Archive for September, 2008

Staghorn and Snake

I’ve decided that the Vinnland socks must go into hibernation for a while.  I looove the stitch pattern and the yarn, but I’ve spent a lot of time doing and redoing the short row heel and it just isn’t working out for me.  On sock 1, I finished the heel and it’s wearable but it’s too narrow at the bottom (extra sock poofs out at the tip of the heel).  On sock 2, I made adjustments and it fits better but is still kinda tight.  I’m going to rip both and let the socks rest until their charm becomes apparent again.  I have a feeling these socks are going to end up with a gusset heel this time around!

I’m now devoting all knitting energy to the Christmas scarf project … it’s nice to have two scarves going at once, when one starts getting “stale”, I can switch to the other for a while. 

It’s a rainy day, so the photos aren’t very detailed, but I hope you can see how nicely the Staghorn scarf drapes.  It feels substantial and I’m expecting it to look much better (and photograph better) when it’s blocked.  I want to make some good progress on it this week because it’s been going in fits and starts so far.  Gotta get going; there are 4 scarves yet to be cast on!

I went up one needle size on the Diamondback scarf and it’s coming in at about a foot per ball (just started the second ball).  This is the first time I’ve done a left twist stitch (LT) and I’m trying to execute it neatly and consistently.  The scarf looks a little sloppy but I’m barging onward with confidence (?!) cuz last  year’s experience with lace suggests that the real story will be revealed after blocking.  I love this geomtric pattern and if it blocks nicely, I hope my nephew will feel suave and debonair when he’s wearing it.  (If it doesn’t block so well, I guess he’ll feel “swave and deboner” but maybe he’ll wear it anyway, lol!)

edit: Oh dang,  I wanted to share another Awesome Tree in this post.  Hubby and I totally love encountering the tulip poplar on our walks and hikes.  They’re tall, straight giants with green-orange-yellow flowers in April which attract hummingbirds.  On mature trees, the lowest branches might be 80 feet high … you would need binoculars to see the flowers!!  I recently learned that the tulip poplar is in the magnolia family;  never would have guessed it!  Here’s a quick snap I took on Monday for the blog (prop the camera on a log, turn on the timer and run to pose … that’s why I’m grinning and my foot’s blurry, lol!)


I wouldn’t be able to put my ams around either trunk … Awesome Twin Tulip!!  The day before I took this pic, hubby and I bought two of these trees to add to the mix in our backyard.  Ours seem really spindly and small by comparison.  Hah, this is a fast-growing tree, but I doubt we’ll live to see them in their full glory!  But hey, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”  (Nelson Henderson)


WIP: Diamondback Scarf

I know I haven’t finished the Staghorn scarf yet (or the Vinnland socks, for that matter) but I was needing to shake things up a bit.  I kept getting stuck on both items, doing and redoing the same stretch of yarn … I needed something to break the stalemate!  I started messing around with scarf #2 of the Christmas series, puzzling over stitch pattern combinations and so forth.  Quite a few ideas fizzled before I finally settled on an uncomplicated twist stitch pattern called “Curved Diamonds” from BGW’s Treasury (volume 2) with a garter stitch border.  The swatch was looking so good, I decided to just keep going and it’s been going fine since yesterday … If you’re stuck in “doing and redoing” mode, I guess it’s a good idea to burn it on something useful: the trial and error phase for a new project!

This scarf started off with the name “Rapunzel’s Diamonds” but the stitch patterns that inspired it are no longer being used.  After such a cool original name, I was resisting “Curved Diamonds” … I mean, how boring is that?  I asked hubby to take a look at my swatch and tell me what he saw and he said “Ummmm, diamondback?”   Perfect!  I give you the Diamondback Scarf:

It ain’t the best photo in the world, but it’s good enough to show the pattern.  When finished, this scarf will be the length of a good-sized Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (5-6 feet).  The pattern does remind me of the markings you would see if you should encounter one of Pennsylvania’s resident vipers while hiking on the Appalachian Trail … and the border is garter stitch!  Garter snake?  Well yeah?!

I’m committed to the blue yarn for this project but if I were to make the scarf again, I would use something like this Trekking yarn I used for hubby’s socks.  Or maybe the new kettle dyed yarn from Knit Picks in the “Timber” colorway … 

I think I’m over the hump, so time to get back to the other projects with refreshed enthusiasm!


I finished the short-row heel for one of the Vinnland socks last night but wasn’t happy with the way it fits.  The whole sock feels tight, although it measures 9 inches in length (my foot is 9.5 inches) and it wasn’t too tight before I made the heel.  I’m gonna rip and add some depth to the heel.  Never done this before … well I’ve done the ripping part, ha ha ha! … but I think if I do about 4 rows of standard increase at the point where the needles meet at the center of the heel (add 4 stitches), then I can work the short row to the same number of remaining stitches (10) and get a deeper heel.  I guess I could even go down to 8.  Heel knitting didn’t take long and I wasn’t all that happy with the tidiness of one side (going to re-think that too) so this is a great chance to learn by experimentation!  I was just about to begin ripping when I decided to pause a take a progress pic, so here ya go:

Tree Appreciation

There was knitting done this week, but nothing exciting to report, really.  It’s just about heel-time for the Vinnland socks.  The Staghorn scarf is nearing the halfway point.  I did some heavy planning for the second scarf in the series … couldn’t get the intended stitch patterns to go together without a 60 row pattern (argh!) so Plan B is now in effect.  Since it’s all just scratches on paper, there are no pictures!  Maybe next time …

It’s always a pleasure to notice a nice mature tree, but trees have been on my mind a lot more than usual these days.  First, we’re considering adding some trees to our property and have been tree-shopping now that fall’s approaching. We’d prefer trees that are native to this area, so now we’re noticing what’s growing around us in a new light!  I’ve also been doing some extra walking lately and that has given me a chance to see the local trees at close range.  Although these parts have been populated since before the Revolutionary War, we’re not too far from Valley Forge and you know what that means … they had to fire up the forge with something, right?  Trees!  There are many leafy neighborhoods with mature trees (which is one of the things we love most about living here) but I bet your truly ancient tree is a rare find.  I can’t tell a tree’s age anyway, so I’m hereby declaring that any tree I can’t wrap my arms all the way around is officially “awesome”!  I’ve taken some cell phone pictures of impressive trees over the last week or so, but I’m not sure how well those will come out when I finally get a chance to transfer them over.   In any case, it was easy enough to run out and snap a couple of the excellent trees right in our own yard … so here’s the first in a sporadic series of photos to honor Awesome Trees.   I wonder if this one’s 50 or 60 years old? (Doing the “awesome” test is an excellent excuse to hug a tree, by the way!)

Appended note: Hey, the cell phone pics came out way better than I thought they would!

The above is a treat I get to experience on those occasions when I walk to the train station.  It’s on what was once a Victorian estate, the man who lived there died in 1905, so I’m guessing this tree is over 100 years old.

I passed this tree when walking through Ardmore, PA.  Please note the park bench to the right for a little perspective!


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