Wednesday, November 25, 2015

thoughts about socks

Thoughts about sock heels, specifically.  

My go to sock is a top down sock.  I can knit it without paying particular attention.  It fits my foot well.  I can use the old Sock Wizard software that we still have on the aging desktop PC.

Sometimes, though, I feel the need to experiment, to give my brain a chance to make new synapses.  Although I've done toe up socks in various ways, I've never been totally happy with the way they fit my feet.  I have very narrow heels.  When they measure my feet in shoe stores they always tell my foot is a narrow AA and my heel is an even narrower AAAA.  

The sock that fits my heel the worst is this one Pretty yarn but there is way too much room in the heel.  Short row heels are a bad fit too.  I have decided that a flap and gusset heel is best because it draws the yarn in nice and snugly.

I knit this sock with the Sock Wizard program for a toe up sock.
The heel turn seems to take many more rows than the top down patterns so that it curves over the heel and pushes the flap higher on the back of the heel.  There's a little pooch of knitted fabric just under the heel flap which looks sloppy on my heel.

I wasn't sure if the Sock Wizard pattern was a typical example of a toe up heel turn and flap so I decided to knit another toe up flap pattern.  I looked at a lot of patterns and decided that David's Toe Up Sock Cookbook looked like a good one.  I also did the calculations for the Queen Kahuna Crazy Toes and Heels book (which doesn't seem to be available any more) to compare to the numbers that came out in the Sock Cookbook calculations and the ones that the Sock Wizard program did based on my measurements.  Here's the result:

Hmmm.  Almost the same.  I did both with German short rows rather than traditional wrap and turn methods but  I'm not sure how it would change the shape of the heel turn.  There is still too much fabric for my skinny heel.

Here is a sock that does fit well.  The top down heel flap fits great.  I don't count rows for the heel flap but just knit it until it's square and it fits every time.

Now I have to decide if the heel fit on the toe up socks is something I can live with or if I will frog what I've knit and try again with my tried and true top down pattern.

What would you do?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

still no snow

It's a rare year when we don't have snow on the ground in mid-November.  October was mild most days and downright balmy a few of them.  We went to a wedding in Saskatoon on Thanksgiving weekend.
(That's as dressed up as you will ever see Dan and I.  I had to buy makeup just for the wedding as I never wear it otherwise.  Berlyn and I had a great time on the dance floor later in the evening but I didn't get a picture of that, unfortunately.   I was too busy dancing!)

Patrick, the son of our closest friends Allen and Rhonda, married his lovely Michelle.  Patrick and his brother Ross spent so much time with us while they were growing up that we consider them faux sons so it was a very special wedding.
The groom's proud mom and dad.

  They couldn't have had a nicer day for a wedding if they'd special ordered it.  Between the ceremony and the reception Dan and I walked downtown and saw a reader board that said it was 28C (82F)!  Mother Nature smacked us with cold rain and intense wind the very next day just to remind us that it wasn't summer any more.

However, the weather warmed up again and the kids had a lovely Hallowe'en evening for trick or treating.  We have had some light flurries that didn't last but no major snow events yet this year.  There has been talk about El Nino giving us a mild winter but we'll see about that.  Mild is relative at best.

We have two willow trees in the back yard that love to hang onto their leaves as long as possible.  Most of the time they lose their last leaves into deep snow banks where they stay until after the thaw in the spring.  This year one of them is already mostly naked and the other's leaves are fluttering down a bit more every day.  Dan is happy that he is able to clean them up before the snow flies this year.  I took the opportunity to take some photos in the back yard last weekend while he was taking a break as I snapped pictures of the dogs.
Notice that the grass is still green!

The cast of critters around here hadn't changed.
 Cooper and Robbie took the time to pose for me but Austin and Bentley were too busy digging for mushrooms in the tree roots.
 Those mushrooms cause upset tummies if they eat too many so I have to limit their time outside.  Covering the mushrooms is at least one reason in snow's favour but it's the only one I can think of at this point.  We'll enjoy the lack of snow for as long as we can.

Saturday, November 07, 2015


My neighbour took her two granddaughters, ages three and four, to see The Wiggles in concert a couple of weeks ago.  During intermission, she was sitting in the stall of the busy public washroom with both kids in tow.

The three year old decided that three's a crowd in the bathroom and said, "She needs privacy.  Give her some privacy!" and then unlatched the door which swung wide open.  Grandma couldn't do much about it and the kids didn't know how to latch the door so there was a large audience of onlookers waiting for a free stall until one woman calmly walked over and closed the door for her.

Toddlers.  Got to love them!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I remember summer

The first flakes of snow blew around in the gusty wind today.  It was cold enough that I wore my winter parka in the backyard with the dogs.

 I would rather think about summer so here are a couple of little video clips of a special little girl having fun with the dogs in our backyard in August.



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How to Reduce the Number of Those Nuisance Phone Calls

1.  Answer call from a credit card call centre with the usual, "I'm fine, thanks" while toddler grandchild chants, "I wanna say hi!  I wanna say hi!  I wanna say hi!"

2.  After finding out that the credit card company wants to lend you money, ask caller if she will talk to said grandchild.

3.  Watch grandchild nod at the phone while caller tries to carry on a lengthy one-sided conversation with a 2 year old.

4.  Thank caller for talking to grandchild then ask her to hang on a sec while your four dogs bark at someone walking outside as if only they can save the world from scary pedestrians.

5.  Politely refuse the loan offer and hang up.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Well Preserved

So, I'm back after an unplanned year and a half absence.  I don't know why I stopped writing this blog.  It just happened.  Maybe I was busy, maybe I was tired, maybe I got lazy, maybe it was because blogs seemed to wane with the increased use of Facebook.

I don't consciously have the definitive reason for abandoning it but I have a very good one for starting  it again.  The dear little girl who was a baby in the last post is now an almost three year old who is charming, bright, and beautiful.

Dan and I love her more than we could have imagined.  

A number of years ago I bought a book titled "Grandmother Remembers" and gave it to my grandmother to complete.  It's a scrapbook type of book with prompts for completing the pages, much like the books that people complete for baby's first years.  I'm so glad that my grandmother took the time to complete it!  It captures glimpses of her life that I wouldn't have otherwise (such as the charming tidbit that, before she married my grandfather, she thought that he had nice hair and he was popular) and is one of my most cherished possessions.  I only wish that my mother would have completed hers before her passing. 

My granddaughter deserves to not only have my grandmother's memories but mine too.  They should be well preserved for her, the poignant and mundane alike.  I want her to know me and have snapshots of my life.  I want her to know how much we and the times we live in are alike and different.  I want her to know how incredibly precious she is to us.

So, this blog becomes a modern version of "Grandmother Remembers".  Its format and writing style won't change from what I've already blogged.  It will be great if it has readers and makes connections with others, as it has in the past.  But it will really be for her, in much the same way that I hope some of my spun and knit items become family heirlooms.

spun from Bee Mice Elf BFL/Silk Club fiber in the 'Well Preserved' colourway.


Monday, May 13, 2013

and now it's summer

We had more than six months of long cold winter, about a week of spring, and now it's summer!  It was 29C (84F) this afternoon.  No complaints from anyone around here, no siree.  It's lovely to wear shorts again.  Even in the heat, there is one persistent snow bank in the park across from our back lane.  It's on the northern side of a slope so it doesn't get the direct sun for long.  I imagine that there will be snow banks in the rural shelterbelts for a few more weeks.

Our sweet Berlyn turned five months old on the weekend.  She is adorable and inquisitive and finally giving her parents a break by sleeping through the night.  Here she is in her jumperoo.
 I had to use the flash to get a clear picture because she was jumping gleefully and with much energy! 

Dan had shoulder surgery last week and seems to be healing nicely.  Being one-handed hasn't been much of a problem for him because he has been glued to the TV watching hockey play-offs.

Finally, welcome back to earth Chris Hadfield!  You did Canada proud!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

about time

The rhubarb patch of the garden that looked like this two weeks ago

now looks like this.
The rosy rhubarb shoots have finally made an appearance, a month later than last year.

We had another dump of snow on Tuesday of this week and when it melted, it took much of the snow that was left from the winter.  There are still drifts of tired snow in the shade but I think that we might get summer this year after all.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

slowly; very, very slowly

Our everlasting winter continues.  Spring is sending hints that she may arrive one day after all but she sure can't be accused of being forward about it.  Our daily high temperatures are still hovering around the freezing mark even on sunny days.  I did a search of my blog for dates of my rhubarb pictures in past years.  In 2006 it was April 7; in 2008 and 2011 it was April 20 (today's date); in 2010 it was April 3 and last year it was April 7.

Photo taken yesterday, here is the plot of garden where the rhubarb grows.
It's still going to be a while before I see rhubarb there. 

Even though the temperatures have been very low, the longer daylight hours are melting the snow pack.  The snow is heavy and wet and the patches of grass that Dan snowblowed for the dogs over the winter are wet and muddy.

There is still a ton of snow to get rid of after all of the precipitation we had over the winter and there is more snow forecast this week.

The barbecue is buried under there.  We won't be using it until some time in May, I think.

I still haven't gone through our photos from Mexico.  I know that looking at them now will just make me cranky about living in this frozen part of the world and I was feeling depressed about it enough without looking at the sunny pics.  I've always struggled with my moods in the winter.  However, after watching all of the events in Boston this week and thinking about how so many people on this planet live with fear, hunger, and disease, I am rather ashamed that I let myself get depressed over something as insignificant as the weather when my life is blessed in so many ways with Dan and these lovelies at the top of the list.

And here are the four furry blessings.

Friday, March 22, 2013

always winter

So here it is, more than a month after my last post.  Dan and I went to Puerto Vallarta for two weeks and I will have pictures to share with you when I get them sorted.  We thought that we would come home to some signs of spring but winter is tenaciously keeping us captive and it feels like spring will never arrive.  We have officially had more snow this winter than ever before (over six feet and counting) and it just keeps coming.  It truly feels like Narnia before Aslan was on the move.  Those sunny, warm two weeks in Mexico already feel like a distant memory.

The storm this week was particularly brutal because high winds blew the snow into packed drifts that couldn't be navigated by regular vehicles.  There were accidents, stranded travellers, and closed highways.

This was the busy four lane Trans-Canada highway west of Regina yesterday (photos courtesy of the Saskatchewan Highway Hotline Facebook page).

This is what it looks like in our back yard today.

The fence around the garden looks like this in the summer:

Can you find it in this picture that was taken this afternoon?

The snow drift outside my kitchen window keeps growing.

The look on Bentley's face pretty much sums up how I feel about the weather.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

a visit with Auntie Jill

Dan's sister Jill and the kids were visiting from Calgary this weekend.  You can see that Berlyn and Auntie Jill had a lovely chat!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

my google girl

Our sweet little Berlyn just shy of two months old when I took this picture last weekend.  Isn't she a beauty?

She is now cooing and smiling these big open-mouthed baby smiles.  Totally melts my heart.  Her favorite cooing sound is goo followed by a gurgle so that it sounds like google.  She's a girl ahead of her time.  We love her so much!

I finished another little sweater for her.
Elizabeth Zimmermann's classic Baby Surprise Jacket
using the handspun Spunky Eclectic Little Periwinkles organic merino that I finished spinning in the fall.
I spun this 2-ply with the Baby Surprise Jacket in mind and I'm pleased with it.  I like so many things about this pattern:  its garter stitch stretchiness so that it can be worn by a growing baby for a long time, its sleeves that start out being full length then become three-quarter length and out of the way as the baby grows and gets her little hands into food and other messy things, the clever pattern that folds into a sweater when you're done knitting and you only have to stitch up the sleeve seams, the clever increases and decreases and the final folding that moves the stripes into interesting and symmetrical design features, and finally I like that it looks so great in handspun garter stitch.

Now I'm taking a little break from knitting baby items and have started the Business Casual KAL socks.  I've had a few false starts due to my making a mistake and issues with the choice of yarn and needle size.  Once I have knit enough to share I'll take some pics.

Friday, February 08, 2013


This lovely performance gave me goosebumps!  I don't know how to embed it so here's the link.

We've come a long way since 1969.

Monday, February 04, 2013

baby mine

Baby Mine by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
(link to my Rav project page for this one)

This is a lovely pattern and I have enough yarn left over to make a pair of Baby Merry-Janes if I use the leftover yarn from the little Maile Cardi for the inner socks.  When I ordered the yarn I couldn't decide between the Quilla colorway that Yarn Harlot used for her pattern or the more pink Rosebud so I bought them both figuring I would use the extra for something along the way.  Quilla is almost white (more true on the page at BMFA than on the photos in the Baby Mine pattern) so I chose Rosebud for this cardi.  I found the pinkish pearl buttons in my stash and they are perfect!

Our weather has warmed up significantly today (just below zero this afternoon and melting on the back steps) so I was able to take a decent picture of the cardi in the sun room.  We are going to need a lot more warm weather to make a significant difference in the snow mounds though.  Here is my view (or lack thereof) from my kitchen window.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

enough already!

We have had a brutal winter so far.  Snow, snow, and more snow combined with alternating bouts of brutal cold and melting temps.  It got cold last week with wind chill values of -40 to -50 C (-40 to -58 F) for several days.  I was sure happy that I didn't have to go to work and could just hunker down at home.  When I took the dogs out yesterday morning I thought that it seemed quite warm.  When I came back into the house I checked and found that it was -18 C (around 0 F).  I guess that it's like hitting your thumb with a hammer to take away a headache that -18 felt balmy once we were used to the really dreadful cold.  This morning we had another snow storm and there is more snow due tomorrow.

We did have a couple of pleasant days last weekend so I grabbed my camera and took some pictures to share with you.

 The shelties love the snow!  Even when it was forty below they rolled in and ate the snow happily and had to be coaxed inside.

Bentley is not a fan of the cold and snow at the best of times but he had surgery three weeks ago to repair an inguinal hernia and his underbelly was shaved.  He didn't need any encouragement to make the trips to the back yard brief.

Here he is a couple of days after his surgery.  The collar is inflatable and worked great as an alternative to the dreaded Elizabethan cone collar.  He was able to eat and drink with it and it made a comfy pillow when he slept.  (The brand name is Pro Collar if you're interested.)  I got it at our local Pet Depot store.

He is nicely recuperated and doing great now even though his belly still is cold.  Notice the blur that is his wagging tail as he looks at me.

The following pictures show you how much snow we're dealing with.  Keep in mind that these were taken last week so we have even more today after the latest storm.  Things could get really ugly if we have a fast melt this spring.

The dogs could easily walk over the fence into the garden if they wanted.  So far none of them have bothered because they'd only find more snow in there.  Even the compost bin in the back corner is completely snowed over.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

sweet little visitor

Guess who came to our house tonight while mommy and daddy went out for supper?

She was alert and happy for quite a while before she took this nap.  Papa is a good person to snuggle with because he is soft and warm.

This was the first time that Carmen has been out without Berlyn.  I'm sure that all mothers can remember how stressful that first time was.  She and Berlyn both did very well.