Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Thank you, Dominion Power

Although I didn't get to have ice cream on National Ice Cream Day, it was an exciting weekend.

Late Saturday afternoon a line of thunderstorms blew through.

They were a bit stronger than expected and a dead tree covered in kudzo on the railroad's property fell.  On it's way down, it hit the electric pole, knocked it out of alighnment, knocked the transformer completely off the pole and brought down a bunch of wires into our yard and on Sarah's car.

At some point during the night, the power company came out and pulled the wires off Sarah's car, set the transformer up instead of leaving it leaning against her car and put caution tape around it all.

In the morning, we went out to inspect the damage to Sarah's car.  The tree had missed it by less than two feet and all that was on it was a few kudzo leaves.  Her license plate looks damaged but it's not. That's just how my computer blurrs things out.

Rather than falling on her car, the transformer had fallen straight down then tipped over and had been leaning against her tire.  Her tire, not even the hubcap!  The wires that had fallen across her hood hadn't done any damage either.  Her car didn't have a single scratch or ding on it!

And then we waited.  And waited and waited.  Thank goodness for generators!  Finally around 3:30 in the afternoon, just as I started to complain about how long it was taking, the first truck showed up.

And then a second truck.  And then a third and fourth plus the boss man in a pickup truck.  We felt like very important people with such a gathering in our yard.  

They got to work chain sawing the tree and kudzo vines off the power lines.

And then the "grabby thing" truck set the pole back up straight and they all went back to working.  I think there were about 15 guys 14 guys and a girl working.  They were like ants, all scurrying around doing their job.  By 7:00 or 7:30 p.m., we had power once again. 

And by 8:00 p.m., the environmental recovery team showed up to remove the brush that had had oil spilled on it.  I'm still not sure where the oil came from.  I'm assuming either the chain saw (they did break one cutting the kudzo) or maybe the transformer had oil in it.  I have no idea, but the crew showed up and while they didn't clear all the debris, they cleared what was oily.  

All in all and despite my whining about how long it took them to get here (there were 10,000's of thousands without power due to the storm and there were only 4 customers affected by our line problem  so we were the last service call of their day,) I was very pleased and entertained by the events.  And I can not express how thankful we all are that Sarah's car sustained zero damage.  That girl must be living right!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Ice Cream for Sunday Supper

 It's my favorite day of the year!  National Ice Cream Day!

So of course today's Sunday Supper recipe is for something ice cream related.  Cocoa Hot Fudge Sauce.  Yum!


Friday, July 16, 2021

More Potholders

 I just can't stop!

I've made a few more potholders that I need to get listed on my Etsy shop.  

Okay, question for the grammar police...  "In my Etsy shop," or "on my Etsy shop?"  It would be in a shop, but on Etsy/the web.  Which is correct?  I really should have paid more attention in school.  But hey - in my defence, the web didn't exist back in those days so my lovely English teacher, Mrs. Hall, never taught me "in" or "on" an Etsy shop rules.

I really am excited about these extra large potholders.  The cotton loops are SO much better than the kids' ones from the big box craft stores.  Besides being a much better quality and color, they are bigger and make 8 - 8.5 inch potholders instead of the little 5 or 6 inch ones.  These are big enough to protect a whole adult hand and they make fantastic trivets.  I'm just 100%, completely obsessed with making potholders!

It's a good thing I'm so obsessed with weaving potholders.  I'm going to need to make an awful lot of them over the next few months.  I've signed up to be a craft vendor at Winterfest.  Remember me talking about Winterfest?  Winterfest is the big Christmas/winter holiday event at the theme park where I used to work.   I'm very excited.  And a little bit nervous.  It will be fine though.  I'm sharing a booth with a few friends.  Sales or not, we'll have fun.

Oh, and sorry for skipping this past Tuesday.  I was busy hanging with my best girl.  Poor Hayden, her molars are coming in and they are giving her a fit!  Plus, she wasn't very happy that Nana was interrupting Paw Patrol to take selfies.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday Supper - Pepper Poppers

I've been keeping up with my Tuesday and Friday posts and y'all seemed to enjoy them before, so I've decided to re-introduce Sunday Suppers.  This time around, I'm making it easier on myself and I'll just be sharing a recipe that sounds good, not necessarily one that I plan to make today.

But, having said that, today's recipe for poppers may actually get made today.  Hayden and her parents are coming over this afternoon and we all love poppers.  Well, Hayden probably doesn't, but the rest of us do.

Both the recipe and the photo above come from tasteofhome.com.


Friday, July 9, 2021



Tropical Storm Elsa is upon us.  Thankfully I was able to spend a few minutes outside on the deck crocheting my giant granny square afghan before the rain started.  I am absolutely loving this YarnBee cotton yarn.

I was so glad, and sad, to hear how many of you have also suffered roof and a/c condensation leaks.  One good thing about our problems - they are keeping me active.  I LOVE wild weather and normally during a big storm, I sit in front of a window and watch the weather while I knit for 12+ hours straight.  Not this time!  Having to bail the drip buckets is forcing me to take crochet/craft breaks which is good for my arm as well as my entire body.

For those of you in Elsa's path, I pray you did/will make it through safely.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Haunted House

This is going to be not at all knitting related but I wanted you all to know I hadn't abandoned the blog again.  I'm just busy cleaning up a giant mess.

You know how haunted houses on TV always seem to have blood oozing out of the walls?

photo courtesy of heyallyouzombies.com

Our house is doing that, except thankfully it's dripping water instead of blood.  But blood or water, I'm convinced the house knows my mother-in-law is no longer living here and it is Pissed!

It started with a roof leak in my room.  When it rains, it rains in my room.  When we first moved in here, we'd had a roofer come fix the leak and he'd said it would need to be recoated every two years or so.  Well, it's been two years so that leak is not totally unexpected.  A pain to deal with, but not totally unexpected.

Thankfully it finally stopped raining practically every single day and my room dried up.

But then we started finding water on the floor in the hallway.

And then water started pouring out of the office ceiling for absolutely no reason.  

And then water was dripping out of the laundry room door frame.  Not the ceiling, but the top of the door frame.

The next day, water began dripping out of the fuse box in the laundry room. 

And then it began pouring out of the crown molding in my daughter's room.

And then the water started oozing out of the laundry room walls.  Literally, oozing out of the middle of the wall. 

There's no plumbing behind or above any of those places.  I know what you are thinking.... The laundry room is the problem.  But the laundry room is on the second floor and its pipes run below it.  All the water pipes run through the flooring, not the ceilings on the second floor.

Where is all the water coming from??

And as haunted house water leaks go, because the water was running down the walls, not dripping from the ceilings (except in the office,) we couldn't put buckets under the drips to catch the water.  All that water made such a big mess!

We finally figured it out.  We figured it out after the laundry room ceiling and wall finally turned to pudding and fell on the floor with a big splat.

The a/c condensation pan/pipe/whatever was stopped up.  We got this thing where it's sort of like firing a shotgun into the pipe and it forces the clog out.  It sort of worked and we got some water to go through the line so we thought it was fixed.  

And then it started raining so I put the drip pans all around my room where the ceiling leaks and we all left the house to go run errands.  

Leaving was a mistake.  The house apparently didn't like that either!  We came home to a pseudo-swimming pool in my room and the upstairs hallway, and the water flowing down our stairwell looked like white water rapids.

Turns out, whoever installed the upstairs a/c unit failed to hook up the backup pipe.  The backup pipe takes over if the condensation drip pan gets full or stopped up.  Have I ever mentioned how humid it gets here in the summer?  It gets very, very humid.  And all that humidity was being turned into condensation which was running willy-nilly all throughout the space between the second floor ceiling and the attic flooring. 

We've got it rigged up so that all the water is now dripping into a 20 gallon bucket in our hallway.  We have to wait until everything up there in the ceiling dries enough to be able to get up there to make the necessary repairs.  Meanwhile, there is a steady stream of water pouring out of the ceiling into the bucket.  I bail the bucket out every few hours.  So far the lowest amount I've bailed in a day is 11 gallons and my high was 19.  

In other words, I'm too busy bailing to knit and I may be too busy to blog this week.  There is a LOT of clean-up that needs to happen here.

Friday, July 2, 2021

And then my arm fell off

So, remember the needlepoint I just finished and how I was excited about how quickly the project had gone so I was going to start another?  Remember how I'd said my arm was so sore from the repetitive motion of pulling the tread through the mesh?  Apparently, I did not remember that until I started the newest one.  It didn't take long to remind myself.  Ouch.  

So I decided to focus on knitting instead.  

But it's too hot to knit.  And since I'm spending most of my time outside on the deck because there's no TV or internet... and it's been 95 degrees and crazy humid.... It's just too hot to knit.

So what do you do when it's too hot to knit and your arm feels like you've had six flu shots in one day?

You begin a giant, single granny square, stash busting blanket.  Of course you do!

Although I had to resort to Google's help to remind myself how to start a granny square, the project was going well.  It was going well until I remembered that I'd stopped crocheting years and years ago because it irritates my carpal tunel so badly.  A few stitches and I can't even pick up a pencil for a week.

In other words, it was going well until my arm fell off.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Skipping Fall Fever

This is about the time of year fall fever hits me hard.  And I mean, HARD!  Normally it hits the moment the lightshow from the last firework fades from the night sky on July 4th.  I instantly go from being all about bathing suits and flip-flops to wanting to build a fire, wear a sweater, drink hot spiced tea and eat pumpkin muffins.  

And while I have already had a few days of fall fever this summer, for the most part, I'm skipping fall and going straight to Christmas apparently.

I finished the second Christmas wreath needlepoint (here's the first) and have picked out the colors for the third one.  My plan all along has been to do one per year but I finished that second one so quickly and needlepoint is a good, mostly mindless, not too hot in your lap, summer project.  So...

The canvas is all taped up and the yarns are chosen.  Now I just need to remember where I put my needlepoint needles.  Argh!

Somebody, somebody much smarter than I, needs to invent a needle roomba/robot that automatically returns your knitting and sewing needles to their proper storage containers when you finish a project.  Can you imagine how much money that invention would make?  I know I'd pay a fortune for one!


Sorry, but prepare yourself for lots of Christmas needlepoint photos in the future.

Oh, and I'm still using Palette yarns to stitch the needlepoints.  I'm also using my Knit Picks blocking mats and pins to block the needlepoint.  I don't stitch on a frame so the finished canvas is always all wonky.  Pinning it into submission and a spritz or two of water always takes care of that though.  

And by the way, Knit Picks is currently having their summer sale.  Tools are on sale throughout the sale, worsted yarns are on sale this week and their DK's will be on sale next week.

You're welcome.

Friday, June 25, 2021

How to Knit a Rectangle

 Thank you guys so much!  

First of all, I've been remiss in telling you how much I appreciate the warm welcome back and specially the love and support that came my way while I was having my 'dark time.'  Many of you got in touch to make sure I was okay and I very much appreciated it.  I'm also touched by how many of you immediately welcomed me back into your homes when I began blogging again. It means the world to me.  

I also appreciated all the positive comments on my summer cotton top.  You know, the one made out of rectangles.

Many of you asked me for pattern/design details so, here you go:

But hopefully I can describe what I did a little more clearly in hopes that you don't have quite so many scratched out numbers.

1.  Gather your yarn, needles and knit a gauge swatch.  If you can create an accurate gauge swatch, it would be tremendously helpful.  If you can't/don't, you may find yourself doing steps 2 through 5 a second time.  Maybe even a third.

2. Decide how big your sweater needs to be and calculate how many stitches you'll need.  If your gauge swatch says you get 4 stitches to the inch and you want a 40 inch sweater, you'll need 160 stitches over all for example.  (4 x 40 = 160)  If you are of average proportions, you'll need to divide that number in half to get your front and back numbers.  (160/2 = 80)  If you happen to be busty or perhaps your belly  pooches out more than your back flab...  You may want to adjust your numbers slightly.  For example, in my case, I cast on 95 stitches for the back and 100 for the front.

3.  Determine how big to make the arm holes.  You could use a tape measure to measure from the top of your shoulder to your underarm, or you can take the easy way out and measure a favorite shirt from shoulder seam to underarm seam.   You can also take your measurements to determine how long you will want your top, or you can go the easy route there too and simply try it on occasionally as you knit.

4..  Now, you've got your yarn, needles and the number of stitches you'll need for the back half of the top so cast those stitches on.  Any cast-on method should work.  

5. Knitting flat (back and forth, not in the round) garter stitch until you reach that armhole measurement then put these stitches on a holder.

6.  Now, repeat steps 4 and 5 for the front but don't put the stitches onto a holder.  I counted my garter ridges to make sure the two pieces were the same length but again, if you are overly busty or hunched back... you might want to make small adjustments to the lengths.

7.  It's time to join the front and back together and knit in the round.  I put a marker at the first underarm join but it's not mandatory.  If for no other reason, I like to have the marker when I'm knitting stockinette in the round so that I know I'm making progress each time I come to it.

8.  Keep knitting around and around and around.  When you get that, "It's bound to be long enough by now!" feeling, simply pin the shoulder seams together and try it on.  Then go knit some more because you know it's not long enough yet.

9.  Once the top is an inch or two from being long enough, revert back to knitting garter stitch (knit a row, purl a row) to make up that extra inch or two and bind off.  Hate purling?  Do as I did and wrap and turn at the end of the round and knit back to the beginning.  Wrap and turn again, knit around to the marker, wrap and turn and....just keep going until it's long enough.

10. With the shoulder seams pinned, try the top on again.  This time, move the pins to mark where you want the shoulder seam to stop and the neck hole to begin.  I used clothes pins for this because it was easier than trying to pin and unpin safety pins.  Once marked, sew up those shoulder seams.

11.  If your cast-on stitches are nice and pretty, you can consider the top finished.  If not, knit an icord border around the neck and arm holes.

12.  Weave in those ends and now you really are finished!

And of course, please, make your top your own!  Add a cable running down the front - or all around for that matter!  Use a decorative stitch instead of plain garter and stockinette. Knit the entire front and back seperately and seam the sides instead of knitting the body in the round.  I used garter and stockinette because I wanted it to be 100% mindless and fast.  And hey - if you're feeling adventurous, instead of icording the armholes, pick up those stitches and knit some sleeves!  You could even add a collar if you wanted to.  

Just make it your own!  And of course, send me a photo when you're done.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

It fits!

I can't say I love the look of those horizontal stripes on me, but my patternless cotton top is finished and it fits!

I'm not sure which is worse - the horribly pixilated photo above or the one below where I look like I'm trying to catch bugs in my mouth. 

You also have to pardon the hair.  It was basically 1,000 degrees and pretty close to 1,000 percent humidity and well, remember those Wham bangs I accidentally got last year?  They are growing out.  Very, very slowly.  

Whatever.  The sweater/top fits, it's wearable and it's very comfortable.  Again, I'm not thrilled with what those stripes do to my girlish figure but it fits and I'm pretty amazed by that.  

I didn't have a pattern but I remembered knitting rectangles and sewing them together to make vests back in the '80's when I was young and skinny.  And a vest is really just a sleeveless top and I wanted to knit a sleeveless summer top and in my limited Ravelry search, I didn't find any patterns that struck my fancy.  I decided to return to my '80's style of knitting.

I actually made a gauge swatch and did the math and cast on the required number of stitches.  And I knit and I knit and I knit then I put those stitches on a holder and started over and knit and knit and knit then I joined the two peices together and knit in the round until it was almost long enough.  I knit a few rows of garter to finish it off and to tie back in to the chest area and then I bound off.  

Next I icorded the neck then decided I'd better try it on before I did the armholes.  I sure am glad I did because those holes were way too big and my boobs were pretty much hanging out the arm holes.  I simply mattress stitched a couple of inches up from the bottom of the arm hole then did the icord.  

And presto-magic!  I have a new cotton top for less than $12.00!

The yarn I used is Yarn Bee's Sugarwheel Cotton which I'd bought on sale at Hobby Lobby.  I bought four skeins but I barely made a dent in the third.  I see a LOT of blue and green dish/face cloths in my future!

Now, the big question.  How will a less than $12.00 hand knit cotton top hold up in the wash?  We will see soon.  Today is laundry day.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Catching Up

 Hey, look at me - two posts in one week!  WooHoo!

Are you a Gilmore Girls fan?  You know how Luke had a "Dark Day"?  I'm referring to my time away as my Dark Time.  And I'm still trying to catch you up on a few happenings.

While I was at Hobby Lobby buying yarn for all those wash/dish clothes I knit, I also picked up a few skeins of Yarn Bee's Sugarwheel Cotton.  The colorway is called Gourmet Garnish but I think it should be named Key West Waters.  Whatever its name, I adore the colors and knit myself a simple summer tank top with it.  I didn't use a pattern, I basically just knit rectangles and connected them.  Except something went wrong with the armholes and well, my boobs sort of hang out.  I need to fix that before I photograph it.  And sadly, the top has been tossed in the "you pissed me off" pile over in the corner.  One day....

I have to say, I was extremely happy with the Sugarwheel Cotton yarn.  I generally don't enjoy knitting with cotton but this stuff was wonderful to work with.  It comes in a bunch of different colors, both solids and self striping, it's incredibly soft, incredibly inexpensive, and I kinda want to go back and get more of every color.

One reason I have been able to get so much stitching done lately is because I'm not swimming.  Our pool pump died and the replacement is taking FOREVER to arrive.  I'm not overly stressed about it though because it keeps raining and thunder storming.  I think I may be enjoying hanging out under the deck's roof, snuggled up in a blanket and stitching while the wind blows and the cold rain falls more than I would be enjoying swimming!

Gasp!  Did I really just say that??  Yes, I did!  I think I may not be completely over my Dark Time yet because my mental state sure seems to still be affected!

Obviously I haven't gotten far, but I did cast on for a new shawl.  No pattern, just a simple triangular thing made with yarn over shaping on the edges and in the center.  I'm knitting it with I'm Here For It from Trilogy Yarns.  I bought the yarn with my birthday coupon from Center of the Yarniverse.  The moment I saw it, I new I had to knit with it.  The yarn is a merino/silk blend and the colorway reminds me of a very rusted red, white and blue metal sign.  I'm hoping I can finish the shawl in time to wear it on July 4th.  Not that I will wear it.  It's likely to be 100 degrees on July 4th.  But I'd like to be able to wear it if I wanted to.  But, if it doesn't get knit up in time, no big woop.  I'll get over my obsession with it looking like a rusty flag and think of it more as fall colored rusts and grays.  In whatever season I wear it, I love the colors and it's a dream to knit with.

We are still living in my my mother-in-law's house and when she moved into the memory care facility last month, her POA had our TV service disconnected and we haven't bothered to get our own service yet.  So we've been TV-less for over a month now.  It was extremely difficult at first but I've gotten used to it now.  Now, instead of watching TV at night, I watch this frog.  I sit, knitting, stitching or potholder-ing (that's a word, right??) at a table in front of a window and this frog - I swear it's the same one every night - hangs out on the window and catches the bugs that come to the light.  It can be very startling when he jumps and thuds into the window glass and the violence of it all is pretty much like watching TV.  

And while we're on the subject of nature at my window.... This dragonfly came for a visit the other day.  Normally we are overrun with brilliant green ones, but this year we have this type.  I've seen a few green ones, but no where near as many as these.  I wonder why that is.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

I'm back!

 I'm back!  I hope.  πŸ˜€

I really don't even know where or how to start explaining where I've been.  Honestly, I think I had a miniature nervous breakdown and I went to a pretty dark place for a while.  The mother-in-law's Alzheimer's got to be WAY more than I could handle.  We weren't safe with her and she wasn't safe with us.  We were all beyond burned out from trying to care for her but we were trapped and had no other option.  

If you've ever provided 24 hour, in-home care for an advanced Alzheimer's patient, you understand.  If you haven't, well, you'll never truly understand.  You just can't.  The life you lead caring for someone with Alzheimer's is just beyond description.  Things happen that are just incomprehensible.  Again, if you've 'been there, done that,' you'll understand.  If not, well, I sincerely hope you never do.

Anyway, we were finally able to get her into a very nice memory care facility back in May and I've been detoxing ever since.  And yes, detoxing pretty much means sitting on my butt, stitching.  I can't believe how much better I feel now.  I knew I was struggling before but I didn't realize just how badly until she was no longer in the house.  That sounds horrible but...

So, what happy things have been happening since I last posted?

I finished the Anisah shawl but never photographed it before putting it away for the summer.  I am happy to report that after a few soakings, the yarn stopped bleeding.  The shawl did loose a little color but I'm still very happy with it.

Hayden had her first birthday party.  She was so funny.  She had her own cake and was a little confused by it at first but once she realized she wasn't going to get scolded for making a mess and playing with her food... She Loved it!  All I can say is, I am SO glad the party wasn't at my house and I didn't have to clean up all that smashed cake!

Next, I finished an Adult Modular Cardigan.  No decent photos of that one either.  But despite the lack of photos, I LOVE this design!  It was so simple to knit even my stressed out/overwhelmed brain had no trouble with it.  The only hitch is that it's all garter stitch so when you are making one for my big size and really, it's more of a jacket than a cardigan, well, it's a LOT of garter.  But it was fantastic TV watching/reading, stress free knitting.  And the finished product fits perfectly And, the way the mitered square runs across my chest makes me look like I have some boobs.  Yay!

The next knitting project was a shawl with yarn from Organized Chaos.  Again, no photos.  We have a roof leak and it started raining IN my room.  I moved a bunch of stuff, including my mannequin wearing the finished shawl, into another non-rainy room and well, I keep forgetting it's there.  Out of sight, out of mind, you know.  But, Organized Chaos yarns are totally unforgettable.  If you aren't familiar with them, you should definitely check out her shop.  I'm not an affiliate or anything, just love Heather's yarns.  And to be honest, I met Heather at a trunk show and have been sort of fan-girling ever since.

I knit approximately 1,000 wash clothes and made almost as many potholders.

Okay, so maybe I didn't really make 1,000 but I made a lot.  Thank goodness I have an Etsy shop.

Remember making woven potholders on a plastic loom as a child?  Well, these are larger.  The finished potholder is more trivet sized at 8 - 8.5 inches.  I LOVE them!  And I can NOT stop making them!  The simplicity, the nostalgia, the improved loom construction and the pretty colors have been a huge help with my destressing process.  If you are looking for a new obsession, check out Harrisville Designs.  A word of warning for the craft-minded though...  They also sell yarn and weaving supplies.

Hayden LOVES riding on the back of her parents' bike.  I find it odd though because she HATES riding toys.  She screams bloody murder if you put her on her hobby or rocking horse, her baby tricycle or her little ride-on jeep thing.  Maybe she just feels safe behind Mom and Dad.

Remember the Christmas wreath needlepoint I did last year?  I started another.  And I'm almost finished!  I cannot believe how fast this project has gone.  Actually, I can because my arm is unbelievably sore from the repetitive motion of pulling the needle and thread through all those stitches.  How pathetic is it that my arm is sore, sore like I've done 500 reps of lifting 200 LB weights at the gym.  Not that I have any idea how sore I'd be from doing that.  But my arm is sore.  So sore I've begun having to not needlepoint every other day.  But I so desperately want to get this finished and checked off the list. By the way, if you are curious, I am once again using Palette yarns.  I can't get over how well Palette works for needlepointing and best of all, it's inexpensive and comes in every color imaginable.

And one last photo of Hayden...

We were at Red Lobster for dinner the other night and she got mad when she was told she couldn't have another crab cake.  She was good as gold though.  She never cried or fussed or squealed or did normal baby things that annoy the other diners.  But damn if she can't make herself understood with her facial expressions!

Well, that catches us up to a week or two ago.  Since this post has been so long, I think I'll save the last week or so of crafty happenings for the next post.

Speaking of next posts, I'm not sure when that will be.  I want to get back into a regular posting schedule but I'm still being gentle with myself.  Or maybe I'm making excuses to do nothing but sit on my butt and stitch all day.  That very well could be.  I have to admit, I have been very much enjoying my destressing process.  But Mike gave me six weeks to detox/destress and then I'm expected to look for a job. So, while I destress from the MIL, I am stressing over getting my Etsy shop back up and running. I'd pretty much abandoned it for a few years.  But, I would SO much prefer to be an Etsy seller rather than a worker-bee.  If you know anyone who needs a giant, 8" loom woven potholder, please, send them my way.  😁

Unitl next time, Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Stress Eating

 What a crazy few days it has been!

I haven't made anywhere near as much progress on Anisah as I'd like.  Things have been tense around here and I just haven't had as much time to knit as I'd like.  And honestly, when I do have time to knit, I find myself stress eating chocolate covered almonds instead of knitting.

To begin with, the MIL is requiring more and more care and we can no longer leave her alone for a single minute.  It's exhausting!  But I'm not supposed to mention her here so that's all I'm going to say.  

Despite the craziness here in this house, I did get to spend a full day with Hayden at her house the other day.  But the reason for that visit is upsetting.  Hayden's parents were hit by a drunk driver the other night.  They had to go to the hospital but luckily they were treated and released.  Hayden's mom has a back injury and won't be able to pick Hayden up for a while so I went over to help out.  

Thankfully, Hayden was not in the car at the time of the accident.  Nor was their dog who'd been neutered that morning. Can you imagine the fiasco if the poor, drugged up dog had been with them?  Not to mention Hayden's parents probably would have ended up being arrested for assaulting the drunk guy if she had been in the car.  Luckily, a police officer witnessed the accident and they didn't even have to dial 911.  And of course, the drunk guy was a non-English speaking non-citizen without the proper paperwork. And he was so drunk the investigating officer thinks he was passed out when he hit them.  Nice. 

Needless to say, I've been stress eating rather than knitting.  But I have been knitting some and I've knit enough rows that I've had to add a ten's place marker to my chain row counter.  I'm weirdly excited by that.

And now I'm off to eat plain chocolate chips because I'm out of chocolate covered almonds and there's no other chocolate in the house. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday Supper - Spinach and White Bean Soup

Okay, today's Super Bowl Sunday Supper may not be traditionally Super Bowl-ish but (1) today's weather is gross, (2) Sarah and I take turns cooking and it's my turn tonight, (3) I saw canned white beans in the grocery store and for absolutely no reason, I felt the need to buy some and (4) when I Googled February soups, Spinach and White Bean soup popped up.  I felt it was a sign.

So yeah, we're going non traditional this year.  And besides, this year's Super Bowl, with cardboard people filling the stands, will be fairly non traditional too.  It's a theme.

Oh, by the way, the recipe for this spinach and white bean soup comes from Damn Delicious.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Anisah and Rita Mae

Ya'll just don't know how much I appreciate all the positive knitting mojo you sent my way the other day.  It was the strangest, most welcome thing.  One minute I'm sitting there, staring at my new knitting toy with absolutely no desire to knit, then my phone starts dinging with incoming email/blog comment notifications.  I opened u[p the comments, read them, and as I finished reading the last one, Anisah popped into my head and my knitting mojo was suddenly back. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

There's a lot going on in that photo.  Let me explain.

During last fall's yarn crawl, I stumbled across Rita Mae Yarns.  Cortni, the dyer was having a trunk show and I instantly fell in love with her yarns. Her colors are just... well, fantastic doesn't even begin to describe them.  As I recall, it was somewhat painful to choose between them.  I considered knocking her down, grabbing an armful of yarn and running.  I'm fairly sure I could have taken her.  But there were an awful lot of witnesses and I don't really run anymore so... 

Cortni had a sample Anisah on display and it was my undoing.  I had to knit myself one.  Just HAD to!  Of course, as those things go, the yarn went into the stash pile as soon as I got home, but I did write it down on my Must Knit list first.

So anyway, after getting my knitting mojo back, I dug out the yarn and found the pattern and cast on.  Well, first, I wound the yarn into usable skeins.  Oh. My. Goodness!  The yarn (merino DK) is SO unbelievably soft. It is an absolute delight to knit with and glides through my fingers almost as though it's been greased. It's superwash so I'm fairly certain it doesn't still contain lanolin but it just feels so good!  And the color!  I'm using Blue Steel and as weird as it sounds to say gray is beautiful, it is The most beautiful deep slate gray I think I've ever seen.  There's just enough color fluctuation to make the yarn appear to almost shine.  I am SO in love with this yarn!

There's just one slight problem.  That is how I hold my working yarn.

And that is my hand after knitting only a few rows.

And there are my knitting needles that were the same color as the cable needle when I started Anisah.  Yes, the dye is seriously rubbing off.  I'm going to have to be careful not to wear anything white while I knit with this yarn.  Hopefully once the shawl is finished, a good soaking or two (or five) will fix it.  I've had other yarns dye my needles but never so quickly and I've never had it dye my hands before.

But despite the dye issue, I still LOVE this yarn!  Oh, and see that pile of yarn under those needles in that last photo?  That's not a tangle of yarn I'm knitting with.  That is the pile of strings that were tied around the three skeins before I wound them.  The tie job was quite impressive!  I've never seen yarn so well tied before.  The skeins weren't huge - they are only 250 yards each - but they were each tied six times.  There is something very special about a well tied, non-tangled skein.

Okay, so let's move past the glorious yarn.  Next, the pattern.  Anisah is awesome!  The lace and cable keep you interested, but the garter section allows you to make quick progress.  And then there's the pattern's directions.  They are so well written and both graphs and written directions are provided.  The designer, Dee O'Keefe, goes into lots of detail regarding modifying the shawl's size and/or using different weight yarns and she even explains a few little oddities that you might be concerned about in the beginning.  For example, in the top photo, do you see that weird stockinette lump that's formed near the point of the shawl?  She explains that that is normal and that it will block out.  It's nice to know that the weird lump is supposed to be there.  At least for now.

And last, but definitely not least, did you see my new toy?  I love my new chain row counter from Northern Swan Creations almost as much as I love this yarn.  And you know if I love something as much as I love yarn, I really love it!  In fact, I love it so much, I've already ordered another one in a smaller size.  

Have you seen these chain row counters?  The concept is just amazing!  The loops are numbered zero through nine and as you knit rows, you adjust the loop so that it is always on the row number you are on.  And since it also acts as a stitch marker, there's none of that getting to the end of the row and trying to remember to adjust your row counter.  You simply make the adjustment as you reach the chain.  

But it only has zero through nine.  What happens if you have ten rows you ask?  You simply put a marker on the one loop.  And when you reach twenty rows, you move that marker to the two.  

This chain row counter is so versatile!  They are advertised as being able to count up through 99 rows, but really, to count more than that, you could simply add another marker to indicate the hundred's place.  And, while I use mine to count rows, I also have a marker on the 7th loop to remind me to cable on that row.  I also have a third marker on the 4th loop to remind me which chart I'm on.  As long as you can keep up with what the different markers mean, you could add zillions of them!  And yes, I know myself.  I've already made a legend for what my different markers mean in case I ever set the project down for a while and forget what they mean.

Chain row counters are just so genius you must get one if you do any kind of knitting where you have to count rows.  As I said, I've already ordered a second one in a smaller size to hug smaller needles a little better, and just so that I can have two different projects going at once, and, I will probably order a few more for knitter friends' Christmas gifts next year.  These row counters really are the best thing since hand dyed yarn!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Three on Thursday - Quick Knits for Valentines

Thank you all for the wonderfully positive knitting and puzzle mojo you sent my way.  After reading your comments, I quickly finished the puzzle and pulled out a box of yarn and started a new project.  I'll show you the new shawl tomorrow but for now, I wanted to give back and share a little Valentine's knitting mojo with you.  So, for today's Three on Thursday, we have three quick to knit Valentines projects.

First up, and probably most difficult of the three, Valentine Plaids Hats from Cassandra May.  I just may have to knit all three of these for Hayden.  She's growing like a weed though so I better hurry!  The patterns are designed for newborn up to toddler size.

Or how about a cowl for the grown-ups?  Sweet Valentine Cowl, designed by Ambah O'Brien, is written for two sizes - a long and a short version.  I really like this one because I don't think I'd really notice the hearts if the cowl wasn't knit in traditional Valentines' colors.  Honestly, and no offense to the designer, I see lily pad leaves rather than hearts.  But that's probably because I've been reading a lot of fish pond/aquarium books lately and they are on my mind.  Whether they are intended to be hearts or lily pads, I like this design.

And, last but not least, a Valentines Dishcloth from Cecilia Fameli.  This pattern would be great for those of you (and most likely me) who have procrastinated until the 13th and are in a sudden Valentines Day panic.  Although it's technically a dishcloth, it could easily be used as a special wash cloth for the little one in your life.  Or knit it in manly colors for that boy child who's living on his own and may need a little motivation to wash his dishes. 

Thanks again for sending such an outpouring of knitting mojo my way.  You wouldn't believe how much it helped and I hope one of these patterns returns the favor.  I also hope you'll join me over at Carole's for today's Three on Thursday link up.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

I'm scared!

I'm kind of scared.

I seem to have lost my knitting mojo.

I can't remember ever loosing my knitting mojo before.  Yes, there have been times when I didn't feel like finishing the piece I was knitting.  And there have been plenty of times where I had trouble starting a new project because I couldn't choose which project and/or yarn to knit. And there have even been times when I wasn't happy with a project I'd chosen and frogged it before I even really got going. But I don't think I've ever just not felt like knitting before.  At least not since I laid down all other crafts and began knitting obsessively 28 years ago.

I'm really kinda scared!

I'm so not into knitting at the moment, I didn't even go to the yarn shop to stock up on yarn and new patterns before the big snow storm hit.

When the storm hit, instead of curling up with a cup of hot chocolate and my knitting, I went for a walk instead.  

(Is there anything more cold and desolate than train tracks in the snow?)

When I got home from my walk, I curled up with a book instead of my knitting.

And when I finished my book, I fought with this %#$@$% puzzle some more.  Let me just say, if you are into puzzles, unless you enjoy pain and frustration, do NOT buy this one with a picture of a bunch of hillbillies camping in what looks like a wheat field with a creek running through it.  Normally, this size puzzle takes me three or four days, tops.  But this one?  This one I've been struggling with for twelve days.  Good grief!!  The wheat field part was bad enough but that sky!  Oh. My. Goodness!  The last time I sat down to work on it, it took me almost two hours to place six pieces!  The whole sky is night sky and bare, overlapping branches.  It's a nightmare!

Perhaps my puzzle frustration is affecting my knitting mojo.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.  It's good in the sense that when I finish the puzzle, my knitting mojo will hopefully come back.... But at the rate I'm going, I may not finish this ^%&$%^$^ puzzle until the spring of 2023.

I'm really kinda scared!  Please, if you have any extra knitting mojo, send me some!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday Supper - Homemade Chewy Brownies

I realize it's a little early to be thinking of Valentine's Day but tonight's Sunday Supper dessert will be a trial run.  

If this recipe for homemade chewy brownies from Countryside Cravings turns out anything like the photo, they will be our Valentine's Day dessert.  

And how do you turn brownies into a Valentine's treat you ask?  Simply cut them with a heart shaped cookie cutter and save the scraps to 1) sprinkle on top of ice cream or 2) put them in a quiet to open container and stash them in your knitting bag so that you can sneak bites without having to share later on.