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)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chat Back for Halloween

Answering questions from comments and email.

Susan asked . . .
Glory,I know that your mommy is much smarter than me and won't put you on that yucky stuff. Why don't you try running more?

Glory is 13. While she still gets around great for her age, she is an elderly dog and not so eager to plow through the snow anymore.

Last winter the snow started early, came often and deep, and lasted late. There just wasn't much opportunity to take longer walks and/or run. Glory and I both hope this winter is better.

Ann said . . .
The stitch pattern is nice. It's so amazing that you can just start knitting & then decide later on the rest of the sweater.

Most times I have an idea of what the entire sweater is going to be before I start. Other times it's like doing a mystery knit.

I'm ready to decide on a horizontal mid-Gansey band now, so I did a little swatch and can easily see that the simpler diamonds (the bottom band) work much better in this yarn and with the pattern I'm using on the lower part of the sweater.

I love to browse through my stitch dictionaries, so the process of picking what's next is fun for me.

Barb asked . . .
Do you use a cable needle, or do you use one of the "cabling without a needle" methods?

Whenever it's easy such as for single and double crossovers, I rearrange the stitches on the left needle and then knit them. I guess that's a "cabling without a needle" method.

I can do that without breaking my knitting rhythm and it saves amazing amounts of time and lost cable needles.

If I had to knit something like Kristi with a cable needle, it wouldn't be fun and I wouldn't do it.

Suzann asked . . .
I have wondered if all the twisted, knit in the back stitches didn't draw the sock in a lot.
It does draw it in and it eats up the yarn yardage.

Even more challenging, the traveling stitches make the fabric less stretchy. A sock such as Kristi (above) can fit perfectly on the leg but be so inflexible it can't be pulled over the instep to get it onto the leg.

The Knitpicks Options 24" circulars I use for sock knitting have very flexible cords so I'm able to pull the sock in process on frequently to check fit. There have been some surprises and some frogging. I adjust smaller or larger by changing needle size.

Dani asked . . .
Hubby chimed in again on your blog & says since only a few fish die & most don't they are indeed Trout. Either way, he wants to know why you guys aren't out there with flies & rods??

There's an old cement block smoker out by the creek. The former residents trapped the fish with a dam and smoked them right there.

Just guessing, I don't think that's legal. Just guessing again, I think some of the neighbors may be doing something similar. I don't want to know.

Janna asked . . .
I love the heart in your swatches! Is it from a book, or did you make it up yourself?

It's from the Third Barbara Walker Stitch Treasury, the yellow one with charted designs. Many pretty things in there plus a wealth of technical information.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wet and Hanging in There

It has rained for eight days now.

This was the weather forecast on WKZO Radio this morning: Rain ending today. Showers tomorrow.

Like these last few tulip tree leaves, I'm hanging in there. I felt better today, but not party material. Pappy and I are missing the doggy school Halloween party as I write.

Pappy is not sorry he doesn't have to dress up. I regret not being there to see the dogs in their costumes and take funny pictures to share.

Not much knitting is getting done.

Sometimes I pick up the Red X Sweater and knit a few rounds and then I fall asleep.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Doggy Updates

From Pappy:
This is how Mom has been feeling the past few days, so it's been pretty boring around here.

I'm hoping she's better enough to take me to doggy school tonight. I know she wants to be better for the doggy school Halloween party tomorrow so she can make me dress up stupid and laugh at me and all the other dogs.

I love her anyway.

From Sunny:
Today is the first time in fifteen days Mom has let me walk in the field with Pappy and Glory. There have been lots of changes since then. Where did all the green go?

I smell deer here. Why didn't Pappy and Glory do a better job of keeping them away? Nobody does anything right when I'm not around to supervise.

From Glory:
Mom takes lots of pictures of me but they don't make the blog because I'm black and usually look more like a shadow than the handsome dog that I am.

I hear Mom and Dad talking about my diet. They think I gained too much weight being inactive last winter. Now that I'm slim again they don't want me to gain it back.

I'm in favor of nothing that cuts back the amount of food that I get. So us older girls get a little plump. So what?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Wings - The Leftovers

Now that the leaves are thinning, some of the wonderful things that were hidden but there all along are showing up along the dog walking path in the back field.

This nest is almost at eye level. I'm sorry I missed seeing it in use.

This huge wasp nest is hanging in a tree about six feet off the path. I'm amazed that I didn't spot it while it was active.

The nest will slowly disintegrate over the winter months. The queen will start a new nest in a new location in the spring.

A leaf floats down the creek.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Casting on the Red Cotlin

For over a week I browsed through stitch pattern books and pattern books looking for the perfect pattern for my new red Cotlin. I was sure I would know it when I saw it, but I never saw it. Or, if I did see it, I didn't know it.

I did some tentative swatching, thinking it would lead into an idea, but an idea never came.

Finally I found a cute, simple little knit/purl pattern in a Japanese Stitch book, cast on 240 stitches, and started knitting.

I'm 95% certain I'm not going to use this stitch pattern for the entire sweater. Hopefully by the time I have 12 inches knit I'll be able to look at it and know what I want to do next. Until then I have some semi-mindless knitting to do when I don't feel like working on Kristi socks.

Pattern: Winging it for now. Unofficially naming it the Red X Sweater.

Yarn: Knitpicks Cotlin. 70% Tanguis Cotton, 30% Linen. DK weight.

Color: Moroccan Red.

Needles: Options #3.

Gauge: 6 stitches/inch, 8.5 rows/inch in pattern.

This was taken last Thursday evening while the trees still had most of their leaves. It's been raining every day since then, and many dark, bare branches are now showing amongst what is left of the autumn color.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kristi Cuff

Kristi is always one of the lowest vote getters when the Sock Innovation KAL, (a Ravelry link) votes which pattern to do next. Since it's one of my top favorites in the book and I had the perfect yarn for it, I decided to cast on and do it.

Kristi is slow going and requires constant attention to the chart, but there's nothing difficult about it. I'm enjoying the process and the results.

Pattern: Kristi from Sock Innovation by Cookie A.

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

Color: Wisteria.

Needles: Options 2.50mm circulars.

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Five Year Blogiversary Contest

Next Friday, October 30, is the fifth blogiversary of Stitches of Violet.

To honor the occasion I want to share something I love with three of my readers, maybe you.

It's Stalwart Sock from Slackford Studio. 75% Merino, 25% Nylon Superwash Fingering in your choice of three lovely colors.

To enter leave a comment on this blog post telling:
  1. How long you've been reading Stitches of Violet (go ahead and guess)
  2. Which of the three colors below you'd like to win. I'm doing three separate drawings, one for each color, so you need to pick one to be entered.
  3. Be sure to have your email in the place provided. Other posters can't see it, but I'll have it if you win.

I'd like to reserve the contest for actual readers, so please don't advertise it on your blog or list.

Deadline for entering is Sunday, November 1, midnight Eastern time.

Monday, November 2 I'll email the three winners. If I haven't heard back by Friday, November 6 another winner will be selected even though I'd love to keep the yarn for myself.

Pretty spring greens.

Fallen Leaves
See the socks I knit with Fallen Leaves here.

The blues are steely and smoky, not bright, but very beautiful.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chat Back for October 24

Answering questions from comments and email.

Pat said . . .
You sure are staying true to the Cookie KAL

First time ever. I'm not usually a KAL kind of knitter.

As first my dog, then my mother, then my husband all got seriously ill throughout the spring and summer, I enjoyed having something easy but interesting to knit that I didn't have to think about and plan for.

Shirley asked . . .
Do you plan to knit Cookie socks next month?

Yes, I tentatively plan to knit next months socks. At least one of the selections unless I don't like either of them.

All the socks I really love in the book - the twisted stitch designs and the gorgeous cabling - are left to be chosen. So far they've mostly selected the ones I probably never would have knit without the KAL. Though I have to admit I did enjoy knitting them, all except Wanida.

I wonder how long they're going to keep the KAL group going with the small number of people who are actually finishing their socks. When I looked this morning there were only 30 pictures in the October finished thread.

Kellie asked . . .
I am wondering about your trout. Is this their spawning time, or are they just lost?

It's their spawning time. Every year the last part of October they struggle up the creek. Some of them die, but most are OK.

It's a pretty constant procession, three or four an hour night and day for a few weeks.

I've been told they come from the Paw Paw river.

The creek is cold and clear with a nice sandy bottom. The trout that come up it are about 30 inches long.

Some readers are telling me the fish are salmon, some are telling me trout. Both are right since trout are members of the salmon family.

From Wikipedia on Trout:
Trout are a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the Salmonidae family. Salmon belong to some of the same genera as trout but, unlike most trout, most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water. Trout are classified as an oily fish.

It's been raining on and off, but mostly on, for the past three days. Leaves have started to fall.

Braking on a layer of wet leaves in the road can be almost as slippery as ice and snow.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Followup

We're holding our breath while reducing the Prednesone and watching her appear to be mostly better for now.

Sunny is eight years old. She first started having back problems when she was five and even then the x-ray showed some disk fusion in her lumbar region. She's way too young for this.

One of the younger vets said it was the worse arthritis of the canine spine she'd ever seen and handed us over to the elder vet of the practice. He's wonderful and will talk to us on the phone anytime we're not sure what to do next. Giving Sunny Xanax was his idea and it has worked great to relax her when she's in pain. It also appears to reduce her muscle spasms better than the muscle relaxant.

Sunny's given name is Sunshine because she brought sunshine into our lives. We always end up calling our dogs something with e-e-e on the end, so she's Sunny except when we're exasperated with her. Then, just like with a kid, we call her SUN..SHINE!

Hearing her name, people assume she's Sonny, male. That's why DH Bob thought it was funny to name our other little dog Pappy - so we'd have a Pappy and a Sonny/Sunny. Plus, of course, because he's a Papillon (the dog, not DH). I don't think anybody gets the joke except Bob. He had to explain it to me.

Last week I was wondering if Pappy was getting too old for doggy school because he was getting tired in class and reluctant to do some of the things he likes least.

His class is called "Hobby Advanced", non-formal obedience, agility, tricks, games, and lots of socialising and laughter. Many of us have been working our dogs together for years. The dogs know each other and are excited to see each other every week.

Dog trainer Gail assured me that Pappy was still walking in the door excited to be there and, if it were her dog, she would make adjustments but not keep him away. She said she would help figure out the best way to keep Pappy happy.

When Pappy and I got there last night, Gail had come up with a doggy brain game for Pappy to play while the other dogs chased the dumbbell over the hurdles. On agility nights, we're going to skip obedience. Little changes like that are going allow Pappy (and me) to keep having fun at doggy school for a while longer.

Pappy and I were assured by most of the class that he needed to stay. I feel good about what's happening and can't say enough nice things about Gail who truly loves and understands dogs and their people.

Septic System
One of the highlights of this past week was getting the power restored to the septic system pump.

Living in a wetland requires by law an expensive and complicated septic system with an above ground drain field fed by a dosing chamber with an underground pump. (For septic system nerds who want to know more, go here.)

Something happened to the underground wire providing power to the pump and we had an electrician and helper here on and off for two days digging up the yard and fixing things.

I'm not sure why I consider this blog worthy. Maybe to keep things realistic in noting that living in the middle of nowhere amongst nature is wonderful but not without disadvantages.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clandestine in Time Out

Clandestine by Cookie A. is the October non-book selection of the Sock Innovation KAL, (a Ravelry link). It's a free pattern available on Knitty.

The cast on is 66 stitches which needed to be divided over three needles. I used three circulars because I wanted the sharp points on the Options needles. Having three slowed down the knitting process some.

On the fourteenth row there are three five-stitch wraps and three-three stitch wraps. How tight to do the wraps was a common question which never got answered. Some knitters frogged and reknit trying to find the perfect tension.

I wrapped snug, resulting in a puckery fabric. Just looking at it on the needles I would thought it to be bumpy and ugly. Stretched out on my leg, I was glad I hadn't done the wraps any looser.

I think this lacy section in the center is pretty. I believe it ends up center front and down the back of the sides.

The lacy section alternates with a section that looks like umbrella spokes, a stitch pattern I've never loved. It is made up of a purl, knit through the back loop ribbing that gives the sock some stretch and cling. That's a plus for it.

A cuff is six pattern repeats long, about seven inches. I have three pattern repeats of one sock done and the project is on hold. Right now I'm thinking I'm going to frog it and use the lovely yarn for something else. I'm just not loving the knitting process or the results.

Pattern: Clandestine by Cookie A.

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

Color: Stormy Night

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Wings - Ladybugs

They're all over the south and east sides of the house and they want in!

Most of the trees on our property are oak, not big on autumn color.

In a normal year the oak leaves turn brown in November and fall to the ground when it's too cold to take care of them until spring. If we want autumn color, we have to drive down the road.

This year is a little strange. Although October has been colder and wetter than normal, we are overdue for a hard frost. The tree colors are lovely and this big oak tree even decided it could show a little bit of yellow.

Normally by now the hosta leaves would have frozen, thawed, and turned into a pile of mush on the ground. I don't ever remember them standing long enough to show their pretty fall colors.

The yarn would be looking spectacular with hosta color if 90% of them hadn't been eaten by deer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

Beginning of the Literal Fall

As in leaves falling off the trees and onto the ground to be raked, burned, composted, mulched, mowed, or left to decompose.

Here at Violet Acres we have so many leaves we are able to do all of the above with leaves left over.


Note to myself: Add dead trout burial to the todo list for today.

The almost dead trout made it about 30 feet upstream from where I took its picture yesterday. Once it found a good mucky spot, right in the middle of our acreage, it flipped itself up on the bank and died in the mud.

Knitting Update

There has been no knitting worth mentioning.

The Kristi socks are halfway through the first cuff and haven't been touched for a week.

Clandestine, the October non-book socks for the Sock Innovation KAL, (a Ravelry link) are sitting next to my knitting spot waiting their fate. I think their fate is going to be frogging. I do not need another pair of lacy socks and I'd like some pretty warm practical socks out of the Stalwart Stormy Night yarn I'm using. I have half a cuff done. Before I frog them, I'll try the cuff on one more time and make sure that's what I want to do and take a picture to show you how pretty they are/were.

I'm down to the cuff on the last Lighthouse Gansey sleeve. Should finish it tonight.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Trout Are Running

Blue sky!

Something we haven't seen much of in the month of October. For a bonus, it got warm enough today to go outside with only jeans and a sweatshirt. And wool socks, of course.

The fish that we think are trout are swimming up the creek. We're going to call them trout in this post. If you know different, I'd love to hear your theory.

What you're looking at in this picture and the next is a clear, cold, fast running stream with a sandy bottom. When I take pictures of the trout, they're under water but you can't see the water unless it ripples. When it ripples, you can't see the trout.

This first one is healthy looking and making good time against the current.

This second one is almost dead. It moves a few feet and then has to rest for many minutes. Sometimes it leans to one side like a sick goldfish.

I hope it gets to the neighbors before it dies.

When they die they wash up on the creek bank and I have to wade in the muck to get them. If I don't they rot and smell awful. At least they smell awful to me. Glory thinks rotten fish smell wonderful. So wonderful she likes to roll in them.

Sunny Update: Yesterday I cut her Prednesone dose in half. She gets half a dose for three days and then every other day for a week. So far, she's doing OK with a few shaky moments.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Autumn

This is one of the prettiest autumns we've experienced in a while. I'm soaking up the beauty of the colors in preparation for the drab winter months ahead.

This is the view out the window in front of where I sit with my laptop.

Pappy is eight weeks into letting his amazing fur grow out for the winter.

It's time to sign him up for a new doggy school session and I'm wondering if he's getting too old. He gets tired easy, hesitates before the jumps, and whines under his breath during obedience.

We're not sure how old he is, somewhere in his teens. All that white hair on his face wasn't there in his younger days.

He's had a complete physical and is healthy. Maybe it's time to let him retire. I think I'll miss it more than he does.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chat Back for October 17

Answering questions from comments and email.

Robbyn asked . . .
Oh, isn't that Moroccan Red the most mouth-watering color you've ever seen?

It is rich and wonderful. Almost too rich and wonderful. I keep thinking I have to come up with something spectacular to knit with it and my creative juices aren't running. I think all that red is making me tense.

Seriously, I bought it for a gansey and I'm having a difficult time coming up with a pattern worthy of its redness.

Many people asked . . .
How is Sunny? Better I hope!

She has good moments and horrible, painful moments. Sometimes the pain is so bad there is nothing to do but give her Xanax to help her get through it. It works well.

She's walking, a good sign that she can have some better days and that this is not the final round. She's in good spirits most of the time, still eating, taking her pills like a good girl, and being treated like the princess she is.

We got Sunny eight years ago when she was 7-8 weeks old and weighted under three pounds. She's totally integrated into our hearts and is very much loved by us both. We're taking care of her the best we know how with the help of a caring vet.

Kathy B asked . . .
Bring on those peaceful autumn images.