About socksformum

An empty-nester who loves to knit and lives in a the Rocky Mountains with her Westie, the love of her life and several pairs of knitting needles.

What No One Tells You About the Master Knitting Program

There are many key benefits to enrolling in the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program but what no one ever tells you is that it is an epic formula to overcome the dread of seaming your knitting.  I will be the first to admit that the program has massive benefits, too many to list, but for me, it has been monumental to no longer dread the finishing process of putting together a sweater.

I won’t deceive you, going through the program sometimes seems like a mammoth task, one I occasionally wish I could just quit.  I will set it aside for several months at a time and think I won’t finish but then I remind myself of how much work has gone into it thus far and tell myself I need to cross that finish line.  It is well worth the effort.

Swatch 19  I finished the last swatch last week, swatch 19 although I am quite certain I will re-knit a few of my swatches before I mail my submission.   I made an inset pocket!  I’m not sure I will ever knit an inset pocket on anything in the future but it sure was fun to knit.  I’m definitely a process knitter. Icy Pink Vest

This week I am working on a book report and I’ve started one of the three projects required in Level Two, a vest.  The book I’m writing a report on is Seven Things That Make or Break a Sweater.  It is a great little book packed with information on techniques that if not done properly will do just that – make or break your sweater.  The vest I have chosen is Arenda Holladay’s Icy Pink Vest.  The original pattern was knit in tweed which is an unaccepted fiber choice in the program so Ms. Holladay has re-written the pattern with a more appropriate fiber.  Apparently, so many knitters were using this pattern in the program that the rewrite was to avoid knitting the vest and having it rejected because you used a tweed.  The reviewers need to see all your seaming, how you pick up the neckband and check for gauge issues, tweed makes it more difficult for them to do so.

Icy Pink Vest

The program was revised this last year for procrastinators like me.  There are time limits:

  • Level 1 – 1 year
  • Level 2 – 18 months
  • Level 3 – 2 years

Now you can still take your time if you want to but you will be charged a fee every time you download a new revision after the time limit.  I’m glad they have done this because it was just enough to get my rear in gear again.

What to Do With Sixty Four Acres

It was just about a year ago that it dawned on us that we were probably going to have to move down to Texas and take care of the sixty four acres we inherited.  After trying to sell it for three years we had no other option, it needed maintenance.  What I didn’t know then was that I had flowing in my veins an inheritance that was rooted in the soil.  My grandfather was a farmer as the generations before him and my grandmother planted flowers on any bare patch of grass she could find. Zinnias

The first inkling that I had this love of dirt inside of me was when, after throwing out zinnia seeds there were suddenly zinnias popping up out of the earth.  Something was unearthed in me that day.

Pear Tree

Today is the first day of spring and it has most certainly arrived in East Texas.  My pear trees are blooming and my dad tells me that with the amount of blossoms on each I will have an abundant crop.  I will harvest those pears and make some pear preserves as my grandmother used to make.  And, I will spread those preserves on biscuits using my grandfather’s recipe.  He made the best biscuits ever.

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I thought about my grandmother today and her love of planting flowers.  I looked out over the many acres out there at my disposal.  A blank slate so to speak.  I thought about that first packet of zinnia seed I threw in the ground last September and I had an idea flicker through my mind.  What if I planted rows and rows of zinnias out there with my garden.  I pictured it something like this:

Zinnia

Zinnias are supposedly easy to grow.  Growing zinnias is something I can do with part of this sixty-four acres.  A blank slate painted beautiful with colorful zinnias.

farmersmarketflowers5-of-6I will fill blue mason jars with zinnias and they will adorn my tables.  They will adorn the tables of my friends, too.  The idea is growing on me and I like it more and more.8287372143691bc10659717a6bb872c0

Yes, I like this idea and I think it would have made my grandmother smile.

Hammering Gratitude in the Piney Woods

Sometimes, all I need is a new fountain pen and a journal to drive out discontentment.  I’m slowly learning that a life filled with gratitude only happens if I take the time to be thankful for the specific small things, the infinitesimal moments that add up to my life as a whole.  I can’t just paint a broad stroke of thankfulness across my life and say that I give thanks “in all things”, it just doesn’t fasten.  It only ‘fastens’ if I drive in those specific nails of thankfulness one nail at a time, one day at a time.

When I stop looking for those small things to be thankful for the crummy weeds of discontentment creep in and begin to strangle.  And when the strangling happens it has a ripple effect to all those around me.IMG_4110

Right now I bounce back and forth emotionally from house showings in Colorado and house showings in Texas.  I have no idea where my future will be and I’m finding this a good thing instead of a frustrating situation.

I’m thankful for falling oak leaves, crisp-cool-air, acorn memories

There is a different kind of fall here in the Piney Woods of East Texas.  I’m finding JOY in this.

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I’m thankful for deep, complete breaths

I’m thankful for sitting on the deck in my pajamas

I’m thankful for spending more time with my parents

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C. S. Lewis says that if you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable:  think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.  If fact in my opinion, I think it even becomes good because then you begin to live life with an eternal perspective.

I’m thankful for reciting 10 Little Monkeys with my granddaughter

I’m thankful for ‘just the two of us’ in Texas

I’m thankful for a big fenced yard the Kenzie can run in

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My wish for you this week of Thanksgiving is that you will become more attentive and aware of the many blessings that fill your day.  Accept the whole of each moment and give thanks.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Weaving, Warp and a Rainy Day

The day has arrived, that day in which I will take a deep breath and begin my weaving journey on the lovely Leclerc floor loom that sits in my fiber studio.  I’m filled with both excitement and apprehension at the same time.  Excitement, because I have long wanted to weave on a floor loom just like my Colorado fiber friends  – just a teensy bit of peer pressure there, I admit it.  Apprehension, because everything is unfamiliar to me and it has always been a little nerve wracking for me to enter in on the ground floor of anything new.

Rainy Day Weaving

Watching Janet Dawson’s Floor Loom Weaving class on the Craftsy platform has helped me understand how the whole weaving thing works.  Ms. Dawson is an excellent teacher.  The class demonstrates front-to-back warping so I will be working through that method to weave three pillows.

The beforehand project uses a 2-ply yarn and, after searching far and wide for an appropriate substitute in the States, I caved and ordered the yarn Ms. Dawson uses in the class from a Canadian store.  My Christmas tradition is to add a pillow to my Christmas decor, this year I will be weaving them.

Craftsy Weaving Project

Brenda, at Penelope Fibres, helped me pick out Christmas colors for the pillow from the Briggs & Little Regal stock:

  • Red #73
  • Light Brown #24
  • Green Heather #62
  • Washed White #02

When it arrived the wool smelled just like it came straight from a woolen mill – just as it ought to, nice and ‘sheepy.’  Yep, that’s me, a closet wool sniffer.

Because this yarn came in a skein the next step was to put it on a yarn swift and wind it into a center-pull ball to prepare it for the warping board.

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Briggs and Little Regal

Next comes winding onto the warping board.   In this pillow project my warp is five yards long so I measured off a guide string a five yard length and then found a path on the warping board with the string that length.  The guide thread stays there to mark the traveling course as I wind the warp.

5 yard pillow warp

Under, over ….. around.…. under, over…..follow the guide string and  the all important cross is formed.

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Everything I’ve read and every instructor I’ve listened to says to take all measures to protect that cross and I have done that.

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Janet Dawson teaches how to wind two warp threads at once and learning that sped up the whole second half of the warp … double time (wink, wink).

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I think I could just melt away in this shade of RED, so pretty it is. I crocheted each half of the warp into a chain and they are all ready for the next step. My friends tell me that winding the warp and threading the loom is half the project.

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I certainly hope that is true because what I did today took most of the day.  Time to rest, not completely though because I’m behind on my 10,000 steps today and the rainy day has turned into sunshine.

Sleepy Little Texas Town

A courthouse in the middle of a sleepy southern town, not unlike many other town squares in the south, but this one is in my sleepy town.  This is where we are for the time being, at least until we get my father-in-law’s house sold. I walked around the square this morning on well worn brick sidewalks and tried to take it all in with my camera. We don’t know how long we will be down here but enjoying our stay in this small community in East Texas.

My Little Town

I felt a little like I had stepped back into an Andy Griffith from the sixties, the episode where you transition from black-and-white to color.
My Little Town

There was no sign of Andy socializing with male friends in the Main Street barber shop but I half expected barber Floyd Lawson to step out for a smoke.
My Little Town

When I saw this bicycle I remembered Opie’s bicycle. I always pictured that bike painted red. Do you remember how he tested his father’s parenting skills episode after episode?

Antique stores lining the square made me think of the service station attendants and cousins Gomer Pyle and Goober Pyle, what names! I even flashed back to seeing these kind of signs when I was a young girl.
My Little TownDo you remember back this far?  Prince Albert in a can? Anyone?

My Little TownThere was the fu-fu side of the square, you know, the sidewalk with the cute little boutique shops?
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with cutesy decorated birdhouse entrances …
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And then there was the artsy ghetto down a side street that popped me right back into present time color, no polaroids here.
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Art matters, yes it does, doesn’t it?

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My Little Town
Coming off the side street I bounced between time zones..
I didn’t see the local Maybury drunkard, Otis Campbell, but I’m pretty sure he will be attending the Haunted House at the Athen’s Brewery on Halloween.
 

Taboo or Not Taboo

The much anticipated annual Boo Knits Mystery Halloween Knitalong has started today, October 1,  and Clue 1 was waiting for me in my Ravelry pattern library when I woke up this morning.

The designer says “Taboo is a top down, crescent shaped, shawl using two colours. It is lacy, beaded, dramatic and magical!”

Taboo

I’m using some beautiful Sundara Silk Lace that was gifted to me years ago.  The color is called Voices of the Sea.  Its been tucked away waiting for the perfect project to come along and I believe Taboo will be that special project.
Taboo Yarn
The pattern calls for 10 grams of variegated yarn and I chose Miss Babs Wild Silk. My color is called Irises and complements the teal nicely.  The size 6 beads are supposed to match that teensy bit of variegated yarn and I think the Dyna-Mites transparent rainbow purple  beads will be just about right.
Taboo Beads

It is not too late to join the fun …. here is a link for more information.

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RELEASE DATES
Clue One – October 1
Clue Two – October 7
Clue Three – October 10
Clue Four – October 14

 

1,600 Beads

It took an eternity to knit and is the designer ironically named it Eternity.  I wonder if she knew it would take an eternity to knit in 1,600 beads.  The first half of it was smooth sailing but the border, well……you can see for yourself.
Eternity Acero, the yarn I knit it with, was 60% Wool, 20% Rayon, 20% Silk and was different from any yarn I had ever used.  I had great concerns about whether or not I could give the shawl a ‘thuggish’ blocking and didn’t know if, once blocked, it would hold its shape.
This was the first time I used a triangular bead and I see why this brand is popular amongst many lace knitters.

The beads I chose for this shawl are Miyuki 5/0 Triangles in the color 1139, silver lined crystal…..beautiful!

Since they are slightly bigger than a 6/0 round seed bead they seem heavier although……it may just be that there are simply so many beads on this shawl.  At any rate, I bought these in bulk because this clear silver lined triangle is a generic bead that will work with many colors.  This definitely will not be the last time I use this brand and style.
Eternity It seems I left my blocking wires at my ‘Colorado Mountain Home’ and didn’t pack them when I packed for the now affectionately called ‘Texas Ranch’ (although I’m pretty sure you need to have cows to be a real ranch).  That discovery was a moment of despair because I had just finished casting off umpteen little picots that I knew were going to have to be pinned individually in the absence of wires.  I managed, it took the better part of a morning but I got it done.
Eternity
Eternity
I’m happy with how the shawl named Eternity turned out.  It blocked out fine and the weight of the beads will keep it there.  This is a special shawl to me for a several reasons.  Firstly, the yarn is a Texas yarn that I bought in Estes Park a few years ago and is from a town my parents used to live in.  Second, the shawl was knit in Texas where we are temporarily living while we try to sell the house we inherited. Thirdly, and most important to me, I try to live my life with an eternal perspective ever before me.
Eternity
Hubby and I do not know why it has taken so long to sell this beautiful home but we both know that in light of eternity this little ‘time out’ from our regular lives in Colorado serves a purpose that maybe we don’t need to know.  One thing is for sure, I’m enjoying the time down here with family nearby and the warmer temperatures have been a nice change.