Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Should Be Doing Dishes

Yeah, that is the downside of doing them myself. I can't load the dishwasher and punch a button and then go and do something more interesting or restful until they're done or I need the dishes. Surprisingly, I've found that hanging the laundry out on the line, is actually more restful than the dryer. If I don't want to take the clothes in when they're probably dry because I'm in the middle of something else, they won't get wrinkled hanging on the line for an hour (or three) longer. And they smell GREAT!!

Today, I finished my Christmas Hey! Hey! It's the Monkees socks. I even wove in all the ends. More on that later.

Now I can concentrate on finishing the Dr Who Scarf for my tall shooting friend. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I'm having to fudge a bit on the rows. On the widest stripes I'm dropping four rows and on those stripes over twenty rows, I'm dropping two rows. The percentage completed lengthwise is getting closer to the percentage completed row-wise. I knew that this 7mm needle would be a bit long by about eight rows according to the gauge swatch. I think it's going to be a bit more but it's the closest and I'm fixing it as I go along. A size eight needle would have made it around two feet too short. As quickly as the knitting is going, I'm hoping to have the knitting done in about a week or so.

I haven't done a thing on the red lace scarf other than take it out of the basket and admire it. When I'm ready to sit on the sofa and knit and read I end up just reading because I've knit all day on something else.

As soon as this Dr Who Scarf is done, I'm going to cast on for another pair of socks for Mr WK. The wool-cotton Asparagus socks I finished in May 2006 are now too tight for him. I was hoping the wool would keep them from shrinking and they did last a couple of years longer than the cotton socks I knit him. Now he's down to three pair of socks. I'm going to hang onto the Asparagus socks as he can wear them, they're just not his first choice. Once I make up his winter car travel pack, he'll be down to two pair of wool socks. I'd better get cracking ... after I finish the dishes.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Tucker Peak 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: "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." [exept for Fox] ~ Noam Chomsky

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Balls and Brass

I've decided to spend my TV knitting time this week trying to finish the second Hey! Hey! It's the Monkees sock. I had only the foot and toe to do — 63 foot rounds and 23 ever decreasing toe rounds. I was knitting along Monday, on round ten of the eleven round pattern when I decided I messed up in the rows. No, you could not see it. So I ripped it all back and about three rows into the re-knit I realized I'd done the same thing. I figured, screw it. I can't see it and the socks are for me so I left it. I think even if the socks would have been for someone else, I would have left it. What did I do? Instead of three rows of stockinette stitch at the end / beginning of a round this one pattern repeat has four. So I'm not as far along as I might have been. I'm well past it now on round 16 or so.

With the TV watching and the housework during commercial breaks, I would forget where I was when I came back after a break. Today I had several minor issues, one that required me to tink back three rounds. It is a bit slow, but things are getting done. The foot is just under half complete. Not that I want Mr WK to be gone all day all the rest of the week, but if I have the next three days and no major frogs, I'll be pretty close to finishing it.

I want to take some progress photos of the two scarves and the socks but it's been mostly cloudy. If the sun is out by the time I get set up, it's cloudy again. It was sunny on Monday but, of course, I didn't think about taking photos.

It's nice taking a break from the Dr Who Scarf. I kinda want to get these socks done so I can wear them and concentrate on the Dr Who Scarf for my mindless TV and passenger car knitting. I do have another Dr Who Scarf to knit when this one is finished but it's one I suggested and the recipient is just over 5' tall instead of almost 6½' tall. Same amount of rows but smaller needles and somehow it will seem like less knitting. Actually, with smaller needles, it will need more stitches to be as wide so the shorter scarf will be MORE knitting. At least for the next one I will get something valuable to me in return, other than the joy of knitting.

recipient is an NRA instructor and she's willing to trade the cost of some private lessons for the cost of the yarn for her scarf. In addition to the Cascade 220, I plan to give her some luxurious yarn choices. In the end, I am either paying for the yarn or the classes. But also in the end, I will have had the pleasure of knitting the scarf, she will have a scarf and I will have at least a couple hours of private shooting lessons. I think it will work out. But first, I will need to finish the one I have started.

I sorted and counted brass from this past weekend's rifle shooting. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE folks who don't reload and shoot brass cartridges. It's like finding money on the ground. For the non-shooters and non-reloaders, when you shoot, you often don't find all the brass you shot, especially when shooting outside, and particularly in mid-autumn when the firing line is covered in leaves!!! Once in a while, some kind soul(s) come(s) along, shoot(s) up a bunch of brass cartridges (of any caliber) and just leaves them scattered on the ground like gold pieces.

I don't mind battin' around some dead leaves to find the gold. Together, we shot over a hundred rounds over both days but ended up with around 375 pieces of rifle brass. We also found almost 50 pieces of .40 caliber brass in the grass that someone had shot about 10 yards in front of the 25 yard rifle targets. Every time I walked up to mark, put up, or take down our targets
(when another shooter would arrive to put up or leave and take his targets), at any range (25, 50 or 100 yards), I'd slow down and go into Hoover mode in front of the 25 yard targets for the .40 caliber and in front the firing line for rifle brass.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Next Victim by Jonnie Jacobs (a Kali O'Brien mystery)

Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "In choosing a president, we really don't choose a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or liberal. We choose a leader." ~ Rudy Giuliani

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Shooting Weekend in the Country

We took our rifles out to the outdoor range both Saturday and Sunday afternoon; in the HUGE 40+ lb hard case. Man! That thing is HEAVY!! even with wheels. The good thing is that it holds almost all the "stuff" we regularly use when we shoot our rifles; my red dot sight, both scopes, both risers, and my forearm grip. If all the holes are filled, we have almost everything we need for the rifles.

We found these metal 50BMG "army" ammo cans for $9 each at at a local gun shop. We tried to choose the ones with the most character. We now own four of them. Our active military friend started it when he gave us a smaller one which is great for magazines, non-ammo things or smaller amounts of ammo. We started out with one of the plastic "ammo" cans from Cabela's. That's OK as long as you're not hauling around much ammo. With two of us shooting and different pistol calibers we would often strain the plastic can. The larger metal cans are smaller than the plastic one from Cabela's, but we never worry about the lid with the handle and hinges separating from the bottom part of the container. In fact, as the lids on the metal ammo cans fit so snugly, I use the weight of the bottom to open the lid.

The weather was great. The temperature was in the mid '60's on Saturday and low 60's on Sunday. Both days started out sunny but was solidly overcast about an hour later and even later rain.

Now that I have my red dot sighted in at 25 yards for CQB (close quarters battle) and know it's main foible — I have to make sure that when I turn a knob it's firmly all the way, one way or the other or my sight picture will be off — I concentrated on sighting in a scope. We have three, two Leupolds, and an inexpensive Bushnell. The larger Leupold, a Rifleman 3-9 x 50 works well on Mr WK's rifle. The other Leupold, a VX-1 3-9 x 40 was on my bolt action Marlin 22LR (evil black, like almost everything else we own); it's new home will a medium height riser which fits on my rifle. The little Bushnell we bought for the Marlin which has been sitting for months will now go back to the Marlin. As I don't (at this point) want to do much long range shooting with a scope I thought that the Bushnell would be fine but Mr Wk says it wasn't designed for the heavier recoil of my rifle, so I guess I'll take the fancier Leupold. The sacrifices we make.

Saturday got us sighted in with both scopes at 25 then 50 yards. Sunday we tackled 100 yards. Mine was almost there when a shooting friend did it in two shots, one to see where it was and the second to confirm after adjusting the scope. Yes, he's very good. At 300 yards, bench resting, his groups are the size of a dime. Mr WK's rifle is very close. Close enough to shoot a fly that landed on the target at 100 yards. Me? I blew hedge apples to smithereens with Sierra Blitzking explosive tip cartridges. Hollow points would blow right through them and it was rather boring. Pieces of hedge apple all over . . . that's what I'm talkin' about.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Next Victim by Jonnie Jacobs (a Kali O'Brien mystery)

Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." ~ James Madison

Friday, October 23, 2009

Knit, Knit, Knit

Trying not to fall behind again. It's not like I have anything to do ... most days.

The Dr Who Scarf is really rolling. I'm on row 505, which according to my very anal spreadsheet makes the scarf 48.46% complete, not including the 34 tassels. However, if I measure it, I'm over half way, not including the tassels. It's over 80" long already. I've taken some row gauge measurements and I'm dropping at least two rows from the wide stripes. Unless you count the rows in a stripe, you'd never know they're missing. That will cut down on the length.

Not much of anything else is getting knit on. As I've been knitting so much during the day, I don't feel like knitting and reading in the evenings, so the red lace scarf is not progressing very quickly. I'm six rows into the fifth pattern repeat. One of these days, the sun will return and I'll get some photos of both projects.

I'm doing my knitting and house cleaning thing; I watch a TV program and knit and on every commercial break I clean. This week, as Mr WK's been gone all day, every day and good chunk of the evening, the house has just about recovered from the past two weeks of very little housework and running around when Mr WK was on vacation; maybe another reason why I didn't blog.

We haven't done any shooting this week. We even missed IDPA yesterday (Thursday). Mr WK is getting his feet run off. His company has a new/old customer. The tech with the company that had the previous contract, whom Mr WK used to work with, did only enough to keep the machines barely functioning. Mr WK, who when he was with another company worked with these machines several years ago, is bringing them back almost from the dead so he won't have to go there every single day to fix something. Mr WK's been putting in a lot of hours and miles. Hopefully, once he gets them back up to his and his company's standards, this pace will slack off.

We picked up a heavy duty Boyt double rifle case last weekend. Just the case without the rifles is heavy and solid, 30 pounds. Fully loaded, it's about 42 lbs. Thank goodness it has wheels. Mr WK and I spent some time laying out our rifles and "accessories" then when we were satisfied, marked the outlines with tailor's chalk and cut the foam with an electric knife. Then we used spray adhesive to glue the cut-out foam piece to the bottom piece of foam. That's all cool. And now we have two foam replica's of our rifles to play with. We are such dorks!

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Moon Tunnel by Jim Kelly (a Phillip Dryden mystery)

Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." ~ James Madison

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Now You're Caught Up But I'm Not

The post before this one is the knitting update. This one's all about the shooting.

Two shooting events that we've been looking forward to were on back to back Saturdays. The first was the carbine course taught by our active military shooting buddy. The weather was cold. The temperature hovered around the freezing mark the entire day. For most of the shooting part of the class, which was most of the class, it spit snow at us. Well, if we had to have precipitation, it was better than rain. Even a mist or drizzle in warmer weather would have been more miserable. We were just cold, not cold and wet. Keep in mind that this was mid October in NW Kansas. Normally, we're in the 50's and 60's, not freezing temperatures.

I am so glad I bought the carbine I did. It worked out great for the class. The only things I wish different; that I hadn't forgot my forearm grip and that we'd had time to re-sight in my red-dot. As it was I shot iron sights which was OK — not great but OK. And wouldn't you know it; the first time after the class I put my red dot sights back on and they were spot on. The flaw in the inexpensive red dot sight I bought is that if you don't turn the on/off/brightness or the sight selector button
firmly all the way to the stop, the red dot sight is off. Not on/off, but not getting the same sight picture. Not a big deal, but just something I need to remember.

We did almost everything that we'd already gone through.
They covered field stripping and cleaning your rifle. He didn't do that with us. We did pick up a few tips. Thank goodness, I'd cleaned my rifle myself a couple of times before the class and had practiced taking it apart and putting it back to together. I wasn't any more fumble-fingered than anyone else. All the guys were relative noobs to their rifles. Mine was the newest, but all had fewer had 500 round through them. Because of the weather, the instructors decided not to take the time to zero each rifle like was done with both of ours. They did a quickie thing to make sure the rifle was pretty close. A few had to be adjusted.

The shooting drills were the most fun and the most tiring. I have a good single point sling but I'm not used to that kind of weight around my neck for several hours. Every time the order came to "let 'em hang" I kept a hand on mine to relieve some of the pressure on my neck muscles. I still ended up with a swollen and very sore neck / shoulder for two days.

We learned why a bladed stance, such as a hunting stance is not as good as the progressively aggressive posture, which has you square on to the bad guy(s), leaning forward with your knees slightly bent. This serves two purposes; to make you look larger and more aggressive to the bad guy(s) and when you fire your rifle, the recoil won't move you to one side or the other. By leaning slightly forward, it helps with the recoil. Instead of a bit of your shoulder taking the recoil, more of your body does. Also, if the bad guy does shoot you, the bullet will go straight through, front to back and have less of a chance of hitting something vital. It's a shorter trip through your body. In a bladed, sideways stance, the bullet would travel sideways the width of your body, more chance of hitting something vital.

We also learned to scan for the midget. Some studies show (will try to find a link) that most attacks involve 2.5 bad guys. Once the bad guy(s) in front of you is / (are) no longer an immediate threat, lower your rifle or pistol to low ready or depressed ready (just low enough to see over the gun) and check all the way behind you on one side (turning your body slightly, if necessary), as you look back to the front, check the bad guy(s) again to make sure they are still not a danger and look all the way behind you on the other side (again turning your body slightly, if necessary) then look back again to make sure the bad buy(s) are still not a threat. That's scanning for the midget. You've put the one(s) in front of you out of commission, but are there more??

As far as drills, we did controlled pairs, (two shots, two sight pictures) hammers (two shots, one sight picture), jack hammers (one sight picture, three shots), a domination response (one sight picture, four to seven shots) and various combinations of all of the above. The last two were new to us. We also did what I've been calling the three-step dance. After you've shot at the bad guy move three large steps forward in a 45° angle either to the left or right and square back up on your target. One purpose is to reset the bad guy(s) OODA loop. The bad guy is not expecting you, his potential victim, to move toward him at all let alone quickly. Another reason is to move from where you just fired and where the bad guy(s) expect(s) you to still be.; right in front of him.

We also did the standard shooting while moving forward and backward. There was a HUGE orange cone marking the end of the walking forward and shooting. I tripped over it and my feet and went down. Dropped my rifle and everything. I didn't try to catch my rifle, which you should never do. NEVER try to catch any type of gun if you drop it. My pride was bruised but nothing else. A bit of comic relief, I think.

Anytime there was a misfeed or failure to fire, it was incorporated into the class. We also practiced reloads, which as we were shooting a lot, happened quite often.

After the class was over, one of the instructors brought out his AK-47. We'd found some Wolf hollow points, the only ammo we could find for it. It did not like the HPs. You could only shoot one round then have to manually eject the spent shell and jack in a new one. By that time in the day I was exhausted and sore and just did not have the energy to do that. So I'd shoot one, hold it out and the owner would fix it. I only put three or so rounds through it but I liked it. Not much recoil at all, compared to what I'd been firing all day.

I picked up a bunch of brass. Most of the guys shot Wolf ammo. There were only a few folks besides ourselves shooting brass cartridges. I picked them all up and offered to split my haul with the only other person there who reloads .223's. He said he trade me the brass for a couple hundred rounds of loaded ammo. Done Deal.

Prior to the carbine course, we reloaded lots and lots of rifle ammo. Ammo was shared by those that had with those that ran out, we helped each other reload magazines and we shared strip lulas and spoons (aka stripper clips guides).

At one point, we all were standing kind of clumped up by the road, waiting our turn in line for the walking and shooting drill and a full sized pick up truck nosed into the open gate. We, of course, all turn to see who it is. Several of the folks there that day know many of the folks who live around there and it's not unusual for one or two to drop by during a shoot. Picture this: you nose your truck into the gate in a very tall fence. Driving down the road, you've heard lots and lots of gunfire. You may or may not know that there's a private target range nearby. Anyway, as you pull in, thirteen folks with evil black rifles slung around their necks, turn to face you. A few folks are holding their rifles, muzzle down loosely in their arms, mostly to take the strain off their sore neck and shoulder muscles but THEY don't know that. The folks in the truck looked at us and we looked back for about five seconds before they hurriedly put the truck in reverse and hi-tailed it out. No one said anything or made any threatening gestures with their rifles. I guess the folks in the truck just decided that thirteen folks arm to the frickin' teeth with "machine guns", was a little too much.

The IDPA Postal Match for our club was this past Saturday. We had only 16 shooters, way less that what we normally have. But you had to be a member of IDPA and had to have been classified to shoot in this match which left out a lot of folks. One of our club directors said that most of the folks who normally shoot with us either aren't a member of IDPA or aren't classified.

It went smoothly. It was warmer, in the mid 40's and dry. There were only four Courses of Fire, but the first CoF had three strings or parts. There were also options in two of them. You could shoot on the move or be stationery. I shot them stationery. As usual, I'm near the bottom of our group but I had a great time.

After the Postal Match, we had kind a of a free-for-all shoot, which one member referred to as "going postal". One side of the lower range was set up with about 30 small steel targets, most only five to seven inches all. It was decided that everyone would load to IDPA standards which is a max of ten rounds in each magazine. Everyone would have twenty seconds to shoot as many as possible. I think only one person got nine, many got eight. I got two.

As revenge against the popper field, everyone who want to lined up in a row facing the poppers, there were about a dozen. At the buzzer, everyone let loose. It was glorious in the sound and smoke and grins!

After that, for those STILL hanging about, it was even more free-for-all. Several folks had brought some cool guns; an AK-47, a Mac 10, and a Smith & Wesson 460XVR revolver were the highlights. I shot the AK and the 460. The guys were having a tough time with the Mac 10. It would either work splendidly, firing the way they wanted or not at all. The 460 was literally a BLAST!! w00t!!! That's the largest cartridge I've EVER fired. And I got to shoot it twice! This AK-47 had the same problems as the one the previous week. It was the same kind of ammo, different gun, different owner same problem. I wasn't as tired or so and so I was able to deal with each failure to fire as it happened.

Oh, and in the middle somewhere we had our regular IDPA match. It was the benchmark and I shot pretty well. A whole lot better than the last one. We also went target shooting with our rifles a couple of times and to the indoor range to shoot pistols.

Sunday I spent most of the day recovering the house and both vehicles from the last week and a half while Mr WK cleaned guns. Putting away all the gun stuff that's littered the house and the normal house stuff, laundry and dishes. Not as much fun as the gun stuff, but it's done so now I can spend some more time doing gun stuff and knitting.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Moon Tunnel by Jim Kelly (a Phillip Dryden mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?" ~ Paul Harvey 8/31/94

Still Crazy After All These Posts

I can't believe how long it's been since I blogged. I've got this half finished post which is mostly a knitting update so I'll update it and post it and write a shooting one. Lots has been going on in both worlds — which in part accounts for my long blog absence.

I'm moving along and ahead on all my current knitting projects. I cast on for the Dr Who Scarf for my fellow shooter on Oct 4. I had to re-order the brick red for the scarf. The color I ordered initially was too much of coral color although it looked OK on-line. Meanwhile, I wound one hank of all the colors I hadn't wound so far and, as I said, I cast on. I knit all the stripes up to the brick red and when it came in two days later, I started on that one. Currently, I'm on row 257 out of 1,076. That includes 34 tassels (17 per side) at the end. I figure they'll take at least as long a row and probably longer so I'm counting them as a row each. In Dr Who scarf knitting terms; I've just started the 44 row green stripe which is the 14th stripe starting from the narrow purple stripe end.

Every time there is a possibility of meeting the recipient I drag the scarf along. He is thrilled. I've even got all the ends up the the stripe before the green one woven in.

The Red Lace Scarf is also back on track. I was halfway through the fourth pattern repeat. There's a single strand of the lace weight wool that got missed when did one of the edge stitches, about 6 rows back. I could almost have lived with that and it might even have disappeared when I blocked it. However, I got to admiring what I'd done and on the second pattern repeat I'd evidently got off on the wrong track. The pattern repeat ended up OK, but there are four glaring YOs where there should not be. Would anyone else notice. Probably not. But after I lived it for a couple of days, not knitting on it, every time I picked up the scarf, my eyes went right to those errant YOs.. So I frogged back about 42 rows to the lifeline at the end of the first 16 row pattern repeat. Yeah, a lot of knitting down the tubes but it's all knit back now plus four rows. The re-knit went quickly. Several evenings of reading on the couch and knitting did the trick. I think that's about half why I haven't posted. I knit instead of typed.

As to my Christmas Hey! Hey! We're the Monkees socks, the second sock lacks only a foot and toe. But lately, it's getting about as much attention as this blog. The gussets stitches are picked up and even the establishing round of the foot has been knit. I just need to knit on it. I'm torn between the easy-peasy
garter stitch knitting of the Dr Who scarf and the easy but a bit more challenging knit of the sock. I should alternate between the two and finish the sock already so I can wear them.

The Spring Flower cotton socks which are my stoplight knitting are plodding along — round 21; just under 3¼" long. Maybe by spring??? Notice I did NOT put a year in there.

blogging to: the sound of the washing machine

reading: The Moon Tunnel by Jim Kelly (a Phillip Dryden mystery)
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America by Ann Coulter
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Parting Shot: "To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." ~ Thomas Paine