Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Works and What Doesn't

We went to the outdoor range Sunday afternoon. I haven't had any live fire target acquisition practice in a few weeks and was a bit worried that I'd slipped. But that was not the case. I'm pretty accurate with the .22LR and the accuracy with my 9mm is noticeably improving, even with the not very accurate 115 gn HP-38 ammo. I have maybe only a couple hundred rounds of that ammo left.

My speed seems to stay about the same, maybe a bit quicker and with the 9mm the second shot is almost as accurate as the first. If I do have a flier it's always the second shot. And it's usually low. I'm also continuing to work on pressing the shot as soon as it's on the target instead of hovering then pressing the shot. I'm also still working on not taking my finger completely off the trigger when I'm shooting controlled pairs. I'm still also shooting with both eyes open.

Little things but it will make me more skilled. I'm not going to load up my plate with more things until I'm happy with these.

Mr WK worked on a more accurate load for his M&P .40. After Sunday's tests it looks like a 165 gn plated flat point bullet with Tite Group is the most accurate with Bullseye being the next most accurate. We're going to pick up some 180 gn bullets and test again with the same loads to see if there's any difference. For now, it looks like the 155 gn bullets just are not accurate in that gun with the powders we have.

It didn't start out to be an entire day of what's the most accurate load but it sure turned out that way.

From the pistol range, we moved to the high-power range. Mr WK's 30-06 Mossberg really liked the Hornady 168 gn bullet de-molyed with Varget. The Hornady 150gn soft point with IMR 4895 not so much.

I had a similar problem. This summer when the weather was warmer I was shooting ½" groups at 100 yards with my DPMS .308 with Hornady 150 gn FMJ loaded with H 335. Today neither of us could get a decent group with them. What got us back to ½" groups at 100 yards was a Hornady 110gn V-max bullet with H 335. This summer I couldn't group those worth a darn.

So now we've got to have warm weather ammo and cold weather ammo for our rifles. Who knew?

The knitting on my SIL's Cranberry Tones Monkey Socks (is that really gonna be the name?!) is going strong. As I mentioned in the last post I had my SIL try them on and they fit. I've finished the first one including weaving in the ends. On the mate, I had two more 11 row pattern repeats to do on the foot but that is also now complete. All that is left is to knit the toe decreases on the mate, weave in the ends and that will be that.

The cashmere watch hat for my BIL is also moving along. The hat will have 109 rounds and 15 decrease rounds based on the first hat. I've got 46 rounds done. Interestingly, both my SIL's Monkey Socks and this hat have the same number of cast on rounds, 96.

blogging to: Memories 89

reading: Serious Intent by Margaret Yorke (a mystery)

Parting Shot: "It’s all rigged, the whole conversation’s rigged." ~ Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shades of Red and Tones of Gray

The Red Flemish Lace Scarf is out of the house and it will soon be (if it isn't already) in the hands of it's new owner. I cast on for the scarf on Sept 11, 2009 and bound off the final stitch, on Sept 11, 2010. Yes, exactly to the day, one year later. I didn't plan it. I was shocked when I went to record the info on my knitting spread sheet. Now I didn't get to the blocking until just a few days ago and I gave the scarf to my SIL to give to her friend. I hope she likes it.

As I waited until almost the very last minute to block it I was under the gun to get a decent photo of it blocked. The weather was not cooperating and finally on Thanksgiving Day not too long before we had to leave I was able to take a few shots.

Now all I need to do to finally put this project to bed is to finish my project notes.

I had my SIL try on the Cranberry Tones Monkey Socks and they fit. I've been working a bit on the toe decreases of the first and most further along sock.

A few days before Thanksgiving I cast on for a hat for my BIL. I've never knit my BIl anything. He wasn't particularly interested in a pair of socks or even a hat for that matter. But what the heck. He's not been well this past year and maybe
he'll wear it. If he doesn't like it my SIL can wear it.

It's just a simple watch cap in a charcoal gray cashmere. In fact, it will look just like this one I knit for Mr WK in six days in April 2007! Same Broken Rib pattern, same Mongolian Cashmere yarn by Jade Sapphire, 96 cast on stitches—same as the first hat and even the same 4mm rosewood dpns. But not the six days part. That was a rather concentrated piece of knitting! This one is taking longer. As we keep our house on the cool side we both wear hats to bed at night. This is the one Mr WK wears. When both my SIL Monkey Socks are done and the hat I'll either arrange to meet her or put them in the mail.

And as both projects could be done in a week or so, what's up next?? More socks for Mr WK, I'm thinking. He's started wearing his dark colored hand knit socks for every day as they're more comfortable to wear
than his thinner dress socks on days when he's on his feet all day. He only has three pair of these so I need to do a couple more pair quickly so I'm not constantly washing a pair!

I don't have any stash yarn for his socks so it'll mean a trip to the LYS!! Dark solid color yarn or a dark yarn with a very subtle color pattern. I did these on the right and they were OK as the light gray heels and toes didn't show and the light gray bands on the leg and foot (which also didn't show) were similar to what's he's seen on purchased dress socks. But a yarn where *I* don't have to do the stripes or color changes will be a quicker knit. The yarn will be a wool or wool blend. I hope my LYS has something as I'd rather buy from them.

And a simple, simple pattern that I can knit up quickly. Cables are out as is lace. I've run through just about every rib pattern and as these are going to be all about the speed I may do some repeats instead of trying to re-invent the wheel. He doesn't have any pattern preferences so I may do the first pair in the same pattern as those on the left. It's a quick knit as, except for the long 50 round cuff, the sock is all stockinette.

And finally Thanksgiving turned out OK. The turkey and our family's traditional trimmings were fabulous!! My bread, relish and pie were a hit and not many leftovers.

The anti-gun cousins-in-law were more unfamiliar than anti. We can work with that. Still a bit lib though but not raving so it was OK. Not turned off or scared by all the gun talk. More curious about what we do. My SIL had sent them links to some of the IDPA shoots featuring us so not a big surprise. One of the cousins even wants to hit the range with us next time he's up this way and has more time. So who knows.

blogging to: Sky.FM~Smooth Jazz

reading: The Red Door by Charles Todd (an Ian Rutledge mystery)
I like these kinds of books. They hold my interest but somehow they're soothing.

Parting Shot: a couple of days late but too good to save until next year!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seeing Red

At least something's going on in this place of non-busyness. I finally got around today to blocking the Red Lace Flemish Scarf with my previously unused new blocking wires and my high-tech blocking board. It was like picking up stitches with a three foot dpn!! And even though I was being as careful as I could, the end of a wire would slip out of the stitches as I adjusted the scarf. The blocking wires were a bit of a hassle but once in place, work great. I love the nice straight sides of the scarf. No weird scallops!

I realized this morning that THIS THURSDAY was Thanksgiving and if I wanted to give this scarf to my SIL to give to her friend so she could
maybe wear it THIS winter. So I had to get my derrière in gear and get it blocked. The knitting has been finished for over two months now so I suppose it's time!

I'm really pleased with how it came out. I hope she likes it and that it's right color of red.

And speaking of Thanksgiving my SIL is having TEN people for dinner. She is much braver than I am in that respect. Three of the guests — all family — are liberals and very anti-gun. Ought to be fun times.

blogging to: a selection of Ultra Lounge music

reading: Village of Ghost Bears by Sam Jones (a Nathan Active mystery)

Parting Shot:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rhubarb and Patience Can Work Wonders*

I'm still busy not being busy but Mr WK's been busy these last few days so I'm getting in more knitting than shooting.

Lately, I've been concentrating on my SIL's [still no clever name] Monkey socks. As you can see the left sock lacks a toe and the sock on the right has only a leg — well a leg and a few rows of heel flap. Since I took this photo on Thursday afternoon the heel on the second sock is finished and I've knit 24 rows of the foot. I'm lovin' the color and this pattern is so easy to knit. It does require some focus, though. I can't remember the number of times I've had to tink back a row or two or three! on the leg of that second sock because I got all jumbled up.

The yarn has which is a silk and bamboo blend has absolutely no body and although it's soft it just wilts. The yarn is also slippery so it's very easy for the stitches to just slide away if they're off the needle. I do think, however, that I may have enough for a pair of socks for me with the leftovers. I may end up having to do the heels and maybe toes in a contrasting color but that's OK.

This is the cuff — so far
on my Sunset Socks. I am barely into the burnt orange part of the yarn (the part on the bottom nearest the needles) as I knit from the center of the ball below. That's about 27 rounds on the cuff. I've got about 13 more rounds before I can begin the leg which is all stockinette. In fact the whole rest of the sock, including the heel is stockinette. This pattern, Nancy Bush's Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock with Dutch Heel from her book Knitting Vintage Socks has a very cool heel.

The yarn is Zauberball by Schoppel Wolle. The colorway is 1536. At the link, there is a representation of what the colors will look like on a sock. Just right for a bright winter sock. Whether it will be THIS winter is a whole 'nother matter.

As to the other current WIP, the White Caps Afghan, I'm moving slowly forward on it. It's presently still hoovering at the just over four feet in length mark when I hold it up. I'm on row 377. So far I've used over 10 skeins of the blue and at the last pattern repeat I attached the third skein of white. Based on a finished row count of 700 I've got 54% of it complete. It sure is warm when I spread it over my legs as I knit on it. I'm going to try to remember to get a photo of it for the next post.

As far as the shooting goes, I continue to work on target acquisition. My speed and accuracy have really come up
these past couple of weeks. Mainly the accuracy. The speed is coming but much more slowly. I am now training myself to press the shot as soon as I'm on the target. I tend to hover around on it then press the trigger. Still doing well with my eyes open. I don't feel like I'm cheating when for better focus for longer shots I close one eye. I just have to remember to open it again.

* German proverb

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Unseen by Mari Jungstedt (an Anders Knutas mystery)

Parting Shot: "You've got a great nation here and you're groping yourself over the cliff into oblivion with this obsession." ~ Mark Steyn 11/18/10 on Hannity

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's not Fish Until it's on the Bank*

As my regular readers know I've been working hard on target acquisition. I've also been training to keep both eyes open when I shoot handguns, both in IDPA competition and when I just plink for fun.

We had an IDPA match the other night. About halfway through the first CoF, a domination response (six rounds through the 0 zone of an IDPA target) I realized that both eyes were open. I didn't consciously remember to do that. And I got a zero on that one, too.

Later into the match I did have to close one eye to focus better occasionally and for now I think that's OK. As my target acquisition skills get better and I get more used to shooting with both eyes open I'm hoping the problem I have with my no-line bifocals will become less of an issue.

I did change my stance when necessary from starting with both feet together but that was more of an as I drew from my holster I adjusted into my static shooting position. So I guess that's kind of automatic now, too. I'm still having to consciously remind myself not to crowd cover but again it's more of a reflex check than having to readjust once I get there.

But it was great to realize that training does take over. Small things and small steps, yeah, but in the end it will make me a more accurate shooter and may even save my life one day.

There are other things I want to work on such as not drawing in my elbows when I shoot moving backwards. But right now I'm going to concentrate on what I've been doing. Once my target acquisition improves even more I can start moving and I can work on that. But right now, having the best form but not being very accurate is not a compromise I want to make.

* Irish proverb

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Hush by Kate White (a mystery)

Parting Shot:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Busy as a Busy Bee

We've been busy not being busy. It's exhausting and apparently very time consuming, this not being busy. This blog has suffered the most. Still shootin' and still knittin'. Busily.

Mr WK had some vacation time the last two weeks in October. The first week we were busy shooting or doing a shooting-related thing just about every day. The climax was the final shoot for the year at Corndodger Station with the 2010 Team Shoot. Everyone had a partner and all six stages were designed to be shot as a team. It was great fun. There was a pot-luck lunch, awards and random drawings for prizes. We even had a couple of stages at the end of the day for the "non-shooting" wives and girlfriends. Those were staged in and around the vehicle we use. They didn't have to draw or move and shoot but they got an idea of what we do by doing it. They all enjoyed it and I think a few of the women may shoot with us in the future.

The second week we were both down with colds. I think someone had it at the match because it slowly made it's way through almost everyone that was there that day. So the second week was kind of a bust in that we didn't get to shoot as much as we would have liked but as you know, we love stayin' home, too.

I'm STILL working on target acquisition. Every time we go out I'm workin' it but not as much as I could or should at home. However, something's better because my unofficial "shooting coach" aka as our Sharpshooter Rifle Buddy has been working with me. This past weekend he "promoted" me to controlled pairs (two sight pictures, two rounds). Even with the .22LR (Browning Buckmark Camper) I don't have enough hand and arm strength to control the muzzle so hammers (doubletaps) are out for now. If I do hammers my second shot is usually low which means I'm still overcompensating for the muzzle-rise — but they're not as low as they used to be. When I do hammers, the group is about 3-4" larger (mostly lower) so yes, even some improvement there.

I am also shooting with both eyes open which is different and safer in a self-defense situation
which I think is why it's taking me longer in the target acquisition area. I'm right handed and shoot handguns right handed but I'm left eye dominant. When I bring the gun up from low ready, I'm training myself to bring it up lined up with my left eye instead of in the middle. I also have no-line bifocals which, again, is not helping matters. If my glasses are a bit mis-aligned, the bi-focal change over is right were I'm lookin' and I see two images of the front sight and targe, not one. So a bit of a struggle but at least it's fun practicing. Along with being "promoted" to controlled pairs, I am also to shoot the occasional mag of 9mms in the same fashion.

I think some folks just come to this more naturally than I do and my weak hands and forearms don't help either. I also wonder if having carpel tunnel surgery on both wrists over 15 years ago is a factor. I know I don't have the wrist strength and flexibility I used to have.

I'm also not lettin' my CQB carbine skills die off. The active military friend who gave several carbine courses at no charge to club members is now officially retired from the Army and is no longer in the area. So it's up to me to keep those skills intact. To that end, this past weekend I worked on alternate shooting positions; sitting in a "chair", one knee, two knees, Indian-style, prone, curbs — shooting and support hand — and as flat as possible. I put two rounds down range for each position then switched and just kept rotating them. I went through three 25 round magazines.

I like the curbs best. Shooting with the ejection port down is nice because all your brass is in a nice little pile right there
you don't have to hunt for it. My least favorite is as flat as possible. Puts a lot of strain in a short amount of time on my back and neck. I also can't shoot prone with my leg cocked. We don't have a shooting mat and doing this on gravel was OK but not the best.

The three current WIPs (works-in-progress) have been progressing. The White Caps Afghan is moving slowly. As each pattern repeat is only a couple of inches wide, and each row is 350 stitches long it takes a long time to knit 12" so it's still "just over four feet" in length. I am "officially' over the halfway mark now, based on the spreadsheet I did a long time ago. As I've mentioned several times, I'm looking for this thing to be around 72" or when I run out of blue yarn. At this point I could easily knit it to be seven feet long and still have yarn left .... maybe. I'll just keep on knitting until I decide when to call it quits. It is nice and warm to lay over my legs when I sit and watch gun shows in the evening with Mr WK and knit on it.

My SIL's cranberry tones Monkey Socks have also come along nicely. I haven't been able to have her try them on yet so the first sock is still done up to the toe decreases. On the second sock, I've just stared the sixth pattern repeat on the leg. There are seven pattern repeats on the leg then the heel flap and turned heel. When we've been going to shoot, I've been doing the driving so not much passenger knitting. I don't need to hurry up as I have the first sock for her to try on at Thanksgiving and then I'll have both socks done by Christmas. However, I would like to have the second sock also to the toe decreases at Thanksgiving so it wouldn't take me but a few days to finish both of them and then mail them to her.

My Sunset socks which are my stoplight / passenger knitting are very slowly moving forward. I'm just beyond the halfway point in the 40 round cuff on the first sock.

The other hard deadline I have is to block the Flemish Braid Red Lace Scarf I knit for my SIL's friend. I want to give the scarf to my SIL at Thanksgiving so she can pass it on to her friend. Maybe after that, my SIL, me and both friends I've knit these lace scarfs for can all meet for lunch. It would be so cool to take a photo of all three women with their lace scarves. Once my SIL's Monkey Socks are done I'm going to design and knit myself a shawl.

Well, that's what's been keeping me busy not being busy. And now that I've done this post, it won't seem like such a mountain to climb to blog again sooner rather than later.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Devil's Claw by J A Jance (a Joanna Brady mystery)

Parting Shot:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meanwhile . . . . .

I'm working on a catch-up post but here's some of what I've been up to . . . .

IDPA ~ Oct 21 ~ Stage 1, strings 1, 2 & 3

IDPA ~ Oct 21 ~ Stage 2

IDPA ~ Oct 21 ~ Stage 3

2010 Team Shoot ~ 10/24/10 ~ Stage 5