Monday, March 31, 2008

It's been a while since I touched my blog. Motivation has been low lately in all areas of life. Yesterday I was reminded once again how powerful cues are in my life. I was watching an episode of Secret Passages on the History Channel. The information on the show stated that it was about stone passageways in New Hampshire which are apparently also called New Hampshire's Stone Henge. Well I was innocently watching along; the subject changed from New Hampshire to someplace else in the United States; I got involved in my knitting and suddenly my heart skipped a beat and I went into a panic: the show had changed from New Hampshire to Hitler's "Berghof" (mountain hide-away) and it's many underground passages underscored with the sound of sirens. I was ready to hit the deck or find the nearest bunker, but, of course, it was only television. Just for me, I wish they would put warnings on such shows. They do it for Forensic Files, etc. due to adult content.

On top of that we had a wild ride to the doctor last week. Angie needed to see a doctor and it had started to snow. So off we went. Normally Angie drives; she has control issues and I don't mind; I can always knit. It's kind of nice to have a built in chauffeur. Well, the snow was thick and wet, the road was a tad slick, and she was driving what seemed like 5 miles an hour. So I offered to take over. She relented and I was "cruising" along at 30 miles an hour down the country road that leads to the "big" city. I was kind of hugging the middle of the road when a van came from the opposite direction. Being the polite driver I am, I veered towards my side of the road and hit a patch of ice. And off to the races we were. The car took off in directions it was not intended to go; all the while I have my foot off the gas and am steering madly into the slide. The car is heading towards the van ready to broadside it, missed it by a foot and started sliding the other way again. And then it parked itself neatly parallel to the ditch on the correct side of the road, facing forward, just as if I had never been slip sliding away. The strange thing was while all of this was going on, it was perfectly peaceful in the car, only as the car stopped did I think about "steering with and taking the foot of the gas." The old lady still seems to have it or my guardian angel took control. After the doctor, I treated myself with a piece of pie with ice cream and extra whipped cream.

Knitting-wise, I finally had enough motivation to take photos of the pair of socks I finished from the German Socken-Kreativ-Liste. It was the January KAL. I am currently knitting the March socks, but won't show a pic until I have them completed.

I've also been knitting away on the Orkney Pi shawl, but have only 1/3 of the last section done so far. It is a pleasurable, but slow knit due to the many stitches. I may have to talk Angie into spinning the rest of the roving because I don't think I have enough.
I've also started another German Shawl KAl, called the Secret of Bad Nauheim. Bad Nauheim is a Spa in Germany. It will be a rectangular shawl and is a follow up to the Secret of Chrysopolis which is finished but not blocked as yet. This is a more leisurely knit since it only is 45 rows a week. I am using up some Knit Picks lace yarn which I've had on hand.

Knit on!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Orkney Pi Shawl Part 3

Part 3 of the Pi is finished, stitches have been doubled and the needles are ready for Section 4. I don't think there is enough roving left to spin enough yarn to do all of Section 4 as well as the border. So, I must go through Angie's stash and see what she has in a somewhat darker but complimenting color, just in case it is needed. That means that I will have used a whole fleece plus some. Here is a photo of Section 3; the photo is unblocked. Too many stitches on the needles, but it gives an idea of what it will look like. Oh, by the way, we are now up to 1280 stitches.

Next post will show the new socks I just finished.
Knit on!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Orkney Pi Shawl, Part 2

I've been done with the second section for a couple of days, but forgot to post a pic. So here is one of the pattern in this section. It is an easy knit and once you have knit one pattern repeat, it's easy to knit the round without much looking at the charts. Yippee. I've had enough troubles lately. Just frogged the foot of the new pair of socks I was working on. I forgot to knit two rows of the pattern and the mistake was right in the middle on top of the foot, even too noticeable for me.

"Knit On!"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Angie's socks are done. But something curious happened on the way to completing them. The yarn was dyed by hand dipping it into the dye bath. Three colors were used: yellow, green and a sort of salmon-like color. Since the skein was dipped into the three colors in equal parts, I figured that the pooling of colors would be approximately the same for both socks. (The underlying yarn was Knit Picks undyed yarn.) with the amount of stitches I used, the pooling on the first sock was almost in stripes although the stripes were in a diagonal direction. While the second sock also had the diagonal striping, the strips of the various colors were much narrower than in the first sock which really makes a difference. The difference is much more noticeable because of the bright colors. As I sat there puzzling over this effect, my daughter, the spinner and dyer in the family, explained it to me. This was a 100 gram skein and thus, the outside strands of the skein are somewhat longer than the inside strands and thus, the difference in the length of the stripes. There apparently is a way to compensate for this phenomenon when dying, but the dyer of this yarn did not do so. Oh well, she always wears jeans, so it will not show. According to the designer, Kirsten Kapur of

the pattern is particularly suitable for hand dyed or variegated yarn. The nice thing is the pattern repeats have only two rows to them. Kapur named the pattern "Ampersand." I think I will rename it "Daffodils" as the colors in the yarn do remind me of them. "Snow, snow go away little Billie wants to play."

See the difference in the width of the striping? After the first half of the leg, it gets wider again.

I am also not too happy with the heel. Since the previous short-row heel I knit was just fine, it can't be me; it has to be the yarn. Right? Look at the difference between the two socks:
This heel is not nearly as neat as the one in the lower picture.

So what happened? The bottom sock is knit from 100% Blue Faced Leicester yarn, the top one is knit from "Heinz 57" variety yarn.
By the way, I still need to knit one sock before I out that pair.
"Knit On!"

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What's a Mensch to do...

When the chicken coop door can’t be ...opened because it rained and then the water froze, simultaneously building a small ice berg in front of the door?
Well, a woman hauls out her meat tenderizer and takes a whack at it. Now this is not the ordinary meat tenderizer you find nowadays in the store. This one is made of solid metal, not wood. I’ve probably had it as long as I’ve lived in the US, just about 46 years. And it’s still working. It was not a pretty picture as I whacked away at that ice and then pried it loose with grass trimming shears. OK you may laugh now. What can I say? When my partner left about three years ago, all the tools left too, and I just had never replaced them. I suppose it’s time to get a hammer and a crowbar, just in case it happens again or I want to hammer a nail into the wall. Luckily no one was around to take a picture of me when I was doing it, so you’ll have to be content with a pic of the meat tenderizer. May it continue to have a long life.

And while I am talking about chickens, this was included in my latest Church newsletter. Enough stupid chicken jokes to last a lifetime.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding' NEW' problems.
Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.
We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.
Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...
We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.
JOHN KERRY (or any other politician):
Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.
That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.
To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.
No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the bird gave me any insider information.
Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.
To die in the rain. Alone.
In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.
Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.
It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never %^#$$^)(!@)........ reboot.
I invented the chicken!
Where's my gun?
Did I miss one?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Are you monogamous?

I've always considered myself monogamous. And then I started knitting lace again. Lately, I've been anything but single-minded when it comes to knitting. I have various things at various stages. OK, so I've got UFOs (but that is due solely to having made mistakes and my unwillingness to "frog.") Besides, the weather has been dreary and, anymore, I need full light (aka Sunshine) when knitting with darker yarns. So the Fisherman's Wife shawl and the Visions of Delight scarf are on hold right now.

I also have two pairs of socks on the needles and have started the Yahoo Group's EzasPi new project, an Orkney Isles Pi shawl. The yarn is hand spun by my daughter and is 100% Shetland wool. It has such a lovely feel to it when knitting, and I love the natural colors. That makes me a wee bit out of sync with the rest of the fashion industry and yarn producers who seem to hawk multi-colored and "fancied up" yarns, i.e. mixes of various fibers. I still prefer the natural yarns which are made exclusively from the fleece off the back of a sheep. I know there are people who will not eat or wear anything from an animal, but I am starting to believe that knitting with Bamboo and other such yarns must use an inordinate amount of energy to turn bamboo, shrimp shells, etc. etc. into usable yarns. So, thank you very much for all of the various yarns out there, but I still like the lowly sheep the best.

Lest I forget and get reminded by my daughter, I also have a Faroese type shawl out of bulky hand spun wool on the needles. Nothing fancy, just a very warm shawl when I am too lazy to put on a coat. I am reserving knitting on it for the most dreary days.

So here are some pics. The first one is the first sock of a pair for Angie. It was designed by Kirsten Kapur at
and is called Ampersand. The pattern calls for casting on 54 stitches. In my opinion, this is not enough. Luckily, the pattern lends itself to adding stitches. So I frogged it and added 6 stitches which I evenly divided across the pattern. Then I messed up the heel. I wanted to do a short row heel due to the yarn's color way. I am "proud" to announce that I knit the heel three times -- one, two, three. I think the law of averages has caught up with me. I have never had to frog a sock, but alas I broke that record. The yarn was hand dyed by Arbor Yarns which no longer exists.

And here are a couple of pics of the Orkney Isles Pi shawl:

An overall view

A slice of the shawl

And it is so easy to knit. From the inside out the first "real" pattern section is the "Cat's Paw" followed by the "Horseshoe" pattern. Liz Lovick from the Orkney Isles, you have outdone yourself.

So, let us "Knit On!"