Friday, December 24, 2010

Ho! Ho! Ho!

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S



The first of Mr WK's Combat Socks is finished and I've not only cast on for the mate but the cuff is within 15 rounds of being complete. Then the easy-peasy part comes. All knitting all the time. Well ... until I get to the heel but the 55 round leg goes quickly. I'm still pluggin' for a end of year FO!!


I didn't have / take any knitting time today. I wrapped and bagged and bowed. Then I sorted pistol ammo from the plastic 100 round storage boxes we use to the 50 round paper boxes my BIL provided and striped ammo from stripper clips to put into 100 round plastic storage boxes. The .223 my BIL owns is a Ranch Rifle, all wood furniture and a bolt instead of a magazine. We are a bit apart in our rifle views not caliber — presentation. Mr WK and I, we're both drawn to the evil black and composite while the BIL, he likes the wood and lots of detail engraving. BIL does have some tupperware pistols. He bought those to shoot as the engraved ones don't get out much. I think we've influenced his purchases more than he's influenced us. He even got a S&W M&P 15-22. That way he can shoot .22LR at his local indoor range. Personally, I prefer the .223 (which I have) but that's just me. 5'1", 160 lbs and 55 years of Bad. Ass.

[I'll wait while you mop up the beverage you may have just spewed all over your keyboard and monitor while you writhed in helpless laughter]

And when you get right down to it, Mr WK and I have differing views on some things. I like the carbine for CQB and that's how I like to shoot and practice. I'm all about the CQB with my carbine and my pistol. One of these days when I get the right shotgun I'll add that into my training mix.

I'm also wanting to get an ambi mag release for my carbine so I can do reload drills easier and quicker. I'm left eye dominant but shoot pistols right handed. I shoot rifles left handed. My carbine is a righty. It tends to spit the brass out to the front so it works for me shooting left handed. Also, Mr WK can pick it up and doesn't have to make any adjustments, other than to switch the sling (ambi sling mount) if he wants to use that. The safety and bolt release work OK for me on the left side but eventually I'm going to have those ambi, too. Main thing is the mag release. I have tiny hands and having to hold and control two thirty-round mags in my right hand while hitting the mag release is too much. Being able to hit the mag release with my left hand would be HUGE help.

Mr WK likes long distance hi-power rifle shooting. 100 and 200 yard targets with his 30-06 or his 20" .223. He'll bang away at paper targets for a while then take a break and hit the gong at 200 yards. But I'm thinking that now that he has a different upper for his carbine and doesn't have the muzzle break that made that rifle not so much fun to shoot he may get more into the CQB.

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with Manheim Steamroller Christmas

reading: A False Mirror by Charles Todd (an Ian Rutledge mystery)

Parting Shot:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tra La La

In case you missed the last post I have Mr WK's first Combat Sock done. And this afternoon I cast on for the mate. I stopped by my LYS this afternoon and picked up another hank of the yarn. The dye lot is different but I can't "see" a difference in the color. Well, no matter — there was no guarantee that there were three matching hanks when I picked up the first two. And yes, I "should" be knitting on the mate but I'm not.

Mr WK is quite pleased with his sock and is looking forward to being able to wear them.

I was also able to take some WIP (work-in-progress) photos of two more projects.

This is the White Caps Afghan laid out on a Queen-sized bed. It's 350 stitches wide. This is row 378 which is just over 27 14 row panels. The circular needle I have it on isn't long enough for the top to be stretched out to its full width. That's a yard stick so you can have some idea of the length, which is just over four feet.

The photo on the right is a close-up of the pattern. You can see where I got the name from. It looks a bit like white foam on blue waves. This is going to be one heavy, warm afghan when it's finished. I'm hoping it will be done by the end of this winter.

The other WIP is my stoplight knitting sock, aka my Sunset Socks. They are the same pattern as Mr WK's Combat Socks. It's not the first time I've knit the same pattern but the first time I've used a completely different yarn and color. These are going to take a lot longer to finish.

The branch it's lying on is from our Limber Pine. A few weeks ago, the deer tore this branch off to get to the bark before I could protect it with lawn chairs. The first year we had the tree, they torn down a few branches including the top in December. It looked terrible for a few years until it grew up past the damage. I've stacked lawn chairs around it every winter since they did it the first time. This time they got to it before I did the chairs. The damage wasn't was bad as this so I suspect it'll be OK and in a couple of years it won't be noticeable.


Mr WK took the trigger out of his newest carbine which he purchased used this summer.
Our Sharpshooter Rifle Buddy had noted that it felt gritty. There was dried on gunk on the trigger and hammer assembly. Mr WK cleaned all that off and lubed it. Then he backed off pressure on the hammer spring, which was what our Sharpshooter Rifle Buddy did to my carbine and Mr WK's 20" target rifle. The trigger now feels smoother and more crisp. Now it's ready for another day at the range.

blogging to: Memories 89 1

reading: Dark Light Randy Wayne White (a Doc Ford mystery)

Parting Shot:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Round and Round and Rounds

I'm well on my way to a possible final FO! for this year. The cuff, leg, heel and foot are complete on Mr WK's first Combat Sock. I'm callin' 'em Combat Socks because the yarn is kind of an army dark olive green; although Louet Gems calls it "charcoal". I'd say it's more of a greenish gray rather than a grayish-green. Nancy Bush's Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock with Dutch Heel is a very easy and quick knit. A long (50 rounds in this case) ribbed cuff and the rest is all stockinette. Depending on how the rest of the evening goes, I hope to be casting on for the mate later this evening or tomorrow.

update 8:40pm: first sock is finished .... well, except for weaving in two ends

I attached the second hank about 20 rounds shy of the end of the foot. Based on the first pair of socks I knit for Mr WK in this pattern, I'll need the third hank around the time I start the heel flap on the second sock. I need to get out and finish Christmas shopping so I'll pick it up then. As quickly as I'm moving, I may be ready for it before the weekend is done.

I also sat on and broke yet another Suzanne's 2.5mm rosewood dpn. I usually have at least two full sets (of 5) plus a few extra but when I cast on for these I had one set and a few extra. So I'll be picking up one more set of those while I'm there. I do have plenty of this size in ebony.


This past Sunday it was warmer and the sun was shining. Mr WK and I hit the outdoor range for some rifle practice. I don't know whether my hours and hours and hundreds and hundreds of .22lr rounds working on target acquisition has had any effect on my carbine skills but maybe so. I have an inexpensive red dot optic on my carbine and it really does help me acquire a target quickly. Much more quickly and accurately than I can with just iron sights. 25 rounds @ 25 yards from various positions, two rounds from each position; prone, curbs with support hand, curbs with strong hand, sitting Indian-style, kneeling, one knee, sitting on a stool and standing off-hand in the aggressively progressive stance. I put controlled pairs (two sight pictures, two shots) as quickly as I could then shifted into another position and did the same thing.

The fliers are most likely off hand as I'm supported in all the other positions. I'm very pleased that all 25 rounds are on the target and every single one would give a bad guy a bad day. I plan to bring the optic up a few inches so that the cluster will be center mass although where it sits isn't a bad place either.

Mr WK had purchased a new upper for his carbine a few weeks ago. We'd purchased the rifle used and it had a muzzle break on the 14" barrel to bring the barrel length out to 16". So now the muzzle break is gone and it's much more fun to shoot and be around when he's shooting it. He'd bore sighted it but he had a chance Sunday to sight the iron sights in at 25 yards and then the red dot. We're both pleased with how it shoots.

blogging to: Memories 89

reading: Dark Light by Randy Wayne White (a Doc Ford mystery)

Parting Shot:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Better and Better

All quiet here in boring hermitville. We strive for the boring and we embrace the hermit in both of us. We're not anti-social, just mostly prefer keeping ourselves to ourselves. But occasionally we're forced out by an IDPA match.

We were fortunate to be able to go to two matches, one in Topeka over a week ago and another this past Thursday. For me, I did pretty good both times. As my fancy-pants camera was not working I was unable to take any photos or videos at the match in Topeka. Consequently, I did better the entire match, specially the last one or two. Usually, after SOing (being a Safety Officer which entails either running the shot timer or the clipboard with the score sheets) and taking photos I'm tired by the last couple of stages and don't do as well. I had the little camera at the most recent match and ran around all evening taking videos and SOing so I did terrible on the last stage.

I'm still at or near the bottom of every match's results. As I s-l-o-w-l-y improve others improve more quickly. But I am very pleased to say that I'm getting more zeros, ones and twos than I am fives, tens and FTNs (failure to neutralize) for each threat target. During a CoF (Course of Fire) most of our threat targets require at least two anywhere in a zero zone which is center mass or the head. A score of five for a threat target would mean that I got one in the center zone and the other missed the target completely. A ten and an FTN means that I didn't hit it at all. So that would be ten points down for that PLUS a FTN which is another five points. [More on scoring here ~ scroll down] AND! AND! more of my shots are closer together. Which means that I'm controlling muzzle rise better. I think that over 1,500 rounds (mostly .22LR) and hours and hours of practice this fall on target acquisition has something to do with that. I will probably never be able to do doubletaps or hammers with anything but a carbine or a .22LR pistol but that's OK. Controlled pairs are just as lethal.

I'm slow however which is what kills me on match scores. But with more practice I'll get quicker with no loss of accuracy. That will really bring my scores up. The best thing is that being more accurate in competition will I hope translate to more accuracy when it would really count.

On a side note about Thursday's shoot, one of the match directors got clever. One of the stages was called, One Hand Open Slay. You held a large, much desired wrapped Christmas parcel in your support arm and hand to engage bad guys, strong hand only.

Another cool thing, was the the third CoF. This one had four wolves and a bear under low light conditions. This new range we shoot at in Junction City, KS, Godfrey's Shooting and Archery Ranges has lots of cool features, including sound effects. For this one they played wolves howling and bears growling. For the CoF above, they had Christmas Music going. Very. Cool.


The heel is done on Mr WK's Combat Socks. The pattern is Nancy Bush's Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock with Dutch Heel from her book Knitting Vintage Socks. I've knit several socks, some more than once from this book. This sock and my Sunset Socks are this pattern. Now I'm doing the gusset decreases on the first sock.

"Unofficially" I'm going to try to finish both of Mr WK's Combat Socks by year end. I think I have a halfway decent shot at it. I too way to much time on the decreases at the bottom of the heel flap and actually turning the heel. But now that I'm on the foot it should fly. It's ALL stockinette!!

There is one fly in the ointment. For some stupid reason I only picked up two hanks of this yarn not three. So sometime in the coming week, I'll stop by my LYS and latch onto another hank.

blogging to: Memories 89

reading: In Vino Veritas by J M Gregson (a Lambert and Hook mystery)

Parting Shot:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Knitting not Dragging my Heels

Too cold to go the the outdoor range and we've been too comfortable at home to want to drive to any of the indoor ranges. So a LOT of knitting and reading and organizing is being done or worked on over the past week or so.

I cast on for Mr WK's first Louet Gems Combat sock ten days ago. The 50 round cuff and 55 round leg are finished. The heel flap is finished and I've stared turning the heel on this Dutch heel.

Warning: Knitting Science ~ The heel flap is the same, using around half of the total stitches. With a "regular" turned heel, you end up with about half of the stitches you started with on the heel flap. The shape of the turn is triangular. On the photo on the left just above the needle at the bottom you can see the triangular shape. You start the turn at the flattened top of the triangle and decrease one stitch per row gradually widening the bottom of the triangle as you knit or purl together a new stitch from the new edge and one from the triangle. You keep knitting (on the right side) and purling (on the wrong side) until all the edge stitches have been knit or purled.

The Dutch Heel (the pink part on the photo to the right) reduces to the center five or six stitches (which is determined by five or six rows of decreases just before turning the heel. You only knit these center stitches. It's kind of like the edge stitches get sucked into the center drain on row and one stitch at a time. You keep knitting and purling the center stitches until you only have the five or six center stitches.

Then the instructions on the two heel turns merge and you pick up stitches along the edges the same way so that you're again knitting in the round.

I was a bit worried when I knit the first pair of socks that used this heel that Mr WK could feel that center strip which after all is on the bottom on his foot but he says not. I looked at how bumped out the triangular turned heel is and it feels bumpy, too. I can't feel it. I guess if you used a thick yarn, you might be able to, but then you probably wouldn't be able to get shoes on over the bulky socks! By the way, neither of these photos are mine.

On my Sunset Socks, the cuff is finally finished and I've ten or so rounds on the leg. I've moved very gradually from a pumpkin orange to a burnt orange and am currently knitting a reddish orange color.

I noted in my last post that my fancy-pants camera shot craps. I bought one of those extended warranty things and the local shop doesn't do repairs any longer. So I'm to pack it up and send it off. Not happy about that but we'll see. In the meantime, instead of going the what would probably turn out to be a multi disposable camera purchase I bought a Cannon PowerShot A490. It was on sale because it's probably an older model. I liked because it has larger control buttons than some of the other brands priced the same. It takes video, too. It'll fill the gap.

So I'll be able to get some photos of my current knitting over the weekend.

blogging to: Memories 89

reading: Fear of Drowning Peter Turnball (a Chief Inspector George Hennessey mystery)

Parting Shot: language warning

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Room to Grow

Sometimes what's practical and what's do-able in a reasonable amount of time are far apart.

I discovered earlier this fall that wearing a colorful vest disguises the odd lump or bulge of a large grip. I have a Halloween-themed vest that I wore at several matches for my cover garment. I really liked the idea. I have two knit vests that I'd acquired long before I began knitting again. Both are now a little on the small side.

However, I do have a vest that I knit for myself several years ago. It's from the book Folk Vests by Cheryl Oberle and it's the Silk Sari Vest. I used a cranberry soy silk, Oasis and three different "colors" of recycled sari silk. I'd been knitting for about seven months when I knit it. It's knit sideways and one of the most noticeable features are the vertical rows sari silk that were wrapped three times around the needle then dropped on the next row. The rows between the dropped stitches are garter stitched sari silk and the smooth soy silk.

When it was finished, it was way to big. I tried a button, several buttons, no buttons. I finally sewed the front closed. What needed to be done was the shoulders seams taken up. Well, now that I'm .... um .... a bit fluffier, it's still a bit large but in some ways that's a good thing. I wear lots of layers in the winter and have lots of dark blue and black cotton turtleneck shirts ... which are perfect foils the this colorful vest. And it's long enough to cover any weird bulges. And I'm going to take those shoulder seams up so it fits better.

I do want to knit another couple of vests for me but I haven't done any research yet and besides, I have socks to finish!

The final FO for 2010 . . . . probably. I finished the Pewter Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere watch cap for my BIL. It's not a Christmas gift. Just some knitting. I used the leftover yarn from the watch cap I knit Mr WK in April 2007. I even used the same pattern, same number of cast of stitches, same needle size. Everything. Well, OK, I spaced out the decrease rounds on the crown a bit more. Mr WK's had been worn so often it's kinda felted. You can see the pattern but it's softened. I didn't notice until I held the newly knit one next to it. If my BIL doesn't like it my SIL says she wants it.

If he wants it that means I'll need to knit a very soft warm hat pronto! for my SIL. What I will probably do is told three strands of the laceweight merino I used for the Red Flemish Braid Scarf together and knit with that. It's a bright red and I'm sure my SIL will love it.

Meanwhile, I'm knitting mostly on Mr WK's Combat Socks. The 50 rounds cuff is finished and I've 35 rounds or so complete on the 55 round leg.

On a frustrating note, my fancy-pants camera is not working. New batteries and different memory cards do not seem to make a difference. So until I can get it into the camera shop, no photos or videos for any of us.

blogging to: Christmas music

reading: Watches of the Night by Sally Wright (a Ben Reese mystery)

Parting Shot:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

FO! FO! FO!

Another FO! squeaks in before the year is done.

The Monkey Socks for my SIL are complete. I finished and closed the toe and wove in all the ends Sunday evening.

Stats:
  • yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Silk [52% bamboo, 43% superwash merino wool and 5% combed silk]
  • colorway: Cranberry Tones
  • needles: 2.5mm Suzanne's ebony dpns
  • heel: heel flap heel
  • socks #77 & #78
  • amount of yarn used: 120 gr
They weren't meant as Christmas Socks but they look pretty festive on the Blue Spruce there. I cast on for the first one on 8/19/10. I knit it down to the end of the sixth pattern repeat and stopped. I wanted my SIL to try them on before I knit and closed the toe. As it would be a bit I cast on for the second sock on 10/4/10. I'd already had her try on the first sock when the cuff and a little over one 11 round patten repeat so I figured the rest of the sock would fit. She tried them on at Thanksgiving and I finished the first one a few days later. The second one had a little over two pattern repeats to go on the foot so it took longer to finish.

I have a full 50 gr skein and just over half of another skein. That's going to be very close for socks for me. But I can do the cuffs, heels and toes in something else. I may even swing by the LYS the next time and see if they have any of this color left. If they have it, it won't be the same dye lot as I got the yarn in Sept 2009.

I also cast on for socks for Mr WK. I used the Louet Gems in "charcoal" which to me looks more like a gray-green. Kind of a dark army-olive color. So they are Mr WK's Combat Socks. This sock will make the third time (almost) for this particular pattern; Nancy Bush's Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock with Dutch Heel. I'm using this pattern for my stoplight knitting Sunset Socks, too. So when both of these are done I will have knit this pattern three times. It will eventually be at least four as I want to knit a pair of socks using this pattern for my SIL.

I'm still moving forward on the cashmere watch cap for my BIL. I've got just over 80 rounds knit of 109 not including the 15 decrease rounds. The yarn doesn't slide very well on the 4mm rosewood dpns and it makes my right eldabow ache a bit when I knit on it too much. With Mr WK's Combat Socks goin' I can take a break from the hat as both are very simple patterns and don't require much attention.

blogging to: Memories 89

reading: Hunter's Moon by Randy Wayne White (a Doc Ford mystery)

Parting Shot:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Feast or Famine

. . . . Depending upon your point of view.

Some posts are all about the knitting with very little gun stuff and some are just the opposite. Lucky the few who happen to like both.

On the knitting side, I visited my LYS (local yarn shop) last week. As Mr WK has taken to not only wearing but preferring hand knit wool socks for dress wear as they are more comfortable I stopped by to pick up some future socks aka sock yarn. Almost all knitters or crocheters I know who knit socks for the males in their life agree that there is a dearth of sock yarn that most men will wear. I agree but I am just glad he wears them.

The top one is Reynolds Soft Sea Wool in what I'm calling a dark slate blue. The one below is the pair socks I finished for Mr WK with the exact same yarn. The photos don't look it but they are the same color. The color seemed to depend on the light. Anyway, he likes them and wears them. So I picked up two more hanks of the exact same yarn and I'll use a different pattern. I do plan to knit him another pair of socks with this pattern but with one of the other yarns.


I picked up two hanks of Louet Gems in what they call a charcoal but to me it's more of a muddy - brown gray - green [photo on the left] Anyway, it's a Mr WK approved sock color. I've never knit with Louet Gems yarn so this and the one below are in the running for the next pair of future socks.

I was only planning to get enough yarn for two pair of future socks but I was drawn to this one as it has very subtle tones of blue in the yarn which are very difficult to photograph. It's Barefoot by Mountain Colors and they call the colorway deep blue. It's such a dark blue it's almost black. I've not knit with any of the Mountain Colors yarn either.

I've got some Louet Gems and Mountain Colors Barefoot in other colors for socks for me that I haven't got around to yet. Right now I'm drawn more to the Louet Gems yarn color than the Mountain Colors Barefoot.

I need to wind which ever color I'm going to knit. Another opportunity to use my swift!!


On the shooting side of things, we were able to make it to a new indoor range in Junction City, KS, Godfrey's Shooting & Archery Ranges this past weekend. It's a great indoor range, well lit, extremely well ventilated, wide shooting lanes, heated and air conditioned with fancy electronic ways for the targets to get downrange. It's a bit of a drive for us, 1½ hours each way but it's worth it.

I'm still working on on target acquisition but spending more time with the 9mm or a .45. The second shot's more accurate and quicker with the .22lr. It's a whole 'nother thing with a larger caliber. The second shot is much slower and as I tend to rush, it's low as I overcompensate for muzzle rise. Not as low as they used to be but more like if the first shot is near the top of the zero zone the second round will be at the bottom of the zero zone or at the top of the -1 zone.

I need to figure out how not to do that. I have no idea how to work on that in dry fire. I'll throw the problem to my self-appointed shooting coach. I have a feeling that the target acquisition practice is helping this problem was it's no where near as extreme as it used to be.

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with Carol of the Bells.

reading: Death in Camera by Michael Underwood (a mystery)

Parting Shot: