Sunday, May 14, 2017


Some years ago I was given two balls of sock yarn--not matching at all, except for one blue colour they had in common.  Since a 50g ball of sock yarn can make one adult-sized sock, I decided to somehow combine them.  I looked up ways to make stripes, but wasn't happy with any of them, so I came up with my own method.   And found this works like a charm.
I haven't tried this with top-down socks, since the last many years I knit only toe-up socks.  Here's how: start the toe in the usual manner with Judy Becker's Magic Cast On.  After two or three rounds with yarn A, knit the first three needles of the next round with yarn A.  Now go back to the first needle and with yarn B knit needles #1 and #2.  Drop that yarn, turn the sock and pick up yarn A and knit needles #4 and #1.  Now drop that yarn, turn the sock back, pick up yarn B and knit needles #3 and #4.  Keep alternating between yarns.  They will follow each other around the sock with "joins" or "jogs".  

You can combine really odd balls of yarn in this manner and they will produce interesting socks.  

You can actually combine three separate balls of different colours in this manner.  In that case you would begin the same way with yarn A, knitting needles #1, 2 and 3.  With yarn B you would knit needles #1 and 2.  With yarn C you knit just needle #1.  Now go back to yarn A and knit #4, and begin chasing the colours around the sock.  With three balls you will knit just one needle at a time before turning the sock back to pick up the next colour yarn.

I presume you could knit really varicoloured socks by combining all odd bits of yarn.  But a suggestion: weave the ends in as you go so you don't have a whole whack of ends to weave in when the sock is finished.

The other handy dandy tip is to use one of those delightful zippered plastic bags that a new pair of pillowcases or a valance comes in.  Your yarn with stay put and not get tangled, that is, if you turn the sock back and forth and not just rotate in one direction.  A friend in Arizona gave me several of these handy bags.

What's also helping here is that I have a "Ball Winder."  This nifty gadget takes a skein of yarn, or a ball of commercial yarn,  and rewinds it so that it has a flat bottom and top and feeds nicely from the center of the ball.

This week L. did seed the field across the road and one morning before breakfast I was able to run out and snap this picture of the seeder:
This is a tractor with actual "tracks" not wheels.  A little hard to see in this picture, but if you click on the picture you should get an enlarged version.  His other seeder, the red one, has two sets of tracks on each side and is MUCH more impressive.  The red unit behind this tractor is the unit that actually put the seed in the ground.  Following it is the wagon with many compartments that holds the seed and fertilizers.  Under the red unit are the "tongs" (I don't know the exact name) that make a small furrow into which the seed is planted.  Coming down on either side are the "conduits" for fertilizer.  There could be more than one type of fertilizer deposited with the seed: one right close by to get it started and others a bit farther away for later growth.

These tractors are very smart--equipped with fancy computers and GPS.  This computer can be shown the field, either by driving the unit around the perimeter of the field, or simply from a "memory stick" that tells the tractor the exact layout of the field.  You have a choice: you can turn the tractor yourself at the end of the row or you can let the program do it.  GPS is so precise that you can seed in between the rows that you planted in that field last year!

Nowadays you need to know a LOT to be a farmer.  You have to be savvy about machinery, with computers and in terms of business.  Not what I thought when I was a young wife and, temporarily angry with the dear one, stamped my foot and said, YOU DUMB FARMER!  Totally inappropriate even then!  And more so now. 

We are finally seeing some of the delights of spring here:
The forsythia out front is blooming the best it ever has--all the way to the top of the stems.

The spurge throughout that garden has also begun blooming--another bright yellow, and the various fruits are blooming also: Nanking cherry, Double Flowering Plum and Muckle Plum.  How cheerful!  Here's the Double Flowering Plum
This is the Muckle Plum:

And these are part of the row of Nanking Cherries.  Behind them are a few pear trees which have also started to bloom.

These pictures don't really capture the beauty of these flowering shrubs.  To see them in person is so much better!

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