Saturday, December 26, 2009

Do you believe in the power of prayer?

It should be obvious from the title, but if you have no religious belief, move along!

I received some bad financial news last week. And then a few days later received even worse financial news. Cancelled a Woolgirl subscription (Alice in Wonderland series), evaluated a few things, etc. Got info on where to go to sell blood plasma, evaluated things around here that might be sold.

And I prayed. A lot. Asked God for a Christmas miracle. And today that miracle was delivered by the USPS. It doesn't completely solve Problem #1, but it solves even worse Problem 2 and makes #1 easier to handle. I've been in tears ever since.

Monday, December 21, 2009

That light at the end of the tunnel?

Nope, not the rescue team. Fully loaded train barreling into me. For the first time in my life I'm having to remind myself that buying a lottery ticket is not a wise investment of a dollar. I've never been tempted to buy lottery tickets before. The odds of winning are so terribly bad, I've figured that my odds of winning without a ticket were just slightly lower than if I had a ticket. Sitting down and crying won't help. Maybe I'll go scrub something. It doesn't cost me anything and has good results.

If someone wanted to share the winning numbers I wouldn't turn them down.

Monday, December 7, 2009

RIP Norwegian Woods Shawl

Let's all have a moment of silence in respect for Felicia's Norwegian Woods shawl. NW met her demise this evening due to a severe run-in with a drunken frog. NW was completely ripped while in the frog pond and her remains have been rewound into a fresh clean center pull ball. No beads were sacrificed but were carefully scooped up and put back into the altoids tin to rest with their friends until knitting recommences.

After becoming suspicious about the size of the remaining ball of yarn, Felicia realized that her shawl plus beads and needles weighed over 160 gms and the remaining yarn was under 50 gms. While NW was in the stages of Chart B, Felicia knew there would not be enough yarn remaining. In an act of supreme self sacrifice, Felicia pulled the plug/needle out so that NW would not have to suffer.

Felicia does not have exact plans at this moment. She has been knitting for months without any finished objects - or at this point, any knitting to show for her efforts. She is currently torn between the idea of casting on the current Embrace the Lace club shipment of a cowl for some quick and easy gratification or resuming NW. NW II could be reincarnated in the current fingering weight yarn and the smaller size or in the correct lace weight yarn in the desired large size.

Please send wine. Cheese, crackers and maybe a tissue or two would also be appreciated.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Snow

We had our first winter snowfall today. Well, technically, it was yesterday. But I just got home from work, so to me, it's still today. If that makes any sense at all! Anyway......on Saturday we had our first snowfall.

I will be the first one to tell you that I am not a big winter fan. I don't participate in any winter sports. I don't ski or snowmobile or even snowshoe. So for me snow is just something to shovel and it makes a mess.

But the first snowfall? Magical. We're not far from the full moon and combine that with everything covered in white and it is very bright out there! I really enjoyed my drive home from work tonight. It was a fairly wet snow so everything is covered with an edge of white. Tree branches are no longer invisible in the night but are instead beautifully covered in snow. They stand out in ghostly silhouette against the night sky. Pine and hemlock needles are gently bowed under the weight of the snow. Fence lines and electric poles have this magical white glow about them. This is the time to take a professional camera outside and set it to the slowest shutter speed possible to capture the magic and beauty of the night.

There isn't enough snow to break brances or down power lines. Depending upon the temperature, we might even lose all the snow tomorrow. The ground isn't really cold enough for the snow to stick around. Next time? It won't be too long before it is cold enough for the snow to stick around until spring. It gets dirty and dingy and we all become sick and tired of shoveling this blasted stuff.

But for now? Magic.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Two Weeks? Really?

I was awfully busy at work, but I also know I'm not the only one. How on earth does everyone else manage? Or is it that I've never made blogging a habit? That is probably it. I can't guarantee daily posting (ha!) but I'll make an effort towards more reliable posting.

1. Bob is home. Which threw my whole schedule cattywampus. Still recovering from that!

2. My dryer broke as soon as I got home in Oct and I still haven't been able to replace it. If you can't count on Lowe's to run a fork lift into a dryer, what can you count on!

3. Turning wood is lots of fun. New stuff coming soon.

4. Pictures too.

5. I am very thankful - that I really don't have holiday knitting to do!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Knitting Going on Around here!

I haven't knit a stitch in weeks! Which is really unusual. Usually I have my knitting always with me. And I'll confess to getting tons of knitting done while sitting in the passenger seat of the car. Obviously with Bob gone, I'm doing all my own driving. But I'm also still sorta working both jobs - which hasn't left much free time. I came home from Quilt Festival, Houston with several new cross stitch charts I bought from The Silver Needle. If you like cross stitch at all, you really need to go check out their website. I can't imagine how, but one of these days, I will be in Tulsa, OK and be able to spend the day in the store. Actually, one of these years, I'd love to attend Camp Wannasew, but we'll see about that.

I haven't even been working on anything new either! The Silver Needle has a monthly mailing I subscribed to for awhile called Secret Needle Night. (Bet you don't see what's coming.....oh. You figured it out?) Because the whole thing is ..... a secret! Fun fibers, cute designs stitched on 10 count so they don't take long. Well, when I became a "collector" instead of a stitcher, I stopped the subscription. I knew I had other cross stitch kits laying around besides these.

Well, this week I bought a small tote with a lid. It's only a 12 quart and slightly larger than a sheet of paper. I've spent odd bits of time finding all(?) my cross stitch kits and putting them all together in this little tote. Actually, I liked this so much, I bought another one today to put all my needlepunch stuff into.

So I finished a Bent Creek design and I've been working on a Christmas Secret Needle Night kit from 2003! The idea is that I'll get to spend a bit of time each week working on a cross stitch design. It may take quite awhile to finish anything, but at least there will be progress!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What's Your Weekend Like?

What are your plans for the weekend? I read other people's posts and am amazed at the things people do, places they go, and events they attend. They have a much busier life than I do, that's for darn sure! But I'll admit that there usually isn't a whole lot going on around here. Without school age children, that also cuts out a lot of activities.

And when is your weekend? With this new job of mine, my "weekend" is actually Monday and Tuesday. My minister always said that his sabbath day was Monday. Sunday was (obviously) a heavy work day for him. And at the time, he was minister to three churches each Sunday. But this job is also a second job for me. So Mon & Tues are spent pretty heavy working in the basement in the woodshop. I've decided to declare Wed my "day off." Which is odd since I do go to work - but usually I only work Wed from 5-9 (pm). I did little bits of nothing this past Wed and it was wonderfully refreshing.

I've been fairly busy while Bob is gone cleaning up stuff around here. I live in a very small house with a full basement. The basement is where we do all our work stuff and unfortunately too much of it migrates upstairs into the living room. So I have been cleaning up, organizing, and carting things back where they belong. I know that it won't last too long once he is home again - we will have a bunch of orders for stuff that will need packaged and shipped out and that will happen in the living room.

But I'm hoping it will be a bit easier this time. I haven't had a kitchen table since I bought this house. And while I regretted the lack, it wasn't as if there was a lot of room around here anyway. I went to the local Salvation Army the other day looking for new work shirts. And they had a nice (small) kitchen table and two chairs! I went home to measure - taking the chance the table would still be there the next day. And it was! Picture a table and chairs from probably the 50's and you've got a good idea what mine looks like. But it is in wonderful shape! I cleaned it up good when I got the set home. Stopped at the store and bought new rubber feet for all the metal legs. And some rustoleum primer and new paint for all the legs. I'm really hoping that the weather will stay decent so I can paint everything before Bob gets home. Especially since he doesn't know anything about it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Light Bulb Moment?

I think I've just had an "ah ha!" moment and I'm hoping that any sweater knitters who happen to stop by can confirm.

I don't have a whole lot of luck with sweater sizing. I'm always just a bit off. I knit swatches and manage to get and keep gauge. I wear a size 36 bra and usually knit the size closest to 36. The lightbulb moment came here....we're supposed to measure around the fullest part of the bust, right? Because I wear a 36D - so the fullest part is actually 41". So when I'm knitting the pattern somewhere in the 36" - 38" range, I'm dooming myself to failure, aren't I?

Shoot! And wow.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Totally Random. Without Pictures.

1. I love people's random posts. Disjointed "comments" and pictures thrown together.

2. Bob still has my camera. No pictures. Makes me wish I was rolling in a few extra dollars and could go buy a second camera.

3. If he didn't take any pictures, he's not getting the camera next trip, that's for certain.

4. After much angst, lathe problems solved. It took an extra trip to the store (1.5 hours away) and several phone calls to get everything solved, assembled and working.

5. I so wish I had asked if I could buy the display model.

6. So I was late sending out my prize contribution to Chan and haven't taken the time yet to see if it has even arrived at her house. But it was shipped out last week and I hope the winner loves it.

7. World Series! I don't have a tv. Well, technically, I own a television, just no cable. Which means i don't get to watch anything except dvds. But I own a stereo.

8. On the radio, I can get Eagles and Penn State football games. Nascar races. Rap, country, rock, and oldies. Christian and spanish speaking stations. Do you think I could find even ONE station that I could listen to the ball game on for longer than three pitches??? Is that really so much to ask for??

9. Apparently it is too much to ask for. No, I am not willing to pay for cable.

10. I ripped out my Norwegian Woods shawl back to the first bead row. The beads were just too small. I got really lucky and found some beads (on sale even!) at the local A.C. Moore that will go wonderfully.

11. I am taking another turning class tonight. Actually, it is a class on how to sharpen our chisels. Can't wait because everything downstairs is dull as dishwater.

12. Dinner at Carraba's on the way home!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Contest Fever

I was busy and hadn't been reading my usual blogs recently. But I'm trying to catch up with friends. And it seems that lots are having a contest! Darcy is awarding a copy of Kate Jacob's newest book in the Friday Night Knitting series. And while I haven't even read the second book, I'm still gonna try for winning the third. The second won't be hard to read. I've always been a reader. I did buy the first book in the series and then included the book in a swap package I was sending out. Darcy also has a wonderful story posted on her blog with a background story about going to Kate Jacob's book signings. I haven't ever lived near an area that had book signings - I'm a bit jealous!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thoughts on Blessings

I haven't been taking the time to read many (or hardly any) blogs lately. And I had to scroll quite a ways before finding this post with all the details. But Chan - and a ravelry post I put up earlier got me thinking about blessings.

It's been a tough week - in a very odd sort of way. And yesterday didn't end the wierdness either. Last night my dryer died. I tumbled the clothes around for about 10 minutes and then just quit. I opened the dryer door (no light, bad sign) to obviously wet clothes - and a bad "burnt" smell. Worse sign. So I hung up all the clothes and went back to bed.

Where is the blessing here? Well, I could have been gone for a few days and come home to moldy clothes. Since the dryer just quit, I'm not even gonna talk about fire.

But I have the money to buy another one. Mind you, I am gonna stalk Lowe's and Home Depot looking for a discounted scratched model. I'm hoping that savings will balance out the delivery fee since I'm home alone for the next 5 weeks and there is absolutely no way I can wrangle a dryer by myself.

But during the craziness of this week, I had one neighbor pick me up at the airport (at 10:45 PM thankyouverymuch), a friend drive me around to get the keys made for my car yesterday, and another neighbor come over and put my new 100 pound lathe up on the work counter.

And aside from the obvious - I have heat in my home, a roof over my head and wool to knit with. And I didn't hesitate to buy some silk/cashmere yarn at the show last week from the Jade Sapphire booth.

I think I'm gonna contact Chan about donating a prize! Stay tuned. Oh, wait! No camera. Well, Chan will have to post a picture for me when the prize arrives at her house.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In which I prove (again) that I am an idiot

Well, I made it home late last night. And today I feel rather like I've been beat. My contacts are funny, I have a horrid headache and just feel like I've been through the mill.

I've taken a part time job, so I needed to return after the Houston show. Plan A involved driving both vehicles and me driving home afterwards. Well, that plan just worried Bob too much. So we switched to Plan B - ride out with him and then fly home. Which would have worked great if I had a brain.

So I make my plane reservation flying one way from Houston to Scranton - and actually get a decent rate. The day before, I try going on-line to check in ahead of time and I can't. Try again that morning - no luck. So I go downstairs and ask Bob's friend that we stayed with (who is also a Bob. Must have been hysterical when they were high school buddies and ran around together all the time.) to see what the problem was. Well, the problem was that I was trying to check in two weeks early. Yep. I made the reservation for the wrong date.

So I couldn't get another flight out of Houston to Scranton that day. But Bob was driving to Kansas City and I could get a flight from there home. So I got to ride along to KC. Get to the airport and they very nicely ask if I want to get on an earlier flight to Chicago where I changed planes. Jump on that hoping to get onto an earlier flight into Scranton. There wasn't an earlier flight, but at least Chicago had better food options than KC.

My neighbor picked me up from the airport and it wasn't until I got to his house that I found out I didn't have keys. Bob has torn apart our van and I really do remember putting them into my suitcase. So somewhere along the way, United airlines has lost my keys.

I finally got help on the phone when I broke down and was almost hysterical. I kept being sent to voice-mail hell. When the airline loses something of yours, you have to call each airport because there isn't a centralized lost and found. One of the numbers was disconnected. And the very nich people on the phone kept giving me the disconnected number. When I explained (over and over) that the number didn't work, I would get rerouted into the automated system.

I did have one stroke of great luck today though. I called a locksmith to see how on earth I could get another key for my 1989 car. She explained about key codes and told me who to call - and what to do if the new key didn't work well in my old locks, etc. So while the day was wasted on the phone call to hades/United, I now have a working key for just under $20.

I think I'm going to go buy a coffee and a new lathe. Gee....I wonder if all those wonderful calls have anything to do with my headache???

Posts will be picture-less. Bob has the camera in Kansas City. Bob and the camera are leaving there and going to several other states, so I will be cameraless until Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

There has got to be a storm coming

This morning I woke up feeling pretty darn good. Several hours later, my eyes are puffy, I have a horrid headache and I pretty much feel like I've been beaten. There has got to be a big storm coming through here. It's rather cloudy and very windy right now.

I was an idiot and thought my new skein of yarn from Embrace the Lace was 470 yards. Nope. It's 740 yards. Definately plenty of yarn to make the Norwegian Woods shawl I mentioned in the previous post. Now I'm gonna see if some beads I bought a couple months ago will work! Oh, wait! I'll be in Houston next week and there will be plenty of beads to choose from if the ones I have on hand don't work.

I'm having fun playing on the lathe. Drilled out the centers on some wood blanks last night to make some needle cases for our booth. And some acrylic blanks came in the mail today. Gosh, this will be fun! Talk to ya in a couple of days probably!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Look What I Got, Part 2

Last week was a great mail week. While not "fun," I did receive some black sock yarn. For some bizarre reason, I'm not especially excited about knitting these socks. But I've started a new part time job and I'm required to wear black socks. So I stopped at the store and bought two pair. Do you have any idea how odd it felt to put on store bought socks after several years of wearing only handknit?? So while not fun, black sock knitting is a bit important. I'm trying out some Knit Picks sock yarn.

Also last week, I received my Sep Embrace the Lace shipment. Much more fun than black sock yarn. Although oddly enough, this is also sock yarn!

Well, it is 470 yards (!) of merino in fingering weight. And the pattern included this month is a pair of knee socks. And while the pattern is nice, I just can't imagine hiding this pretty yarn in my shoes.

There's a lovely project bag also included. In each lace club shipment, there is also a coordinating stitch marker. Each very nice. I did notice that I was so impressed with the pattern that I didn't even include it in the pictures! I do truly like the pattern. I'm thinking of making Sivia Harding's Norwegian Woods shawl with the yarn. There are several people in the lace club who don't like the yarn and would be happy to sell it. I haven't even asked how much they want. I'd like a large cozy shawl, but the yarn is handdyed and I know two skeins would never match. Ah, well...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Look What I Got, Part 1

It is a week before we leave for Houston so spare time is rather sparse on the ground. But I'm gonna try to get a few posts up. I haven't ever been a very regular poster. But I miss doing so when I haven't posted in a few days. Must be a good sign!

My team in Dish Rag Tag isn't doing too well. There was a bit of a problem right before the end and our last person had to drop out. And I think it took about 2 days to get the replacement all lined up. Drat! Guess it was too much to hope for to be on the winning team two years in a row! But my personal DRT glory is unabated. My prize from Emily's favorite dishcloth contest arrived in the mail. What a fun pattern booklet plus two skeins of cotton and some bamboo straights. These just might actually be my first pair of straight knitting needles! Oops! I'm further behind than I thought - give me a minute to transfer the pictures from the camera onto the computer. Ok, let's try this...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Son of Dish Rag Tag!

This is the third year that I've participated in Dish Rag Tag (DRT). Emily is the brain behind DRT. There are teams all across the US. Each person on the team will receive a box that includes the pattern you are to use to knit a dishcloth, a ball of cotton yarn, a dishcloth already knit and a small treat for yourself. The idea is to keep the dishcloth and treat and use the yarn to knit a cloth for the next person on the list. The unknown part of the race comes in with the US postal service! We use a flat rate priority mail box ONLY.

This is what arrived at my house -

At the top of the picture, you can see the tiny bundle of goodies sent to me - some mixes to add to a water bottle, little packs of candy and some tea.

And pre-packing, this is what I sent off -

Here you can see the cloth I knit with the yarn, the new ball of cotton, and you can't really make them out, but there are stitch markers there for the next person. Which was a great thing to be able to include since they are so small! That small flat rate box is rather stuffed by the time we're through with it!

Well, on Emily's blog earlier this week, she ran a small contest. Leave a comment with a link or info on your favorite dishcloth pattern and you'll have a chance to win so cotton, needles and patterns. Well, I popped over to her blog this afternoon and found out I won! It's not often I win something, so this is wonderfully sweet.

Last year, my DRT team came in first place. We'll see how we fare this year, but it doesn't feel like the post office is being especially nice to my team this year.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Learning on a Lathe

We sell products to quilters at major shows. Organizers for rulers and thread is our main focus. Until recently, we had a local young man make wooden needle cases that we bought from him and sold in the booth. He was a pen turner and we asked him to branch out into the needle cases. Well, he's graduated from high school and started college. He's pre-med. So we really don't see him at all any more. But the needlecases were a popular item. So when a local store offered a pen turning class, we jumped on the chance.

Making the needlecases will be my job. Which is fine since playing on the lathe is fun! The things we make are made from oak. And oak isn't the best wood for turning because it is an open grain wood. But we have lots of wood scraps laying around. While learning what the different chisels would do, the scraps seemed the perfect choice. And I've been asking Bob to turn some of our scraps into "wooden irons." Quilters use them for "finger pressing" a seam. So I've been making wooden irons! My first batch sold last weekend at a quilt show in Marietta, GA. Bob took 12 with him and came back with only 3, so I would say they were a hit!

I don't usually have a mental image of what I want the finished product to look like. I just play around with the chisels and see what comes out! This picture is of the wooden irons Bob is taking with him this weekend to a show in Novi, MI.

The two pieces at the bottom of the picture on the left are ones that Bob made. I'm pretty sure I made all the rest. I think he throws something fancy in there just to see where I'll go with the idea!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Catching Up

Here's a peek into parts of what was keeping me busy! I was canning:

I made chow chow - a cabbage based relish with hot peppers.

I made some mild salsa and 24 hour garlic dill pickles.

And I had to leave the house while Bob made hot salsa. His main ingredient was habanero peppers. And I have an allergy to the oils in hot peppers - I truly can't even be in the same house while these are being processed.

And we took a pen turning class! Bob's is on the top in the picture. He has prior experience working on a lathe. I made the mistake of asking the instructor for help with what the different chisels would do. I should have asked Bob. The instructor was great with how to turn a straight sided pen - plus assembly, etc. But Bob has the chisel and lathe knowledge that the instructor didn't have. More work from the lathe coming next!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner

I know I'm a week late, but I'm playing catch-up. A number of years ago I lived in North Carolina. And while there, a fairly local house was rented to film a movie. During (or after not sure which), the homeowners were interviewed about their experiences. They were asked about Actor A and their response was how very nice A was - charming, friendly, etc. Actor B? Salt of the earth - just a "regular joe" kinda guy. Actor C? No comment. And while I don't follow any of the "popular" magazines, I've never heard anyone say "no comment" about Patrick Swayze. I don't remember ever seeing the movie "North and South," but the his reviews were good. I do really like the movie "Red Dawn." And I'll happily admit to totally enjoying "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost" isn't too bad either. Swayze was a talented and professional actor. He did his own stunts - and his own dancing. By now, everyone knows he was trained as a classical ballet dancer and had to give it up because of knee problems. But you know that big dance finale in Dirty Dancing? Well, during filming, Swayze had blown out his knee and was wearing a knee brace while filming that scene. He told the director to make sure all the cameras were rolling because he was only going to be able to do that scene once. I have never read or heard one nasty, snide comment about him. Every single profession needs more people like him. He took his craft seriously yet was apparently a pleasure to be around. Don't you wish you could say that about all the people you work with!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

An Unplanned Hiatus

Well, I didn't mean for that to happen! One day I was just super busy and the next thing ya know, it's been almost a month. But the knitting was on and on. I have been diligently knitting away on my aeolian shawl. So diligently in fact that I have never stopped to take even a single picture! But then I ran out of beads. Waiting for new beads - they're here now but I haven't worked up the gumption to pick the shawl back up.

I am usually a monogamous knitter. That seems to be my best bet of actually finishing something. Right now I seem to have knitting ADD. I pulled out my Philosopher's Wool sweater from last winter. Sewed the shoulders together and sewed in the sleeves. It's currently laying very nicely across a chair. Started a new PW sweater since I am teaching a class at my LYS on the PW stranding technique. I have one sleeve finished. The start of the second sleeve is sitting in a bag in the chair. As one of two long-term projects, I am making squares for a Harry Potter inspired afghan. There's a ravelry group (of course!) swapping squares every few months. So I started my next batch of squares. And I had to be somewhere at a stupid early hour this morning which would then involve waiting in line about an hour. So while waiting, I cast on for a cowl.

I ran out of my herbal hormone pills several weeks ago. I haven't noticed an increase in hot flashes. I tend to get them in spurts. Lots for months, then none for just long enough I think they're gone before they start up again. But I haven't been sleeping worth anything. Coupled with being up about 5:15 this morning, I'm actually ready for bed - and it's only 6:15. The only thing keeping me currently out of bed is the fear of waking up at 2 am and not being able to sleep!

Some pictures and maybe less rambling tomorrow. I found myself composing blog posts in my head, so I knew it was time to get back to it! And it's not just my blog I've been away from. I haven't been doing blog reading either. People's blogs I've followed for years? Nope. New friends? Nope. Not sure what I've been doing. Oh, wait! I've been casting on new projects like that alone would bring about world peace.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sky Watching, Western Edition

While on the way home from Long Beach I missed some stunning sky pictures. But at least I was able to take this photo.

This was taken in Wyoming.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We've Been a Little Busy!

We had a contract to pour some sidewalks for two neighbors once we returned from the latest trip. Thought we'd go ahead and add a sidewalk from the front door to the street at our house. We also added a bit of a patio. And then tiled it!

Pre concrete:

Starting the tile:

The paint had all come off the bistro set and we were down to (I think) the primer:

The tile is finished and grouted and the bistro set is repainted. Not happy with the color of the paint - maybe red?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Peach Crisp

I haven't posted a recipe in quite awhile! My main reason for posting recipes here is so that I can find them again later. This peach crisp recipe started from a recipe I printed off But I then changed almost everything!

This recipe made an 8 x 8 pan. For a 9x13, add more peaches.

6 peaches, peeled and sprinkled with about 1 tsp cinnamon and 1Tbl flour. Lightly grease pan and pour in peaches.

To peel peaches, dip in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then immerse in cold water. The peels will slip right off.

Crumb topping:

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/3 - 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
dash salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all topping ingredients, then cut in 1/2 cup margarine or butter until topping is about pea size.

Add desired amount of topping over peaches. Bake 350* for 35 - 40 minutes.

I had extra topping for my 8x8 pan. Next time, I might reduce flour and oats to 3/4 cup each and use about 6 Tbl butter. I used 1/2 cup sugars this time and will cut it down to 1/3 each next. My peaches were wonderfully ripe and juicy. Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Maxfield Parrish Sky

Anyone familiar with the American artist Maxfield Parrish? He was born in Philadelphia in 1870 and died in 1966. At auctions, I would usually see at least one of his prints up for sale. Parrish was known for his luminous colors. Parrish blue is named for him. His paintings are known for their layers of color and the dimension achieved through rather unique methods.

Anyway....All week, my sky has looked like it came straight from a Parrish painting. The clouds looked very three dimensional. They really looked like I could reach up and grab them back out of the sky. Very solid filled with light, shadows, and color. And not a camera around. Whenever I got to the same place as the camera, the sky looked like a "normal" sky. Nothing noteworty at all. Get on the road to go somewhere, camera at home, and the sky turned all luminous and majestic on me. Just figures, right?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

No luck with the breeze

This morning there was a light breeze. So I grabbed my scarf and tried to drape it artfully over the neighbor's tree. No luck with the artful "in the tree with breezes" shots. Still happy with the scarf though!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Denise is giving away an awesome present box on her blog! Now, I really don't want anyone who reads this to actually enter - because I'd really love to win her box of goodies! But to enter, I actually have to help spread the word. Doesn't seem quite fair, but there you have it!

Denise and I have started emailing a bit back and forth. She is not only the knitter of wonderful things, but she is a farmer. Of lavender. And if that isn't a wildly romantic thing to farm, I can't imagine what is.

Feather Duster

My stealth knitting from last month is revealed as Susan Lawrence's Feather Duster. It's written as a scarf pattern since Susan was trying to use one skein of Shibui knits Silk Cloud. I haven't ever seen the silk cloud before. Most mohair yarns that I've tried make me itch, but I keep trying different ones. I'd like to make this again in a larger size. Again, Susan has written an accurate pattern that just flies along!

Again, the preblocking blob:

This seems to show both the right colors and the wonderful stitch pattern.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Free Concert!

My backyard neighbor is the local American Legion (or the VFW - not sure). They're usually pretty good neighbors. Nothing loud late at night - usually not after 10 pm. And in the winter with all the windows closed, I usually don't hear them at all. A couple times during the summer they have a big outdoor thing going on - a dj, prizes, burgers on the grill etc. Today is one of those days. And it's a very eclectic range of music they are playing.

Hank Williams Jr., Marty Robbins, Randy Travis, Johnny Cash and Garth Brooks. Elvis, Eagles, Richie Valens, Jimmy Buffet and a bunch of current songs. I'm awful with artists names on new songs.

It's five o'clock somewhere, right!

Saturday Sky

Sky watching, Long Beach, CA edition. When working at the shows, we never really know what the weather is like outside. We arrive at the convention center about 8 am and leave about 7 - 7:30 pm. But this was the sight waiting for us when we walked outside one evening.

Friday, August 7, 2009

On the Vine

This is another pattern by Susan Lawrence. And On The Vine doesn't disappoint. For the first time, I used some Knit Picks Gloss laceweight yarn. I had enough to do three extra repeats of the pattern and the yarn blocked like a dream. Not a knot or tangle in the skein. I just took it off the blocking board, so maybe some "floating in the breeze" pictures will come soon.

Preblocking blob:

On the blocking board (and a pretty accurate color on my monitor):

The color is washed out, but I think you can see the beads that I used instead of nupps:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

45 out of 50!

We're travelling home. And by the time I get into the hotel at night, I never do remember to bring the camera in with me. Hopefully there are some nice pictures.

But! I have now been in 45 of our 50 states! We had a delivery to make, so for the first time, I went into Idaho. Drove past fields of wheat being harvested and potatoes growing away. And I finally got to see the pretty part of Wyoming. Until yesterday, I had only seen Wyoming along I-80. And it is not pretty. Not nice at all really. But we were in the north west part of the state just south of Yellowstone and Jackson. Gorgeous.

Other than Alaska (which I really want to do an Alaska cruise) and Hawaii, I have not been to Montana, North or South Dakota or Maine. I'm hoping to change at least the Maine part. Well and the Alaska and Hawaii part.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lands End correction

I previously stated that Lands End is a state park, but I have been corrected. A nice docent who works at the park put a nice comment in my previous post. Anyway -
Lands End is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is managed by the National Park Service. While we enjoyed our hike, we didn't get from one end to the other. I'll definately enjoy going back again though!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lands End Park, San Francisco

My youngest son lives near and works in San Francisco. He's become a pretty decent tour guide too. This visit, he took Bob, myself and his new girlfriend to Lands End state park in San Francisco. It was listed as an easy 3 mile walk. I'd disagree with that. There were a lot of stairs and while parts looked paved in the internet pictures, we didn't come across any paved parts. But it was lovely.

Heart to Heart FO

All blocked and ready to wear!

And on my lovely cousin that I made it for.

We were getting ready to go outside and I didn't really have a decent picture of the scarf. So I had to promise that I'd cut off her head and that I only really wanted a picture of the scarf. So just pretend, ok?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

King of the Road

I'm currently at my cousins enjoying her hospitality. King of the Road is playing on the radio, we just finished a wonderful breakfast in front of her floor to ceiling windows looking over the woods surrounding her home. She lives in northern California in a rural area that is wonderfully beautiful. I'll be sure to post some pictures later. I'm posting now from her computer, so don't want to add my pictures, etc.

Enjoy the sunshine where ever you are!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A week later

And it's still a blob. I didn't have enough yarn for another repeat, so I ripped back to the lifeline and bound off. Probably a week ago. And while not impossible, it's not easy to block something in a hotel room. So the blob is currently residing in the knitting bag in the van!

The other day I started a tank with some stash yarn. And it was turning out really bad. It's a variegated yarn. At first it was striping very nicely. But then it started acting really wierd. The colors were just turning into zig zaggy blobs. So it's waiting for the ball winder to be ripped out and rewound. But! the yarn was turning my hands black while being knit. Tess' Designer Yarns. Read a couple reviews on Ravelry and apparently it is recommended that the yarn be washed....before knitting with it.

I also had the color in the yarn turning my hands black with some socks that rock. I only knit one cuff (out of obviously two). Not sure if I want to rehank and wash that also.

Not having much luck here!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's a Blob!

Prior to blocking, lace knitting looks like one big blob. Blocking is amazing. I am further along than the picture shows. I may be done, but I'm not quite sure. Because of the design, you need to bind off after the last row. Which I'm at. I have some more yarn, but I don't know if there is enough for a complete repeat. So I'm inserting a life line to see just how much further I can get!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Stealth Knitting!

I get the opportunity to test knit two new patterns! This one is by Susan Lawrence, not sure of the release date. I was given this yarn last year when so much was stolen. It's 380 yards of Sea Wool by Fleece Artist. I knew I wanted to make a shawl as soon as I saw it. But most shawls are 400+ yards. In the scarf I am testing, Susan used ~350 yds of laceweight yarn. But since I am only making sure the pattern is clearly written, I cast on with this yarn immediately!

This shows a bit of the pattern. It goes so very quickly!

At least on my monitor, this one has a more accurate color:

The umpteenth thunderstorm of the day is moving through so I'd better shut things down. I never knew the spring was supposed to last for this many months! I think the high Tue was in the 60's.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Heart to Heart Progress

So far, so good! I know I've said it before, but this pattern knits wonderfully. Everyone in the Rav Embrace the Lace group keeps raving about this kit. I'm half afraid to see what Jen picks to follow this one!

By the time I knit a second scarf for myself, I have to have a scale. My friend bought hers at Wegmans (grocery) and I've heard Bed, Bath & Beyond carries them. I don't think I'll run out of yarn. But when I do the next one, it would be nice to know if I could have knit more plain repeats. As it is, I knit the 14 increase sections, three plain (no increase/no decrease) sections, and I'm heading down the decrease sections.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's not only swatches that lie!

I have two skeins of laceweight alpaca that I bought in a ravelry destash. The original color was a pale yellow-green. Not exactly my favorite color. The first to be overdyed I showed a couple of weeks ago (I think!). And today was dyeing day for the second skein.

For whatever reason, I decided I wanted a dark blue. But going back to the pale yellow, I was a bit concerned that I would end up with green. So I wound off a bit and dyed it in dark blue Wilton's dye.

Exhibit A:

Definately not green! I have no idea how blue dye and yellow yarn equal purple, but I'll take it! It's a great dusty purple and I really like this color. So I make more dye bath, soak the skein of alpaca in water and then plop it into the dye bath then into the microwave for a quick nuke.

Exhibit B:

At first, it was turning into the expected green. So I took the yarn out, added a bunch more blue, put the yarn back in and then heated a bit longer. Fortunately, the extra dye saved the day! It rather looks like a peacock to me. I can't wait to see what this looks like after it has dried. And then the knitting should be great! At least I'm sure hoping this looks wonderful.

In order to remind everyone of the differences in colors, I present Exhibit C:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Living Dangerously!

I've had to rip back once and tink back a couple of times. And this delicate laceweight cashmere is holding up wonderfully. The kit contains a 50 gm ball of yarn. One of the pattern notes reminds us to weigh the yarn after 14 repeats. If we're near 25 gms, then skip the one repeat without any increases and head straight into the decreases.

Well, I borrowed a friend's scale at knitting the other night. And after my 14 repeats, I actually had 33 gms of yarn left. And while I do know that each repeat uses a different amount of yarn because the stitch count differs, I still averaged it out. Each repeat used 1.21 gms of yarn. And here is where I decided to live dangerously! (cue ominous music here - theme from Jaws maybe?) I am taking a chance and knitting three repeats even before I start the decreases. Going on the assumption that math is my friend..... 1.25 gms of yarn per repeat x 33 repeats = 41.25 gms. Hopefully that is enough to give me a slightly larger scarf and not run out of yarn one repeat before binding off!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Embrace the Lace Club

I joined Wool Girl's Embrace the Lace club. I haven't done anything with the first kit yet. Poor Bob is getting really tired of everything that comes in the mail being green, and the first kit was very green! But while in the green tone, this second kit didn't sit around long.

First of all, everything that you might hear about Wool Girl's packages is correct. She packs every shipment to the gills with fun and delight.

The fun project pouch on the left already saw duty as I carried Beach Glass around in it. The pouch is nice. It is designed for lace projects. It has metal grommets on two sides for you to run the ends of your circular needle through so the needle tips don't get tangled in your knitting! Rather clever.

This month's pattern was designed by Sivia Harding who is probably the queen of lace knitting with beads. This design is no exception. And then the yarn is cashmere!

The scarf is quite ingenious. You knit a three stitch rounded edge, the garter stitch "scarf" portion, then the beaded heart border. The center garter stitch part is gradually increasing - and then of course decreasing - throughout the scarf. Sivia has quite a decrease to make the point of the heart which you then top off with a bead! I really need sharper points on my needles. I'm using the crochet hook to pull the yarn through most of the decreases. Addi turbos just don't cut it, that's for sure!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beach Glass

Susan Lawrence's new pattern is named Beach Glass. As much as I love the water, how could I resist? I had the yarn on hand even if I didn't know what it was! After going up to a larger needle because I was using fingering, things progressed rapidly.

It's currently gently pinned out onto my bed drying. I made no attempt to stretch it much. Gently pinned out the curves along the feather and fan edge and that was it. You start at the long edge and work yourself down to about 20 stitches. It's all garter lace and each section is done so fast, you don't have a chance to get bored.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Boy does one thing lead to another!

For some unknown reason, I decided that today I would take down the mini-blinds and clean them. With all the dust around here (woodshop that pays our bills in the basement), dusting off the blinds only goes so far. So down they come to get scrubbed one at a time in the bathtub.

Well, if the blinds are down, I might as well take out the windows and clean both sides of the glass. If the windows are out, I might as well clean the window frames really well. Which leads to washing the mouldings. Down the walls, and before I knew what happened, I was on my knees washing the floor!

Of course, once all the blinds are clean, the tub will need scrubbed. Might as well get the rest of the bathroom since the tub is so shiny. Hmm...the floor in there needs washed too of course.

Beware of washing the mini-blinds! You never know where that will lead!

The Potholders are Here!

The potholder swap was great fun. So much so, that I didn't take a single picture of the ones I made! Like many other people in the swap, I hadn't crocheted in quite awhile. It felt very good to get my hooks out again. I still have to make at least one for my own kitchen. But these are the potholders I received in the swap:

I was in such a hurry to mail mine off in time, I forgot to tag mine too.

Clockwise from top left, my potholders were made by: Debbie C (white, blue and green), Marissa made the ruffled one that looks like it was a bunch of work!, the yellow and white one didn't have a name, the pink rosebud was made by Nannette, and the square in the middle was made by Leila. Nannette even made stitch markers!My only regret is that it was not remotely possible to swap a potholder with everyone participating. This swap has elevated the potholder to art!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not a Saturday Sky

We've had rain. And for a change, some rain. Not interesting sky pictures. But before all the rain, I had a couple of flowers. We're gone so much, I can't even put in flowers anymore. But when Bob moved in, he brought these Irises with him. They are so very lovely and when warm, they actually smell like root beer!

Summer before last - when we didn't travel quite as much and I still had a dog, I found this iris. Marley and I were walking by the lake and thrown down into a heap were a bunch of irises. I didn't get a decent picture of the little yellow flag irises, but these purple and white ones were also part of my free flowers!