Friday, July 31, 2009

Something's Always Cookin'

I'm still enthralled with the Lacy Beret knit. I'm "officially" half finished with it now. How I wish my eldabows weren't bothering me. I'd be knitting on that thing constantly, if I could. Depending on how much yarn I use, I may knit me one with the leftovers. It's that perfect combination of yarn, needles and pattern.

The Summertime Cotton Sock got some action today. WooHoo! I'm on round seven of the cuff. The color runs on this yarn are long and I'm able to get a two and in some areas a three row stripe of one color. Neato! This is going to be a great summer sock. The star of the show will be the yarn, not the pattern.

I'm always thinking about the next knit, or the one after that. Once my Christmas Monkees are complete, I'm going to do another pair for my SIL. They'll be Monkey Socks, too as she really liked the pattern. Well, she also liked the yarn colors so I'll see if my LYS has any more of this colorway. If not, I'll use some of the Knit Picks yarn that I got when her teacher friend died a year ago from cancer. I'm going to cast on for them a bit early and have the cuff and at least one pattern repeat complete so she can try them on when I see her at the end of August. If I use the Knit Picks yarn, I'll need to do the heel and toe in a complimentary or contrasting color as I only have two skeins of each of the colorways. My SIL has larger feet and wider ankles and requires at least part of a third 50 gram skein. I'll need to get cracking on that sometime in the next week or so so I'm not scramblin' to get it done by the end of the month and re-injure my eldabows.

Speakin' of the eldabows. They're doing OK. I can't knit as long as I'd long or be on the computer typing and mousing as long as I'd like without frequent breaks but I get along.

For some reason this year I'm really enjoying all the fresh summer produce. Part of it is a dependable supplier that always has quality fruits and vegetables. It's all locally grown and it all tastes like summer. Tomatoes and peaches eaten at room temperature. Tomatoes that taste like tomatoes, sliced thick with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and sweet, juicy peaches that smell and taste like peaches. And cantaloupes with flavor in every sweet, juicy mouthful not just an occasional hint. I picked up my first watermelon there and it is just as good. The green and red bell peppers along with red and yellow onions are delicious, too. Buying from an outdoor farmers market, all the produce is warm, not refrigerated. Every thing smells so wholesome and luscious. You want to rush home and cook something with them.

As we're not eating out much any more, there are some favorites we miss and I'm making my own versions of them. Some of the favorites are from restaurants that have closed and others where the service and quality of the food are no longer very dependable. I'm not talking bugs in the kitchen food quality but maybe the beef is not as lean or as well prepared as it once was. And I'm not talking high end places either. Not McDonald's but independent, smaller or locally owned franchises. And these are fairly simple to re-create. Here are some of those favorites.

We both love the fajita bowls at Chipotle Mexican Grill; Sweetie for the beef and I like the chicken. The chicken's been OK but the beef was fatty the last couple of times we went (a couple of years ago) and so we quit going. I found a copycat rice recipe (we have a "no keep warm" rice cooker) and a fajita mix we like. Once the beef is done I use about a quarter of the fajita mix in the envelope mixed with about ¼ cup of water and let it cook down. While that's going on, in another pan, I cook some red and/or green bell peppers (whatever I have) and red onions that I've cut into about the same size pieces that Chipotle uses, until the veggies are tender. I shred some
Monterey Jack cheese and I found a locally made salsa that we like. I set it all up buffet style and we do our own at home now. Well, only the beef one. I occasionally stop by for a chicken fix. I even found some rectangular bowls that work well for this so we can pile it high.

One of the local places we like to hit closed a few years ago. We'd always order the Owner's Special. A spicy sausage, split down the middle and grilled with cubed green and red bell peppers, diced onions and sliced mushrooms with pepper jack cheese on either a French hard roll or pumpernickel sub roll. Yum. So I do it at home, except for the mushrooms (ick!) and the pepper jack cheese. I usually use either smokey cheddar or whatever cheddar I have in the fridge. As for bread, sometimes a sub or soft hoagie roll but more likely (as I usually have all the other ingredients around) is two pieces of soft white bread with potato chips and a dill pickle spear on the side. I cook the split side of the sausages while I chop the bell peppers and onions (whatever colors I have of each). To keep the cut sides flat in the pan, I set the tea kettle on them. When I turn the sausages, I put the peppers and onions in the same skillet to soften. When the sausages are done and peppers and onions are ready, I carefully pile the veggies on the split sausages (as much as will stay on) then lay slices of cheese over the veggies to help hold them on. When the cheese has softened or melted a bit, scoop each one carefully into a hoagie roll or diagonally onto the white bread and top it with a second slice. This also works well on the grill outdoors. I make up a little foil pan to do the veggies on the grill too. When I'm ready to put the veggies on the sausages, I put the sausages into the foil pan so I don't loose any of the veggies.

The latest is a version of a Philly beef and cheese sandwich that we enjoyed from a place that is still operating but sadly, no longer in our town. Thinly sliced beef (good beef), cubed yellow or white onions and green and/or red bell peppers (whatever colors I have of each) all tossed in a hot skillet together. Meanwhile, I lay slices of Monterey Jack cheese in the soft hoagie roll. When the beef is done and the veggies are soft I spoon them into the roll. The heat of the meat and veggies soften the cheese. Maybe a dash of salt and pepper and Yum!

blogging to: night sounds outside the open windows

reading: The Stalking of Sheilah Quinn by Jeremiah Healy (a mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: '"Liberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole." ~ Ann Coulter

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I've been knitting up a storm. Don't worry, knitting partial rows and resting between those by reading a chapter or two. The Lacy Beret and The Christmas Monkees Socks have been seeing lots of action. The beret in particular.

I sat down Wednesday evening and did a spreadsheet on row counts. The pattern gets you started and only takes you through the first 16 rows. You increase the knit stitches the same way each time so she didn't need to write it out all the way. Which is fine. Most folks aren't as anal as me about row counts in lace.

So I painstakingly figured out stitch pattern counts for each new row and the total number of stitches for each row. The RS knit row has three yo's and one k2tog and the WS purl row has a ssp which nets you an increase of one stitch in each repeat, a total of eight per row. A bit more work but a security blanket so that I know the stitch counts for the pattern repeats are accurate. The total number of stitches on each row is kind of a bonus.

So, of course, I had to go and figure out, how many cumulative stitches and from there determine some mile posts, ¼ complete 1/3 complete, ½ complete, 2/3 complete and ¾ complete. The hat increases by eight stitches every two rows up to row 49, then starts to decrease by three on every two rows from row 51 through row 60, then the decreases taper off rapidly until on row 65, it's straight knitting for five rows. You can see, based on that, it's not a matter of row 35 being the halfway point, although it's not far off. Halfway through row 42 is the halfway point . . . unless, I'm not knitting the same gauge in which case, she suggests you keep increasing until it's at least 11" across, preferably 12 or 13". So we'll see where I am when I get to row 50. Currently, halfway though row 40, it's 8
½" across. Theoretically, the hat is almost half finished.

Can you tell I'm really enjoying that knit. The Good Luck Lace Scarf was a bit of a slog, but this is great. Every stitch is zen. Even if the scarf doesn't work out and she ends up giving it away or tossing it, mainly because the Feza (an acetate tape yarn), she will keep and wear the hat. In fact, I'm even going to suggest that if the Feza starts to snag and look bad, give the scarf back and I'll cut the Feza out of it and just leave the Mariboo. All the Feza does is add a bit of drama to the Mariboo.

As to the socks, they are just flying. Cookie A suggests six pattern repeats on the leg and I'm halfway though the last one. I tried it on at the end of the fifth repeat and I did prefer it be longer. Could be I'm almost done with the leg or maybe one more repeat. I certainly have plenty of yarn for a longer leg. I'll see at the end of this repeat.

And yes, I am going to do a stockinette short row heel. I won't do the pattern all around the foot, I'll do the bottom of foot stitches in stockinette like you would do if you did a heel flap heel.

We went to the range late Wednesday afternoon. It's still working. Skill-wise I started where I left off last Thursday and Sunday at the shoot. I even think I got a bit better. Drill Baby Drill!

Sweetie was shooting his snubby revolver. I'd shot all the 9mm practice ammo I'd brought and had picked up my .45 to do the same drills. Sweetie had put up a new target and I pasted over the two holes he shot. Usually, we have buff colored 1" squares to paste over the holes in our targets but this time the roll must have been left at home. I did have a roll of blue low-tack painters tape in the range bag (aka as blue barrel pasters). Anyway, I stuck two pieces of blue tape over those two holes and ran the target down to ten yards or so. The two pieces of blue tape really stuck out on that plain buff background. So I took my time, aimed and shot both of those pieces of tape. Two pieces of tape. Two holes. It was great!

blogging to: outside night sounds though the open windows

reading: The Stalking of Sheilah Quinn by Jeremiah Healy (a mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "“You won’t get gun control by disarming law-abiding citizens. There’s only one way to get real gun control: Disarm the thugs and the criminals, lock them up, and if you don’t actually throw away the key, at least lose it for a long time... It’s a nasty truth, but those who seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun controllers." ~ Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Knitting in a Flat Out Circle

The Good Luck Lace Scarf is done . . . well except for weaving in these last ends and blocking. Normally, I wouldn't consider blocking a scarf this heavy, but the garter stitch border keeps turning under and that has got to stop. I'm hoping a good blocking will cure that. Let me restate that. I'm pining EVERYTHING on a good blocking.

I had about 12" of Mariboo left in the fourth skein. I bound off with a size 9mm / US 13 needle. I cast on with an 8mm and knit it with a 4mm turbo Addi Lace circ. The scarf is folded up on the coffee table so I can admire it. I even got the border to lay down which is why I think blocking will fix that.

So, meanwhile, I've cast on for the lace beret. I chose the Lacy Beret from Knitting Divine's blog. It's knit flat but I love how it looks. Someone more clever than me could probably figure out how to convert the pattern to be knit in the round but I didn't want to take the time to figure it out. I just wanted to cast on and start. And so I did.

The beret is being knit on a 3.5mm circ. At the time of this photo it was 122 stitches long. There are eight stitch repeats and as you can see, my place markers are doing their thing as I count each repeat, on the knit and on the purl side. So far no big goofs. Early on I had to frog a row but after I did that I figured out that I was correct after all.

If you go by row count I'm half done with the increase portion on row 26. However, I add eight stitches on every RS row and every row gets longer that much longer. So, if you go by total stitches I'm no where near the halfway point in the increase section of this hat.

I am enjoying the knit tremendously. I've never knit anything like this before and it's fascinating to see the pattern spiral out from the ten cast on stitches. I can see me looking for a pattern or figuring out how to put this into the red scarf I want to knit for my SIL's buddy. Hmmm. Or maybe as the basis for a shawl for me. Because if we're all going to lunch and wear our scarves and shawls, I'll need one, too.

The only down side to this is the seaming at the end. In true Scarlett O'Hara fashion I will fling myself off that bridge when I get there.

blogging to: sounds of the birds and bees (and the flowers and the trees) through the open windows

reading: Colfax by Robert J Conley (a Bluff Luton and Oliver Colfax western)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Monday, July 27, 2009

Drill Baby Drill — Drill Baby Drill

We shot IDPA Sunday afternoon at an outdoor range. It was great. I've been doing pistol drills for about three weeks now and Sunday I could see that all the lead and copper flung down range is indeed paying off. I've been concentrating on getting a sight picture faster, squeezing the trigger more quickly or rather a cross between squeezing the trigger faster and pulling (rather than squeezing) it smoothly. Part of getting a quicker sight picture is getting back on the target quicker, either the same one for a double tap, (two shots) or a different target.

A change in my 9mm reloading recipe has also seemed to help. I used to use 4.5 gr of Alliant Bullseye and Sunday and the last practice at the indoor range it's been 4.5 gr of HP-38 with a case overall length (col) of 1.1". I don't know what the col was on my "old" formula but after we nailed the load we tested col. This combo seems for me and the Glock 19 to be the most accurate. There's less of a sharp break which I'm hoping will let me get back on the target faster.

So testing and drills continue apace. I had two really good CoF's (Courses of Fire) out of five on Sunday but I still need lots of practice. I started to see some definite improvement when we were at the range Thursday afternoon. It took a shorter amount of time and ammo to get where I was in speed and accuracy when I quit the day before. That may have had something to do with it as we'd also shot on Wednesday afternoon. A new way to hold the gun as the Glock 19 has a longer grip has also helped a lot.

I also did very well in clearing a jam in one CoF. The empty brass didn't eject all the way and I was able to pull back the slide to free the brass and bring another cartridge from the magazine into the chamber ready for my next shot.

We also had one CoF where we had to do a mandatory reload at a fixed place in the course. If you'd shot to slide lock (when the magazine is empty the slide locks open so that the empty chamber is exposed)—which could happen if you fired more than twice at any targets up to that point, but doubtful
it would be a matter of dropping the empty magazine on the ground and putting in a fresh magazine. Most likely the magazine wouldn't be empty. You NEVER leave ammo. You may need it later and the BG (bad guy) may be shooting the same caliber you are and pick it up. I've been practicing on and off this reload with retention; pull the fresh magazine from your pocket, magazine holder or where ever, and bring it up to your gun (preferably with the cartridges facing forward), drop the partially full magazine into your hand and insert the fresh magazine into your gun. As you did not shoot to slide lock there is already a round in the chamber. As soon as your fresh magazine is locked in the gun you can begin to move to your next cover, as you put the partially empty magazine back in the magazine holder or your pocket. That way you only are a second or two with only one round. If you drop the partially full magazine into your hand, put it into the magazine holder or your pocket, get the fresh magazine from your pocket or magazine holder, bring it up and insert it into the gun there could be several seconds with only one round in the chamber and [in IDPA] you cannot move from cover until that fresh magazine is locked into your gun. That went pretty well. I didn't pick up the fresh magazine backwards and I got it into the gun OK. My hands are small and the magazines are doublestack and hold 15 rounds which means they are wide and long. Two barely fit into my hand but I didn't drop anything. And I began to move to the next cover while I pocketed the partially full magazine.

Sometimes it seems you practice and practice and you don't see any improvement so Sunday was great! Meanwhile, more pistol drills.

On the way to the shoot we passed this sign.

And in knitting news, the Good Luck Lace Scarf is almost done. I've just started the end borders rows, 2 rows of garter stitch, one RS row of k2tog, k1, three more garter stitch rows then I'll bind off on the RS with very big needles. I've woven most of the ends in already, so I just have the final skeins and the the end of weave in.

I've been looking at berets and I'm not sure I will have enough yarn with only two skeins of the Mariboo, provided I don't break into another one at the very end. Whichever one I choose (that's still under consideration) I'll start it, throw in some Feza highlight rounds along the way, mainly to stretch the Mariboo and we'll see what I end up with. Five possibilities: a) go in search of another skein to finish; b) frog it and knit something else (this one depends on how close to finishing I was); c) stop and don't give her a hat, finish it with something else and keep it; d) frog it and use the yarn for something else or e) if I am very close, only needing another yard or so, frog back some of the hat and make it slightly less slouchy.

blogging to: Masters and Commanders music from seafaring film classics

reading: The Skeleton's Knee by Archer Mayor (a Joe Gunther mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "When a government takes over a people’s economic life it becomes absolute, and when it has become absolute it destroys the arts, the minds, the liberties and the meaning of the people it governs." ~ Maxwell Anderson

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Action and Vision

I'm back on with the Good Luck Lace Scarf. Last night I attached the fourth and probably final skein of the steel gray Feza ribbon yarn. At that point the scarf was 51-52" long, slightly stretched. I'm still thinking that I'm going to use only four skeins and do a hat with the other two skeins of Meriboo with maybe some Feza accent rounds. When I get to about row 380 on the scarf, that should leave me enough to do the five rows of garter stitch edge, a bind off with a very large needle and a little extra left on that one skein. If I run short, I do have the two extra skeins. Presently, I'm on row 336 which leaves only 44 more rounds before the edge. And that all depends on how long the scarf actually is at that point.

I have two choices on where to end the pattern stitches. At the end of the 16 stitch pattern, of course, or in the middle. This is about the point where I morph from a process into a project-driven knitter. Even though I know full well that there will be another project right behind this one.

Right off the bat for the next project, there will be a matching hat, depending on how much yarn there actually IS left.

Otherwise, I'll drag out the cotton afghan and knit on it for a while, the White Caps Afghan, which hasn't seen any action for months. As I mentioned before, I'm going to divide up the 300 or so stitches into groups of five or six which would be 60 or 50 stitches, respectively or however it works out, stitch repeat-wise. I don't want to stop on the middle of a stitch repeat. That way I won't kill my hands and eldabows k
nitting 300 stitches before I break for reading. The only problem may be that as it's now large enough to spread over my lap, it may be too warm. I'll try it and see. If it is, I'll put it off until it gets cooler and knit on The Christmas Monkees Socks as my couch knitting and reading project along with travel knitting.

Always in the back of my mind is the next project. Once The Christmas Monkees Socks are done, if it's not cool enough to work on the afghan, I'll need another lace project. I want to do another lacy, light scarf for another of my SIL's close buddies. This is the grandmother to the two babies, I knit the the baby things; pink blanket, pink watch cap, pink booties, blue blanket, BSJ. It will hopefully be a quickish project like the Fern Lace Wrap for my SIL's curmudgeonly pal, which took about a month. I already know the color, red. Basic primary color red. This woman likes red and every time I see her, which is only about once or twice a year, she always wears something with red. Not fuchsia, or mauve or tomato soup red. Just plain old red. I have nothing suitable in my stash—even if it weren't red. And it will have to be soft and be able to be knit into a lofty, light and airy scarf.

I may even start this after the Good Luck Lace Scarf and hat are done. So a trip to my LYS when I'm ready for that. I don't have a pattern either but that will come. It'll probably be some kind of traveling vine thing that will block out nice and holey. I can see all four of us having lunch somewhere, my SIL with her salmon merging to lilac shawl, her
curmudgeonly pal with her lilac scarf and this pal with her red lacy scarf. I guess somewhere along the line, I'll need one, too.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: A Pale Horse by Charles todd (an Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it" ~ Thomas Sowell

Friday, July 24, 2009

Life's Not All Beer & Skittles — There's Also Knitting

Taking a bit of a break from the Good Luck Lace Scarf. Not intentional, just haven't had time to sit and knit on it. I did take a few minutes, however and grabbed a couple of photos.

What I have had time to knit on, are The Christmas Monkees Socks. We went to the target range yesterday afternoon and I knit on them to and from the range. What a pleasure to knit. The yarn is soft and I love the colors. The pattern is great, every other round is straight knit/purl and rounds with the yo's and k2tog or ssk's are easy to memorize. As there are 16 stitches in each stitch repeat I have each repeat on it's on needle. Instead of four needles holding the stitches I'm using five, one for each repeat. I've got small round o-rings between the stitch repeats and a fancy place marker at the end of the round. That way it's easier for me to count and keep track of the number of stitches in each repeat. To a non-knitter or a non-dpn knitter it also looks even more (now with FIVE dpns) like I'm trying to render aid to (or murder) a porcupine.

I'm using 2.25mm bamboo dpns, a departure from my normal 2.5mm dpns for wool socks. Being a softer wood (they seem softer) I'm a little worried for the tips when I do the k2togs but so far I haven't broken any. It will be interesting to compare the knit fabric with socks knit on my standard 2.5mm dpns. I have to pay a little more attention during the drive as these are a little more complicated than plain ribbing. I showed them to my SIL when I came into Kansas City for lunch on Tuesday and she loved 'em. So I see a pair of these in her sock future.

I've got four pattern repeats done now. The pattern calls for six but we'll see how long the leg is at that point. I've also decided to do a stockinette short row heel. I'll put a lifeline in before I start it in case it looks terrible.

I'm also making s - l - o - w progress on the Summertime Cotton Socks — stoplight knitting only. I'd take a photo but there's not much to see yet. The color runs seem like they will be long enough for maybe a two or more round stripe. Still hard to tell though as I'm only on round four.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Blackstone and the Fire Bug by Sally Spencer writing as Alan Rustage (an Inspector Sam Blackstone mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last." ~ Winston Churchill

Monday, July 20, 2009

Who is Laurel and Why is Someone Sitting on Her

Nope. Not resting on my recent accomplishments. Well, other than to occasionally "pet" the new socks.

Knitting continues apace on the Good Luck Lace Scarf. It's over 44" long and I've just attached the fourth and in all likelihood the final skein of Mariboo. And a theory is proven. This is from my July 11 post

"I try to keep copious notes and often that pays off with interesting trivia. I attached the second skein of Mariboo at the start of row 90. The third skein was attached at the start of row 189—nine rows more than the first skein. Of course, the first skein, had the cast on row—cable cast on with size 8mm / US 11 needles (the scarf is being knit on 4mm lace Addi turbo circs) and then five rows of garter stitch before the pattern stitches kicked in. It could also be that there wasn't the same amount of yarn in both skeins. To that end, I weighed the new skein before I attached it—52 gr—so we'll see. But I won't have to wait another 90+ rows. If I get the same results when I attach the third skein of Feza (nine rounds more than the first skein) that'll tell me the yarn weight was OK."

The second skein of Feza went 6 more rows (row 107-219) than the first one. As I haven't attached the fourth skein the jury's still out on the third one.

Stockinette uses less yarn than garter stitch. Granted, I had the cast on row in the first skein and it was with needles twice the size as what I'm using in the body of the scarf but that couldn't account for 9 more rows.

The Meriboo's third skein took me to the end of row 290, 11 more rows than the first skein and three more rows than the second one. The fourth skein weighs in at 49 grams, 3 grams less than the third one and one gram less than what the ball band says. Of course, my rather inexpensive scales are probably off a bit but still rather interesting.

I'm aiming for a 60" length for this scarf. My hairdresser is a bit taller than me and slender. This scarf is also thick; not at all light and airy so it won't be suitable to wrapping around your neck multiple times; once will be about it. I'll see how it goes when it gets to that length.

Hopefully, I'll have enough to do some kind of hat, preferably some kind of slouchy beret but we'll see. I've been looking for and saving beret patterns.

There are a lot of really good free patterns out there. I'm thinking most folks have at least a couple good patterns in them so they put them out there for free. They really don't want the hassle of setting up a way for someone to pay for the patterns or set up an Esty or E-bay site and they don't get that much traffic on their blog. Heck, I've even got a free cabled hat pattern over there on the sidebar. And of course, designers do it so that if you like knitting the freebies maybe you'll pony up and purchase the non-free patterns and if they're prolific and good enough in the pattern-writing thing, their eventual book.

Many knitters only need a stitch pattern or a suggestion of one and away they go doing their own thing with it. That's what a great deal of my socks are, some kind of ribbing or pattern I found somewhere on something else and either used as is or adapted it to what I wanted.

For my fancier, non-travel knitting socks, I turn to my books and the web for cables and lace. I've knit enough socks now that I could un-vent myself a sock pattern with cables and/or lace. But often I just want to cast on and knit. Planning a sock with something more than a p1, k2 ribbing for the entire sock does take some time to plan and experimentation. So for the most part, at this point anyway, I'm willing to turn to a designer and let her or him figure all that stuff out.

So, yes, lots of beret patterns to choose from when the time comes, probably in a week or so. I also kept track of the date I attached the new yarn. It only took me ten days to knit the third skein of Mariboo. It took me three weeks to knit the first skein and just over a month to knit the second one.

I finally got a little stoplight knitting in today. The Summertime Cotton Socks are going to work out great in that respect. Tomorrow (7/21), I'm driving into Kansas City to have lunch with my SIL. So a little time on the socks then, too.

blogging to: the sound of the rain

reading: Harm Done by Ruth Rendell (an Inspector Wexford mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: '“Elections should be held on April 16th — the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders." ~ Thomas Sowell

Friday, July 17, 2009

An End is Also a Beginning

The Purple Plasma Socks are complete — the ends have even been woven in, notes updated on these and the Country Socks, photos taken of both FOs! and I've cast on for a new sock. I know. you're socked . . . . er . . . SHOCKED!!

Country Socks for Sweetie ~ socks # 65 & 66
yarn: Zitron Trekking Pro Natura in near black colorway (looks more like a heathered gray
pattern: Nancy Bush's Country Socks from her book Knitting Vintage Socks

needles: 5 2.5mm Suzanne's rosewood dpns
heel: heel flap heel
toe: grafted toe with 24 stitches, 12 on each needle
amount of yarn used: 1 skein and 14 gr from a second one
misc: weight: 3.7 oz / 107 gr | the socks cost $21.35 based on the weight of the socks and the cost of the yarn

cuff: 22 rounds
leg: 80 rounds
heel flap: 32 rows
heel turn: sock #1 ~ 21 rows ~ ending with 25 heel stitches
sock #2 ~ 19 rows ~ ending with 24 heel stitches

gusset stitches: sock #1 ~ picked up 18 & 19 stitches
sock #2 ~ picked up 19 & 20 stitches
foot: sock #1 ~ 78 rounds
sock #2 ~ 79 rounds
toe: sock #1 ~ 32 rounds
sock #2 ~ 31 rounds

The yarn has little stitch definition so it's really difficult to see in a photo the little detail between the columns of knit stitches. You CAN see it in real life so it was worth the extra hassle. Although this yarn has no mohair it does have a bit of that mohair halo. The light makes it look like the socks are two different colors, but they are not. I have enough yarn left, almost an entire skein to someday make me a p
air of matching socks. This was my main travel knitting for a couple of months.

cast on for sock #1 on 1/8/09
finished sock #1 on 4/18/09
cast on for sock #2 on 4/18/09
finished sock #2 on 6/17/09

While I was knitting this sock I was also working on the Purple Plasma Socks. Once I finished the first Purple Plasma Sock at the end of March, I had the Country Socks as my only travel knitting.

Purple Plasma Socks for me ~ socks # 67 & 68
yarn: 1 hank of light weight Socks That Rock ~ Romancing the Stone colorway
pattern: my own, p1, k2
needles: 5 Suzanne's ebony dpns for leg, foot and toe | 2mm bamboo for the short row heel
heel: garter stitch short row heel
toe: decreased down to 8 stitches then ran yarn though remaining stitches twice

amount of yarn left: 8 gr ~ 10 yards
misc: weight: 4.0 oz / 114 gr | the socks cost $17.01 based on the cos
t of the yarn and the weight of the socks. I bought this yarn back in Feb '06.

leg: 80 rounds
row heel: knit 42 stitches onto smaller dpns
sock #1: 67 rows down to 10 stitches and back up
sock #2: 66 rows down to 10 stitches and back up
foot: 55 rounds in pattern
toe: 28 rounds

As you can see the socks are fraternal twins. No idea why the striping
changed other than the tension of my knitting. I like the leg striping better on the sock on the left and the foot striping better on the other sock. Go figure. A long time ago, Jared at b r o o k l y n t w e e d noted that wound yarn, especially hand painted yarn will often give you a peek at what the colors will look like knit up. I think he's dead on.

cast on for sock #1 on 7/11/08
finished sock #1 on 3/31/09
cast on for sock #2 on 6/17/09
finished sock #2 on 7/15/09

The first sock was a bit of a trial. Initially, I was going to do a 20 round cuff in p1, k2 then move to a k5, p2 leg. When I was about ten rounds into the leg I decided I didn't like the pooling (no photos, sorry) so I ripped back to the cuff and did the whole sock in p1, k2 ribbing. Another change I'd made was that I cast on 72 stitches instead of the 80 or 85 I'd been doing for my wool socks. Somewhere I'd latched on to the idea that my calf was larger than it really was. Consequently, a few of my older wool socks are a little large. About round 50 (of 80) I got the bright idea to do some calf decreases to make it fit even better. At this point, this sock was only being knit on sporadically, at stop lights over several months. The Four of a Kind Socks were my main travel knitting so you can maybe see where I kinda forgot what the heck I was doing.

So I did the calf decreases, knit the short row heel and 30 rounds of the in-pattern foot before I tried it on. Coupled with the reduced amount of cast on stitches, the nine calf stitch decreases (even though I put them back in the first round of the foot stitches) it was impossible to get the sock over and onto my heel. So, I ripped out all that back to round 50 of the leg. 30 rounds on the leg, 30 rounds on the foot and 50 rows short rows — down to ten then back up to 42 stitches all gone.

And then when I was doing the round toe (that's what Nancy Bush calls it), I dropped a stitch in one of the k2tog's and had to go back when I was weaving in the ends on the first sock and fix that. Whew! The second sock was a breeze and was completed in less than a month. I have approximately TEN yards, 8 grams of yarn left. Not bad at all for a pair of socks with such a troubled beginning.

I was astounded when I updated my notes on these two socks that so far, I've knit 34 pair of socks since that first sock (now long gone) back in May 2004. Well, I suppose if you take into consideration all the frogging of and re-knitting of socks I've done over the years, it's probably about ten more! This does include the pair I knit for my CIL that didn't fit at all. I STILL haven't frogged them. When I need the yarn, I will.

And the next sock. I went to get my hair trimmed this morning and took The Monkees Sock along as my stoplight knitting sock. Not a good stoplight knitting sock. I'd spent some time with The Monkees Sock, re-acquainting myself with this pattern a few days ago. That way when I did pick it up in the car I wouldn't have to spend half the time figuring out where I am and what to do next. I was able to reconnect with the yarn and pattern in just a few repeats—stitch repeats, not rows. That's either a very simple pattern or a hallmark of a very well written, more complex one. As this is a Cookie A pattern, I think it's the latter. In just those few stitch repeats I am again blown away by the amazing things that come from that woman's needles. That wasn't the problem. It just requires more attention than I'm willing to give it at a stoplight. It takes too much time to get back into the pattern each time. So this is my passenger knitting travel sock

I'd already decided on the yarn and had even pulled it from the sock yarn stash. I decided to go with the Schachenmayr Nomotta Crazy Cotton. I love these colors and they'll make a great summer sock. In fact that's the working name of these socks. Summertime Cotton Socks. Now I can't get this song out of my head.

I couldn't get the middle out of the skein so I wound it. I needed to re-wind that little bit of STR yarn I had left anyway so I wound one of the skeins up. It's going to be a great looking sock! I've already cast on and have two rounds done. As this is cotton, a mercerized cotton, it'll shrink a bit so I'm knitting them a bit larger like I did with the Madder Rib socks. They've shrunk to fit after being knit a bit large. These will be knit with 2mm bamboo dpns and will be a great stoplight knitting sock.

The cuff pattern is the old standard, k2, p2. Cotton doesn't have any bounce back like wool or some wool blends so I need a cuff that will keep the socks up. The "planned" leg is p1, k4, p1, k2. We'll see what the pooling looks like both in the cuff and when I get to the leg and go from there. Won't be first time I've ripped a sock out because I didn't like the pooling. (sigh)

blogging to: sounds through all the open windows (a low of 51°F tonight and tomorrow night)

reading: Other Worlds by Barbara Michaels
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." ~ Winston Churchill

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Now with More Knitting Content

I've been a blogging whirlwind lately, haven't I?

The Good Luck Lace Scarf is about at the halfway mark. The yarn, however, is not. I have over-bought (Shocker!!) but that's preferable to having to scavenge yarn on the internet that's the same dye lot or do something else to make it longer. I think, at this point, that I will have enough to make a hat.

I tend to think of my hairdresser as stylish so not a watch cap which is my usual hat although she would be fine with a watch cap. A slouchy beret would be more her style. And I'm going to use just the Mariboo as it's softer. I may use a bit of the Feza at the beginning holding it with the Mariboo like the scarf or a couple of rounds in the middle as an accent stripe but we'll see. A lot depends on how much yarn I have left when I'm satisfied with the length of the scarf.

To that end I've started to start look at patterns to find one I like and that would be reasonable to knit. I think I want a simple one which translates to not a lot of cables and lace and other things but I am tending to download hats with those things because they look more stylish and more fun to knit. I thought I wanted the style of the hat not the stitches to speak but maybe not so much any more. Meanwhile, I'll keep churning out the rows on the scarf.

As to what will I do with the rest of the steel gray Feza? I will add it to my fancy scarf yarn stash. I have a skein of Trendsetters Dune and a couple of hanks of Prism Wild Stuff. One of these days, when I have accumulated more of this kind of yarn, I will do one of those scarves, knit lengthwise where each long row is a different fancy scarf yarn. The cast on and cast off ends will trail out and be a sort of weird fringe. It won't be a keep you warm scarf. It also won't impress knitters much—except for the yarns—as by necessity it will probably be garter stitch. But it will be a fun knit and a fun scarf to wear. It'll impress the heck out of the non-knitters, though!

And the rounds on the second Purple Plasma Sock keep mounting. I ran around town today for the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees. We were low on almost every kind of bird food so I stocked up. And consequently, got a few rounds of stoplight knitting done. Ten more rounds until the toe decreases.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Crystal Skull by Manda Scott
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "We should not forget that the spark which ignited the American Revolution was caused by the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the colonists." ~ Patrick Henry

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Feast

I really got my knit on Friday evening. The completed rows on the Good Luck Lace Scarf just keep piling up and the pages in my current book keep turning. I've just attached the third skein of Mariboo. The scarf is now 27-28" long depending on how firmly I smooth it before I measure it.

I try to keep copious notes and often that pays off with interesting trivia. I attached the second skein of Mariboo at the start of row 90. The third skein was attached at the start of row 189—nine rows more than the first skein. Of course, the first skein, had the cast on row
—cable cast on with size 8mm / US 11 needles (the scarf is being knit on 4mm lace Addi turbo circs) and then five rows of garter stitch before the pattern stitches kicked in. It could also be that there wasn't the same amount of yarn in both skeins. To that end, I weighed the new skein before I attached it—52 grso we'll see. But I won't have to wait another 90+ rows. If I get the same results when I attach the third skein of Feza (nine rounds more than the first skein) that'll tell me the yarn weight was OK.

Yeah, I know. It's So. Amazing.

We went to the target range today and I knit all the way there and back. I've now got only 13 more rounds until the toe decreases on the second Purple Plasma Sock. The toe decreases are 28 rounds and they'll go quickly.

I've started doing actual pistol drills instead of just standing there and shooting the middle out of the target at 10 yards. ("It's not bragging if you can back it up." - Dizzy Dean). In an IDPA shoot, you rarely shoot the same target more than twice. If you do, it's at a difference part of the target, such as two to the body and one to the head. Usually, it's two to the body then move to a different target, either literally getting up and moving to different cover or aiming at a different target from the same cover.

I've now got a better pistol, a compact with a longer barrel rather than a subcompact. I've also changed how I hold the pistol. A longer grip on the gun let me change to a better grip on the gun. Both of those things are making me more accurate (along with lots and lots and lots of practice). Rather than working on the gun, I'm choosing to work on me. If I fancy up that gun, the tricked up parts don't carry to another gun. But if I hone MY skills, THAT will carry to every pistol and to a certain point, every firearm, I will ever own or pick up.

I'd already started on a few basic pistol drills and now I've added another. We buy these paper targets which give us 6 targets per page. Today, I began to shoot one or two shots at each circle then move to a different circle. And forcing myself to shoot when I had a "pretty good" site picture, not hover around on it. And not squeeze the trigger so much as press it more quickly. Not too bad but not great either. Many were in the inner circle, some were in the black, a few were in the square and not touching the circle at all and a few others were not even in the square. Many of the shots after the first one tend to be low and to the right. Sweetie and I think the low is that when the pistol breaks high I over-compensate by bringing it down too low for the next shot. As far as to the right, it could be that my grip needs to be refined.

Next time we go to the outdoor range and have the free-form pistol range to ourselves, he's going to take some video of me from the side so we can maybe figure out what I'm doing. It could still be my grip. If I take my time and AIM I can put all my shots in a 3x5 card at 10 yards and many of those will touch. This is with a 9mm sub-compact. I can do the same thing with my new compact 9mm. I clearly have the accuracy, I just need the speed.

And I think pistol drills are fun!

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Crystal Skull by Manda Scott
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "Liberals become indignant when you question their patriotism, but simultaneously work overtime to give terrorists a cushion for the next attack and laugh at dumb Americans who love their country and hate the enemy." ~ Ann Coulter

Friday, July 10, 2009

Purple Plasma and Christmas Monkees

Yes, I THINK I have a name for my purple socks. Purple Plasma Socks. I'll "wear" it for a while and see how it fits. And I've changed the name of the Christmas Monkey Socks to Christmas Monkees Socks. I've been correcting the spelling on that since I started writing about them again. Like many tweens of the late 60's I was in love with Davy Jones of The Monkees. Hey Hey We're The Monkees.

I've been doing a lot of knitting lately. Or it seems like it to me, anyway. And on only two projects. My rate of
production is certainly slower than what it was before my eldabows went south on me but I'm pleased with what I can accomplish within those limitations. I don't just sit at home and knit anymore. It's knitting AND reading so I can rest my arms and wrists a bit between rounds. That way I can knit longer. The knitting output is probably higher than what it would be if I would just knit then quit when it began to hurt. The only problem with that is if I knit to that point, I can't knit for the next two, three or four days. So this is better.

I even employ it knitting in public. The other day when Sweetie had a dentist appointment, I'd knit two rounds on my Purple Plasma Sock and read a chapter, knit two rounds then read a chapter, etc. The other evening at the range, I knew I wouldn't be knitting long and I was listening to conversations around me so I was knitting more slowly. I got about two rounds in before it was time to shoot so that was OK. Besides, I'd knit on my sock all the way to the range, which amounted to five or so rounds. When I do it that way, I consciously try to knit more slowly. When I'm doing the knitting and reading thing, I don't worry about how fast or slow, I just knit.

In fact, the foot on the second Purple Plasma Sock is half complete. I've gathered up the first Christmas Monkees sock (cuff and three pattern repeats complete) and put it in my travel knitting bag. Just. In. Case. Now I KNOW it'll probably be several days or at least four or five (or more) 45-60 minute (one-way) passenger trips before the sock is complete, not including weaving in the ends. And since I probably will finish the sock on the way to or from some place I'll have the next one ready to go.

Who knows, I may even get into the Monkees Sock pattern so much it may be my stoplight knitting sock. I remember that before I stopped knitting on it because of my eldabows the pattern was very easy and easily memorized. We'll see once I start on them again and get into the Monkees Sock groove. One thing that is different is that I'm knitting them with 2.25 mm dpns instead of my usual 2.5 mm dpns. Just an experiment. These are Clover bamboo dpns. I fell in love with Suzanne's dpns, particularly the rosewood and ebony ones quite a while back. However, they don't come in quarter millimeter sizes; only full and half sizes. I already knit socks that use a thin cotton yarn, such as Fortissima on 2 mm dpns so the thinner needle is no stretch. When I pick up the Monkees Socks, I'll need to decide if I want to do a short row heel or a heel flap heel. As these ARE knit in hand painted yarn, maybe a stockinette short row heel. I've only done one of those and it's on a pair of socks I don't particularly care for.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Bound for Eternity by Sarah Wisseman (a Lisa Donahue Archaeological mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: " Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins." ~ Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, whose testimony convicted John Gotti

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Lot of Some and None of the Other

You may (or may not) have noticed the absolute LACK of sailing content so far this summer. That would be because Spray is STILL up in the boat yard and we haven't been out to the lake, even to take a look at her for a couple of months now. Not much needed to be done and at this point it's almost a moot point. I don't know if we'll get her in the water this year or not. We've been so consumed with shooting (target shooting, IDPA and reloading) that we haven't missed the sailing. Much. Yet. I do have a feeling that if she were in the water we would be sailing and swimming.

I'm going to try to convince Sweetie to just to a quick clean up and launch. It'll mean a bit more work this fall and next spring but not that much more. And mainly in the polish and shine department. We've taken such good care of her since we bought her and I think we can afford to slack off one year. We'll see.

Things are rolling along great on my Purple Socks. I've got almost dozen or so rounds on the foot now. Hey, only 43 more rounds on the foot to go! Sweetie has a dentist appointment late this afternoon to replace a temporary crown so even more knitting on it today.

The Good Luck Lace Scarf is also progressing. More slowly but it's going. It's now just under 21" long, very slightly stretched. It IS lace because it does have regular holes but it's a very thick and heavy lace. I'll block it simply to get the garter stitch bottom to lay down properly. As with so many of my knitted "gifts" thank goodness she has no idea she's getting it so I can take my time with the knitting.

I'm thinking that when this scarf is done, I'll take up the cotton White Caps Afghan for my lace knitting and hopefully finish it before winter's done. (Notice that I did NOT mention a year here.) It's been residing in a large plastic bag in a closet for months now. It's not a UFO but it IS taking a LOOONNNGGG rest. I'll have to divide up the 300 something stitches into something more manageable for the read a chapter and knit a row thing I do. Ah, well. I'll fling myself off that bridge when I get there.

It sounds like I'm cutting down on the projects again. I think this is going to be an ongoing thing for me. I'm past the one project at a time thing, but I don't like a whole lot of different things on the needles. Nothing seems to ever get finished then a whole bunch of things seem to get finished and started all at once. So I expand and contract and now we're into the contracting part. Finishing but not starting.

And, hey! I may even (in fact I WILL) finish the Nautical Striped Sweater to wear at Thanksgiving. Let's see, I still have most of July, all of August, September, October and most of November . . . so a good four and a half months to finish two mostly knit sleeves, re-do the neckband, attach the sleeves, seam it (front and back are already done and blocked) and weave in the ends. Just you watch. I'll be frantically knitting (and ripping) on this thing to meet my self-imposed deadline the week before Thanksgiving!

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Rumpole on Trial by John Mortimer (a collection of Horace Rumpole short mysteries)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must be, in practice, a bad government." ~ Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 70, 1788

And the Living is Easy

I had this all ready to post on July Fourth and I thought I hit publish but was it was still in my queue to be published I guess I didn't. So, here it is.

What a quiet Fourth we had. We stayed home and mostly stayed in. It was overcast much of the day but the humidity was high. Although the breeze (10+ mph) was from north it was not comfortable to be outside and moving around a lot. I got out into the backyard just a bit. I planted half dozen sweet peas several weeks ago and took a couple of birch branches off the brush pile and some white kitchen string to make them something to climb on. I should have done it a week ago but it's done now. They were starting to climb the Cosmos which are about the same size and more fragile.

I made dried tart cherry scones this morning. As usual I use the box mix as a base. I use about half a packet of dried tart cherries. Sometimes I add the cherries to the dry mix before I add the liquid and sometimes I knead them into the dough. I use 20-25 whole cherries per third of dough when I knead them. Into the dry mix, I also add some powdered Vietnamese cinnamon (it's stronger than "regular" cinnamon), powdered ginger, grated nutmeg, ground cloves and ground allspice. I make the smaller ones. When they're on the baking sheet, I paint them with melted butter then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. They're great hot and later or the next day with hot coffee or tea. The sweetness of the dried cherries (or blueberries or whatever dried fruit you like) offsets the drier and kinda bland (even wit the spices) dough around the fruit.

I spent the afternoon doing the short row heel on the second Purple sock from the Socks That Rock yarn, Romancing the Stone. This heel went very quickly. Of course, I read a chapter or two between each row until the rows got short then I would do two rows per chapter. At any rate the short row heel is done and it looks terrific. I even took the time to re-establish the foot stitches before I quit. So it's just where I left off yesterday, pattern-wise except there's a heel stuck in the middle now. I did use a new piece of heel yarn so if I wear a hole in it, I can rip it out and replace it easier.

The leg on these socks is 80 rounds and the foot is only 55 rounds. It won't be long before I'll be staring toe decreases in the eye. I have plenty of yarn even with the longer leg and the all around the foot pattern. A short foot is sometimes a good thing.

My hands, wrists and arms didn't ache Sunday with all the knitting. I tired to take it slow, in fact it did take me all day to knit the heel. It probably won't see any more knitting until we go to the range again in a few days.

I've taken a little time out to go through my sock yarn stash. I guess in this instance it's yarn then pattern. I'm thinking summer socks, even though they may not be done before summer's over. Most of the cotton socks I've knit have shrunk too much for me to ever wear again. I have the Four of a Kind socks, which are thick and the Madder Rib socks in Fortissima cotton which is a great cotton yarn for summer socks. I also have the Drop Stitch socks but I don't like those. So that's four pair of summer socks, two of which are thick and one I don't much like. So I think a pair of cotton socks is in order. I have many pair of wool socks so I'm good there. And remember, I've got two more pair of those currently on the needles.

So now, which cotton or cotton/blend yarn? I don't want to knit with any of the Cascade Fixation yards as they are also thick or any other cotton sock yarn I have that would make a thick sock. First up the Plymouth Sockotta yarns:

I made my SIL a pair of socks out of this. I call the colorway Pastoral. I needed one whole skein and a little of this one to finish. I'm confident there's a pair of socks left in this for me and then some.

I made my SIL's former principal (she was principal at the time) a pair of socks from this yarn. I liked the colorway so much I bought two skeins. I have one untouched skein and 7 gr leftover from the socks.

I haven't knit with any of the rest of these.

This one will make a nice but rather boring sock to knit as there won't be any surprises, color-wise. I may save this one for a Sweetie travel sock.

This one is a definite possibility. Although it IS another purple sock, it's somehow completely different from the current purple sock.

Then I have two skeins of Schachenmayr Nomotta yarn called Crazy Cotton. I am also leaning towards using this. I'd knit it a bit large like I did the Madder Rib sock above. They still fit and have stopped shrinking.

Now on to the Fortissima cotton yarn I have NO IDEA what possessed me to buy two skeins of this clown vomit. They will end up being patterned similarly to these socks and I don't like them much.

I have several colors and skeins of the solid color Fortissima cotton yarn. These are the colors I have enough to knit an entire solid colored sock from: baby blue, creamy light yellow, white and probably red. I could use these colors for striping as I don't have enough for an entire sock of either of these two colors: forest green and light mint green. I don't think there's not even enough of both of those to knit one sock. I COULD frog the now too small socks knit from these to colors and re-knit them larger. Maybe. But not this time.

In the past, I wouldn't consider doing a striped sock that I stripe for a travel sock but I don't have that much time in the drivers seat with no passenger anymore. Just errands around town and I average from half a round to about two rounds depending on how many errands I have. It would be fine to knit as a travel sock as a passenger. If I choose that route, what colors and not only what pattern but what stripe pattern? Sometimes, a self-striping yarn is a blessing and sometimes not.

I'm really leaning towards the Crazy Cotton sock. I like the bright, clean colors. We'll see if I'm still leaning that way when this current sock is done. This will be the back-up travel sock and my stop light knitting only sock until my Christmas Monkey socks are done. Yeah, it will definitely NOT be summer anymore by that time. I may not do any of these at all . . . in which case, another trip through the sock yarn stash . . . the wool sock yarn.

blogging to: Armageddon - The Final Countdown
by Europe

reading: Dirty Laundry by Paula L Woods (a Charlotte Justice mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong." ~ Ronald Reagan

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Celebrating the First and Second Ammendent



Some knitting content at the very end . . .

It's great to be around folks with no agenda other than to have a good time, safely. And when you're among over two dozen folks, most of whom are armed, it IS safety first. Both Sweetie and shot an IDPA classifier last Sunday morning and then IDPA that afternoon. Scores aren't up yet so we'll see.

I feel like I did OK in the classifier and the shoot. Same with Sweetie. I classified as a Novice and Sweetie a Marksman. Could always do better.

In fact I do MUCH better when I take my time and AIM AIM AIM. What one of the SO's said is true. You cannot shoot fast enough to make up for not taking the time to aim. That being said, one of the COF's had four steel targets about two feet high that lay down when shot. We've learned that you have to shoot these near the top, at "about eye level" if these things had eyes rather than anywhere near the bottom. They were at the end of the COF (Course of Fire). You had to shoot all four. For some folks it was four shots but for most of us it was 4+ rounds. So Sweetie shoots that COF and pounds lead at the four poppers as fast as he can pull the trigger. It was a stream of brass from his gun! They all went down and his time was the fastest that day for that COF! Everyone got a big kick out that!

At the shoot last Sunday a friend gave us a booklet of pistol drills to preview which we've been working on. The easiest one is not easy. It looks easy but it takes some work and practice. But I finally nailed it Friday, but good. That doesn't mean I can stop with that particular drill. It just means I won't have to spend 50 rounds or more to do it (I hope). Once the drills are posted I will post a link to them here.

Both Sweetie and I have been also working on the tactical reload with retention drill. My hands are small and my G26 double stack ten round magazines are large. I tend to bring the gun down onto the fresh magazine instead of the other way around. Either way, it's a quicker reload than dropping the magazine, which still has ammo in it, stowing it in your pocket or a magazine pouch on your belt, getting the fresh magazine out and inserting it into the gun. The tactical reload with retention leaves you less time with only one bullet. And in IDPA rules once you have that fresh magazine in the gun you can leave cover and begin to move while you're stowing the other magazine. You never leave ammo behind. a) The most important one--You could need it later and b) the BG could be shooting the same caliber and recover the ammo even if he couldn't use the magazine.

If the magazine is empty, you've either shot to slide-lock (when the last cartridge is fired in a semi-automatic the chamber locks open) or you have one round in the chamber and as you've been counting as you've been shooting you know the magazine is empty, you can press the magazine release button and drop the magazine on the ground where you stand. As soon as you hit the magazine release you reach for a fresh magazine. Some COFs require you to shoot to slide-lock then reload behind cover others don't specify which type of reload just that you have to during the COF.

We're getting familiar enough now with the basics that we can do them (usually) without having to think about how to do them or that we need to do them, we just do them; such as if you have to shoot while moving from one cover to another, keep moving while shooting (don't stop to aim and shoot), keep the muzzle pointed down range when moving, if you're not shooting while moving keep your figure off the trigger (that one is trickier that it sounds), slicing the pie*, tactical sequence,** etc. That frees us up to think more tactically; such as plan and remember to do a tactical reload rather than shoot to slide lock even (if it's not required to shoot to slide-lock), remembering to take the time to AIM which is also tough some times, etc.

* slicing the pie: as you lean out from behind cover you shoot the first BG (bad guy) you see. That may not be the closest BG. There may be more than one and you engage them as you see them the farther you lean out from behind cover.
** tactical sequence: instead of shooting each BG twice (doubletap) then moving on to the next BG, shoot each BG one time, except the last one. Him you shoot twice then reverse back and shoot each BG one more time.
Sometimes slicing the pie and tactical sequence are combined.

And I've got a NEW IDPA holster. An Uncle Mike's Kydex holster. So now I'm in the clique or click as it clicks then you put the gun in the holster.

And last but certainly not least, some knitting content. I'm one round on my Purple socks (STILL no clever name) from the short row heel. Every time I knit a short row heel it's a little less bothersome. But I still think it's a pain in the neck to knit. I do like how it looks with a hand painted yarn however so I'll deal. I'll whine but I'll do it. Although it is my travel knitting, I'm going to do that last leg round and get the short row heel firmly established (five or six rows anyway) here at home. It's a bit tricky (for me) so doing that at home will give me a better shot at trouble-free travel knitting. Also, once it's going, I can do it at stop lights. It's too fiddly to establish three or four stitches at a time.

So I better get to thinking on my next travel sock. I'm still going to use my Christmas Monkey socks for the passenger travel knitting but I'll need something else for stoplight knitting. I guess I'd better dig into the sock yarn stash, spread it all round me and cogitate. Yarn or pattern first? Pattern or yarn first? Hmmmm.

blogging to: the sounds of fireworks outside

reading: The Deadly Neighbors by Merry Jones (a Zoe Hayes mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"