Sunday, May 28, 2006

Complete Double-Trouble

Hurray, the Double-Trouble socks are finished! Sam has declared that she loves them and is wearing them even now. She had a hard time explaining why she loves the feel of socks I knit for her. But I think it's because they snuggly fit her feet. She has long very slender feet with a high arch and most socks are a bit sloppy around the heel and toes. She likes the feel of the lightweight wool sock yarn that I use.

I'm of mixed emotions about making another pair of double-trouble socks:

1. The toe of this style worked up very nicely once I got the hang of it -- after ripping and starting over again three times.
2. The gussett seemed non-existant and with Sam's high arches I had to do some adapting and modifying. A rather daunting process to this self taught knitter.
3. Finishing at the tops presented another problem. When bound off as I normally do the top bind-off was too tight, no elasticity. It was painstaking to carefully undo the bind-off round. Following instructions for binding-off double ribbing in Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets gave them a nice elastic finish, and taught me a new process.
4. I LOVED it that both socks knit at once and there's no second sock syndrome.
5. Once learned, I enjoyed the logic and rhythm of moving between the two circular needles; tops of both socks on the blue circs, soles/backs of the socks on the purple circs, round and round.

The woven jacket is sewn together. I'm knitting a black biased border binding to go up the front and around the neck. I'll hem the bottom (her choice). Haven't quite decided if I want to trim the sleeves with a border of matching woven material, plain hem like the bottom or put the black knit binding on them. They all have merits though the first is my last choice. I'll put the binding on the front and then decide.

I'm practicing a bit of twisted knitting with the binding. The odd middle stitch is twisted which will give the binding a natural turned ridge down the middle to facilitate putting it on the edges. After reading about and seeing pictures of Lena'sbeautiful mittens I wanted to learn this technique.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


An update on Sylan: Friday his broken nose was fixed and a titanium plate was put in to secure the upper jaw to his skull. He was released from the hospital on Sunday. The pain is still bad but he's managing.

I'd planned to borrow a neighbor's serger machine to make Sam's jacket but we haven't been connecting and so I'm tackling it with my good old Singer. The peices were cut and a binding stitch around all the parameters to hold the cut woven fabric together. This was done last evening. The lighting in this place isn't too good so I put on one of our headlamps we use for camping. It works great when threading heddles or anytime I need direct lighting and free hands! The fabric is navy, not as light as in the pic. I'll assemble it this afternoon.

This area of the Pacific NW has had days of rain following the record high temperatures from a couple weeks ago. Walking in the rain can be enjoyable but it doesn't work to spin in the rain. Spinning has slowed down as I'm zeroing in on finishing Sam's jacket and the socks. Next blog will have a picture of these double-trouble socks - displayed on feet. :-)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Spinning the blues

Twice during this month of May I have been grateful for my Turkish Spindle while spending time waiting in a hospital e.r. Spinning really helps to pass the time being productive but mindless. The first episode was with my daughter who needed some serious pain meds while dealing with a burst cyst.

(See the crochet hooks peeping from behind the wool? Those are the first three of the special hooks Ed is making with a pearl on the end.)

The seizure felled him like the trees he thins from the woods. The crash jolted his wife out of bed and into the kitchen where he'd been getting ready to pour his early morning coffee. Blood gushed from his nose, split lip and eyelid. The seizure was brief and with the help of the oldest son they soon had Sylvan to the local emergency room. An ambulance transported him to the nearest Truama center when X-rays showed that he needed serious help from an experienced specialist.

Sylan, his wife Singer and family are close friends so when the son called to let me know I quickly finished packing a few orders then drove the 40 miles to be with Singer at the hospital. As can be the case at a trauma center, they were booking it. More patients than beds/rooms available. And so his guerney was located near the command center, until a bed could be made available. His lip,and eye were stitched and CT scans taken, but the nose was still off-center. The worst damage is a broken upper jaw which has completely seperated from the skull. Unfortunately the surgeon needs to wait until the swelling goes down in order to reattach the jaw.

The day was spent quietly waiting together, watching the action in the center, talking some, and for me, spinning yards of blue.

I will be with Singer again tomorrow during his surgery. He'll have a titanium plate put in to hold the bones together. My spindle and blue roving with accompany me. I have no idea how long surgery may take but I don't mind being there, it's the least I can do for good friends.

I could knit them blue socks while Sylvan's jawbone in knitting.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Pearls hold special meaning to Ed and I. He lived a few years in Japan when he was young. His mom helped to cultivate his taste not only for the culture and food but the pearls. When we were married he presented me with a strand he'd bought, for his future wife, while still living in Japan. A few years later his mom gave me her fresh water blue set.

Ed will be incorporating some pearls in his woodworking. He plans to make special crochet hooks, knitting needles and hairpin lace frames with a pearl or two attached. He does such good work, I'm looking forward to seeing these new creations. In the meantime here are the pearls he picked up today. One of the strands is for me to use in knitting a bag. I'm going to try my hand at beaded knitting. (Background is four-shaft huck lace that I wove for our display booth for Convergence 2004.)

Progress on the Double-Trouble socks is rounding slowly upward.

I'm in awe of all the people who're able to knit socks in a relatively short time. I get the impression there are knitters who knit a pair of socks in a couple days, and with fancy patterns. Meanwhile I soldier on with K2, P2 ordinary socks...

The socks accompanied Sam and I to the city last Wednesday. Rounds were knit while we sipped Italian Sodas at a table on a busy street corner in front of a Bistro in SW part of downtown. A perfect photo op but for the lack of a camera. Sam kicked off her sandals and pulled one of the socks on her foot. She's delighted with them: she's easy to please.

Mother's Day afternoon was perfect for sitting out on the freshly mowed back yard knitting on the socks. A neighbor came by and asked to see the towel. She's astonished anyone would knit a towel. Truthfully, so am I.

Since Sam's moved home my yarn stashes have moved from quick access on shelves to boxes in the closet. I've kept a couple cones close to hand but I'm determined to finish the socks before tackling the beaded bag...

Last week the Abiqua Strings played two performances. Most of my free time was used in practicing for them. The perfomances went well, and it's good to have them behind me. Now I have only a recital next week, then the violin can take a back seat to other work for awhile.

Monday, May 08, 2006


It's been a week of fighting the flu and not having energy for anything other than the necessary chores.

I’m waiting to borrow a neighbor’s serger to sew the jacket. I think I’ll be able to pick it up on Thursday. The next project to go on the loom will be cotton material for shirts. I’m getting jazzed about making some new shirts to give friends for the summer. I’ve also been looking through patterns for a simple summery cotton pullover to knit. So many choices!

The heels have been conquered. I did some modification. It just didn’t seem right to turn the heel exactly like the toe. They look a stranger than the top down sock heels which I’m used to, but I certainly like the toes on the double-trouble socks. I’m beginning to think I may knit a few more pairs to really get a feel for the overall process and look.

The bath towel is coming along. A 20 minutes per row it’s not a speedy thing but I think it’ll make a very absorbant, cushy towel.

This week our daughter is housesitting for our neighbors so she's been popping in for occasional meals, morning walks and chats. It's been fun having her close to home. She's paying $300 for a bedroom. A college roommate will be moving to Portland in a couple months and they're hoping to share an apartment. Realizing how much she's shelling out each month we suggested she come home and save that money for an apartment.

Tomorrow I'll move weaving supplies and music gear to the living room then figure out where we'll hang our finished products to dry. I've gotten so spoiled having that room for these projects!

It would be harder to adjust except she's great company and one of those people who sees what needs to be done and rolls up the sleeves and dives right in, with a good attitude.

Come to think of it, I could get spoiled! 8-O

A clover field blooming up the road from our place.

Monday, May 01, 2006

May First

The first blush of dawn creeping into the old farm house yearly found four bed tousled kids easing down the stairs and slowly lifting the door latch. Stockinged feet slipped into cold clammy rubber boots before clumping silently through wet pastures and into the wood. Searching for and picking the abundance of wild flowers poking through the underbrush and along the creek. We’d pick as much as our arms could hold then lay them on the neighbor’s porch and our front porch, ringing the door bell then quickly hiding, listening for the exclamations of wonder.

The early morning May ritual was passed down to my kids. When they were little and we lived in the city, they’d scope out the best lilacs and camilla bushes for days before the event so they could immediately hone in on bushes that wouldn’t suffer lack or indignity.

The cycle has turned and it’s my turn again to flit out of bed at daybreak and ramble through the grasses and woods. Some years it’s not so easy to leap from bed and steal out of the house before the day’s demands rush in. Still, it’s simply not May without some token of the wonder of spring brought in to grace our home.