Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night

I made it home from knit night last night at Black Sheep Yarns just before the storm hit.   The weather man had been foretelling throughout the day that this storm was coming, but like most people I can be a little sceptical of his actual foreknowledge.  He was very correct yesterday, right down to the approximate time the storm would hit - near midnight.
     I had just settled into my recliner, after starting a load of laundry and starting the dishwasher, to work a little more of the hat I had begun at knit night.  [It's the Bramble Beret from Vintage Modern Knits]  I was having a bit of trouble getting the gauge right for the band so that the hat would fit correctly, but after changing needle sizes and knitting a few rounds I was able to try it on.  It fit great.  The pattern calls for the band to be knit on sz 5 (3.75mm ) needles, but after looking at the band, I could tell it would be just too small so I went up to sz 6 (4 mm) and bingo.
    Suddenly, the doors on our fireplace began to rattle and I heard a suspicious tapping on our front window.  Sophie's ears were perked up and she was starting to growl.  As I sat, nice and warm and cozy with some ohh so soft yarn in my lap, I could hear the wind and the rain begin to pick up.  It absolutely howled down the chimney and under the eaves, sounding nearly like a freight train.  (If you've never been in Vancouver for one of our windstorms they are certainly an event.)  The wind and rain continued through the night making sleep a much desired commodity.  Hubby went to sleep downstairs on the couch, and Sophie soon followed him.  At one point, I had to make a dash into the front yard to rescue two small climbing roses from  an arbor that the wind decided was ill placed.
    This morning I awoke to quiet.  The rain and wind had all but stopped and it looked like the clouds were beginning to lift.  Taking a look around the yard, tarps are blown off objects they were meant to protect, the canopy of my swing was lifted and set back askew, the garbage can was blown open and moved, and there is tree litter everywhere.  The forecast I'm hearing for today is for a bit more rain, but the sun is slated for a cameo appearance later tomorrow afternoon.  Maybe then I'll get out and clean up some of the wind's destruction.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day 11/11/11

I love the fact that Canada takes Remembrance Day so seriously.  For a week now, service men and women have been standing outside of many different stores and buildings selling red poppies to aid our veterans.  I can't help but recall the men and woman in my family that have fought, served, and continue to serve to establish, secure, and preserve the freedoms that I enjoy.

Abraham Ream, Pennsylvania Militia, Revolutionary War

John Cox, died at Cheat Mtn Virginia 1861 US CW
Joel Line Cox,  US CW
Jesse T. Cox, US CW
Joseph Cox, US CW

Burnette O. Bower "Pete", WWI

Gaylord "Jack" Ream, WWII
Lindley Cox, WWII

Don Ream, Vietnam Conflict Pacific
Marilyn Ream, Vietnam Conflict Pacific

Cpt Matthew Ream, USAF JAG

I'm calling my Veterans today, how about you?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Circular Sock Knitting.

Recently I have been learning to knit socks on a CSM (circular sock knitting machine) that a friend of mine is refurbishing for the owner.  Circular sock knitting machines were originally manufactured in the late nineteenth century and continued to be produced up until the second world war.  Sock knitting became a cottage industry early in the twentieth century as women began turning out socks from home, with the machine being purchase by an "employer".  Some machines were purchased by a community and passed from house to house through the year as a housewife would produce socks for her family.  A friend of mine recalls a CSM at home when she was a child, and remembers the fun of turning the crank.  They are quite fun to use and almost magically produce socks, though I think I still prefer to knit them by hand.
 The guide feeds the yarn into the top of the carrier.  (At the bottom of the cylinder in the picture)  This carrier is moved counter clockwise around the cylinder by turning the crank.  As the yarn is carried around the cylinder, it is caught by tiny latch hook style needles that pull the yarn through each previous stitch creating a knit tube.  Each sock size is determined by 1) the size of the cylinder (60 sts, 80 sts etc - number of needles it will hold) and 2) the number of rounds between the heel and toe.  The heels and toes are shaped in a similar manner, by only knitting on half of the needles. When you are finished you end up with a long, funny shaped scarf, like this:

The yellow yarn is waste yarn that is used to start the sock, the white yarn to the left is the division between the first and second sock, and you can see a heel at the center top of the picture.  All that's left is to stitch down the top hem, and graft together the toe. (On my second pair of socks we were able to do the hem at the cuff in one step on the machine, eliminating the extra finishing step.)
My friend brought the knitting machine to knit night at our lys (local yarn shop) Black Sheep Yarns to let everyone see how a CSM worked.  (I had forgotten to take pictures to show you all while I was making my socks, so I sat and posed for a shot.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sweater Weather

The temperature is definitely dropping here in BC.  We've had frost on the grass for a couple of mornings, and there is a definite chill in the air.  The beautiful leaves and sunshine are an added bonus this year.  All of this means I'm ready to start pulling out my sweaters.  There's only one problem with sweaters while living where we do.  It's usually too warm to keep them on all the time.  When we moved here from Nebraska, my winter wardrobe consisted of several really warm pullover style sweaters that I'd wear with turtlenecks, this was great in Nebraska.  Here, I was too warm.  I have had to modify my woolies significantly.  My sweaters now are much lighter affairs, sometimes blended with cotton, and usually cardigans that are easy to layer.  Here is my newest finished sweater,February Lady, she is just perfect for our BC winters, and I know she will see a lot of use.