Monday, August 29, 2011

The Blueberry is Dead Monday, August 29, 2011

My son, James, and I drove to Orem, UT last Friday.  We were driving him to his new job with the Utah Regional Ballet  and college at Utah Valley University.  He has been driving our old minivan, which he calls "the Blueberry," for the last 2 years.  We took it in to the Dodge dealership to get it all ready for the drive, 150,000 mile check up, new tires, brakes, radiator, all the gaskets replaced, etc.  About $2000 in repairs. 

We left at 3 am, driving east on I 90 then southeast on I 82 and I 84 through Washington, Oregon, and into Idaho.  Very beautiful driving, but it was 90 - 100 degrees F.  At about 2 pm, 20 miles west of Twin Falls, Idaho, the car stopped accelerating, then just... died.  James was driving and managed beautifully to make it to the side of the highway and stop under an overpass in the shade.
We called AAA and they sent out a very nice man who hooked us up and drove us to town.

The oil pump had failed, and we "blew a head gasket."  The engine was destroyed.  Our choices were to put in a used engine for about $2000, a rebuilt engine for about $3000-4000, or abandon the car for scrap.  The repair shop will pay us $150.  Well, we chose the last option.  The car's bluebook value is only $3000.  We rented another minivan, transferred all of James's stuff, and drove on.  With the dead van delay, and all the highway expansion projects in Utah, we arrived at his new apartment at about 11 pm. 

His very nice roommate, Lance, came down and helped haul all the boxes up to James's room.  We then headed for a nearby motel for the night.  James unpacked the next day (Saturday), we bought him all the extras he needed for fixing up his room and starting school. I flew back home on Sunday afternoon.

What does this all have to do with knitting? 

I had hoped to knit while James drove his part of the 14 hour trip.  In fact, I was knitting Allie's Rain Socks when the Blueberry died.  Once we rented a new van, however, my knitting while driving ended.  James is only 18, and since the rental company charges more if drivers are under 25, I did all the rest of the driving.  I did have a chance to knit while James unpacked on Saturday, and again on Sunday while I flew home.  I was hoping to finish up the Rain Socks, and get going on Hannah's Ballet Socks.

I am ALMOST finished with the Rain Socks.  I just have to decide how wide I want the ribbing at the top to be, and what type of bind off.  Then I will wash and block them and they are good to go.

I have the toes of Hannah's Ballet Socks about 1/2 way done.  In other words, I am barely started. We have tickets for the Mariners vs Angels game this Tuesday night.  I plan to KNIT like crazy at the game.

SKA Sock Down news:

2 yarn packages arrived while I was on the trip to Utah. 

The yarn for Samantha's Glass Slipper  Socks is here.

It is "Midway" Shepherd Sock by Lorna's Laces.  I think the purplish gray beige colors will look a lot like glass when it is knit up.  I am excited to get going on this pattern, but can't start until the Sept. 1 official start date.  I have rolled one ball so far, though, and will knit up a swatch to get ready.  The pattern calls for 9 x 11  on #1 needles.  That means, probably, that I will try #0 needles as I tend to knit loosely.

I also received my "light green" yarn that I ordered on EBay.  I thought it looked pretty "chartreuse" in the photo, and am happy to see that while it is not BRIGHT chartreuse, it is pretty chartreuse, rather than just light green.

It is by Kuka Yarns, and is their Wool De Luxe Fine.  I am hoping to knit the Mock Sock Mystery challenge.  I have absolutely no idea what that means, what it will look like or anything, but I am willing to go for it.  The yarn is really a very cool color.  I bought 4 skeins.  My nephew, Jacob, said he liked green, and my great-nephew Zach likes green.  I might be able to make them matching socks. 

We shall see.

Now to finish the last row of the Rain Socks and bind them off.

Long Live the Blueberry.

C. A. Losi

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Looks Chartreuse to Me Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I have joined Sock Knitters Anonymous on Ravelry.  They do this year-long knitting challenge called:  Sock Down.  It starts in September and runs through the next August (hence the year-long part).  Every month there is a sock knitting challenge.  Participants have 2 months to complete the challenge.  People who complete are then entered in a drawing for prizes.

I AM SO EXCITED.  Can you tell by my caps lock?

Actually, I'm nervous but excited (and no, there is no music or choreography joining in).  The goal of the sock down is to push knitters to try new techniques and new designers.  Well, that is not hard for me.  Actually, every sock I make is a new designer (if it is not designed by the author of Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks).  And I know that technique only...

We can't cast on until September 1.  I am really hoping that doesn't mean we can't "swatch."  I am busy swatching all the sock yarn in my stash.  All 5 different yarns.  Swatching takes me forever, as does all knitting, and I don't want to have the wrong gauge 3 times delaying the CO (cast on) of a challenge.  I am mostly using my size 0 needles, as that seems to work for when they ask for size 2 or 1.

The challenge for September has 3 different designers, all members of Ravelry, all with free patterns on the site, or knit a sock all one color:  Chartreuse, or do the knit-a-long mystery sock designed by Lise Brackbill (menagerie on Ravelry)

1. 3 designers

They are:  Caoua Coffee, Cailyn Meyer or Janneke Maat. Wow.  I checked them out and the designs are beautiful.  But O!  for someone who has made very simple socks so far, so complicated. And, all the designs I found are top-down.  That super scares me.   I chose a design from each of them and emailed it to myself so I could print them all out (I usually write this on my laptop which is not attached to a printer, whereas my desktop computer is).  

I can't decide which design I will try.  Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.  It would help if I could decide for whom the socks will be made...  Samantha wants a pair of "knee socks."  I could do that without a pattern, just doing some type of ribbing like the socks I made for Zachy.  But, O!  if I could make her one of these.  Also, my niece, Hannah, has a birthday in September.  She likes pink.  I was going to make the "Ballet" pattern from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks.  But as it gets closer to Sept 1 and I have not finished Allie's Rain Socks 3rd try (more on these), I am afraid to start another sock project.

2. Chartreuse Sock

I have been reading the thread for September in the group, and there is a lot of angst about what actually is Chartreuse.  Most of that angst is coming from me!  I have very little yarn in my "stash."  Mostly because I haven't been knitting for long, but also because I am really trying to stay sane about buying yarn.  I am trying to buy for specific projects, then KNIT THEM!

I checked Pacific Fabrics, Jo-Ann's, and Michael's since we don't have any real yarn shops any more in our city (and we are the 4th largest city in WA).  I saw some chartreuse, but nothing in a sock yarn.  I spent 2 days searching on-line for chartreuse sock yarn, and everything I found was out of stock.  People in the group were posting photos of their yarn in the thread (lol that sounds funny, very fiber oriented).  I would then look up that particular yarn.  Always sold out, out of stock, etc.  I don't have to use chartreuse.  I can use any yarn I want for the 3 featured designers or the mystery knit-a-long.  But, it has become a weird obsession.  I must have chartreuse yarn.  

Finally, I found some yarn on Ebay.  I have no idea if it is actually chartreuse.  It is named "light green."  It is always so hard to tell true color from photos on a computer.  I bought 4 skeins of it : 4 x 100gr Skeins KUKA WOOL DELUXE FINE Yarn Light Green.  Who am I kidding?  if it is not  chartreuse  I will be disappointed.  But the dye is cast, so to speak.

People in the group were freaking out about what is really chartreuse.  If you don't use the right color, your socks don't count for the prizes.  As my friend Zeke (in my online game Aion) would say, "FOR GLORY!  and medals."  or in this case Prizes.

3. Mystery Sock

I plan to use my "chartreuse" yarn to knit the mystery sock.  It is a "mock."  WHAT IS THAT?  I have no idea.  A mock sock?  a mock heel?  maybe the latter.  If it is mystery, how do you know it will fit?  again no idea.  I knitted the mystery shawlette this summer from WendyKnits.  It was really fun.  I am definitely going to do this part of the challenge.

4. Goals

We have 2 months to finish each month's challenge.  Though a new challenge will start in October, I could work on September's challenge until Oct. 31 and still have finished on time.  What is my goal?  Well, my stated goal is to finish 1 sock for each challenge.  That is a sock a month.  The goal of my heart is to finish 2 socks for each challenge.  The goal I will accept is to finish a sock every 2 months, learn many new techniques, and have fun.

5. Allie's Rain Socks 3rd try.

Disaster struck last night 3 different ways:  a. I somehow dropped an entire row.  I don't know how I did it, but I managed to pick up every dropped stitch.  This was really hard as they are very tiny, the ribbing makes it very hard to pick up the purls, the light in the TV room where I usually knit was low as my husband was watching TV, my eyesight is not the best after 5 hours of knitting.  b. I messed up the k1p1 ribbing.  How could I mess up such an easy pattern?  Well as I increase for the gusset, this pattern calls for working back into the ribbing, which means every row I have to alternate knit or purl.  I am incapable of remembering which to use.  Again, the light was dim, and I had some trouble telling whether I was supposed to start with a knit or a purl.  I tried to knit back, but this yarn is a bit splitty if I have to go back.  So finally, I just gave up and went on.  I hope it doesn't feel too weird.  c. I got off (somehow picked up an extra stitch) in the heel of the first sock, so that pattern, too, might look a bit weird for one row.  I am just muscling onward.

C. A. Losi

Friday, August 19, 2011

Stash News Friday, August 19, 2011

Yay!  I got mail!  Yesterday I got a delivery from Webs Superstore.  4 skeins of Valley Yarn Huntington Mauve (color number 21), and 2 skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Sock Fragrant

I want to knit the "ballet" pattern from my Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks book for my niece, Hannah.  She likes pink, and is a dancer.  The pattern specifies the Valley Yarn Huntington yarn.  I never use the yarn specified by a pattern.  I always think I know better, and, well, I just like different yarn sometimes.  This always leads to gauge problems.  This time, I decided that I would use the yarn used in the pattern.  2 problems:  they didn't have pink (it is on back order EVERYWHERE), and when I clicked on the "comments" by customers, they all said that although it is a pretty yarn, it "splits."  I am going to try it anyway.  The Mauve is ...  almost pink?  dark pinkish?  Well, I hope Hannah likes the color anyway.  As I am still working on my 3rd try Rain Socks for Allie, I will "work" on these socks, um... how do I say this?  They will be my "sit and knit" project for the bathroom for the time being. 

I cast on 32 stitches, and am swatching in the round right now.  I am actually using the specified needles, too, size 1.  I was going to drop down one size, since I think I knit loosely, but I will try to go with the pattern exactly.  If the gauge is off, I will drop down.  I have decided to knit the swatch in the round this time, since my last gauge swatch was so off.  I think it is just too different when I knit all K instead of back and forth with rows of K and rows of P.  We shall see.

Speaking of "sit and knit,"  I have been really sitting and crocheting.  I have been working on motifs from my Irish Crochet And How To Make It book on Kindle.  I still am not sure what I am going to make with these little bits...  So far I have made:
Rose and 2 leaves,

A wild rose motif which includes:

The full Wild Rose.

 A "half-rose,"

a Rosebud.

And various sizes of Wild Rose Leaves:

This one is the "large" leaf.  I especially like how the picots look like pointy edges on the leaf.

As you can see, none of this is put together.  I need to lay it all out, and crochet "stems" connecting all of the parts.  As the leaves have those cool picot edges, I will crochet picots on the stems to be the "thorns." 

I also have been working on a "Blackberry" motif.  So far, I have made 4 "large leaves."

You can see how different these leaves look from the both the Rose Leaves, and the Wild Rose Leaves.  I love how round they seem. 

Anyway, I am taking a break from this to get started on Hannah's socks.  So, I will be working on both Allie's Rain Socks and Hannah's Ballet Socks simultaneously.  I might make a copy of the pattern of one (or both) since the 2 projects will be kept in different locations.

My goal today is to get to the gusset of the Rain Socks.  I have about 5 rows to go.  Definitely do-able!

C. A. Losi

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Goodbyes Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Last night we had a goodbye party for my son, James, who is leaving in 1 week to attend Utah Valley University and dance in the corps of the Utah Regional Ballet Company.  He is thrilled.  We are thrilled.  He is the first student from his very tiny studio (also the oldest) to get a paying job dancing.  We had the other students from the studio over after class/rehearsal (they are working on a modern ballet) for a small party.  Lovely to have all the girls here, and one male friend (Logan) who took at the studio part time 2 years ago, as well as my youngest son, Luke, who also dances.

I am so excited for James.  I am so sad to see him go.  He is a great kid.  I will miss him so much.  I keep waiting to get, I don't know... tired? of my kids and eager for them to move out.  I do not feel this way.  I want them all to live on our street and come over Sundays for dinner.

Today I took Luke to the DOL (Department of Licensing) to turn in all his paperwork and make an appointment for his driving test.  WOW, we waited 1 1/2 hours, but the people who work there are very nice.  The guy set us up with a driving test on Saturday morning.  I am so excited for him.  He is a good, careful driver.  I don't know how many people can say that about a 16 year old boy. 

I spent the time at the DOL working on the 3rd try Allie's Rain Socks.  I am about 1/2 way down the foot.  I hope to be working on the gusset by the time we drive out to North Bend on Saturday for the test.  I figure I will be on the heels next week. 

Growing kids, growing socks...

I got my first issue of Interweave Knits.  LOVING IT!  I will talk about it tomorrow, although I have already poured over this issue.

C. A. Losi

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gauge Nightmares Saturday, August 13, 2011

I just want to make a pair of socks that fit my daughter perfectly.  Is that too much to ask?  The Rain Socks (2nd try) were looking super skinny.  Remember, Allie complained that the first pair I knit were knit way too loosely, so I dropped down 2 needle sizes.  I broke one of my beautiful wooden needles trying to knit tighter in size 1 needle.  I am now using size 000.  The stitches are beautiful, and I don't have to worry about being super tight.  Also, there seems to be no laddering at all.  

HOWEVER, These socks are soooo skinny.  

So I remeasured and my stitches/in are way off.  I can't make an accurate gauge.  IDK why this is so hard for me.  I've been knitting with a 7 stitch / in gauge, and it's really more like 10!  Allie said the socks fit easily on 2 toes.  The beautiful yarn will stretch over her foot, but that's now how they should fit.  And, I know she will never get them over her heels.  So big do-over #3!  At least I had only completed the toes and about 1/2 of the toe - gusset.

7.9 x 10 = 79, this just seems so huge.  And 78 ends up with odd numbers on each needle,
so 76 for 100%

100 % = 76
75% = 57
50% = 38
25% = 19

Toe to Gusset length (TGL)
X = 10 1/4 in (desired sock length for size 7)
Y = 56 stitches [gusset and heel cup (75% of sock width - 1)]
Z = 11 (rows / inch)
X - (Y / Z) = 10.25 - (56/11) = 5.06818 inches

Total rows 5.05818 x 11 = 55.75 rows (rounding down) to 55 row for TGL
Toes = 19 rows
foot = tgl - toe = 55-19 = 36 rows

I will make the toes, then knit 36 rows, then start the gusset increases.

Tearing out yet again!
C. A. Losi

Friday, August 12, 2011

Moving day Friday, August 12, 2011

I helped my daughter, Allie, move her stuff out of storage and into her new apartment.  And by "I helped," I mean, my youngest son, Luke, helped.  I mostly supervised.  It seemed like I carried box after box from the storage place to the suburban, then into her apartment, but it was really Luke who carried most of the stuff.  He carried the mattress and box springs, and the TV.  He is 16, but Oh, so strong.  James was supposed to be helping, but he was watching "Troy."  Wow, I was so mad at him.  It took 2 trips, and James did show up for the last trip, which included the couch.  The couch was super heavy.  The only thing we still have to move is her dresser. It is still at our house and has a big mirror attached.  It needs to be taken apart.  Am I bad because I don't want to do any of the heavy lifting?  I want the boys and Mark to do the heavy stuff.

I have finished the toes and 21 rows of the feet of the Remake of Allie's Rain Socks.  It is going somewhat slowly because I am using the 000 needles.  It seems nice and tight, though.  And I am not trying to knit super tight. 

I have made 2 blackberry leaves for my new Irish Lace motif.  They are really neat looking.  Very round.  Honest.  I need to bring everything downstairs and photograph it all so I can post photos.  I am having so much fun making these lace figures.

I have been reading the Sock Knitters Anonymous group notes for the Sock Challenge for 2010.  It started in September.  I really want to do the challenge this year.  I know it will really push my knitting abilities.

I was also reading the newsletter from Interweave, Knitting Daily about their Knitting Lab Event.  I was just reading the headings of the different classes offered.  I was so tempted.  It was like (excuse me if this offends you) knitting porn!  There are classes offered that teach different cast ons, different bind offs, different heels and toes, as well as specific projects.  It would be impossible to choose!

Some day I will go to a knitting convention.

C. A. Losi

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bad me! Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1. Bad Me

I have not been blogging... wow, or doing much knitting, either.  I have been cleaning out my office/craft/sewing room, which we call "the cave."  We were audited by the IRS.  Well, we received a letter saying we owed money because we (meaning I, because I am the one who does the taxes) had missed something in our incredibly complicated yearly taxes 2 years ago.  So, since I had to find the form (the IRS was right!  I had missed something), I decided to clean off my desk.  As I was cleaning off the desk, I noticed that there was a spot on the ceiling above my desk.  Not that the papers were piled that high, but I don't look up much in there.  There seems to be something leaking.  The Cave is in the basement, directly below the kitchen, and the spot (it is definitely mold) is right about where the sink is.  That wall also is an outer wall, so it could possibly be something from outside... Like rain runoff hitting the wall and seeping into the foundation?  Anyway, I need to call our contractor friend ZP, and have him come make a hole in my wall/ceiling, and stop the leak.  The desk must be cleaned off for that to happen.

2. Good Friends

One of my good friends from my Disneyland days came up on a flight (she is an attendant), and since she had almost a full day layover, we met in Seattle, and spent about 5 hours together walking around the Pike Place Market.  If you haven't noticed, I wrote a children's picture book set in the Pike Place Market:  Salt & Pepper at the Pike Place Market.  It is one of my favorite places.  Such color.  So many things to see and taste.  It is truly a local spot.  Of course, in the summer it is full of tourists, but that somehow makes it more fun.  We walked a bit, ate lunch, found a coffee shop (not the original Starbucks, it was way too crowded), and had coffee and fudge.  And we TALKED.  It was so fun to catch up.  She has one daughter, and it was great to hear what her daughter (a talented singer) was doing.  I hope they can both come up together and spend more time with our family.

3. Car Talk

My 4th child, James, is soon headed off to Utah to dance with the Utah Regional Ballet and go to Utah Valley University.  We are letting him take the old family minivan.  We took it to the dealer to have its 150,000 mile check up.  $3200 !!!  to fix all of the leaking gaskets and hoses, and put in a new radiator.  It needs new tires, also, and brakes.  That is not a part of the $3200!  But he has to have a car, and this should last him through college, with only oil changes, I hope.  Yesterday, I drove with him to the dealership to drop off the car.  Then, I drove James to the orthodontist to get his braces off.  I dropped him off there, drove home and picked up Luke.  We both picked up James, and went on to the Dentist where the 2 boys had their teeth cleaned.  The one good part of that was:

4. Knitting

At the dentist, I was able to knit a bit.  I have finished the toes of Allie's Rain Socks (2nd try), and started on the ribbing pattern for the foot.  I have a photo of the toes.  I will post it next time. 

5. Roses and Blackberries

I have been working on my Irish Lace Crocheting.  I have finished the motif of the Wild Roses, except for the stems, and am starting the Blackberries.  I am still not sure what I will do with them all.  I can't decide if I want to make a pillow or the "opera bag."  I know I want to make something for my mom though.  I think she would love anything I make from that book.  It is all so cool.

C. A. Losi

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Scream You Scream Thursday, August 4, 2011

1. Allie's NEW Rain Socks

I completely unraveled the rain socks, and am trying them again.  Here is the math using size 000 needles, the beautiful 40" Addi Turbo Lace Circular Knitting Needles

Toe to Gusset length
X = 10 1/4 in (desired sock length for size 7)
Y = 47 [gusset and heel cup (75% of sock width - 1)]
Z = 11 (rows / inch)
X - (Y / Z) = 10.25 - (47/11) = 5.977 inches

Total rows 5.977 x 11 = 65.7 rows (rounding down)
Toes = 20 rows
Foot = tgl - toe = 65-20 = 45 rows

I will make the toes, then knit 45 rows, then start the gusset increases.

I'm not sure I am measuring correctly when I make my gauge swatches, but I got the same number of stitches per inch (7), though somehow I got 11 rows per inch!  I am making the wider sock... I just don't believe that gauge.
Last time I knit these however they turn out.  I have other orders for socks.


We   (ok, I) bought an ice cream maker :
 I am so excited.  My husband's brother and family just moved from New Hampshire to Tuscon, Arizona, and I wanted a really good housewarming gift.  They have 3 kids:  5, 3, 2.  What could be a better way to deal with their new climate than homemade ice cream?  While I was shopping online, I decided that I wanted one, too.  

Last night I tried to make my first batch.  ROFL.  I used a recipe from How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food , one of my all time favorite general cookbooks, for Strawberry Ice Cream.  This is the real deal, with 6 egg yolks, and heavy whipping cream.  First, I got the cream too hot and it curdled.  I thought, well, it might still work... so I put it in the machine anyway.  30 minutes later, it still wasn't ice cream, so I decided to actually check the directions.  WOW, you are supposed to actually freeze the machine's mixing bowl first.  Who would have thought...  So I dumped my grayish curdy sludge, washed out the mixing bowl, and put it in the freezer.  This morning I made new cream/sugar/egg mixture, and this time it looks perfect.  It is in the refrigerator, chilling.  When we start dinner, I will take everything out, pour it in the frozen mixing bowl, and by the time we are done with dinner:  Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream.

I can't wait to try it.

3. Walk

I walked 1 mile around our neighborhood today.  I am so proud of myself.  I woke up at 4 am, and thought, o no!  I couldn't fall back asleep but got up about 5:30 and hit the street by 6:15.  When I finished the first block (starting north from our house) and reached our street, I was sooooo tempted to turn down and just walk home, being happy with 1/2 mile.  But I kept on walking and did the 2nd (south side) block, which makes it 1 mile.  Yeah me!

C. A. Losi

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

OMG! Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I have so much I want to say, but I know that not everyone will want to read all my rambling, so after I am done, I am going to come back and put in a Table of Contents for this post.  Not sure how to make it so you can skip ahead, but at least you can scroll down to a new topic.

Table of Contents:
1. What is Wrong with the Neighbor Kids? - we get egged
2. Walking/Weight - I start exercising
3. Writing - I have ideas for new books
4. Knitting - sock update

5. Sock Knitters Anonymous

1. What is Wrong with the Neighbor Kids?

We were egged yesterday.  I am not kidding!  This has got to be the most annoying activity of the kids in our neighborhood.  When I was a kid (now I sound like my mom), we Tee Pee'd (toilet papered) houses of kids we liked.  Here, when kids are mad at you for what ever reason, they egg your house and/or car.  It started for us when my daughter, Samantha, made cheerleader at the end of her sophomore year.  For the next 2 years, we were egged regularly.  But, Samantha graduated from high school a year ago.  We haven't been egged since last summer.  WHY NOW??  They egged her car, my car, my husband's car, and the garage door.  My guess is that they either never got out of their car, throwing from the window.  Anyway, it was a huge mess.

2. Walking/Weight

I used to be in amazing shape.  About 5 years ago, although I was overweight (about what I weight now in fact) , I worked out every day.  I walked or did the elliptical for at least 1 hour, then lifted weights for another 30 - 45 minutes.  I was walking in our neighborhood also, 3 - 4 mile at a time.  Then I decided that it was getting out of control, and it was like an addiction (also, I did not lose any weight during this, in fact I gained 20 pounds).  I was working with a trainer and he kept saying that once I got some muscle mass (which I did), the pounds would fall off.  BUT THEY DIDN'T.  So I started a diet and completely stopped training.  And I lost weight, but got horribly horribly out of shape.  I gradually gained back all the weight I lost.

Here I am now, overweight and horribly out of shape.  My back aches.  My legs ache.  I have trouble sleeping at night because my hips and lower back hurt.  I have lost 30 pounds this year, and am back to where I was 4 years ago, when I was STARTING to lose weight.  Wow, but at least I am on the way down again.   I have to start walking again or I am a bit afraid that I will lose the ability.  I walk like an old woman.  I am 51!  When I was in Pittsburgh and Chicago, I had to walk and do a lot of standing (we waited in line for 1 1/2 hour for the Sears Tower).  And I thought I was going to die.  When I got back, I told myself that I had started walking, and I was going to keep it up.

On Tuesday I walked 1/2 mile around the block.  This is much harder than it sounds as we live on a steep hill.  It is almost harder for me to walk down the hill because it hurts my knees and hips, than the cardio horror of walking up the hill.  I don't even try to walk briskly.  I am happy that I am putting one foot in front of the other.  Today, I decided to go walk the track at the high school, but it was closed when I got there, so I drove to the grocery store, then walked around the parking lot and did a lap of our little mall, it was about 1 mile.  It took me forever (about 45 min), and I definitely did not get any cardio exercise, but I did it.  My lower back was aching and my legs, too when I was in the grocery store.  I have to keep this up.  I am hoping that eventually, the aching will stop.

3. Writing

I have my 3 books listed on this website, and also some of the books that have my poems as part of their collections.  I have not done any real writing for quite a while.  LOL!  Really, I haven't written since I stopped walking.  I used to walk for about 1 - 1/2 hour each day.  On the walk I would think about story ideas, or the picture book or poem I was working on, and when I got home from the walk, write for about 1 - 2 hours.  I was amazingly prolific during that time.  I didn't sell any of the stuff I wrote, but I was really writing.  I have ideas for 2 new picture books (I didn't come up with them while writing, but while knitting).  I am determined to work on them.  In many ways, I would love to just come home from walking and knit.  But I need to start writing again, and now that I have these ideas, I am inspired.

4. Knitting

Now to the topic that actually fits this blog.  I have finished Zach's Red Hot Socks.

These are not blocked, but they are "ends woven in."  I don't think that I will bother to block them.  I will just wrap them up and mail them out.  I want them to get to Zach in time for his birthday.

I need to take apart Allie's Rain Socks.  There are too many mistakes (they are too long, the heels are wrong, they are knit a bit loosely).  I want to remake them.

I got some new needles in the mail while I was in Pittsburgh/Chicago.  I originally knitted the Rain socks on size 0, but I think I will go down 1 or 2 sizes, now that I have some 00 and 000.  I don't like to have to knit super tightly, but I want the knitting to be tight.  They are Addis Lace Turbos, like the 0 I used when the beautiful wooden needles broke.  They can be a bit slippery, but it's not bad at all, and they shouldn't break.  That is key.

5. Sock Knitters Anonymous
I joined the Sock Knitters Anonymous group in  They have a year long challenge that starts on September 1.  I am so excited!  It will be horribly challenging (hence the name) for me, but I am going to really try to do it.  I like socks because they are such short projects.  But I still have to finish up James's Aran Afghan, and make an afghan for Luke!  I can do this all.  But I want to stretch my knitting skills, and also, get to know more knitters.  I need to be more active on Ravelry.  I hope this will force me out of my shy shell.

C. A. Losi