Thursday, March 29, 2007

All Day with the Knitting

We are to get some pretty strong storms this evening so this may be a short post and I'm not even going to try to upload a photo. We usually unplug all the computers and the phone line that goes to the computer and about half the house when there is lightening in the area. Several years ago, SIL and BIL had a lightening strike very near their house, say three or four feet and it took out several plugged in (but off) small appliances, the TV, a couple of lamps and their garage door opener. So we unplug everything that can be easily undone. We've never even come close to a strike, but it's habit now and so it goes.

Anyway, I have a Tiger Blue sock update. I almost typed in Redux in Blue. (And I haven't heard if it fits or not, if she likes it or not or ANYTHING other than SIL put the sock on her desk when she wasn't there. Maybe someone stole it.) Back to Tiger Blue. I'm on the heel flap — after 101 leg rounds. I've been knitting like a fiend the last couple of days.

It would be fantastic if I could get the pair done by Easter (next weekend) but I'll be satisfied if I have one complete sock that CIL can try one. At least the other sock is half done (leg done, heel turned and about 2" done on the foot). I don't have that far to go for a complete pair, so maybe. Depends on how much knitting I get in between now and Easter.

And I am not above finishing it while I'm there, if I'm that close. I would have all the other ends woven in and my tapestry needle handy so I could knitchener the toe and weave in that one end. Normally, I don't knit during these family gatherings. SIL doesn't needlepoint and so I don't knit. But if it's just SIL and me, we stitch.

Friday morning I get my hair cut and a little later Sweetie has a doctor appointment so waiting room knitting for me. He needs to go in to get his prescription for Nasonex for his allergies renewed. We've had that for a year now and it seems to work well for him.

Our rosebuds are in full bloom as well as our forsythia. Nothing yet on the pink dogwood but I think the crabapple is close. Photos on what's blooming to come soon.

I finally got to see the final episode of Charmed today. I'd missed it the first time around. Some shows when they end, even when planned, they end badly. Xena: Warrior Princess is a good example. HATED the final episode. But I loved the final episode of Charmed. All the loose ends tied up and a very happy ending for all. I like sappy happy endings. Makes me feel very good inside. I know it's just a TV show, but I liked it just the same.

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard

Parting Shot: "Who makes up these cockamamie rules?" Piper Halliwell from Charmed, season 4

Monday, March 26, 2007

Good Reasons

I was going to call this post On Track or On the Right Track because of the photo of our new mast track. Then I read Stephanie Pearl McPhee's (aka The Yarn Harlot) post titled Consummatum Est (part one). Then the title became No Good Reason (for some reason) and then reason took over and the title is Good Reasons.

I don't know if it was the knitting solidarity that Stephanie portrayed, the Imagine socks, or the plaque on the bench but suddenly it felt GOOD and I felt PROUD and GLAD to be a knitter as I sat there reading the blog entry, SIP forgotten in my hands and tears streaming down my face. I felt I was there and that I belonged.



# # #


OK, I'm back in control (sorta). Back to my life as an unknown knitter. I've always been a loner sort of person. Not really "belonging". Always kind of an outsider. But OK with it all because I've grown to like that and even seek it out. Here are some of the times when I felt like I belonged.

One was several years ago, the day we'd won our very first sailboat race in our first boat, Relentless. It was the last race of the season and that same evening we had the awards banquet. We were awarded the Sportsmanship Trophy that night. Ours is the second name engraved on it. It was my Sally Field moment. [You like me. You really like me.] I was respected and accepted as an equal by my sailing peers.

Another was in the mid-late '90's when Xena: Warrior Princess was on. I was (and still am) a Xenite. I'm a HUGE fan. A Hard Core Nutball as Lucy Lawless (who played Xena) refers to her diehard fans. I felt part of that on-line community. I was on the Xenaverse List and read Whoosh! and even had Xena bumper stickers (still do) and jewelry (still wear it).

And now it's knitting. I can connect with any knitter anywhere — no matter our political view, our race, our religious belief, our country. Needles and yarn in hand, we have common ground.

And I know I am on the Right Track for very Good Reasons.

blogging to: The Promise by Tim Janis

reading: A Catered Valentine's Day by Isis Crawford

Parting Shot: "There is some place where your specialness can shine. Somewhere that difference can be expressed. It's up to you to find it, and you can." ~ Daivd Viscott
taken from The Best of Success complied by Wynn Davis, page 95

Friday, March 23, 2007

Obladi Oblada

Life goes on Bra. La La I have got an F O!!!

Nah Nah Nah Boo Boo

At loooong last.
The Redux in Blue socks are done.

Done.


DONE.

They are done, I tell you. Done.

The medium sized socks posed prettily in various artistic places outside today on the small sock blockers but who cares. They're done. I'm going to wash them (by hand) and let them dry au natural and send them off Monday. Hopefully to be never heard from ever never ever again.

I don't really hate them. I'm just sooo tired of the whole knitting a sock for someone else process. Especially one I didn't sign up for. SIL volunteered me to knit her principal a pair of socks. With all the trouble these have been, back and forth with socks in the mail, she'll never do that again! I hope.

I am quite pleased with them. To recap: The pattern is Classy Slip up in the Knit Socks sock shaped book. The yarn is Socketta from the Plymouth Italian Collection. The colorway is #366 (that's what it looks like on the ball band). I used my standard Eye of Partridge Heel flap and I used the toe from Grumpernia's Jaywalker socks.

I've started back on CIL's Tiger Blue socks. I put the unfinished sock back on the needles and cast on for the other sock. And I've got a whopping 1½ rounds on the cuff complete. I'm using the unfinished sock to measure against as I knit the other sock. This pair is knit with the very nice and very soft but splitty Crystal Palace Panda Cotton. It'll be fine. The cable cast on (my cast on of choice) and the first round were fiddley because of the splitty nature of the yarn but I'm so past that (by a half a round) so I'm good.


I'm slowly getting the hang of using some of the fancy settings on my camera. Here's a photo of a Pussy Willow Catkin taken with the P setting which is portrait. The background is out of focus but the catkin IS in focus. This isn't an every picture thing yet, but I'm getting there. And I probably would have gotten more pictures in focus if I had set the camera on the tripod but I was lazy and the ground was wet and I was already haulin' around my socks. And yes that IS our new garage door.

The neighbors and passers-by who have seen me setting up photo shoots in the yard with yarn and WIP and now an FO must think I'm a half bubble off plumb.*

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: Death du Jour by Lou Jane Temple

* Parting Shot: "I am not half a bubble off plumb. I am oriented to a different gravitational axis."
Quote Source

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One Down and Three to Go

One of the Redux in Blue socks is done . . . again . . . finally.

I picked out the kitchnered toe on the too short sock, unraveled (sounds better than frogged) the toe and put it all back on the needles. And now I only have 26 rounds to knit until the toe decreases begin. The kitchnered toe was pretty easy to pick out once I found where I'd woven the end in. I will never ever never worry about one of my woven ends coming loose ever ever ever — even with non-felting cotton or slick bamboo. Using my bent tip tapestry needle made it easier.


I got the Tiger Blue sock back from CIL and it fits!! I was worried that I'd gone from too small
— can't even get it on her foot to way too big. I changed everything. The pattern. The yarn. The number of cast on stitches. I went from a cast on of 64 to 72 stitches. I stayed with a full length ribbing on the leg but made it a more loose ribbing than the previous too small sock. And I changed from Cascade Fixation which can knit up rather stiff to a softer, more yielding yarn. The Tiger Blue socks are knit in Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, which is 55% bamboo, 24% cotton and 21% elastic nylon.

There as been a lot of talk, both on Knitters Review and on the Socknitters list about this yarn. It's fairly new. It's very splitty but keeping that in mind, it does make a nice non-wool sock. I have no idea how it will wear but I'll keep in touch with CIL about this and report back a couple of months after she's worn and laundered the sock several times

I would knit with it again. As it's not wool, it would make a great summer sock. I may have to get a couple more skeins to complement the left over yarn I will have. The Tiger Blue is actually their color faded denim. Here's a link to a photo I took of the sock before I sent it off to be fitted.

So when I finish the Redux in Blue sock and have it in the mail I'll pick up the Tiger Blue sock. According to CIL's notes (which I hope are more accurate than SIL's principal's were) it's 7½" from the end of the sock to end of her foot and it's 6" from the end of sock to the beginning of her toes.

Since we're all getting together for Easter, April 8 (a mere 2
½ weeks away . . . YIKES!!!) I'll bring what I have done. When I finish the first sock (hopefully before then), I'll cast on immediately for the mate and knit as much as I can


I am so envious of the folks that are getting to attend Represent in New York City at the end of the week. It would be so cool to be among all the hundreds (maybe thousands) of knitters KIP and to be there for Stephanie's fourth book launch. I'm even going to make an effort to get up early on Thursday and watch The Today Show to see if I can see any knitters. I'll be there in spirit.

blogging to: The 50's on XM satellite radio

reading: The Sweet Potato Queens by Jill Conner Browne

Parting Shot: "All you need is love." ~ John Lennon | "You can't knit love, baby." ~ Stephanie Pearl McPhee (I belive this is from her first book, At Knit's End

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm on the Toe Decreases! I'm on the Toe Decreases!!

Um . . . yeah. I'm a little pumped because the END IS NIGH!! For at least one sock. I. Hope.

And, I'm halfway though the toe decreases. Even. better.

Then all I have to do is pick out the kitchered toe of the too short sock, unravel the toe, knit about 40 rounds, re-knit the toe then re-kitchner and they'll be done. YEA!!

And we got our new garage door and opener. The old garage door was dark gray, same color as the house was. The garage is so light inside with the door closed. The amount of light the frosted window panels let in is amazing. The door is now white inside (which also helps) and outside and very heavy and strong. The opener is so quiet and the door raises so quietly that you can't hear it inside the house.

So now Sweetie will be able to come home in the middle of the day, sneak in and find me watching trash TV and knitting instead of knitting and watching intelligent TV. Is there such as thing? (DOG the Bounty Hunter is too intelligent TV!!)

I'm going to watch some more intelligent TV and maybe finish the sock so I can unravel and then finish the second one.

blogging to: An Ancient Muse by Loreena McKennitt

reading: Stardust by Robert Parker

Parting Shot: "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambition. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." ~ Mark Twain
taken from The Best of Success complied by Wynn Davis, page 99

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Others

What will I do when all of the other people's socks are finished? I feel like I've been knitting on these other socks for these other people for a looong time. Anal person that I am, I keep track on a spreadsheet of my WIP and my FO's — even those that eventually will be frogged, like the first pair of CIL socks that are sooo loooong but tooo narrrow. I cast on for them on 11/3/06, which means, this socks for others thing has been going on for FIVE MONTHS!!

Granted, I took a break in there and knit up the Heavenly Sweater (which still hasn't been seamed) and the recently frogged Peachy Keen scarf but mostly it's been these these other socks for these other people.

Now that I am almost done (I hope) with one pair, the Redux in Blue socks, it struck me that soon I won't have these other socks to deal with. I will be able to move on.

Maybe the Mermaid socks won't feel so weird this time around. I started them on 9/27/06. The cuff is done and I've got about 3½" done on the leg. I still want to try the heel that "goes with" the pattern. My usual heel is the heel flap which is a fine heel but with the colorway I've chosen for this Mermaid sock, it should be quite striking. As the time gets closer to me actually maybe working on it, I'll dig it out and post a SIP photo.


The other sock project that has been languishing is my poor white and creamy yellow stranded Castle socks. These are just barely started. I have less than an inch done on those and I notice that one of the needles has come out. Oh, well. It'll sit in it's basket a while longer.

Sunday,
we finished installing the winches on Spray. They look great and overall wasn't as big a project as we thought. We've got many things we want to do, but nothing like what we did last year.

This is a photo of the box to the microwave we purchased to replaced our dying one a few months ago. Who knew?

And we also succumbed and purchased the furniture I blogged about here. Here is a link to the table and here is a link to the chairs. New garage door and opener coming Tuesday morning!!

blogging to: Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop

reading: Stardust by Robert B Parker

Parting Shot: "Lovin' every minute of it." Xena, Warrior Princess in Altered States
Quote Source

Saturday, March 17, 2007

WWMD?

Today Sweetie and I went out to the boat yard to sit and read and knit and relax on Spray, our Precision 23. She's not in the water yet as there are many things we need to add and do before we splash her. We sat there about long enough for me to knit two rounds on the foot on the Redux in Blue sock. It wasn't supposed to be as nice as it was so we didn't plan on doing any work.

But we got out there and got settled and Sweetie suggests that maybe we can get a jump on the winch installation. A couple of months ago we bought a new spinnaker for Spray. She's not set up for it so we're going to add some equipment to make it easier to set and fly one. Two of those things are additional winches that we're putting on the coaming - that's the "ledge" that surrounds the cockpit. We packed up went home, packed up again and went back out to the lake. We're only 11 minutes away.

We had no idea what was under the fiberglass on the coaming but we suspected foam. So after careful positioning Sweetie drilled the first hole through the fiberglass and I stuck a dpn (which I JUST happened to have!) in the hole to find out where at underneath it would come out. The DPN was the perfect tool. It's very narrow and kind of pointy so it pierced the foam (like spray-fill foam) easily and the point poonched out the carpet liner covering the foam. We marked the spot, cut the carpet liner and pulled it away from the foam. It was glued to the foam.
See the black dpn on the side?

After we'd dug out all the foam, it was about 5" deep, Sweetie drilled the rest of the holes. We need to reinforce the coaming from underneath so we didn't screw the winch in place yet. We wanted to take some photos as we're documenting the winch install for a post to a Precision sailing forum and we needed something to hold the winch in place on the slanty coaming while I took so photos. Enter the dpn, again!

WWMD? What Would [a] Muggle (aka non-knitter) Do??? My knitting has come so handy on the boat. Back in November I listed all the ways I could think of then that knitting and sailing have in common. One of these days, I'll get around to putting a link in my side bar.

And when we splash Spray, whatever wool sock I'm knitting supplies the wool (about 10" or so per side) for the tell tales or "woolies" that I tie on the shrouds each spring. As neither the Redux in Blue sock nor the Tiger Blue sock are 100% wool, it will be my poor neglected Mermaid socks, knit in Kougi — unless the launch is very delayed (NOOOO!!)) or I zoom through the remaining socks. The woolies don't HAVE to be wool, it's just kind of neat that they are.

As you can see from the top photo I've turned the heel on the Redux in Blue sock. It's at the PEZ stage. Since then I've picked up the gusset stitches and am on round 11 of the foot. As the recipient noted when she tried on the SIP (sock-in-progress) several weeks ago, it was a bit tight about the ankle where the gusset stitches are. So I picked up extra stitches there.

My poor CIL. I sent her the Tiger Blue SIP to try on. As I knit from the cuff down, I had the leg done, the heel turned and just under 2" knit on the foot. I guess, since I knit it and I know how it's supposed to go I just assume everyone else will take this half-sock and KNOW that the long part is the leg. Well, she put the long part on her foot and complained that it's tooooo short.

I sent a very nice e-mail putting the blame for the mis-direction firmly on me, where it belongs. I would probably put it on upside down and backwards too if I was presented with a half completed something with no idea which way was up. I explained how it was supposed to go and that it was only half completed on purpose because I needed her to try it on at this point.

blogging to: Def Jazz, a jazz compilation with various artists

reading: Death at Charity's Point by William G Tappley

Parting Shot: "For me, my craft is sailing on,
Through mists to-day, clear seas anon.
Whate'er the final harbor be
'T is good to sail upon the sea!" ~ John Kendrick Bangs
Quote Source

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Garage Doors, Console Tables and Some Knititng, Oh My

I went downtown to the library this morning. After that, which is always pleasant and fun I decided to stop in at my LYS which is as much fun as the library. I wanted to check out some of the new sock books. The only one they had was this new one from Interweave Press. Yes, some very nice socks in there and someday it will be a part of my sock book collection.

However, we have a new garage door and opener being installed this Tuesday. About 2 weeks ago, our 12-13 year old Sears garage door opener died. It's been ailing for a couple of weeks before that but it finally kicked the bucket. I could have just replaced the opener but our garage door is pretty flimsy and we've been thinking about getting it replaced for some time now. And so we are.

This is a photo from the website of the "new" door.

We're going to paint it blue to match the siding we put on the house a couple of years ago. We're getting frosted windows across the top so it'll let in light but you won't be able to see inside (or outside, for that matter). It's a much heavier duty door. We opted for the longer "ranch" panels. We'll see how long before everyone else in the neighborhood has long panels! It will be so nice to have an opener again. We disconnected the old one the day it just refused to run. Sweetie thinks the gears inside broke.

And that's why I didn't buy the book or any yarn or ANYTHING at the LYS.

But I also stopped in at a local furniture shop and saw this Tracy console table and coffee table. Hmmmm.

And I'm knitting the heel flap on the other "Redux in Blue sock.

blogging to: Closer by Josh Groban

reading: Deadly Nightshade by Cynthia Riggs

Parting Shot: "If at first you don't succeed, look in the trash for the instructions." ~ unknown
Quote Source

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Brown Potato Chips

You know it's been a slow week when the only things I can think of to tell you about are potato chips. Brown potato chips. Those who have been reading a while may remember that I don't like brown much. That extends to potato chips.

There is a company out there, Cape Cod Potato Chips that makes pretty good kettle-cooked, (kettle-fried, old-fashioned, however you want to phrase it) regular potato chips. Personally, I can't tell, taste-wise, their 40% less fat (or some such) from their regular chips so I get the less fat ones. (More ice cream for me!)

Anyway, the first time I bought this brand of chips about a month ago, I bought a bag of their Robust Russet chips thinking they'd have a, you know, more robust taste instead of some wimpy tasting chip — thicker maybe. I was in the mood for a thicker rather than thinner chip and so Robust it was.

They're brown. Brown chips. A whole bag of brown chips. On purpose. They make brown chips and sell them and people buy them. Brown chips. Go figure. I never eat the brown ones in a bag of chips. Ever.

Sweetie loves 'em. I gotta admit they taste OK. Not burned. Not even brown. A little more robust than the regular chips but OK. If I couldn't see the brown color I would think they were fine. I cannot get past the brown color on these chips. I am so weird. So when I buy chips now I buy the chips with sunblock for me and the beige chips for Sweetie.



The other Redux in Blue sock is progressing. I've got about 6¼" on the leg done. I'm on round 78 of 97 rounds. I'm closin' in on the heel. SIL said she's going to put the too short mate in the mail today so I should have it be week's end.

No news on CIL's Tiger Blue sock.

The sunset was beautiful the other evening.

blogging to: Closer by Josh Groban

reading: Deadly Nightshade by Cynthia Riggs

Parting Shot: "We will not know unless we begin." ~ Howard Zinn
taken from The Best of Success compiled by Wynn Davis, page 195

Sunday, March 11, 2007

It's What Time??!!

It's Sunday just after (gulp!) 7pm [when I started this post]. Seriously, I thought it was like 4 or 5 not 7!! It's also the first day of the new DST in March. This is one of the parts of the time change (no matter when it happens) that I hate. However, I do love the extra light at night, especially after we get the boat in the water. And I really love the extra hour we get back in the fall. I like change. I just want to be the one to initiate it.

It's been overcast with a little light rain late this afternoon. But I took some outside pictures, anyway. I really do have to figure out the more fancy things my fancy camera can do. I need to adjust the white balance and you have to get fancy to do that. You can't adjust it in automatic mode. Also, I need to figure out how to get my close up nature photos more in focus. The background is in perfect clear focus but the thing I really wanted the close-up photo of is not. Hmmmm. An intense reading of the manual that came with the camera is in order. I also want to figure out how to take those cool long exposure photos at dusk /night. I already have a tripod.

The photo up top is another one of my pussy willow tree framed against the stormy sky. The one at the bottom is the neighbor's crocus plants. They aren't in perfect focus but I like the drops of water on them and the BRIGHT splash of color.

I've been blog surfing all afternoon. Sweetie's been holed up in the library watching basketball, the Stephen King movie, The Langoliers, motorcycle road racing, Shane with Alan Ladd and now Road Warrior with Mel Gibson. He's had a sinus headache for a couple of days now. Last night [actually early this morning] around 4am (pre DST time) I fed him 3 Excedrin sinus headache pills, tied a T-shirt around his head and put a frozen bag of peas on his head. It seemed to help as he woke up this morning pain free. But about mid-afternoon, it returned so we're back to the peas on the head, the T-shirt and the pills. My poor pea-headed husband.

I think he's pushing a sinus infection. I'm going to try to talk him into going to the doctor. He tends to get them this time of year. He's had a cold and I think that's what pushed it over the edge into a sinus infection. That and getting overly tired Thursday and Friday with service calls. He was on his last reserves when he got home Friday afternoon.

As I mentioned in my last post I finished up CIL's Tiger Blue sock. Well, as much as I'm going to knit until she tries it on. I'm putting it in the mail Monday.

So now, I'm back on the Redux in Blue sock mate. I cast on for it Friday night. The cuff is done and it's about 2¼" long. I'm on round 15 of the leg. I've got to do 97 rounds. As the other sock seemed to go fairly quickly, I'm hoping this will be the same. I cast on the other sock on 2/17 and was done with the leg on 2/22. The whole sock was done on 2/28 — about 11 days. Not too bad. I do have to knit about 2 3/4" more on the foot but that won't take long either. Maybe I will finally be out from under one of the never ending socks-from-hell projects.

I enjoy the knitting. I just want to be done with these two so I can get on with other knitting projects for me and Sweetie and SIL down the road. They've been hanging over my head since before Thanksgiving!! Stopping in the middle to knit my Heavenly Sweater and the doomed Peachy-Keen scarf didn't help either. But the end is in sight.

As I just dropped ANOTHER needle on the floor while waiting for the second photo to load. I wonder how many needles and other knitting related notions that have been "lost" would fall out if I shook the house upside down and only the knitting related items would fall out? Where would I be without 3 full sets each (well that's how many I stared with) of 2.5mm ebony and rosewood dpns. I lose one. I pick one out of a full set. I lose another. Grab another needle. I find one and put it back in the set. Eventually, though, mostly through breakage I do run though a whole set. When I'm down to about a set and a half (5 + 2) I buy a couple more. Since I'm not working and therefore traveling with my knitting, my breakage is way down.

blogging to: Maiden's Prayer by Lisa Lynne

reading: Kill Fee by Barbara Paul

Parting Shot: "Patience is a virtue." ~ Callisto from A Necessary Evil, Xena Warrior Princess episode 38, season 2, episode 14
Quote Source

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Is Spring Springing?

Finally!! There are signs of Spring, other than occasional temps in the 60's. Is it just me or is Spring taking a long time to get here this year? Maybe it's because we had more of a "normal" winter this year. We had snow that stuck around and long weeks of temperatures below freezing. The lake even froze all the way over for weeks, too. It hasn't done that in a long time.

Here's a photo of a couple of pussy willow branches from the tree in my backyard. I started the tree as a stick. A stick I bought from a Flower, Lawn and Garden show maybe . . . 12 years ago? I stuck it the ground and watered it and slowly . . . . very slowly it grew. The first year the top half of the stick died and I chopped off the dead part. By the second or third year, it put out little branches but it seems like it was just a stick in the ground for a looong time. And now it's a tree. I should cut some branches and take them inside for forcing but I can't bear to cut any of them off.

Same goes for the forsythia. It started out as a cutting from my dear MIL's garden and now it has to be trimmed back each year after blooming so it doesn't rub the house.

Even the light from the sunsets look different — more summery less wintery somehow. I'm sure it has to do with the angle of the sun in the sky which is climbing every day.

I remembered today, at 9 3/4", round 101 that I was going to do some back of the calf decreases. Oh, well. I'm not froggin' back over 50 rounds unless I have a VERY GOOD and / or COMPELLING reason and THAT is not a VERY GOOD reason. It's a good reason, just not a compelling one at this point. I also decided that it's long enough. I'm tired of knitting on the leg and so I've declared that it's long enough. I'm starting the heel as soon as I finish the round — after this post and dinner.

When that's done and a little of the foot, about an inch or two, I'll put the live stitches onto waste yarn mail it off to CIL for a fitting and hope for the best. I'm not doin' very well in the sock fitting category lately so we'll cross our fingers and see what happens.

blogging to: Blackbird by the Shelly Berg Trio

reading: The Secret Ingredient Murders by Nancy Picard

Parting Shot: "Happiness consists in activity. It is a running stream, not a stagnant pool." ~ John Mason Good
taken from The Best of Success complied by Wynn Davis, page 175

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Side Bar Update and Another Recipe

Not much really to report on, WIP / sock-wise. Rollin' along on with the Tiger Blue socks for CIL. Here's a photo taken Tuesday. That's about 9" there, on round 94. I'm going to knit until I have a 10½" or so leg then do the heel. According to her notes on the first sock (which I thankfully didn't toss when the previous sock was done) she wants the whole leg (from the bottom of the heel up) to be 12½". A tall sock, a knee sock. And her entire foot is 10½". So I still have some major knitting to do.

The entire peachy-keen scarf has finally been frogged. I've not wound it, yet It's wrapped around my half-size clipboard which I usually keep my note cards on my current WIPs.

Sweetie has been sickly. A mild cold, I think so we've been staying in and drinking lots of hot tea with honey. Mmmmm.

The birthday celebration with SIL and BIL went well. Everyone raved over the food. We finished the leftover brisket and potato salad the next day. Sweetie actually got some decent gifts. I know that sound lame but I've posted about some of the stuff we got for Christmas and issues I had with them here.

Here's the recipe for the Lemon Blueberry Biscuits which I also made.

LEMON BLUEBERRY BISCUITS

From: Real Cajun Recipes website (realcajunrecipes.com)
Makes: 12 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tspn baking powder
½ tspn baking soda
¼ tspn salt
8 oz lemon yogurt
1 egg, beaten to blend
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
1½ tspn grated lemon zest, divided
1 cup blueberries
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tblspn lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease baking sheet or use parchment paper.

Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking power, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, egg, butter and 1 tspn lemon zest then add to dry ingredients. Dough will be sticky Gently fold in blueberries.

Drop onto a prepared sheet and bake, 15-18 minutes. While biscuits are baking prepare glaze, if desired. Combine confectioners’ sugar, remaining ½ tspn lemon zest & enough lemon juice for desired drizzling consistency. Remove biscuits to wire rack to cool and drizzle glaze over biscuits.

I used vanilla sugar and 1 pkg (3 oz) dried blueberries and didn’t use the glaze. I also used the zest of 1 lemon and put it all into the biscuits. They were fantastic. Very lemony.

I updated my sidebar a bit instead of posting yesterday. I fixed a couple broken links and deleted a few that haven't posted in MONTHS! I've purchased sock yarn from all four vendors under The Quest and have been pleased as punch with the whole process with all of them. I also added some new fun things to Girls Just Want to Have Fun. In addition some more knitting blogs have been added to Kindred Spirits and a few more non-knitting blogs to The Path Not Taken and the Quill is Mightier. I know that my taste is not your taste but you might enjoy some of them all the same.

blogging to: Classical music on the radio

reading: Nicotine Kiss by Loren D Estleman

Parting Shot: "The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work." ~ Oprah Winfrey
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Monday, March 5, 2007

Too Short

I sent the completed Redux in Blue sock home Sunday with SIL so her principal could try it on. I re-knit it it based on the notes I received when I got the sock back in mid February. Well, it's too short by just under 3". CRAP! Please refer to the bottom that post where all the colorful words are.

Well, at least I don't have to re-knit the whole thing. Just unpick the kitchnered toe, rip it back & knit about 3 more inches. What's kind of funny, is when I was deciding what toe to put on the sock, I decided it would be easier to unpick a kitchnered toe that it would be to undo a star toe or one of those toes where you have about 8 stitches left and you run the yarn through those 8 stitches (twice!!) then pull it tight. So that is some good news.

Knitting continues apace on the altered Country Socks for my CIL. She has looooog feet (size 9½) and she wants a taaaaalll leg. Right now the leg is just under 6" so I'll start the calf decreases tomorrow when I pick it up again. In the "real" pattern, Nancy Bush says to start them after 11 pattern repeats. Right now I'm sitting on the cusp of 14 so that'll work since the sock will be so much taller. I'm very pleased with how the sock is working out.

I will be sooo glad when I'm back to knitting on socks for ME & Sweetie.

blogging to: Provocative Percussion by Enoch Light

reading: Words of Silk by Sandra Brown

Parting Shot: "How things are on the outside of us depends on how things are on the inside of us." ~ Parks Cousins
taken from The Best of Success complied by Wynn Davis, page 26

Saturday, March 3, 2007

I Wish I Was a Better Knitter

No, really. I do. I've posted before about how I'm a better knitter when I get into what I call the "Zen" of knitting. You could also call it the "Zone" which is what you're supposed to be in when you're exercising. Whatever it is I wish I could stay in it. Mostly, for me it involves just

s l o w i n g d o w n.


I start out in the Zone, paying attention to every stitch, feeling the yarn, watching how the stitches form on the needles. Looking at the stitches below the row I'm working, it's amazing. How they all line up, how the colors in a patterned yarn come together and then part in some kind of harmonious dance. Next thing I know, I've mindlessly knit several rows and I've got a couple of errors.

When I pay attention to my knitting, I'm a great knitter. My tension is even. Every stitch is the correct stitch for that particular stitch. In other words, I'm purling when I should be knitting or visa-versa.

When I'm knitting flat and in the Zone, the edges are even. No dipping in for a row or two then puffing out again to the "correct" width. And no bulging out over the even edge of the previous rows. I don't even know why that happens to me but it does. Maybe it's the yarn but suspect that maybe it's me. Whatever IT is, it was clear that I lost IT several times during the knitting of the Peachy-Keen scarf.

As you may recall, I first noticed a BIG problem when I had somehow put the back of the scarf onto the front about 15" into it. But before that I had a couple of wavy edged rows. Even after I found the BIG problem and had a very nice, very logical fix which even looked planned, I was unhappy about the edge waving in and out. I figured that I could block most of it out. And I probably could have, too.

But, it bothered me. To the point where I didn't want to knit on it anymore. All I could see and think about were the wavy edges on this otherwise great scarf. They weren't that bad. There were probably around 3 per side at different points along a 5 foot length (Yeah, FIVE FEET!). And only two were really bad. So I decided to frog it. It's about half frogged at this point.

Anyone ever tell you mohair is a royal pain in the mohair to frog!!?? Ick! Yeah, I know about the freezer trick. But it's still a bother.

I keep saying this over and over like a mantra. PAY ATTENTION TO THE KNITTING! I am getting it. Slowly. I'm trying not to knit mindlessly. I am trying to slow down.

I don't mind the mistakes that I can fix (by laddering down) and you can't even tell they were fixed. But those errors were you have to frog or tink to fix are the ones I want to avoid. Usually they involve some kind of looseness when they're fixed and that is the problem I encounter when I'm knitting in the round. I'm no good at tugging on the adjacent knitting, either wholesale or particular stitches, to try to even out the loose ones. So I frog or tink down & re-knit it.

Which makes a better garment, even a sock.

I'm not striving for perfection here; just a better looking piece of knitting. Maybe after enough paying attention and Zenning and Zoning and the slowing down and what have you, the paying attention, Zenning and Zoning the slower knitting will become second nature. And I will be a better knitter.

Then there would (maybe) be less tinking and frogging. At least I've gotten to the place (mostly, anyway) where if I see something I need to fix, I don't think about it and try to ignore it for 4 more rows while whatever it is doesn't get any better. Just farther down and more difficult to fix.

The Peachy-Keen scarf has not been abandoned. I still like the yarn and I still like the pattern. And I still think it's going to be a great scarf when it's done. When it's all frogged and re-wound and I've been away from it for a while, I'll pick it back up and knit it again. I'm also thinking a little wider on bigger needles [than US 6] will make it go a little faster.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: A Crossword to Die For by Nero Blanc

Parting Shot: ""Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him." ~ Charles G. Davis
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Friday, March 2, 2007

Truffles

OK, I don't know what it is either but as soon as I saw it at my LGC (local garden center) it was mine. And on sale for only $8.50 to boot! I knew it would be PERFECT for yarn and knitting — somehow. I love the shape. Initially, I was going to re-paint it as I am so not a brown / beige / tan person. I am blues and greens with a touch here and there of purple. Cool relaxing colors. Brown is warm. But after I took these photos, Sweetie realized it looks like a big chocolate truffle. Brown is also the color of one of my favorite foods — chocolate — but after I pop it into my mouth, no more brown and alas, no more chocolate either.

That was my big find and my big news. The Blue Tiger socks are humming along. Didn't do much knitting today but I'm getting some in this evening as I read blogs and look at a little TV. I e-mailed CIL with the photo from yesterday's post. She wrote back that she likes the color of the Blue Tiger socks better than she did the STRIPES!! socks that were too small. I do, too!

Sweetie and I are gearing up for company on Sunday. We visited the LGC for a couple of blooming plants to set around to brighten up things. We ended up with a couple nice ones which I'll show you next time I post. That place is as dangerous to me as a LYS or a
bookstore!

Tomorrow I'll cook the brisket and make the potato salad. Here's the brisket recipe

BBQ BRISKET
From: The Pirates House Cookbook, Savannah, GA
Makes: 4-6 servings
3 lb beef brisket or lean boneless chuck roast, trimmed of fat
garlic pepper, to taste
1 cup catsup
2 tblspn prepared yellow mustard
¼ cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tspn Worcestershire sauce
½ tspn salt
1/8 tspn coarsely ground pepper, or to taste
¼ tspn Tabasco, or to taste
1/8 tspn liquid smoke, or to taste
11 oz can cream of mushroom or celery soup*
1 envelope onion or beefy onion soup mix*

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil in a jelly-roll pan or a 9" x 13" baking dish. Cut all visible fat from meat then place meat in prepared pan.

Sprinkle both sides of meat with garlic pepper & set aside In a small saucepan combine catsup, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce & liquid smoke. Heat, stirring to combine flavors. Add mushroom or celery soup & onion or beefy onion soups to barbecue sauce & blend well. Pour over meat in pan.

Seal foil tightly, leaving about 1" clearance between foil & meat. Bake, 2½-3 hours or until meat is almost falling apart.

Let rest, 10 minutes before slicing. Slice thin & serve with sauce or cut into bite-size pieces & reheat with sauce.

You can also prepare it one day, let it set then slice it. Wrap in foil & reheat, about 30 minutes, in a 275°F. oven. * I've made this without the cream soup & using garlic herb dry soup mix & it still tastes great!

The potato salad — it's more a list of ingredients that I add to taste. The measurements are just a place to start. I usually chop or sprinkle until it "looks" right. Then I taste & adjust the seasonings, usually the salt & pepper. If you add too much red onion, it can overpower the potato salad. It will also stink up your fridge so keep it in a tightly sealed container.

¼ cup diced red onion, to taste
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced red bell pepper (or any color)
2-3 green onions, the white part thinly sliced & the green part a little bigger
¼ tspn dill weed
¼ tspn salt
¼ tspn ground yellow mustard
¼ tspn ground pepper
4-6 medium potatoes, baked, cooled, skin removed & cut into chunks
½ cup mayonnaise (or however much it needs to be the consistency you want)
¼ tspn smoked paprika (or regular paprika)

I mix all the veggies and spices together then gently add the potatoes. Then I stir in the mayo. Over top I sprinkle the ubiquitous paprika.

You'll notice no hard boiled eggs or sweet pickles or sweet pickle juice or sweet pickle relish. Sweetie doesn't like the eggs and I don't like the pickles . . . so there.

blogging to: Bongo Land (an Ultraloung CD)

reading: A Crossword to Die For by Nero Blanc

Parting Shot: ' I'm getting tired of cable. Day after day it's the same 237 channels." ~ unknown
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Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Mood is Blue

Finally an FO or rather ½ an FO. If you finish the 1st sock of a pair, is that a fully fledged FO since the sock CAN be worn complete or half an FO since it's half a pair??? I have a feeling this is a chicken and egg question.

Anyway, whatever it is, I have A sock done. Yea!! This the Redux in Blue sock for SIL's principal. The yarn is Socketta and the fiber content is 45% cotton, 40% superwash wool and 15% nylon. The color number on the ball band is 363. The pattern is Classy Slip-Up from the sock-shaped book Knit Socks! by Betsy McCarthy. This sock was a very quick knit. I enjoyed the knit and I like the sock so much that I'm going to knit a pair for myself and probably my SIL, too! I did my own heel, I think it's call the Eye of Patridge heel flap and the toe is from Grumpernia's Jaywalker sock pattern.

As SIL and BIL are coming over on Sunday to celebrate Sweetie's birthday, I'm going to give the sock to my SIL to take to her principal to try on. If all is a go, which it should be, I'll cast on and knit the mate. The first sock was too tight around the ankle and she wanted a longer leg. That sock has since been frogged (frogged since I did re-wind the yarn) and is awaiting re-incarnation.

Meanwhile, I've cast on for CIL's NEW sock. This sock is 95% based on a pattern found in Nancy Bush's book Folk Socks. It's the "Country Sock". I tweaked the patten just a bit because I thought the cuff pattern showed off the yarn better. I knit the cuff as written, then for the leg, on the p3, I changed the middle stitch to a k1. Instead of p3 you p1, k1, p1 then continue on. I like the diagonal stripes. It reminds of a blue tiger. That could be this sock's name, Blue Tiger. Hmmm.

I blogged about the yarn when I got it last week but here is the info again. It's Crystal Palace Panda Cotton. The fiber content is 55% bamboo, 24% cotton and 21% elastic nylon. The color on the ball band is faded jeans. The yarn is very soft to knit with. Sometimes it can be splitty but most of the time it knits up very nicely. Because it can be splitty I'm not looking forward to the heel turn and especially the toe decreases. I'm going to do my regular heel flap and heel turn but I haven't decided on what toe yet.

Yesterday, we had another taste of spring. Temperatures were around 70°F with mild breezes from the south and lots of sunshine. I had all the windows open and it was wonderful. A thunderstorm moved through last night (hence, no post) and this morning we had a dusting of snow. Today it's sunny but very windy, gusts over 30mph and temps around
40°F. What a change!

blogging to An Ancient Muse by Loreena McKennitt

reading: A Crossword to Die For by Nero Blanc

Parting Shot: "You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water." ~ Rabindranath Tagore
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