Monday, November 23, 2009

Knitting Socks #6

We are going to be working on the gusset now. That is the area of the sock after the heel where we narrow the sock down, where the side of the ankle is, before we get to working on the foot. to do this we are going to be decreasing stitches on both sides as follows:

Round 1: knit the stitches on needle one until the last three stitches, knit the next 2 together, then knit one. This will end needle one. Knit the stitches on needle two. On needle three knit one stitch, the with the next two stitches SSK, slip the next two stitches then knit them together like we did with the heel, (or you can slip one stitch, knit one stitch and then take the slipped stitch and move it up and over the knit stitch off the end of the needle). Continue to knit the remaining stitches to the end of needle three. With this round we decreased by two stitches total.

Round 2: knit

Repeat round 1 and 2 until you have the same number of stitches as you started the sock. With these socks it is 56 stitches, so now I have 14 stitches on needle one, 28 on needle two, and 14 on needle three.

Once you are at this point the gusset is completed and we will be knitting the foot of the sock. To do this you just knit, in rounds, even (no decrease) until the sock measures 2 inches smaller than your foot (measuring from back of heel to end of longest toe).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Knitting Socks #5

Now we have the heel cup. The next step is to add stitches along the side and get back to working in the round. Your last row should have been a knit/slip row. We are going to be picking up stitches along one side first.

You will either use a knitting needle or a crochet hook, slip either through the top edge of the side of your sock, pick up the yarn from the inside/back and pull a loop of yarn through.

Keep that new stitch on your needle (or if you are using a crochet hook to pick up stitches place that loop on one of your two empty needles.

Continue to pick up stitches along the edge moving away from the heel cup as you go, toward those stitches you have on the stitch holder.

Pick up stitches evenly and pick up 13-15 stitches, however many fit nicely in there for you. I usually end up with 15. The important thing is to remember how many you pick up, and pick up the same amount on the other side of this sock and also on your next sock.

After you pick up the stitches on the one side you will knit the stitches from your needle holder. You may need to first slip them onto a needle, or you may be able to knit them straight from the stitch holder.
Now you have just one side without stitches. Pick up the same amount of stitches on this side as you did on the parallel side. Again using either the empty needle or a crochet hook.

Once you have this done you will be looking at 4 needles with stitches on them.

What you will do at this point is move the stitches from needle one (the heel cup) to needle 2 and 4. So divide the stitches on your heel cup in 1/2 (9) and you will knit 9 stitches onto needle 4.

The slip the remaining 9 stitches from your heel cup onto needle 2 (which will now be needle 1).

You are now back to three working needles and an empty needle for knitting. We will be knitting in the round from here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Daily Routine

We are back from vacation and I am quietly slipping back into my daily routine. We don't have much of a routine around here but there are things that I do each and every day that fall into that category.

This morning I could feel the dewy grass on my bare feet as I walked slowly out to care for the chickens. The brisk air really lets me know that I am alive. Sun streaming across my face the chickens come out to greet me as I lift their door so they can have free roam of the pasture during the day. I sprinkle just a bit of feed out for them and check their water. All is good. I generally sit in my small lawn chair out with the chicks for a while, it is just so quiet out at the barn this time of the morning. No deer prancing in the pasture today for me, but I can hear all the birds singing in the trees. Looking across the field, I can see the fog as the sun bakes the dew off the grass. Just a pretty site, nice place to meditate and ground myself for the day.

I just relax for a few minutes keeping myself present in the moment, then let the day slip in somewhere. Start thinking about the barn, it needs some repairs. We will need to finish this up by spring. We also need some new chicks, need to think about those for spring. And looking out over the field we have some nice trees, will have to come out over the next few weeks with Jackson and the boys to pick out our Christmas Tree for this year.

Yes, it's time to get up and walk back to the house, I will need to start sending out speaker contracts to the speakers for the Love to Learn Conference today, pick up the dogs from the kennel, I can't wait to see them, make some bread and crackers to have around the house, and I have a few bananas starting to go brown, maybe make some banana bread for the boys for breakfast, that would be a treat. OK back into the groove, grateful for another day. Maybe tomorrow I'll bring out my camera so you all can see what I see.

Friday, November 13, 2009


OK the non profit organization is called To Write Love on Her Arms. And today is the day for everyone to write love on their arms to show support, encouragement and love for those in our live affected by depression, and we all know someone affected by depression.

Personally my father was depressed after my mother died, would not seek help no matter how much I asked, and he committed suicide on Halloween some years ago. I feel that loss every day. If you read the statistics on the TWLOHA web site you will see how desperately we need to change things in this country and around the world. Help people that are suffering, let them know there is a way through, let them know they are loved.

So today I wrote LOVE on my arms, actually my sons helped me write love on my arms. I have family and friends struggling with depression every day, taking one day at a time. So for them and for everyone else out ARE loved.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just Be Here...Meditation

It has always been a challenge for me to meditate. I guess in this world where every minute has to count for something it is difficult to slow down. Hard to clear the mind and sit. I have always said I have my own forms of meditation, my knitting, cooking etc. But it always seems like I am falling short in my practice. That I am missing some benefit, that by sitting daily in quiet meditation, doing nothing, I would somehow gain something more tangible. So my daily reading this morning was eye opening. So let me share just a bit:

".....As long as we insist that meditation must be meaningful, we fail to understand it. We meditate with the idea that we’re going to get something from it—that it will lower our blood pressure, calm us down, or enhance our concentration. And, we believe, if we meditate long enough, and in just the right way, it might even bring us to enlightenment.

All of this is delusion.....

So why meditate? If it’s not to get some benefit, what’s the point?...

Meditation is just to be here. This can mean doing the dishes, writing a letter, driving a car, or having a conversation - if we’re fully engaged in this activity of the moment, there is no plotting or scheming or ulterior purpose. This full engagement is meditation. It doesn’t mean anything but itself...."
How profound. The article is called Looking for Meaning, written by Steve Hagen. In, of course, my favorite magazine, Tricycle. So please visit the article online, and read the entire piece.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Equal Rights

Over the past few weeks, several acquaintances, that live here in NC, have questioned me concerning what they perceive as my religion, as well as, my support of equal marital rights in Maine. Equal marital rights was up for vote in this past Maine election.

I have been struggling to understand the stance of those in opposition to equal marital rights, as well as the stance of the Conservative Christians in this area. In the past I have been told I was going to Hell for my beliefs, hard to understand considering I don't believe in Hell. I have been told I am choosing death instead of life....well you get the picture. This is all new to me, as I was born and raised in Maine and my parents and community pretty much followed a "live and let live" philosophy. Where the focus was on living your best life.

Many Christians here in NC use the argument that we need to live by God's law and what it says in the Bible. While personally, I believe that everyone has a right to live that way if they so choose. I don't believe that everyone should *have to* live that way. A subtle difference maybe but still a difference. Some truly believe that we all should live by one set of personal values. That somehow my values are inferior, and I should be forced to live by their superior values.

I believe that religious freedom is a freedom granted to everyone. The first amendment to the Constitution says in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". There will be no national religion. If there is no national religion, I do not believe that our laws should reflect the values of one religion. I do not believe that I should be forced to live by one Christian set of values.

In discussing this issue I have found it difficult to even begin to make a point as so many believe that it is their calling to make sure all are living by God's law. If not they will surely perish in the fires of Hell. Some really can't conceive of a "to each his own" society, believing that my beliefs are just as "right" and equal as their beliefs. It is outside their realm of conception that my beliefs bring as much joy to me as their beliefs bring to them, and are just as right for me as theirs are for them.

Now to my recent facebook posts concerning my support for the equal marital rights vote in Maine. I received quite a few e mails concerning this.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It doesn't say that all Christian men are created equal. It also does not say that "they are endowed by *my* creator". It says ALL men are created equal and are endowed by THEIR creator (whatever that creator may or may not be).

It also says that we have certain unalienable rights including the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I was asked by one person "why can't they just be together, why do they need a piece of paper, why do they need to be legally married?"

My answer was... why not? I mean that little piece of legal paper was and is important to me, it was/is important to the person asking the question. Why should it not be important to everyone. And I should clarify that by "they" she was referring to any same gender couple seeking a marriage license in Maine. I believe that this choice, to legally marry in this country, should be a choice available to all couples.

People today are bombarded with advertising based solely around possible negative outcomes. I think opponents to anything use negatives to their advantage. Harping on the negative things that "could" happen if a particular event were to come to pass. It really doesn't matter what the event is, there are always those who will be standing there to tell you just what evils will pop into your existence if it happens, preying on people's fear. While it isn't a suicide bomber, I feel it is a form or terrorism. Creating terror in people using only words. It is so easy to get caught up in that fear, and keep yourself up at night thinking about yourself and your children. Isn't' that where they always hit us, with our children. But if you think about the bigger picture, there are negative things out there every day in our lives. With every choice we make, there are positive outcomes and negative variables just standing there. For the most part we don't approach every situation, every choice, from a place of fear. We only wollow in the presence of fear when it is brought to our attention over and over again, through different media.

I choose to approach choices, and life in general, from a place of peace. I refuse to let fear rule my life. Fear does not serve to bring joy into my life. That is what I am seeking, in my life, in my marriage, in my motherhood...JOY. As a family, as individuals, we seek out those things that bring us joy. And lingering in fear does not do that. Standing in the presence of peace, choosing to live my life from a place of peace, brings joy. Maybe that is why I just can't seem to understand where so many are coming from when they feel it's their calling to make sure everyone is living by the Bible, and opposing same gender marriage. Maybe they are living a life guided by fear, either consciously or unconsciously. I think we can make the choice to change. We can choose today to let peace live in our lives, in our families. We can each choose to let peace guide our decisions.

I do not choose fear, I choose peace.

I know this post may just seem like ramblings, and I have rewritten it several times trying to get my feelings down on paper, not an easy task. But I wanted to say "something", to try to explain my position just a bit. I know I live in The South where equal marital rights will not even be the topic of debate for many years to come. My ties to Maine are deep, and I care about my friends and family that still reside there. I would love to see the people of Maine at the front of this march, taking the lead when it comes to equal rights, making sure equal rights MEANS equal rights for EVERYONE!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I mentioned that I have made a few pair of women's socks. I ran across some really pretty yarn, so I knew it would make wonderful socks. And it did. I make three pair last week, just couldn't knit fast enough, I wanted to see what the colors would create, how they would come together in socks.

They are not up on my etsy store yet but I hope to have them on there in a couple of weeks!! Aren't the colors just delisious?!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

I am so excited about this challenge. And I find myself looking at little cluttered spots around my home differently. Seeing what little spots I can tackle when I only have an hour or so. This week it was my sewing/crafting area. This is hard for me. I had a whole room, which I gave up for my son. Dallen wanted his own room, and this was the plan so it wasn't a surprise. I knew that I had a whole craft room until one of the boys wanted their own room, then my craft room would be a craft corner in the family room, and my craft room would become a bedroom. It isn't like I crafted in my craft room, but I was able to keep my crafting things organized and accessible. Now they are in bins behind the mirrored doors, a little harder to get at. And I have that corner you see in the picture. It just needs to be more organized. And now is the perfect time to do it because I have three pair of pants that I need to hem. Here is my Tackle it Tuesday:

Here is the before picture:

And the after pictures:

Maybe if I tackle my house, one "corner" at a time, I can declutter and reorganize, LOL.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Knitting Socks #4

OK so my computer ate all my digital pictures. In the mean time I have been knitting men's socks, and am now finished. Have knit another few pair of women's socks, taken more pictures, so I am back on track, photos on my computer, and ready to resume with the instructions.

We will be working on the heel cup now. You have 2 inches of heel flap already knit and you will be looking at the wrong side of the heel, your last row should have been a knit/slip row.

*One definition/explanation you will need to do the heel cup:

SSK, this mean slip/slip/knit. What you do is slip a stitch (as if to knit) from left needle to the right, then slip the next stitch (as if to knit) {two total slipped} from left needle to right . Then take your left needle and put it back into those slipped stitches, and knit those two stitches together, this makes a nice looking knit stitch and decreases by one stitch. If this doesn't make sense you can substitute with THIS: Slip the first stitch, knit the next stitch, the slip the slipped stitch over the knit stitch and off the needle, this also decreases by one stitch. I prefer the first technique but both work.

Working those same 28 stitches, for the heel cup you will:

row 1: slip 1 stitch (as if to purl), purl 13 (this brings you to the center of the row) then purl 2 more (so a total of 15 purl stitches), purl 2 together, purl 1 more. You will see you still have 9 stitches remaining on your needle unknit. This is how it should look, stitches on both needles. Stop here and just turn your knitting around, leaving those 9 stitches unknit.

row 2: slip 1 (as if to knit), knit 5, ssk the next two stitches*, knit 1 (9 stitches remain unknit) turn.

row 3: slip 1 (as if to purl) purl 6, purl 2 together, purl 1, (7 stitches remain unknit) turn

row 4: slip 1 (as if to knit) knit 7, ssk the next two stitches knit 1, (7 stitches remain unknit) turn

row 5: slip 1 (as if to purl) purl 8, purl 2 together, purl 1 (5 stitches remain unknit) turn

row 6: slip 1 (as if to knit) knit 9, ssk next two stitches, knit 1 (5 stitches remain unknit) turn

row 7: slip 1 (as if to purl) purl 10, purl 2 together, purl 1 (3 stitches remain unknit) turn

row 8: slip 1 (as if to knit) knit 11, ssk next two stitches, knit 1 (3 stitches remain unknit) turn

row 9: slip 1 (as if to purl) purl 12, purl 2 together, purl 1 (1 stitch remains unknit) turn

row 10: slip 1 (as if to knit) knit 13, ssk next two stitches, knit 1 (1 stitch remains unknit) turn

row 11: slip 1 (as if to purl) purl 14, purl 2 together, turn

row 12: slip 1 (as if to knit) knit 14, ssk next two stitches together.

You will now have 16 stitches at the end of the heel cup.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Beauty in Water

I have always been a water person. Just feel so much calmer and at peace near the water. My father was a fisherman, so I grew up on the water. I loved going fishing with my dad, I wasn't much of a "fisherman" but I really enjoyed the boat ride, the wind, the salt water, the smell of the ocean, the sea gulls hovering close by. All those wonderful memories are just trapped in my mind, swirling around, always bring me back to the water.

At this point in my life, I live about 5 hours drive from the ocean, so only get back about twice a year, three times if I am lucky. I soak up each and every moment of it. With the hikes I have been organizing, I have been trying to make each one end at a beautiful waterfall. I can't believe how many beautiful waterfalls there are here in the mountains of North Carolina. Such force, power and serene beauty in a waterfall. I have posted a few pics of our last hike, but wanted to share one more. Mine are always Straight Out of the Camera, no time for digital touch ups.