"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman

12/10/19

Barred Owl

We have a Barred Owl who has moved into the neighborhood. I was standing in the sun-room yesterday morning contemplating the beautiful sunrise and something huge flew by the windows, catching my attention. It landed on one of the garden fence posts. I went to see if it was one of our resident Bald Eagles, and was surprised to see an owl. Of course I ran and got the camera. My telephoto lens was all the way out for these pics.



Isn't he gorgeous?



He was sitting in the shade surveying the garden patch, when something caught his attention. He flew over to the corner garden post in the sunshine.



He spent a very long time (almost an hour) watching something there in the corner. I suspect a mouse.



He never did swoop down. Just sat there watching. His head swiveled around in a most amazing way.


I read a bit about him via Google. (Remember, Google is your friend.) It's a native species of eastern North America, but it's territory has spread across the country so they are now inhabiting the western side too. Locally, they're considered an invasive species. (Our local government sucks.) He's about 18 inches tall and his wing span is so impressive. I wish I could have caught it on camera. I probably took 200 shots but a nice wing span was not to be had.

I think I may have mentioned a few weeks ago a new chickadee species, Chestnut Backed, was observed at the bird buffet. It's still here and has a mate now. So I expect it's staying for the winter. I'm trying to get a picture of them, but chickadees are unable to stand still for more than a nano second and I have been unsuccessful so far. I've had lots of blurred shots of tree branches. No chickadees in them.

Had the right eye surgery. Not a pleasant experience. I felt this one and it hurt. Ouch ouch ouch! Starting with the marking. I bought the lens that corrects astigmatism-$1000 not covered by insurance, so it had to be installed just exactly. Doctor started by marking my eye with a big bright blue marker. Yeah. drawing on my eyeball! It was not painless. I didn't get as much numbing stuff as before. My asthma was acting up (can you say cough?) and they were concerned about it. I had to take a cough medicine. Anyway, I said ouch. She replied "I'm sorry. I'm almost done". I felt the first piercing cut too. I had pain for a couple days after the surgery. I guess it was worth it. My right eye sees very well.

In the meantime I've lost some of the clarity I had in the left eye. I'm having a hard time adjusting to not seeing close and needing reading glasses, but it's early yet. My vision will change a bit more over the next few weeks as my eyes heal and my brain adjusts, and I may end up needing glasses in the end. I have to say though, that the world is a much brighter place. I hadn't realized how much my vision had darkened over time. The nasty cataracts are gone! For that, I am thankful.

I have, over this year, mentioned a nagging cough that my asthma has become. I am so tired of changing medications trying to find something that will get it under control only to cough my lungs out every two to three days anyway. I finally got my doctor to refer me to a lung specialist. Unfortunately, I have to wait until January 15th to see him. It's a very busy clinic. That was the first appointment they had available. I'm cheering myself up with knitting.

I did stop working on Margaret until the eyes have healed some. So I started a new project that is much easier to see. The Crazed Scandinavian Cowl is turning out to be a pleasant project to fill my evenings with. It is an 80 inch long cowl with 20 fairisle charts in it. A total of 603 rows. A challenge that's fun. I have finished the first 2 charts and started the third (speckled diamonds). I'm at row 102.



I have also obtained new bobbins, loaded some up with yarn, and knit a few rows of argyle sock. I don't know why, but I chose black as the background color. As socks go, they will be very pretty (that's why, right there), but I can tell I'm going to regret that black before it's all over. And the tangled mess that sits on my lap! Keeping it all straight is proving to be difficult. Why do I do this to myself?

I suppose I should start the next layette set.

Weather update. The weekend was cold and rainy. Yesterday it cleared up and we have sunshine and temps in the 40's. Warm for this time of year, but still feels cold to me. There is no snow in the immediate future. I am enjoying the sunshine.

I'm looking forward to going to Rathdrum Knitting this afternoon. I feel a need for like minded company.

Live long and prosper. \\//

12/1/19

Eye Surgery Survived

I had my eye surgery a couple weeks ago. A cataract infested lens was removed from my left eye and replaced with a man made one that actually corrects my far vision. It was an interesting experience. I was awake for the whole thing, but gratefully drugged so I felt nothing. There was no pain through the whole process. When it was over I was very much surprised that I could see the clock across the room without my glasses. I am so glad I had the surgery.

My right eye will be done this coming Wednesday. In the meantime I've been in this situation where one eye can see great, and the other one can't hardly see at all. It makes it impossible for me to drive. I have almost no depth perception. I was reaching for a pencil in the cup full of pencils and pens and kept missing the one I wanted. So I'm looking forward to the surgery.

Yesterday we went to a funeral. My sister-in-law Diane's father passed away. I'm not wearing glasses anymore and many people were surprised. I guess I look so different without them that I'm not recognizable at first glance. Heh heh...

Despite the bad eyesight, I have been trying to knit and work on Margaret. I sewed on all the buttons.



I actually managed to join the shoulders as instructed (3-needle bind off), and I've knit the neckband.


I have half a sleeve cap sewn in on one side too. It has been very difficult. I could hardly see the stitches while sewing. My daughter Ruth checked it for me every so often to make sure I was doing it right. I plan to finish the other half after I'm done writing today.

I actually had some second thoughts the day after the surgery because I have destroyed the only vision I've ever had that worked correctly-near sight. I saw my doctor last Wednesday and asked her how to deal with it and she suggested I get a pair of magnifying reading glasses. I bought a pair later that day and they work great, so I think I'll be able to bead and cross stitch after this is all over. God I hope so.

I also started a new project called the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl. It's an amazing fairisle cowl pattern that I want to knit for myself. It's very long (80 inches +/- .There are 18 stitch pattern charts. It'll be gorgeous. I cast on and knit about 30 rows over the last few days, but last night I frogged it because it looked so awful. I'd made some mistakes that I decided I just couldn't live with. I called it the education practice swatch. I got it started again last night and have the first two rounds done.

I ordered bobbins so I can get started on the argyle socks for Frank. (I have bobbins, but can't find them.) They arrived yesterday. Yay! I'm not knitting that project until after the right eye surgery.

The weather has been cold and dry. It didn't even get above freezing the last two days. There are rumors of snow coming.

Live long and prosper. \\//

11/18/19

Welts and Cuffs

I spent the whole weekend working on Margaret Tudor. The bottom welts and cuffs are made by picking up stitches along the bottom edges. I had to calculate how many to pick up for the welts.



The number to pick up in the pattern is less than the number of stitches that were cast on. I figured out it was 25.7% less stitches. So I added up the total number I'd cast on for my increase in size and subtracted 25.7% from it. I was left with 227. That is a butt load of stitches to pick up, but we're working with fingering weight yarn, size 2 needles, and a wide frame body.

It's an interesting stitch pattern. Lots and lots of little bobbles. It's a good thing I don't mind knitting them.



I was pretty worried I'd done it wrong but when I finished that first welt, it laid perfectly. The pattern said it mustn't pull in or flay out. It lays straight down, just like it's supposed to. I'm happy with it.



I cast on the same number of stitches in the pattern for the large size cuffs when I did the sleeves, so I didn't have to do any math. Just follow the directions.

Next I'm going to sew the buttons on. I figure it's going to be easier to do it before I sew everything together.

My eye surgery is the day after tomorrow. Don't know when I'll be able to blog after that. Hopefully, in just a couple days.

Live long and prosper. \\//

11/13/19

Milo

Milo is finished.



Pattern: Milo by the Berroco Design Team

Yarn: Dark Horse Yarns Fantasy
Content: 50% Nylon/50% Acrylic, Aran weight
Color: 23 Forest

Yarn: Dark Horse Yarns Fantasy
Content: 50% Nylon/50% Acrylic, Aran weight
Color: 32 Wine

Yarn: Knitpicks Mighty Stitch
Content: 80% Acrylic/20% Wool, Worsted weight
Color: Alfalfa

YarnKnitpicks Mighty Stitch
Content: 80% Acrylic/20% Wool, Worsted weight
Color: Blue

Needles: Circular size 6 and 8

Started: September 7, 2019
Finished: November 11, 2019

Comments: This has been an interesting and fun knit. The stitch pattern is actually more challenging than it looks. One row stripes present some interesting challenges. I learned some new things while working on it. I like learning new things.



In addition to the stripes, there's texture too. It's a very nice design. I would not recommend this pattern for a beginner though. 



About the yarns I chose to make this with. Both of them feel wonderful and were nice to knit with. I chose the Dark Horse yarn because a friend offered them to me. I don't know how this is going to wear. I noticed it's pilling already. I will need to let Frank know how to deal with them. 



The Mighty Stitch is not pilling though. I love it. It's a very nice quality for the price.



The two major Christmas knitting jobs are done. I'm happy about that. I even finished them early. Now I will finish Margaret (I hope to get her done before my eye surgery) and start something new. I cast on yesterday for a pair of real Argyle socks. I've been wanting to learn how to make them for some time. 

Argyle is knit with Intarsia. I need 11 bobbins, which I've ordered cuz I can't find the bobbins I know I already own. They should be here soon. In the meantime, I'm well on my way to having the ribbing done on the first sock. I've also found some YouTube videos and web sites with tutorials and helpful information which I'll be sharing as I knit the socks.

Something wonderful has happened this week, besides finishing some knitting. A Ravelry member, who I don't know, happened to wander into my Ravelry notebook and saw all my charity knitting. She has offered to send me a box of yarn to help me. Isn't that wonderful? More layette sets and mittens are in my KnitWits future. There are some very kind people in the world.

Live long and prosper. \\//

11/12/19

Loose Neckband

Just thought I'd share something interesting I did this week concerning making the neckband on Milo.

It's a typical crew neck. It's important to me that these kinds of bands look great, so I apply something I learned from machine knitting. (Note: I have done a lot of machine knitting. I own 4 different knitting machines. I stopped using them when I had back surgery several years ago. I need to get back into it cuz it's a lot of fun.)

I started out with the recommended size 6 needles to pick up the stitches. I knit about half of the band, then I changed to size 5 needles and knit about 1/4th of the band. I changed to size 4 needles for the last 1/4th and the bind off. This technique will make a neckband lay down so nicely, usually.

I wanted to use a stretchy bind off so the band would go over the head easily. I didn't think a standard bind off with size 4 needles would be a good choice so I went online and found one to try called the Elastic Bind Off. It's very easy to do and it is very stretchy, but the edge was left looking rather waffly and stretched out looking. It didn't pull in and lay flat like it should. It was the same problem I had with the cuff bind off. I was not happy with the resulting look. So I applied the same solution which I can show you here cuz I took pictures.

I took a piece of contrasting yarn and threaded it through the edge. I went under the knit stitches and over the purls.



Then I pulled it together so the knits pleated over the purls. I tied a little bow to keep things in place.



I gently steamed it, let it dry, then removed the threaded yarn.



It lays perfectly now, and stretches nicely. It springs right back too. It's permanent because it's acrylic. Steaming does that to acrylic.



If this had been wool I am not sure doing this would have worked. I probably would have taken the bind off out and done something else. Probably the EZ Sewn Bind Off because I know it looks nice in this situation. Or maybe I'd have looked for something else.

I learned something important from this. The Elastic Bind Off is not suitable for a ribbed edge. It would be great, though, for lace or any pattern that doesn't pull in like ribbing does.

I hope this was helpful to someone.

Live long and prosper. \\//

11/11/19

5x1 Rib Socks

I've finished one knitted Christmas present for this year. Socks for my oldest daughter.

A mothers job is difficult.

I had been planning to knit a special sweater for her for a couple years or so. I even bought the yarn and everything. A few weeks ago I was getting ready to cast on when I called her to ask what size she wears. I wasn't sure if it had changed since the last time I knit her a sweater. She told me she didn't want me to make her a sweater. I made her too many sweaters. Then she asked me why I don't make socks for her anymore? I answered that I stopped because she told me she didn't like them. She didn't like how they felt on her feet. She could feel the little purl bumps when she wore them and didn't like the feeling. So I stopped making socks for her. This was several years ago.

Now she has said she would like them if I made them shorter. I made them too long before. So I've made a pair of socks that have 2.5 inch legs (including the ribbing).



Pattern: Didn't use one
Size: To fit womens size 8.

Yarn: Poe by Olive & Two Ewe Studios
Content: 80% Superwash Merino/10% Cashmere/10% Nylon, fingering weight
Color: Harvest

Needles: Circulars size 1

Started: November 1, 2019
Finished: November 7, 2019

Comments: I made these up as I went along. I cast on 72 sts. I did one inch of 1x1 rib, then started 5x1 rib for the main stitch pattern. 



I started the heel flap when the leg was 2.5 inches from cast on edge. I like the way the heels turned out.



By the way, I've made one sweater for her in 10 years. ONE sweater. Sigh.

Live long and prosper. \\//

11/8/19

Layette Set #41 for KnitWits

I finished it and turned it in at this weeks KnitWits meeting.



The Cardigan



PatternPleasing Plaid by Lorna Miser
Size: 6 months

Yarn: Unknown Acrylic (no label)
Content: 100% Acrylic, Aran weight
Color: Dark Teal Green

YarnCaron Jumbo Print
Content: 100% Acrylic, worsted weight
Color: Gossamer

Needles: Circular size 6 and 8

Started: October 20, 2019
Finished: October 25, 2019

Comments: I really love this stitch pattern. It's easy to memorize, fun to knit, and looks great. This color choice went with the blanket fabric a lot better than I thought it would too. I'm relieved. This is the last layette set I'm making for KnitWits this year.



The Hat



Pattern: From my head.
Size: 6 months

Yarn: Unknown Acrylic (no label)
Content: 100% Acrylic, Aran weight
Color: Dark Teal Green

YarnCaron Jumbo Print
Content: 100% Acrylic, worsted weight
Color: Gossamer

Needles: Circular size 8

Started: October 26, 2019
Finished: October 26, 2019

The booties



Pattern: From my head.
Size: 6 months

Yarn: Unknown Acrylic (no label)
Content: 100% Acrylic, Aran weight
Color: Dark Teal Green

YarnCaron Jumbo Print
Content: 100% Acrylic, worsted weight
Color: Gossamer

Needles: Circular size 8

Started: October 27, 2019
Finished: October 29, 2019

The blanket



PatternSpike Stitch or Blanket Stitch Edging
Size: 30 by 36 inches

Yarn: Unknown Acrylic (no label)
Content: 100% Acrylic, Aran weight
Color: Dark Teal Green

YarnCaron Jumbo Print
Content: 100% Acrylic, worsted weight
Color: Gossamer

Hook: Size G

Started: October 30, 2019
Finished: October 31, 2019



I've used the last of the hedge hog fabric. Yay!



I met with the Ophthalmologist who is going to be doing my cataract surgery on Tuesday morning. Her name is Sarah Duke and she's so very young and very nice. I think I'm in good hands. Surgery is scheduled for November 20th. I'm not doing any beading or cross stitch until all this eye stuff is done. I'm hoping I'll be able to see well enough to do it after.

I am somewhat disturbed by something I learned while at the appointment. Dr. Duke went over the types of lenses available. My insurance will cover just the basic one-distance lens. I have to choose if I want far distance or close distance corrected. If I want lenses that can do both, it's $2000 bucks per eye extra and insurance won't cover it. We can not afford that so it's one distance for me. Insurance companies suck. How cruel this is. How much more does the 2-distance lens actually cost? I hate profit generated health care. Quite frankly, it's incredibly immoral.

We are having wonderful weather this week. Sunshine and temps in the low 50's.

I have almost finished my Christmas knitting. More about that later.

Live long and prosper. \\//