddy was bored and feeling silly and ended up putting the bag over his head. I think Teddy needed a nap. (By the way, Teddy, I apologize for cutting off your head in all the pictures...)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Knitterly Camaradarie

Ever since I discovered knitting blogs on the net I've read about and envied the experiences many bloggers post about - meeting other knitters at conferences or classes or book signings (or whatever, whenever), and the feeling of being part of a greater whole, a community of knitters that spans nearly every imaginable continuum. I've been impressed by the generous inclusiveness of this band of knitters from around the world, and also by the loving charitableness they embody.

Yesterday I experienced just a small smidgeon of that acceptance and rapport... DD and I were in search of a table-lamp-with-magnifier for my sewing table and she mentioned a really neat craft store west of town that would be sure to have a selection of such lamps. When we got there, alas, they no longer carried lamps/lighting devices, but (to my delighted amazement) they had a quite respectable yarn department! And, situated conveniently between the fabric area and the yarn area there was a table with inviting chairs, and sitting in one of those chairs was a lady...knitting!

One of the clerks had already struck up a conversation with me and had found out that I'm a knitter and had invited me to come to their monthly Yarn Yoga meetings (informal gatherings of knitters to gab, knit, share, enjoy refreshment, etc.), so when I sat down at the table, the Knitting Lady (Pam? - I'm really, really bad about names) and I began to chat. Her knitting project is a bag (to be felted) and we immediately began comparing notes re/ our felting experience (for both of us, not much). Both of the store clerks in the area drifted in and out of the conversation from time to time and it was one of the most pleasant and relaxing moments I've had with "strangers" for a very long time. (Among knitters there are no "strangers", I've decided.)

None of my friends are knitters... They're all special, wonderful, diamond-bright people, but...they're muggles. There! I've said it out loud. Sadly, all of my friends are part of the world of muggles. Some of them may have actually knit something during their life-times, but they're not (obsessed with yarn) knitters. When I mention something I've read or run across from reading knit blogs, they all cock their heads and get one of those here-she-goes-again looks on their faces. Some of them even roll their eyes and mutter "Those knit bloggers. Again!" (But, at least they know about blogs - I've made sure of that.)

A wonderful day!
And, just now, I figured out how to upload pics from my new camera (ta da!). Anthrax, one of our cats, lounging on my little TV table and progress - as of last night - of a new sock. I LOVE this yarn! It's schoeller stahl Fortissima Colori 6-fach Socka Color #9048 and I bought it here, just like the sock yarn of my generic-toe-up-Wendy-Feather-and-Fan socks mentioned in one of my last posts. (I'd take a pic of them for the blog, but I've been wearing them ever since I got sock #2 off the needles - today they go in the wash, and then I'll get a pic.) BTW we didn't name the cat - she is an "inherited" cat, from one of our almost-son-in-laws and came with name firmly in place. DH calls her "The Plague Cat". She is my sweet, sweet cuddle cat - especially at night when her place of preference is as-close-to-Mom's-face-as-possible.
My new camera was an impulse buy at Radio Shack. I went there just to get some ear-buds for the (cast-off) MP3 player DD gave to me. (She's got a postage-stamp-sized iPod now.) And I came out of the store with a Kodak EasyShare C643 camera. In my defense, it was on special. And the store manager was a cutie-patootie (and, a great salesman, DH pointed out later). Said camera has an IQ roughly 100 times greater than mine. :-) But, doesn't she take great pictures? (even if I get them slightly out of focus)