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, her desk (we didn't bring ours) is piled 3+ feet high with papers (some important, most not,) magazines (some 4+ years old, some brand new and interesting) and other assorted junk.  The only other table to work from isn't very big, is just as cluttered and way too tall to type from comfortably.  The MIL doesn't watch TV and she never, ever sits quietly.  God love her, but wow!  She never stops talking.  Never. The only time she's quiet is when she sleeps and she only sleeps an hour or two a night if we're lucky.

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!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sunday Supper - Pumpkin Dump Cake

Okay, so I'm cheating a little bit here.  These days if it can't be cooked in the slow cooker or microwave, it's not getting cooked.  Life is just a little too hectic still.  But I am starting to think about Thanksgiving food and with that, I bring you...

Thanksgiving cake recipe; pumpkin cake, chocolate cake, spice cake
Pumpkin Dump cake, photo courtesy of delish.com

Pumpkin Dump Cake.  Yep, a Thanksgiving dump cake.  Are you old enough to remember dump cakes' popularity back in the '80's?  They were all the rage.  Just dump a few ingredients into the greased pan, stir them around a bit and bake.  Yum!

Dumping, stirring and baking is about all I have in me these days.  This Pumpkin Dump Cake recipe from Delish fits the bill.  There are a couple more steps involved than simply dumping and baking but it still seems easy enough.  And apparently there are several flavor options if pumpkin isn't your thing.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Yarn Therapy

Thank you all for the kind, encouraging words on yesterday's post.  I was in a rather dark place yesterday.  Thankfully I was able to attend last night's knitting group gathering which always helps.  Getting a couple of hours of sleep also helped.

Bamboo Pop Sock yarn purchased from Center of the Yarniverse
Bamboo Pop Sock

A little yarn therapy helped too.  It's a good thing we'll close on the sale of our house and be debt free next week because I keep spending all our money on yarn. But hey, yarn is cheaper than the mental institute and that skein is ready to knit.  No winding needed.  And, I have the Reyna pattern already printed.  I'm feeling a lot better today.

Knitting group was quite productive.  Besides making me feel better and helping me de-stress, I was able to finish the Martha Shawl.  

Knit an i-cord bind-off on my Martha Shawl
I-cord bind-off

I still have quite a bit of the Sunset (the pink & yellow) from Dying for Art but I ran out of the Carbon from Knitted Wit.  Since there was so much Sunset left, I thought about knitting some kind of lacy border but ... dark place.  I took the easy way out and knit an i-cord bind-off instead.  

Garter stitch shawl knit with Knitted Wit and Dying for Art yarns
Martha Shawl

The shawl isn't quite as long as I'd hoped it would be, but then, I haven't blocked it yet.  Garter does stretch a lot when blocked.  It may even be too long after blocking!

Triangular garter stitch shawl knit with Dying for Art and Knitted Witt yarns
Completed Martha Shawl

I really love the way it looks with a shawl cuff, although I definitely need to buy myself a black cuff.  The brown leather one isn't really cutting it.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Three Yarns for Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carol for today's Three on Thursday gathering and I'm hoping you can help me choose which of these three yarns to knit next. 

First choice is a sweater with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed.  https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435443&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
What to knit next?

I don't have the mental bandwidth to knit much more than flat garter or stockinette in the round at the moment.  Casting on may even be a problem.  I have to admit, the new living situation is taking way more out of me than expected.  I knew it wasn't going to be ideal but I was not prepared for the reality. 

I'm sure it will get better once we are all settled and the packing boxes are gone, but that won't be for another week or two.  My husband is still staying at the old house doing the final cleaning and punch-out type stuff.  He's living on a mattress on the floor so he's cranky and not available to help us and the MIL went 48 hours without sleep which means I went 47 hours without sleep so I'm cranky....  Oh, and there's a spider in the shower stall and Mike's not here to take care of it.  

The whole situation is an eye opening, frustrating adjustment.  But, we are getting to spend precious time with the MIL and as of next week, we'll no longer have a mortgage payment and will be 100% debt free.  I just need to keep reminding myself of that.  Besides, sleep is underrated.

Anyway...  Enough whining.  Let's get on with my three yarn choices.

Do I knit a simple hat or maybe some mittens with that lovely brown wool from Love Ewe Farm?  My hesitation on that idea is that (1) I don't have the mental capacity to deal with dpns and I've never been a fan of magic loop.  And (2) I feel like that yarn deserves more than simple stockinette in the round.  And (3) this choice would involve winding the yarn and while I have unpacked my swift, I haven't come across my winder yet.

Or do I start a Close to You shawl with that pretty bluey, purpley, greenish skein of Mountain Colors Twizzlefoot I picked up at the Center of the Yarniverse's birthday bash/grand opening of the new, bigger shop a few weeks ago?  I'm dying to knit with this yarn, I think it would be an excellent match for the pattern and I've been wanting to knit a Close to You for ages.  But... this yarn needs to be wound too.  

My third choice is a Garnet Heather sweater out of Wool of the Andes Tweed.  I really, really want to knit myself a sweater but I haven't decided on a pattern and I'm not in the mood for gauge swatching.  Like I ever actually am, or even do, for the matter.  Who am I kidding here??  But.... while I don't want to swatch, I also don't want to knit a sweater that doesn't fit and the yarn looks thinner than 'normal' Wool of the Andes.  According to the ball band it's the same but...  I've never knit with the Tweed before so I'd be afraid to guestimate like we all know I will actually do when I finally start knitting a sweater.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Dunkin' Donuts, my new best friend


It’s been a while.  The move took much longer than expected.  Moving day ended up being a full week later than we’d originally planned.  Good thing because we were not at all ready on the first date.  The date change did make things interesting though because I’d packed all our dishes and all but one pair of socks and underwear.  It also meant that when we finally landed, I didn’t remember which box I’d put the important, “I need this in my daily life” type of things in.

The move itself went fine.  We gave away or donated about 80% of our belongs then rented a giant 28 foot U-haul and hired two dudes to help (okay, do) the lifting and carrying.  The two dudes were both about eight feet tall, adorable, and incredibly polite, patient, strong and energetic.  I sure hope their boss appreciates them half as much as we did.

The after-effects of the move, on the other hand…. 

messy move
What a mess!

That black and white blotchy thing in the lower left is my bed.  I really thought I was going to have to sleep outside that first night.  At one point, the entire room, including the bed was wall to wall boxes and shelves.  The problem was the shelves were in the center of the room so I had to keep shuffling things around and around and around to make space to put a shelf where it belonged so that I could unpack a box.  I finally made a narrow path from the door to the bed and got the piles of stuff off the bed so I could lay down.  Can’t say I slept that first night though.  Between the back ache from all the toting and moving boxes around and the massive leg ache from the 1,000 trips up and down the stairs….  and my legs were already sore and achy from the 1,000 trips up and down the stairs I’d taken throughout the previous days/weeks…  Basically, that first night I lay in bed moaning from the twitching, muscle cramping, Charlie horse having legs.

And then I did it all over again the next day. 

Day three was a little less toting things up and down the stairs and a little more organizing and grocery shopping.  We are slowly getting settled.  Very, very slowly.  It has definitely been an adventure.  In case I didn’t mention it before, we moved in with my mother-in-law who has dementia and needs some help.  For every three things we put away, she’d un-put two.  As frustrating as it’s been, I feel horrible because I know it’s been hard on her too.  Our presence has confused her even more and she doesn’t even realize she’s in her own house most of the time.  It’s pretty sad to see and as much as I’ve griped about making the move, I’m happy we will have the time with her.  We are definitely making some memories! Some funny, some frustrating, and some rather sad memories, but memories all the same.

The Martha Shawl is getting low on yarn.


As you might have guessed, there hasn’t been much knitting time.  I haven’t had the mental bandwidth to do any fancy knitting.  Thankfully my Martha Shawl is still on the needles because I haven’t even had the brain power to finish the baby sweater sleeve.  Oh yeah, I started a new baby sweater a few days before the big move.  I need to dig it out and take a few pictures.  One of these days….

Dunkin Donuts Rt. 60, Bottoms Bridge, VA
Thankful for Dunkin' Donuts'  wifi!

There is a lot I need to do one of these days.  Including getting internet.  We still don’t have any internet service  here and it’s making me very, very twitchy.  And I’m going to get very, very fat because the closest place with free wifi is a Dunkin' Donuts.  Can you smell the sugar wafting off this post?

Until my next trip to Dunkin', happy knitting!


Friday, October 18, 2019

Who needs Rhinebeck?

Who needs Rhinebeck?  I don't!  I have the newly expanded Center of the Yarniverse.

Knit Night at the newly expanded Center of the Yarniverse, Ashland, VA
too excited to hold the camera still

On Tuesday my LYS moved from a teeny-tiny, little shop to a huge, gigantic, yarn filled place across the road.  The new place has got to be at least five times larger and it's fantastic!  Fantastic!!  I didn't get a chance to stop by on opening day (damn moving boxes that refuse to pack themselves!) but I did attend the Wednesday night knitting group.

I was way too excited about the newly expanded shop and all the new yarns they are now able to stock to take decent photos.  The only one I took that wasn't blurry was of Stacy, the shop owner, shoving food into her mouth and I'd promised her I wouldn't use that one.  :)  

And yes, we get to eat at Knit Night.  That dark doorway in the background leads into Ashland Coffee and Tea.  So now, you can buy some yarn and go hang out in the coffee shop or, you can buy coffee and come hang out in the yarn shop.  Center of the Yarniverse now has multiple seating areas where you can sit and knit the day or night away.  And if you check out the coffee shop's website, the stage where the band is playing is now the classroom area of Center of the Yarniverse.

Oh, and did I mention that now that the Wednesday night knitting group meets in the yarn shop instead of the coffee shop, the yarn shop is open for business an extra two hours which means more shopping potential.  Yay!!

See?  Who needs Rhinebeck?  I sure don't!

https://www.jgknits.com/2019/10/three-on-thursday.html
packing boxes and the Martha shawl
Yes, it suddenly got cold enough to break out my fake Uggs!

As for my knitting, I finished the baby blanket and promptly tossed it in a moving box instead of photographing it.

Next, I picked up the Martha shawl and knit a few rows between packing boxes.  My entire life revolves around packing boxes, giant dust bunnies and piles and piles of stuff.  There are piles of stuff to take to my mother-in-law's house (where we're moving.  Have I mentioned that??) piles to go to storage, piles to donate and piles that are trash.  Of course, we ran out of trash bags in the middle of the process.  And soon-to-be-excommunicated-family-members-if-they-don't-stop-it keep putting things in the wrong piles.  It's driving me completely insane.  And my husband, who HATES to shop, has spent multiple days tire and clothes shopping rather than packing.  The situation would be pretty darned comical if the movers weren't due to arrive in a few days.

Speaking of comical....

A church cookbook
Episcopal Chicken
A church cookbook titled Episcopal Chicken.  I have no recollection of putting it there, but it was on my cookbook shelf.  And I think it's hilarious.  I don't know, maybe it's the cardboard and packing tape fumes getting to me, but I find the title laugh out loud funny.  

So, have you picked up on the fact that we are moving next week and the additional fact that we are totally unprepared?  Yeah.  The only way I'm going to get prepared is to sign off from the blog for a few days, maybe even a week or two.  I really, really need to get some packing done.  I'll be back once we've moved and I've unpacked the important things like my toothbrush and my knitting.

And speaking of knitting, I think I'll go knit a row or two.  I have high hopes that today is the day the boxes pack themselves.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Three on Thursday

Three random questions I've been pondering...

1.  My knitting books and The Move.  Do I take all my knitting books with me or do I depend on Ravelry for patterns?  And if I take my books, do I take All of them, or only a few?  What is a few?  Do I set a limit on how many I can take?  How low should that limit be?  I think I might cry without my books but...  They do take up an awful lot of space and honestly, I usually depend on Ravelry for pattern inspiration and Youtube for help.  But without my books, it may feel more like prison than a step towards the big life goal.

2.  Harry Potter.  What is it with all the Harry Potter stuff that keeps popping up?  Have you noticed?  It seems like everyone is once again knitting Harry Potter stuff.  Why?  Not that Harry Potter wasn't a fantastic book and movie series.... but those books and movies came out years ago.  Years!  Why is everyone suddenly knitting Harry Potter stuff again?

Almost finished knitting this baby blanket in the car while driving to the new house
car knitting

3.  I bought SO much fall colored yarns over the summer... and here I am knitting for a spring baby.  Spring baby colors are completely different from fall adult colors.

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

10-42

I'm 10-42.  I have ended my tour of duty.  I'm officially a trophy wife now.  My dear, sweet husband says I can't claim to be a housewife because housewives cook and clean.  Nice. Real nice, Mike.  

Anyway...

I mentioned the other day that we are moving down to my mother-in-law's house to help take care of her.  Her house is about 55 miles from my job.  I was planning to finish out the season and just deal with the drive but.... The MIL is requiring a little more assistance now than she did a month ago so I quit my job to fulfill the role of main caregiver.  Yikes!

Sunday night's shift was my last and it was bittersweet.  As miserable as it could be sometimes, I loved my job.  Even the miserable tasks were fun in that way running a marathon is fun.  The people were great, my boss was the best you could ever hope for and the place felt like home.  I was pretty sad to leave.  But...

Sad as I was to leave, I'm going to have my weekends free and I'll be able to, eventually, adapt to a normal person's sleep cycle so that I'm awake during the day instead of all night.  I'm Very excited about that!

The other thing I'm excited about?


Perhaps the thing I'm most excited about....  I can go back to carrying a purse with a wallet.  And the wallet can contain cash!  That might not sound like a big thing to most people but after spending six years having to carry my stuff in a clear bag and not being allowed to have cash on my person....  An actual wallet with cash in it is huge.  Huge!

So that's the big news.  I quit my job and get to carry a real wallet now.  It was only fitting that after not raining for almost two full months, I got to walk the park in the pouring down rain on my last day.  King's Dominion's way of saying goodbye, I guess.

I'm going to miss my job but I'm looking forward to the next adventure.

And on that note, don't be surprised if my posting get's a little spotty over the next week or two.  We have so much we need to accomplish between now and the closing, I'm not even sure I'll get to knit a few rows each day.  Yikes!


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Supper - Fall Vegetable Casserole

These days, we are all about easy.  We're also trying to empty the pantry and freezer so we don't have as much food stuff to move.  Today's Sunday Supper recipe fits the bill.

https://www.stonyfield.com/recipes/fall-vegetable-casserole
Fall Vegetable Casserole from stonyfield.com
Join me for a nice gooey fall vegetable casserole.  It doesn't get much easier than this one!  You can find the recipe here.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Kale Hat

Things are about to become very brief around here.  I've officially entered panic mode.

I mentioned we were selling our house, right?  Well, the people buying ours sold theirs so it's on now.  It's official.  We have to move.  In two weeks and a couple of days.  Aack!  We're moving in two weeks and couple of days. 

And worse than 'we're moving' is that we're moving in with my mother-in-law.  She's getting on up there in age and needs some help.  

Our ultimate goal is to eventually build a house on tidal water, with cash, and live debt free for the rest of our lives.  Our living with the MIL will not only help her, but it will help us reach our goal sooner.  It's a win/win.

The problem with this win/win plan is, how do I pack?  What do I pack?  We don't need to take anything with us except our tooth brushes, clothes and yarn.  What do we do with the rest of our stuff?  We don't know how long we'll be living with the MIL.  It could be three weeks or three years.  How do I pack for that??   I'm so undecided, I'm totally frozen.

So, instead of packing, I cast on a new hat.

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/jeanniegrayknits/kale-hat
Hat knit with Kale from Unplanned Peacock

It's the Kale Unplanned Peacock yarn I bought at the fiber festival last weekend.  On US #8 needles,  it's knitting up super fast which is nice.  I really should be focusing on knitting the baby blanket and the Martha shawl but I needed a break from all that garter stitch.  Somehow, stockinette in the round seems so much better.

And now, I should probably go pack a box.  


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Golden

Remember me recently talking about having a 'thing' for the color aqua?  Well, apparently I also have a 'thing' for golden colored yarns.


I bought a few golden colored yarns at the Montpelier Fiber Festival last weekend and since it's a Thursday, I thought I'd show you three of them.

The big, giant skein is 950 glorious yards of fingering weight superwash merino from Beaver Creek Yarns.  The yarn came with a free pattern for a ripple type shawl.  I can not wait to start knitting with this yarn!

Next up is Octoberfest, also from Beaver Creek.  This skein is destined to become Halloween socks.  This skein is making me wish that my name included "I dream of" because I would give anything to be able to blink and have the socks already knit.

And last, from that 50% off booth that didn't have a name, two skeins of Magico II.  I have no specific plans for this yarn but it will most likely end up being a shawl or large scarf.  No plans, I just liked the colorway.

I hope you'll join me over at Carole's for today's Three on Thursday.  I also hope that if you didn't see it, you'll take a peek at my Three on Thursday post from last week.  I completely forgot to link it to Carole's or to do any type of promotion.  Oops! The post contained a free pattern and I wouldn't want you to miss out.

Meanwhile, I have a few thousand packing boxes to fill.  Think of me while you knit please.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Four out of Twelve

I went to the Montpelier Fiber Festival this past weekend and had a blast.  As always, there were the sheep dog trials and sheep shearing to watch, good food and the the I-can't-live-without-it strawberry lemonade stand, and of course, yarn shopping.


My little red VW bug.

Being the good and faithful blogger that I am, I only took one picture.  All there was to see and do and I took one picture.  Of my car.  Oh well.  The day was cool and cloudy.  A perfect day for a nice ride in the JGKnits mobile.  Little Red just loves going to fiber festivals.

In preparation for the festival, for a little over a week I had "No Sock Yarn!" signs posted on my bedroom mirror and calendar as well as using the sign for my laptop screensaver.  The idea was to remind myself not to buy a single skein of sock yarn.  Or fingering weight.  Fingering is what I really meant.  I'm over run with fingering/sock yarn.  My yarn stash is huge but it only contains 2 skiens of DK/sport weight and zero skeins of multicolored worsted weight.  I wanted to change that therefore, No Sock Yarn!

How'd I do with that plan you ask?

#yarnshopping, #yarnfumes, #yarn, hand dyed yarns

Out of the twelve skeins of yarn I purchased, four of them were not sock weight.  

Dammit!

Not a very good percentage, but let's face it - it's a better percentage than I really expected.

And please, forgive the boxes.  The closing on our house is set for three weeks from yesterday and I'm starting to panic a little bit.  Life is going to be nothing but packing boxes for a while so I've decided to embrace them rather than try to hide them.

Anyway....

Yarn...  Left to right:

A dirt cheap Malabrigo Rios in "Camaleon."  There was a huge booth selling four yarn shops' worth of yarn, all half priced.  I bought a few skeins (the others were of course sock weight) and told myself I'd go back and take another look at the end of the day.  My wallet is thankful I forgot to go back.

Next in line is a Shirsty Cat skein of DK merino in The Heart of the Forest colorway.  I just love this one!  It's all deep blues and greens and golden browns.

Third from the left is an Unplanned Peacock superwash Merino, DK weight in Fox.  This one might be my fall favorite.  It's not quite orange, not quite red, not quite rust colored.  And I absolutely love it!

And last but not least, an aran weight superwash merino also from Unplanned Peacock.  I love the color but I'm not sure about its name, Kale.  Sarah picked this one out and wants a new hat made from it.

Actually, I think I'll knit hats with all of these.  Or maybe fingerless mitts.  I don't think any of them have enough yardage for finger covering mittens.  My intention was to buy enough DK and/or worsted  for baby sweater knitting but....  The yarn fumes got to me and I just started throwing single skeins into my cart.

Oh well.  There's always next year's festival.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunday Supper - Apple Spice Cake

Phew!  It has finally cooled off a little and is feeling a little more fall-like.  And now that it's below 95 degrees, I'm craving warm, fattening foods.  

#cooking from scratch #recipe #fallfoods #apples
Apple Spice Cake recipe from onelovelylife.com

And what could be warmer or more fattening than Apple Spice Cake?  This recipe from onelovelylife.com looks like it will fit the bill perfectly.

Now, if I can just figure out how to talk Sarah into baking it for me while convincing her and Mike that it tastes gross so they'll leave the whole cake for me.  Because you know, I need to eat an entire apple spice cake by myself.    Hey, stop looking at me like that - it's got fruit in it.

Friday, October 4, 2019

On the Needles

Yes, the baby blanket is still on the needles.  

Easy garter stitch baby blanket. Sock yarn from Knit Picks https://www.knitpicks.com/
baby blanket knit with Knit Picks Sock Labs Stroll

But I have finally added the second color.  The blanket is not going to be anywhere near as large as I'd hoped it would be, or as I feel it should be based on knitting time, but it will be okay.  Rather than a crib blanket, it will be more receiving blanket sized. 

I'm telling myself it's okay if the blanket is small.  It will be fine for covering a newborn and as baby grows, perhaps this one can become the Linus type 'blankie' that they hold and snuggle with rather than the one that keeps them warm.

And look how the blanket matches my project bag.  Have you noticed everything in my life seems to be that aqua color?   Sitting here at my desk, without even turning my head, I can see so much aqua!  There's my knitting, my project bag, my yarn bowl, my project chart keeper thing, an ashtray that I keep paper clips in, a bottle make that two bottles of nail polish, my yarn scale, my calendar cover,  some file folders, Post-It-Notes, a book I'm reading and believe it or not, duct tape.  Yes, I even have aqua colored duct tape!  Good grief!  I'd have said it was green, but do you think aqua might be my favorite color?

Oh, and if you're local and will be at the Montpelier Fiber Festival tomorrow, look for me.  I'll be there - shopping, not selling.  So if some crazed woman shoves you out of the way, my apologies, but you were standing between me and the yarn.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carole for Three on Thursday and I have three knitting updates for you.  My apologies in advance if the photos are blurry.  I can't tell.  At the moment, everything in my world is blurry.  That never-ending, cold-like virus I've had is still hanging on and now it's gone into my eye.  My eye and eyelashes are full of antibiotic ointment which makes it tricky to see details.  

You'll also need to excuse the packing boxes, weird furniture placement and general disarray in every photo taken for the next month or so.  Did I mention we are moving?  Yeah, I'm still in slight denial about it.

Super simple, garter stitch cowls knit with faux fur from Knit Picks http://shrsl.com/1uq5v
Fable Fur Cowls

Luckily the Fable Fur cowls I've been knitting are garter stitch on giant needles.  I could practically knit them in my sleep.  Which it sort of feels like I'm doing.  The gray one on the bottom is Kuma, the middle is knit with Bjern and the top is Mishka.  Kuma is my favorite.  I feel like it looks the most like real fur.  I thought I'd prefer Bjern over Mishka but it turns out, I like Mishka better.  

And speaking of Mishka, have you seen the free teddy bear pattern Knit Picks is offering to go along with their Fable Fur yarn?  It is Adorable!  And did I mention, it's free!?!

simple cowl or shawl desing in three sizes from Chris Knits
Test knitting the Showl Cowl for Chris Knits with yarn from Forbidden Fiber Co.

Next up is the test knitting cowl I knit for Chris Knits.  I ended up making the medium size with an extra garter ridge row.  I really wanted to knit the largest version but the skein of yarn was getting smaller and smaller and I am the Queen of Denial.  Just like I'm happily denying our upcoming move, I was denying how quickly the cowl had begun to eat up yarn.  I finally calculated how much yarn each row was taking and had to face facts; I didn't have enough.

I'm hoping to get the cowl blocked over the next couple of days and show you a better photo of it next week. But even unblocked, I think it looks great!  

I can't wait for Chris to put this pattern out into the world.  I think you'll enjoy knitting it.  It's super simple to knit but you never get bored.  Even with the longer rows you don't have a chance to get bored.  You only knit a few rows of one stitch before it changes to something else.  And the lace sections are simple too.  The pattern is easily remembered, yet it changes every few rows.  Super simple, yet it keeps you on your toes.  Definitely my kind of design!

I'm so thankful Chris offered me the opportunity to knit this wonderful cowl and gifted me the yarn.  I'm hesitant to include a link to the yarn shop because I don't trust myself not to shop and did I mention we're moving soon?  I'm supposed to be getting rid of yarn, not collecting more.


simple garter stitch triangular shawl https://www.ravelry.com/projects/jeanniegrayknits/the-martha-shawl
The Martha Shawl

And last, my most recent project.  I'm calling it Martha.  I'd planned to knit a simple but lacy shawl design with only Sunset, the pink/yellow yarn, but I didn't like the way the yarn played with the lace.  It was a little too busy for my taste.

Long ago I knit a loooong triangular scarf from a pattern whose name started with a "B."  Sadly, the shape and the "B" are all I can remember about it.  Although I don't know the design's name, I liked the result and have knit my own made-up version numerous times since.  Each one has been knit slightly different.  

This time around, I'm knitting (Actually knitting every row.  Yay! No purling!) two rows of the not-so-solid, solid black (Carbon from Knitted Wit) and two rows of Sunset from Dying for Art (KnittersKnacks on Facebook.)  Each first row of the black is an increase row.  It couldn't be simpler.  Four rows repeated over and over and over until it's long enough and/or you run out of yarn.  If you're interested in the details, they are:

The Martha Shawl

Using 2 colors of similar weight yarn and needles to obtain a pleasing gauge,

Cast on 3 stitches
Row 1:  Using color A, K1, Kfb, K1
Row 2:  Knit across
Row 3:  Without cutting yarn, switch to color B and knit across
Row 4:  Knit across

Row 5:  With Color A, K1, Kfb, knit across
Row 6:  Knit across
Row 7:  With Color B, knit across
Row 8:  Knit across

Repeat rows 5 - 8 until you run out of yarn or reach the desired length.

I have knit a version of this in the past where I used three colors and it looked great but keeping up with the increase rows wasn't a mindless thing.  You may have noticed - I like mindless.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Lucky Girl

I am such a lucky girl! 

First, my awesome boss gave me two days off so that I can attend the Montpelier fiber festival this coming weekend.  Will I see you there?

Second, Martha, a friend from my Wednesday night knitting group, is a yarn dyer.  She's been dying yarn for a while now and not long ago started her own business selling her hand dyed yarns.  But what does that have to do with me being lucky you ask?

superwash fingering weight yarn found at KnittersKnacks https://www.facebook.com/KnittersKnacks/shop/
Dying for Art Sunset sock yarn

I'm lucky because Martha gifted me a skein of her superwash sock yarn.  The colorway is Sunset and it's much prettier in real life than it is in the photo.  Currently, the state fair is in town which means it's raining.  And when it rains, my house is dark and dreary and taking a decent photo is out of the question.  Also, my camera hates reds and absolutely refuses to accurately portray anything red, pink or orange.  And today, for some reason, gray. 

Dying for Art sock  yarn found at KnittersKnacks https://www.facebook.com/KnittersKnacks/shop/
The Ocean's Daughter and Sunset 

In the photos, the yarn appears to be pink, blue and yellow.  In reality, it's pink, orange, yellow and a darkish gray.  I plan to knit The Ocean's Daughter, a Kat Riddell design.  I'd prefer to knit a baby sweater with it, but Grand-baby To Be wasn't cooperating at the last check up so we still don't have an answer to the boy/girl question.  But it's okay.  There is plenty of yarn in the stash pile and one day in the not too distant future, the question will be answered.  Meanwhile, I'll be content to knit The Ocean's Daughter... just as soon as I finish test knitting the cowl.

But enough about what I'm doing.  What you should be doing is checking out Martha's yarns.  Her shop is on Facebook and can be found at KnittersKnacks and if you're on Instagram, she's luvsteddybears.  Go check her yarns out, she's got some beautiful colorways.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday Supper - Honey Sugar Cookies


THE best sugar cookie in the world!  https://farmerowned.com/featuredRecipe/1030/Honey-Sugar-Cookies/
Honey Sugar Cookies from farmerowned.com
My daughter made these honey sugar cookies once before and I'm hoping and praying she loves me enough to make them again.  That sounds like the recipe was difficult.  It wasn't.  I'm just hoping and praying that when I get home from work in the wee hours tonight/tomorrow morning, there will be a plate of these cookies waiting for me.

I'm not normally a big fan of sugar cookies.  They never seem to have much taste, they're hard, and people tend to put giant sprinkles on them.  I'm not a fan of giant sprinkles.  But these.... These cookies are nothing like normal sugar cookies.  Nothing!  They are delicious!  Delicious!  They are soft and sweet and just absolutely yummy!

Want to bake some for yourself?  The recipe comes from farmerowned.com and you can find it here.

Friday, September 27, 2019

On The Needles


yarn from Forbidden Fiber Co. https://www.jgknits.com/2019/09/current-cowl.html
Test knitting a cowl for Chris Knits

Enjoying my morning coffee and a little outdoor knitting before I head into work this afternoon.  Trying to cram in as much knitting time as I can now because it's Halloween Haunt and the hours are long.  I won't get much knitting done over the weekend.


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Three on Thursday - OTN

Today's Three on Thursday post is going to be quick and dirty.  I just so happen to have three projects currently on the needles...

Using fingering weight yarn to knit a baby blanket, a sock and an oversized cowl
Three projects currently on the needles

1.  Top left is the dish cloth styled baby blanket. I keep thinking I'm almost ready to start fading into the next color but... Sadly, the blanket is at that stage where even if you knit on it for eight hours a day for three days straight, there is no measurable increase in knitted fabric.  But one day... one day soon I hope, I'll measure it and discover it has suddenly grown six or seven inches since I last measured it fifteen minutes ago.  

The yarn I'm using is the no longer available Sock Labs Stroll from Knit Picks.  I'm quite sad to see the yarn sold out.  It's a delight to knit with.

2.  In the middle is the world's widest sock knit from Patons Kroy Sock in Rusty Stripes.  It's a simple vanilla sock and naturally I didn't do a gauge swatch.  I've knit with this yarn 1,000 times before and my notes in my knitting journal told me how many stitches and what needle size I needed.  My journal was wrong.  Very, very wrong.  

This is actually the second sock.  No SSS for me!  Anyway... For the first sock, I was several inches into it before I paid any attention and noticed that the tube I was creating for my calf was wide enough for my thigh, maybe even both thighs!  I didn't want to frog it and I'm not using top dollar hand spun/dyed yarn... so I just made a decrease row and kept on knitting.  When doing the gusset decreases (the socks are top down) I just kept decreasing until the sock was tight enough on my foot.  Okay, that's wrong.  I kept decreasing until the sock was Almost tight enough.  And I will do the same with the second sock.  And this pair will be the pair I wear when my feet and ankles swollen because I've had a long day on my feet and too much sodium.

3.  At the bottom right, we have the cowl/showl I'm test knitting for Chris Knits.  I finished the smallest size and had plenty of yarn left over so I kept on knitting.  I'm about halfway through the medium size and it looks like I still have enough yarn left to knit the largest version.  The yarn, Eucalyptus Leaves from Forbidden Fiber Co., is a delight to knit with so I'm happy to keep knitting as long as the yarn holds out. 

Oops.  I guess this post wasn't as quick and dirty as I expected it to be.  

Hope you'll join me over at Carole's for today's Three on Thursday celebration.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Current Cowl

I'm pretty psyched over here.  Chris from ChrisKnitsSews asked me to test knit her new cowl/showl pattern.  Have you ever heard the term showl?  I hadn't heard it used before I began reading about Chris's adventures designing her cowl but this week I've seen multiple people mention it.  In any event, in case you are in the dark like I was, a showl is a cross between a cowl and a shawl.  In other words, it's a cowl, but more shawl sized.  Cowl + shawl = showl.  Brilliant!

Anyway....

I'm test knitting Chris's newest showl design and it's going very well.

test knitting a cowl for chrisknits https://chrisknits.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/wednesday-whims/
Current Cowl knit with Eucalyptus Leaves

The knitting is going much better than my photo taking, that's for sure!  With my work schedule, photos are either taken at 3:00 a.m. or or outdoors, in the bright, noon sun.  You're just going to have to take my word for it that the yarn I'm using is a gorgeous pale grayish green.

You can see Chris's finished version here.  Chris asked me to test knit the smallest size (there's a small, medium & large) but it looks like I'll have enough yarn so I'm going to knit the large one.  Or the medium, if the yarn doesn't hold out.  But I think it will.

Anyway, the pattern....  The smallest version is cowl sized and called Current Cowl.  The largest is definitely shawl sized and is therefore the Shoulder Showl.  The pattern isn't for sale yet but keep your eyes peeled for it.  You won't want to miss it.  I know I'll be knitting multiples.

The design is super simple to knit yet never boring.  You're constantly changing stitch patterns, yet the patterns repeat so it's easily remembered.  The cowl starts off being knit flat then gets joined in the round after a while.  By starting off flat, you get a sort of v-neck shape so that the finished showl doesn't bunch up weirdly around your neck.  I love patterns that incorporate this feature.

So yes, I'm loving knitting the cowl/showl.

And then there's the yarn.  Oh! My! Goodness!  I'm in SO much trouble!  I'm supposed to be using up/getting rid of/not buying any more yarn because we'll be moving soon and my yarn stash already requires it's own oversized moving van.  Then Chris tells me that if I test knit the pattern, she'll supply the yarn.  And she tells me to go to Forbidden Fiber Co. to pick out a skein.

Like there's a chance in Hell I could pick just one.  I think there are only two skeins on the whole website I didn't drool over.  I made Chris pick for me.  She picked Eucalyptus Leaves.

fingering weight superwash merino yarn
Eucalyptus Leaves Fortitude from Forbidden Yarn Co.

And I love it.  The skein I received isn't anywhere near as variegated as the photo shows, but for this project, I'm glad of it.  The yarn is by no means a solid green, but from looking at the photo I'd have expected it to be stripey or spotty.  It's not.  It's simply lovely.  It's a superwash merino, delightfully soft and has great stitch definition.  It also arrived super fast, which is always a good thing.

And did you see all the colors the yarn comes in?  I am in SO much trouble!  I should just go ahead and reserve a second moving van now.

And,

stitch marker from Forbidden Fiber Co.
pumpkin stitch marker

The yarn came with The cutest little pumpkin stitch marker.  I just want to knit All the fall things with this little pumpkin's help.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday Supper - Zucchini Boats

Tonight's Sunday Supper recipe is repeat meal for us and another one of those 'so simple it doesn't need a recipe' recipes.  Actually, there really isn't a recipe.  I'd seen one of those Facebook recipe things that pop up on my screen more often than I'd like and it sounded really good.  You sliced a zucchini very thinly, length wise. and wrapped it around a string cheese stick, baked it, then dipped it in tomato sauce.  So simple, I didn't bother writing down the recipe.

super simple, super quick meal using healthy ingredients


But when it came time to slice the zucchini thinly enough to wrap around a cheese stick... I didn't have much luck.  Using a knife didn't produce thin enough strips and using the slicer thing on my box grater didn't produce long enough slices.

Besides the trouble I was having slicing the zucchini properly, I was hungry and impatient for dinner.  Not to mention my husband was in the living room acting like a spoiled toddler and grumbling about how it didn't sound good and he wanted something else.  

zucchini boats made with zucchini, string cheese and spaghetti sauce

But I was determined.  We were having zucchini, string cheese and a bottle of spaghetti sauce.

Those zucchini strips weren't having it though.  

zucchini boats, a super fast, super delicious, low fat and healthy meal or snack

I got an idea.  Instead of thinly slicing the zucchini into strips, I cut them in half length wise, scraped out the insides to form a 'canoe' shape.  I laid a cheese stick in the 'canoe', filled a deep frying pan with lots of zucchini canoes and poured a jar of sauce over and around them.  Not wanting to waste that first zucchini or all the scraped out 'guts', I minced the slices and dumped it all into the pan too, sort of stirring it into the sauce.  Then I put a lid on it and cooked it until the sauce was bubbling, the cheese was melted and I was too hangry to wait any longer.

By this time, the husband was hungry enough to try it and just like Mikey, he liked it!  The whole family liked it actually.  The spouse even liked it enough to ask that it be added to the routine meal rotation!  And of course, we gobbled it all down before it ever occurred to me to take a photo.