Thursday, August 27, 2015

late summer

Summer is in full swing here. I've talked to the peach guy about the bushel and got a definite "maybe" so am still waiting on those. We finished out Tomatoes from last year the same night our CSA came with tomato palooza. So I ended up with nearly a bushel of tomatoes, which I have been steadily canning ever since. I did the last of them today (and tonight is more CSA pickup!) and ended up with 4 pints of sauce and 14 pints of crushed tomatoes.

There are signs of fall--the weather turned cooler, and the girls picked up their schedules for 7th grade. Michigan starts after labor day, so we are trying to squeeze the last juicy bits out of late August. To that end, we went to a baseball game where I knit a heel on the "travel" sock, then made a mistake and ripped out part of it, reknit that at the dentist and then dropped a stitch that made it so I had to unravel a bunch of the heel---it was a yarn over stitch that unravelled quickly all the way to origin and POP disappeared.


Am almost where I was at the end of the ball game.

I also started Neldoreth and am about done with the ribbing. Once I got the hang of it, it wasn't hard but I KNOW I can't do it at a ball game or in the dentist's waiting room.


I guess the big news around here has been in the caterpillar front. If you came for the yarn, stop here. Well maybe not. The caterpillars are working on cocoons, so far half of them have spun one. Because Cercopia are related to silkmoths, their silk is similar. It is stronger than it looks and is really kind of fun to play with. As the friend who gave the caterpillars asked me: Are you wanting to knit with it? Maybe not, but I find it really fun to watch them spin. ,br> DSCN5344


Of course some of them are still just hanging out, doing their "thing"



Thursday, August 20, 2015

matchy matchy

I'm going to try for a bug free update. The caterpillars are doing great--is all I'll say. They are still caterpillars, but I'm thinking that will change soon.

Nope, today I'd like to focus on the other things going on, namely socks. I finished my vacation socks. I ended up dragging these in multiple car trips, baseball games and even knitting on them during a sleepover. Sometimes it was great. Sometimes the team I was rooting for scored and I dropped multiple stitches (that once I didn't find until it laddered down 4 rows and I had no crochet hook). In fact, I finished these shortly before leaving on another car trip. More on that in a bit. For now--the stats:


Pattern: Based on Ann Budd's Knitting socks from the toe up published in Interweave knits--sometime I can't remember when, I have this puppy memorized.
needles: US size 0
yarn: Knit picks Felci

I did my best to match them up and I came close enough for me--they might be a row or two off, but nothing that even I'll notice after a while.

So, then we were set to leave for my mom's house (a six hour drive, plus 3 days of knitting with my mom, then six hours back) prime knitting. But it was literally last minute so I grabbed somme yarn I bought on vacation--Noro Silk Garden sock. And all my DPNs and off we went.

Well, about 20 minutes into knitting I noticed (for the first time because I am teh dumb) that this yarn is handwash. I am many things, but I am not a person who handwashes socks. Yes, it is a failing. After arriving at my mom's house I discovered many ravelry knitters also complaining that they felt with wear. Which if you want a felted product might not be bad, but it was clear this yarn was not getting made into simple socks.

My mom is a knitter though and she let me dig into her stash and I found yarn perfect to make NeldorethAnd so I printed out the pattern. Well, Let's just say Neldoreth and car knitting don't mix for me. Now that we are home, it probably will get started again.

In my desperation, I begged to go to Hobby Lobby. Usually I prefer Joann's or Michael's but neither store is near my mom's house. At Hobby Lobby my choices of sock yarn were um scant. I ended up with "wool free sock stripes." it is a sign of my desperation that I'd choose this. But I did and on the way home (yes, I *was* pretty twitchy) I cast on a simple sock. I think it might not be for me in the end.


Maybe you have a good eye and you have noticed something I have noticed. The stripe repeat on this is LOOOONG. Which in practical terms means one of two things a) the socks won't match or b) the socks will match because I will have manipulated the yarn in a very very major way. since they may be for one of my daughters--they may actually not match.

Are you a sock knitter who needs your socks to match exactly?

Tuesday, August 04, 2015


This is probably going to be a more caterpillar focused post than a knitting focused post, so if bugs and caterpillars creep you out, you may want to skip this one. I did work on the sock but not much, so you won't miss anything big.
So, the caterpillars are getting bigger. I googled and it looks like they go through 5 "instars". Each instar is after it sheds its skin. Each molting looks worrisome because the caterpillar will stop eating and moving, and will sometimes stop pooping too. I mean you think oh man it is dead! and then it wiggles out of it's skin and gets back to business (sometimes will even eat it's skin). Last week, the tiniest of the lilac eating caterpillars worried us all and then shed and the next day left us this heart:
One of the birch eating one shed yesterday for it's next to last instar. It will only shed one more time before spinning. One of the interesting things to me is that the caterpillars are all the same age but are at different stages. Here are the biggest and smallest birch eating caterpillars
I mean look at those feet!
I know that sometimes when I take close up pictures, it gives the illusion that these guys are HUGE. And they are bigger than they were a month ago, But the biggest is a little smaller than my thumb.
How fascinated am I? Well, I took videos of them eating. And I encouraged my daughters to take videos of them pooping (which is actually more fun than it sounds). My video gets a little unfocused at the end, but I decided that it was pretty cool anyway:
If that doesn't show the video--Go here
And oh yeah, the sock is coming along: