Friday, December 6, 2019

Five Days

Not bad!  I knit a cowl, start to finish and got it on the blocking mats in five days.  Doesn't sound all That impressive but considering I knit some other stuff during that time, read a few books and lived my life...

Madeline Tosh yarn in the Sycamore color way
MadiTosh Merino Light

On Sunday, December 1st, I woke up and thought that perhaps I should start on my Christmas gift knitting.  I mean, I'm only a little bit behind schedule.  No need for panic or anything.


I dug out the yarn, found a pattern to try and found a place in this house where I could set up my swift and ball winder.  That was a chore, let me tell you!  In the old house, my desk was an old dining table and the swift and ball winder simply lived clamped to opposite ends of the table.  But the desk/table didn't come with us.  The only place I could find that wasn't fancy furniture and had enough of a lip to clamp to and enough wide open space to accommodate the swift was the kitchen counters.  Yes, counters.  I had to stretch the yarn across the room with the swift on one side and the winder on the opposite, slightly too close to the fridge so that I had to stand at a really awkward angle to crank the handle.  I'm now hoping Santa brings me a table top swift. I've always thought they would take up too much space but....

Eventually I started knitting.

knitting a cowl for a Christmas gift

And I knit some more.

Serenity Cowl or Cashmere Cowl on Ravelry

And yesterday I finished the cowl and even got it on the blocking mats.  As in, actually wet and pinned to the blocking mats.  Not just casually tossed on top of the pile of mats in a futile hope that it would block itself.

The yarn is Madeline Tosh Merino Light (or fingering) in the Sycamore colorway.  I absolutely loved knitting with this yarn.  Besides the yarn being dreamy soft, there was never a dull moment color-wise.    The pattern is, well I'm not sure.  If you search Ravelry, you have to search for Serenity Cowl, but the pattern printout says it's called Cashmere Cowl.  Whatever it's called, it was a fun, fast and easy knit and I will most likely knit it multiple more times.  


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Three on Thursday - Christmas Bucket List

I'm joining Carole for Three on Thursday.  

My new reality is setting in and my Christmas expectations are changing.  And honestly, today might not be the best day for writing this post.  I'm in a bit of a snit.  My favorite, handmade Christmas hand towel only survived being on display for about 36 hours before it was ruined and now I'm acting like a three year old who's had their favorite toy taken away.  I'm way over reacting and I know it.  I'm just super frustrated by it.  

But let me stop whining and talk about good things.  My Christmas bucket list for this year.  Many of our family's traditions will not be able to happen this year but to make up for it, we plan to go all out with the decorations.  Thankfully my husband and daughter are seriously into decorating because it's not really my thing.  I LOVE a well and wildly decorated house, but the actual decorating part of it isn't my thing at all.  

Since we are no longer living in a 'neighborhood' and  are now living on the edge of the Chickahominy swamp...

wild mistletoe, photo compliments of commons.wikimedia.com

Item #1 on my Christmas bucket list is to go out, search for and shoot down wild mistletoe.  It's something I always did with my dad every year and I've missed it.  From the time I was five or so up through my early teens, we'd go out into the woods each December and he'd shoot down mistletoe with, I guess, a BB gun. I know nothing about guns.  It looked like a shot gun but only made a popping noise, not a big bang noise so I'm assuming it was a BB gun.  Anyway, I'm planning to force my husband to do this with me.  He's probably not going to be thrilled with the idea but too bad!  It's the number one item on my wish list for this year and he has an arsenal of guns, many inherited from my dad.  We're going mistletoe hunting!

Winterfest, kingsdominion.com

Item #2 seems a little silly but I want to attend Kings Dominion's Winterfest.  I miss working there, I want to see what's new this year and maybe see an old friend or two.  Plus, I have free tickets and will probably never pay for tickets to go in future years.  Besides, Sarah and I had fun last year.  We'll have fun again this year.  I think I'll skip the ice skating though.  Walking around the park will be much more enjoyable without sore skater's legs.  Perhaps I'll take some knitting in case Sarah wants to skate.  I'd be happy to sit and watch her but I think the ice is definitely off limits for me this year.

The Nutcracker, photo courtesy of ticketmaster.com

Item #3 is to attend the Fathom Events viewing of the Nutcracker.  Believe it or not, I've never seen it in it's entirety and Sarah has always wanted to see it performed on stage.  Tickets for our local ballet run $200 to over $600 and we've never been able to afford to go.  I feel like seeing it on the big movie screen is a somewhat okay compromise.

What about you?  What's on your Christmas bucket list this year?

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Unplanned and Forsaken

Nothing is going as planned at the moment.  Absolutely nothing.

Saturday night I spent a few hours organizing, rearranging, and generally moving stuff around in my room until I finally had everything situated so that I didn't have to get up and dig through 1,000 boxes and/or drawers to find my stapler, or a paper clip, the proper size knitting needle, or the next ball of yarn in line to be used.  Life was good and I was going to spend Sunday being productive at my desk and with the camera.

But...

Sunday morning, I woke up to water pouring all over my desk, computer, my to-do list notebook, the file cabinet, two knitting bags and of course, my old fashioned Roladex (because a wet computer wasn't bad enough...)  Somehow, the window frame had sprung a leak and the rain was pouring in. 

So now, everything that was on that side of the room, everything salvageable that is, is in the middle of the room, the stuff in the middle of the room is encroaching on my bed on the other side of the room and I'm just praying I don't break another toe tripping over everything.

triangular shawl knit with Universal Yarn's Colorburst in Horizon
Colorburst shawl

All of that to say, instead of photographing the hats I finished recently, I threw myself a good pity party, cast on a new shawl and spent the afternoon and evening engrossed in a good book and knitting while dumping the leak bucket every few hours.

I am absolutely loving the shawl.  There's no official pattern, just a triangular shaped piece of fabric forming by increasing on each side and in the center every other row.  A very simple shawl, but the yarn... the yarn is So not simple.  It's gorgeous!  The yarn is Universal Yarn's Colorburst  in the Horizon colorway.  I picked it up at my weekly Sit and Stitch meeting this past week.  (Shhh - don't tell anyone.  I broke my 'no yarn in' rule the very first week.  Yikes!)  The shawl is supposed to be a Christmas gift but... I'm not so sure I'll be able to part with it.  But then.... Maybe I can.  Did you follow the yarn link?  Did you see Earth and Sky?  OMG!  That is SO me!  My LYS wasn't offering that colorway.  I just may have to break the rules again.



The book I had my nose stuck in (Can you have your nose stuck in a book if you're reading on a Kindle?) was Forsaken by J. D. Barker.  Even if I hadn't been throwing myself a pity party and hiding out in my room, I'd have had a hard time putting this one down.  I loved that Stephen King allowed Mr. Barker to borrow a character and a location from one of his own books.  

The whole time I was reading Forsaken, I was wondering if Barker was a pseudonym of Mr. King's.  The writing style wasn't King's but the topic sure was and the familiar location....  Turns out, Mr. King read an early draft and liked the story enough to share according to Google.  Anyway, I loved the book and was quite surprised by the ending.  I did not see that coming!

And now, it's raining again.  I have to go dump my bucket.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Sunday Supper - Lentil Soup

We're welcoming December's cold with some warm, hearty soup.  

https://frenchwomendontgetfat.com/recipe/lentil-soup/
Lentil Soup from frenchwomendon'tgetfat.com
We're going to give this lentil soup recipe a try.  I hope I can talk my family into trying it.  Lentils are supposed to be so good for you and the only way I've ever cooked them is in an Indian dish that was way too 'curry-ish'  for the rest of the family.  This recipe seems much more bland for those who don't like steam to come out of their ears while they eat.

And,  I love the creator of this recipe, French Women Don't Get Fat.  I'm taking their word that I can eat this soup and magically become skinny.   :)

What are you having for tonight's Sunday supper?

Friday, November 29, 2019

Christmas Socks

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We sure did!  And, amidst all the cooking...

sock knit with self striping Christmas yarn. West Yorkshire Spinners Signature yarn in Holly Berry
Christmas Socks
I cast on a Christmas sock.  The yarn is self striping, obviously, and from West Yorkshire Spinner.  The yarn is from their Signature line and is called Holly Berry.  The name couldn't be more appropriate and, the yarn comes with a free pattern.

I'm not using the free pattern.  I just wanted plain vanilla socks that I could knit up in a jiffy.  The pattern is adorable though and has cables or bobbles or something (I really didn't look that closely) that form bumps that look just like berries.  They really are cute.

For once, I really am going to keep the post short.  I need to go to bed so I can get up early and go shopping.  Ha!  That's a bold face lie.  There is no sale on earth that could entice me into a shopping center tomorrow.  No, the reality is, I need to go to bed because I've eaten myself into a food induced coma.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Rescued!


A giant Thank You to all who responded to my stash issues/yarn diet post the other day.  I wanted to to reply to each of you individually but once again, life got in the way.  Our oil furnace went beserk, the house filled with noxious, throat burning fumes, we had to evacuate and the fire department had to come to our rescue.  We made it out safely, the furnace is our secondary heat source so we're still warm, the house didn't burn to the ground and everything is okay.  But it did set the tone for the day and in reality, it was sort of the highlight of the day.

Charles City Fire and Rescue


I'm just glad we were here because my MIL had no idea anything was wrong.  It could have been an unimaginably horrible situation.  The firemen were fantastic and we very much appreciated their help and friendliness even though Grandma failed at her attempt to get one of them to propose to my daughter.  Grandma has decided Sarah needs to find herself a man.

Thank you, Charles City Fire and Rescue!

Thankfully the day's events wore out Grandma, she went to bed early, and I was able to hide out in my attic yarn stash closet and finish the Newborn Vertebrae.

Finished Newborn Vertebrae Cardigan

I even blocked it!

My apologies if this entire post is blurry or the colors are off.  I'm sitting in a Dunkin Donuts using the internet and being blinded by the sun streaming in through the window.   

.... And I just realized I'm still wearing my sunglasses, not my reading glasses.  No wonder I'm having so much trouble.  

I swear!  Dementia is contagious! 



Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday Supper - Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

Yeah, I'm taking the easy way out today.  I keep seeing recipes on Facebook for chocolate chip cheese balls.  My first reaction was Eeww.  But the more I think about it...  

Super simple Thanksgiving desert or appetizer recipe idea.
photo courtesy of lilluna.com

I found this recipe and well, I've changed my mind.  I'm now thinking, Yum!

So, may your Thanksgiving appetizer and/or desert table be blessed with this super simple Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball recipe from Lil Luna.  The recipe seems so simple even the younger kids can help make it.  And I know they'll enjoy eating it!

Friday, November 22, 2019

It has to happen

It has to happen.  I must put myself on a yarn diet.

Ordinarily I'd say there's no such thing as too much yarn but in this house...

yarn stash

Yes, I feel a bit like Harry Potter, except that I live in the attic instead of under the stairs.  

But the yarn....  almost that whole back wall, that giant tower of Rubbermaid tubs, the giant cedar chest not in the picture, the couple of boxes and a giant knitting bag beside my chair, also not in the photo....

Yep.  It must be done.  The yarn diet starts now.  My new rule is, I can only bring more yarn in if (1) a customer wants something custom made with a specific color/yarn, (2) I need (like, really, really Need, not just want) a skein to finish a project, (3) I inherit a 36 room mansion from some long lost and unknown relative or (4) yarn magically appears on my doorstep.

This new rule has been in effect for about two hours and I'm already starting to twitch.  

I'm fairly certain I don't have any long lost relatives.

Gosh!  I sure hope yarn magically appears on my doorstep!


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Three on Thursday - Progress


It doesn’t feel like I’ve made any knitting progress this week but I have.  Actually, I’ve made much more progress than I’d realized.  Yay for this blog post pointing out that fact out to me.

First and foremost, the Newborn Vertebrae.

newborn raglan sweater knit with fingering weight wool and cashmere
Newborn Vertebrae Cardigan

It has a body, pink ribbing and the beginning of a sleeve.  I think the last time I mentioned it, it only had top-down shoulders and no body at all.  Lots of progress!

Aurora Hat knit with Wool of the Andes Tweed https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435446&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Beam me up, Scotty

Second, my Weekender sweater.  Not much visible progress photo-wise but I’m done with the ribbing and a few inches into the sweater.  I’m so glad I decided to cast this one on.  It’s the perfect mindless project to knit on while hanging out in the radiation lab and it has the barest minimum of detail to keep me from loosing my mind with all that stockinette.  In my size and with so much positive ease, it’s a LOT of stockinette!  And best of all, this Wool of the Andes Tweed is heaven to knit with.

Wool of the Andes Aurora Heather https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435446&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Aurora Hat

And last but not least, the plain but gorgeous green hat. It’s hit the stage where it’s being ignored because it’s too close to being finished to bother carrying it doctor’s appointments.  Once I finish the Newborn Vertebrae, I’ll focus on finishing this hat.  Besides absolutely loving the heathered green, I’m excited to pick out a pompom for it.  I actually woke up in the middle of the night recently thinking about my available pompom color choices.

Wishing you happy knitting and I hope you’ll join me over at Carole's for today’s Three on Thursday gathering.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Failing well

I'm failing pretty miserably at this whole knitting blog and Etsy shop thing but that's okay.  Considering everything that's going on in my life these days, I think I'm actually doing fairly well.  The blog, the Etsy shop and the knitting bag don't begin to look like what I'd like for this time of year but...  I'm not in jail, nor am I in the mental institute.  I haven't cried this week nor have I made anyone else cry.  These days, that goes in the Win column.  

Tomorrow I'm going to my very first Alzheimer's/dementia support group meeting.  I hope I don't cry there.  *** The remainder of this paragraph has been redacted to protect the innocent.  My apologies to the family for any hurt or embarrassment I may have caused by my original wording.*** 

But enough about my life drama.  Let's talk knitting.

Weekender sweater knit with Wool of the Andes Tweed https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435443&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Weekender

Yeah, you're going to have to get used to even more horrible than normal photos.  There is just zero time in the daylight hours to knit, much less take photos of my knitting.

Although I haven't cried this week, trying to cook dinner while dealing with the sundowning behavior drove me over the edge last night and the only cure was to watch Grease 2 and sing along, out loud, to the bowling and the Cool Rider songs.  Yes, I'm a total weirdo-geek.  I love Grease 2 for it's ridiculous music.  It's one of those movies that's so, so terrible you can't help but love it.

*** This paragraph has been redacted to protect the innocent.  My apologies to the family for any embarrassment I may have caused by my original wording.***

Sorry.  I lost track of my topic.  Again.  I'm starting to believe dementia is contagious.  Back to knitting...

I started a Weekender using Garnet Heather Wool of the Andes Tweed.  I've never knit with the tweed before and I'm loving it.  It's so much softer than regular Wool of the Andes.  This may be my first project using WotA Tweed but it definitely won't be my last.

The Weekender is supposed to be a quick, simple knit.  It's definitely simple but I have the feeling it's going to take me many, many weekends to finish it.  Between my schedule and my size, you can expect to be seeing this one on the needles for a long, long time.  Sorry about that.  Hopefully a few of the doctors we go see will be running late occasionally and I'll have a little bit more knitting time.  

Only a knitter would wish for lengthy waiting room time.

Oh, and  help me wish my baby girl a happy birthday today.  How in the heck did my baby girl get to be 23?? 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sunday Supper - Cheesy Brussels Sprouts

I think I've mentioned before how much I despise brussels sprouts yet LOVE them cooked in bacon grease.  Well, for today's Sunday Supper post, I Googled fall vegetables in season in Virginia and wouldn't you know it - brussels sprouts popped up.  A rabbit hole or two later and I discovered cheesy garlic roasted brussels sprouts.

Simple to follow recipe for brussels srpouts from cafedelight.com
Cheesy Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The recipe comes from Cafe Delight and seems simple enough.  There's no bacon grease but there's plenty of cheese so...  I'm thinking these might be delicious too.  You can find the recipe here, but you will have to scroll way, way down to get to it.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Snow!

I'm so glad to be back to somewhat of a blogging routine and I hope I can keep it up. I was surprised how much I missed the community here. The move was one day of moving men and 13 days of shuffling boxes around and going back to the house to grab stuff we'd never packed or that didn't fit in the moving van. We have a lot of stuff.  A LOT of stuff!  And while that has been going on, my MIL has had daily doctor's appointments.  

Mentally, I'm doing Much better this week than last week but still... My new reality is no where near what I'd pictured it to be.  I'd imagined my MIL sitting quietly on the sofa watching TV while I sat at a desk nearby 'JGK'ing' (which in my world means blogging, working on the Etsy shop and a few other desk/computer type projects I have going.)  The reality is, *** The remainder of this paragraph has been redacted to protect the innocent.  My apologies to the family for any hurt or embarrassment I may have caused by my original wording.***

All of that means both the blog and my knitting bag are taking a hit.  There have been entire days where I never knit a single stitch.  That never used to happen.  Even when I was working 16 hour days I still managed to knit full rows.

So all of that to say, I don't have much to show in the way of knitting.  The Newborn Vertebrae is progressing but not as quickly as I'd like.  It's a top down cardigan type of thing and I've put the sleeve stitches on holders but I don't have a photo.  

https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435446&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Wool of the Andes Aurora Heather

And I started another simple, hemmed brim hat to work on while hanging out in medical centers. This one is knit with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Aurora Heather.  And in case you're wondering, Aurora Heather is SO much prettier in real life than it looks in that photo.  (Note to self:  Dunkin Donuts doesn't have the best lighting for photographing knitted stuff.)


Oh, and it snowed the other day!  It Never snows this early.  It only accumulated to about a half an inch but considering it had been 70 degrees the day before and 50 degrees and pouring down raining all morning before the snow started.... In any event, it was a fun ride home from the doctor's office.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carol for today's Three on Thursday gathering.  Today I have three things I want to knit for the soon to be grandbaby.  I'm having trouble because the baby is due in late March/early April, which means only a month or two of wearing sweaters before summer arrives.  I desperately want to knit cute, little newborn things but I should really knit for a six to nine month old.  But that's okay too.  Big baby things are just as cute, and much more practical.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-sleep-sack-cocoon
Hungary Caterpillar sleep sack

So, item #1, a Very Hungry Caterpillar sleep sack.  Besides being a fan of the book, I think the sleep sack is adorable and, I love that it has 'sleeves.'  I always worry about the baby sinking down into the sack and suffocating but this version has shoulder straps which should keep the newborn's head up and out.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/helen-joyce-dress
Helen Joyce Dress

The second project is the Helen Joyce Dress.  I just love how girly it is with that simple lace design.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/latte-coat
Latte Coat

And third and possibly my favorite, the Latte Coat.  It's so simple but I love it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Think Pink!

We're thinking pink over here!  We finally got the official word from the doctor that my grandbaby-to-be will be a girl.  Phew!  Now I can buy yarn!  The other set of grandparents were hoping for a girl while we didn't really have a preference.  I just wanted to know what color to be knitting.  And now...

Tulip and Graphite Bella Cash baby yarn from Center of the Yarniverse
Bella Cash yarn

I can knit!  I have a surprise baby 'thing' for my son and wanted to make a black Newborn Vertebrae to match.  And yes, I know.  You're probably asking, "Black?  For a baby?  What's wrong with you?"  Once you see the 'thing' you'll understand.  Anyway....  As it turns out, I'm  knitting a dark gray Newborn Vertebrae and since the baby is going to be a girl, I'll add pink ribbing to girly it up.

I chose the gray, or Graphite to be exact, mainly because it was close to black and on sale.  It's extremely difficult to find black yarn suitable for a newborn.  Anyway, the colors are Graphite and Tulip and the yarn is Bella Cash.  The yarn is so soft and I'm loving knitting with it.  It's mostly superwash merino with a little cashmere thrown in.

Knit Picks Sock Labs http://shrsl.com/1xtj8
Laser Tag, Sock Labs Hawthorne

After the Newborn Vertebrae, I want to knit something with this Sock Labs Hawthorne.  The colorway is called Laser Tag.  Several months ago Knit Picks had a few retro colorways of Hawthorne in their Sock Labs line and when it went on sale, I grabbed a pinkish and a blueish skein in preparation for the gender reveal.  My plan all along has been to knit an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise jacket but now I'm wondering.  Once I finish the pink and gray Vertebrae I'll wind this yarn and see if it's going to stripe or 'blip' colorwise then I'll make decision.

And tomorrow is knitting group night at the yarn shop, and we all know what that means!

Meanwhile, think pink!