Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday Wings - Outside the Window

After two days of clouds and light rain, the skies cleared today and the sun shone. That does not mean it got warm.

Without the clouds to hold the daytime warmth in, there will likely be a frost here in SW Michigan tonight.

Glancing out the window this morning, Bob spotted over twenty wild turkeys eating something in the lawn.

By the time he called me and I grabbed the camera, they were headed back to the woods across the street.

The gold finches aren't so gold anymore. They've taken on their drab winter coloring.

I'm not sure if these two are in the process of molting or if they are fledglings getting their first set of feathers.

Looks like I need to do some window washing if I'm going to be taking pictures through the glass.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bob's Birthday Socks Finished

It's been a cold, dark, rainy, very windy day in SW Michigan. On the radio this morning the weatherman described today's weather as "A taste of November."

I know what November is like. There was no need for a preview in September.

DH Bob likes heavy socks so his birthday socks are worsted weight knit tight so he can pad around the house in stocking feet.

While I was at it, I used the leftover yarn to knit him a matching hat. It fits me perfectly, so I'm not so sure it's going to work for him. It may end up being mine.

His birthday is Friday and he's going to be 39 again. Only a few people know how old he really is and we've been pledged to secrecy.

Here's a clue: Today he asked me, "Do you remember when a cup of coffee was a nickel and refills were free?"

Pattern: The socks are a basic k3p1 cuff down with heel flap. The Jacques Cousteau Hat is a free pattern found here.

Yarn:Patternworks Bretton. 70% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 5% alpaca with Opal carried along. The top of the hat is double Bretton. I ran out of the Opal.

Color: Bretton is Forest Heather. Opal is Rainforest Raupe.

Needles: #5 for the socks, #7 for the hat.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Marlene Finished

Marlene is the non-book September pattern selection for the Sock Innovation KAL, (a Ravelry link).

It was a fun knit. Except for the fitting challenges, the pattern is a quick study to memorize and easy to get into a good rhythm and knit. The only reason the socks took so long to finish is that I've been doing other things and my knitting time has been limited.

You can read about my fitting challenges and see a close up picture of the stitch pattern here.

Knitting the socks according to the pattern, the cuffs are a little over eight inches long. That's longer than most like their cuffs, but I'm happy with them. Winter is coming and warmth eight inches up the leg will be welcome, assuming the socks stay up.

Pattern: Marlene by Cookie A. from the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of knit.1 and available online here.

Yarn: ShiBui Sock, 100% superwash merino wool

Color: Chinese Red

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars for ribbing and stockinette, 3.0mm for fancy stitch pattern.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trying to Knit Marlene

When a sock is 72 stitches around I assume I can knit it on 2.5mm needles and it's going to end up big on me, even if it has cables.

This assumption did not work for Marlene. I knit five inches of cuff and tried to try it on. It refused to go over my heel. This stitch pattern is the most inflexible stitch pattern I have ever used for a sock.

Since I had the stitch pattern memorized and was finding it pleasant to knit, Marlene got one more chance. I frogged back to the ribbing, changed to 3mm needles, and knit a second cuff trying it on often to make sure it was still wearable.

This picture shows the front of the sock with the heel tucked under. The gusset decreases have just been completed and there are 40 more rows before the toe decreases begin.

I didn't notice how little yarn I have left until I picked it up for the photo shot. I could have made the cuff a little shorter - it's seven inches. Since I've never before come close to running out of yarn when knitting a sock for myself, I didn't know enough to be worried.

Pattern: Marlene by Cookie A. from the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of knit.1 and available online here.

Yarn: ShiBui Sock, 100% superwash merino wool

Color: Chinese Red

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars for ribbing and stockinette, 3.0mm for fancy stitch pattern.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Willow Tree Removal

Thursday a crew of three workers and one boss arrived with a crane, a chipper, a Dingo (mini forklift type thingy), and a huge cart to haul away wood too big to be chipped. It took them four hours to get the big fallen willow tree off the barn, off the septic system, and out of my life.

When there was about eight feet of stump left to use as a lever, the Dingo pushed the upended rootball back into its original hole along the creek bed. Then they chopped off the rest of the trunk.

Pappy was kind enough to sit on the stump for a photo shot.

It was four hours of VERY LOUD NOISE.

The chipper was chipping in the driveway, chainsaws were busy making manageable pieces, the crane was lifting out sections of tree as they were cut, and all the equipment went "Ding Ding Ding" each time it needed to move in reverse, which was often.

Sunny almost had a nervous breakdown. Glory had to be shut in the back bedroom so she would stop barking. Only Pappy thought it was interesting. He sat outside with me and watched most of the process.

Because the tree had fallen over our expensive and delicate above ground septic system, the removal was challenging. When I first saw where the fallen tree had landed, I wondered if it was going to be possible to get it out without septic system damage.

The Action Tree Service guys did a great job. They put plywood down on the drain field for the times they had to get across it and mostly used the little Dingo to drive on the mound.

They took over an hour to clean up the mess, even raking by hand to make sure they got everything.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chat Back for September 12

Answering questions from comments and email.

Sue asked . . .
Did you know Slackford Studio now has a Ravelry group?

I didn't know that, so I clicked right over to Ravelry and joined up.

Sue has some Hedonist Sock - Merino/Nylon/Cashmere sock yarn coming soon. I can hardly wait to try it but will hold off until she dyes a color I can't resist.

That probably won't take long.

Barb R asked . . .
I see you have baby finches. Do they have several hatches a year? I ask because all the goldfinches at my feeder are now gone. Are they off having another family?

Not sure how to answer.

This time of year natural seeds are abundant. Maybe yours found something they like better than feeder seed for now.

The Goldfinches are late nesters and normally have one or two nestings a year. They are busy at my feeders all summer, both the sunflower seed and the thistle seed.

Since I have dozens of Goldfinches, I wouldn't notice if a family or four were taking a feeder break for nesting. They don't migrate, so I see and feed them year round.

Linda Jo asked . . .
Are you familiar with the Walker Treasury Project? It's a blog devoted to posting pics of samples of each of the Treasury Book's stitch patterns in color.

It's here.

Thanks. This is interesting.

When I'm browsing a Walker book for a stitch pattern I actually like having the pictures in black and white so I can imagine them in the color yarn I'm planning to use.

For nature loving readers who don't read Linda Jo's blog, she documented a recent moose family visit to her yard with twin mooselings. Amazing. And I'm glad it's her and not me. Those things are BIG!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Angee Finished

When I first looked through my new Sock Innovation book, Angee was my least favorite of all the patterns. It reminds me of a cluster of earthworms although I try not to think of that image.

It does make a nice, snug fitting sock though. Can't argue with that. I doubt I'll knit it again unless someone I love specifically requests it.

Being a Myers-Briggs ISTJ, I'm a detail perfectionist (although far from perfect) person. Which is why I frogged an entire Angee cuff once I read on Ravelry that a correction had been confirmed for Row 2 of the pattern - the k2tog on the chart should be a ssk. Even though this correction was confirmed at the beginning of the month, the official errata for Angee still does not reflect this correction.

From the looks of her beautiful and detailed patterns, I would guess that Cookie is also a detail person. I have to wonder what she thinks about the sloppy way Interweave Press treats her patterns.

Pattern: Angee from Sock Innovation by Cookie A.

Yarn: Stalwart Sock from Slackford Studio. 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon 4 Ply Fingering Weight Sock Yarn.

Color: Red Oak

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook for Septmber 7

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Monday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY September 7, 2009...

Outside my window...
The frumpy funny fledglings are discovering the ease of eating seed at the bird feeder.

This a a young house finch in the process of growing his adult feathers.

I am thinking...
The area I just cleared of Lily of the Valley in the front yard will make a perfect Sedum garden. I have five different types of Sedum to fill it and it would be fun to collect more.

I am thankful for...
My brother Dave.

He's been a rock for me this summer in so many different ways.

From the kitchen... Wondering what to fix for dinner. I wish the cook didn't have the day off.

I am wearing... Jean shorts and a navy tee shirt John and Anne brought back from Australia in 2004. It reads "Cairns Australia" and has little pictures of Australian animals.

I am creating...

This is the Angee pattern from Cookie A's Sock Innovation book.

The yarn is Red Oak Stalwart Sock from Slackford Studio.

I am reading...
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
"The epic story of the building of a cathedral in 12th century England and the lives of the people entwined with it and each other is a sensuous, enduring narrative, and a gripping tale of faith, ambition, bloodshed and betrayal."
This book was first published in 1989, 20 years ago. How come I haven't read it until now?

It's not great literature, but it is a very entertaining, well written, absorbing read.

I'm on the library waiting list for the sequel, World Without End

I am hoping... For an easy winter this year. We're due.

I am hearing... The sound of fireworks? People in SW Michigan seem to have Labor Day confused with the 4th of July?

One of my favorite things...
The hummingbirds are getting their last sips from the feeders before heading south. Soon our residents will be gone, although an occasional migrant will stop in for a drink on into the autumn.

(It's the hummers that are one of my favorite things, not the fact that they're leaving.)

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Bob has several medical appointments.
Wednesday is lunch with a friend, grocery shopping, and errands.
Thursday a crane is coming to lift the huge fallen willow tree off the barn and the septic system.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Red Squirrel says, "Now that I've shown her I can get inside the house she's more conscientious about making sure there are plenty of seeds in the outside feeder."

Friday, September 04, 2009

Highland Mist Socks Finished

While waiting for the September Sock Innovation KAL, (a Ravelry link) pattern selections to be announced, I started knitting the Cookie A. Eunice pattern with this Shelridge Farm fingering weight yarn.

By the time I got past the Eunice ribbing and into the cabled part of the pattern, I realized: 1) This yarn is heavier than the fingering weight yarn I usually use. 2) This yarn is fuzzy and the stitch definition is substandard. 3) These socks are going to be way too big for me 4)There's no sense doing this intricate stitch pattern if it isn't going to show. And, finally 5) This yarn would make a great pair of plain warm wool socks to wear with jeans on a cold winter day.

Observant readers will notice that the finished socks in the picture are totally plain k3p1 ribbing and in no way resemble a Cookie A sock pattern.

Pattern: Basic cuff down k3p1 ribbing on 56 stitches

Yarn: Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Heather, 85% Superwash wool, 15% Nylon, 3 ply fingering.

Color: Highland Mist.

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Wednesday Wings - Cardinal Fledglings

Every September my blog posts repeat three themes: 1) Mental unrest - not quite depression, 2) goldenrod filling the fields and blooming in places where I didn't realize I needed to weed, and 3) frumpy fledglings.

I'm not going to bore you with my September ennui, so let's move on to number two on the list.

Goldenrod is everywhere proclaiming the end of summer.

Time to think about things that need to be done to get through the winter. Time to list all the household maintenance that didn't get done this summer and select the most critical for immediate action before the temps dip and the snow flies.

For comic relief there are Cardinal fledglings coming to the feeder in various stages of losing their baby feathers and becoming beautiful birds.