Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Socks

These are made from Punk Junkie yarn gifted to me by my buddy Betty. I knit the body of the socks in k1p1. While making them, they decided they were Sifu's birthday gift this year.

The green socks were knit from Knit Picks Esssential™ Ivy Kettle Hand-Dyed Yarn (also a gift from Betty) using the cauchy pattern found in Sock Innovation created by cookie a (that's her name)(honest). It's a great book with all sorts of really valuable information including a formula for making the heel flap turn.

The sock on the right is a "plain vanilla" sock ala the Yarn Harlot's book, Knitting Rules. What I like about the plain vanilla sock is that it's just knits. I made a pair, two-at-a-time, toe-up on a magic loop (60 in. size US2) in just two weekends and about 5 evenings. I always wondered how long it would take.

Now, if Hoffman would just use something besides really sharp tiny gravel bits in their parking lot so I wouldn't get them into my shoes and chew through my socks (two pairs already--I want to learn something besides holding the socks over a trash barrel and saying "darn, darn, darn).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

David's sox are finally done

David's sox started modestly enough. Toe up, two-at-a-time 100 stitches on a 60" magic loop size US1.

I started these in December of 2008. Since I have a day job, I wasn't able to make as much progress as I'd have liked. He was (sort of) patiently waiting for me to finish them.

They are just a little bit loose. I hand washed them but I think once around in his front-loader washer will bring them down just a little bit. These next two photos are more accurate colorwise.

Thanks for modeling them David!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Ride

These lilies grow by our deck at the campground and are always so pretty.

And if you aren't on Facebook and haven't seen all the photos there, here's Sunny!

And the red lilies.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

San Antonio, Texas - Part Two

Along the River Walk in San Antonio, there are a lot of ducks and this very interesting Black-Crowned Night Heron.

Remember the Alamo! We took a nice tour and listened to some history of a battle that could not be won but fought by men who truly believed in the cause.

The King William Historic District is an area just south of downtown with a couple dozen really big mansions. I took a lot of photos but am only showing the niftiest.

Click the photos to embiggen and see the great details in each picture. The people who built these homes truly were craftsmen.

This one was restored as a museum and we could have toured if we'd only been there half an hour sooner. We didn't feel like waiting another two hours for the next tour.

This is a more modest home that has a black lava rock chimney. Amazing.

Just look at the brickwork detail.

Friday, July 03, 2009

San Antonio, Texas - River Walk

San Antonio is HOT this time of year. It was 103-4 a couple days in a row. While David was off at the convention center for the ASSE convention, I wandered quite a bit.

River Walk is a loop of water below street level in downtown San Antionio. It is mostly restaurants, but there are a few shops as well. Even a CVS. There are several little bridges to get from one side to the other.

You can hear these fellows singing and playing Mariachi as you walk along or dine.

We at lunch here one day.

This is one of the fountains along the walk.

There are boats used as taxis. You can also take a very entertaining 30-minute tour of the River Walk for less than $10.

Michelle Schmidt and I took a walk to the King William Historical District (photos in another blog). This is the walkway we took on the return trip.

Now it's time to go. It's the Fourth of July and I'm going to find a swimming pool and tomorrow there's roast pig.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Stuff of spring

Betty and I attended the Land O' Lakes District spring contest in Steven's Point, Wisconsin. Because photos are not allowed during the contest, I don't have much to show. And because of a failure in communication with a fellow at work, I had to take work with me. I put in enough hours to make up for not being at the office Friday. Anyway, there are these.

What does "nuclear free zone" mean for a convent?

Skunk Cabbage -- Not smelly yet. Just odd looking:

On the needles -- Cauchy socks:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ah, Spring.

A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away... .

OK, here in Minnesota about 20 years ago, I used to take off work on my birthday, April 1st, to go to Taylor's Falls for a hike. I haven't been able to do that since then because it's always been way too cold and icky. Winter has moved at least one month into spring. Actually, I think all our months, weather-wise, have moved one month later.

So yesterday, when the weather was predicted to be in the 80s, and since I'm being forced to not work (no pay--they call it a furlough and say it's better than being laid off), I drove to Taylor's Falls. Actually, I went to the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River to Interstate Park.

These might be anenomies.
I gave my flower books to Ben and Steph so I can't look them up.
The white ones look like wild strawberries.

Ah, I love the natural pine smell of the forest floor in the warmth of the day.

These are the ones that look more like strawberries.

Lake O' the Dalles Trail on the SE side.

A view of the river.

A pothole.

I first walked up the Ravine Trail. The map says it's only .5 miles long. For someone who hasn't been hiking lately, and who is just a little over weight, I thought I was going to die from a heart attack. When I saw the 260 feet rise notation on the map, I felt better about myself.

From the top of the Ravine Trail, I turned south west on the Skyline Trail. (I'd wanted to walk the Meadow Valley Trail but it's under water. Actually, the picnic tables just north of the parking lot were in an inch or so of marshy water. And I forgot my hip waders.) Anyway the Skyline Trail is about 1.6 miles and mostly down a very gentle slope. The only green things visible are the flowers I photographed.

Digital photography has given me the option of taking enough shots to be sure to get one or two good ones. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get the camera to focus on what I want to take a picture of when it's in macro mode.

Skyline Trail ended in the Pines Group Camp area. After an outhouse stop (I know, TMI), I hiked a trail that parallels the Eagle Peak Trail but instead of going up it goes down further to the South Campground. I came out on the south end of the campground. Turning back north east, I hiked to the Camp Interstate Shelter where I had my lunch.

From there I headed to the Lake O' the Dalles Trail and walked the south eastern side of the lake. After my afternoon snack and general laziness reading my book, I drove up to the Pothole Trail to do some more relaxing. I thought about knitting but couldn't bring myself to do more than one round.

Around 3:30 p.m. I drove into Taylor's Falls and had some chocolate almond fudge ice cream with a cone.

On the way home, I thought I'd stop at the little bar/restaurant in Marine on St. Croix. Unfortunately, it is closed with a For Sale sign on the door. Too bad. It was a great place to stop, especially when riding the Gold Wing, for a brew and a burger.

One thing nice about this time of year is there are few bugs. There were some black flies when I first started out but they disappeared along the Skyline Trail and never returned. No mosquitoes. Also, no kids and no dogs. I think I only saw about 5 cars.

Being a loaner I like that sort of hike. In my humble opinion, there are too many people in the world and most of them are next to me most of the time. No offense intended. That's just the way I am.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sorry I took so long

I learned some time ago to throw my own birthday parties. This year was a visit to Jensen's Supper Club in Eagan. The supper club is a restaurant format that has never, ever gone out of style. And Jensen's does it well. The food is excellent, the service attentive and prompt, the atmosphere conducive to conversation. I can't say enough good things about it. (Hint: Their martinis and gimlets are very generous so plan to spend a fair amount of time sobering up before driving home.)

While gifts were not requested nor totally expected, they were welcome and not refused. This is one of two pairs of lovely sock yarn that Betty got for me. Ivy Kettle Hand-Dyed Essential (tm) (75% Superwash Merino Wool and 25% Nylon). Uber soft.

The next is the Bordeaux colorway of the same yarn.

Here are CJ and Sandy, friends I've known since the mid 1980s. That's Ben on the left.This lovely lady is my tai chi chuan teacher, Sifu Phyllis Calph. I've been with her for 16 wonderful years.

Here's my small cut prime rib with a bit of creamed spinach and some mashed potatoes. Very, very good. When I said rare, they did rare. Yum.

Betty is on the far left, then Stephanie and Ben.

No birthday dinner is complete without a very chocolate birthday cake and whipped cream on top.

Back row: CJ, David, Ben, Stephanie. Front row: Sandy, Betty, me, Sifu and her husband Ed.
It's good to have so many wonderful friends. Unfortunately, Nikki couldn't make it as she was out of town.

Typical of Minnesota, the next day was snowy. This was taken at 9 a.m.

David had left the camera on an odd setting, but I think this really speaks to the feeling of this sort of weather on April 2.

It took so long to get these up because my 4 GB card couldn't be read by my old card reader. Had to go get a new reader.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Calms my nerves

Misti Alpaca: 80% Baby Suri Alpaca, 20% Silk
Hand Paint Baby Sury Silk - Sugar Sand colorway
From Paradise Fibers

Click to embiggen.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Viking Knitted Designs

Not much blogging lately. David "invited" me to join Facebook and I couldn't exactly say, "No." What it means is there's one more online place to keep track of. But it's also kind of fun.

Anyway, last weekend Betty and I went to Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to take a class from Elsebeth Lavold. (No link here. I don't think she has a website. Google her and you'll get links to places to buy her many yarns and books.)

This photo, since I didn't ask for permission to post her photo, is of her back. It shows off the lovely vest she was wearing. Very simple design. It ties under the arms and has a split front. The photo also shows a sample of the types of things we were learning in the class.

Here is my class project about half way through. Once we learned how to follow her charts and how to make cables without using a cable needle or cable hook (not nearly as difficult as it first seemed...just a little scary), then we learned how to turn a 90-degree corner.

There were actually two classes, the second of which didn't end until nearly 5 p.m. So Betty and I asked for recommendations and were told to try Stella Blues. Their website is kind of fun. Anyway, I had the Guinness Ribs. Like the Jack Daniels barbeque sauce you get at the chain restaurant but made with Guinness. Very good. I took half home and ate that Sunday afternoon.

Here's my class project after the corner has been turned. Cool, huh? Elsebeth, when questioned about Celtic Knotwork. She sighed and said that all of these designs originated around the fourth or fifth centuries and can be traced to Scandinavia, the British Isles, Western Europe, and even as far South as Western Africa. She did say that the Irish "are somewhat insular" about "their" designs. Then she smiled and went on with her teaching.

Interesting view of the back. You can hardly see the purl stitches...they so thoroughly rise to the top, as it were. This swatch is about 3-inches wide on size US 7 needles.

Yellow Dog Knitting had some bulky yarn on sale so I bought a couple huge balls of it. These are size US 17 needles. The pattern portion of this sample is 7-inches wide.

And here is the back side.

So who wants this one?