Tuesday, January 21, 2020

On the Needles

Thanks for all the spelling help.  Doh!  It never even occurred to me to look up "grandbaby" in a real dictionary.  Considering my spell checker thinks the word "reality" is spelled "rea9lity," I should have known it might be misleading me with "grand baby."  Live and learn.

As for my bangs, again, thank you for all the compliments.  By that evening, they were pretty comical.  They were standing straight up.

photo courtesy of gointothestory.blcklstdotcom
photo courtesy of gointothestory.blcklst.com

I guess years of pulling them back into a hair clip had taught them not to hang down on my forehead.

I have Wham bangs
Wham

I really did have a terrifying Wham night.  Now, they've calmed down, mostly.  I'm no longer aware of them touching me and I think I'll be quite happy with them in a few more days.  

As for my knitting, that's been problematic too.  The Big Baby Thing is coming along nicely but my Weekender sweater is another story.  My Weekender has become my stockinette in the round project to work on while I read my email.  In other words, it's a slow slog of stockinette. 

Wool of the Andes tweed https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435443&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
All those loose ends are okay - the sweater is knit inside out!

It had finally grown enough in length for me to bother measuring it.  It was just shy of 12 inches and... OH CRUD!  Seems someone forgot to change to the larger needles after they finished the ribbing.  &%^%&*(*&^!!!

It was suggested at Knit Night that I pull it out and start over but nope!  Ain't gonna happen!  Considering the sweater is supposed to have ten inches of positive ease and I'm already ten inches bigger around than I should be...  Nope! No way! No how!  I'm not ripping that much stockinette and starting over.  My Weekender will simply be form fitting rather than over-sized. 

Hopefully I remember that I may have to make some sleeve adjustments when the time comes.  I'm assuming they don't also have ten inches of ease written into the pattern.  Honestly, I haven't read ahead to see.  It's one of those, "I'll worry about it when the time comes" kind of things.  Meanwhile, if you've knit a Weekender and have any info to share....

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday Supper - Gingerbread Cake

Tonight's Sunday Supper is all about me.  Or at least desert will be.  

https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/gingerbread-cake/
Gingerbread Cake, photo courtesy of tastesbetterfromscratch.com

Gingerbread Cake!  I'm the only one in the family who likes gingerbread so it will be mine, all mine!  Well, actually, now that I think about it, I don't know about the mother-in-law.  I might have to fight her for it.  Or perhaps I can lie and say it's solid chocolate.  She's not a big chocolate fan.  Gasp!  (I know!  The horror of someone not loving chocolate!)

Anyway, I'm fixing a 'me' desert tonight.  It's not my fault my family doesn't like good things. 

And by the way, there will Not be bananas anywhere near my cake.  Who would do such an awful thing??

Friday, January 17, 2020

On and Off the Needles

Lot's of progress has been made this week.

The Urban Girl Reyna has not only been finished, 

Free pattern, Reyna shawl knit with Urban Girl Yarns fingering weight
Blocking Reyna

but also blocked!

Reyna, knit with Urban Girl Yarns

The mint green Small Baby Thing has been finished, but not yet blocked.  I'm super excited with the way it turned out and I can't wait to share details and show you a full view photo.  Next week....

The Big Baby Thing is still no where close to being finished but progress has been made.  I'm estimating that I'm 45% done.  Only 55% more to go.  Obviously there's no way I'll get it finished by tomorrow but I'm not stressing over it.  Actually, I'm feeling better about it. Knowing that it's physically impossible meet my self-imposed deadline means I no longer have to try.  I'm feeling much more relaxed and happy about knitting it.  

At this new happy, relaxed rate, maybe I can finish it by tomorrow.  And maybe I'll spend the next week in the hospital because my hands fell off.  Yikes!  Guess I better take occasional breaks.  I'll need my hands to hold the grand baby!

Okay, question for all you language experts out there.  Why is it "grand baby" with a space, but it's "grandmother" and "grandfather"?  Or at least that's what my spell-check is telling me.  Why???

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Three on Thursday - Bangs

I cut my bangs the other day.  I took my mother-in-law to get her hair done and asked the hairdresser how much she'd charge me to cut my bangs.  I'd been thinking about it for a while.  I wanted the hair gone but the thought of growing out bangs again....  

1965 (I'm the one on the right. *)

Next thing I know, I'm in the chair and the hairdresser is tossing a 14 inch ponytail that had been my bangs into the trash.

September, 1980

Considering my bangs have only improved over the years, they will be freaking awesome as soon as I adjust to them.

1993

At the moment, they are touching me and startling me every time I catch my reflection in the mirror.

January 14, 2020

My dear sweet husband says I look like I'm getting ready to go to a Wham concert with Molly Ringwald. 

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

*For those of you who've heard the story, I'm holding Pretty Dirty Baby in that photo.



Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Baby Things

I wanted to thank all of you who commented on the other day's post or emailed me regarding my panic about knitting The Big Baby Thing.  So many of you offered kind reminders that knitting happens at its own pace and that trying to force it to happen quicker can be damaging to both me and the project.  And for that I am thankful.

I had already come to terms with the fact that The Big Baby Thing would be tossed into a gift bag moments before entering the baby shower, that I'd ask the mom-to-be to open my gift first, then I'd quickly snatch it back from her and spend the rest of the party knitting on it. I was okay with that.  If the mom-to-be is going to be part of our family, she better get used to that type of behavior from me.

photo shows curvature of the earth. Sun setting on trees and tops are lit and bottoms are in darkness
random photo of the sun setting on the trees 

But, my real concern is, the baby may be here much sooner than expected.  Nothing to be overly concerned about, the doctors simply adjusted the baby's due date by multiple weeks.  Multiple weeks!  Doesn't the doctor know how important something like that is to a knitting grandma?  I mean, come on!  I've got a knitting schedule!  A one week adjustment is one thing, but weeks, with an "S" ...  Yikes!

But, whenever she arrives, the baby will need a Big Baby Thing and dag gone it if this first time grandma is going to be late with baby's Big Baby Thing.  

But, and here's where I'm extra thankful for all the suggestions to let the Big Baby Thing be late and perhaps knit a small baby thing instead...

Knit Picks Stroll fingering  https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435419&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Mint Green Stroll Small Baby Thing

You all reminded me of an important small baby thing that I'd planned to knit and had completely forgotten about.  Needless to say, it's on the needles now.  In fact, it's almost off the needles!  


And I promise it isn't dirty dishwater colored in real life.  In real life, it's standard, genderless, mint green. Mint Stroll from Knit Picks to be exact.  I'm holding two strands together to make the knitting go faster.  I'm pretty stoked about this design.  I'm making it up as I go and so far, it's working as planned.  Knock on wood!  Anyway, I'll be able to tell you more about it next week. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Supper - Buffalo Chicken Casserole

It's a January Sunday, thunder stormy and 70+ degrees.  On top of the crazy weather, I'm feeling lazy and dealing with the last minute push to get that Reyna shawl finished.  Dinner will be a simple, one dish affair tonight.

healthy casserole recipe, made from scratch from delish.com https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a49035/buffalo-chicken-casserole-recipe/
Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Meet Buffalo Chicken Casserole.  I found the recipe on delish.com and it's exactly what's needed today.   It's light and healthy enough for what feels like a summer day in January, it's one dish, and it has both veggies and protein. I'm declaring it a winner before I've even put it in the oven.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Almost

Are you sick of hearing about my Reyna shawl?  You must be.  Even my  phone has learned to spell it and every time I start to text a word starting with an "R" it auto-fills Reyna.

Hand knit shawl knit with fingering weight superwash wool from Urban Girl Yarns

Thankfully, I've almost finished her.  I hesitate to say it because by doing so pretty much guarantees I'll spill bleach on her or accidentally chop off an appendage and bleed all over her but... I should easily meet my goal of finishing Reyna by bedtime Sunday.

Once Reyna is complete, assuming I finish her on Sunday,  I'll have five days to knit the big, secret, baby gift thing.  Even if some knitting miracle happened (which it won't) and I finished Reyna tonight, I'd only have seven days.  Normally it takes me three weeks of severely focused knitting to make a 'big, secret, baby gift thing.'  Yikes!  I'm in trouble.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Three on Thursday - Boot Cuffs

It's Three on Thursday and I feel like I'm repeating myself.  Sorry.  But, last Thursday's post had me talking about some yarn I wanted to turn into boot cuffs... And that sent me off in search of patterns...  And I've been obsessed ever since.  It's killing me to continue working on my Need To Finish knits instead of tossing them into the corner and casting on boot cuffs.  Honestly, probably the only reason I haven't given in to that desire is my inability to choose which pattern to knit first.  

Okay, okay.  Honestly, I'll most likely knit a simple ribbed pair of cuffs first, just to make sure I know how fat my calves really are and to get an idea of how much ease/negative ease I need.  But the second pair of cuffs.....

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cabled-boot-topper
Cabled Boot Topper by Anna Templer
I really like these.  I've been wanting to do something cabled for a while now but don't have the patience for a cabled sweater.  These boot toppers might be just the trick.  I also think I have the perfect yarn for them.  And, oh look!  The pattern is free on Ravelry.


https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/entangled-boot-cuffs
Entangled Boot Cuffs from Melissa Burke
Or maybe these.  The cabling looks like it might be slightly easier and I'm all about ease these days.  Plus, I just learned the Norwegian purl stitch and these would give me plenty of opportunity to practice.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/estonian-rib-boot-toppers
Estonian Rib Boot Toppers
But then, I have lots of bits of leftover sock yarn that I think would work well for these Estonian Ribbed Boot Toppers.  And the pattern, from Gail Tanquary is also free on Ravelry.  I really like the way the striped yarn works with the slanted ribbing.  When I first saw these, I thought they were entrelac.

Aack!  I can't decide.  What do y'all think?

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Pooling

I love how my Urban Girl yarn pools.

fingering weight yarn, pooled on the spool
Urban Girl Yarns Poly

It pools on the spool.

Sorry.  I think I've had too many cookies and not enough coffee.

But no matter my diet, I love the way the yarn pooled when skeined.  Thankfully it's not pooling like that on my knitting.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Supper - Lasagna Soup

Today's Sunday Supper is Lasagna Soup.

Lasagna Soup from tastesbetterfromscratch.com
I posted a similar recipe a few years ago but it was for the Instant Pot and sadly, I no longer have an Instant Pot.  Mine suffered a painful death in the oven.  Yes, the oven.  And no, I don't want to talk about it.

What I do want is some yummy, warm and filling lasagna soup on this cold winter day.  Want to join me?  You can find this stove-top version of the recipe here.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Urban Girl Reyna

Easy garter and lace shawl knit with fingering weight yarn from Urban Girl Yarns
Reyna
I am so in love with this project.  First of all, I love knitting the Reyna shawl pattern.  It's a simple garter and lace design.  Just as you start to get bored with one stitch pattern, you switch to the other.  But best of all, the design is free on Ravelry, it prints on one page without 400 color photos and truly best of all, the pattern has little check boxes for you to mark off each row as you do them.  I Love check boxes!

But besides my love of the design, there's the yarn I'm using.  It's Poly from Urban Girl Yarns.  Oh my goodness!  I can't even express my love for this yarn.  First, the colors are SO 'me.'  It's beachy and summery and well, just so me!  The yarn itself is, well, awesome.  It reminds me of Knit Picks' Hawthorne but it's a tad bit heavier and much spongier/bouncier.  It has that look of thin, cottony string and I had to give myself a pep talk before casting it on.  I'm not a fan of cotton or string, but those colors!  But, I was quickly and pleasantly surprised as it does not feel like string when knitting with it.  It glides through my hands and has a wonderful texture.  

The only reason I'm not giving this Reyna 100% of my attention is that big, darned grand-baby surprise knit that I must have finished in a few weeks.  Or at least I should  have it finished.  The baby shower is coming up and I'd like to have it finished by then.  But then again, the baby's not due until the end of March.  I wonder if the mom-to-be would understand this Reyna taking precedence over my first grandchild.  Hmmm....


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I have high hopes for 2020.  Honestly, I'm not sure how realistic my hopes are.  We'll have to see about that.  I'm excited to be unemployed and hope to have more time to spend on the blog and the Etsy shop.  My poor Etsy shop has seen no love from me in over a year.  I hope to change that in 2020.  At the moment, it's state is a bit of an embarrassment.  So far, since quitting my job in October, I haven't had as much free time as expected.  But, we did move in with my mother-in-law on November 1st and between getting settled after the move and the holidays....  I have higher hopes for 2020.

Besides spending time on the blog and in the Etsy shop,  I also hope 2020 brings more knitting time.  At the moment I'm struggling with a major case of startitis.  I'm supposed to be knitting the secret baby thing, I'd love to get my Weekender sweater finished in time to wear it this winter, and then there's the matter of needing to knit a shawl to replace the Reyna shawl that was supposed to be a replacement for the Colorburst shawl that I knit as a Christmas gift but didn't give away.  Apparently I'm not giving away the Urban Girl Reyna either.  Good grief!

But as I said, I have a bad case of startitis.  And a current obsession with gray yarns.

Super soft aran weight alpaca yarn http://shrsl.com/21ez3
Knit Picks Simply Alpaca

I've had this gray alpaca in my stash for a while and I'm dying to knit a Cashmere cowl for myself.  The yarn is Knit Picks' Simply Alpaca in the Alfie colorway and it is probably the softest thing I have ever felt in my entire life.  I have no idea how I let it sit in the stash pile for so long.  I can't wait to knit with it and since the Cashmere cowl pattern is written for fingering and this is aran weight, the knitting should go super fast.  And yikes!  I see that it's on sale at the moment.  I'm supposed to still be on a yarn diet but.... 

Ribbed scarf knit with Knit Picks Palette https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435479&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Five By Five Scarf

I started and abandoned this Five by Five scarf back in the summer.  I'd like to finish it.  I'm also not sure I can technically call it a Five by Five.  The idea behind Five by Five is that it's five yarns held together to knit five columns of five-stitch ribbing.  This scarf has nine columns and only four yarns.  But hey, the difference between nine and four is five so....  Whatever.  The scarf uses up multiple skeins at once and its purpose, besides my current gray obsession, is to use up my yarn stash as quickly as possible.  The yarns are Knit Pick's Palette  in Silver, Mist and an unlabeled shade of white plus a skein of their Aloft mohair in Carbon.  If I'd only spend some time with it, it would knit up super quickly.

Simple Cabled Boot Cuffs by Sarah Leslie

And lastly, I have multiple gray skeins of Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes that I'd like to turn into boot cuffs.  

Breckenridge Boot Toppers from Ryan Page Haas
When they first became popular I thought boot cuffs were maybe the dumbest thing ever.  But, I wear a lot of leggings and I recently bought a pair of short boots... and now I see the need and understand their popularity.  Now that it's officially winter and January which means we're finally feeling mostly winter weather here in Virginia, boot cuffs are getting moved to the top of my knitting queue.

Did you notice?  Today is Three on Thursday and that was three gray things I want to knit.  Join me over at Carole's for today's Three on Thursday link up.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Thank Goodness!

Welcome to my disjointed world of, 'Thank Goodness!  The holidays are almost over and we can go back to our normal, boring lives.'

Christmas was great!  We'd planned to go all out with the lights and decorations.  We were going to make the tacky house light tour homes jealous.  But in the end, all we put up/out was the tree, a few Santa's tucked around on random shelves and the Advent candles.  It just may have been my all time favorite 'decorated' Christmas ever. 

It helped that our tree was GORGEOUS this year.  Mike picks our tree each year and when I say tree, I mean 'bush.'  We've always had 10 foot ceilings and he brings home trees that are barely 5 feet tall.  They're bushes, not trees.  But this year...  Thank you Lowes for having such bad service!  Mike went to Lowes, picked out a bush, then couldn't get anyone to wait on him.  He even had one Lowes employ continuously 'helping' by calling for cashier assistance to no avail (apparently you had to pay at a specific register if you were getting a tree. Or something.  Mike was ranting so badly I had trouble following the story.)  Eventually Mike got so irritated he walked out without his Christmas bush.  Google helped him find some side-of-the-road place called Willy's and he came home with THE most Gorgeous, full and perfectly shaped, 8 foot tree for $10 less than the Lowe's bush.  Of course, I didn't take a single photo.  Doh!

Kings Dominion
Winterfest

We never got to shoot down mistletoe or go to see The Nutcracker but Sarah and I did get to go to Winterfest.  We also got to go ride around looking at holiday lights... in her new car.  Santa brought her a new car for Christmas and delivered it a few days early since it was too heavy and took up too much space in his sleigh.  I don't even know what it is other than a black Mazda something or other and it has a hatchback, bluetooth and bright enough headlights that she can see where she's going at night.  It's a Huge improvement over her old car and she LOVES it!

#newcarforchristmas
Sarah's new car

I finished the Colorburst shawl and the Holly Berry Stash Buster shawl before Christmas but haven't blocked either of them.  I decided that Colorburst wasn't right for the person I was planning to give it to and Holly Berry was for me and there were more important tasks than blocking a shawl for myself.

Reyna Shawl knit with Urban Girl Yarns Poly
#ChristmasEveCastOn

My #ChristmasEveCastOn project was another Reyna, knit with yarn from Urban Girl Yarns that I picked up during the yarn crawl this past summer.  It's the first time I've knit with Urban Girl yarn and ten stitches in and I was hooked.  Yarn diet or not, as soon as the budget recovers from Christmas, I'll be tossing a few more Urban Girl skeins into my basket.  And now I'm having a moral dilemma.  The Reyna was going to replace the Colorburst shawl but....  Now, I'm loving the yarn so much I don't know if I can part with this one either.

Christmas dinner went well.  We hosted it here and believe or not, I have never in my life hosted Christmas dinner before.  Well, not unless you count the year we had a freak ice storm, the roads were closed so we were forced to stay home, and a few neighbors came by because we had a generator and multiple grills.  I was a little worried about the normal pressure of hosting Christmas dinner plus the additional worry of doing it in an unfamiliar house with naughty elves who keep taking and hiding things.  But, despite not having access to  a single 9x12 baking dish, a cake pan or my Instant Pot, Christmas dinner was a success I think.

#thanksSanta
table top swift

As for gifts, I received the two things I was most hoping for.  Some $10 Walmart perfume (LOL, it really is my favorite!) and a table top swift.  I mentioned my umbrella swift woes once before.  I did a lot of fussing and amended my Christmas List to include a table top swift but I didn't think anyone was listening.  Apparently, they were!  Yay!  I was so excited I abandoned the family Christmas morning to play with it.

I finished the socks before the New Year rolled around.  Yay!  I'll never be able to wear them, at least not with shoes, but they are finished.  I don't know what happened.  I've knit 1,000 pair of socks with that yarn, on those needles and with that same number of cast on stitches and never had trouble.  This pair, however, is loose enough to put both feet into one sock.  And something went wrong on the toes.  One sock has a too-pointy toe and the other is wide enough to fit a brick into it.  Good Lord!  Oh well.  Looking on the bright side, I have a new pair of house socks that will keep my feet warm and will never be a danger to my circulation. 

#giftknitting
Surprise!

And, because having three other large projects with deadlines and multiple smaller things on the needles isn't enough, I'll be starting the new year off with yet another large project on the needles.This one is for the grand-baby and I'm going to try to keep it a secret.  The baby shower is only a few weeks away so I will be busy, busy, busy knitting on it.

And after all that, thank goodness the holidays are almost over! I'm anxious to get past the sugar and the butter and move on to eating some fresh vegetables instead.  I'm also looking forward to spending my time knitting rather than baking and shopping.

Wishing you a safe, happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Three on Thursday

Wow, I'm behind.  I'm so far behind that if I was a NASCAR driver, I'd be lapping myself.  Good grief!  But no matter how far behind I am, I wanted to join Carole for Three on Thursday and check in with everyone.  I've been pretty slack about posting lately and I'll probably continue to miss a post or three between now and Christmas.  Heck, let's call it like it is and go ahead and say I may miss a few posts between Christmas and New Years too.

Life has just been a little bit hectic lately.  Absolutely nothing goes according to plan.  I think some higher power is trying to teach me a lesson, I just haven't figured out what that lesson is yet.


Tuesday I went to my newly found Alzheimer's support group meeting.  Gosh, those folks are nice!  After a brunch of cookies and coffee, I went to Walmart to stocking stuffer shop... and realized I'd forgotten to deposit any money into my debit card account.  That poor account was looking pretty bleak and of course I completely forgot that I can transfer money from savings to checking with my phone.  Doh!  Instead, I shopped with a budget and had $3. 87 left in the bank when I was done.  Talk about cutting it close!  But hey - I still had $3.87 and the majority of the stocking shopping was done.

I came home from stocking stuffer shopping thinking I'd be wildly productive with baking and gift wrapping but....  "The kids" (my son and his girlfriend) called and wanted to meet up for dinner.  Awesome!  We hadn't seen them since Thanksgiving so of course we said yes.  The only hitch was, my husband got caught up in a horrendous traffic accident on the interstate and his 50 minute commute took two and a half hours.  We had a late dinner at Applebee's and well, we had three different waiters and I think it was all three of them's first night ever waiting tables.  It was comically awful and half of us never got part of our meal.  But, when we got home, Grandma and Mike went to bed and Sarah and I made five batches of rum balls.  We still have two, maybe three more batches to go but we ran out of ingredients.  But five done is much better than none done.

I think I've mentioned before that we're living in this weird little area with no internet provider.  We are having to use a hotspot for internet.  And yesterday, the hotspot device went missing for about six hours.  I was so frustrated because I'd been busy outside of the house for several days and hadn't had a chance to check my email or do any blog stuff for a while.  Yesterday was going to be my catch-up day.  But nope!  Once again, I was reminded that I'm supposed to be learning some kind of lesson.  Thankfully, we finally found the hotspot device and all was right with the world once again.  The problem was, by the time we found it, it was time to leave for my knitting group Christmas party.  No complaints about the party though.  Great food, great company and an I won an awesome prize of a gazillion little stitch markers for small needles.  And yep!  I prefer small needles.  I knit mostly with fingering weight and I knit loose so I rarely use a  needle larger than a US4.  I'm super excited about my new stitch markers.

So, with all that said, if I don't make it back to the blog before Christmas, I wish each and every one of you a merry holiday!