Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I had the 25 round corrugated rib cuff and over a dozen stockinette fair isle vertical striped rounds complete on the latest in the Mr WK sock marathon. I finally had enough on the needles so he could try it on and see if it fit. The floats made the fabric so un-stretchable he couldn't get it over his heel. I tried to make the floats as loose as I could. The knit fabric had plenty of vertical stretch and some horizontal stretch but nothing like regular ribbing. In fact the ribbed cuff was wider than the stockinette and it's supposed to draw in and be narrower.

I had two choices. I could
cast on 16 or 20 more stitches and do it again which would be fine. I've frogged socks way more advanced than this and reknit them. Not a problem. This is where being a process knitter instead of a product knitter comes in handy. OR I can do a regular 2x2 ribbed cuff in either solid color or horizontal stripes. It would look fine and actually be a nice contrast to the vertical stripes on the leg. And other than the photos Mr WK and I would most likely be the only ones to ever see the cuff anyway.

I do have two FOs! one of which you already know about. I finally got more photos taken today of Mr WK's Deep Blue Something Socks. The photo on the left taken on an overcast day shows the leg pattern better while the photo on the right taken on a sunny day shows the color better. I really struggled on the leg on this one. I had it almost all knit when I decided it was going to be very baggy so I frogged 50+ rounds, added 5 more rounds to the cuff for a 25 round cuff. Then I reknit the leg decreasing 1 stitch every 4 rounds from 84 stitches down to 62. I did a stockinette heel flap and a Dutch heel. I picked up a lot of extra gusset stitches so that I'd have 80 stitches for the foot. When it came time to do the toe decreases because each of the two top of foot needles stitches had only 1
5 or 16 stitches on each needle and the two bottom of foot needles had 25 stitches on each needle, I decreased on just the bottom of foot needles until they were even. I grafted the toes closed. Based on the weight of the socks [4.9 oz | 141 gr] and the cost of the yarn these socks cost $33.84. I used just under 1¼ 122 gr hanks. The yarn was not cheap at $24 a hank which is why the sock cost is high. I have enough yarn to make him another pair of socks.

Stats on socks 81 & 82:
  • Yarn: Barefoot by Mountain Colors in the deep blue colorway
  • Needles: 2.5mm Suzanne rosewood dpns
  • Pattern: cuff is 2x2 ribbing; leg is double moss stitch; all the rest is stockinette
  • Heel: stockinette heel flap & Dutch heel
They fit great and Mr Wk loves 'em which is what counts, after all.

The other FO! is the Out of the Blue Watch Cap. This hat is thick and heavy. It'll be really warm. I started with the yarn I'm using for the Vertical Striped Socks for Mr WK but I wasn't happy with the way it was looking so I decided to knit socks with it as it looks like fingering yarn rather than sport weight yarn. Then I started the hat on 4mm needles and that didn't look good either. So a bit of a ride to get there but I'm happy with the results.

Stats on watch cap #15
  • Yarn: Inca Alpaca by Classic Elite in coloway #1124 which is a dark slate heathered blue ~ I held the yarn doubled
  • Needles: cast on with 7.5mm and knit with 5mm Suzanne rosewood dpns
  • Pattern: k5, p2, k3, p2
  • 50 rounds in the body and 26 decrease rounds

Unfolded the hat looks like a Pac-Man character but you can see the ribbing better. This hat took just under three 50 gr hanks. Based on the weight of the hat [5.1 oz | 145 gr] and the cost of the yarn this hat cost $24.65.

Initially when I was knitting this I was going by how many rounds I did on the cashmere watch caps done on 4mm needles. That was 109 rounds. When I got to round 60 on the body of this hat it looked really long. Then when I began to do the decreases on top it was even worse! So I frogged all the decrease rounds, and the body back to round 50. Then I didn't do as many knit even rounds between each decrease round and it turned out OK. There's enough fold to have a nice double layer over your ears.

And I have enough yarn leftover for something.

Now to cast on again! for Mr WK's Vertical Striped Socks.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Love of Danger by Max Brand (a trio of Robert Fernanld western stories)
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin

Parting Shot: What happens in Wisconsin doesn't stay in Wisconsin.
link 1 and update

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tangled Up in Blue

The Heathered Blue Hat which is now Out of the Blue Hat is moving right along. After many froggings and redoings, I've got 43 rounds completed and it's soft and heavy. I've knit up the first two hanks and need to get two more. Now that I've got the Out of the Blue Hat well in hand, except for having to buy more yarn [ahem] I am moving on to another pair of sock for Mr WK.

The navy and black Frog Tree Sport Alpaca that I originally bought for the hat has been cast on at least eight times. When I would screw up on the cast on or the first couple of rounds I'd change either the pattern or the cuff. So I've been through several iterations of the pattern and am hopefully on the one that's gonna stick. Among the stitches for for cuff were a corrugated rib, brioche stitch, twisted 2x2 rib and a helical spiral. At this point I am still doing the vertical stripes I mentioned in my last post. Currently I'm doing the corrugated ribbing on the cuff. I'm on round 13 and so far so good. I'm doing it in fair isle, carrying the floats along the back and hoping I've got them loose enough to stretch with the ribbing. If it works it will segue nicely into the vertical stripes.

And if I keep with the vertical stripe, which is all stockinette I may do yet another Dutch heel and carry the striping down onto the heel flap. The heel turn will have to be in one color and I haven't decided whether or not to carry the vertical striping down onto the top of the foot or even onto the bottom. I'll see how much of a hassle it is as I do the leg.

Haven't been shooting much at all. I've been doing some dry fire target acquisition drills but it just isn't as much fun with no BANG! at the end of each acquisition. I'd been doing some tactical reload aka reload with retention drills and that's paid off. As y'all know I've got small hands and short fingers so not a lot of room to hold things. I do a version of the L-magazine load that I learned in one of the carbine classes I took. Works pretty well for me. I clamp the loaded mag in the L-position (making sure that it's faced the proper direction) with the grip with my left hand and push the mag release with my left thumb. With my right hand I pull the gun up off the partial mag, my left hand is now holding both mags in the L-position; I rotate my left hand so that the full mag is now vertical and the partial mag is pointing toward by body. I lower the gun still pointing down range onto the vertical full mag and give the base of the mag an extra push with my left hand. Now I'm loaded and can move (if needed) as I stow the partial mag.

At the IDPA match this past Thursday, we had one CoF (Course of Fire) where we had two tactical reloads.

CoF: Begin with hands in the surrender position. At the buzzer draw and fire from retention, 1 round at each of 3 threat targets. While retreating to high cover, fire 1 more round at each of the same 3 threat targets. Behind high cover, perform a tactical reload (reload with retention) then from either side, fire 2 rounds each in tactical priority (slicing the pie) at the same 3 threat targets. Do a second tactical reload (reload with retention) with a fresh magazine then retreat again to high cover and fire 2 rounds each in tactical priority (slicing the pie) at the same 3 threat targets from either side.

It was challenging but fun and I didn't mess up on any of the reloads. Hitting all of the targets in the zero zone was a whole different issue. I am really noticing my lack of range time, dry fire drills aside.

One positive thing, one of the LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers) that shoots with us showed me a slightly different way to hold my gun to mange recoil better. I index my left thumb on the take down lever and point my thumb forward, tensioning the tendon that runs along the arm in line with the thumb. Relaxed, it's easier to move my hand up but tensioned, it's more difficult. I haven't been able to try it yet to see if it helps my accuracy but I've been workin' the dry fire drills that way. Hopefully, with all the snow melting and above freezing temps during the day we can get out this week and I can put some lead downrange.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Still Waters by Nigel McCrery (a Detective Chief Inspector Mark Lapsile mystery)
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin

Parting Shot:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shovel Ready

Mr WK's Deep Blue Something Socks are now ready-to-wear and have even been worn a few times. I finished them over a week ago (1/30). He tried them on and loves 'em. I've been trying to catch them between drying and wearing to get a photo. I will, now I have the socks drying where they're not right out where he can see them.

Anyway, when I finished the socks I immediately cast on for a requested hat. I stopped by my LYS a few weeks ago and picked up some Frog Tree black and navy sport alpaca; three skeins in each color. I had decided to make my standard watch cap. I'd cast on with the navy on 6mm needles then switched to my standard 4mm dpns. I did the first round also in navy then switched to the black. I made up the ribbing, k5, p2, k3, p2. I was holding the yarn doubled so the hat will be very warm and feel dense for it's size. I'd planned to do some kind of stripping. Hmmm.

But after I got 15 or so rounds knit I was not liking the result. The result was fine for socks, but for a hat, not so much. I really wanted some Blue Sky Alpaca which is an alpaca and silk blend. It has a very nice sheen. But the only dark colors available at the LYS were a garnet and a dark brown. Not what I was after. So I settled on the Frog Tree. It's soft but already the hat looks like it's been around the block. I don't know what's wrong but I didn't like it. So I frogged it and am going to repurpose the yarn for socks for Mr WK.

Back to the LYS I went. I looked at the Blue Sky Alpaca again and still the same color choices. I couldn't even bring myself to get a dark gray and light aqua blue which I loved but wouldn't stand up to rigors this hat might be subjected to. So I found a dark blue heathered alpaca in Classic Elite called Inca Alpaca. I picked up 3 hanks but I'm a thinkin' I'm going to need more as I'm holding this doubled, too.

I started with my usual hat recipe, cast on with 6mm then switch to 4 mm dpns but the stitches seemed cramped. So I frogged, again, cast on with a dog chewed (not our dog) 7.5mm and switched to a set of 5mm rosewood dpns from Suzanne. I kept the same ribbing. I've got a dozen rounds and this is the size needle that this yarn wants to be with with, especially doubled. I also think the recipient will like the yarn, so very soft, the color and the hat.

As to the next socks for Mr WK? Now that I'm not in such an all fired hurry to get it knit, I can take a little time and do something interesting. I was paging through Barbara Walker's first book, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and settled on simple vertical stripes on page 51 of the blue soft cover edition. The photo is one I found when I Binged! the pattern name. So we'll see. It's slipped stitches on stockinette and I really don't know if I want to do a corrugated ribbed cuff. I like the effect and it would be perfect for these socks. I may not even carry through with the pattern and just do a horizontal stripe as it's way easier.

When I'm ready to take a break from the 5mm dpns (or when the hat is finished) I'll cast on and see what happens. The socks would look perfectly fine with a solid color cuff or even funky with a horizontally stripped cuff. I think I have enough yarn with six skeins to do 2 pairs of socks for Mr WK with this yarn so even if I chicken out for this first pair, I have more yarn to try it again.

We've had snow, snow and more snow and more coming. I've not been out running around on my own much. In fact we've not been out much at all. We got out two weeks ago for IDPA and hope (depends on how much snow we get) to go again Thursday. We've been so fortunate in that Mr WK's only had a few service calls during or right after a heavy snowfall.

However, just like last time, I have a hair cut scheduled for first thing Friday morning and we're to get several inches by Wednesday morning. Yes, I know I have two days to deal but we've not cleared my side of the drive since the 14" or so we got less than a week ago. Quite a lot of it has melted but that just means that now it's hard, crusty and difficult to shovel. I worked on my side a bit today and got just under half of it cleared. We'll see what we wake up to Wednesday morning and go from there.

blogging to: Memories 89 1

reading: A Case to Answer by Margaret Yorke (a mystery)
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin

Parting Shot: