Friday, December 29, 2017

On the Needles

Well, it's not on the needles yet, but I spent yesterday (okay, one episode of Grey's Anatomy, but it felt like a whole day) winding this - lace weight yarn for a log cabin shawl for #fringeandfriendslogalong
Gloss Lace from Knit Picks

The yarn is for #fringeandfriendslogalong that starts on January 1st.  And if you're having trouble reading that hashtag (it is a mouthful!) it's # fringe and friends log along.  You will find all the details at that link but if you want to know a little something about it before clicking....  It's a log cabin KAL.  You can knit anything you want with any yarn you want, you just have to knit it log cabin style.  And you can't start knitting until January 1st.

And I'm proud to announce, I have my yarn picked out.  

I'm not proud that, once again, I forgot to take photos of the yarn during daylight hours.  

I'll be using five skeins of Gloss Lace from Knit Picks plus two other lace weight yarns I found in my stash to knit a log cabin style, rectangular shawl.  To jazz it up just a little, the center piece will have a lacy pattern rather than being plain.  It looks fantastic in my head and pretty good drawn on paper.  We'll have to wait until January to see what it looks like in real life.

And since this is most likely my last post of 2017, I'll go ahead and say... For the New Year's Day Makers' Monday post, I'll be busy taking down our Christmas tree and eating black eyed peas so I won't be here on the blog, but I will create an automated post for you to link to if you'd like.  It will be set up  just like the Christmas Day Makers' Monday post.

Meanwhile, I'm wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Three on Thursday

Today's Three on Thursday list is a mash up of what this week's posts should have been.  Christmas being on a Monday threw me for a loop for some reason and I sorta forgot the blog even existed.  Oops.

So, if Christmas  hadn't gotten in the way, here's what I would have written about:

1.  Makers' Monday would have been all about cheesecake makers.  Well, one cheesecake master actually.  This recipe came across my Facebook feed and about three minutes after I'd book marked it, I got an email from my sister requesting it for Christmas.  I passed the link on to my daughter...

A simple recipe for THE best ever cheesecake
Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

And we had THE best ever chocolate peppermint cheesecake for Christmas Eve desert.  I mean, this cheesecake was literally THE best cheesecake I've ever had.  Heck, it was the best food in general that I've ever had.  The Cheesecake Factory should be jealous.  Very, very jealous.  And a little bit scared. 

knitting a cowl with Knit Picks Palette
#ChristmasEveCastOn knit with Palette

2.  My #ChristmasEveCastOn is progressing surprisingly well.  I'm using the Palette yarn I had left over from my Ocean Stripes shawl to make a striped cowl.  I'm changing colors whenever I get bored and the first row of each new color is knit *K1,P1.*  I really like the affect that one different row gives it.

3.  I'm reading Malice in Wonderland by Hilary Latimer on my Kindle and loving it.  It's a murder mystery that takes place at a Fiber Festival.  It's the perfect book for me! 

Join me at Carole's for today's Three on Thursday link up.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Makers' Monday and a Merry Christmas

I'm busy celebrating Christmas with the family today but since I know not everyone celebrates and it is a Monday....  If you'd like to celebrate Makers' Monday and share your recent creativeness, please do so.

Meanwhile, I'm wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and holiday season.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas!

The cookies are baked, the tree is decorated, the gifts are wrapped  (mostly) and the Christmas panic is coming to an end.  There's still a bunch of last minute baking to be done and while I'm not going to say it's under control or that there won't be problems, I'm not stressing over it.  I'm not Overly stressed about it, I should say.

I will be casting on for a knitted, striped cowl on Christmas Eve. It will be the first project of Selfish Knitting Season.

And even more exciting than not being overly stressed about the remainder of my Christmas to-do list is...   I've picked out my #ChristmasEveCastOn project.  And yes, that yarn pile does look familiar.  It's all the left overs from my Ocean Stripes shawl.  I'm going to use them in a cowl.  Just a simple, striped cowl.  Christmas Eve is pretty busy around here so I may need to cast on at 12:01 a.m. and knit for a few minutes before going to bed in order for it to count as a Christmas Eve cast on, but what ever.  It will get cast on  on Christmas Eve and it will be my first project of Selfish Knitting Season.

Since Christmas falls on a Monday.... For those of you who don't celebrate Christmas, or maybe you're on your own this year with no where to go, or maybe you have places to go and things to do but you still want to promote your own blog and creativity...  I have a Makers' Monday post set up to post automatically and you can still participate next week.  I won't be around to promote it on social media, but it will be there if you'd like to link-up.

Meanwhile, I'm wishing everyone a safe, happy, healthy, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Three on Thursday

Three very random and very brief things this Thursday -

1.  I have finished my Christmas shopping.  Both gifts and groceries. I can not express how happy that makes me.  The shopping experience isn't over yet though.  Today, my husband and I are going on our annual 'Christmas shopping ordeal.'  The tradition started when the kids were young.  Grandma would keep the kids overnight and Mike and I would spend the day shopping and having an adults only, child-free, alcohol fueled meal somewhere.  It was great fun.  Over the years, the day has morphed into lunch and my husband starting his Christmas shopping.  Yes, starting! he's starting his shopping on December 21st.  It makes me insane.  The day usually ends with a big argument and me sitting in a food court reading while Mike wanders aimlessly around the mall muttering about not knowing what to buy, how much things cost and how empty the stores are.  It's sort of miserable, but it's also our tradition.  And of course, the holier-than-thou martyr in me enjoys the misery just a tiny bit.

2. I was at the grocery store yesterday buying everything we could possibly need to see us through Christmas.  Just so I wouldn't have to make another trip, I even bought an entire basil plant instead of the few sprigs that were needed for a Christmas Day dish.  While wandering the vegetable section I noticed a gigantic bag of carrots.  Craziest thing I've ever seen.  Twenty five pounds of carrots for $19.99.  Who in the world needs 25 pounds of carrots at one time?  I really, really wish I'd taken a photo.

Three finished objects or knitting projects; a Strickplaner cover, a cowl and a pair of fingerless mitts.
Three FOs

3.  I've finished knitting a few things.  I finished One For the Books, the Strickplaner cover.  I'm not crazy about the way the self striping yarn striped but it's a knitted book cover that fits!  I'm in total awe of this pattern.  I've also finished a pair of fingerless mitts and a striped cowl.  Now I just need to come up with a #ChristmasEveCastOn project.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and joining up with Carole's Three on Thursday link-up.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Makers' Monday

It's Makers' Monday and about all I'm making is a big, giant mess in my kitchen.  I spent two full days in the kitchen making eleven batches of rum balls.  Used an entire fifth of liquor!  Normally I only make six batches but my son wanted to give them to his buddies and asked me to make enough for six or seven more people.  Wow!  That was a lot of rum balls.

I'm in Christmas Panic mode and forgot to take photos.
Obligatory Christmas photo

Over the next couple of days, I'll be in the kitchen baking a thousand batches of cookies.  Okay, maybe not quite one thousand but enough so that it will feel like one thousand by the time I'm done.  Sorry. Don't mean for that to sound so whiny.  I enjoy doing it, I just don't enjoy anticipating doing it.  Once I'm elbow deep in dough, I'll be a happy little Christmas clam.

Or at least, I'll be a happy little Christmas clam as long as I don't look at my to-do list.  I have a count down to Christmas decoration thing on my desk and apparently, it had been a few days since I changed it.  I'll admit - I'm Horrible with a capital H about changing it each day.  Anyway, this morning, I thought I better make sure it was accurate....  and somehow, I went from having 13 days to prepare for Christmas to only 8 days.  Yikes. Eight days to Christmas!  Double Yikes!

I'm now officially in Christmas Panic mode.  I mean, like, Serious Christmas Panic mode.  This may be the last blog post until after Christmas. I hope not, because I'm so close to finishing my Strickplaner book cover and I'm pretty excited about it.  I'm dying to show it to you.  And that cowl that I frogged last week and restarted is almost done.  I'm super happy with it too and want to show it off.  But....

But Christmas Panic mode!  I think the blog probably needs to take a back seat to decorating the tree (it's been up and partially decorated for two weeks!) and shopping for the kids.  And Santa would probably appreciate it if we were all wearing clean underwear on Christmas morning.  And since I've been knitting book covers and cowls instead of doing the housework, the dust bunnies are starting to grow teeth.  And every surface in the kitchen has a fine layer of powdered sugar on it.  And I tried to wrap a gift the other day and discovered we have no ribbon.  No ribbon at all!  And the dog has developed a weird smell.  And the Christmas lights are only working on one side of our house. And....  So yeah, I think the blog is the least of my worries right now.  Probably no more blog posts before Christmas.

I hope your season of merriment is going a little smoother than mine.  Please use the button thingy below to share a link to what you're making.  It is, after all, Makers' Monday (even if all I'm making is a big, giant mess.)

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Christmas Miracle

It just may be a Christmas miracle!

A knitted book cover for the Strickplaner knitting planner
One For The Books Strickplaner cover

My One For the Books Strickplaner cover is actually turning into a book cover! 

Inside my One For the Books knitted book cover
One For the Books - inside cover

An ugly book cover, but a book cover none the less.  I'm not thrilled with the way the stripes are working out but it's good enough for a practice cover.  If this really works and I actually end up knitting a workable book cover, I can always knit another, with prettier yarn.

My Christmas cactus is blooming once again!
Christmas cactus

And the true Christmas miracle - last year's Christmas cactus survived an entire year under my care and is blooming again!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Three on Thursday

It's a good thing the Three on Thursday link-up doesn't have a theme other than that we're supposed to list three things, because I got nothing today.  I'm having one of those days where my thoughts and to-do list tasks are all whirling around in my head, swirling a million miles an hour and going way too fast for me to capture or be aware of a single one of them.  I need a list. Except, I have a list, and that's the problem.  My list is 80 pages long so instead of working the list, I keep looking at it, getting overwhelmed by it and then I sit down and eat cookie dough and knit.  And of course, when I'm eating cookie dough and knitting, I'm not knitting Christmas gifts, I'm knitting random stuff.  Stuff that's not even on my Someday I'd Like to Knit... list.  Good grief!

So, three Very random things...

1.  Lots of people commented on my yarn bowl that was pictured in yesterday's blog post.  So, thank you!  I love it too.  I got it from Knit Picks and it was very inexpensive, as yarn bowls go.  I love how shiny and smooth the polished wood is.  It's light enough to toss into my knitting bag and, unlike the several ceramic ones I've had, my Knit Picks yarn bowl has not broken when I've dropped it.  Knock, or more like bang, on wood.  And if you hurry, Santa could bring you your very own wooden yarn bowl.  But you'll need to hurry.  The Knit Picks website says if you want it by Christmas, tomorrow is the last day to order with standard shipping and the 20th with expedited shipping.

2.  I apologize in advance for the rant.  This is probably a big part of why my thoughts are so out of control at the moment.  And I don't mean to stir the political pot.  This is a knitting blog, not a political blog and I refuse to discuss politics here.  But....  Neither my husband nor I have health insurance through our jobs and we don't earn a ton of money.  We get our "free" ObamaCare, which for the last few years has cost us several hundred dollars a month.  This year, however, our wonderful government has decided that our mandated health insurance is going to cost us 69% of our gross salary.  Sixty Nine Percent!  Of our Gross pay! What in the bloody Hell??  If we were to pay it, we wouldn't even have enough left over to pay our most basic utilities.  Of course, we wouldn't need to make utility payments because after a few months, we wouldn't have a house anymore.  Just, Bloody Hell.

Christmas, 1965
Moments before I pulled the tree over on myself....
(Random Christmas photo added for interest)

3.  I really need to move past my current swirly thoughts/Christmas denial situation and do some Christmas baking.  You know, actually bake the cookie dough instead of eating it raw, by the bowl full while I knit and watch Hallmark movies.  We bake so many cookies that I make the dough in advance and freeze it.  On Cookie Baking Day, I take the dough out of the freezer while I'm waiting for the coffee pot to percolate and by the time I have a couple of gallons of caffeine in my system, the dough has thawed and is ready to go.  Looks like this year, I need to go re-buy the ingredients and start over.  Oops.

Every year we make snickerdoodles, rum balls, regular chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip and pumpkin cookies.  And this year, because I'm in total Christmas denial and think I have all the time in the world, and because I found the forgotten recipe while searching the blog for the other recipes to link to and, it just so happens that I discovered two large jars of peanut butter shoved into the back of the pantry the other day, I just might make chocolate chip peanut butter cookies too.  Besides, if I'm going to put us all into diabetic comas, I may as well go ahead and do it before our health insurance runs out.

Join the Three on Thursday link-up over at Carole Knits.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


How appropriate that it's #Unraveled Wednesday....

Frogged or unraveled an entire cowl and started over.

Because there's been a lot of unraveling going on around here.

I cast on for a new cowl the other day... and naturally I didn't do a gauge check first.... and of course I guestimated the number of stitches needed wrong... and I ended up with about 35 too many stitches on the needles.  I frogged the whole thing and started over.

Check out what others are unraveling over at Kat's place.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

One For The Books

Remember my Strickplaner?  I finally started knitting a cover for it.  The pattern is called One For The Books. 

One for the books is pattern name for the Strickplaner cover.
One For The Books

So far, so good, but I'll be the first to admit - I'm totally knitting on faith here.

knitting a cover for my Strickplaner knitting planner.
Knitting a book cover.

It's like knitting a sock heel for the very first time.  There's just no way the instructions can be accurate and you feel totally lost and confused.  But you follow the instructions, re-reading each line 18 times, and you just take a deep breath, tell yourself it's only yarn and time, and you blindly follow the instructions and try not to over think it.

Blind faith knitting.  Getting some weird shaping with my knitted book cover.
I HOPE I'm knitting a Strickplaner cover.

That's exactly how this One For The Books book cover is going.  I'm just blindly following along, totally confused and without a clue how what I'm knitting is going to turn into a book cover.  And so far, so good... but I am confused about the shaping I'm getting on the inside of the cover.  If it turns out that I've misread or ignored some terribly important part of the pattern and I'm actually knitting a weirdly shaped football instead of a book cover, well.... It's only yarn. 

And if you're curious, I'm using old yarn from deeeeeep down in the stash pile.  It's Lion Brand Magic Stripes in the Denim Stripes colorway.  The price tag on it says it came from Ben Franklin which closed over ten years ago.  I'm very proud of myself for using stashed yarn instead of buying something new.  My self-imposed yarn diet is going well.

Join me over at Frontier Dreams for today's #craftingon link-up.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Makers' Monday - Oops

Oops! It's Makers' Monday (or it should be) except, I forgot to write a Makers' Monday post.  Major Oops!

Instead of writing a Makers' Monday post, I finished the Big Secret Project!  Yay!  I finished that sucker three days ahead of schedule!

Red VW Beetle's first snow fall
Little Red's first snow

I'm so thankful for the big, bad snow storm we had.  Snow days always mean 'life' is canceled and knitting (and sometimes reading) takes its place.  It's very unusual for us to get snow in December, but snow it did.  For two whole days.  Well, no, that's not true.  It started around noon on Friday and didn't stop until after 9 p.m. on Saturday.  So, a day and a half of constant, fairly hard snow.  Fairly hard but very, very wet snow.  It was so wet it packed itself and only accumulated to about 3 inches.  And the roads were warm enough that it never stuck to them.  The best kind of snow storm!

All that to say, while it snowed, I knit on the Big Secret Project and bound it off late last night.  And during all that knitting time, I never thought about blogging.  Or taking photos of the snow.  Oops.

Since I have nothing to show, will you show me some love and share what you've been creating?

Friday, December 8, 2017

On the needles

Gosh, this December blogging is tricky and extremely hard to photograph.  Everything I'm knitting is either a Christmas gift or a Big Secret Project.

I have a simple hat on the needles.  Will be for sale at
On the needles

I did start a simple, stockinette hat so that I'd have something mindless to knit on while I read my email. 

Live Nativity, the story of the birth of Christ
Living Nativity

The other night we attended a living nativity at a nearby farm.  We've been meaning to go for years but always forget (they only do it for three nights) or else it's raining or 18 below zero and I'm a weather wimp.  Anyway, we finally remembered to go this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I'd also like to know more about that baby Jesus.  Goodness, he was a good baby!  He was awake the whole time (we watched the 'show' twice so we were there for about an hour) and he never made a peep.  He just laid in Mary's arms, looking around and occasionally kicking one foot just enough so that you knew he was a real baby.  Baby Jesus was so well behaved, while walking back to our car, Sarah and I turned to each other and, at the same time, asked, "Was that baby drugged?" and "How much NyQuil do you think they gave that baby?"

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Three on Thursday

Welcome to today's very random Three on Thursday list.

1.  I'm a very happy (and a little sad) to report that we have used up the last of the 57 pounds of apples Sarah and I picked last month.  Good grief, that was a lot of apples!  And out of the 57 pounds, we only threw out four or five of them. 

If the old saying about an apple a day is true, we won't be needing a doctor for the next decade or two.  We've eaten apple sauce, apple butter, apple pie, spiced apples, apples baked with pork roasts, apples baked with chicken, Instant Pot  (no affiliation, just my new obsession) cooked apples and plain raw apples.  I never, ever want to see another apple for as long as I live.... and yet.... I already miss that fresh apple smell the kitchen has had for the last month.

2.  I'm extremely glad to be done with NaBloPoMo and yet.....  That last week of daily posts was wearing me down.  And yet..... I struggled with having excess time on my hands for the first few days of December. Instead of spending my time writing daily blog posts, I spent the first two days watching random videos on Facebook.  There was one about Santa practicing with one reindeer.  I kept waiting for the punchline, but there wasn't one. 

There was the oriental guy who finds a lost dog at Christmas time.... which made me cry. 

There was the one with Nick Faulconer talking about his music career which made me very happy.  I knew Nick's mom back in our Homeschool World days and it's always fun to see one of the kids grow up, follow their dreams and make something of themselves.

And there was a really long video about the possibility that Sasquatches are the reason people frequently go missing in national parks. Once again, I kept waiting for a punchline but nope. It was just a guy rambling on about the unknown. 

Thankfully, I was finally able to tear myself away from silly, pointless Facebook videos.  Now I'm spending my time staring at my calendar, wondering how on earth I'm going to get It all done before Christmas.  Egads!

3.  I've been thinking a lot about my yarn stash.  Cassy at Knit the Hell Out posted recently about organizing her stash.  She mentioned storing her yarn under her bed, which I know lots of knitters do.  But my first reaction to her comment about it was, 'but how do you sneak yarn into the house in the middle of the night without waking your husband?'  (Is that wrong of me?  Should I feel more guilty about sneaking yarn into the house under the cover of darkness??  Perhaps, but that's a whole other blog post.) 

And then my next thought was, how on earth do you fit it all under there?  In order to store my yarn under the bed, I'd have to have an over-sized king sized bed on stilts.  Really, really tall stilts.

And then I thought, no, I could cram it all under the bed if I packed it tightly. Couldn't I?? And then I started looking around at the dressers full of yarn (yes, that's an 's' on the end of dressers.  I have more than one dresser full of yarn.)  And besides the dressers, there's a couple of file cabinets full. And the cedar chest.  Okay, okay - two cedar chests.  And there's a few giant Rubbermaid tubs full.  And there's seven or eight smaller than a tub but bigger than a shoe box storage boxes full.  And let's not forget the giant pile on my desk...  And now that I'm thinking about it, there's also a couple of boxes of abandoned projects that I will never finish but can't bare to frog in the attic.

Okay, it's official.  I'm on a yarn diet.  I am not going to buy any yarn for the entire month of December.  None, I tell you.  None!  Well, none unless I receive gift cards for Christmas.  If I receive gift cards for Christmas, all bets are off.

Please, wish me luck with the yarn diet.  Just typing it has made me start to twitch.

And, just so this post has a photo....

Minnie and Max, our dogs waiting for Santa and trying to behave
Waiting for Santa

Minnie says she sure does miss her partner in crime.... but she's looking forward to not having to share the stocking this year.

Oh, good Lord.  I just had a thought.  I have yarn in the spare freezer too. Good grief!  I am definitely not buying any yarn this month!

Wondering what others' Three on Thursday lists look like?  Visit Carole Knits to find out.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas miracles and the Big Secret Project

Hopefully there will be no more unraveling on my Big Secret knitting Project.  It's coming along, pretty much on schedule,  Strike that.  I don't want to jinx anything.  Let's just say, it's coming along.  And I'm hoping I won't need a Christmas miracle to finish it on time.

knitting on a deadline; knitting a baby blanket
The Big Secret Project

Speaking of miracles....

I'm reading Jenny Hale's We'll Always Have Christmas.  Sadly, I'm not very far into it yet.  The Big Secret Project is keeping me from reading as much as I'd like.  Normally, I devour Ms. Hale's books in an afternoon.  They are the 'grab a cozy blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and curl up in a favorite comfy chair for a Me Day of reading' type of books.  Unfortunately, this year's Christmas tale has been shoved into the 'read before bed' category.  And that means, a much slower pace.

To see what others are knitting and reading, join me over at Kat's for #Unraveled Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ocean Stripes

I mentioned the other day that I was finally getting ready to bind off my Ocean Stripes shawl, but I never shared photos.

Garter stitch shawl knit with Knit Picks Palette yarn.
Ocean Stripes

Even while I knit that last row, I still wasn't sure if I was going to keep it or list it for sale.  Once it was bound off though, it didn't take me long to make that decision.  I've been wrapped up in it practically 24/7 since.  I didn't even take the time to wash or block it before cuddling up in it.  Being all garter stitch, the shawl really doesn't need blocking but considering how long it took me to knit it and as a WIP, it was dragged/drug (neither sounds right) all over the house, it's been to multiple outdoor events, and it's even taken a few road trips... it could stand a good soak.

Oh well.  Spring is only a few months away.  It can wait.

It's going to have to wait because I'm never taking it off.  Not until the spring thaw at least.

The shawl was knit with fourteen different colors of Palette from Knit Picks.  If you're interested, I talked about how I knit it in this blog post.  I love knitting these simple, striped garter stitch shawls.  There's something so calming about row after row of garter stitch and the constant color changes keep it from ever being boring.  I also adore the way the various colors play with each other.

To see what others are creating, join me over at Frontier Dreams for today's #Craftingon link-up.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Makers' Monday

Considering no one had any prior warning, last week's Makers' Monday was a success.  The link-up part worked (Yay!) and quite a few people said they hoped it would continue.  So...

Makers' Monday has now become a link-up/blog party/what ever you want to call it, where we celebrate knitting designers, artists and creatives of all types, including ourselves.  Just use the button at the bottom of this post to link up and show off your current project.  The only rules are (1) please use #MakersMonday when sharing on social media; (2) please only share one link per blog (I understand many of you have multiple blogs and I welcome a post from each;) and (3) please keep it clean and respectful.

As for my own creativeness, I'm currently frantically working on a big secret project.  It's a last minute, unexpected project and is pretty much taking up all my knitting time.  It's been extra frantic the last few days.  In order to finish by the deadline, I need to knit a minimum of three inches per day, every day plus an extra two inches at some point along the way.  (Does this sound familiar?  I feel like I'm knitting the big orange blanket all over again.)  

On Day One, I purchased the yarn and knit two and a half inches.  On Day Two, I knit the required three inches.  On Day Three, I realized that the sizing was horribly off (another reminder to swatch properly) and frogged the whole thing. I started Day Four needing to knit twelve inches to get back on schedule. Yikes.

Thank goodness for Netflix, Godless and a bunch of sappy Christmas movies.  By the end of Day Five, I was caught up and even had an additional half inch knit.

Fun holidays and wearing my favorite leather boots
December 4th = Wear Brown Shoes Day

All that was to say, I have no knitting to show you.  I am, however, wearing my favorite brown shoes.