Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merrry Christmas to all!
Ein froehliches Weihnachtsfest an Alle!
Rockefeller Center, NY

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Enough is enough

May some one, even the Christian God, have mercy on the souls of Senators DeMint and Kyl. I was sitting in my chair the other day, minding my own business, being a fairly peaceful Christian, when I heard some one babbling on about it being un-Christian to work during Christmas week. Surely my hearing hadn't deteriorated that much nor was my preoccupation that great that I could have possible misunderstood the speaker? No I hadn't.

The far right has a new twist on "my mother won't let me do this" or in my children's case "you don't understand; your mother isn't German." It blames not wanting to work during Christmas week--and attempting on gumming up the works--on Jesus being offended if they work during Christmas week. And here is the proof that I wasn't going bonkers. Found it on Politico. Manu Raju wrote in the Politco:

"Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) called Democrats' push to force through an arms control treaty and an omnibus spending bill right before Christmas "sacrilegious," and warned he'd draw the process out to wage his objections. “We shouldn’t be jamming a major arms control treaty up against Christmas; it’s sacrilegious and disrespectful," he told POLITICO. "What's going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians. They did the same thing last year - they kept everybody here until [Christmas Eve] to force something down everybody's throat. I think Americans are sick of this."

DeMint’s comments echo those of Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) who said Tuesday that Reid’s voting schedule is impossible to accomplish “without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians.”

Let us pray that neither DeMint nor Kyl need to be hospitalized during the Christmas Holidays for if I follow their argument to its conclusion then their mere usage of hospital services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day would make them commit a sin by having Hospital staff to tend to their ailments. Oh I forgot, their argument only pertains to senators who want to delay making decisions. That Senators DeMint and Kyl is the ultimate definition of hypocrisy.

Oh and lest I forget, wasn't Christ to bring peace to earth? What better time to sign an arms control treaty than Christmas. Just shaking my head, muttering to myself and going back under my warm blanket.

Is there a sane corner left in the world?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This is how some days go....

Some days I don't know why I take a particular photo or save it for that matter, but this one came in handy today. It expresses exactly how I feel.

Today was one of those days where things went to hell in a hand basket.

Twelve days before Christmas: the wood pellet heating system crashed and won't come on again, and it'll be around 10 degrees F (-10 degrees C) over night, the Propane Tank is almost empty and probably won't get filled till mid-week. (Of course since this is Sunday, I won't be able to call the company until tomorrow and since they are out of town, thinking that they will be able to come by mid-week may be too positive. The snow plower had to come to plow out the drive way to the road and the property taxes must, and I mean must, be paid by December 31st. And all this on a fixed income. I wish somebody would adopt me.

On top of all of that my former life partner is back in my life, sort of; she is under hospice care in a nursing home and since she has no one to take care of things, I am it. Why didn't some one tell me when I was born prematurely so many years ago, and babies like me usually didn't survive, that I should take the hint. But noooooooooooo, I had to be oppositional and stubborn. So now you understand why I am showing this photo. Some critter left it in my front yard two summers ago.

But then I found this photo of my Maine Coon mix and little Mikey, a "Shitanese" (Shitzu and Pekingese mixture). And he was a little sh... with a Napoleon complex, marking his territory too numerously. But he was a cutie and the picture is not staged except for the snow flake frame.

On the knitting front, I have three shawls to block. One scarf which I just finished today needs to be washed and blocked and another one finished post haste. I also need to take photos of the scarves and of a third scarf and wrist warmers which I knit for myself. Of course if my middle daughter sees it and feels it's soft enough, it might not belong to me for very long. Oh well, what else are mothers for. Come to think of it, I did the same thing to my mother.
So hopefully, there'll be some eye candy before Christmas.
Knit on Merrily!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell

I like!


Socks, again!

With the economic times as they are, I am becoming more and more the "old German." The German of my mother and relatives who saved and scrimped and reused as a matter of necessity and later it became second nature. The socks are a testament to that behavior. They are the third in the series of Kissing Cousins. (For those outside of the US who are not familiar with this expression, kissing cousins are relatives who are related very distantly.) Unfortunately, we have had an attack of the dreaded wool moth in our household. Thus, a lot of small skeins of hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn have been reduced to pieces of yarn of various lengths. The yarn was too nice, and too much work had gone into it, to just throw it out. An Internet group of sock knitters using left-overs to knit socks, by making Russian joins, gave me the idea to use up this yarn, after a trip to the freezer. The socks are for my youngest daughter who loves funky, mismatching socks and deserves the fruits of her labors since she is the dyer and spinner in the family. I used 3.25 mm needles and two threads of differently dyed yarns.

The second pair of socks are knit with the new Plymouth Zino yarn. While it is labeled as sock yarn, Plymouth support patterns show mitts, hats, scarves, etc. The yarn does not have good stitch definition, and I am not sure if I would make socks out of it again. It is machine washable and dryable. The finished surface is slightly fuzzy. I have some of the skein left, and one of these days I will try knitting a sample with various patterns to make sure the yarn behaves as I think it will.

The completed pair of socks. The yarn makes it fairly easy to make two matching socks.

And here is Zappelmann (Mr. Fidgety) who is slightly perturbed at my having usurped his blanket for these photographs. He's ready to cuddle under it again.
Knit on Merrily!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Winter Socks

Can you believe it? It's 60 degrees F outside and the sun is shining in Michigan on Nov. 8, 2010.

A quick knit. Three pair of socks out of Raggi Sock Yarn, a 10 ply Aran weight yarn from Sweden. I found the yarn at my local yarn shop and thought it would make good house socks and a pair of snowmobile socks for the neighbor who did some work for us and didn't accept any money. At first I was enthusiastic about the yarn, but then became quickly disappointed. One of the "Fair Isle" type balls of yarn had three -- 3 -- knots in it. Yikes. Needles were 3.5 mm DPNs. I used the pattern from the Show-Off Stranded socks by Anne Campbell, a free Ravelry download. The pattern is worth downloading since it has several different treatments for heels. I used the standard flap heel, my favorite, which fits me best. Since this was a quick knit, I didn't want to experiment with a different heel. The small socks on the right were knit with a short row heel, A's favorite.

The pattern by Anne Campbell makes a nifty pattern for the patterned sock yarns so popular today. It is a simple 4 stitch repeat with first row knit, second row, yarn over - knit 2 and pass yarn over over the two knit stitches - knit 2. Row three knit and row four, knit 2, yarn over - knit 2 - pass yarn over. And repeat ad infinitum.

Update on Long johns: I had to undo the legs. The old pattern just doesn't fit our 21st century thunder thighs. I've also decided that I need to add some short rows in the back for 21st century derrieres, so that the body fits better. I also need to increase the stitches, so the legs fit. As a result of unraveling my knitting twice now, I've skeined the yarn, and it is presently soaking in the basin so it knits like new again. A. is ready to go to Walmart and buy a pair, but I will persevere since it now has become a challenge to come up with a well-fitting pair of long johns.
Another pair of socks and a shawl by MMario are on the needles.

Knit on Merrily!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The good and the ugly...

I started the Black Tie Optional socks as an antidote for the stockinette knitting of the long underwear. The Black Tie Optional socks were knit with the same yarn as the long johns, i.e. from a partial cone of Webs sock yarn. The beads if you can see them in the photos are black. The top of the insole is my "adaptation" (I mean mistake) of the designer's pattern. I was unwilling to unravel the foot of the sock when I discovered that I somehow used a non-existing chart. Don't ask how this is possible; I have no idea how I managed to conjure up a chart that is not there. The pattern is by Adrienne Fomg from Belly Button Knits Designs and can be found in the Ravelry group Sock Knitters Anonymous.

The beads are best visible on the heel.

The ugly socks were knit for my "nephew" Nick. Nick adopted me. He chose the yarn. It is of unknown character a little thicker than usual and has been in my stash forever.

These make sixteenth pair of socks for the year.

Progress Report on the long johns: I have knit half of one leg.

Knit on Merrily!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall in Northern Michigan

On the way to Hoxeyville, Michigan, an unincorporated area in Northern Michigan with no main street and 300 or so souls. The landscape, however, makes up for non-existing amenities.
Near Hoxeyville, Michigan

Sassafras leaves at Minnie Pond near White Cloud, Mich. in Manistee National Forest. The camping area is named after Minnie Pond, the wife of one of the founders of the area.

Maple leaves, Minnie Pond.

Oak trees, Minnie Pond.

Oak tree at the side of our driveway.

View from the mailbox and now we are home again.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I must be crazy... I am crazy. I am going to knit long underwear for my daughter A. It all started with A. buying three 3-pound cones of sock yarn from Webs. She was going to skein the yarn, dye it, and then sell the skeins. Then she decided that skeining was a hassle and she'd rather buy skeins in bulk. So this old German kept staring at these cones and asking herself "what to do, what to do?".

And then in her October 3rd post, Tichiro -knits and cats (in German) presented patterns from an old German knitting magazines which included long underwear. You may want to click on the link and scroll down to October 3 and take a look at the photos. They really are a hoot, particularly the men's knit jockey shorts.

As my eyes fell on those cones of off-white sock yarn, I knew what to do with at least part of one of the cones: Knit A. underwear. Of course! what else would one do. A good project for evening knitting for these older eyes. Now, realize that the instruction for the ski underwear is only a paragraph long. That includes both top and bottom. So much is left to the imagination or the assumption that grandmother or mother knows how to knit and can help you. The commercial yarn is no longer manufactured, I think; no thickness is given; no needle size; no amount of yarn indicated; only the instructions of casting on 80 stitches for the waist and eventually increasing to 220 stitches. Mine is not a family of hour glass waists, so to the drawing board I went. A swatch was knit, washed, blocked and measured and, cast on accordingly on US 2 (2.75 mm) needles.

Oops, the beginning was big enough for a 60"+ waist which, of course, was followed by visiting the frog pond and casting on again. I am on my way now and will keep you updated about this adventure.

As an aside, after the end of WWII, my mother and friends knit undershirts for us children. After all, human beings needed to wear undershirts since God unlike the animals hadn't equipped us with fur. (In fact when I visited my mother in Germany with two small children in 1966, my mother immediately commented on the children not having under shirts.) In order to save yarn, the shirts were always knit in a drop stitch pattern. This long underwear won't be knit in a drop stitch pattern. I have plenty of yarn.

Knit on Merrily!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I am resting today...

...because I overdid it yesterday. I decided me and my little pain machine could tackle the outside area around the house, do Fall clean-up and lug it all to the end of the driveway for the garbage man who comes early Monday morning. Well I did six bags and the muscles in my body let me know. But, there is always knitting.

This sock has shown up a lot lately on German knitting groups. Since it was free, I downloaded it and started knitting with 100 grams Regia - Kaffe Fasset. The pattern was in German and rather cumbersome, unlike other knitting patterns found on German sites. As I tried to wade through it, I finally scrolled down to the end and found that it was by Lucy Neatby from her book Cool Socks - Warm Feet. Only I could happen on a pattern that was translated word by word from English to another language.

Off to the Internet I went, looking for the book. It's out of print, but Amazon had several copies, some for as much as $103.64 used. The good news is that there was a vendor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that was selling it new at the original price. The book was originally published in 2003 and had three editions, the last in 2006. In my opinion, the book is quite wordy, but would have been a good primer for beginning sock knitters. Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks and More Sensational Socks are a much better bargain with many more patterns. I am sure there have been other beginning sock knitting books published that are just as good. I certainly wouldn't pay $100 for it.

I have also finished a "shawlette" by Monika Eckert in bright fingering weight turquoise. It was originally designed for a lace weight yarn by Atelier Zitron called Filigrano. I cannot find the yarn in the US as yet and am unwilling to pay for the postage from Germany. On top of it, it's always more fun to experiment with other yarns. I had a partial cone of Jagger Spun Maine Line yarn left, and it did just fine. The shawlette is a little bigger than originally intended, but it's getting winter around here, and I am going to keep this one for myself. Pictures as soon as I can block it.
So that's it folks. Knit on Merrily!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Simple things

I delight in simple things and thanks to my new TENS (transsubcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit, I can take walks again. They are short; I am up to 1/3 of a mile. But I hope that I can take longer walks as my strength starts to return. Fall came quickly to this part of Michigan. The days have been on the cool side and the nights are crisp. Just the right kind of weather.

This photo was taken just beyond the mail box. I love the bronze colors of the Fall grasses on the side of the road.

Even the oak trees are already starting to turn.
And this tree is full of red berries. I can't believe that the cedar waxwings have missed these berries. It looks like a flowering dogwood tree. I'll have to keep an eye on it next summer.

The milk weed is ready to burst, soon showing its silken fluff after the seeds have blown away. I wonder if you could spin with the down of this plant? The Monarch butterfly larvae feed exclusively on the leaves of the milk weed.

And here is a closer look at the grasses.

While most of the ferns seem to have dried up overnight, this one is still in the process.
And tomorrow it's back to knitting photos.

Monday, September 13, 2010

All in white

The Bad Cat Designs Summer Swatch Me sampler is finished. It used just under 200 gr. of Regia Wool/Silk/Nylon sock yarn on US 7 (4.5 mm) needles. As you can see, the edging has beads in it; I used 6/0 matte iridescent seed beads.

Other projects in the works are a pair of socks and finishing the Shetland Pi shawl.

Knit on merrily!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Eye Candy, I hope

Well, it's a bit late, but I've finally blocked the Kalendar Scarf I knit from December 1 through December 25, 2009. For those who have short memories like me, this was the annual Advent Calendar Knit-Along from the Swedish web site The scarf was originally knit with Musk Ox yarn. The pattern is no longer free, but if you wait until December 1, you can always download the daily patterns for the 2010 sampler. I knit this scarf with one skein of Wisdom's Poems Sock yarn. I would suggest never to knit anything with this yarn if you have either a short-haired cat or dog in the house. We, of course, have both. The yarn, a single ply yarn, attracts short stubby hair from a mile away, yet alone the critters running around in the house. Also I think the name "sock yarn" is a misnomer. I would not knit socks with it since the thickness is slightly inconsistent. So here are finally the photos. Thanks to my physical therapy and my TENS unit it is easier to do blocking and taking photos.

Knit on merrily!