Thursday, May 28, 2020

Three random things

My apologies, I've missed a few blog posts recently.  I think the isolation is beginning to get to me.  Well, not "beginning to" but has.  It has gotten to me.  I'm sure it's a form of depression but I can not make myself do anything other than knit, read and eat chocolate covered almonds.  At least those almonds are covered in dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you.

Anyway...

Three random things for today's Three on Thursday:


1.  I lied.  Between mouthfuls of chocolate covered almonds, I managed to eat some Memorial Day dessert.  Thankfully it didn't take much persuasion to talk Sarah into making the Strawberry Blueberry Trifle.  We did have trouble finding something to put it in.  I'm going to have to add trifle dish to my shopping list because she ended up using a giant, clear mixing bowl.  No matter how it was served, it was delicious and she will be making it again.


2.  I've finally reached the lace section on my Scottish Highlands shawl.  There is absolutely nothing to dislike about this project.  The pattern is written so that you have the option of A) two different sizes, B) knitting the shawl in one solid color or using two colors, C) with or without eyelet rows, and D) the lace has both charts and written instructions.  Obviously I'm doing the two color version with eyelets.  It has been great.  Just when I get sick of garter stitching, there's a change of color and an eyelet row.  Then when I got sick of garter in general, I hit the lace section.  I Love, love, love this pattern and unless something goes Horribly wrong with the rest of the lace instructions, I plan to knit quite a few more of these.

And then there's the yarn.  Oh. My. Goodness!!!  I am obsessed with this yarn from Cozy Color Works.  It is SO soft and squishy and I could easily spend $10,000 Sandy's shop.  I want All the colors.  Heck, I want all the skeins of all the colors.

Hayden, 10 weeks old

3.  And just because she's adorable, a Memorial Day picture of Hayden.  Love the shoes!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday Supper - Strawberry Blueberry Trifle

I'm cheating this week.  Today's Sunday Supper recipe is really for tomorrow.  And I still have to talk Sarah into making it for me.  

Memorial Day or summer desert recipe; #cookingfromscratch https://natashaskitchen.com/no-bake-strawberry-blueberry-trifle/
No Bake Strawberry Blueberry Trifle from natashaskitchen.com

It's No Bake Strawberry Blueberry Trifle.  And it's healthy!  Well, healthy-ish.  So yes, it has some cream cheese icing in there but really, it's mostly fruit and angle food cake.  Just look at all those berries!  And berries are on my Hashimoto approved food list.  Just look how healthy I'm being!

I always feel a little weird wishing people a happy Memorial Day, but... Happy Memorial Day!  I hope your day is healthy yet fun filled.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Three on Thursday - OTN

For today's Three on Thursday, I wanted to show you the three things I'm currently knitting.  Or not knitting.  Instead of knitting, I'm just picking one up, putting it down, picking up the next and putting it down, picking up the third and putting it down....

But before I show you my knitting, I'd like to threaten someone.  Many someones actually.  I'm going on record as saying I would like to kick the butt of every single blogger and person I've seen on any form of social media since the lock-down began who has mentioned doing jigsaw puzzles.  Good Grief!

Although I don't do them often, I've always enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles.  Ever since we moved in with my mother-in-law, I've had the urge to do one but that urge was never strong enough to go out and actually purchase one.  Until last week.


I knew there was something I was leaving out of the other day's Drama post.  I'd finally found a puzzle for under $20 and was so traumatized by it, I completely forgot to list it along with the other drama I've had going on.  It was that traumatic! 

That &%^$^%&%*&^$ Queen of Hearts puzzle was the last puzzle Target had on their shelf.  And it about kicked my arse.  All those frames!  And half the pieces fit perfectly with other pieces that they weren't meant to fit with.  It was Horrible. It didn't help that the available lighting I had was horrible.  I may never do another jigsaw puzzle as long as I live.  If any of you are local and would like this one, I would be most happy to pass it on, but I take no responsibility towards your mental state once you start working it.

Now for the knitting....

Mitered shapes knit with fingering weight yarn https://www.ravelry.com/projects/jeanniegrayknits/rambling-rows-afghan
Rambling Rows Afghan

My Rambling Rows afghan is the project I want to be knitting on.  Besides loving the frequent color changes and the chance to use up some of my scrap yarns, I have this urgent sense of needing to get as much knit as possible before it gets too hot to hold it on my lap.  But this project has no deadline and is going to take forever.  It should be my back burner project.

A 2 toned shawl knit with garter and lace https://www.ravelry.com/projects/jeanniegrayknits/scottish-highlands
Scottish Highlands Shawl

Of the two shawls I'm currently knitting, this Scottish Highlands shawl is the bigger of the two.  It also has no deadline.  But the  yarn is divine and I'm anxious to get through all the garter so that I can start the lace border.

Simple garter and eyelet shawl or scarf, knit with fingering weight wool
Onete

Of course, the Onete shawl will be the quickest of the three projects to knit, I do have a deadline for it, and I love the yarn.  But it's got M1L's and M1R's (make one left and make one right) which are driving me insane.  Yes, eight rows in and I'm already insane.  It's not like the M1L's and M1R's are complicated.  It's just that my needle is rather blunt tipped and my memory is horrible so every time I take the shortest of breaks, I forget which is stitch is which and have to dig out the directions.  If I could just focus on this one  for an uninterrupted hour or two, I'd be able to memorize the difference between left and right leaning increases and it would be a much more enjoyable project.  But... that Rambling Rows keeps calling me back.

I'm caught in a vicious, vicious cycle.  A knitter's life is never easy.

I'm not 100% sure Carole will be hosting a Three on Thursday link up today.  If you follow her blog, you know her husband was hit by a car recently.  Thankfully he is home from the hospital and on the mend, but Carole may be too busy taking care of him to host today.  But if she is hosting, please join me over at her blog for today's Three on Thursday party.  Meanwhile, lets all wish Dale a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Drama, drama, drama

What a week!  Actually, what a two weeks!  They have been drama filled!  Nothing drastic or life ending, just drama, drama, drama.  There's been so much drama, I don't even know where to start.  Let's see if I can try to put things together in timeline format...

First, as of last month, I now have an endocrinologist.  I've been having some thyroid issues for a while and the day before the hospitals got locked down and no one could enter except on a stretcher via the emergency room, I had an ultrasound.  The ultrasound showed that I have several nodules on my thyroid, one of which is bigger than my thyroid and it's pressing on my trachea.  Well, that explains why I can't breathe properly if I put my arms up over my head!

So, my GP sent me to the endocrinologist who I absolutely love.  She ordered a biopsy but because the hospitals are still closed....  No biopsy yet.  

There have been a few dementia developments that I won't go into detail about, but they have certainly added to the drama.

The washing machine broke.  The washing machine that's located on the second floor.  Thankfully Lowes is still delivering and brought us a new one and even installed it.  They even installed it on the second floor!  Unfortunately, in the process, an old pipe behind the wall broke in the process and the entire washing machine full of water dripped through the ceiling on the first load washed.

The pipe got fixed and the refrigerator went on the blink.  We noticed that the milk didn't seem that cold yet the just brought home from the store on a hot day ice cream was hard as a rock after only 10 or 15 minutes in the freezer.  You know how ice cream gets a little mushy on the trip home from the store?  Yeah, well, our ice cream was so hard we couldn't scoop it.  We couldn't even cut it with a knife.  We had to microwave the whole container in order to melt it enough to even stab it with a knife!  

The next day was my birthday and after waking up to find the refrigerator wasn't even sort of cool (although the freezer is still freezing things solid) I went off to another visit with the endocrinologist.  Maybe I don't like her so much after all.  That's a joke.  I really do just love her.  But she diagnosed me with Hashimoto's and pre-diabetes.  On my birthday! She also put in another 'emergency' request for the biopsy because I'm now feeling like I can't breath properly when I lay on my side or tuck my chin to my chest.  

 I have never felt so old in all my life and I'm now taking more pills than Grandma.  But hey - at least I have a partial excuse for all the weight gain.  

Daddy giving Hayden bunny ears.

The birthday wasn't all bad though.  Hayden came for a visit and I got to snuggle with her for a bit.  It was her two month birthday so we partied hard despite her fussiness.  Poor baby - she had an ear infection.  And, as it turns out, she's already teething!  At her two month check up the next day, the doctor confirmed it.  Holding her head up And teething at two months!  Those poor parents are in for a wild ride!

The next day, the heat soared and our air conditioning wasn't blowing cold.  My brother-in-law worked on it and got it working thankfully.

The next day, we woke up to the air conditioning fiercely blowing ICE cold air while the radiators pumped out hot air although the heat was set on 68 and the a/c was set on 72.  (They are two separate systems.)  If you weren't near a radiator, it was painfully cold.  We turned the a/c up to 74 and the heat down to 64 and sat outside on the deck where it was warmer.  Mid day, the house was still freezing and the radiators were still cranking and the a/c was still blowing... so I turned the a/c up to 78 and the heat down to 60 and went back outside where it was hot.  After dinner there was still no change in the house's temperature so we turned the a/c completely off.... And it kept on running!  The a/c continued to run for over an hour after we turned it off.  It was like something out of a Stephen King novel.

So now we don't have a/c. 


But once again, a visit from Hayden saved the day.  We still don't have a/c but I got to snuggle with Hayden a little more so all is right with the world.  

Check out Hayden's shirt.  It says "I still live with my parents."  My blogger friend, Carole, made it for me/Hayden.  Thanks Carole!

Rambling Rows afghan

Meanwhile, thankfully, very, very thankfully, my knitting has been drama free.

Two toned shawl knit with fingering in garter and lace sttiches.
Scottish Highlands Shawl

Well, mostly drama free.  I want to knit all the things and I want to knit them all at once.  So of course, I'm not making much progress on any project because I keep putting one down to knit on the other.  Five minutes later, I put that one down and pick up the other... and the cycle continues. 

Drama, drama, drama!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday Supper - Summer Vegetable Casserole

Today's Sunday Supper recipe is from another one of those sites that won't allow me to share their photo.  :(  

But, the recipe sounds really good.  My husband and I are trying to eat a lot more vegetables than we normally do and this Summer Vegetable Casserole will help with that.  

healthy summer vegetables
photo courtesy of britannica.com

I'm really excited about this summer's opportunity to eat vegetables.  I spent the last eight summers working at the theme park, eating nothing but chicken tenders and pizza, then more pizza from the gas station at 4 a.m.  I am very excited be home for summer meals of fresh vegetables and something off the grill.

Now, let's just hope and pray the vegetable stands open and the grocery stores stock a few vegetables.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Three on Thursday - Covid-19 Knitting

Well, it sounds like there were quite a few folks out there who didn't have the best Mother's Day.  I think the Covid-19 ordeal is beginning to get to all of us.  Actually, it got to me a while back.

Because so many of us are beginning to feel slightly certifiable, I thought I'd share a few funny, yet useful, knitting patterns I've stumbled across lately.  

funny knitted gift idea; covid-19 comic relief
Wine Glass Holder by Claudia Olson

Who among us doesn't need a knitted wine glass holder these days?  This holder will keep your hands free for those frequent mask adjustments and, if you tend to accidentally drink the whole bottle by yourself, you are much less likely to loose your glass when it's hanging around your neck.

Hand knit wig for Halloween, comic con or a simple game of dress-up
Hallowig by Megan Reardon

And what about your hair?  How's your hair surviving the Rona isolation?  Now, when you sober up and realize you might need a wigyou can knit your own.

knitted slug toy; knit stuffy, child's soft stuffed toy slug
Garden Slug by Cheezombie

Okay, this last one, the garden slug, isn't exactly useful but hopefully he will make you smile.  I know those lips crack me up.  There's no way I could remain sad and/or depressed if I was sharing my space with this little guy.

Whether you knit any of these or not, I hope the patterns brought a little joy to your day.  Hang in there folks - the isolation can't last forever.

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Rambling

I hope everyone had the best possible Mother's Day that they could have this crazy year.  I know it was pretty disappointing for many.  Mine was disappointing but it could have been much, much worse.  We had big plans this year because for the past eight Mother's Days, I was at work and didn't have a celebration.  No work for me this year!  But, at the last moment, my husband ended up working.  And his coworker's wife was hospitalized with covid-19 symptoms (thankfully her test came back negative and she just has 'regular' illness.)  And the MIL was taken out gallivanting around the state a few days before. Between the chance of the MIL being infected while she was out and not knowing what the status of the co-worker's wife was, and having a preemie newborn (seems like Hayden has been with us for ages but she's still considered a newborn) my son couldn't attend.  And I certainly understand that decision.  Don't mean to sound like I'm guilting him here.  I'm really not.

So our party was shrinking.

And then for reasons unknown, I had an allergic reaction to my towel when I stepped out of the shower and dried my face off Sunday morning.  In less than 30 seconds my face began to burn and itch and sting and it turned all red and got all....  well, it looked like I had 100's of zits popping up.  Not fully up, but coming.  You know the type.  The type you'd get when you were 16 or 17 and had a hot date for prom and you'd wake up with a red spot on your chin or the end of your nose.  And it burned!  And felt like 1,000's of bees were stinging me.  It was horrible.

So I called off the Mother's Day celebration completely and hid in my room.  Alone, with just my knitting and Kindle for company.  Honestly, it wasn't a bad way to spend the day.  Instead of having the BBQ my brother-in-law was going to bring, I ate a bag of chips for lunch.  A giant bag.  No fear of starvation here!  And my husband brought fried chicken home for dinner.  And my daughter made a cheesecake.


The cheesecake was delicious and frankly, I'm okay with skipping the Mother's Day thing this year.  It meant more cheesecake for me!

Garter stitch, mitered square and rectangle blocked blanket being knit with scrap yarns.
Rambling Rows Afghan

And what did I knit while hiding in my room?  Rambling Rows.  I can't stop knitting on this thing!  Before casting on, I'd set a self-imposed schedule of knitting five blocks a month.  It's only been 14 days and I'm already on block 15.  I am way ahead of schedule.  I don't get to say that very often!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother's Day





Sorry, no recipe today.  I'm not cooking.  I hope you aren't either.  

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Off the needles

Do you see him?


Actually, I guess he's a her.  She's the first deer I've seen on our property since the social distancing started.  I guess even the deer are getting tired of staying home.

Knit with Stroll Tweed from Knit Picks  https://shrsl.com/26owv

I finished my Hitchhiker finally.  I've knit a thousand of these over the years and I think this is the first one I've actually knit all 43 teeth.  I always either run out of yarn, get bored, or simply get too excited to start the next project.  This time around, the yarn was so glorious to work with, I didn't mind knitting all 43 teeth.  I even considered giving it extra teeth but....  It's long enough as is and now I have left over yarn to add to my Rambling Rows afghan.

The Rambling Rows may prove to be my downfall.  It was supposed to be my 'while I read' project and I had several other projects planned for this month but I just can't put it down.  I just can't!  The call of a new square and a new yarn is just too strong and I can't help myself.  I think I might need a meeting.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Three on Thursday - Triple Nothing

I got nothing for this week's Three on Thursday.  Absolutely nothing.  The home-life has been a little crazy this week and not much else has been going on.  Nothing fun and exciting to tell you about.  Nothing maddening or frustrating.  I haven't had three yummy desserts or loaves of bread, I haven't read three books and I haven't been considering three new knitting patterns.  Life pretty much just sort of flat lined this past week.   So...  

You get the world's most boring Three on Thursday post.  

1.  The idea I had to knit Kaffe Fassett's Coins cowl out of only two colors....  What was I thinking??  First, I didn't want a cowl, I wanted a scarf.  Second, only two colors??  The whole point of knitting a Coins scarf is to make it bright and multicolored.  And there was a third thing but I don't even remember what it was now.  I scrapped the whole idea.  Really, what I wanted was to use the yellow Madelinetosh.  So I am, but in a different project.

Hand knit patchwork blanket using mitered squares and rectangles.
Rambling Rows Afghan

2.  Instead of the Coins cowl/scarf, I decided to knit a Rambling Rows afghan.  I'm not overly impressed with the examples on Ravelry but I have knit several of these in the past and have always liked the design.  This time around, I'm using scrap fingering weight (the pattern calls for worsted) and it will just hang over the edges of a twin sized bed.  In other words, it will be the perfect couch blanket.

The pattern is from Cottage Creations and is lots of fun to knit.  It's made up of two sizes of mitered squares and a rectangle.  The pattern gives directions for three different sizes.  I'm making the largest.  Of course I am.  I'm using fingering weight and a US2 needle.  Why wouldn't I choose the largest size?

My plan is to use all my machine washable scrap yarn once then as I knit other things, immediately knit a block with the leftover yarn.  The idea is that no two blocks will be the same.  We'll see how long that plan lasts.  I may get impatient and start using some of my full sized stashed skeins.  There are a few that have been calling to me.  We'll have to see how it goes.


3.  Zack finally sent me a photo of Hayden wearing the Clara dress.


She looks absolutely horrified.



Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Flight Risk

I finished Clara.

Newborn dress knit with fingering weight wool.  <a href="https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435425&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=">Stroll Tonal</a>
Clara knit with Petal Stroll Tonal from Knit Picks

Sadly, I don't have any photos of Hayden wearing it.  I'd hoped that her dad would have sent me some by now but in his defense, he is in the middle of moving.  Nothing like moving with a newborn in the midst of a pandemic.  I guess I'll have to cut him a little slack.  But only a little. 

The pattern was a breeze to knit.  I'll admit, I was not happy to see that it started off by casting on all those bottom hem stitches and knitting a bunch of seed stitch.  I don't like knitting seed stitch.  ... But it turns out, I didn't like seed stitch a million years ago when I first started knitting.  And apparently, I've avoided it ever since. Now, a million years later, I have no problems with it at all. Good grief!

As for my personal life, it's been rather strange lately.  


Last week, a bird flew into my window and "was dying" on the roof just below my window.  It was so sad and traumatic because I could see the bird breathing Very heavily but he wasn't moving and I assumed he was dying.  Then his little bird friend started flying around and hovering over him while squawking like mad.  That did no good so the bird friend landed beside him and began to peck at him until he began to move a little bit.  The bird friend still wasn't satisfied so he/she began to nudge the injured bird with his/her head until he rolled over a few times.  Eventually the injured bird got to his feet and hopped around but he couldn't fly.  But finally, with enough nagging and encouragement from his little bird friend, the injured bird took flight and flew away.  It was the most amazing and sweetest thing I think I've ever seen!


Then the other day, on one of those perfect weather days, my brother-in-law took the mother-in-law out for the day, we had an unexplained four hour power outage, and my husband and I spent the afternoon sitting on the deck listening to the birds chatter in the otherwise silence.  

And I made a friend.

A bumble bee started flying around me and was obviously interested in checking me out.  I can't deal with any other type of flying insects, but bumble bees (carpenter bees) don't bother me - much.  They seem friendly.  They hover around you and stare at you like they are saying hello.  

This bee definitely wanted to say hello.  I was busy knitting so I tried to sit still and not be too freaked out about the fact that he was flying so close to me that I could feel the wind from his wings.  


And then he landed on me and proceeded to crawl all over my calf and foot.  It was pretty cool, and quite terrifying and it tickled.  It really, really tickled.  I was afraid if I moved too suddenly, or even flinched, that he'd get freaked and sting me.  It took every ounce of willpower I had to remain calm and still for the 30+ minutes he crawled around on me.  All I can say is, thank goodness I had yummy yarn to focus on.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sunday Supper - Weight Loss Vegetable Soup

#cookingfromscratch; recipe for simple, healthy vegetable soup https://www.spendwithpennies.com/weight-loss-vegetable-soup-recipe/
Weight Loss Vegetable Soup from Spendwithpennies.com
Today's recipe, Weight Loss Vegetable Soup looks so good I'll probably gain weight.... But that's because I'll probably eat the whole pot full.  It looks and sounds delicious and I love that the recipe isn't exactly a recipe but more of a guideline.  

I'm also loving that this soup has broccoli in it.  I LOVE broccoli.  I love broccoli so much that back in my hormonal days, I'd crave broccoli rather than chocolate.  How weird is that??  But as much as I love broccoli, I don't think I've ever thought to toss it into vegetable soup.

Now, I just wish I'd been on the bread baking kick that everyone else seems to have been on since the Rona started.  A warm, fresh loaf of homemade bread would go great with this soup!

And now you know why I need "weight loss" soup.  It's not because of my love of broccoli.  It's because of my love of bread.

Friday, May 1, 2020

On the needles

Pardon the bad lighting.  It's dull and gray and raining.  Again.

An infant dress knit with Stroll Tonal washable fingering weight wool. https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435425&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Clara

The seemingly never ending rain has one benefit though.  I'm cuddled up in the house knitting more than ever.  Clara is almost finished.  I only have a little bit more to go on the top section, then add the seed stitch borders and a button, and done!  With the exception of that button, it should be finished tomorrow.

I have 100% loved knitting this little dress.  I was worried about the variegation in the tonal yarn because I'd only seen photos of it knit in solids but I think the variegation worked out just fine.  

If you are interested, the yarn is Knit Pick's Stroll Tonal in Seashell.  It really does look like the inside of a conch shell.  It's also a little weird how the colors change depending on how close you are to it.  From a few feet away, it's pink and white, but when you get up close, the white is actually THE palest lavender.  And in some light, there may even be a little creamy white in there too.

Yarn choices for Kaffe Fassett Coins cowl.
Palette and Madelinetosh

 I need your help with the next project.  I'm going to knit a Kaffe Fassett polka-dot* Coins cowl from Mason Dixon's Field Guide No. 13.  The center skein in the photo is a definite and I'm trying to decide between the other two.   

The aqua on the left coordinates with the center skein better, but I LOVE the color of the blue on the right.  I also think the darker blue would look better with a variety of skin tones than the aqua.  (I'm not sure where the cowl will go once it's finished.)  So my question is, questions are, do I use both blues or only one, and if only one, which one?

*And for your enjoyment, my computer is insisting I want to type "pothead" not "polka-dot".