Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A sunny day in October

It was a beautiful sunny October day today. Unusual for this time of year since we live close to the Lake and overcast is the norm starting some time in October until March or April. So I took a walk around the property with camera in hand. Here is what I found.

The oak leaves turned late this year, but are more colorful than in previous years. This view is toward the street showing the end of the drive way.

This oak sapling looks like it will definitely grow into a mighty oak some day. This view is from the back of the house.

And, of course, where there is sun, there are the Japanese beetles.

And if you look closely you can see the horns on this young buck which came to visit the other day.

Of course mushrooms are part of the scenery around here. This is the common puff ball. Have you ever eaten one? As long as they are very young, they are quite good eating. Their taste is somewhat nutty and buttery.

Off hand this looks like an American Ceasar's mushroom since they are usually found where oak trees grow. The American Ceasar's mushroom is edible, but I didn't try them since I was unable to positively identify them.

Square No. 4

Another square has been finished. The color combination is a bit on the ugly side, but, hopefully, they will blend into the whole afghan.

Knit on Merrily!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kollage Double Pointed Needles

The jury is still outstanding on the Kollage square double pointed needles I bought at a nearby going-out-of business yarn store. They were 60% off the regular price. The needles are 2.25 mm thick and 7" long. I like how they fit into my hands, but would prefer them to be 8" long. The extra length may prevent them from stabbing my hands as I knit with them. The one major drawback are the sharp points. They are more wicked than evil is! I found that since I knit "Continental", I use my left thumb to give the needle a bit extra oomph when moving a purl stitch from the left to the right needle. After knitting this size 10-1/2 foot sock with plenty of purl stitches in the pattern, my left thumb feels like having pricked myself repeatedly with a lancet when testing my blood sugar. Another feature on the plus side is that they are quite sturdy and so far have not bent like bamboo needles do. The needles do not split the yarn despite the pointed needles and the stitches remain on the needles nicely, yet slide along for knitting. But the points need major work.
The next yarn to be tested with the needles is Bamboo and Tofutsie.
Knit on Merrily!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Square No. 3

Yippee! Square no. 3 of the Christmas afghan is done. It's going to be a long winding road for this project. Only 21 to go.
Knit on Merrily!

Socks No. 21 and 22 completed!

Two more pairs of socks of the consignment are done. The men's socks are US size 12. I have never seen such a large foot. Since the customer wanted it knit in Colinette Cadenza yarn, a 100% Merino, DK weight, I used an afterthought heel (peasant heel). The yarn is quite soft and most likely will not wear well.
The second pair was knit with ON Line Supersock yarn, Holiday Color. While it knit much better than the previous ON Line sock yarn, it still had knots in it and the yarn's color striping was not even throughout the ball of yarn. It took quite a bit of finagling to come even close on both socks.
The pattern is Braided Gem Socks from Knitting with Handpainted Yarn, an extremely easy pattern with big results.

Knit on Merrily!

The ubiquitous Fall photo

Fall colors are late this year. This photo was taken last Sunday in Seaton Creek Campground of the Manistee National Forest.

Friday, October 16, 2009

An afghan for Christmas

My middle child ordered an "afghan or coverlet" for Christmas. I don't know whether or not I'll be able to finish it in time, but will certainly try. I dislike knitting afghans, or crocheting them for that matter. I have a number of squares laying around the house, all different sizes, some from the Great American Afghan booklet, and I doubt whether or not they'll ever end up in a finished afghan.

On some of the German sock lists and blogs I follow, folks have been knitting afghans out of left over sock yarn. Some one posted the instructions on her blog and, of course, I promptly forgot to copy the blog address. That's the reason for not being able to credit her. It is simply the granny dishcloth knit with two strands of sock yarn. Start with 3 stitches, increase 1 stitch by making a yarn over at the beginning of each row until 90 stitches are on the needle and then decrease back to 3 stitches and finish off by slipping one stitch, knitting 2 together and passing slipped stitch over. Voila! one square done.

I have never had good luck with the granny dishcloths; the edges never looked good enough as far as I was concerned. So this time around, I experimented a bit and finally came up with the right combination. The instructions state to knit the yarn over through the back loop on the way back. This is what the patch looks like when doing this:

Check the difference between the bottom edge and the side edge. The bottom edge shows the yarn over knit simply through the back loop on the return row, while the side edge shows how the edge looks on the yarn-over side.

Another view of the problem. It's OK for a dish cloth, but not for an afghan for daughter and her dear husband.

The next step was to twist the yarn-over before knitting into it. This took care of the problem, but involved an extra step to manipulate the stitch. So here is what I came up with. Instead of making the yarn-over from front to back, I make it from back to front. Then on the return row, I put the tip of the needle into the front leg of the yarn-over, from left to right, twisting the yarn over. This allows me to knit the stitch in one operation, rather than lifting the yarn-over from the needle and manually twisting it before knitting. Leave it up to a lazy person to spend time on such a minor thing. But, I think, it will save me time knitting 24 patches. (These instructions are for Continental knitting. English knitters are on their own.)

And here is the result:

Now doesn't that look much better? Both sides now are the same.

And here is a pic of the second patch finished so far.

The third patch has been started, but I need to finish up a pair of socks first.

Knit on, merrily!

Pair #20

Pair no. 20 of the 52 pairs is finished and no. 21 is also progressing well. The ON Line yarn, Holiday Color, did not impress me much. Although it is the usual 75% wool and 25% Nylon, the yarn is not very soft even after washing and sloshing with hair softener. The striping of the yarn was not very even and it did not knit up as nicely as other sock yarns. The pattern is a simple K3, P1 pattern, just enough to break up the loudness of the stripes.
Knit on merrily!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pair #19

After a brief hiatus, pair no. 19 for the 52 pair sock plunge is done. These are contract socks. A lady whom I have yet to meet (my daughter did at the West Branch, Mich. Fiber Festival), had big plans for knitting socks for her family. Unfortunately, she developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and cannot knit them. She sent me a whole box of sock yarn with desired sizes. Since my own and family sock larder is fairly full, and I have enough socks to give to charity, I decided to take on the challenge. So, here is the first pair, with the second pair started.

The socks are knit with Berroco Sox yarn, 9" foot and leg length.

The second pair are being knit with ON line Supersocke 100, Holiday Color, yarn. The yarn is fairly bright and a simple pattern of k2, p1, seems to tone it down a bit.

Knit on merrily.