Stasia's Place Of Grace


Thursday, January 02, 2003

About The Socks...

I've had several requests for the pattern for my sock shown in the previous entry. (Click the Archives to find "December 30th" for a photo.)

Well, there isn't a pattern! I'm making it up as I go along! However, I'll try to explain what I'm doing...

I do have a generic, basic, gaugeless, toe-up sock pattern online here, which you're welcome to use.

As far as intarsia-in-the-round, all you do is:

    a) knit the top of the sock with your two colors;

    b) continue around the bottom of the sock with your main color, leaving the contrast color where it ended;

    c) on the next round, on the top of the sock, knit all the sts. you want in the main color, and slip all the stitches you want in your contrast color... continue to end of round;

    d) then go back and pick up your contrast color, and, on the wrong side of the top of your sock, purl the slipped sts. back in your contrast color, slipping the ones you have already knit in the main color!

    For your next round, both colors will be back at the starting point; work the round normally, and then on the round after, repeat steps a-d above.

    You might like to wrap the main color and contrast color around each other as they pass by, so there are no holes later on.

This is a technique which I think I learned from a Priscilla Gibson-Roberts book. Unfortunately, I don't remember which one right now... but buy her books! They're great and she has lots of wonderful information to teach. And if you can get a back issue of the Fall, 2000 "Interweave Knits", which features her great article on socks, be sure to snap it up!

As far as the heels, the stripes are explained in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' "Simple Socks: Plain & Fancy" on page 63. Two rows are knit in each color; therefore all color changes occur at the same side of the heel. When starting a new color, do the yarnover (used in PG-R's short-row technique) in the new color, twist the new and old colors, and continue knitting across in the new color.

Priscilla's yarnover, short-row technique is explained in the "IK" issue I mention above (check with vendors online to see if they have any left!), as well as in "Simple Socks" on page 40. I don't do any other kind of heel, as this version is so simple and neat!

Current Project

The socks are on hold (one heel finished, one to go) because I started the Cottage Creations "Rambling Rows Afghan" in Bernat Berella 4 acrylic (it's not bad!) from the Grafton Yarn Shop. The colors are pine, sage, and three purples.

This is the most fun I've had with a knitting pattern! What a wonderful, unique design concept; what comfortable and easy knitting!

For a free brochure on Cottage Craft patterns, most of which are seamless and really easy, send a large SASE to: Carol A. Anderson, Cottage Creations, At the Farm on Deer Creek [no street address given, but should get there due to the ZIP code], Carpenter, IA, 50426-0070. Please tell Carol that Stasia sent you!

To Quote...

Sometimes I feel a lot of guilt over the misdeeds of my past. I never robbed a bank or anything, but like everyone, I've made my share of whopping mistakes. I recently heard this quote and it has helped me to feel better. I think it's a good one to start off the new year:

    [In the past...] � did what you knew how to do... and when you knew better, you did better.� ~ Maya Angelou

That's true, I have. And I will continue to!

Here are a couple more which I read in a catalog recently:

    "An unkept house is better than a life unlived." ~ Unknown

    "Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid!" ~ Unknown

And finally, one my wise pal Kary sent me:

    "Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training." ~ Anna Freud

Amen to that! We may have made mistakes, and we may have not had wonderful upbringings, but thank goodness we are creative and able to continue to grow! Let's move forward, learn, express our creativity, and do our best to bring happiness and beauty to the world in 2003, shall we?

Animal Breed Zip Code

Monday, December 30, 2002

Grateful For...

Tonight we finally had our Christmas dinner! I am not a very good cook, but I did all right this time...

I made a turkey breast with a sauce of rehydrated, sweetened, dried cranberries chopped with an orange and mixed with a quarter cup of honey. I then placed that mixture beneath the turkey skin and replaced it. I cooked the turkey in a 325-degree oven for about three hours (25 minutes per pound), basting with lots of butter often. The skin came out gorgeously glazed and sweet, and the meat was juicy and tender!

I also made an incredible dressing... I blanched and skinned chestnuts, braised them in peppered beef broth for 20 minutes, chopped them and added onions fried in butter along with fresh, cooked pork sausage and thyme. I mixed it with some Pepperidge Farm sage and onion seasoned bread cubes. This stuffing was incredible and will now be a tradition in our home! I don't think I have ever tasted anything so wonderful...

Unless it was the Dickensian plum pudding with brandy butter which followed! Even though it was a ready-made pudding, and heated in the microwave (!), it was awesome! Next year we'll get the big one! It was from The Scottish Lion.

We also had a butternut squash that Jeff had cooked yesterday, and some organic mashed potatoes. A 1996 Medoc that Jeff brought back from France was his wine pick, and it was perfect. What a feast!

When Jeff came home tonight, the turkey was all ready, Christmas music was on the stereo, and candles were lit - including the advent wreath centerpiece, and my nativity spinner pictured here. The heat from the candles makes the blades turn, and that makes the little wise men and camel, and the shepherds with their sheep, go around and around the manger scene. It is so Scandinavian-y and cute - one of my favorite holiday decorations!

Today I heard on the radio that there are currently 56 wars going on in the world; most are being fought for religious reasons. I'm so glad that Jeff and I embrace the celebrations of many religions... and that we are flexible enough to celebrate holidays on odd days when we can't do it on the actual holiday!

I hope you will join me in spreading peace in 2003 by learning about another culture or religion, and adopting some of its traditions as your own...

Fiber Arts Progress

I was able to complete one new heel of my made-up-as-I-go Patons Kroy Heart Socks (intarsia-in-the-round) last night... and here it is!

I like it a lot! Time to frog heel number two and do it this way as well (see below for the versions I didn't like...)

I'd like to welcome everyone visiting from the Socknitters Yahoo! Group - thanks for stopping by! Please post a note in the TagBoard on the righthand sidebar. Have a great day!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Current Connundrum

Which heel?

    I like the upper heel's colors, but it is very difficult to do. My gauge becomes too tight because of the challenge, and it's easy for me to make errors on my turns. This was my second try of that method, and it must be ripped back again.

    The lower heel is much easier, but I don't like the colors as well. They look like elf socks!

    How 'bout the lower heel patterning, but done in green and gray? Yes, I think that will work best! A frogging I shall go...

Thankful For...

My friend Di gave me a handknit scarf for a Christmas present! It matches my barn jacket perfectly.

I can't believe how far Di has come along with her knitting, and as I said before, it makes me feel so happy to know I started her on it. She really enjoys it, and I and the others she gifted with scarves all enjoyed receiving them. She even spun some of the yarn herself!

It meant so much to me to receive a handmade gift! Especially after receiving the two-sizes-too-small, zebra-striped flannel, men's style pajamas from my sister... yikes! As my mother and other sister received them as well, I can only deduce there was a great sale on them someplace...

I am fairly confident that the birth of Jesus (which I know didn't occur in December, but I digress...) was not attended by rows of toy soldiers and gingerbread men, nor by plastic snowmen who, if in real life scale, would be about nine feet tall. Nor did the Whos from Whoville, painted on plywood, come across the desert bearing gifts. However, I have to say that seeing displays of incongruous, light-up, plastic Christmas figures on lawns gives me the warm fuzzies every time. I like the tackiest displays, along with the 1960s giant rainbow-colored lights on the evergreens, the best. Icicle lights, carefully hung from every peak, are nice and elegant... but too perfect. There's something just so... fun about a display where Rudolph is nibbling hay out of the Holy Family's manger!

I received a free "I Love Knitting bumper sticker from the Grafton Yarn Store in Grafton, Wisconsin yesterday (along with really helpful service!) It's funny how something so little can brighten someone's day!

Have you seen "Christmas Trolls" and "The Mitten" by Jan Brett? They are children's books which have wonderful illustrations. "Christmas Trolls" has many drawings of Scandinavian-type knitwear, and "The Mitten" is a Ukranian folktale about a mitten a little boy's grandmother makes for him - some of the drawings in that one show his "baba" spinning and knitting. I love the ethnic garments depicted, and the bright colors, too. These are wonderful, inspiring eye-candy for any knitter with a child's heart. Adorable stories as well!

I see those two books and others are combined in her "Christmas Treasury" collection...

My in-laws were incredibly generous at Christmas this year - both with their attention (calling me frequently while Jeff was in Europe so that I wouldn't be lonely) and with their gifts. I will never say anything negative about my in-laws for the rest of my life (well, I will try! I should try harder in 2003 not to say anything negative about anybody!)

My in-laws have their faults, as do my family, and, of course, I as well ... but they really made Jeff and me feel important to them this year... and I think that feeling (much more than gifts) is what the season's about.

But the gifts were awesome! Now, should I watch "Fiddler On The Roof" or "Uncorked" first?


I have some resolutions floating around in my head. They are:

  • Moderation In All Things: I need to not get so involved in a single project that I neglect physical activity. I've been doing a lot of knitting and it has been wearing on my achy old body. I need to get back into a balanced schedule - cleaning, crafts, reading, deskwork, pets, exercise, focused relaxation, and spirituality - with a little bit of time devoted to each, every day.

  • Stay Away From Negativity: I tried to participate in some Yahoo groups again. I found that (perhaps because of the stressful holiday season) there was a lot of negativity on them. I tried to help change the tone, but it was draining on me to read so much crabbiness and so many tales of woe. As I'm dealing with emotional issues because of also dealing with FMS, I need to look at whether I want to be giving support, or finding it elsewhere. I like to be a candle in the darkness... but because of where I'm at with my physical health, I am in need of a bright sun to warm me as well.

    I am thinking of starting a group for creative people, in which they can talk about their projects, discuss obstacles (without complaining! Rather, from the point of view of asking for help for a solution...), post motivational quotes, and discuss how the other aspects of their lives affect their creativity. Then again, I'm also thinking I don't want the hassle of moderating it... is there such a group already, for spinners, weavers, fiber and other artists?

  • Look At My Relationship To Food: I know that I have become obsessed with food due to lack of control in other areas of my life. Unfortunately this has not manifested in avoiding food, but rather pursuing eating at every opportunity, always thinking about what my next meal will be. This is especially evident during the holidays - as there was very little in terms of "tradition" during the holidays while I was growing up, I tend to "create traditions" by using special foods as "symbols." I would like to take a closer look at my eating patterns and really recognize my eating triggers so that I can perhaps lose some weight. My exercise options being limited, controlling my diet is going to be a big factor in achieving a healthy weight.

  • Spending (And Fearing) Less: I would like to spend less on yarn and fiber arts stuff, clothing, and impulse purchases. I have enough in my fiberarts stash to last me for the next century. I also have enough clothes, in many sizes, to last that long and see me through any weight changes!

    While I eat when I'm stressed, I tend to shop when I'm lonely or bored. When Jeff travels (usually a week out of every month) I tend to shop online instead of using up all my fiber and yarn stash (or reading, or exercising... you get the picture!) Part of this is a fear of going out when he's not here... I tend to worry about being approached while out, or the house lighting on fire, or someone breaking in... totally irrational fears, I know, and I'm working to get control over them!

    I have portable pepper spray, and one of my dogs is really big, so I shouldn't fear hiking on local, well-traveled trails. I have a gun and I know how to use it, so I am safe at home. I live in a safe area, I have a cordless phone I keep with me, and I can yell really loud, so I shouldn't worry about someone breaking in... especially with four pooches barking up a storm every time they hear a noise!

    To lessen my irrational fears, I resolve to watch less TV, especially the news, because I feel that subjecting myself to constant reports of attacks (which are in reality the exception, and not the rule) is making me paranoid and overcautious. I do not want to live my life shut up in a house just because I am a woman.

    Maybe a self-defense class is in order? Can I do it without hurting my back again? I will have to see!

  • Establishing A Knitting Support Group: My friend Di has a friend, Kate, who enjoys crocheting. Di and I have long been talking about joining a local knitting guild... yet none is really local, or meets at a convenient time for us. So the three of us have determined, once the holidays are past, to start our own "stitch and b@#$%" group. I am looking forward to the social contact and to having the time set aside for working on projects.

Fiber Arts

I am still working on my gray, evergreen, and cranberry intarsia-in-the-round socks (see above). They are coming along pretty well. I am learning a lot of new skills. I did a two-color, horizontal-striped, short-row heel on one (red and green). I will rip it out as I don't like the way it looks with the rest of the sock, but I'm really proud for having achieved a new skill (I learned it in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' "Simple Socks: Plain & Fancy".)

I have just worked the other sock with a two-color, vertically-striped pattern, using the gray and the evergreen. This, too, is a new skill, and after experimenting with it twice, I acknowledge that I have not perfected it and am not enjoying trying.

I would like to finish up these socks soon, as yesterday, at the Grafton Yarn Store with Di and Kate, I got some lovely gray Patons Merino yarn to make a headscarf or, as we call it, a "babushka" (that is also the Russian word for "grandmother!") I had an urge to knit a really wooly, soft one, in a plain knit, from the center outward in a square, with a simply lace border. This gray yarn will do perfectly, I think. With the leftovers I may make a seaman's scarf for Jeff. I love how Merino can be worn right next to the skin!

While at the shop, I became intoxicated with - you will laugh - Bernat Berella 4 acrylic in deep and medium purple, lavender, sage, and pine green. The colors just spoke to me and begged me to make something with them. I couldn't resist...

I bought almost enough to make what I imagine will be a Pansy-colored afghan... having no pattern in mind, I just got what I assumed would be enough. When I got home, I decided it would be a good time to try the Cottage Creations "Rambling Rows Afghan" pattern, and then I found I needed one more ball of the pine, so back I'll go on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to trying the pattern, as only one little block is on the needles at the time - the whole afghan is done in a modular format, and all in garter stitch. Easy-peasy, and light on the wrists!

Around my house, afghans have got to be acrylic!

Off I go to watch "The Duchess Of Duke Street" on PBS and work on my sock heels... I wish you a happy and safe New Year's celebration, and a fruitful and happy 2003!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Welcome To Stasia's Blog

Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

Join her here as she journals about beauty in nature, the joys of fibery pursuits, special people and pets, and great places to shop. It's her hope you'll leave spiritually inspired and creatively motivated. Thanks for visiting!

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