Saturday, August 29, 2009


Super quick as I am really tired. I took a class this morning called Fighting from a Vehicle. Learned a lot. Only question is how to practice. Think it would scare the neighbors if we practiced in the driveway with unloaded guns and snap caps?

Class highlight: shooting 9mm TAP ammo though the windshield of a car — shooting my regular hand loaded 9mm ammo through the windshield of a car

non class highlight: shooting 20 rounds from a full auto Glock 18
— 'nuff said

I also finished the first Christmas Hey! Hey! We're the Monkees sock. I just need to weave in the ends . . . and cast on for the mate!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More and Less

This is one of those periods when I'm doing more shooting than knitting. Sometimes it's the other way around. We shot IDPA this past Sunday at an outdoor range, we're going to shoot IDPA at an indoor range Thursday and on Saturday Sweetie and I are taking a couple of classes at an outdoor range.

This past week we went to the indoor range to shoot and pick up my new gun and we've also been to the outdoor range with a fellow IDPA'r to sight in the iron sights on our rifle. Last night we met with him again to sight in a new fold up rear sight on his rifle. He's active military and has taught us a lot about shooting our rifle and sighting in a new one. I like the red dot sights on his rifle. It's not a laser. A laser is visible on the target. The red dot sight is only seen by the shooter. When you look through the "scope" you put the red dot on the target. Once it's sighted in you don't have to have your cheek on the sweet spot of your stock. Your head can be back from that spot and as long as you can see the red dot and put it where you want on the target, you'll hit where the red dot is. We've learned a lot from him in just those two sessions.

We've come so far since we got back into shooting only 14 months ago. We liken getting into IDPA within a few months of getting back into shooting to joining the racing program at our marina the first year we got our sailboat. We'd never been sailing prior to that. With both we learned a lot very quickly. More, I think that some folks who have been shooting (and sailing) longer and continuously.

I also have to admit that although almost everyone regularly outshoots me at every IPDA match, it IS kinda fun to step up to the firing line when we go target shooting and see the smug guy in the next lane's jaw drop a bit when I peg ten rounds right together at ten yards. And not just one time, either. I do not look like a person who could do that.

Ah, the knitting. I didn't give my hairdresser the scarf and hat when I got my haircut last Friday. I'd put off sewing the button on the top of the hat until Thursday and we ended up going to the range to pick up my new gun. I DO have my priorities! So there is that to do which will take all of, what? Five Minutes? It'll take me more time to swaddle it in tissue paper. My next appointment is near the end of September, closer to the cooler weather so I'm still good.

The first Christmas Hey! Hey! We're the Monkees sock is coming along. When I started back on it it just FLEW! but now it's sort of moseying. And *I* drove the last couple of times we went to the range so no knitting there. I am, however, on the last pattern repeat before the toe decreases. In fact, I have only three more rounds and two of those are straight knitting which I can roll into the toe decreases as my toes are already rightthere.

The Spring Flower sock is also s-l-o-w-l-y moving forward. I'm on round seven on of the leg of the first sock. This is my stoplight knitting sock and doesn't get much needle time.

I haven't cracked open a lace book or done any pattern research for the red lace scarf project in over a week. And I don't feel any pressure to cast on for something new. I'm happy working on the socks, well mostly just the Christmas Hey! Hey! We're the Monkees sock and that has seen precious little time lately.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson (a Walt Longmire mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise." ~ Adolf Hitler

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Load and Make Ready

I was reading some of my favorite gun blogs the other night and came across this post from Brigid who writes the Home on the Range blog. Her blog has been in my side bar for quite some time now.

You meet knitters in the nicest of places — such as a virtual shooting/target range . . . sort of. One of Brigid's blog reads is My Life = Chaos Management or as Brigid lists her Another Gun Chick. She blogs as Emma Peel. I love The Avengers TV show with Emma Peel who was played by Diana Rigg. EP shoots IDPA as well as USPSA. There are a couple of USPSA clubs in our area but we've not been able to make it to a shoot yet. And EP is a knitter.

My NEW gun came in Wednesday — Sig Sauer P238. We weren't planning to go to the range but when I got a call telling me it was here, we packed up the range bag and ammo can, grabbed targets and headed out. I'd ordered it the day before the Fourth of July. The range had a new one in stock but I was leery of getting it without being able to shoot it. I'd shot the Ruger LCP and did not like the kick. That day someone DID buy it and he let me send four precious .380 rounds down range. That did it! I ordered one.

Luckily, about two weeks ago I picked up two boxes of .380 ammo as there as none to be had at the range that day. Every time we went to the range after that, I would take my .380 ammo in case it had come in. About a week after I picked up the ammo, I saw the fellow who let me shoot his P238 and I reimbursed him for the ammo I shot as .380 is in very short supply right now. So
we only shot 24 rounds.

We have an IDPA match tomorrow afternoon and I've let word out that I'll be bringing my new toy for folks to try out after the match. After I got all pumped up about my new Sig, I settled back down and did pistol drills (Again! Still!) with my Glock 19. Now that I have replenished my supply of hand loaded 9mm's I used an entire box
— 100 rounds. It felt so good. I should have brought two boxes. I felt like I could have shot at least 50 more rounds!

The first CoF (Course of Fire) at the first IDPA shoot of the month is our benchmark. It's the sam
e scenario so we can gauge if we're improving and by how much. Our first benchmark was in May so we've had four. My biggest improvement is total penalty seconds and target points down combined with a faster raw time.

For those readers that don't shoot or don't shoot IDPA, your raw time is your beginning score. Every shot not in a zero zone (click photo for bigger and easier to read) adds the number for that
zone x .5 seconds to your raw time. For instance, if I'm supposed to shoot that target twice and one shot is in a zero zone and the other is in the -3 zone, that's 3 points down for that target and 1.5 seconds added to my raw time. If you miss the target completely, 5 seconds are added, if you don't shoot the CoF as it's presented (such as holding the gun with both hands when it's strong hand or weak hand only or shooting the CoF out of sequence, etc), it's a procedural error which adds 5 seconds to your raw time and shooting a non-threat target (aka a hostage) adds 5 seconds. The idea is to shoot as safely, accurately and as quickly as you can, pretty much in that order. You can't miss fast enough to win. In other words, in most cases, you can't shoot so quickly that your raw time is so low that even with all target points down x .5 seconds added to your raw time you won't have the quickest stage score.

Our club runs a cold range, which means that although everyone has a holstered gun, no one has a magazine in their gun. The only times you can touch your gun on the range where everyone is, is when you're shooting a CoF or at the designated safe area. Maybe you want to show someone something about your gun or adjust it in it's holster.

Here's a typical CoF:

When we begin a CoF, the shooter will be at the starting point of the CoF facing downrange with eye and hearing protection in place. The SO (Safety Officer) with the shot timer says, "Range going hot," or "Going hot," which tells everyone that the shooting will begin soon (in case you're yakking with your hearing muffs off and not paying attention).

The SOs really, really appreciate when you wait for the command to be given even if you know exactly what to do and when to do it. That way, everyone knows what's going on and what's about to happen. They don't want you loading your gun when folks are still down range putting pasters over the holes the previous shooter made.

  • The Safety Officer tells the shooter to, "Load and make ready." This command and any other command the SO says during the shoot is the same at every IDPA match. For our benchmark the shooter unholsters the gun keeping it pointed downrange, inserts a magazine into the gun (if it's a semi-auto), racks the slide to put a round in the chamber, drops that magazine out of the gun and puts it back in his/her pocket or magazine holder, inserts a fresh magazine, engages the safety if the gun has one (such as a 1911 style gun) and reholsters.
  • The SO then asks, "Shooter ready?" The shooter when ready nods, answers ready or yes.
  • The SO says, "Stand-by," and the shooter freezes in the start position which for this CoF is standing upright, hands relaxed at the shooter's side.
Within a few seconds the shooter hears the buzzer on the timer.

Lest you think our benchmark is a cakewalk ~ at the sound of the shot timer, draw and fire:
  • two shots to the center zero zone of target in front of you
  • while moving to the left engage two more targets, shooting two shots at each center zero zone while continuing to move to the left toward high cover (if you stop moving to shoot, it's a procedural error and counts against you)
  • at high cover (an old door) two shots around one side of the door to the center zero zone of another target
  • fully behind cover ~ mandatory reload with retention
  • after reloading, (the magazine must be back in your mag holder or pocket), two shots around the other side of the door to the center zero zone of the same target
  • then reverse course and moving back to the right engage the same two targets, shooting two shots at each center zero zone while continuing to move to the right and slightly backwards toward low cover
  • at low cover (a 50 gallon blue barrel), drop to one knee and shoot one shot at the head zero zone
This is the point when those of us waiting to shoot or have already shot take their hearing protectors off (again!) and resume conversations.
  • After that last shot, when it's clear you're done, the SO says, "Unload and show clear." Keeping the gun pointed down range, the shooter drops the magazine out of the gun, manually racks the slide back to open the chamber and drops out the live round. The SO looks into the chamber to make sure there is nothing in it.
  • The next command is, "Slide down," which means you push the slide release to close the slide.
  • When the SO says "Hammer down," the shooter, with the gun still pointing downrange, pulls the trigger and dry fires to show show that the gun is empty. However, some guns, like Sweetie's S&W M&P .40 will not dry fire without a magazine inserted. Our SO's are used to this now but at first it kinda freaked 'em out and there was (rightly so) a discussion.
  • After this the SO commands, "Holster," and the shooter returns the gun to the holster.
  • The final command, "Range is safe," means everyone can move downrange and examine, score and paste the targets and others pick up the shooters brass.
This is especially important on an indoor range where the floor is smooth concrete. Brass rolls easily and if not picked up, a shooter could slip and it would not be good. And many of us reload so getting your brass back is nice. At an outdoor range, not such a big deal.

This is also a limited Vickers count which means you can't keep shooting until you hit what you're aiming at. You only get the number of shots at each target each time you encounter that target — 15 shots.

Now that you know all that, here are my benchmark scores:

May - Glock 26 - 1st benchmark shoot
raw time: 69.4 seconds
target points down: 35
total penalty seconds: 35 x .5 = 17.5 seconds
stage score: 69.4 seconds +17.5 penalty seconds = 86.9 seconds

June - Glock 26
raw time: 37.3 seconds
target points down: 43 (See? Faster is not always better)
total penalty seconds: 43 x .5 = 21.5 seconds
stage score: 37.3 seconds + 43 penalty seconds = 58.8 seconds

July - Glock 19 (got the G19 five days before this match and began doing pistol drills; as this gun has a longer grip than the G26, I also changed my grip)
raw time: 40.8 seconds
target points down: 28 (slower but more accurate than June)
total penalty seconds: 28 x .5 = 14 seconds
stage score: 40.8 seconds + 14 penalty seconds = 54.9 seconds

August - Glock 19 (over a months of pistol drills)
raw time: 36.4 seconds
target points down: 21
total penalty seconds: 21 x .5 = 10.5 seconds
stage score: 36.4 seconds + 10.5 seconds = 46.7 seconds

In July, you'll see that although my raw time is almost four seconds slower than June's, I cut my penalty seconds by one third. In August, my time is just less than one second faster than June's but I'm twice as accurate; 21.5 penalty seconds in June vs 10.5 penalty seconds in August. Yes, I am faster and more accurate but so is everyone else. My rank in the group for just the benchmark has risen only a little. For the May and June, shooting the G26 26 and no pistol drills, I'm dead last. However, for July and August, with the G19, a better way to hold it and pistol drills, I'm third and fourth from the bottom, respectively.

I'll keep practicing, pushing myself with my pistol drills to get a sight picture faster and pull/squeeze the trigger faster and more smoothly. At IDPA tomorrow at the outside range, I'll relax, breathe, not rush and enjoy myself. Because, after all, it is a game and it is fun.

blogging to: Sky.FM~Smooth Jazz

reading: The Cure for Anything Is Salt Water: How I Threw My Life Overboard and Found Happiness at Sea by Mary South
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Seeing Red

I've been getting a little knitting in, but not much. It's all been on the Christmas Hey! Hey! It's the Monkees Sock. It feels odd not to have a "big lace project" that I am knitting on. But this is how it's "supposed" to be. All these scarves, shawls and hats are "extra" projects. Ideally, I have a travel sock to knit in the car; stoplight knitting or passenger knitting, a lace sock for sofa knitting and reading, and a "big project"; an afghan or sweater or something as a break from the lace sock sofa knitting.

There IS a big lace project in the offing with this yarn but I'm still looking at lace patterns and haven't narrowed it down much. And I'm not in any hurry at
all. My "soft" deadline is Thanksgiving and I have no hard deadline. I imagine I'll have it done way before Thanksgiving. This is the Zegna Baruffa Fare Baruffa 100% extra fine merino that I got to knit one my SIL's best friends a scarf. The color in the photo looks a little red-orangey but it is a primary red, barn red color. Some colors are just difficult to photo for me.

Once the red scarf is done, I'll do "my" shawl. I already have several ideas on the pattern and yarn. I suspect that once it gets down to it, none of the ideas I have will actually be knit.

As to the knitting on the Christmas Hey! Hey! It's the Monkees Sock, I'm almost through the third pattern repeat on the foot, 30 rounds. The gusset decreases are done and the foot is about 2½" long. I know why so many folks have knit multiples of these.

I've got to get cracking on absolutely finishing the Good Luck Lace Scarf and matching Lacy Beret. I have a hair appointment at 8am on Friday. As she doesn't know she's getting any of it I don't have to have to give it to her then. But all I need to do is sew the button on the hat, write out the care and info sheet and wrap it all up, including a small bottle Euculan wool wash. I'll make to her the same offer I've made to all my lace scarf recipients, I'll wash and block it anytime she needs it done. The Good Luck Lace Scarf and Lacy Beret won't absolutely need it. The scarf opened up some, but as it is so thick and not very lacy, not much.

I can't believe it didn't tell you this, I have blocking wires!!!! w00t!!

blogging to: morning noises through the open windows

reading: Hardcastle's Airmen by Graham Ison (an Ernest Hardcastle mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Friday, August 14, 2009

Stash Enhancing Expedition—Bullets and Yarn

Some things have come together and others are still on their way there. Way back on July 24, we were reloading 9mm cartridges. When I scooped the last handful of shiny copper clad bullets from the box I went in search of a new one. I "knew" we had one more box of a thousand. We didn't. So I went on-line to order more. There was none to be found in stock anywhere. My regular supplier was to have had some in a week ago. But that's been pushed back to the end of this month. Other places I've seen, it's near the end of September or October before the will be available.

Meanwhile, I'd been rationing my hand loaded 9mm's. I'd only been shooting 50 when we go to the range then shooting other calibers, still working the pistol drills. Normally, I would shoot a hundred or more of just 9mm before I moved to a different caliber. When I saw that the back order had been pushed back several weeks, I decided to save my hand loads for IDPA and begin shooting commercial ammo for practice. A harder breaking load but well, at least I was able to practice my drills and shoot my Glock 19. I still limited myself to a box of 50.

Well, today, on my way back from birthday shopping in Kansas City for my SIL, I stopped at Cabela's. Last week there was nary a 9mm projectile that wasn't attached to a case, powder and primer. Today, I found three 500 count boxes of Rainier Ballistics clad hollow points. I don't normally target shoot with hollow points as they are a little more expensive but I had only FOUR projectiles left. So I picked up all three boxes. They're just a hair under 2¢ each more than what I paid for several thousand back in November and a whisker over 1
¢ each more than a box of a thousand I purchased from the range in mid February. That wasn't a complaint. Hollow points are usually more expensive but eight months from the purchase of several thousand flat point bullets and six months from the second purchase and only 1-2¢ difference per each, I am astounded. Prices, if not availability are coming down. We're going to be spending a good part of this weekend reloading 9mm ammo.

We were also able to pick up a goodly supply of Wolf small pistol primers at the range last night. Guys at the range have used them and say their OK. We've been able to buy primers 300 at time, usually Remmington at Cabela's and occasionally a box of 1,000 Federal mag small pistol primers at another range so we've not been too bad off there. Now, we're set for a while for small pistol primers. My new focus at Cablea's is to pick up 300 large pistol primers each time which I did today.

And speaking of shooting, we shot IDPA last night. I did so-so. We'll see when the scores come out. Our benchmark shoot was also last night. The first COF (course of fire) at the first shoot of the month is always the same so can see if and how we're improving. This will be my second benchmark shoot with the G19.

I found the yarn for the barn red lace scarf that I'm going to make for another of my SIL's buddies. This one will be for the grandmother of the two babies I made the baby blankets and other baby things for. I picked up two hanks of Cashwool Fare Baruffa by Zegna Baruffa. Click on the Cashwool link for a color card link. It's a lace weight 100% extra fine merino. Each hank has 1,460 yards and is 100 gr / 3.5 oz. I plan to hold two strands together.

The lady at my LYS said to be very, very careful winding it with a winder as it's so thin. They normally offer to wind for free any hanked yarn you purchase but they don't wind lace weight anymore. It breaks and tangles too easily. I'm glad she warned me. I'll get photos up next post but its it's just a plain solid red yarn.

Now that I have the yarn I've started going through my lace books and lace patterns that I've downloaded but I haven't settled on anything. I'm also not in a big hurry to cast on either. It will be a scarf not a shawl.

Meanwhile, the first Christmas Monkees Sock is humming right along. And I'm changing the name, again . . . just a bit. It's now the Christmas Hey! Hey! We're the Monkees! Socks. I'm on round eight of the foot and, of course, still working on the gusset decreases. Since this is such an easy—as long as you're not stoplight knitting—knit, it won't be long before I'm ready to cast on the second sock. The way it's looking now I'll have lots of this yarn left so this might be good candidate for the Lacy Beret knit in the round for myself.

I ran a bunch of errands yesterday and today and got the cuff done on the first Spring Flower cotton sock. I even have one round of the leg done, but that's got to be frogged as I screwed up. That's what i get for trying to start a new thing and not being able to concentrate. I should have just stayed in a parking lot a few minutes and knit the first round of the leg instead of trying to do it piecemeal through various stop lights. I have four stitches left at the end of the first round and I should have none. Somewhere in the * p1, k4, p1, k2 *'s of the first round there is a stitch repeat with no k4, or something.

I also picked up Michelle Malkin's new book Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies. It'll be an interesting read but I'm afraid it'll be like the two at the bottom of my reading list. I'll get so pissed off by the libs I'll have to put it down.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Blackstone and the New World by Sally Spencer (an (Inspector Sam Blackstone mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." ~ Patrick Henry

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The short row heel on the first Christmas Monkees Sock has been frogged, a heel flap heel and turned heel have been knit and the gusset stitches have even been picked up. And it fits. So on to the foot stitches.

I seamed the Lacy Beret Monday afternoon. The seam looks OK and you can't tell where it's been seamed unless you examine the hat from underneath. Before I blocked it the beret seemed a bit tight on me and not very slouchy but I don't wear berets so I'm not the best judge. It
seemed to sit on my head OK and look OK . . . if I had the type of hair and face that looked OK in a beret. I'm not a hat person and won't wear one, unless it's really cold or sunny and I have to be outside a long time. Tuesday I wove in the ends and blocked it by putting it over a large dinner plate.

After blocking it looks more like a beret and it fits better, too. So it may be OK. I would still want it a bit more slouchy. Blocked, this one is 10¾" across. Hmm. When I quit knitting on it it was at least 13". Hmm. Of
course, it wasn't seamed and I was just measuring across the widest point of the flat knitting. Hmm.

Well, the next one knit in the round will be interesting. Yesterday I found a fancy button for the top. There's a hole right in the middle, which when I knit this in the round, I'll figure out at the beginning how to close. I was thinking a fancy gray button or some kind of plain, large black or dark gray button at the fabric store that I can cover with yarn. But I saw this funky button in the right color and I think it'll work just fine.

I don't feel like casting on anything new at present so I'll dig out the
White Caps Afghan now than the hat is done and the heel is finished and see what's cookin' on that.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Tidewater Blood by William Hoffman (a mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "A bird may be known by its flight." ~ Russian proverb

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I hit a bit of a wall with the first Christmas Monkees Sock. The short row heel is done but it's too big. It looks HUGE!! compared to the sock I was afraid this would happen. Normally, I knit wool socks on 2.5mm dpns then do the short row heel with 2mm dpns. Never had a problem with size or fit. On the Christmas Monkees Socks I decided to try 2.25 dpns — consequently, instead of a ½ mm difference in needle size there is only a ¼ mm size difference. It might have OK if I'd had 1.75mm dpns.

Since I finished the heel Saturday afternoon and tried it on, I've let it sit while I mulled over my options. Frankly, looking at it now all I can see is HEEL!! and because of that I'm leaning more towards my usual heel flap heel rather than getting a set of 1.75mm dpns and redoing the short row heel with the smaller needles. I think about how bendy and fragile the 2mm dpns are and how much more the 1.75mm will be that way
— if I can even find them. The other thing is that based on my heel formula, roughly 60% heel & 40% instep the heel will still be large, just not as large and it will probably fit as the fit problem is in the length of the heel. I think a smaller needle could solve that. I've not done a huge amount of short row heels but this is the first time it's ever not looked properly proportioned compared to the leg. Part of that is the nature of the pattern, which scatters your eye left and right instead of following a ribbing up or down and makes the leg of the sock look shorter and wider even though it's the same length as my other hand knit socks. It is wider, however.

Since I'm not sure smaller dpns will solve my problem I'm going to go ahead, frog the heel and do a heel flap heel which is what Cookie A calls for anyway. In my wanderings, I'm going pick up a set (or two) of the 1.75mm dpns in case I want to do this on a future sock. I'm also going to look at other short row heels and see what their ratios look like.

While the Christmas Monkees Sock was resting, I looked at sock yarn for my SIL's Monkey sock. I WAS going to use some of the Knit Picks yarn that belong to my SIL's teacher friend that died from cancer a year ago this month. As I've mentioned before, there are only two hanks of each color and I'll need at least three. All of the yarn has been discontinued, not only the colorways but the kind of yarn. Although I could find another Knit Picks yarn that has the same qualities, it would be different and I don't know how it would wear and react with the other yarn over time. I've been thinking about this for several weeks now. If this were socks for me, I wouldn't hesitate to throw in a different yarn for the heels and toes. But to give to someone, even someone who would understand those things, I don't feel comfortable doing that.

Based on that, I think I'm going to make a hat or scarf or something else with some of that sock yarn to give it to my SIL. Something that would only need two hanks. I haven't given much thought as to what yet other than maybe a Lacy Beret but I can wait on that a bit.

I'll get other sock yarn to make my SIL a pair of Monkey socks.

As to the Good Luck Scarf and Lacy Beret combo, the scarf is blocking. Blocking wires are going to be in my possession BEFORE I block the next lace scarf or shawl. At any rate, it's getting the job done. I still need to seam the hat.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: End in Tears 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: "Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem." ~ Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Almost There

I started the stockinette short row heel on the first Christmas Monkees Sock Tuesday afternoon. It's looking and knitting up pretty good. Now that I've only got 35 or so stitches (and less on each row), the pace is picking up a bit. Cookie A always tries to have the cuff stitches flow into the leg stitches and sometimes the leg stitches flow into the heel. The stockinette heel does just that—lets the leg flow into the heel. I did use a new piece of heel yarn so if I have problems in the future, it may be easier to fix. I'll put a photo up when the heel is finished.

I'm nearing the end of the road on the Lacy Beret. Earlier in the evening, I finished what I thought was the final row of decreases. I basted the seam closed, put the live stitches on a piece of waste yarn and tried it on. Not bad. It was a little tight (maybe I have a big head
—I don't know) and not as slouchy as I though it would be, but then it's not been blocked. So I frogged the final purl decrease row which had two decreases per stitch repeat to get the count down to seven stitches per repeat as the pattern stated. As I had to add extra rows and increases to get the width I've had to fudge a bit to manage the decreases near the end. As it stands now, there are nine instead of seven stitches for each of eight pattern repeats. I'm doing 8 rows of 2x2 ribbing which will give it a bit more elasticity. I plan to bind off with very large needles. The pattern suggests 9mm needles. I'll start with that and see what happens.

When the hat is done (or I want to gather courage for the seam), if I haven't finished the stockinette short row heel on the first Christmas Monkees Sock, I'll do that as it'll go much quicker and easier on the couch than it does passengering. As I'm about a quarter of the way through it, it won't take very long.

THEN, I'll cast on for my SIL's Monkey Socks. As I mentioned before, I want to have the cuff and one pattern repeat complete before the end of the month so I can have her try them on. Once I get that far, I can set them aside and finish my Monkey socks.

After that, I'll drag out the White Caps Afghan and see if it's comfortable temperature-wise to knit on now. Although it's cotton, it's heavy and large enough to cover my lap and then some. If not, I guess I'll HAVE to go to the LYS and get supplies for the next couch lace projects. See the list here. Oh, woe is me.

I wove in the remaining ends on the Good Luck Lace Scarf Tuesday evening. I plan to block it Thursday. It's going to take forever to dry as thick as it is. With all the birds we have I'm afraid to set it outside. Hey! I'll do some laundry and the flapping of the clothes on the line will keep the birds away if I set it up near the clothesline. I just checked and it is supposed to be sunny and breezy. And you know, I STILL haven't gotten around to getting those extra T-pins. Well, hopefully, I won't need all of them for this. I managed to pin out the Paws to Remember Shawl with what I have, although it took all my T-pins, all my safety pins and about half of my remaining (mostly useless for this) ball-headed pins.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Insatiable by Marne Davis Kellogg (a mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." ~ John Stuart Mill

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

No Shrinking Violet

Lots of knitting going on here. First up is the Lacy Beret. I've finally started the decrease rounds. In three rows the hat goes from 242 stitches on the needles to 210, a 32 row drop; more than an entire stitch repeat on the last row before the increases began. When you drop three stitches per pattern repeat over two rows it goes down quickly. I'm glad it's getting smaller. At this point, I'm only knitting two pattern repeats before I stop and read. I'm trying to limit each "session" to 50-60 stitches. The purl stitches are harder on my hands, wrists and arm for some reason.

We went into Kansas City Monday afternoon (about an hour each way) and I took my travel knitting bag which contain the Christmas Monkees Socks. I knew I was forgetting something to do with them but couldn't remember UNTIL I was about 2 miles from the house and marking down the round I'd just knit. I hadn't done the math for the short row heel. I worked up a spreadsheet with a formula based on the percentages of top of foot stitches vs heel stitches. I use the percentages set up by Lucy Neatby's Mermaid Socks in her book Cool Socks Warm Feet. I kinda remember them but I didn't want to start then have to rip.

I've cast on 80 stitches; I added an extra stitch repeat. Strictly according to the formula, I'll have 50 heel stitches and 30 instep stitches. I'm going to adjust that a bit so that I stay with the 16 stitch pattern on the instep; 48 heel stitches and 32 instep stitches. As I said before, I'm going to do the bottom of the foot in stockinette.

Anyway, I knit on these until I finished the pattern repeat then set them aside. I'll get started on the short row heel here at home when it's calm. The last time I did this, I finished the heel on the Purple Plasma Socks. This will take a bit more as I've got 48 stitches instead of 42. Not a lot but when you only deal with on stitch per row, it does take longer, especially at the beginning and the end when most of those stitches are being knit each time. It's still going to look neato-keeno!

Good thing I had my back up sock—the Summertime Cotton Socks
which I'm re-naming Spring Flower Socks. Now that I've knit more of the yarn, the colors are strong spring colors, spring green, dark lilac, light rose, dark rose and tulip pink there at the bottom. The color runs are three rounds tall . . . three rounds knit on 2mm dpns with 80 stitches in a round that is. * YMMV * As you can see, very defined stripes. And I still haven't come to a repeat. Oh, some of the colors have been repeated but I haven't come to where they re-start in the sequence I've already knit. Cool!

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Only Pure Thing by Patrick Hyde (a Stuart Clay mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." ~ Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 19, 1787

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I was within two rows of starting the decreases but the hat's not big enough. The pattern doesn't provide any gauge (heh! Like I would do a swatch!) other than at it's widest point, it should be at least 11" wide but preferably 12" or 13". Resting easily, unblocked, split between two circs, mine was 9-9½" wide. I measured how many stitches to the inch and figured I need about 28 more overall to reach 13". I added some more rows to my spreadsheet and printed it out again.

Of course, my milestones have also moved. It WAS almost 2/3 complete and now, assuming I keep increasing through row 57, I'm currently knitting the halfway point row.
I'll measure again when I get closer. That's only six more rows, 1,352 more stitches and only three more stitches in each pattern repeat. Weird, huh?

With the old measurements (and a hat that would have been too small) I would have had enough yarn left over to knit myself one of these. Well, at least, I'll have enough left to finish this hat. That's always the goal. My next haircut is on 8/21, three weeks away. I should be able to get the hat done and have both the hat and scarf blocked. I actually want to have it all done by the 15th so I can show my SIL when we meet to celebrate her birthday.

And I'm evidently piling up a list for the LYS.:
  • Yarn for the red lacy scarf & matching lacy beret
  • Yarn for a lacy beret for me
  • Yarn for the heels and toes of SIL's Monkey Socks
Possibles ~ yarn for two more lacy berets
  • SIL's curmudgeonly pal
  • SIL (use leftover yarn to match shawl or not?)
This is also assuming that seaming this thing is not going to be a HUGE pain in the derrière. That's one reason why I knit socks in the round and flat, although lacy scarves and shawls and not very many sweaters. That's the big IF on this project. If the seaming is a big deal to me is the knitting enough of a draw to over come the seaming. I could also do some more hat research and find one with a similar pattern but knit in the round. I could also convert this to knitting in the round.

And I think when I knit MY hat, that's what I'll do. And is it just a natural occurrence that I'm also knitting Cookie A's Monkey Socks? It would be similar, I think, to how the Monkey Socks are constructed. She does all the yo's on one round and the next round plain, only knits and purls to set the knitting up for the yo's on the coming round. If it works out, I can knit all the hats in the round!! I also see a pair of Addi Lace Turbos in a smaller needle size but with a long cable in my future.

blogging to: Sky.FM~Smooth Jazz

reading: In a Strange City by Laura Lippman (a Tess Monaghan mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day" [or administration]. ~ Sir Winston Churchill