Tuesday, July 1, 2008


FINALLY!! I have two patterns all proof~read, both text and charts error~free {I sincerely hope so}, and uploaded into PDF format.
Here's the first one:


This is a stranded pattern, although if you wanted to, you could do the coyote portion as a flat intarsia, seam it and continue top and bottom portions of the socks. I am part Cherokee and Choctaw, so I love doing "Native American" themes, and there will be more of them to come.


Another Native American Symbol, this pattern is done in Mosaic knitting, my very own designs for the Thunderbird and Lightning patterns. The rest of the sock is striped, so these are also "show~off" socks, don't want to hide these under long pants. :-)

These are the first two patterns of many more to come, some stranded, some lace, some intarsia, and whatever happens to come off of my needles. LOL

If you want to purchase one or both of these patterns, the cost for each is $6.00, and unfortunately, I can only accept PayPal. Please email me.... ValaKnits@aol.com with the names of the pattern{s} you want, and I will send you an invoice. When the invoice is paid, I will send you the pattern{s} as attachment{s} in PDF format.

I have done my best to make sure that the patterns are error free, however, if anyone finds something amiss, PLEASE do let me know so that it can be corrected. If you are having any problems understand the pattern{s} I will always be here to help, just email me. I am also toying with the idea of starting a Yahoo group for those who have bought my patterns. Would anyone like to do that?? Let me know.



Tuesday, June 24, 2008


.....to my Dad. Born 05 November, 1914, crossed 22 June, 2008. A long life, 93 plus years.

He will be missed by all of us, family and friends.

Dad was not able to finish high school, he was out and working and helping to support his parents and siblings when things got tough. So Dad was very much a self~taught man. He was both intelligent and wise. Perhaps coming up the hard way made it so. He was a good man, in all aspects of that word.

Dad was an outdoorsman, in the very best sense of the word, long before people got on the ecology bandwagon, Dad was already there, perhaps not strictly in the total sense of the word, but he was nonetheless careful of the things that made up this earth. He taught us so very much, especially to respect the world around us. That included not only people, but all the living creatures on this earth, as well as the earth herself.

He was a fisherman and a hunter. Now maybe that does not sound like a person who respects all creation, but he was. We didn' t hunt for "sport", we hunted so that we could use the game for food and more. We didn't fish for "sport", we fished so that we could consume our catch. Yes, of course, it was enjoyable, and Dad so loved to get out there and hunt or fish, and yes of course, it was a thrill to hook that big fish, or bring that big buck home, but because Dad got us out there we learned to repect.

I have been told that I had a fishing rod in my hands not too long after I was able to walk. Dad spent a lot of time with us, teaching my two brothers and me how to fish, and you have no idea of just how much patience on his part that took. Sometimes his patience was "rather thin" and he would blow up, but I have a feeling that we gave him more than enough reasons to rant. He taught us to "think like a fish", and while he was at it, we learned to enjoy and respect the outdoors and all that it was. He taught us to carefully release fish that were too small, or not lawful to take. He taught us how to clean those fish we did take home, and the innards and non~edible portions went out to our garden {when we did have one anyway} as fertilizer. Waste not. We grew up eating a LOT of fish, and I think we enjoyed them all the more because we had brought then home.

Dad taught us that as hunters we were responsible for the guns. And yes, guns are weapons. We were taught that a responsible hunter NEVER pulls the trigger until he is SURE of what is in the sights. He taught us to be sure that when we took that shot, it would be a quick killing shot, and it we weren't sure it was going to be, well, you just didn't pull the trigger. He taught us that if we did unfortunately happen to wound something, it was our responsibility to find it, and make sure it suffered no longer. My brothers spent more time with Dad in the field and in the duck blind, but I am always grateful that he taught me about guns. That knowledge stood me in good grace in later years, I was the best shot at the zoo with the dart guns and the rifle.

Dad had to hang up the guns some years back, as his legs just wouldn't carry him in the field, but on his last hunting trip with my one brother, he sat in a chair at the edge of a cornfield, and showed everyone that he was still the best "shot" around. He brought home the geese that day, a good way to end. He still managed to fish though, and had a good fishing buddy to help him with the things he couldn't manage himself, like getting the boat in the water.

I have so many good memories of Dad, hard to put them all down here. I remember shortly after we had moved to our house "in the woods" {which by the way, Dad practically built by himself, because we weren't able to afford a "finished" house}, my finding a nest of brand new cottontail rabbits at my Grandmother's house. The nest had been run over by the lawnmower, and was destroyed. So, I brought them home to raise, NOT an easy task. Dad was the one who helped me figure out how to keep them warm, much to Mother's dismay, because we used the oven with the door open so the heat on low would keep the babies warm. And, yes, I did successfully raise them, again, much to Mom's dismay, because they were the ones who came back after we released them and ate quite well off of our garden.

I remember the Garter Snake I found, and wanted to keep for a while. The inside of the house was not finished, we were still using the stationary laundry sinks in the utility room as our sinks/water supply as the plumbing was not finished. So, until I found something to keep the lil snake in, I put it in one of the tubs. No lid of course, cause Dad said it couldn't get out. Mom was not too happy about it, but there the snake was. Evening came, and we had eaten dinner. Mom was on her way out to the utility room with an armful of dishes. She flipped on the light with her elbow, and let out the most horrid shriek. Dishes went flying and crashing on the floor. Yup, the snake had crawled up the slanted front of the tub and was on the floor. She almost stepped on it. We all came running, the scared snake had slithered under the sink, and Mom was just fuming! Dad laughed. Oh my, that was not a good thing in Mom's opinion. Don't think he was ever allowed to forget that. Oh, and I did get to keep the snake for a while, then released it.

So many memories that I will always have to keep Dad alive in my thoughts. I am so glad that he was my Dad, and will miss him.

Dad has been cremated, and we will be having a memorial service for him as soon as my one brother recovers from his hip replacement surgery. The service will maybe be followed by a BIG Fish Fry. Just the thing to remember Dad in the best way.


Friday, June 20, 2008


I really am a penny pincher, so I guess it's no surprise to those who know me well, that I do not like to "waste" yarn. And I do like to try to get the most usage out of one ball or skein of yarn that I can.

So, I tend to use a lot of stripes in my patterns, because, of course, it's one of the best ways I know to "stretch" yarn. Right now I have two 44o yd skeins that are now appearing in their 4th pair of socks! That is a LOT of usage IMO. Two of the sock pairs have one or the other of the skeins used as the main color, and two of them have the colors used as background and stripe colors.

Not too bad for the money, these were not the least expensive skeins, so I have been really glad to get so much use and fun out of them. Somehow it does make knitting a lot more fun when you can do something like this. At least it does for me.



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Progress!? And Coming Soon!!

Hmmmmm, I have managed to muddle my way through getting one whole pattern complete with photo and lots of charts into a PDF file! Wow! Not quite sure what I am doing yet with the new software, but I must be doing something right. LOL So, YES, there will soon be some patterns on this blog for sale! WOO HOO!!

Now I am working on getting all the different charts and photos ready, that will take some time too, especially when I seem to be able to make mistakes in them without even trying. So glad that I can easily erase the boo~boos, or just go over them with the right stuff. Need to take some more photos too, realized that I don't have all the socks photographed. So far as patterns go, I have Thunderbird, 'Yote, Elegance, Herd of Turtles, Flower Power, LLamma MMama, There's a Bear, Beady Berries, and one which is still nameless. Just can't come up with a name I like for it, but one will show up sooner or later.

Don't think people realize all the work that does go into patterns, it's not just the designing, its the knitting, the frogging and fixing the patterns, the drafting of the text, fixing errors, getting the charts done right, photos, etc, etc.....have spent more time doing all the other stuff than I have spent actually knitting the socks!

I have always done my own patterns, but this is the first time I have ever done them for sale, and there's a big difference in the shorthand and symbols I use to do a pattern and what I need to have in them for others to understand easily. Believe me, no one else could translate my own knitting shorthand, so I have to make sure that all the instructions, etc, are A-OK for everyone to understand. And since I tend to design AS I knit, that means I have to stop and write out what I am doing, takes time to do that as I am finding out. :-)

Enough of the above, sounds like I am griping, but I'm not really, just amazes me as to all that goes into a "commercial" pattern.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Patience, I Don't Have Any!

Nope, don't have any at all. I have been trying to get my patterns converted into PDF format, but I don't have the proper software in this ol puter. Sigh. So, today, I took a great big step and went out and bought myself some software. OUCH!

I didn't want to spend the money, but that's the only way I could get anywhere it seems, so I did it. I may be eating PB & J for a longish while, but it's worth it, I think. I hope. I have now finished designing, knitting and editing 8 {I think it's 8??, counting here without looking LOL} patterns, and would just love to get them online.

It will still be a while, I now have to learn how to use the software. Sigh, again. However, even though I am an old dog, I CAN learn new tricks. I think, I hope. I have been working on it this afternoon, and will do that for the next however many days it takes me to figure out all the ins and outs and quirks of the program. Then, I am gonna go for it and try to get all 8 going.

Course, I am still knitting up more patterns, so by the time I get this all figured out, there will be more to do. Guess that's a good thing?


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ends, Temptation, and The Character of a Knot

Just finished knitting two intarsia sock patterns that I designed. Of course, that brings up the subject of "ENDS." Intarsia looks lovely on the front, but AACCKKK!!, turn it over to the backside and you are faced with something eerily resembling a porcupine having a seriously BAD hair day. ALL those ends to weave in, bummer. {No, weaving in ends is NOT one of my favorite things to do, in case you haven't guessed.} The temptation to tie off all those ends in knots is ever so strong. Be done in no time at all if I did that, right?

However, I have been a good little knitter and spent a lot of time weaving ends into the back of the fabric. Woven in ends behave so very nicely, they are so unassuming and shy, you know. They stay put, and try very hard not to call attention to themselves. One cannot say the same thing about knots unfortunately, which is why I have resisted the temptation to use them in any of my knitting.

For some reason, totally unknown to phybercologists and any others who have studied them, knots take on a personality all their own, quite unlike that of those shy woven in ends. They become the most obnoxious attention seeking creatures they could possibly be.

Phybercologists have theorized that this may be due to a chemical imbalance created when two ends are joined by tying them together, however, it has not been proven at this point. Whatever the cause, knots are truly unable to do anything but call attention to themselves.

Studies have shown that this attention seeking behavior usually occurs in three distinct phases, with each phase becoming more destructive.
Phase One, the mildest of the three, consists of a knot attempting to show itself off by creating an unsightly and very noticeable "bump" on the front of the fabric. A knot that is at first not at all noticeable, will do its best to call attention to its presence by working itself into such a position as to be seen by one and all. Admittedly, this is a rather mild degree of attention seeking behavior, and many knots are satisfied to stay at this level, especially if the knot is in a very prominent position on the fabric. Once in this position, they cannot be moved or coerced to hide themselves, and so they are quite happy to remain as they are.

Phase Two is a more aggressive behavior, and it is usually resorted to when the first phase fails to get the attention needed. In phase two, a knot will not only show as a bump on the front, but will then proceed to work and wiggle and wriggle itself until it is actually on the front of the fabric, instead of on the back where it belongs. Obviously, this behavior is going to get the knot noticed, and usually no attempt to force it to stay hidden will work, as the knot is determined to show itself off. Again, many knots are quite content to stay at this level as they seem to know that they are actually getting the attention they seem to think they deserve. They very much enjoy all the fussing and messing about given to them as one tries to get them to recede to the backside of the fabric. Such attempts usually fail, but in the unlikely event that a knot is successfully coaxed to stay on the backside of the fabric, many of them will then resort to phase three behavior.

Phase Three behavior is the most aggressive, and worse yet, it is self~destructive behavior. If the first two phases of behavior fail to get a knot the attention it feels it needs and deserves, it will in all likelihood resort to the final phase. This unfortunate attention seeking behavior is the last gasp, so the speak, as once it is begun, there is usually no going back. A knot in the throes of phase three does not seem to care that it is going to cease to exist, it simply cannot exist without attention, and seems to feel that this is the only method left to it. It will proceed to carefully unravel and untie itself, and when it has done so, it leaves only the memory of itself in the resulting, and often, ever enlarging, hole in the fabric. Most knots are excellent at doing this in such a manner as to make it impossible to retie or rejoin them, as they manage to somehow do this in such a way that there is not enough left of them to retie or rejoin them in their original position. They seem to feel that even though they no longer exist, they have finally gained the attention they so desperately need and crave, as the fabric is usually ruined by their loss.
Phybercologists therefore state that creating a knot is something which will lead to destructive behavior on the part of the knot, and of course this behavior is not in the best interests of the knot created. They therefore highly recommend that one always remembers this motto:

Knot? NOT!

Monday, April 14, 2008



I have just spent an unbelieveable amount of time searching on the web for some solid color sock yarn in the colors that I NEED, and am just so disgusted. This has been a pet peeve of mine for just about as many years as I have been knitting, and that is a LOT of years. Yes, I am YELLING!

Why, oh why, oh why can't some yarn company understand that so many of us knitters would SO much appreciate a reliable source of different yarn colors that stayed the same and are available right away? As it is right now, I have had to look all over the web to find what I want, and finally found SOME of the colors, BUT, I will have to purchase them from 3 different companies/sellers if I want to get them. So that means it will cost me a whole lot more in postage, not to mention all the time I have spent trying to find what I need. It is I think the most frustrating thing I have ever found regarding yarn.

It seems that just about every company falls victim to the "chase the fashion" syndrome. They discontinue the colors they had and add "new" ones, all to keep up with the current fashions. Arrrggghhh!! I suppose that there are knitters out here who do go for the fashion looks, but there are so many of us out here who do like the tried and true and always fashionable things. Classics, if you will. Always there, always available, and always in good taste.

It just seems to me that some smart company could figure this out and offer a good color range of yarns so that those of us, and I believe there are MANY of us, who want and need this type of selection could buy the yarns. I thought I had found such a company in KnitPicks, but they have decided that their Essential line of sock yarn is going to be one of those fashion chasing items. Grrrrrr. They do offer their Palette fingering wt in a good range of colors, but it is not, IMHO, a good sock yarn. Doesn't wear very well. Oh well, such is a knitter's life I guess.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Puppy Mills

This is something I am so against! Please do all you can to help stop this horrid practice.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Knitting Lace, Socks and Other Stuff

Weather is a bit nicer today, didn't get back to finish what I started on the 31st, too busy finishing up a sock pattern.

Was starting to write about knitting socks, and my favorite types of knitting, so guess I will just do that here.

I really, really love to knit lace, but my lace knitting came to an abrubt halt a few months ago when I was dealing with a lot of severe sinus/allergy problems and a darn back that kept going out on me. {Wonder where those backs go when they do go out on us? :-)

Made it just plain impossible to concentrate on the intricate patterns, and I kept messing up big time, was spending way too much time wading in the swamp with all the froggies. So just put all the lace aside.

Then I just sat there with nothing to do!! No needles/yarn in my hands, aaarrgggh! Quickest way I can think of to make me crazy. What to do, what to do?

HAD to find something to knit that wouldn't take any concentration, the more brain dead the better. Didn't want to knit hats, didn't want to tackle any large project like a sweater or afghan. Sigh.

Now it had been YEARS since I had knit any socks, and I have to admit that they were my least favorite thing to do. In fact I was sorta adamant about it. BUT, I had been going through my stash, and found this really neat sock yarn I had gotten with something else in mind besides socks.

Hmmmmmmmm, well maybe, just maybe, I would go ahead and do a pair of socks, easy peasy knitting.

Had always used DPNs for socks, but since I had the KnitPicks Options needles with those lovely pliable cables, decided I would try out the 2 circ method. So I did. The result is the photo above.

WOO HOO!!! So, now I am a sock~knitting convert. And am quite busy working out my own patterns, which I am going to publish for sale! How's that for a 180 turnaround? I do love to do colorwork, mosaic and stranded knitting are lots of fun, and so is doing beaded knitting. Already have 3 patterns ready to go, that is ready after I get them all into PDF files, which is a new thing to me too, so that may just take me a while, and am gonna need some help doing it I think. Old dog needs to learn some new tricks here!


Monday, March 31, 2008

Dreary Day

It's raining, and thundering and lightning. A very dreary day. The ground here is already soaked to the max, so lots of water is running off. Am glad we don't live near any rivers, but feel so very bad for those folks who do and who have to contend w/ all the flooding.

So what to do on such a day? Why knit, of course. I really should get back to my spinning though, have so many yummy fibers waiting to be spun. Just haven't taken the time out of the knitting to do it though. Have been working on a number of original sock patterns. And designing patterns is rather time consuming~!

Uh oh, think I had better get off line and shut this puter down, it is getting rather strong out there. More tomorrow.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Very FIRST Blog!!!

WOW, ok, this is in red because it is a red letter day so to speak. I am embarking on a new adventure here. Yuppers, first time to do a blog.

So here I am now, and believe me this will be a real learning experience for me. I am NOT a puter person at all, am going to have to learn a whole lot of new stuff for me, hope I can get it all right. Not going to write anything else, just going to get this thing all set up now............I hope. Hugggles, Vala