Friday, July 18, 2008


I ended up writing a discourse for a reply to Amy about socks, so I decided to post my discourse on socks here too, where it is more likely to be read. In short, if you are thinking about learning to knit socks, you have a lot of options. There are infinite ways to knit socks, and probably nearly infinite published books and patterns too. When you consider that you can mix and match and design your own variations, there truly are infinite possibilities. And that's not even mentioning the yarn possibilities, yet.

If you are going to make socks, first think about the yarn you want to use. What are the weight and stitch guage? Is it plain or patterned? A great place to find sock patterns is Here is the link to the archived sock patterns:

You might look at this one:

or here is a basic toe up formula:

Check out this one too:

You will notice that there are various ways of knitting socks. I think that until fairly recently, most socks were knitted top-down, with a flap heel and grafted toe, on four or sometimes five dpns. Now a lot of them are toe up, and two circular needles are popular for knitting both socks at once. Heel options for toe up socks used to be the peasant heel or the short rows heel, but now some patterns have gusset-heels from the toe up too. And then there are other random methods including entrelac or modular constructions. And you don't have to start with the standard sock anymore.

Here's a question for everyone. What is your favorite way to knit socks? I have taken to toe-up socks, with figure 8 cast on, then preferably changing to two circular needles to avoid second sock syndrome, and I haven't knitted any with gussets yet that were toe-up, but that is only for lack of time.

My current socks started with the figure 8 cast on, with short row heels, and they will be knee socks. And they are on dpns, but I got bored on the second sock and developed a new pattern, altering the ribbing to make it pull in more and hug my bad ankle more securely. The feet have pattern differences too. The second sock is almost done, and I will try to get a picture posted soon.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hi, I'm Still Here. Are You?

Well, I did it again. Moved, got a job, became a workaholic. I'm still around though. As a very quick update, I am almost finished with graduate school. Now I'm a student intern. I always thought that I would finish the academic classes and then get one job that would fulfill my internship requirements and provide an income, and my life would settle down. Nope. I have a full-time job and a volunteer internship. I keep deciding that I don't really have time to sleep and eat.

Fortunately, my 16-year-0ld daughter, Ashley, loves the animals and has taken over most of that. I have not been very productive in the fiber arts. I have finished spinning one skein of yarn in the last year, and have been working on knitting the same sock since at least December. Not even the second of a pair. And I think that my digital camera has worn out, so I don't have pictures available at the moment. We have no babies this year either ( so far, anyway ). I should at least post a picture of Cayenne, who is half llama and half alpaca. She is beautiful, but not sure that she trusts us. Cayenne came to us in the Fall. And she loves the pears from the pear trees. We had to make sure that the pears were small enough or soft enough for her to eat, since llamas have such long necks and I hear they can choke easily. She never had a problem though. Now it is supposedly spring, and the grass appears intermittently from underneath the snow. Cayenne and the goats look disgusted when snow appears yet again to cover up their pasture. Since the children have become more proficient in digital photography, computer skills, and fiber arts, perhaps I will invite them to post here from time to time. They even have cameras that work. And they are quite busy but I think they have a bit of free time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

And another lamb!

Bandit had her baby this afternoon. Isn't he a cutie!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Baby Pics

I want to go hold him. Thanks, Anne, for the pictures and for giving my sheep a good home. Anne agreed to keep the sheep at the Hubbell Trading Post in Arizona, where they apparently fit right in. She has part of our former flock, anyway. They went to at least three different homes.

Amidala likes to be the first one each year to lamb, and she did it again this year. I miss her, and the rest of them too. Does anyone know how to say "Skywalker" in Navajo?

Correction on the color - that appears to be a reverse badgerface. Lambs often look darker at birth. This is one of my favorite sheep colors. I love the brown wool. Dala is a red-brown now, but she was actually solid black at birth, to give you an idea how the colors can change with maturation. This little guy might fade too, but I think he is beautiful as he is.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Spring is here, by the way, believe it or not.

I have always tried to claim that if we are getting baby animals, it must be spring. Well, I couldn't bring my sheep to the new place, and knew that I wouldn't find anyplace where I could have all of them. We still have the llama/guanaco, two goats, and two geese and a small flock of chickens that we inherited with the house. The sheep went to new homes, most of them to the Navajo reservation. Amidala had one large black ram lamb on Wednesday. I wish that I could go to Arizona and hold the baby, even though it is cold there too. When I get pictures, I will post them. Anne, if you don't see them appear soon after sending them, feel free to hound me! Thanks.

Wow. Four Months. Has it really been that long?

I have been wanting to at least say something here, and it looks like I am headed into one more apology for not posting more often posts. Sorry about that. And I'm sorry for apologizing too much too. And sorry for just doing it again.

Lots has changed. We moved, for one thing. Now we are in Layton, Utah. There is quite a long story behind that, and I am not sure that I am going to tell it here. Suffice it to say that we thought we were going someplace else, and things worked out in a pretty incredible way to allow us to get into a house that is a much better fit for us, with more space for animals (although with severe limits on how we can use that space), walking distance to schools, library (it was so nice being able to walk to the library when we lived in Vernal, so that's a big plus), really neat neighbors (including one who had been to visit us when we were in Vernal - we had no idea that we were moving by her, as we just used to buy hay from her dad in Vernal and never thought we would cross paths again, but it is so cool that we are neighbors now! she has goats too, btw). Anyway, things worked out pretty nicely.

Last time I moved, I got a job and became an instant workaholic. This time I am trying not to do the same thing, but the potential is definitely there. I had a job before I even got here. We thought we were moving into another house back in November. It didn't work out, but I went ahead and searched for a job, and found one (in November, I think). I told them that I needed a couple of weeks to move. Well, they ended up holding that job for me for about a month, as we didn't get here until two days before Christmas, and they were closed the week after Christmas, so I started in January. I am now a behavior specialist at a sheltered workshop. Please excuse the side-track. There are so many things that I want to get involved with here - groups that I have been a member of before but was too far away and they are right here, and neighbors I want to get to know, and activities I have neglected like blogging and pretty much all of my hobbies, not to mention spending time with my husband and kids. Would anyone like to volunteer to email me if I don't post or if my posts reveal that I am doing the workaholic thing again, and tell me to knock it off?

Okay, so the last two days between work and class (remind me to update you on that later so I don't go off on another sidetrack), I have been gone from about 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. I figured that I needed a day off after that, so here I am. I made a to-do list for my day off.

  • Sleep all day
  • Catch up with e-mail and online groups
  • Update blog
  • Clean the house (yes, it shows that I was essentially gone for two days, leaving three kids and the husband loose in here)
  • Wash my car (which is covered in salt from the recent storms)
  • Pay bills
  • Shopping
  • Laundry
  • Make vet appointments for the dogs to get rabies boosters and licenses, ...
  • Research what it will take to finish fencing the back yard to hold the dogs
  • Change my name and address on my driver's license (I changed my last name right before I moved)
  • Go to the gym with dh
  • Eat chocolate (every to do list should have something on it that you are actually going to do, right?)

Okay, it looks like I am working on #3, having only partially completed items 1 and 2. The kids are already getting home from school. What are my chances, do you think, for finishing my list?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Word of the Day

Pescetarian - a vegetarian who eats fish (like me).

I should have thought of this word. The wikipedia article fits too. They give several reasons as the rationale for this type of restricted diet, and several of them are mine. Fish seems to be a healthy food, and it seems to me that fish that are harvested for food have better quality of life than other species mass-produced by the livestock industry. The other reason that I give for eating fish is simply that I am too Norwegian not to. Still, I watch the quantity, particularly of smaller sea-creatures such as shrimp. One of the other rationales quoted by wikipedia was "I have to eat some kind of meat." I disagree with this one, because it is possible to get complete proteins through eggs and dairy products (which I eat - cutting back on cheese though because "cheese is evil"), or by combining grains and legumes.

Sometimes I feel bad for eating fish, because I think of pet fish we have had, and my observations that they do seem to have personality. However, I do have to eat something, and if I allowed myself I could also feel bad about plants and yeast, etc. that also die when they are harvested for food. They are all forms of life. I think that the key is to respect life of all kinds, not to waste or over-use any of them, and to maintain an awareness and appreciation for where our food comes from.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's hard to find affordable houses with land!

Please excluse my semi-political philosophical rant. It has been building for some time now, and it wants out. It is quite probable that we won't be able to take the livestock with us when we move, because we won't be able to afford a place that will allow that. This makes me very sad, but of course there are still ways to continue some of it, such as the fiber arts. We will see what we can do.

The following is my response to a thread on a message board, under the topic of Wal-Mart being evil. I happen to be allergic to Wal-Mart, and avoid it if possible, but the problem is deeper than that, and a boycott of Wal-Mart won't solve it.

"Nike was exposed first......then Kathy Lee Griffin.......and on and on.......i guess we could all grow cotton and sheep and do our own thing with the fabrics. "

There I think you've got it. In today's busy world, it almost sounds crazy, but everybody doesn't have to do everything. I think that the problem isn't WalMart per se, but rather just that we have gotten so far away from meeting our own needs, that people in general don't understand what is involved, and they take it all for granted.
It makes me so incredibly sad that now it is to the point where you have to be wealthy to be able to afford to participate in producing your own food and clothes, and being self-sufficient. Farming is either big mega-business or a very expensive hobby. Small farms just plain can't make it if they have to be self-supporting. It costs more to grow a garden than to buy canned goods at the store.
Once upon a time a measure of wealth was how many sheep you owned. Now animals are a liability. You have to keep them fenced (and land gets more and more unaffordable), and you have to buy hay to feed them (which gets harder to find and more expensive each year, as more houses are built on top of what used to be hay fields).
Most of my grandparents had family farms when they were children. They had small family farms as a way to provide for themselves and bring in a bit of income. So did everyone else. My grandfather lived on a farm in an isolated rural community that is now Park City, Utah. His family owned some of the land where Cottonwood Mall now sits (they sold it way too soon!)
Now I want to hang on to a few goats and sheep, and the right to raise chickens. We are moving back near the area where my grandfather once farmed because they had to in order to survive, and we are a middle-class family, moving up, and we can't afford land that will permit us to do that.
Most of the properties here where I am moving from could be homes to small farms, but only a handful of people live that way. If you can do a little, whether it's growing a garden or keeping a couple of goats, or sewing some of your own clothes, hang on to that and teach it to your children.
My grandparents' generation were generally happy to be free from having to spin and weave their own cloth and raise their own food. Those were burdens that were time-consuming and hard work. Now they are almost lost arts to us, as everything is mass-produced by people who get very little for their effort, and the products are made to wear out quickly and be thrown away so that we will buy more of them. Wal-Mart and other big businesses contribute to this.
We have a crisis in America because we don't want to pay what it costs for minimum wage and benefits for workers to produce most of our food, so mostly illegal immigrants do those jobs. We depend on them because nobody else will do those jobs, but we don't want to give them benefits or make them citizens. Then they might not do those jobs either.
Too many children (and adults) don't understand where their food and clothing come from - even the basics. Nobody has taught them any more than it just comes from the store. Too many people waste what we have, and don't respect the plants and animals that produce it, and the people who labor to bring it to us.
I wish that more people would participate even in some small way, so that they would understand, and their children would understand, and they would know how to provide for themselves if the stores stopped providing.
I wish that more people had the opportunity to have land and gardens and animals.
We need to support small farms and small businesses as much as we can, so that somebody at least can maintain these skills, even if it costs a little more. And also to enhance our own quality of life.
We might find out that we are better off. We have too much stuff anyway, and we don't need it. It just complicates our lives and wastes money and time and other resources.
I'm still guilty of trying to save money buy getting things as cheap as possible, but I went to some workshops by Micheal Colgrass a while ago. One of the things he talked about was a musician he used to be in a band with when they were young and poor. He noticed that the other musician seemed to live much better than the rest, and knowing that they all had the same income, he asked how. The secret was "I never buy anything cheap." When he wanted or needed something, he saved for it and got the best one he could find, regardless of the price. Things last, and he was also given better deals when he demonstrated that he knew what he was looking for and appreciated quality. There is a difference, and we could afford nicer things if we stopped spending our money on junk.
Sorry for the novel.