Friday, June 27, 2008

Another project finished

I finally knit a Summer T for myself. It was a fast knit since the yarn took US No. 8 (5,00 mm) needles. It was knit top down. For the neck edging, I attached a simple I-cord. While the bottom and the sleeve edgings were made of a 2 knit, 2 purl with the 2 knit stitches crossed every fourth row. The yarn was in my stash, almost forgotten. It was quite inexpensive and on top of it, I got it on sale. That's why I'll forgive Plymouth for the many knots in it.
Knit On!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Queen Anne's Lace Shawl

Just a quick note to show off MMario's Queen Anne's Lace shawl. It was a wonderful easy knit and I'm in love. Wouldn't this be a nice Christening blanket for a baby if knit in white?

Back to knitting.
"Knit on!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Deer called dinner and more knitting projects completed (or oh my aching back).

Me thinks my non-existing freezer is going to be filled this winter with a couple of does. We were able to snag two Honey Crisp apple trees to plant, and the deer have eaten the leaves off of both of them. They've also eaten my daughter's hot pepper plants. Maybe I should throw in the dog too. He's no help either since he doesn't sound any alarm when they come up to the house. Now before anyone calls the SPCA, the dog is safe. He's too old and, therefore, too tough and besides there isn't enough meat on him; it's just a Rat Terrier.

Enough of complaining, I finally got one of my shawls blocked. It's the Secret of Chrysopolis. The shawl has been finished for a while, but each time I thought about blocking it, I am reminded what my back will feel like while I am doing it and after the task is done. I bought two tools which are very helpful in blocking, but they still don't do anything for the pain in the back. I got the blocking rod kit from Knit Picks (ok so I was too lazy to hunt down a welding supply store) and we went to Toys-R-Us yesterday and bought the interlocking foam tiles. A package of four tiles was US$23.00. It really does make blocking much easier.

So without further wordiness here are pictures of things finished and photographed today:

Stole "Secret of Chrysopolis" designed by Monika Eckert of The stole is too large to capture details in one photo. This is the center portion of the stole.

This photo shows the beginning and end portions of the stole. The color of the yarn is truer in the first pic. The design is absolutely beautiful. The Secret of Bad Nauheim is also completed, but still needs to be blocked.

Now to the socks:
Seafoam (Meerschaum) socks, again a gift by Monika Eckert via the Yahoo Group Weihnachtsgeheimnis (Christmas Secrets). They are knit with Regia sock yarn, their cotton/wool/nylon mixture. The label to the yarn has disappeared, so I can't give exact percentages. The yarn knits up beautifully. I had never knit with this yarn.

This is a detail of the pattern. I really like the way Monika designed the top portion of the sock.

Hannover socks designed by Kristin Beneken. Her web site is Some of her patterns are down loadable in English. I will knit this sock again, but not in Lang JaWoll. While the colors and striping is nice, I didn't like the yarn itself. It's a little thicker than Opal. I just didn't like knitting with it.

Detail of the pattern.

And, finally, the May-June sock from the German Yahoo Group Socken-Kreativ-Liste. The pattern is designed by Stefanie van der Linden, a German with a Dutch last name. (Inside joke. West Michigan has a large Dutch population.) This list has some of the best patterns of any I have seen on the Internet and in many books. Stefanie has several sock knitting books published, but alas they are in German.

Detail of the pattern with a couple of dog hair. I have no idea what a project would look like without dog hair. The yarn is BLF (I think) and was hand-dyed by my daughter. Someone on the list made the sock without the small lace pattern as a men's sock.

That's all folks, for today. I'm knitting a shawl designed by MMario of which I am currently frogging a section. I made an error and just cannot pin it down, so to the frog pond the shawl and I went.
"Knit On.!"

Friday, June 6, 2008

Critters around the property

It's been pretty stormy around here for most of the week. But we needed the rain, and the thunderstorms haven't killed the telephone, satellite TV, or Internet, so all is well. Today it's basically cloudy and windy outside. Out the back of the house we have a bunch of "junk" bushes, that multiply like weeds. They bloom prolifically in the spring and have red berries on them in the fall which both birds and deer alike love. I have cut them down and they've grown back twice as fast. So, I have given up on that tactic. Pulling them out would mean that the sandbank in the back would most likely collapse and with it possibly the house. In other words, we are kind of stuck with them unless I want to do major repairs which cost mucho dollars which I am not inclined to do either; that means, the bushes stay.

I was looking out today and guess what I saw flitting about, masses of them: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies. This is the first year I have seen them in the four years we have lived here. What a pleasure to look at, thanks to my "junk" bushes. Maybe they are not such junk after all.

The bottom photo shows the color much better than the first one.
And now to the second subject on critters: tent caterpillars. This side of Michigan has been run over with tent caterpillars this spring. Nasty little things. We've been handpicking them off the gooseberry bushes and the wild rose bushes, twice a day. Even the chickens won't eat them. But I found something in the sand that interested me. I get kind of entranced by weird things, like the tracks those pesty caterpillars leave. They reminded me of railroad tracks. So here is a picture of what I found:
See, I told you we had a sandpit in the back of the house. I know probably no one else but me finds this interesting. So bear with me.

Knitting content in a couple of days.

"Knit On!"

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thoughts on Memorial Day, from another side

(I wrote this on Memorial Day. Although it is a day where we are to remember all American Veterans, but most of all those who have fallen on foreign soil, the day's news made me introspective. This is for all the children in the world that are marred by war, regardless whether they are on the "right" side or the "wrong" side of the conflict.)

One of my adult children has voiced for a long time the opinion that he was deprived in childhood because I did not share my “heritage.” I’ve been thinking about that for quite a while, and he is correct. But then sharing gloom and doom doesn’t much for anyone’s disposition. I had baby photos of me that showed me to be a rather chubby little baby despite only having weighed 3-1/2 pounds (1750 grams) at birth and being one month premature. But mostly, I remember being a scrawny kid with long black braided hair and a tummy that hurt from hunger, and being cold. In fact so scrawny that Welfare sent me to camp in 1948. But that didn’t help either since the food was awful although I ate every bit of it.

Oh, there are a few funny remembrances like the school principal’s false teeth falling out onto the tiled school hall floor when my mother went to school trying to find my reading book that had been stolen. But, he must have been hungry too since he apparently lost enough weight for his teeth to fit no longer.

I also cannot remember a day in my childhood and early adulthood that I was not ashamed of being German. A sort of national guilt permeated all of life: 6 million Jews exterminated, countless homosexual men, and the mentally disabled, the handicapped and who knows who else.

This guilt was even reinforced after I came to the United States. I was working as a school secretary in a school for the mentally disabled and one of the staff members refused to sit next to me in a car because her father or husband was killed in Germany. Geeze I was a scrawny little kid when the war ended and not quite born when Hitler invaded Poland.

There were unspoken rules that I picked up from my family:
Rule No. 1 was don’t say anything; it might get you killed by the Nazis. And after the war, we kept our mouths shut as well, for we had no idea what the “liberators” would do to us.

Rule No. 2 was don’t join anything; it might haunt you some day. I carried this motto through for most of my adulthood, even professionally. Now I’m not sure how the American Psychological Association could have harmed me, but, just in case, I never did join. Nor did I join any other association except for the Lutheran Church and that was because I could be proud of a Lutheran pastor who was hanged by the Nazis in the last days of the war, and that was Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Housing was terrible due to what now is called “carpet bombing.” I understand why the Europeans have signed an agreement to outlaw the practice. Many of them saw the results. It is that news that got me to thinking of what I saw after the war. (During the war I was safely – at least as safe as you could be – tucked away with my many aunts and uncles in the Black Forest. But lo and behold, someone stored some photos in cyberspace of the town we moved to after war’s end – Zweibruecken in the Palatinate area of Germany. The town was in the way of the allies when they came through France into Germany and, therefore, it was conveniently bombed to oblivion. So here is a compilation of photos of Zweibruecken as I experienced it as a child.

These photos were found on Flickr and were posted by a Mr. Baschtel. I have asked Mr. Baschtel for permission, but so far have not received an answer. I am taking a risk since Mr. Baschtel is also a lawyer. But hope that in light of the topic, he will not sue me, particularly since I am now "across the ocean."
In the end, I can still say "Knit on!" since after all I learned to knit amidst the chaos.