Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Thank you for your kind words of condolence. My husband keeps assuring me that it could have happened to any of us, at any time. I really thought that UPS or FedEx was going to run over her someday. She chased those trucks out of our yard and halfway to the gate whenever they came.

Kai was a stray who found us several years ago. My husband and son were clearing fence row in one of our fields, and my husband stepped over a log and saw what appeared to be a coyote standing there watching them. He finally realized she was a dog, and they got her to come over & get acquainted. When they came back to the house that evening, they came to the door and said, "Look what followed us home!" So we started feeding her on the porch. After awhile, we tried inviting her into the house. She'd stick her head in, look around, and back out. Then head & front legs, and back out. Eventually she came into the house, and gradually worked her way into our lives. It took her a long time before she'd use any of the other doors into the house, though.

On one hand, she was quite prissy, scared of storms, petite feet, which she usually placed one on top of the other (front feet) when she stretched. She looked like she was doing some kind of dancer's curtsey. She "swam" like a grandma with a once-a-week shampoo & set -- can't get the head wet. She would wade into shallow water, lie down, and make paddling motions with her front feet. Silly dog! Loved Ritz crackers. She could identify the crackle from those cracker sleeves from the other end of the house, and always sat and pretended to be a good girl so Greg would give her a cracker. Pretzel sticks were good, too, but only with ranch veggie dip on them.

On the other hand, she hated strange vehicles in our yard (as in the previously mentioned delivery trucks), and chased them out, barking the whole time. Got into snarling, teeth-baring arguments with our black lab, also female. Regularly slept with her head in her food bowl to keep the other 2 dogs out of it.

She always wanted to be wherever people were. She'd go "help" with the cattle, or over at the sawmill, or just hang out in the house with me if the boys weren't home. Always had to ask her to move so I could get stuff out of the kitchen cabinets, or trip over her when I got out of bed in the morning. She looked so much like a coyote that we bought her a child's orange sweatshirt, cut the sleeves off, and dressed her in it in the fall, so she wouldn't be shot by someone who didn't realize she was a pet. She came home without her sweatshirt one day, and we wondered what she'd done with it. The next day, my son was out wandering around in the woods, and found the sweatshirt hanging from the fence. She'd hooked it on some barbed wire and wiggled out of it, like Peter Rabbit with his lost jacket. Can't find any pics of her in it.

Back to knitting content next time. It's all socks, anyway. I think I have 5 pair going right now.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sad Day

Things were going along fairly well today. I finally finished one Big Black Sock for Socks for Soldiers. I made a men's large (shoe size 11 - 12), and weighed the sock when I finished it -- a whopping 96 grams! It's sportweight yarn, but still.... So I now have a guideline for winding the rest of that ginormous 2 lb. 13 oz. skein into manageable chunks.

It took me most of the morning, but I now have 11 100g center-pull balls of black sportweight yarn, and the twelfth one is 128g. I did some calculations, and figured I could get 13 1/3 socks out of the whole skein, but since 1 1/3 socks wouldn't do much good (I'm knitting for people who still have both feet, after all), I rounded up and made 100g balls.

Wouldn't want to have made 96g balls & found myself a few feet short of making a sock to match the first one. I had to drape the yarn over the back of a chair, and unwind it a loop at a time. It completely overwhelmed my swift -- there was no way to put that much yarn on that poor little swift. I put a piece of paper around the center of my ball winder, so I could take the ball off occasionally to weigh it, and put it back on if necessary (the paper tube keeps the center open). Most of the time I was a few grams over when I took the ball off, but a few times I had to put it back on. I weighed them on my handy-dandy digital kitchen scale. I have a love/hate relationship with this thing. It's great for measuring yarn weights, and occasionally even food. But the thing eats batteries, and it uses 9V batteries. Anyone else hate 9V batteries? Is it just me?
So I finished winding, went to run a few errands, stopped in our storage building on the way home to find some accessories for the Princess, who is attending a '60s-themed party at her sorority in a couple of weeks. Our Kai dog went with me (this is a building across the field from our house -- remember, we live on a farm). I found what I was looking for and headed back to the house, with the dog running alongside the vehicle. Then I lost sight of her, and then thump, bump. Oh, no... I stopped, saw her trying to run toward the house with one leg held off the ground, yelping. I went to the house, got the phone book so I could call the vet, put a mattress pad in the back of the vehicle, and went back out there, and she was lying very still. Not breathing. So sorry... why didn't I stop when I didn't know where she was?

Monday, September 18, 2006

It's never done that before!

Right in the middle of my short-row heel, I heard & felt a crack! Then I was holding 2 short pieces of needle. Fortunately, I was able to pick up the stitches & continue the heel without losing anything, which is quite an accomplishment. I've had short-row heels come out quite wonky without any help from broken needles. I found the phone number for Brittany (these are Brittany birch needles) and left a voice message about my broken needle. Haven't had a return call; I'm hoping I left them enough info that they could send the replacement, and they just didn't need to call.

These are the finished Scales Skin socks for the Six Sox Knitalong. The yarn is Fortissima Cotton Colori, 75% cotton/25% nylon, very soft, easy to work with. Color is #0004. I seem to remember it was called "Tapestry", although that is not printed on the label.

I know I said the Fleece Artist Mahogany was going to be my next sock, but I seem to have taken a detour. I started the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road (see link in sidebar). I'm using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, color is "Jeans". I've had both the book and the yarn for quite awhile, and this is the first sock pattern I've made from the book. It's also my first Lorna's Laces sock. The yarn seems a bit thinner than other sock yarn I've used. I'm easily getting 8 sts/inch on size 0 needles.

Just in time for my birthday (tomorrow), the new Socks That Rock sock club package arrived. The yarn is beautiful! The color name is Titania, and there are 2 (two!) patterns in this shipment. The more challenging Titania's Revenge has cabling across the foot, and the Central Air pattern is simpler, but also very pretty.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Socks, again (still!)

I got a lovely package yesterday, my order from The Loopy Ewe. My first-ever skein of Fleece Artist Merino (sock yarn) in Mahogany -- gorgeous fall colors! They will probably be my next socks, as soon as I finish the Scales Skin socks. I just need to find the right pattern! The new Knitty is out, with a couple of sock patterns I like (Cable Net and Diamante, or there's always Sensational Knitted Socks (link in sidebar). Oooh! I also recently purchased the Eleanora Socks pattern from MimKnits.com.
Yesterday's package also contained Snip Tipz, by Zecca -- I'd seen them in a magazine, I think over a year ago, and finally ordered one -- pretty cool, no?

Bad news/good news on the cashmere socks: it turns out that ColourMartUK did not, after all, have a cone of the same yarn I'm using. Apparently, they forgot to update stock as they sent out those generous 50g sample skeins. Since I had ordered and paid for a cone that was not in stock, they offered me either 2 cones of any other yarn, or a $50 refund. I found another cone of yarn that looks very similar -- I'll have to wait till I get it to decide how I'm going to do these socks (alternating stripes of each color, or some other arrangement). I'm also getting a cone of laceweight, Highland Green. All in all, a favorable outcome!

Big Black socks are ready for heels. I tried the sock leg on Bigfoot my son this morning, and it seems to work. He said it was very warm -- I guess I could make legwarmers for soldiers. Hmm, maybe not.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Another hour on the Big Black socks brings me to about 8.5" on the leg; I'll need about another hour to get to the heel. Three hours of work so far:

Yesterday I was browsing the ColourMartUK eBay store, and remembered that I had ordered samples from them a few months ago.
Along with a generous supply of samples of various weights, they sent 50g of fingering weight cashmere. Sounds like a sock to me! So I started a sock... people, I think this is my new favorite sock yarn (keeping in mind there are a lot of sock yarns I haven't yet tried). Cashmere socks... so soft... I thought about putting some wooly nylon in the toes, but it was entirely too fiddly, so I quit messing with it. Of course, 50g is only going to make one sock, so I had to order more. Fortunately, they had more of this color (yes, I checked before I started the sock).

I'm also working on the Scales Skin socks for the Six Socks Knitalong. They're coming along quite nicely. This yarn is also very soft -- it's Fortissima Cotton Colori, 75% cotton/25% nylon.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Big Black Socks, Manos progress

I got a little ahead of myself on those socks. The yarn is sportweight, and when I did a gauge swatch I got 6.5 sts/inch. Which would make an 80 stitch sock over 12" around. I looked at the specs for the fingering weight socks and recalculated for my gauge, and restarted with 64 stitches. A couple of hours worth of work:

Yes, that's a lot of ribbing. The Army's new socks are ribbed all the way down to the ankle, but it's much finer ribbing than this, so I don't think I want to do that. I'm going to try 6" of ribbing and 6" stockinette before I start the heel and see how that looks. I stuck a ruler down inside my husband's boots and got 8" - 9" from the bottom of the foot to the top of the boot, so this should give me smooth stockinette inside the boot, and maximize the amount ribbing above, which I hope will result in socks that stay up.
I have also been working on my Manos throw:

Finished block 6 and started block 7 yesterday.