Sunday, August 26, 2007

I've been busy...

...chasing a Rhode Island Red and knitting. Chickens first: One of the young hens has become an escape artist. Just about every day, we find her out of the coop running all over the country side. And she is fast. We've barricaded every nook and cranny and she still makes it. Other than sitting outside and waiting for her escape, we think she simply flies out of the enclosure. I've retied the netting we had over the enclosure last year. That did keep her in for one day, but today she was out again. So tomorrow we'll put some chicken wire over the small area that is not covered. Of course, once she is out she wants to get back in again by sticking her neck through the fencing, but she's grown too big. You'd think if she can fly out, she could fly back in. But nooo we can't do that because we like being chased around the yard. What has my life come to? Being entertained by chickens. Don't answer that; it is only a rhetorical question.

Knitting second: I've finally put the ends away and washed the pair of socks I had knitted. I used an old ball of Opal sock yarn; since it no longer had a label, I have no idea what the pattern was called. But the yarn is a deep plum and black. The pattern I used was Anastasia from
The pattern is quite simple and can be adjusted to just about any size. On top of that, it complements a busy yarn. Unfortunately the URL does not seem to work any longer (at least not for me).

This sock had everything I don't normally do: Toe-up and short-row heel. The next time, if there is one, I will start the toe with less stitches, since the toe section is too wide and not deep enough. I chose 12 stitches because that's what I normally have when it's time to do the Kitchener stitch. I will try 8 stitches the next time. I also don't particularly like the short row heel. I have a rather high arch and the heel never seems long enough. I did try the heel that was in the pattern, but it was way off. I did modify the pick up of the wraps when the second part of the heel is made. Most instructions tell you to pick up both wraps. I've always found this too cumbersome and leaving a little bump. Therefore, I only picked up the bottom most wrap. This made a pretty neat looking heel.

Pattern : y/o, ssk, yo, ssk with 11 knit stitches in between and offset by one stitch every other row so that the pattern spirals.

Short row heel

The "shawlette" or scarf I've been knitting with Brown Sheep yarn is finished. I still need to wash and block it as soon as my aching back allows me to, or, alternately, buy a blocking board that I can put on my kitchen table. Me thinks the second option is a better solution.

I've also started another scarf with Knit Picks Shadow lace yarn. The color is Campfire. The pattern is called Honeycomb and is from the yahoo group "weihnachtsgeheimnis" (Christmas secret). OK folks, don't laugh at me. What can I say? It takes a Yahoo group to get me started early on Christmas presents. My normal MO is to do my Christmas shopping on December 24, so I think I'm doing really well.

Upcoming projects: The Icelandic lace shawl from an old Piecework issue which has been republished on Interweave's Knitting Daily web site. The yarn is ordered. And it'll be all mine for the cold winter which will surely come to Michigan and the Cherry Blossom Shawl from Interweave Knits Spring 2002 issue. And, this is the yarn I will use for the Cherry Blossom Shawl, courtesy of Poppy Yarns, aka my daughter.

Well folks I've bored you long enough. So "Knit on!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My daughter, Angie, gave me a present the other day--over 100 grams of hand spun, hand dyed sock yarn. Isn't it gorgeous? She has finally decided to name her yarns Poppy Yarn. I haven't found the right pattern yet, but it will come and then I'll have a luscious, soft and warm pair of socks. While she hasn't said yet anything on her blog, she sold quite a bit of her hand spun, hand dyed yarn at the Michigan Fiber Festival. Good job, Angie, and lots of success with your yarn endeavor.

I've also laid my paws on a skein of the newest hand dyed Opal yarn, named Autumn Melody. I found it on E-Bay at a reasonable price, no less. Have a look at her sock yarns. All I can do is sigh and hold on to my billfold. The store's name is

Isn't it absolutely gorgeous? I have already found a pattern for the yarn. The pattern can be found here for free:
The socks are called "Apple Harvest." But the yarn's bright colors also remind me of the "Color Tours" we take in the fall to see the glorious colors of the autumn tree. So maybe I should find a leave pattern. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

And then, of course, I've started a new lace scarf/shawl. The pattern is called "honeycomb" and the design comes from a German designer, Birgit Freyer. Her website is . She has started a new yahoo group The group is for learning new lace patterns. While most of the messages are in German, the important messages will be in English as well. So if you are interested in lace knitting feel free to join. My sample scarf is knit with Brown Sheep fingering weight yarn; the color is Ash. I had part of a cone left from other projects. It is actually a fast knit and the pattern is easy to follow. When I knit it again, I may make it a little bit wider.

Doesn't it remind you of a honeycomb? Wouldn't it look nice in a honey-colored yarn?

Well that's all folks. "Knit On!"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Four-legged visitor

It's been a few days since I've posted, but I've been feeling a wee bit poorly--couldn't decide whether I had a migraine or sinus infection. I still can't, but I'm starting to feel better. We had a visitor the other day, uninvited, but charming nevertheless. Angie, my daughter, was standing by the sliding glass door when a yearling was standing right on the other side, having a "look see" through the glass. She had been eating the berries of the bushes behind the house. I have no idea what these bushes are, but they grow like weeds and have red berries on them. If the birds didn't consider this area of the property their own buffet to visit daily, I'd get rid of them. Now, it appears, the deer like them too.

Being the nature lover that I am I will just have to put up with these bushes.

I haven't done any substantial knitting the last week or so, but I did finish up some dishcloths. They are so nice to knit when you're not feeling well; they are small, easy to knit, and almost instant gratification. Two of them are from KALs, Monthly Dishcloths and dishclothfunknitalong; the other two are from a series of dishcloths for the "12 days of Christmas."


Dudley, the Dolphin

Partridge in a Pear Tree

Two Turtle Doves

Finished, but not yet photographed nor ends sewn in: One pair of socks.
Knit on!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Escargots that got away

A fellow knitter gave a tip in her blog about letting clams sit overnight in cornmeal which apparently entices the clams to expel all sand. The tip reminded me of the tale of the escargots that got away.

From 1977-1980 the family lived in Southern California, northwest of LA off Highway 101, between Thousand Oaks and Ventura. Like most homes, ours was built with others on top of a hill of which the top had been lopped off in order to build more homes on it. We had bought a ranch home with a fenced in back yard, with the obligatory pool, a side yard with an orange tree, the front suitably gated and the freezer and washer and dryer in the Garage. We were young; the oldest was in junior high and the two girls in sixth and second grade.

The large strawberry fields in Ventura County enticed me to plant some in the side yard. They bloomed and started forming berries which I eagerly inspected daily to see if they were ready yet for eating. They were starting to ripen and at some point I decided that the next day was the proper time to pick them. My taste buds were ready for the feast as I went out to pick my bounty. But nary a strawberry was left. Instead I had luscious green strawberry plants with snails attached to the stems. The snails were faster than I had been and had already feasted.

By chance I had read an article in a Southern California Living issue which had suggested that a less expensive way to obtain escargots was to collect the snails in your own gardens, place them on a bed of cornmeal to purge their systems and then prepare them suitably. Since the little scamps had eaten my strawberries, I was ready to eat them. I covered the bottom of a baking pan with cornmeal and then the harvest began. As assurance that they would not wander off, I wrapped the pan with several layers of cheese cloth, wrapped masking tape around the whole thing and set them under one of the bushes overnight. I figured that way they were not going to escape my grasp.

Wrong the second time around. By morning, they all had escaped. Only holes in the cheesecloth were testament to their previous presence. They had managed to somehow push through the cheesecloth and high tail it to places unknown. Bye bye strawberries, adieu snails. We moved the following January back to Ohio.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Another pair of socks has been added to the Speaks collection of socks. If I continue at this speed, I may have enough socks to outfit the village of Baldwin. (Only kidding! After all we have a whole one thousand inhabitants.) This pattern also came from the German Yahoo Group Socken-Kreativ-Liste and is called Florenz for the city of Florence, Italy. It's a combination of Mosaic, Stranded, slip stitches with yarn forward or in back. As you can see, they are not identical. I got to "putzing" around with them and the "what if" bug struck me, after a suggestion by my daughter. Therefore, the left sock has gray as the main color and the right sock has red as the main color. I also made the soles differently. The left sock has a pattern of two rows: Row 1 being S1 with yarn in front, K1, Row 2: Knit, alternating red and grey every two rows. The sole of the right sock also has a two row pattern with yarn color alternating every two rows. Row 1; S1 with yarn in back, K1, Row 2: Knit.

They were knitted with one leftover ball of gray Kroy Sock Yarn and one skein of Brown Sheep Sock Yarn.

After I started knitting, I realized the socks were made in the Ohio State University school colors. Those from out of state need to know that Ohio State and the University of Michigan football teams are arch rivals and scarlet and gray is not too well tolerated in these surroundings. But, my three adult children were all born in Ohio and their father is a native of the Buckeye State, so, naturally, there are strong affinities in this family for Ohio State's team winning.

While the pattern was not extremely difficult, it did try my patience. I had to frog several times. I found out it was just a bit too complex to watch TV, talk, and knit the pattern at the same time. I know, I'm supposed to say "lesson learned", but I doubt it. Still haven't found the second ball of yarn for the previous sock, but I know it's in the house---somewhere.

"Knit On!"

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Oh sock yarn where have you hidden yourself?

I need help! Please light a candle, say a prayer, send good thoughts or Karma, but I lost another ball of yarn. To be exact, the ball of yarn which will allow me to finish the pictured socks. This yarn is no longer available in my area since the LYS was sold last year, and the new owner got rid of all the sock yarn the old owner stocked. The photo does not justice to the yarn. The black in the yarn is actually a very dark green. I suppose instead of saying "here kitty, kitty" I should say "here ball of yarn, here ball of yarn.

I've not blogged in whole week. However, I've been busy. I've just finished another pair of socks (they are drying as I write this) from the German sock list. I've also signed up for a German mystery shawl does not start until the end of September, and I want to knit the Icelandic Shawl from Knitting Daily which will start Labor Day weekend. If anyone is thinking of joining this the German KAL, be warned all messages are in German although the patterns apparently will be available in English. A few non-German speaking knitters have adventured onto the list. If you are game and don't mind using an Internet translator, then go for it. The yarn for the Icelandic Shawl is back ordered; I do so hope that I can get it in time. On top of that I've knitted a couple of dishcloths. It's a good thing I'm retired and like to stay at home.

I'm also being encouraged to write up a couple of my shawl patterns. It appears that at the Charlevoix, Mich. Fiber festival, folks wanted to buy the pattern rather than the finished product. I'm like a donkey when it comes to patterns. I only want to go where I want to go and not where others want me to go. I suppose, I am being dragged by my hair to write up patterns. Don't people know it's much more fun to knit than to write a pattern? Particularly, if you have no idea what size needle you used; how many yards of yarn you used (since it was home spun), etc. Writing patterns takes forethought, an utterly foreign word to me when it comes to knitting.

Well I've babbled long enough. "Knit on!"