Sunday, December 31, 2006

Guess what I forgot to do when I turned the heel. That's right, forgot to add that nifty little reinforcing thread.

As for the pooling, I kept thinking I was going to have an increased number of stitches at the turn- forgetting that the short row geometry adds distance without adding stitch numbers.

And look at that, the pooling didn't shatter- it just keeps spiraling around until, mysteriously it decided to switch direction up here near the top of the leg.

I am a little bit concerned about getting a real soft stretchy bind off. I think I will try the "Russian Bind Off" which I found on in this very informative listing of Laurie B's Toes and Heels.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

This yarn is starting to pool a bit as the foot takes shape. This is not a self striping yarn- the patterns are coming from a very shallow angle of stacked color. The pure red sections of the yarn are only about 7 inches long. I don't mind the pooling at this point- but I imagine that when I get to the heel and the leg this striped effect will be broken up into a homogeneous mix. I think if I was doing a sock pattern which had a knit texture- I might be annoyed by the dominant pooling effect.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I gave a friend some sock yarn for Christmas (and bought myself some too!) The sales girl assured me that one large ball of the gift yarn would complete a pair of socks. I feel a little wary and didn't want my friend to have any more sock knitting frustrations (I won't elaborate... but let's just say that she deserves to have a nice trouble free knit by now) So upon gifting I suggested that we use her scale and my ball winder to split the ball in half and she knit the socks from the toe up till she runs out of yarn. She's game- but neither of us have done toe up socks- so it will be a learning experience for the two of us.

Beth, from Crafty Canines Stuck on Socks suggested that I try the classic toe up pattern from Wendy Johnson. Last night I tried my first provisional cast on and it was pretty fun to unzip that cast on chain. I'm still not the most secure short row knitter, but the miters of the toe seem to have fallen into place and the foot is getting right going now. I had to rework my stitch counts a little because I'm only getting 6 stitches to an inch on these size 2 needles.

The yarn is Lang Yarns "Ja Woll" and it came with a nifty little spool of single play thread... duh... I was thinking it was for finishing, forgetting that socks really don't have finishing- so why would they have that in the package!? Silly me- it's a strand of reinforcing thread, and I didn't figure that out till just now- so I guess one toe is not going to have reinforcing- but both heels will.

There is some really bright news on the farm- our hens have started laying again. It was so hard to even use store bought eggs when we are so spoiled on farm eggs. The baby managed to get on the table today and knock a few fresh eggs together- since they were cracked already I thought I'd open them onto a plate and show a color comparison between two of our eggs and an egg from a factory farm. Not only are these farm eggs coming from happy pastured poultry, providing a much more beautiful food - they are lower in calories, lower in the bad cholesterol and higher in omega 3 fatty acids than eggs from battery hens. If the visible evidence right on this plate here is not enough - read this great article from Mother Earth News. Here is a chart which shows the nutrients of eggs compared- so why does the American Egg Board say that “The nutrient content of eggs is not affected by whether hens are raised free-range or in floor or cage operations."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Here is the picture which almost didn't happen. In the first week of December I took the baby to the doctor for his one year well baby check. The baby is thriving and healthy, but I was fighting a mean sinus infection. We joined John for lunch and then took him back to work.

I sat for several minutes in the mall parking lot and tried to muster the courage to get all three kids out of the truck and into the core of the mall for a photo and visit with Santa. I could barely breathe and the thought of the task was almost too much- but I pulled it together and decided that there are some things you just have to do- so we went for it... only to be turned away from the back of the long line because Santa was going to lunch. This event seemed to set the tone for the rest of the month of December.

Near the end of the month John suggested that we give it one more try and he would meet me after work and provide the moral support and whatever else it took to get these kids onto Santa's lap. I didn't manage to get out of the house on time, so John had to kill an hour waiting for us before we all went into the mall together. This time when we got to the amazingly short line to see Santa- we were greeted by a lady with a clipboard and an imposing tower of stacking beepers. What a brilliant merchandising concept- allow people to wander around the mall shopping rather than spend time not shopping on the Santa line. Only thing was, the "wait" was an unusually round number- two hours. Hmmm.... who came up with this one? Poor John, to think he had just spent the past hour waiting for us in the parking lot.

We got to test out the new food court, complete with it's uncleanable glass tabletops, lousy acoustics, strangely malfunctioning modern toileting systems and creepy claustrophobic safe room style nursing closet. (I think we will have to revisit this allocated nursing room topic again.)

At least when we finally got to visit Santa, Angus didn't cry, he was very interested in looking at Santa and they could barely get him to break his focus to look around at the camera.

Monday, December 25, 2006

This curtain was my Christmas gift to Fiona. It's about $50 worth of materials and 6 hours of labor, I got the fabrics on sale- and I'm very happy with the finished result, much nicer than any of the other "indoor play tent" arrangements I have seen in catalogs. It was a trick to tailor it because I had to factor for the slope of the ceiling when I did the scallops up at the top. I also was doing all the work in secret and away from our home... so that was the biggest hurdle. Big thanks go out to my friends who helped with babysitting! Does anyone know if there is a proper name for this type of curtain/headboard arrangement?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I try so hard to keep my blog positive that the setbacks of late have left me with a bad case of writer's block. I can't figure a way past this hurdle other than stright over it and I'll be damned if I am going to let the problems of jobs poorly started take the blog out as well- so here goes. It turns out that the contractor we were working with was no good on many levels. Beyond that discovery, we lost our weather or hope of finding anyone else who could do a proper job, what needs to be done - it simply isn't possible to do what needs to happen in freezing or unpredictable weather. We had to face the facts that this job was not going to get done this year, so we wrapped it up... literally.

I hope my friends understand that my Holiday Greeting is not a joke about Jesus, it's a joke on me... because I had really hoped on decorating the cabin with some classic porch lights and a wreath on the door with white candles in the new windows... you can close your eyes and imagine it for me can't you?

Oh, and while you have your eyes closed, you may want to keep them closed and not scroll further if you don't want to see a picture of me skinning a deer. This deer was a gift from John's boss. We skinned it and quartered it at his hunting farm in Kentucky. After we brought it home John did all the hard work of the finish butchering in the kitchen while I went out shopping. We haven't had steaks for a while and boy the were delicious- John is really quite a chef!