Saturday, October 18, 2014

It's Not Rocket Science

Last night, a friend was here, to get some knitting help. She is starting a new shawl, and she needed a bit of  ''encouragement" to get it started. She did a great job on the garter stitch tab that begins the pattern and was starting into the body. As she was trying to figure out what the pattern was telling her to do, I heard her say to herself, "Come on, this is not rocket science!"

I have been thinking about this. In my younger days, I actually studied rocket science. The mathematics of rocket science is fairly advanced, but there are some physical laws that govern it, an agreed vocabulary, and set of conventions that allow engineers in many different places to understand each others work.

Knitting, on the other hand, is not always that simple. There are regional differences in how things are done. There can be more then one way to knit the stitches to get the same results. To make a left leaning decrease, a pattern may ask you to slip, slip, knit, or slip one, knit one, pass the slip stitch over, or knit two stitches together, through the back loop. All will serve the same function, making a left leaning decrease, and when the sock is finished, it is hard to tell which one was used.
In the case of the shawl pattern, the passage confusing my friend was "knit to marker,m1r, SM, k1, SM, m1l". I don't blame her for being confused. M is used both the mean the marker and to indicate where an increase is required.
I helped her understand, and she finished the row, and did a few more. The shawl is going to be awesome!
No, Michelle, it's not rocket science. Sometimes, it's even harder to understand.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Since there is often snow on the ground here, by the time our southern neighbours celebrate Thanksgiving, I can understand why ours is in October.

Things have been fairly quiet around Arts and Socks. Dolly started our weekend off with a bang, by having a close and personal encounter with a skunk in our backyard. Now, I would think that a bright girl, who has had a skunk encounter before, would have sense enough to run the other way, instead of running up to the skunk, barking! Now, every time we leave the house, we are sniffing our clothes and shoes and wondering if they smell, since our noses can no longer smell anything.

My "grandcat" Mike is spending the weekend, while his people are away. He is having a bit of a problem trying to decide where he would like to have his personal "spot".

Here he is trying out my antique Singer machine.

He is a big boy, and I think he decided that the sewing machine cabinet was a bit small for his liking.

So here he is, trying out the top of the bookcase.

Much roomier! We put a blanket up there for him.

I have been making a pair of yoga socks. Since I couldn't find a pattern I liked, I combined some ideas from other patterns.
Michelle kindly modeled them for me, at Knit Knight.

I can't guarantee they are both the same, because I didn't take very good notes on the first sock and had to try and count my rows from the first for the second.  The Knit Knight ladies liked them, so I guess they will do.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lawn Bowling Mitts

Awhile ago, I was asked to make some fingerless mitts for a lady with arthritis in her wrists, to keep her wrists warm while waiting for her turn to lawn bowl. Since, traditionally, lawn bowlers wear white, I was asked to use some baby yarn from my stash. They turned out like this.

I couldn't find a pattern for mitts in DK weight, so I made them up as I went along. Since I had no idea of the size of the recipients hands, I used a wide rib, which seemed to work for a wide variety of  hand sizes.

I have been asked for the pattern, so recently, I made a second pair, to figure out what my notes said. (I made notes, so the second mitt would match the first.)

This is a "wilder" version of the same yarn, and as I was knitting them I got even more requests for the pattern.

Yesterday, I actually typed up my notes, and produced my first pattern. My friend, Cheryl, of Grandma Coco's Designs, kindly proofread the draft for me. Any remaining mistakes are totally mine.

If you would like to knit a pair of Lawn Bowling Mitts (or texting mitts, or dog walking mitts), the  pattern is here:

Meanwhile, for the kitten fans, Humphrey is currently an only kitten, since his siblings have returned to the shelter and been adopted. Not used to being alone, he has been hanging out with Dolly. I expect he will go for adoption later this week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Starts and Family Tree Finished

I went out this morning to discover this lovely creation, in my pine tree.

The early morning dew was sparkling on every thread. Obviously, someone stayed up late last night, knitting!

Meanwhile, my native hibiscus, with the lovely name of Swamp Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), is trying to squeeze the last bit of summer in.

When the flowers are fully open, they are the size of dinner plates, but I can't seem to catch one fully open. There are still lots of buds on it, so we may have flowers for a while, yet, if we can protect it from the frost.

I finally finished my Family Tree Shawl. That makes 6 shawls so far this year. I would think I was in a rut, except that they are all different patterns.

Here it is, in need of a good blocking.

I switched the Main Colour and Contrast Colour for the last section, and I am glad I did. I think the change in colour makes the tree stand out even more.
I like the look of the Latvian Braid, even if it is awkward to do on a piece as wide as this one. I am hoping that I can convince everything to lay flat and smooth, after I block it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Family Tree - Clues 3 & 4

I am a week behind on this shawl. I started Clue 5 a full week after I received the clue. I know who to blame, too.

Pete is a cuddly teddy bear of a kitten, who just makes you want to pick him up and hug him. He has also figured out how to get the door open between the family room and the rest of the house, if the door isn't fully latched. So, I am spending time trying to catch him and put him back.

Claire just discovered how wonderful hands are for giving tummy rubs and pats. If I sit down with my knitting, around her, she climbs into my lap and bats at my hand to get me to use it on her tummy instead of my knitting.

Tummy Rub, Please

Humphrey got off to a slow start, and needed a couple of trips to the vet,  which used up 1 1/2  to 2 hours, each trip. The good news is that he is doing much better now, although he has acquired a taste for sitting on people to have his naps.

Humphrey and Claire
However, I am slowing making progress. Here is a picture of my finished Clue 3 and 4.

Close up of the "string of pearls".

Since I am running out of the Main Colour, I am going to switch the Main and Contrast for the final clue.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


I had an opportunity to attend a Zentangle workshop, being held as a fundraiser. I invited my future DIL to come to. We spent a lovely day, learning how to Zentangle. Since the weather was more like late October than early September, it seemed like a great way to spend a Saturday.

At the end of the workshops the participants made domino necklaces or frig magnets.

Mine is on the right and my DIL's is on the left. I think they look pretty good for our first attempt.

They are actual dominoes, see:

Now I would like to try it on my sewing machine!


Alice, Gracie, and Emma were invited to take part in an "Adopt-athon" at a local pet store. Apparently they were a hit because they were adopted within the first few hours of the event. I am sure they are happy in their new homes.

Meanwhile, our new kitten staff are:


Pete seems to be in constant movement, so I have to try and get a better picture of him. I haven't really had time to miss the previous batch!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cats and Cwilts

I didn't get the little quilt finished before Marley went back to the shelter (it's a long story), however, it is finished now.

The "cwilt" is 18 inches by 24 inches.

I just did some simple quilting but it is good practice at quilting in straight lins.

Alice took it for a test nap.
More kitten pictures (for those who like kitten pictures) in yesterday's blog posting.