Saturday, September 24, 2016

Secret Sock Knitting

On Monday I was at the hospital for blood work, etc. and the receptionist was apologetic that the wait would be long. First, you must stick around in the waiting room until your name is called for bloodwork. After your blood is drawn you can leave for an hour while the lab does their work. And then you need to come back and wait to see the DR.  I just plan for 3 hours and if I get out earlier it is a bonus.
The receptionist smiled when I smiled, said I did not mind...I had some new sock yarn with me and would knit! A little smile can go a long way. Certainly not her fault the wait was longer than usual. Who knows...maybe someone was sick who works in the lab. So...I cast on and knit away. After the blood draw, I moved out to the lobby, which is quite pleasant and got a cappuccino from the coffee machine. I also wandered around the little garden a bit and took in the fall landscape.

Lots of knitting this week because DR orders for lots of rest. My blood is still not all that great. I am good, energy wise for about 4 hours and then I need a big rest before my 2nd wind comes around. I really can NOT get sick and admitted to the hospital these next 2 weeks because my husband had his knee replaced on Thursday and will be in the hospital for about 10 days total.  Only 1 adult at a time can be down for the count around here! I have to go back on Monday and hopefully things will be a bit improved.

Anyway, I almost always cast on 60 because I have a narrow leg. Size 2.75mm needles...I can not find my favorite 2.25mm needles. Will have to order a pair, or 2 or 3! The mm sizes are a bit more finely tuned than US sizes because a US 2 seems to span 2.25mm-2.75mm. This is Regia Pair perfect yarn and as you can get plenty of yarn! I knit an 8" cuff and knit 7.5" before starting a rounded toe. The "starter" yarn is pull that until the color starts. Knit until the 2 narrow stripes and divide for heel.  Normally I knit a 6" cuff, but waiting for the color stripe it worked up to 8". When your sock is finished - keep pulling the yarn until you get to the next yellow starter. Then you get 2 socks that match perfectly.

Why do I say secret sock knitting? Because my son was appalled when I was sitting on the couch knitting away on a new sock, when I have my Drachenfels scarf coming along so nicely! So, I was "secretly " working on this sock when he was at school this week! 
Looking like this last time I took a photo. I did need both balls of all colors, but just a small bit of gray and not all that much of black. I know I will have blue left over too. All probably destined to become baby booties.

Podcast news! My son and I have been very silly playing around with the new tripod and video camera on my phone. We make ourselves laugh! I love taking photos, but I have never really been a video person. I always think videos take up too much space, I guess.  Last Sunday I did manage to get the ball rolling, out on my lovely, albeit  small balcony.

Except there is a bit of traffic noise that drowns me out. I thought maybe I did not need a little microphone, but maybe I do. There are good parts though, so either today or tomorrow or maybe even Tuesday since I need to be at the hospital on Monday and then I will be too tired to do anything else - I will re-record some of it, delete the poor sound quality bits and join it all together.  I may well be the only Podcaster who takes over 2 weeks to put together a simple video, but as my Mom used to say, " slow and steady wins the race".

On a final Dad turned 89 this week. Here is a photo of us together when I was 16. I am a bit homesick because I never made it home this summer so it has been over a year. Although my sister Irene was here in February, which was nice.  My sister Sarah was planning on coming over these weeks, but she is sick and had to cancel her flights. Then there was talk if I should try making the trip these September days before my school starts, but I am still not well enough for international travel and it was a small window of time because of my husband's surgery. Maybe after Christmas day when my son and I both have vacation and he can come with me to help. So, we will see.
OK!  So, that all was a bit more than just my "secret" socks, but now that if is all typed...with 1 finger on my phone, I am NOT deleting it!

To see what everyone else has been knitting this week, click on THIS LINK    to go to Judy's blog, Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Casting on for Drachenfels Shawl

I wasn't sure what size needles to use because the pattern calls for sport weight yarn and I bought Superfein  (about sock weight, I would say). The yarn is Lana Grossa Cool Wool Baby Merino Superfein.  I bought it last week on Wednesday at Pingouin Wollboutique  in Vienna. What a charming little shop, just chock a block full! We even got a parking spot right out front. I am going back on Monday and am making a little wish list.

So, thinner yarn - bigger needles. The pattern calls for USA 6 (4mm) so I decided to swatch on USA (5 mm). That guage looked correct...I just did not care for the looseness. It is me. I think a tighter gauge looks more elegant.

4 mm (USA6). Just about 1 row too short...but it is a scarf, not a fitted sweater! Really, for a scarf,  I think that gauge is perfect! Mainly because I already have these needles. I like Susan Bates because the points are sharp. This is a funny pair in that 1 needle is pointier than the other. So, I made sure to set it up that the pointy needle would get the knitting the requires making extra stitches, etc. 

So, there you have it. I am using the recommended needles even though I am pretty sure my yarn is thinner. It is so light weight and drapey and SOFT!

After only about 6 inches, I really thought the edge would have a tight curl. I don't mind 6" on each side curling, but this scarf is going to be about 83" (210cm). So, I started added a yarn over after the first stitch and dropping it on the way back. Also, give that 1st stitch a little slack.

I added stitch markers at the end to remind me - hey! You need to do something here! It is such an easy knit, knit, knit pattern that my brain forgets to remind me there is a change. Hence the stitch marker.

Swatch on Saturday. Cast on Sunday. Today is Wednesday and this is how far I am now. So, it is a pretty quick knit so far.

I have a little balcony...just love it!  It has been unusually hot in Graz, so it is nice to be able to come outside and catch a breeze.

I set up an Instagram page today to show photos. I am not really into technology, but want to try doing some Podcasts, so thought an Instagram accounxt would be needed. I am Scrappyhappystarfishy. My 13 year old son spent a few happy hours on Amazon this week and ordered me a simple tripod and a few other gadgets to get me going. So, it is something we are currently working on together. Hopefully everything will arrive in a few days and we can give it a go!

Note: Not sure, but maybe my Instagram name is Starfishyknits? I tried to change it and it looks like it changed in one field, but not the other. Not really sure how it all works. Maybe I have to delete and start over?!

And...a photo of an old car we saw downtown today.

To see what everyone else is knitting this week, head on over to Judy's Blog!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Knitting Socks

Slightly thicker sock yarn. Cast on 60 with USA size 3 needles and then switched to USA size 2 needles at the first row. I like using the bigger needle to start...easier to pick up that 1st row and keeps it from drawing up. Anyway, perfect socks for hiking shoes, rain or snow boots. I prefer thinner socks for my everyday walking shoes. Always good to have options and a variety!

The stripes match! Just the last wee bit of 1 toe has 1 row of blue at the end.

Lots of yarn left over! I like to make baby booties with left over sock yarn, but lately I have been thinking about starting one of those scrappy sock yarn blankets.

And a sneak peak at my next project...not socks! Drachenfels shawl! The blue is variagated. I bought 2 balls of each color.  I am so looking forward to casting on tomorrow... but first I really felt like I had to motivate myself to finish the socks since they were so close to being done.  Drachenfels pattern link here!  A Raveley group JUST had a Knit Along on this all month. It ends in a few days. I think it is a fun pattern for a KAL.

I took this knitting selfie this morning... I just knew if I cast on Drachenfels this poor, almost finished sock would languish. So, I knit off and on, here and there today and finished it up. I mean really,  I was almost to the toe decreases and you know how fast the rows go clicking by once you start decreasing. And I still kept putting it down for 1 reason or another!

Like to see what everyone else is knitting? Go visit JUDY'S BLOG!

It was hot tonight. This is what I made for dinner. A mixture of arugula, macaroni, stewed tomatoes, tomato juice, sautéed garlic, fresh basil, mozerella cheese balls, parmesian cheese... yummy. My grandpa grew lots of tomatoes and this time of year my Nana often made something simular. She skipped the salad, added more cheese, topped with bread crumbs and baked.  So, different, but still reminds me of my dear, sweet Nana cooking away in her old fashioned farm kitchen...complete with a 12 burner cast iron cook stove.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Bees on my balcony

I live on the 6th floor. The bees like my flower boxes. Mostly I have herbs and let some flower so the bees have food too. I have enough to share! They are so busy - way up here above the street.

My son likes cacti and several have had flowers throughout the summer.

But I know the season of summer flowers is drawing to a close. Mother Nature's calendar told me so the other day. The hibiscus are in bloom and they are some of the last flowers to make an appearance every summer. Worth the wait...but when you see them - you know fall is right around the corner.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Cast on new socks

I cast on new socks. You knew I would, right? It is 6 ply so slightly thicker than the sock yarn I usually use. But the yarn is soft and lovely and I am really enjoying it. Steinbach Wolle Aktiv Proto 6-Fach. I think they probably will be perfect for wearing around the house in the winter or with rain or winter boots. Maybe a bit too thick with my normal shoes...which in the interest of comfort are usually good quality running sneakers.

Usually I cast on and do the rib. Next time I knit - down to the heel if I have time or the attention span. The heel AND heel turn always together...otherwise I forget about the turn and try to pick up the gusset stitches.  Goof ball!  How many pairs of socks have I knit? Gusset in 1 sitting. Then it is just simple knitting to the toe. I am at the simple foot knitting...maybe tomorrow.

I had a little bird get into the house yesterday. I opened more windows and happily he found his way out after a few attempts. He is small so you have to look closely.

Mostly I have been watching the Olympics. The coverage in Austria has been really good with lots of events. Entertaining and I can knit at the same time. Or I have been napping. One nice thing about being home from the hospital is uninterrupted sleep. My husband has been doing a good job cooking...I only have to get myself to the table. Not that I have a huge appetite, but he is trying to come up with a variety of tempting entrees. Slowly starting to feel better, so thank you for all the well wishes.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hand knit green socks finished!

Finished! Just have to weave in the toe ends. The yarn matched perfectly until right before the heel, seemed to match again...and then was off for the toes.

I got home from the hospital today. I was there another 9 days. I guess these are my hospital socks...The color even matched the hospital decor. They were so close to being done and 1 day my IV failed and I didn't need another for a few hours so I asked the nurse to leave it off so I could finish my sock! My DH took this photo of them for me when I was sick in bed. Ha, ha...this is his version of a close up. That guy cracks me up! I said "over by the flowers" (natural light) and I guess he understood that I wanted the flowers in the photo. Nice flowers though!

I am happy,  happy to be home. My son's cacti have grown and some have flowers! I took these photos to send him - he likes his cacti so much! I miss him, but he is doing good.

I have new sock yarn and probably will cast on this weekend. But I am not sure. I am thinking I would enjoy something different a change. Any ideas? Maybe a pillow out of thicker yarn, or some type of cheerful garland, or??? 

But you know I will start the socks. As much as I stew about stripping yarn not matching, it is still my favorite. Look at these pretty colors! And nothing wrong with having more than 1 project on the needles!

See what everyone else is knitting over on Judy's blog!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Socks on the knitting needles

Almost done with the 2nd sock. You can see the 3rd repeat down of blue/green is not identical, but there was a bit extra of the lighter color above - so the sock pattern still matches up. Another 2 sit down to knit times and it should be done! I really have not done much knitting - or much of anything for that matter, because I have been so sick.

I don't know why people think you have lots of time to read or knit when you are sick. I mostly sleep. The nurses always seem to be waking me up for something. Just when I fall into a deep sleep. So, I guess I take a lot of cat naps instead.  Kind of hard to knit when your arm is full of IV's anyway.  

OK, I tried one day...but it was not comfortable! Both the top of the hand and the elbow.  Can't knit without bending that elbow.

But I like to THINK about knitting, look at patterns, and visit Blogs to see what everyone else is knitting. That is all less strenuous than actually knitting, ha! So, that is what I did to amuse myself. Or take photos of various flowers!

Wow! I was so sick I could not even pick my head up off the pillow some days. First I had a serious infection that needed IV antibiotics. Then I had another operation (3rd one in 5 weeks, but hopefully that is it!). And finally, after 16 days in the hospital, the DR said I could go home. That is 34 days since June 15, ugh! Let me tell you, it is so very nice to be home! I am still moving slowly, but at least I am home!

I miss my boy, but he calls most days for a few minutes when he wakes up.  You know 13 year old boys...not exactly chatterboxes! He even sent some photos of fishing flies that he is tying - here is a photo of one. He loves fishing. He is doing great! I am so thankful that he is having a fun summer.
To see what everyone else is knitting,  head on over to Judy's Blog

Friday, July 15, 2016

Green sock progress

Well, this sock is where I left off on Saturday. I got to say, I love this yarn and look forward to knitting some more socks with it. Usually I use different needles (Prym size 2.5mm) but this yarn is slightly thicker so I really had to dig for 2.75mm needles, hence the Susan Bates brand. Actually, they are not as bad as I thought they would be. Not sure why I thought they would be bad in the first place!

No progress because I was re-admitted into the hospital on Monday and have been here ever since. Sick! Have not even left my room except for various tests and procedures.

Finally, I feel a little better today.  Maybe, just maybe I will work on them in the next day or two.  For now, it seems to be enough for me to just look at them, ha ha!

I asked my husband to please bring me my small tape measure. Well, he could not find it and instead brought me one of my spare quilt measuring tapes.  Do you think 120 inches/300 cm is enough to measure a sock? I laughed!

Here is a photo of the flowers my roommate has. Pretty!

And Schoolboy? I did what was hard for me, but the best thing for him...sent him to my family in the USA for a summer filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, beaches, swimming, fishing, bike riding, camping, cook-outs...All the fun things about summer vacation when you are a child. He has arrived and from all reports is having a great time! So, he gets to play and I get to rest.

Here is a photo from last summer of a fabulous Cape Cod beach. I sure hope I make it before the summer is over, so fingers crossed!

Check out Judy's blog, Patchworktimes to see what everyone else is knitting this week!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Knitting while sick

The socks I started in March. It is July. I tend to somehow finish a pair every 4-6 weeks.  So for me not to finish a pair of socks for 4 months...yes, I have been sick. And going to school. Instead of sitting at the table and knitting while my son does his homework...and helping him as needed...I was also doing homework this winter. Homework sure takes a bite out of knitting time!

Anyway, a few days before leaving the hospital, I picked up the 2nd sock and started knitting. I did get released a week ago on 18 day stay. Other than going to my house DR on Monday for a follow up, I did not much more than sleep the first 2 days home. I am very slowly starting to feel better.  Thank you for all the well wishes!

I happily finished them off yesterday. Even feeling good enough to sit out on the balcony with my husband for short periods of time.
I always knit with my glasses on my head! For knitting, I see better without my glasses! Ignore the bruises on my legs...They are from nightly shots that I need for a few more days. you see what I see? I was looking at the stripe pattern...comparing it to the other sock...and when I got to the end color, I just assumed I was finished. Made the toe. And today, I look at them and think...Gee - one looks shorter than the other! Yup, I stopped 3 bands of color short! Got to undo that toe, pick up the yarn and knit those 3 bands. My poor brain can not even seem to compute simple socks!

I was digging through my knitting bag and found these perfectly lovely gray socks! Absolutely no recollection of knitting them! Those stripes match perfectly,  it just doesn't look like they do in the photo.

I am thinking January? I remember thinking it would be fun to knit socks in "seasonal" colors. And January is gray and snowy! 

My February socks had a touch of red for Valentine's and dark colors for the long dark nights.
March is bright! Got to fix that one sock though! AFTER I finish the pair I started yesterday...

Light green for all the budding new leaves of spring...should be April's theme color.  Well, we will just have to see how the year plays out. Will I have 12 pairs/monthly color...or combine a few months into one seasonal color? Either way, it does keep me entertained!

To see lots of other great knitting projects, head over to Judy's blog at  Patchwork Times .