Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween Monday, October 31, 2011

This is a morning post, but I will try to take some photos of my generic Jack-O'Lantern and post either tonight or tomorrow. 

As tomorrow is November 1, I can cast on some new socks for SKA Sockdown!  and also the Solid Socks Group challenge.  I have to double check their group pages, but I think you can cast on at midnight, Eastern Time, which is 9:00 pm here!  So, I might just be casting on some sweet new socks tonight. 

I have dithered back and forth about the patterns and yarns to choose.  I plan to go for a two-fer, as my family calls it, or as it seems to be called in Ravelry, double-dipping.  The challenge in SKA is Man Socks.  I have many men in my family:  Doc, 3 sons, numerous brothers-in-laws, tons of nephews, 3 great-nephews, 3 god sons, etc.  Also, I have a good friend (M) who has not been diagnosed, it keeps changing, but it's something really horrible, like a form of ALS, or some kind of neurological/muscular wasting thing, where he is now in a wheel chair, almost unable to walk.  Anyway, his wife asked me to make him some socks, as his feet get cold.  But they have to be super stretchy because his kids are helping dress him now, and they need socks that are really easy to get on.  Did I say he wears a size 11?  His feet used to be pretty wide, too, but I'm not sure now, with the atrophy, if they have narrowed.  I hate to ask her to measure him.  Somehow that seems intrusive.  His hands are pretty claw like, also.  I have wondered if he would like some fingerless gloves.  Last time I saw him (about a year ago), the disease was just beginning to show, and he was keeping his hands in his sleeves, or in pockets, so his kids wouldn't notice. 

So, I want to make a pair of socks for Doc, and M.  And well, me.  I sit here knitting and typing sockless.  I never make stuff for myself.  Well, I made myself a sweater about 25 years ago, but my daughter, Allie, discovered it and took it.  So 2 pairs of man socks, and socks for me in one of the featured designers .  So back to the 2-fer:  Solid Socks wants us to make socks in "Autumn" colors.  M wants blue.  Doc wants socks he can wear to work.  So I am going to take inspiration from a poem I wrote:

Color Change

The sun has not come out today.
The clouds and fog lie gray on gray.
Inside the house it's cloud-dark, too,
with nothing fun at all to do.
So, I'll run out into the gray,
and chase the gloom and wet away
until the sun shines, ray by ray.
I'll change the color of the day
to blue.

I will make Doc a pair of gray socks, and M some blue ones. I have been buying yarns in blue, trying to get something good for M.  I'm waiting for some to come in, so I will probably not cast on for M tonight, unless I get a package in the mail.  I do have this yarn in my stash:

Kertzer On Your Toes.  I think it would work for M.  So, I might just cast his on after all. 

I have a pretty brown heather in this yarn also.

That would make nice socks for Doc, if I don't find a gray I like.  I think I need to yarn shop to get some gray.  I thought I had some, but, I don't. 

For myself, I bought (ok, I'm super weak) some amazing Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn

The color is "red."  O! but what a red.  It totally reminded me of the burberry bushes in our front yard.  They have these amazing berries in the Fall

And their leaves also turn a gorgeous shade of red:

So, can I make 3 pairs of pretty large socks in one month?  I hope so!  What patterns will I use?  Well, I will probably make the Mock for Doc, and trust the designer to make something truly wearable.  For M's, I will either design a simple ribbing, or look for a simple man-sock pattern.  For myself, I have been looking at the suggested designers for November for SKA, and have queued up a few.  I will choose one of those.

The big problem is that I am still knitting on the Mystery Sweater for the Sharing Our Gifts Across America Group.  I have made big progress, but am not finished.  I have almost finished the body:

this is the front:

 and here is the back:

Muffin loves it.

The front is finished, and I am alllllmmmmmooooooossssssttttt done with the back.  Then it's the arms and the finishing...  Can I work on 3 pairs of socks and a sweater?  I hope so.

C. A. Losi

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hannah = Hermione or The Heart of Knitting Friday, October 28, 2011

Life & Knitting
I have packed Hannah's Hermione's Everyday Socks and will mail them out today.

Old cheap video mailers, those cardboard mailers meant for videos (remember those?) are a nice size for hand knit socks.  I included a little note with the designer's inspiration for the socks, and some care instructions.

The thing about knitting something for a specific person is that you think about that person while you knit.  I made myself a sweater about 26 years ago.  Other than that, all my knitting/crocheting/sewing has been for others.  I sit here typing in bare feet.

So, I'm knitting these socks for my niece Hannah, and I'm thinking about her the whole time.  I am the middle child of 5.  We are all in a row, Brother, Sister, Me, Sister, then 5 years later little Sister Amie.  Hannah is the oldest child of my "little sister"  Amie.  She is right in between (age wise)  my own daughters, Allie and Samantha.  We lived all over the country when we were first married because the Doc was first in Med school, then training, then training, and so on. So, although she is close in age with my girls,  I knew Hannah mostly from photos.  Thank goodness for the internet!  Although Amie and her 3 kids live in the Mid West and we live in the Pacific Northwest, I have gotten to know them from facebook and email!  Of course it's not the same as growing up in the same town, but still, it is a way to know their interests, their talents, their loves.

My family has always been seriously in love with the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.  I heard about the first book on NPR, bought one and read it aloud to them quite early.  My sister, Amie, did the same.  So although living so far apart, the kids have always had this mutual love of wizarding.  For her 20th birthday, Hannah got to visit the Harry Potter Theme Park in Florida.  Really, it was a dream come true for her.  So, you can see these socks are a perfect match.  Here are some photos of Hannah in Florida:

Amie is on the left, Hannah the right, standing in front of the Hogwarts Express.
Some house-themed socks they bought at Filtch's Emporium.

Knitting for others, the time involved, the thought and care in choosing the right pattern, yarn, etc.  These gifts are truly from the heart and IN the heart.  Just making these socks gave me a chance to get to know my niece better.

I hope she enjoys them.

C. A. Losi

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Eastside Knitting Guild Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Last night, as I was getting in bed at about 11 pm, my little cat, Selena, asked to go outside, as usual.  This has been happening for about 2 years, now.  She goes out just as I get into bed, and, her usual pattern is: just as I am falling asleep, she scratches to come back in.  Whether it takes me 5 minutes or 1 hour to fall asleep, she manages to time her Come Back In scratches perfectly.  Except, lately she has changed her routine to, just as I fall asleep, she scratches on the french door (we have a back deck that runs the length of our house) , I get up and open said french door, and she backs away and runs.  GOTCHA!  I will get back in bed, then as I am falling asleep again, she scratches on the door again.  Now why don't I just leave her out?  Well, we sometimes get coyotes and racoons in our yard, and I don't like her to be out all night...  Anyway, last night I had had it with this game, and the first time she knocked, I opened the door and stepped outside to grab her and just BRING HER IN, and omg, I stepped into a spiderweb, right across my face.  Now, we live in the pacific northwest, and we don't have many bugs, but we have tons, I mean tons of spiders.  Especially in the fall.  Tons of big spiders building webs all around the eaves of our house.  And I walked into one at about 1 am.  So, I'm wiping and dancing around outside on our deck in my nightgown at 1 am, brushing my hair over and over again and shaking my arms and brushing all over making sure that there is no spider on me.  Of course, this time Selena calmly walks into the house...  I get back in bed, and have a horrible time falling asleep because I am sure all night that there is a huge spider in the bed.  Wisely, I never tell the Doc any of this.

Monday night was the monthly meeting of the Eastside Knitters' Guild.  They hold their meetings at the community room in Crossroads Mall, which is super close to where I live.  Meetings are 6:30 - 8:30 pm the 4th Monday of every month.  What a nice group!  We started with a few updates, then they had a "speaker."  I guess they sometimes have technique teachers, etc., but this was a Feldenkrais therapist.  Her name is Irene, and she went over some easy exercises to relax and reteach ways of using muscles during knitting to relieve or prevent stress and strains.  The gist of it was to use variation and attention to how you are moving.  One of the questions we had was how to relieve tension.  Her suggestion was to deliberately knit with EXTRA tension, then relax back to your usual tension.  This will eventually teach you how to knit with less tension all the time.  I didn't find the wrist exercises very helpful, but the turning ones actually felt good to me.  She had us turn and look right, then work at turning using our shoulders, coming forward and back, also arching or rounding the back as we turned, holding in the stomach muscles, etc, just trying to really FEEL what muscles in addition to your neck are being used when you turn.  By the end, I was turning more fluidly and quite a bit farther.  One of the funny things about the presentation was that every so often Irene would have to ask us to put down our knitting.  Ha!  well, that's what we do.

This group is seriously into charity knitting.  Some of the projects they discussed were:

Project Linus.  This group provides blankets to kids in hospitals, shelters, etc.  Anyone in need of comfort.  The Eastside knitters knit and crochet (many of the members are also in Eastside Crochet Guild) as well as put together felt blankets and donate them.

Operation Holiday Stockings:  This group makes, stuffs, and sends holiday stockings to US service men and women overseas.  You can donate stockings (they have a pattern on the website) or money, or goodies to be stuffed!  Here is a photo of some of the stockings made by the Eastside Knitters' Guild this year:

That is Renee, displaying her stockings!  They deliberately try to use many colors so all soldiers can enjoy a stocking, even if they don't celebrate Christmas.

The 3rd charity the group is participating in right now is the Special Olympics.  The group is busy knitting and crocheting scarves in red white and blue to be given to every participant in the event.

After the updates, and the therapy!, we went around the room and had a show and tell of projects.  Of course, many of the members showed the stockings, blankets or scarves they were knitting, but in addition to all this wonderful charity knitting, there were other fun projects as well.  One member made a darling baby sweater, and another had a book of knitted animals to share.  Amigurumi.  I am so sorry that I didn't make a note of the book's title.  But the patterns make animals that are a few inches high.  This member (I didn't get her name...) was using super bulky yarn and big needles, and getting these really cute LARGE stuffed animals.  So clever!  I might try that myself.  The one she was making almost looked like a pillow pet.

I definitely will go back next month.  If you live on the Eastside (for those of you in the Seattle area, you know that means the east side of Lake Washington), you should check it out, too.


I have finished my Hermione socks!

They are on the blockers, and I should be able to mail them out tomorrow.  I want to include the blurb from the pattern about the Hermione Granger inspiration, and some care instructions.  I know she will love them.

Today I had to take my car in to get the oil changed and the tires rotated.  Somehow they didn't notice (nor did I) that the right headlight was out.  I'm kinda mad.  Oh well.  Got to fix that ASAP.  But, anyway, at the dealership, yes I have to take my car in to the dealership to get the oil changed, for some reason JiffyLube won't change the oil on hybrids, I was able to knit knit knit on the Mystery Sweater!

Before the oil change

and after:

No kidding, I knit about 15 rows.  I am on the stockinette stitch part, and it's pretty boring, but very fast.  I will be at the armpits in no time.

Not having any socks on my needles, I am just Itching to cast some on, but I am resisting the urge.  I want to wait for November 1 so I can cast on projects for both the SKA group and Solid Socks group challenges.  I have to dig out James's Aran Afghan, and alternate the Mystery Sweater with the afghan when I am bored.  That should help with the single project syndrome.

C. A. Losi

Monday, October 24, 2011

Knitting Groups Monday, October 24, 2011

Today I am going to a monthly meeting of the Eastside Knitters' Guild tonight.  Here is their post in the "Sheepless in Seattle" Group in Ravelry: 

The Eastside Knitters Guild meets monthly in Bellevue, WA. Fun people, awesome knitters, and lots of activities, including great opportunities to hook up with charitable orgs. There's a small membership fee to sign on, but you can come as a guest to check it out.
Details are at:

I have been wanting to find some type of group to join, something that meets once a week, bi weekly, or monthly.  Just somewhere to go on a regular basis to hang out with fellow knitters.  This group meets at a Mall right near my house, so it is really perfect, location-wise, anyway.  I will try to get a sense of what they are all about.

If you can't tell from my posts, and the books I have for sale here, I am a children's writer.  When I was writing more regularly, I belonged to a writers' critique group which met every other week.  It was very helpful in keeping me motivated to write regularly.  Also, you can find out what is happening in the writing world, publishing news, etc.  And the support is wonderful.  Writing is a lonely business.

I am hoping that this Eastside Knitters' Guild will serve the same purpose.  I don't really need motivation.  Goodness knows I have to force myself OFF the needles rather than on them.  But, still it is really motivating to see other people's projects.  IRL.  (in real life).  Ravelry serves the same basic purpose.  It is  community of knitters, cheering each other on.  I have joined 3 different sock groups.  Why?  Why?  I just love scrolling through everyone's entries for the various competitions.  Yarns, patterns, techniques, etc.  So much fun!

Anyway, I will report back on how the meeting goes.  Keep your fingers crossed.


I am almost to the toes of the Hermione socks!  I am very excited by my progress.  Yesterday, my husband, Doc, and I drove Samantha back to Portland State University.  She was home for the weekend because she was miserable with Mononucleosis.  Doc drove, so I was able to knit the entire 3 hour drive there.  Unfortunately, it was too dark to really knit on the way back, but still, I need 2 more iterations of the 4 row pattern and I will be at the toes!  I should finish tonight or tomorrow.  That would be my 3rd SKA entry on time!

Here is what the socks look like now:

This is a front view, and a side view.

I also finished the bottom pattern band on the Mystery Sweater I am knitting for the Sharing Our Gifts Group:

I double checked the gauge, and it is still 4 st/in.  So the width should be good for size Medium.  Here is an attempt at a close-up of the pattern.  It is very difficult to see pattern in dark colored knits.

You can kind of see a row of arrows running around the bottom.  Now comes the boring part though.  I will now knit about 50 rows of st st.  KKKKKKKKK  forever.  At least it should go fast.

It is interesting how the flash turned the black yarn green...

While I was down in Portland, I got my daughter, Samantha, to model the Glass Slippers Socks I made for her.  She told me she likes to wear them with boots, pulled up over her pants, so people can see the socks:

I also took time this morning to photograph and enter some yarn that had been just lying in a bag into my Ravelry Stash database.  I am hoping to become more organized this way.  So I can know when I really need to buy yarn.  It is so tempting to buy buy buy.  I vow I will knit with what I've got for a while at least...  I need to knit down a bit of all my goodies to justify more yarn purchases!

C. A. Losi

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quick Post with Math Saturday, October 22, 2011

I saw this cool book, The Sock Knitter's Workshop , so of course had to buy it.  It has many things that are new to me, like different shaped toes and heels, picot cuffs, etc, that you can mix and match into your sock designs.  

I have one complaint about it, though.  Everything is given in numbers instead of equations.  For instance, at the back of the book are some charts for heels and toes using different yarns such as  "Heel Sizes with Fingering-Weight or 4 Ply Sock Yarn."  They then give the number of stitches for every size from children's size 5 to women's size 15.  Wouldn't it be easier to give measurements for those sizes, then designers/knitters can figure out how many stitches to cast on with a simple equation?

number of stitches to cast on = width in inches X gauge in stitches/in

The number of stitches varies with your gauge AND the size of the sock you are knitting.  If you can't get your gauge exact, the sock will not fit.  Let's say you are off by 1/2 stitch.  You are knitting 7.5 stitches/in instead of 8 st/in.

Reversing my little equation I gave above:  Number of stitches cast on / gauge per inch = Width in inches

with a gauge of 7.5 st/in and 64 stitches in the pattern:
64 / 7.5 = 8.53 inches width

with a gauge of 8 st/in and 64 st in the pattern:
64/8 = 8 inches width

this is .5 or 1/2 in difference in the width of the sock with just a 1/2 or .5 difference in stitch gauge.  If the gauge is off by 3/4 of a stitch, the difference is greater:

 64/7.25 = 8.82758  which is more than 3/4 of an inch difference. 

Below that line, there is a line that says how many stitches should be on each needle. For instance, if you have cast on 64 stitches, then using 4 needles:  16 stitches/needle.   Really?  Knitters can't divide the total stitches by the number of needles?

Anyway, here is some of the math for the foot part of Hannah's Hermione socks:

(sorry that I switch back and forth between fractions and decimals)
Foot length: 9.5 in
heel & gusset 3 5/8 in
Toe 19 rows (from pattern)

foot length - heal & gusset length :  9 4/8 - 3 5/8 = 5 7/8in
5 7/8 in x 12 rows/in = 70.5 rows
70.5 - 19 = 51.5 rows of foot pattern (rounding down to 51)
the pattern is 4 rows, so 51/4 = 12 3/4 iterations before beginning the toe decreases.

This math is not hard.  I think I will look at the stitch charts and try to make more equations for myself.  These can be used in EVERY occasion, truly tailoring each sock, needle, yarn combination to fit the particular foot.  The only problem comes with pattern.  If you cannot get the the gauge (I never seem to be able to do this), you will have to add or subtract from a pattern, changing the look a bit.

C. A. Losi (former Math teacher)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Life Happens Friday, October 21, 2011

I was all set to super CRANK on my Hermione's Socks for Hannah .  But we received a frantic call from our daughter, Samantha, who is going to school in Portland, OR, and I had to drive down and get her.

Not to worry.  She had a horribly sore throat all week, and I do mean Horribly sore.  It came back positive for mononucleosis yesterday.  But before they diagnosed the mono, the doctor thought Samantha had strep throat, so prescribed an antibiotic, I believe it was amoxicilan.  Anyway, yesterday, Samantha had a bad reaction to the antibiotic, and broke out in hives.  Her whole body puffed up, including her face.  As she put it:  her face is one big hive.  Really, her ears are puffy and swollen.  She has ugly sores all over her arms, legs, torso.  Poor kid.

It is about a 3 hour drive to her college, Portland State University.  I got the call at about 11 am.  LOL!  I was in the middle of  a stitch on the Hermione socks. I know this, because when I got home, and picked up my knitting, the stitch was ready to take off the needle.  Anyway, about 7 hours in the car with all of the traffic on the way back.  I wanted to take a photo of Samantha, really someday I am sure she will laugh at this ..., but she will have none of that.  So you will have to just imagine a big puffy fat face on my beautiful daughter.

Before I left, I had finished my goal of 3 rows on the Mystery Sweater, and was almost finished with the gusset of the Hermione socks.

I was dead tired when I got home, but I managed to finish the gussets.  This sock has a very cool heel.  There is a "modified eye of partridge" heel, with the right side rows alternating k1 s1, and s1 k1 every other row.  This gives the heel some strength, but  seems to keep the simple pattern going.  Also, the first 3 stitches of each side are done in garter stitch, forming a nice frame for the heel.

I had also dropped down a needle size, to 00, so these flaps are nice and tight.  Isn't the pattern gorgeous?  Here is what the inside (wrong side)  looks like:

I finished the heel turns:

and here is what the socks look like now, with finished heel flaps, heel turns, and gussets:

 I need to measure how big the heel and gusset are so far, regauge the knitting on the foot, and then chart out/figure out how many rows I will do for the toes so I can decide how many rows to knit of the foot.  Hannah wears size 7.5, my guess is that I won't be knitting too many foot rows.  But it is better to take time to do the math before, then have to frog back later!

Seriously, I love these socks.  They are beautiful.  They feel wonderful.  They are almost finished.

C. A. Losi

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hermione Has Legs! October 19, 2011

I walked yesterday, and if grocery shopping, then taking 5 loads of groceries into our house counts as walking, I walked this morning.  I don't think it does, so I will make an effort to get off the couch and walk this afternoon.

We have been having absolutely lovely Fall days here in the PNW.  The air is crisp but not cold, the skies alternate with featherings of clouds and unblemished blue.  The moon is visible in the mornings, and as I crest our hill, I have the moon in the East, and the lake and Mountain in the West.  A small haiku about the morning moon:

As I walk out of
Fall, the morning moon wanes from
gibbous to crescent.

Knitting Knews!

I absolutely CRANKED on the Hermione Socks for Hannah.  I am finished with the legs and ready to begin the heels. 

The texture pattern is so simple and subtle.  I might try to get a photo in natural light so you can see it better.  Easy Peasy (if you can count to 4, which I sometimes have trouble with, and have to go back and fix).  Again, I am still in the throes of my love affair with the Madelinetosh Tosh Sock Yarn I am using for this project.  I will finish at least 1 of the heels today, I vow this. 

O!  almost forgot, I dropped down to size 00 circular needles.  I feel like I am knitting tightly.  The bent shape of my needles tells me that I am knitting tightly, but I just couldn't get my gauge right.  I was stuck at 7.5 st/in which was making these socks super wide.  Hannah has wide feet, but I want these to be wearable socks, and they were too wide, even for her.

I have also begun my Mystery Sweater for the Sharing Our Gifts Across America Group.  160 stitches cast on.  Wow, a lot bigger than a sock... but truly, since I'm used to making socks TAAT (2 -at-a-time), and socks usually have about 64 stitches each, it isn't that many more stitches.  Also, the yarn is DK weight, and so is knitting up quickly.  I am almost finished with the bottom band and ready to start the first pattern repeats:

I am throwing in a photo of my son, Luke, modeling his new Watercress Socks.  They aren't blocked, so look really wrinkly, and they seem a bit big, but he is not wearing them over ballet shoes (which they are meant for), but look at his gorgeous arch!

  What nice ballet feet he has.

C. A. Losi

Monday, October 17, 2011

These are Chartreuse Enough For Anyone! Monday, October 17, 2011

I walked today.

It is already pretty dark in the mornings here, and there were clouds on the horizon, but they were lifting as the sun rose over the Cascades, and by the time I got to the top of our hill, Mount Rainier was visible.  Wow, it is great to be alive and living in the Pacific Northwest.

I finally finished my Chartreuse Socks for Luke, the SKA Mystery Sock (Watercress Socks).

These socks and their pattern held many "firsts" for me.:  First mystery kal sock, new M1L M1R, First sock with pattern on the heel, first sock with pattern on the gusset, first sock with a conditional cast on/ruffled top band.

Here is a photo of the socks before I got to the top:

at this point, we had to do a conditional cast on in some waste yarn, then knit the top band PERPENDICULAR to the top of the socks.

conditional cast on:

beginning the top band.  We used the same chart and pattern as that which is repeated on the body of the sock, only sideways.  So cool!  It formed a wavy pattern, a ripple, that makes the top look like a ruffle.

This shows the first half of the first sock.

I wasn't sure if I could keep up the 2aaT, but I thought that I would at least start out the first sock that way, then if I need to slip one sock onto a different set of needles, I would.  But, somehow, though the needles got a bit confusing at some points ( i was using 2 circular needles), I was able to knit the first side of Sock A, then all of Sock B, then the second side of Sock A.

I must admit, I am very proud of myself.

Now I will crank on the Hermione's socks for Hannah.  I hope to get these finished, blocked, and mailed BEFORE October 31.

For a sit and knit project, I have cast on a Sweater to make for the Sharing Our Gifts group.  The yarn is so much bigger than sock yarn!  And the needles (size 8) seem so huge in my hands.  I am using black Wool-Ease, by Lion Brand Yarns.  That is one of the acceptable colors.  It is easier to keep clean than white (another acceptable color), and though it might be a bit tough to knit such dark yarn, it won't show my errors!

C. A. Losi

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ravelry! Saturday, October 15, 2011

I have had a link to the knitting/crocheting site, Ravelry, on this blog for a few months now, and have been a member of the site for about 1 year.  My daughter, Allie, suggested that I join .  Allie is a crocheter (she made my fabulous project bag for mother's day in 2010).  I have slowly gotten involved in the site.

As a person who grew up without computers, (my first computer exposure was in college where I learned the language Fortran at Notre Dame for an engineering class, we programed on a main frame computer using punch cards), I love computers, I LOVE the Internet, but am sometimes slow and cautious when exploring and understanding new applications.  I am finally exploring and using more and more of the offerings on the Ravelry site.

I have joined some groups. Of course, SKA (Sock Knitters Anonymous), but another few sock groups such as Sock Off 2011 (we will commit to making a sock a month, which should coincide nicely with ska), and one dedicated to the 2aat (2 at a time) sock making method.  This group seems to be more interested in helping each other with questions and possible errata in the books.  I also belong to a "local" group, Pacific Northwest Ravelers.  I wish I were more active in this group.  I wish somehow this group had monthly "meetings, " or something like that.  It would be nice to meet more of my fellow Ravelers who are local.  One nice result of belonging to that group was my trip to Bainbridge Island and the visit to the Churchmouse Yarn and Teashop.

Just this month, I have joined 2 more groups.  One is called "Cover to Cover Quest."  This is a group of people who want to knit or crochet every project in a book.  I am usually the type of person who buys a recipe book, then makes 2 things from it.  I am really intrigued by this idea, and am busy trying to decide which book I will knit through.  I will probably do one of my many sock books.  There are a few people using
by Cookie A.  I own that book and will probably try it first.

I am seriously tempted to do something crazy, however.  I have been looking at a book of knitting patterns,
  My husband, the Doc, gave me this book more than 5 years ago, when I started knitting again after a long absence.  I loved the designs which range from lace to cables to color patterns like brocade.  However, they were all given as charts, and wow, that was GREEK to me.  I now understand how to read charts, and prefer them to written instructions, and am giving this book another look.  I want to try these patterns!  I was thinking that it would be amazing to make a square of each pattern, and simply sew them into afghans. Or perhaps make them into socks?  I did say that my idea was crazy. 

The final group I have joined is Sharing Our Gifts Across America.  This is a group that takes up a need in each state, and knits or crochets to fill that need.  The latest request is for warm solid color sweaters for low income intercity kids in Connecticut.  What could be more worthy?  I have downloaded a sweater pattern, and am planning to hit my LYS (probably JoAnns), to look for yarn.  I have made 1 sweater EVER, and that was right after I was married, like 25 years ago, and living in St. Louis.  Not sure if I can actually knit a sweater.  Not sure if I will have time to knit a sweater on top of all the socks I have planned.  But O!  what a great project.

So, if any of you reading this blog are NOT members of already, please give it a look.  Free patterns, encouragement, community, ideas, organization, really it is an amazing site.

C. A. Losi

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I walked today

Happy Birthday to my husband, Doc.  He is 1 month older than I am, so for this one month, we will make many jokes about his age.  All such joke will cease abruptly when I join him in age.

I love living in the Pacific Northwest.  It is so amazingly green here, all of the time.  I just got back from visiting my son in Utah, and while the drive there was beautiful, and the snow on the Rockies was beautiful, it is very very brown.  Even though our deciduous trees are turning red, orange and gold, our evergreens (Washington is the Evergreen State for a reason) are well, ever green.  As I was walking today, I kept thinking how nice all my neighbors' yards look.  LOL!  I often wish they would put up small signs naming their plants.  There were some ornamental grasses that are turning reddish, and looked super lovely.  I wonder what they are?  There are still some flowers blooming, black eyed Susans, and some kind of daisy.  Also, the dahlia's are still blooming, as well as mums and pansies.  I'm thinking of buying a flat of pansies to plant over my daffodil and tulip bulbs in our large pots that line our front deck.  They might bloom all winter, and then the bulb plants can push up through them in the Spring.

I wrote a small poem about the lengthening nights when I got back from the walk:

October Walk

The autumnal solstice
passed weeks ago. 
Each night lasts
longer, each sunrise  
happens later.  Kids 
waiting for the school
bus, queue 
in darkness, chatting 
sleepily, oblivious 
to the constant
drizzle, too tired
to notice the sun
lazily creeping over
the Cascades blushing
their faces orange.

Back to knitting

I have finished one heel of my Watercress Mystery Socks for Luke, and am working on the 2nd sock.  I hope to have it finished today, and be well onto the legs.  I have again cheated and read ahead on Clue 4 which is the top.  It looks very challenging.  The first heel did not go smoothly, I think I counted a bit wrong.  Why is counting so tough?  It looks ok though.  I am once again, just muscling through.  It is impossible to go back at this point.  

I am working on Hermione's Every Day Socks for Hannah.  Wow, they are so beautiful.  It is a very simple pattern, again, can I count to 4?, but with the gorgeous yarn I am using, they will be amazing looking. 

I am in love with Madelinetosh Tosh Sock Yarn.  Seriously thinking of dumping my husband, Doc, and just marrying the yarn.  But as it is Doc's birthday, I will stick with him.  

C. A. Losi

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Orem, UT Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hello!  from Utah!

I am sitting in my hotel in Orem, Utah, where I am visiting my son, James.  He is dancing with the Utah Regional Ballet, and they have their first show of the year this weekend.  I love watching ballet, and to see my son dance in his first professional show, is a dream come true.

I drove up yesterday, a 13 hour trip, from Washington.  I left at 4 am, drove as far as Yakima (about 2 hours) and had to pull into a gas station and take a nap in the car for about 1 hour.  It was dark and rainy, and as I passed over the Cascade Mountains, there were patches of fog, really I was probably driving through some low clouds.  Scary nighttime driving.  When I woke up from my doze at 7 am, the sun had risen, and the driving was much nicer.  The drive is down I82 and I 84 through Washington, into Oregon, cut the corner of Idaho, and then south on I15 through Utah to Orem.  Absolutely beautiful barren countryside the whole way.  When I got close to Salt Lake City, I was at a high enough elevation that there was snow dusting the side of the road.  Again, beautiful, barren, countryside.

I tried to take a photo with my phone as I drove down the raining winding highway...

 You can't see much but clouds and wet pavement and maybe a little bit of snowy mountainside...

Anyway, I'm here, waiting for the performance tonight.  I woke up early, as usual, and knit while waiting for James to get up so we could go to lunch together.  I managed to finish up the 2nd clue (the gusset section) of the Mystery Watercress Socks for Ravelry's SKA's Sockdown 2001 September challenge.

First, here is the completed Clue 1 (the toe and foot)

and here are the socks with the completed Gussets (Clue 2):

I tried to expand it a bit so that you can see that there is a pattern on the gusset.

I am now ready to start Clue 3 which is the heel flap..

So far the directions have been pretty easy to follow.  I am a bit worried about clue 4, the legs, as I have cheated and looked a bit ahead.  There is some kind of fancy ruffled band at the top.  Just reading patterns sometimes scares and confuses me. But I have found, if I just knit direction by direction, I can usually figure things out.  Knitting is one of those wonderful things that you really learn by doing.

Samantha's Glass Slippers

Samantha called from college yesterday to tell me that she has received her Glass Slippers and they fit perfectly!  I am so glad.  I need to get a photo of her modeling them to post here.  Also, I want a photo of Allie in her Raindrop Socks.  I will force Luke to model these Watercress when I finish them.

C. A. Losi

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quick note with info

This is just a quick note with the information on the Watercress Mystery Socks I am knitting for the September Sockdown challenge.  Ok, I know it is already October.  I started them in September, though, so if I can get them finished before the end of October, they will still count.

Here is the math on them so far:

Mystery Watercress Socks
for Luke

Start Date:  Sept. 15, 2011
Completion Date:  ?
Pattern Used:  Watercress Socks by Lise Brackbill
Yarn:  Kuka yarns Light Green
Needles:  Addi Turbo Lace #0
Notes:  first mock (I'm assuming this means mystery socks, 2nd sockdown socks)
Link to my Project Page: [calosi's watercress socks](project)

size men's 11
11 in. long  sock

38 st/4.5 in = 8.44 st/in
28 rows/2.5 in = 11.2 rows/in

for regular instep, work until sock measures 2.9 in shorter than total length
so 11 - 2.9 = 8.1 in
at 11.2 rows/in this is 11.2x8.1 = 90.72 rows

toe is 1 + 1 + 1+  (76-21)/2= 32
90.72 - 32 = 58.72 rows

the pattern is 28 rows,
so almost 2 repeats before the gusset.

I have finished 1 repeat of the pattern.  it is a quick pattern though, so I should be able to crank out a 2nd repeat in no time =)

I posted a photo on this blog this morning, but I will re post it so you can see them again.

Sockdown October! October 3, 2011

FINISHED!  Yes, I have finished the Glass Slippers Socks for Samantha.  They are washed and on the blockers. 

Again, don't look tooooo closely, but still, I think they look great.

Ok, Sockdown October has started.  I made myself finish up the first September entry before I let myself cast on something for October. 
This month the challenge is:

Technique: Texture other than ribbing formed by knits and purls OR Beaded Knitting OR Holiday Stocking or Sock

Designer: Stephanie Etting verybusymonkey

There were some VERY lively discussions about what constituted a Holiday!  LOL, I love this group.  Basically, they decided that any holiday could be represented, even my favorite, Talk Like A Pirate Day.

I decided to try for a pair of socks for Hannah again.  This time, I am trying a "texture other than ribbing formed by knits and purls."  I'm making Hermione's Everyday Socks  using some gorgeous Madelinetosh Sock Yarn in the Fragrant Colorway:

This photo makes the yarn look a bit darker than it really is.  I think they will be beautiful, and Hannah is a true Harry Potter fan.  I know she will love them.

But, before I get serious about the Hermione socks (they will now be my "sit and knit" project), I will start cranking on my Watercress Mystery Socks for Luke.

I have almost finished the first iteration of the main foot pattern, and am almost ready for the gusset:

Here is a closer look at the pattern:


I have printed the 2nd set of "clues," and am excited about moving on with these socks.

Isn't it nice to have goals?

Isn't it even better to reach a goal?

Here is to success!

C. A. Losi