Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Heart & Sole of the matter is

knitting appropos to St. Valentine's Day.

I've started a new pair of socks from "Fire" colorway of Red Heart's Heart & Sole with Aloe yarn. It's a light fingerling yarn, pretty fine. But I'm using my standard "0" doublepoints and things seem to be coming along OK.

The pattern I'm experimenting with is to CO 60 sts, 2x2 rib and after the top, then place a 3x3 cable on each side of the sock, approximately above the ankle bone (when it grows that long!)

Barbar stole the sock. "I'm a better model than she is and older, too,"says he!

P.S. Better pics with natural light next time, I promise.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Some progress anyway... the knitting department.

Bella Coola Socks are finished!
(Click to embiggen!)

Important sock statistics:

Bella Coola Socks
Socks That Rock mediumweight 380 yards per skein, 90% skein used.
Needles = size 0 Skacel doublepoints
Pattern = Batik Stripey Socks by Bowerbird as seen on her blog and Ravelry.
Cast On Sock#1 December 22, 2008, Bind Off January 6, 2009
Cast On Sock#2 January 6, 2009, Bind Off January 29, 2009

The very best thing about these socks is that because there is a purl row every 11th row, it is extremely easy to remember where one is in the patterning and especially to match the socks, row for row.

A new sock has been cast on, which will be named Fire Sox, Sock #1.

Now the opposite in temperature... it is snowing yet again and 29 degrees. That's yet more snow coming down on top of the ice still on tree limbs and snow from earlier since neither had temperatures warm enough to melt very much. I already cleaned the front sidewalk once and put deicer in a couple spots. DH just did it again before leaving on kindy run. Roads went from 'just wet' with deicer this morning to treacherous now.
And the prognosticators tell us Monday's storm could be much worse. (Monday is February 2nd, Groundhog Day. Hey, Phil, give us an early Spring...puh-leeze?)


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crystal Palace

Our world is a crystal palace with an occasional branch crashing to the crunchy ground. The pictures were taken at 8 AM.

It's been raining for over twelve hours. This is not a good thing. When it started to rain, it had already been snowing and it was 23 degrees. The warm air started to override the cold air. Freezing rain is the result. Looking out the window at the bottom of the stairs, we see ice covered everything.

From the front porch, the salt spreading patterns are in the roadway and the icicles are forming on the awning.

The lilac bushes are showing signs of Spring reawakening on their branches and are protected from the cold today by their crystal coating.

School has been cancelled for today. Considering that our road is normally one of the better kept rural roads, I can only imagine what most of the district roads are like.

The best knitting news is that Lesson #1 went to the post office yesterday morning before this mess began.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


after several weeks of way below average temperatures, we might actually see 35 today!

(Picture heavy post. Click on any photo to 'embiggen'!)

It doesn't really matter too much what the temperature is for a collie dog. Tawny just enjoys lying in the shade and in the snow. He'll take his trek around the yard, but he won't lie in the sun.

The top peak is melting faster than the snow-covered downspouts can carry the runoff. And these icicles are growing today. When I was a child the icicles actually reached the ground a couple times. The north and east roof is still totally snow covered with no icicles.

Along the River Road, the water runs through the rocks at all times of the year to drain into the Kiski River, as shown in these three shots.

Just north of the ice is this barn with its Mail Pouch tobacco ad still barely visible. It is one of the few of this Americana left around here.

And finally, a bit of knitting content!

The last three swatches for Basics, Basics, Basics Lesson #1 are blocking. Just because these are blocking doesn't mean that one or more won't be redone. What do you think?

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Continuing the saga...Saturday morning was the coldest in 15 years with official Minus 10. Then the temperature warmed throughout the day and night to 33 this morning and currently.

This shot was taken at 10 AM...4 inches of new snow. At 1 PM there is an additional inch. Snow is to taper off sometime tonight.

We are not happy campers.

I'm not grumpy over this shot, though. This is the antique table in the living room with my reference books, lesson and current swatch.

We want green grass, warm temperatures and sunshine.

Go Steelers! What a day to play football! Here we go, Steelers, here we go!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fibery Day

It's the coldest day in 15 years. The official temperature at Pittsburgh International was Minus 8. Windchills are from -10 to -35. The school district was actually smart to cancel classes today about 9:30 last night. Of course now everyone has to follow the school calendar and use Monday (MLK Day) as a snow day. Actually, that beats taking a day from Spring Break.

Looking out one of the upper hallway windows, we see Jack Frost at work on the window and the snowy landscape. Despite the cold we are still receiving 1-3 inches of snow per day/night. This morning we watched frozen frost falling. Frozen frost is jewel-like frost that blows like snow or mist when there is a sunny, blue sky.

Yesterday, I finished plying some gifted roving from several years ago. Because there isn't all that much of it, it dried overnight. Perhaps this vibrant, warm color will warm us this white day.

Now it's time to block some swatches....

Monday, January 12, 2009


Eclectic and procrastinating as I am, it has begun.

What has begun? The swatches are started for the Basics course I'm taking.

When I was studying journalism even in Junior High, I memorized the UP and AP stylebooks as well as my grammar in school;so, there were three different constructions running around my brain for whichever application I needed. When I taught secondary English, I knew five different grammars that were then being taught in elementary schools so that I could help the students who were coming into the merged district and who were totally confused as to what was happening in their courses because yet another grammar was being taught to them.

Knitting is much the same. There are no standard chart symbols. There are no standard names for the same stitch. Each person has one's own knitting styles and construction methods. That is both confusing and liberating.

Here are two versions of Swatch#1. I using Lion Brand Fishermen's Aran yarn. (The top picture is closer to the real color.) The ball band suggests a #9 needle. Knowing that I knit loosely, I first tried a #7 (really a 6.5) 16" circular. That is the finished but ends not woven in nor dressed swatch. Next I have 'resurrected' a pair of Susan Bates short 8's. This beginning swatch is the third try because it has been so long since I used straights! I am really curious how differently the swatch appears on the different needles. The ribbing already has morphed as it is on the flat swatch as opposed to how it develops in circular knitting.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Change from last Saturday

It's a Winter Wonderland right now.

Quite a difference from last Saturday's clear blue skies, isn't it?

The snow started about 5 last night as a snow mist and continued that way for hours. This morning we had about two inches and DH got the snow blower out. Poor snow blower wasn't used all last winter at all. But it worked just fine this morning. The Township came through several times and our road was bare until this snow started about half an hour ago. The radar shows this snow may well turn to freezing rain as the temperature has risen from 28 to 30.

Just an excellent day for knitting, it is.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Procrastination is Waning.

We really don't want to talk about how long these skeins have been in the making on the spinning wheel.

I finally finished these Romney cross skeins Monday night and Tuesday.

One was washed in the kitchen sink and one in the bathroom sink, same detergent. They are from the same bobbins. But they do appear to be different shades.

Weather has not been conducive for taking pictures. Lots of icing yesterday and downpours today with more icing then snow in sight.

Bella Coola Sock#1 was also finished yesterday! Sock#2 was cast on immediately!

There has been an intriguing discussion on the TKGA board on Ravelry about getting 'wonky stitches' when knitting a 1x1 rib. Lots of manipulation of yarns, needles, techniques by many are attempting to discover what is causing the misshapen stitches.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Changing weather and such

That clear blue sky yesterday? It's gone. Most of today was Winter grey and then the mist moved in, followed closely by fog. Visibility is about 1/4 mile.

So, I'd said we'd gotten a 13" TV. It's a Magnavox with an internal DVD player. The first attempt at making the DVD work was a success. I tried out The "Knitting Glossary" DVD and it was purr-fect. I was purring a bit about it, myself! Note the innovative antenna stand. It's a bottle containing white sand. Clever, no? Well, heck, the antenna won't fall over with that much weight in the bottle!

Then there's the 7-drawer Sterlite chest. Currently its abode is in the hallway behind me. But the best part is...its contents. That's an antique dresser drawer and a half of J&S 2 ply jumperweight yarn you see there! Giggle.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

1st 2009 Saturday Sky

Today brought a beautiful clear sky but temperatures in the low 30's.

It ended up being an afternoon to run over to the nearest Wally World to check out the items in their circular. Sure enough, they did still have a couple 7-drawer chests and plastic Christmas tree boxes. The 7-drawer chest will be the first of 'more'. DH saw them first at Linda's and thinks they would be a perfect design feature for my yarn stash. We dragged one of each around the store while also purchasing a new 13" TV for the bedroom and then over to the Produce department for some apples, oranges and avocados.

Friday, January 02, 2009


We're just sockin' around lately. Here is the progress on the Bella Coola Sock#1. It's about 2/3 of the way down the foot toward the toes.

Other than that, I've been getting my bibliography listing together a bit and started on my knitting history for Basics.

Today is DH's last official day of vacation and he's been busy doing all kinds of things;so, no time to be bored! Several school districts in the area went back today. Talk about a short Christmas break!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What're ya doin'...

On this New Year's Day, I wish you a fiber-filled, energetic year complete with learning, joy and happiness.

Although I don't make a list of resolutions or goals or anything like that, I have found it intriguing that I am not the only one to feel energized as New Year approaches and sort and clean some, even before decorations are down!

This year my learning will be to finally stop procrastinating and to work on the TKGA courses. Santa brought the Basics course. I wanted this one first as it will program me for the Levels and I will be in sync with the program. We Virgos need to have a handle on things. (Go ahead, make all the Virgo jokes, I'll wait....) Yarn Elf will be working on it, too! Camp registration is the first full week of February. Ravelry makes the knitting world like a knitting group.

Still there are a couple of WIPs awaiting. The Bella Coola Sock#1 is growing. More on her later.

...better go check the sauerkraut and ribs....