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Code Breaker Socks

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Bletchley Park, in Buckinghamshire, was the central site of the United Kingdom’s Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS). During the Second World War code breakers regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. It has been stated that the “Ultra” intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and that without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain. The site is now an educational and historical attraction memorialising and celebrating those accomplishments.  If I ever make my way over the Atlantic to England again it will be on my list of ‘must sees’.

The theme this month in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry is Science/Math/Computer Technology inspired.  Having just finished a BBC series on Netflix called Bletchley Circle I immediately wanted to incorporate code deciphering into a sock.  Bletchley Circle is about women code breakers in WW2 who continue to use their code breaking abilities to solve murders.  I enjoyed the two seasons I watched.

My creative juices have been all awhirl thinking about breaking codes, using deciphering machines and all the secrecy involved in code-breaking.  I am going to create some Code Breaker Socks with a secret name held within its stitches and I will create them using my top secret cipher.  My sock will be a stripe pattern with the width of each stripe determined by the letter in the name or code word.  The design pattern I will be knitting within the stripes will be my interpretation of breaking a code.

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I’m off to break my code with my top secret cipher and, when I am done cracking the code, I will pass the pattern on to you!

We Give of Ourselves

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We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the heart – love, kindness, joy, understanding, sympathy, tolerance, forgiveness.

We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the mind – ideas, dreams, purposes, ideals, principles, plans, inventions, projects, poetry.

We give of ourselves when we give gifts of words – encouragement, inspiration, guidance.

Emerson said it well – “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts.  The only true gift is a portion of thyself.”

Wilfred A Peterson

“The Art of Giving”

Mirkwood Clue 4

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We have come to the edge of the forest and there is light ahead of us and whilst we wandered, we did not get lost!  Are you ready to complete this journey and knit some toes onto your Mirkwood sock?  This is your last clue.  I hope you have enjoyed this knit-a-long with me because I really have.

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Mirkwood Clue 4

(Errata:  If you are knitting the smaller size then please tick back 2-3 rows until your foot is desired foot length minus 1-3/4” instead of 2”)

The TOE

Beginning of rnd starts from middle of heel with instep sts on needle 2.

Needle 1:  14(16,18) sts

Needle 2:  28(32,36) sts

Needle 3:  14(16,18) sts

Rnd 1

Needle 1:  Knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.

Needle 2:  K1, ssk, work to last 3 sts, k2tog.

Needle 3:  K1, ssk, knit to end.

Rnd 2

Needle 1:  Knit

Needle 2:  Knit

Needle 3:  Knit

Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 until 28(32, 36) sts remain.

Repeat Rnd 1 only until 8(12, 12)  total sts remain.

Continue knitting across needle 1 so that those sts are now on needle 3 – there will be 4(6,6) sts on each of two needles.

Cut yarn, leaving a 12” (30cm) tail.  Thread onto a tapestry needle and use the Kitchener st to graft the sts.  Weave in ends.

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Happy Knitting!

If I Were a Poet

If I were a poet I would write a poem about the Colorado sky.

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The Colorado sky is unlike any place I have ever lived and I have lived in many places.

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Hubby and I went to Cripple Creek today with friends to see the ice sculptors but it was the sky that captivated us, not the ice.

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If I could paint these skies I would.

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I once painted nine months of Colorado sunrises into a stocking hat.  Do you remember?

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I think these skies have a hold on my heart and I want to live here forever.  Well, at least my earthly home can be here.  I have faith to believe heaven will be even more beautiful and I sure wouldn’t want to miss that!

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Do you want to see the ice?  The ice is, after all, why we journeyed on a winding mountain road just before dusk. First I will show you the flame thrower.

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He had his own musician who played fire throwing music behind a wall of ice.

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An ice castle seemed to be a favorite place for sweethearts to have their Valentine pictures taken.

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In front of a familiar ice cream store was an interesting piece of ice.  We have only frequented The Rocky Mountain Canary on summer days but never in the dead of winter.  Have you heard that Denver is called the Mile High City because it sits one mile above sea level?  Cripple Creek boasts of ‘2 mile’ ice cream because this mining-turned-casino town sits two miles above sea level.  Do you know why there would be a ‘canary’ store in a mining town?

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We enjoyed our little drive down the road to see the ‘ice’ but for these mountain lovers, the sky was the desert.

Mirkwood Clue 3

Our wondering through Mirkwood will get very exciting now as we slip down the heel flap, turn the heel, pick up stitches and work that gusset!  When we are working the heel flap we will not need to keep track of where we are on our cable pattern but just as soon as we start picking up stitches for the gusset we pick up right where we left off on the pattern.  This is when things get a little more adventurous because we will need to keep track of our cable row and the decreases at the same time.  But knowing you have the courage of Bilbo Baggins, I have utmost confidence that you can accomplish this clue with no detours!

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Mirkwood

HEEL

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My absolute favorite heel is called the Eye-of-partridge Heel.  The Mirkwood sock that I am knitting is using that heel.  I think it is so pretty with its little diamonds and it is nice and cushy.  It is similar to a standard slip stitch heel except the ‘slips’ are offset every other row.  Some may not want to venture (or wander) too far off the path of familiarity though, so for those, I am giving you a simple slip stitch heel with a 3-st garter along the sides.  The 3-st garter makes it a little easier to pick up stitches for the gusset.  But, for the adventurous amongst us, skip over the simple heel directions and give the Eye-of-partridge heel a try.

SIMPLE HEEL FLAP

Row 1 (WS):  K3, purl to end.

Row 2 (RS):   P3, *K1, sl 1, rep from * to last 4 sts, k4.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 24 (32, 40) heel-flap rows.

Repeat row 1 one more time so that you will be ready to start a right-side row when it is finished.

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EYE OF PARTRIDGE HEEL FLAP

Row 1 (WS):  K1, p1, k1, purl to last 3 sts, k1, p1, k1.

Row 2 (RS):  K1, p1, k1, *K1, sl 1, rep from * to last 3 sts, k1, p1, k1.

Row 3:  K1, p1, k1, purl to last 3 sts, k1, p1, k1.

Row 4:  K1, p1, k1, *sl 1, k1, rep from * to last 3 sts, k1, p1, k1.

Repeat rows 1-4 until you have 24 (32, 40) heel-flap rows.

Repeat row 3 one more time so that you will be ready to start a right-side row when it is finished.

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TRAPEZOID HEEL TURN 

The heel turn in Mirkwood is the pointy trapezoid heel.  I like this type of heel turn because it fits nice and tight around the back of my heel. As you navigate through the heel turn, slip all stitches purl-wise except when you work a  decrease (ssk), slip the decrease sts knit-wise.  Work across all sts removing st markers as you come to them because you will now incorporate the 3-st garter edges into your sock.

Row 1 (RS): Sl 1, k 16 (18, 20), ssk, k1, turn.

Row 2 (WS):  Sl 1, p 7 (7, 7), p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 3:  Sl 1, knit to 1 st before gap, ssk to close gap ( 1 st on each side of gap), k1, turn.

Row 4:  Sl 1, purl to 1 st before gap, p2tog (1 st on each side of gap), p1, turn.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all sts have been worked and you have 18 (20, 22) sts remaining.

Knit 9(10,11) sts across heel.  Beginning of the round now starts here, place a marker so you will remember.

GUSSET

For years picking up stitches along the heel flap used to discombobulate me because I was confused on where to pick them up and I always ran short of how many the pattern told me to pick up.  And then, there was the dreaded gusset hole that always seemed to happen.  Fortunately, I soon discovered the garter stitch edge along the heel flap and learned Charlene Schurch’s gusset hole tip and my sock fears were alleviated.

Here are a couple pictures that I hope will help you.  The first picture shows where to pick up the stitches between the purl bumps on the heel flap.

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The second shows you which two stitches to pick up in addition to your others to eliminate the gusset hole.  You basically find the ‘ladder’ that runs between the heel flap and the instep and pick up the legs on either side of it.

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And for those of you who need the added reinforcement of a video here is a video demonstrating this technique.

Okay, are you ready?  Let’s go!

Needle 1:

With RS facing you and needle 1, knit across remaining heel sts, pick up and knit 14(16,18) sts between purl bumps on garter edge.  Pick up and knit 2 sts at top of gusset to prevent gusset hole.

Needle 2:

Work across instep resuming cable pattern at row 1.

Needle 3:

With third needle, pick up 2 sts at top of gusset and continue to pick up and knit 14(16,18) sts between purl bumps on garter edge.  Knit across remaining heel sts.

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GUSSET DECREASES

First round only:

Needle 1:  Knit to last 2 sts, ssk.

Needle 2:  Knit in established cable pattern (row 2).

Needle 3:  K2tog, knit to end.

All other rounds:

Rnd 1

Needle 1:  Knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.

Needle 2:  Knit in established cable pattern.

Needle 3:  K1, ssk, knit to end.

Rnd 2

Needle 1:  Knit.

Needle 2:  Knit in established cable pattern.

Needle 3:  Knit

Repeat these two rnds until 56(64,72) sts remain.

FOOT

To measure my foot, I stand on a piece of paper and with a pencil mark the end of my toe and my heel.

Continue knitting stockinette stitch on sole of foot (Needles 1 & 3) and established cable pattern on instep (Needle 2) until you are 2” short of your actual foot length.

Next week we will finish up our toe and kitchener it closed!

Romi Hill just released two new patterns in her collection, 7 Small Shawls Year Four Friends.  It was named for an online friend of hers, Teresa, who likes to knit a special scarf to take on her yearly vacation.  I’m getting ready to go on a road trip soon and thought it would be a perfect project to take along with me.  Even more exciting would be to see if I can bring it home finished and ready for blocking.

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I can picture this scarf worn worn with a gray shirt and black slacks, an outfit for spring.

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And, of course, I couldn’t resist doing a provisional cast-on and knitting a few rows…….just because, well, it is lace and it has been a while since I’ve knit up anything lacy.

Wednesday wouldn’t be complete without going on a Yarn Along with Ginny and her peeps.  After watching an old Sherlock Holmes movie this week with Christopher Plummer, I’ve been in the mood for some Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Mirkwood Clue 2

Mirkwood Clue 2 

A knit-a-long to commemorate the ending of the J.R. Tolkien movies.

“for not all who wander are lost” …………

………… the dwarves and Bilbo wandered through the erie forest of  MIRKWOOD

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

Just as Bilbo discovered adventures along his journey so I will release clues for this sock weekly throughout the month of February.  I hope you enjoy the pattern and the adventure!

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Finished Foot Circumferences:

Small (7-1/2-8″), Medium (8-1/2-9″) and Large (9-1/2-10”)

Yarn

Fingering weight (Super Fine #1), 400 yds

Needles

U.S. Size 1 (2.25mm): circular (cir) or double point needles or adjust needle size to obtain correct gauge

Notions

cable needles (cn); markers (m); tapestry needle

Gauge

28 sts = 4″ (10cm) in stockinette stitch in the round

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Directions for the Right Sock:

RIGHT SOCK STITCH GUIDE

C6F – Slip 3 sts to cable needle, hold in front. Knit next 3 sts then knit 3 sts from cable needle.

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MirkwoodLeftKey     

If you haven’t already done so, place markers on either side of the cable pattern.  This will make it easier to soar through the pattern.

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Right LEG

Continuing with the cable pattern, knit two more repeats of the LEG PATTERN.  At this point you may find it easier to just work from the chart since all other stitches are in stockinette.

Work rnds 1-18 of LEG PATTERN as follows TWICE:

RND 1:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 2:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 3:  K2, p2, C6F, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 4:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 5:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 6:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 7:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 8:  K2, p2, C6F, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 9:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end.

RND 10:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 11:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 12:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 13:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 14:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 15:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 16:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 17:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 18:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd

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Directions for the Left Sock:

LEFT SOCK STITCH GUIDE

C6B – Slip 3 sts to cable needle, hold in back. Knit next 3 sts then knit 3 sts from cable needle.

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MirkwoodRightKey

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Left LEG

Continuing with the cable pattern, knit two more repeats of the LEG PATTERN.  At this point you may find it easier to just work from the chart since all other stitches are in stockinette.

Work rnds 1-18 of LEG PATTERN as follows TWICE:

RND 1:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 2:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 3:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, C6B, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 4:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 5:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 6:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 7:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 8:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, C6B, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 9:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 10: Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 11:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 12:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 13:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 14:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 16:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 17:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 18:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK.  Happy Knitting!

Stay tuned for the next clues….

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Clue 3 released 2/15

Clue 4 released 2/22

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