Friday, November 30, 2007
After today I believe it! I have no pictures - just take a plain white sheet of paper and look at that - it will be close enough!
Of course, by their own web site information, their prediction accuracy over time runs at about 40%. (Tossing a coin would give you 50%!)
A Little Sock Making
This is a pair of kids size 5 - 7 socks, made with left over hand painted Harry Potter theme sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon. The socks used 15 grams each, and were easily done with the leftover of one skein from a pair of adult mediums.
These are done on the 54 cylinder with mock ribbing 2:1 full time - which is to say the missing needles aren't put back after the hem as in my adult patterns.
The important watchpoint is to make sure a pair of needles straddles the red hash mark on each side of the cylinder. If you have a blank spot at a red mark it will really b*gger up your heel and toe.
Closing the Toes
A few people have asked me about this. I will refer you to the resource that I learned from: here . This sheet was put together by Karen In the Woods, and resides on Pat Fly's web site. There are a lot of other goodies on Pat's site, including pdf copies of many of the manuals for antique sock machines, bits and pieces for machines, and her own 'Fly Dyed' yarn.
Ellen's Hind Legs
A few also asked about the significance of Ellen's hind legs being so large. It's difficult to explain without sounding heartless, but suffice it to say that the hind quarters of any livestock (and some people) are the 'prime cuts'. So an animal (and some people) generously endowed at that end has a higher value.
Since I've been speaking of favourite animals, here's one:
The ewe in the front of the picture is Oma. Her name was actually Thelma. And yes, her twin sister's name was Louise. She was the last of my original sheep, born in 1991 and died in October 2005. She had a beautiful fleece that went to hand spinners every year, and she had more lambs in her life time than I have digits.
In 2003 I had a summer student at the farm from Germany on a university agricultural work/study programme. He called her Oma and always greeted her with a tip of his hat and a swashbuckling bow. It stuck and I carried it on, every time I entered the paddock where she presided.
In the last year of her life she didn't lamb, which is normally a capital offense, but I had decided years before that she would finish off her years at the farm.
She had been gradually losing her teeth, and by the early fall of 2005 she had none left. She was able to graze a little, using her gums but was starting to get a little thin.
There are lots of wild apple trees on the farm (the sheep know where every single one is, and can hear an apple drop from a mile away!). So every morning and afternoon when I went to check on the flock I would collect a few apples and cut them into slices for her.
I would call her name when I entered the paddock and she would trot right over. After bowing and tipping my hat I would feed her the apple slices.
I wasn't worried about her wintering over, as the sheep are on hay and grain, neither of which require teeth. But I was concerned about the following spring when the flock returned to grass. She wouldn't be able to get enough to eat, but she would be distraught if separated from her group.
In the end, a wolf got her. I had a visit with her one late October morning, and that afternoon all I found were her bones.
After providing for me and my family for 14 years, she provided for another family.
What a gal!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Well.....the winds are howling for fair today. And all last night. And the temperatures have gone seriously wacko - warming up at night and cooling down during the day.
When I was a boy we were taught that such aberrations in the weather were the work of the communists ;o)
When the Berlin wall came down, it seems it became our own fault....
Kaffe and a Donut
I finally dropped a stitch in my Kaffe-fest. Fortunately the stitch was in the scrap yarn at the end of the 16th sock. I could have picked it up, but then this Kaffee snake would have grown even longer as I avoid the inevitable evening of never-ending-kitchener.
Hmmmm - maybe I could charter a bus and collect all those bloggers who said they don't mind closing toes.....
I don't know why I was thinking about Ellen today. But I was.
Ellen was a lamb born back around 1995 or so. Her mother was #9D, daughter of my most prolific original ewe #40B, also known as Gertie.
9D had a difficult second lambing - triplets who were completely tangled up inside. So with my large man hands I had to go in and sort out to which lamb each of these 12 legs belonged. Ultimately I did this and then delivered the three.
The third lamb was the toughest to get out. I couldn't figure out which legs were the fore and which were the hind legs. (That usually isn't difficult.)
Finally I got her out, and what a lamb this was: instead of ears she had these little cauliflower shaped knobs. Her snout was all pushed in like one of those pudgy dogs. And her front legs were very short. And her front knees were positioned 90 degrees wrong. That is to say, her front legs bent out to the side instead of back.
So these legs looked like the Letter 'L'.
Hence her name, Ellen.
I called the vet, who was intrigued and wanted to see her, gratits. I took Ellen down, and the vets x-rayed her, poked and prodded, and all agreed they'd never seen anything like her. But no suggestions other than to keep her comfortable.
9D had two other normal lambs to raise and I knew Ellen wouldn't be able to keep up, so she became a Poddy (bottle lamb). And what she lacked in ears and legs she made up for in spades with lungs - she could suck that bottle dry in no time flat!
I built braces for her front legs with pieces of plastic vinegar bottle and duct tape. They allowed her to stand up, but the poor little sh*t would just go in circles when she tried to walk.
Eventually, she was able to walk diagonally and end up more or less where she wanted to go. Her legs grew a little but were always small. She even finally developed enough muscles in her knees to keep the legs from collapsing, and ultimately, she didn't need the braces any longer.
I had a tear in my eye when Ellen had progressed enough to join the other lambs in the pasture. How she loved to run (still diagonally) and frolic with her new friends.
Part of sheep farming is that lambs go to market, and when the time came Ellen had to go too.
I don't usually go to the market - a trucking service picks the lambs up and delivers them - but that day I decided I wanted to go.
When she came into the ring all the buyers laughed and laughed, and the auctioneer had difficulty getting an opening bid.
Then, first one buyer, and then another, realized that with these poor deformed little front legs, she had relied almost entirely on her rear legs which were over developed and huge.
Ellen topped the market that day, and to this day I've never received a higher bid on a lamb.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Here comes another storm from the north!
Thankfully, this time, I'm ready:
The snow blower is mounted on the tractor, and chains put on the rear tires. (I need chains because I don't have 4 wheel drive ;o( )
Taking comfort in my winter preparedness, I was able to get sock Kaffe socks cranked:
This is 4 pair of sized Medium, from the Kaffee Fassett Designer Series. Looks like there will be some tv watching (toe closing) tonight.
Here's a picture from E, showing a pair of mitts and a headband that Moe knit:
And here is a view of the headband.
The headband is from http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTcalorimetry.html
The yarn is my sport yarn, colour Apple Harvest. This is the same weight of yarn with which I knit the Lolli Sock series. It is pure lamb's wool and very soft. (On its own it is not suitable for socks, but I used wooly nylon in the heels and toes). There are about 425 yds per 110 g (4 oz).
I'm not sure what gauge Moe knit, but on the sock machine I do 7 stitches per inch. I've got a few kids' sweaters handknit that are 6 stitches per inch. The mitts and headband were from one skein.
Meaford (where I live) is in the heart of apple country. There is a big craft show in the fall called The Apple Harvest, and I started making this colourway with that venue in mind.
And Clue #4
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
E had delivered the evidence - she has indeed completed the second sock in this pair. And she complied with 'the rules' that both socks be shown in one photograph.
Congratulations to E on surviving the trial by fire of learning to make socks on an antique machine!
We can guess what everyone chez E will be getting for Christmas!
In the studio today I found no yarn ready to knit. I generally like to leave my table with a few balls 'at the ready' but I cleaned everything up in preparation for the Tom Thomson show.
So today I pawed through the stash and selected some yarn to wind for the next onslaught at the machines.
It's been a miserable day - and as I sat down to wind, the wind really whined.
But I digress....
I found a bag with a bunch of Kaffee Fassett Design Series from Regia, and wound off a load to get me started.
These are 50 g balls and I actually found 4 of each, so there will be enough for two adult medium pair of each colourway.
And I STILL haven't encountered a ball from this series with a knot.
Clue # 3
Monday, November 26, 2007
The colours are not even close to reality on my screen. (%&%!@#$@!)
They are much brighter and livlier than they show.
The left overs from two 50 g skeins are shown with the socks. Also shown is the woolly nylon I knitted in with the heels and toes, as I do with any 100% wool sock.
Here is a close-up of one heel:
It is very difficult to see the woolly nylon, and once the socks are washed it will be near impossible.
While this picture lacks crispness, the colours are a MUCH better representation.
Last Show Come and Gone
The past week-end heralded the end of my craft show season (I don't consider the weekly farmers' market I attend to be included in that statement - it goes to the bitter end!)
The show at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery was good. It used to be in early November and I found folks were looking more than buying, so I had scratched it off my list . But a late November date was a better fit to catch the Christmas shoppers and so I gave it another kick, and I'm glad I did.
Its a smaller show than the others I attend, but it is a high quality gig - no vendors there that bought two pieces of pre-stamped wood at the five and dime and glued them together and called it art.
I played a little with specializing at this show, using it as a bit of a guinea pig. At all the other craft shows I take a wide range of wool and related products. But at this show I took only my sock machine made stuff. A much narrower focus.
I guess it's like fishing with a hook compared to fishing with a net.
Score one for the hook!
CLUE # 2
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
You'd have to wonder, when winter has arrived at the farm, why the snow blower is here:
instead of mounted on the back of the tractor!
Behind in my work again! But now I remember why I didn't get as many socks made last winter as I had planned - too much time clearing the driveway!
The lambs have now settled in to the snow.
This is the lamb I named Itty Bitty Thang because she was so small - a blind and deaf rejected ewe lamb who found her health on the end of a bottle ;o) She is no longer the smallest!
One of the rams is standing at the gate giving her the once over.
Meanwhile, out in the field:
The ewes have quit pawing through the snow for tender bites of late sprouting grass and have resigned themselves to the bales of hay.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
That's how it looked outside my kitchen window this morning! The little skiff of snow we received last week now has stood aside for an honest and serious winter blast.
Well, someone was glad to see the snow!
There is a bunny living in these trees, just outside the house. Jesse has been chasing it for months. This morning he was snorkeling through the snow after its scent.
Just behind Jesse is the skidoo. I guess I should take the cover off and see if it wants to start.
As much fun as Jesse is having in the new snow today, the lambs were DEFINITELY NOT IMPRESSED. They haven't figured out what snow is yet and are loath to even walk through it.
Every day when I put their grain in the troughs they just about bulldoze me over when I open the gate into the grain yard. This morning I couldn't even chase them through the gate because of snow 'wall'.
After umpteen tries, and stomping down a path for them, and with a little help from Jesse we finally got them into the yard.
This will take a few days, and once they figure it out they will love to jump and play in it as much as Jesse.
So, chores were a little tiring today.
I could go and knit some socks.
Or I could open this instead.....
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, sized Large and done on the 72 needle cylinder. The little ball to the side is what is left over from one skein. (Should be enough for 1 or 2 'bars' on an eco sock.)
The colour is Pin Stripe. It looks black and grey but very close inspection will reveal it to be dark-greyish-browns, greyish taupes and just a touch of copperish-green. Very nice man socks!
As with all Lorna's Shepherd Sock, it flows through the sock machine like a hot knife through butter. With the darker dyes, such as in this colour way, I use the same tension as with 'normal 4 ply' sock yarns. (With the lighter colours, I back the tension off a quarter turn).
Now Let's See
Here I've taken the left over from one skein of Online Supersocke 100, # 767, plus one whole new ball.
And this is a pair of XL socks, done with 42 row double hem, 95 row leg and 90 row foot.
And this is what's left.
The Online yarns go about as far as most other commercial 4 ply yarns that I use - you can't quite squeak a pair of XL out of one 100 g ball.
But at 104 grams, its close. I got to row 75 out of 90 on the foot of the second sock before splicing in the other ball - so 15 rows plus the toe short.
If, instead of doing a double hem I did a single hem, that would have saved 11 rows on each sock, or 22 rows altogether - and maybe shorten the leg a few rows, that might have squeaked through on one ball.
But what the heck, I like a double hem.....
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
This is the Online Supersocke 100 #767 knit into a Christmas Stocking - same pattern as yesterday.
Next up for one more - something else out of the stash:
This is Fortissima Colori - Socka Color # 9048. This yarn, and the other colours in the series were hugely popular and the yarn became very difficult to find. So when I did find some I built grabbed what I could and have been metering it out ever so carefully!
I think with a little tweaking this pattern could be adapted to make well fitting knee socks. For a man, I'd leave the initial tension the same, but after about 50 - 60 rows of the 140 in the leg I'd start reeling in the tension a half turn every x rows until I had reduced by 2.5 turns altogether (which would be back to my regular sock yarn setting) by the time I got to row 110ish.
I think for a medium Ladies' I'd start with the tension a full turn tighter than above, and so only have to reduce 1.5 turns over the length of the leg.
tatta-tatta-tatta-tat WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG WITH A VISIT FROM THE POSTMAN
O-o-o-o-o - a box from Lorna's Laces.
Here is some Shepherd Sport Blue Jeans
I had a few bags of this and it was all gone. I couldn't remember if I'd ordered more. I guess I had! The Shepherd Sport is the 6 ply weight. This is very scrumptious and will make great man socks.
And.... some new (to me) colours of Lorna's Shepherd Sock:
This one is # 107 Red Rover
# 222 Sweetie
#847 Pin Stripe
I think this lot will accomplish a recent goal I've had: to have enough Lorna's Shepherd Sock colours so that I will have enough leftovers to make Eco Lorna's socks!
BUT WAIT, THERE's MORE
Almost three years ago I bought a spinning wheel.
I crashed and burned after about 2 and a half minutes and it's been sitting in the corner collecting dust ever since.
Maybe this Lorna's Laces Merino Shepherd Wooltop will motivate me to give it another try:
If you don't have high speed, you probably haven't got this far in the post. But if you don't, and you did..... a thousand pardons!
Monday, November 19, 2007
And what a fight it was!
On the second sock I dropped a stitch right where the heel joins the leg. And in actual fact, I had dropped two stitches (that were on one needle) and when I went to grasp the one with my pic the other one ran a good 12 rows. And you can leave the rest to your imagination ;o)
Exacerbating the situation - I didn't have much of the yarn left which I was using for hems/heels/toes. So I tore the sock apart, reclaimed the heel and the hem yarn and started anew.
All's well that ends well. And the new second sock presented no challenges.
This pair of Eco Socks is XL, which would be for a man's 12 - 14ish shoe size. They are made on the 72 cylinder with 37 different yarns. The leg is a little longer than my Large pattern, and the foot is 15 rows longer than the Large. So a great pair of socks for someone with the big canoes.
And since I'm in the mood for big things, here are two Christmas Stockings I made:
These are bigger than the prototype I blogged on in October.
They are not yet washed or blocked - they will block out wider and a tad shorter than they present in the pictures.
The top sock is Opal Kollektionsenwicklung (say that three times fast with a mouth full of crackers!) and the second is Opal Neon series, colour # 1930.
The pattern is the same for both:
All needles in the 72 cylinder (no mock rib) with the tension set 2.5 turns less than standard 4 ply setting.
Knit 20 rows; pico (hang stitch one on stitch two, stitch three on stitch 4, and so on); knit 20 more rows and hang the stitches from the first row onto the stitches of the last row.
Knit 140 rows for the leg. (I did 80 in the prototype)
Short Heel - (decrease 4 LESS on each side than for normal heel so that foot hangs at a 45 degree angle instead of 90.)
Knit 50 rows for foot.
Toe, same as heel.
These big socks used ~ 75 grams of yarn each. I chose yarns where I have at least one more 100 g ball in the same colour. Then I can use the left over from the Christmas Stockings with a full ball of the same colour to make a pair of XL socks.
This is Online Supersocke 100, Colour #767. I found 6 x 100 g balls of this in my stash.
This ball will become another Christmas Stocking.
Friday, November 16, 2007
We had a skiff of snow overnight at the farm. Nothing left on the ground by morning, but a white roof on the house and hood on the truck. And a little on the round bales of hay.
See the snow clouds in the distance. These clouds are to my North, and are sitting over the warm waters of Georgian Bay sucking up moisture.
I can't wait for the first real snow fall. Jesse will go nuts romping in it. And the lambs will really get excited as it will be their first time to see it.
Meantime, the arrival of colder weather also heralds a new chore on the farm - hauling water by the pail to fill the water troughs.
On the Sock Machine Today
More same old, same old:
These two pair of Eco Socks are both sized Large and done on the 72 cylinder. The Large size take 35 different scraps of yarn to complete.
I'm working on one final pair, sized XL, which take 37 scraps. The first sock is finished and I b*ggered up the second royally - so I've come to do my blog as my way of counting to ten before I go back with a fresh attitude to fix the mess!
That will complete the selection of EcoSocks I've been making for my last big craft show of the season, The Tom Thomson Fine Art and Craft Show.
It's not one of the bigger shows, but its the fussiest I attend, as far as juried participation goes, so its always a bit of an ego stroke to be invited. I'm going to take a CSM with me and do a bit of demo during quieter times.
And A Sock Machine Tip:
When I'm done for the day this is how I prefer to leave my machine:
The machine is loaded and ready to go - the next project yarn is even threaded through the yarn mast. This will be an inviting scene for me: 'Come on. Sit down and make a sock. It won't take long.'
The other way to leave the machine: