Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Bye 2009

The last day of the year. I am getting the things done that I wanted to accomplish. DH's scarf is done, the red sweater for Jordyn is done, washed and blocked. I'm sewing in the zipper on the old blue sweater that is still going strong. That should be done tonight.

Then I will start on some projects I had put aside to get Christmas knitting done.

Weight Watchers meeting today. Not too bad. Weight gain of only 1 pound during the two weeks of Christmas eating. Time to get back on track.

Mass later this afternoon. It is almost balmy with temperatures in the mid 30's.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post Christmas

Christmas has come and gone and this is what's left! It was lovely and confusing and lots of work but a good time was had by all, so the work and the worry are worth it.
So now DH and I have a lovely week of just being! The kids are home with their father, so a full no kids week!
I cleaned my knitting /sewwing/craft room, putting all the magazines and books I had lying around, on the bookshelves. I put all the projects I had bookmarked on my queue in Ravelry. I will do the same thing with my yarn, although that is really more organized.

In the waning days of 2009, I want to accomplish a few things: finish DH's Christmas scarf, finish the red sweater that was originally planned for grandaughter #1 when she was 4, and give it to grandaughter #4 before she gets too big for it, replace the zipper in an old blue sweater that the girls love, and finish Stephen King's new book "Under the Dome" It has 1072 pages. Seriously he better have something worthwhile to say on all those pages. So far (400 pages in) it is pretty good.

It has been a little stormy here, but since we have no place to go we didn't even realize there was a major storm with driving problems yesterday until we turned on the news!

Very cold (8 degrees F) . I'm going to make some Bean and Roasted Garlic soup and Dilly bread for dinner tonight.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas is Getting Closer

We had the best weekend with the kids!

Nathan and Jordyn (and Mia) slept over on Saturday night and we did all kinds of Christmasy stuff.
Finished decorating the little tree and put the train around it, made the graham cracker village, the best one yet. Notice the teeny, tiny gingerbread boys playing in the village?
We made gingerbread boys and had loads of fun decorating them in our own strange way. Mia and Frankie had a great time playing and running outside.

When Mia left on Sunday, Frankie was comatose for the rest of the day. So were Nana and Papa!

Just have some marathon Christmas cookie making to do and I'm all ready for Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just Finish It, Already!

Why do we put things off? Little things that really don't take much time. Usually the big things get done but the little nagging things just sit there and mock you.

Last night I decided to dive in and finish a couple of those little things.

Had already done the big things through the day. Trees up, meat sauce with braciole cooked, filling for the cucidati (Italian fig cookies) all ground up and soaking up the whiskey fumes.

So when I put on the water for pasta for dinner, I took out the Who? hats and one 2x2 ribbed hat that were done but needed the ends tucked. These hats had been sitting there mocking me for weeks waiting for me to finish them up. It took me until the pasta water started to boil to get them finished!

The grafting of the last sock for DD#1 which had been completed 2 weeks ago? When the pasta was done cooking, so was the grafting. 7 minutes, exactly!

I also cast on the last of the 2x2 ribbed hats. I was working on them and the 2x2 ribbed socks at the same time and I felt as if all the will to knit was being drained from me. Yes, it's easy. Yes, you could practically do it in your sleep, but when that is all you're doing it seems like it will never be over.

So before I lost what little sanity I still possess, I cast on DH's alpaca scarf and let the last of the ribbed hats wait. That alpaca scarf, by the way, is like knitting butta! So soft and beautiful.

The snowstorm last Wednesday and Thursday, didn't give us more that 2 or 3 inches of snow. The winds and low temps had the kids home from school on Thursday, so the boys picked up the trees and did they pick well this year. We also made a batch of cutout cookies and watched Christmas movies. Good times!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

My Christmas knitting is humming right along, even though I keep adding to it. I finished the Who? hats for the girls (6hats) and am making 2x2 ribbed hats for the boys (3 hats). There is a special hat for the littlest boy which I think we may be able to keep on his head (he has a definite hat bias) but I haven't received the yarn yet, so that may be an after Christmas gift.

I was knitting on the plain socks for DD#1 in my time spent waiting for the littlest schoolgirl. One was finished and sized when we were in WV, the other one just gets worked on periodically. I reached the heel, which was a dark gray patch of yarn when I came upon a knot in the yarn. I haven't made a whole lot of socks, but I have never had a ball of sock yarn with a knot. I spliced it together and continued knitting the foot until I got to a point where I needed to measure against the other sock for length.Notice anything? Yup! My self striping sock yarn was not striping right. I have been very successful at making identical rather than fraternal twins out of my other sock yarn and was not going fail on this one. I pulled out lengths of yarn, vainly trying to find the right stripping pattern. After much thought and deliberation it became clear. When the ball was knotted together they had put the new yarn on backwards, the opposite stripping pattern.

I gave it a little more thought. Should I rewind the ball? Throw them in the garbage? Call the company and make them knit me a new sock?

I finally ripped it back to the gray heel and took the yarn from the OUTSIDE of the ball, which matched up perfectly.

Just have to graft the toe and these can go in the Christmas box.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow Days

Forgot to post this . On December 1st we had the first measurable snow of the Winter 2009-2010 season. We had 237 days without snow which was the longest snowless stretch in 61 years. Today there is lake effect snow warnings until 10pm.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Blessings

Well, Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. It was a lovely day with good food, good company, close family and extended family.
None of the things I fear going wrong, actually went wrong and I wasn't a stressed out nut who couldn't enjoy the day because too many things were left for the last minute.
In fact I was able to take a couple of hours while the turkey cooked, to spend some time with an elderly aunt.
The only negative was that DD#1 and family couldn't be here with us.
While I prepared the dinner, I was recalling some of the little oops that I have had on previous Thanksgivings:
#1. Is the Turkey ever going to get done? We have had dinner about 2 hours later than expected some years because of turkey miscalculation. I don't know if my oven temp is not accurate or if it is because DD#3 is constantly opening the oven door to "test" the stuffing.
This year I added two hours to it's expected done time and it turned out perfectly.
#2. The year there was no salt. No open stores and the box of salt had only a few sprinkles. I remember getting out every salt shaker, decorative, silver, crystal and finding one that was half full.
I checked over every staple that could possibly be needed and didn't run out of anything.
#3. The year there was almost no mashed potatoes. The mixer wouldn't work when it was mashed potato time. Circuit breakers were checked, cords were examined, no luck. DD#3 pushed the reset button on the outlet and low and behold off we went. I was panicking, but really I have a potato masher. That was the way I mashed potatoes for years before I started using the mixer.
#4. Years of inferior dressing or stuffing.
My grandmother made the best stuffing in the world. A sage and sausage stuffing that I tried to duplicate for years and years. There was no one left to ask for the recipe so I searched through countless recipes for just the right combination of spices. Then one year I saw a yellow box on the store shelf in the spice aisle and the light dawned..... Bell's seasoning! I remembered it on my grandmother's spice rack! That was the secret! I bought a box and my dressing tastes just like I remember my grandmother's tasting.
I buy a new box every year, but keep the leftover boxes, just in case they stop making it. Nothing else tastes the same.
Just Thanksgiving craziness.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving, Already!

Christmas cactus blooming like crazy!

How did it get to be the weekend before Thanksgiving? It really caught me by surprise. We went to WV to visit DD#1 last week from Wednesday to Sunday and had a wonderful time hanging out with the beautiful granddaughters and handsome baby! The weather wasn't as nice there as it was here. They had the rain and cold from Hurricane Ida visiting at the same time we were. Sunday, when we left was promising to be warm and sunny. Doesn't that just figure.

I was able to get some good knitting done on the 8 hour car ride, even though I did my share of driving. I finished another of the Who? hats and am now finishing up the last of the 6, so I will have that knitting done way before Thanksgiving which was my goal. Of course I have hats for the boys to do, also. Don't have the yarn for them yet.

We got back to a pile of mail (don't you love this time of year when all the Christmas catalogs come) and packages. And this came in one of the boxes. That's Nora Gaughan's new men's pattern book and the yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light in white for the Curvier scarf for DH for Christmas. He picked it all out so it won't be surprise knitting. Since we are together 24/7, knitting a surprise for him is difficult.

DH's birthday and anniversary presents had also come while we were gone, so we had quite a collection. (There was also a new knitting book, which I will talk about in another blog.)

I was doing some listening to some podcasts and reading some blogs that, coincidentally were discussing knitting in public and surprisingly were in harmony with what I expressed in my last blog. I was also listening to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off:The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting and she discusses knitting in public's dos and don'ts much better than I. If you like her blog, I highly recommend reading any of her books. For some bizarre reason, earlier this year I requested every one of her books from the library and received them all at the same time! I was all Yarn Harlot all the time for a couple of weeks. Thoroughly enjoyed them but liked Cast Off the least, possibly because it was the last I read and I was over Harlotted. I recently downloaded the audio book and really enjoyed it

Well I'm off to start cooking the vegetables for our Thanksgiving dinner. Sweet potatoes, turnips, squash, brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce should all be done this weekend and in the freezer, then it's on to the pies! Pumpkin, apple, cherry and chocolate are on the menu. Aren't we lucky to be blessed with so much abundance!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Knitting in Public

Hand Knit Socks drying on the line on a beautiful autumn day.

I'm feeling opinionated about all things knitting, so be warned.

The DH and I were at our polling place voting on Tuesday like all good citizens should have. (Don't complain about the government you have, if you don't vote.) It was startling to see the mechanical lever voting booths were no longer being used and paper and pens and scanners were the new method of casting your vote.

The usual gray haired ladies and gents were manning the tables and one lady was knitting to pass the time, since there is usually plenty of spare moments on off, off year elections. As I was waiting, I heard the usual comments when there is a lone knitter in a group , "I don't have time to knit", "I used to knit but haven't for a long time" and the classic "My grandmother used to knit".

It reminded me of the many reasons I don't knit in public. I call it the annoyance factor.

No, let me clarify that a bit. I choose the places I will knit in public carefully dependent on the annoyance factor. That is, if someone is being annoyed, I don't do it.

Subways and buses: Some knitters wax poetic about the amount of knitting they get done while on the bus or subway. I took the subway to and from work for 17 years. Most of that lovely 25 minutes of free time (about all I got in those days) I spent reading. The one or two times I took knitting with me, I found myself actually making eye contact with the other passengers (I don't look at my work and there is nothing to look at through the windows except black tunnel on the subway). And someone would inevitably say one of those above mentioned phrases which would mean I would actually have to talk to them! No, I don't want to interact with the other riders, not at 6:00 am.

Concerts, lectures, theater and movies: Some knitters take their work to events such as these. I don't. It annoys my DH, who is all things supportive about my knitting but it disturbs him if I knit in these places. If it bothers him, it may bother or distract others in the audience. And in the case of live performances, even the performers. I don't like to be distracted by others at events where I paid good money to be entertained and I certainly don't want to be the cause of it. There was a comment made by a certain knitter who was at a lecture knitting and someone chastised her and asked her to stop and pay attention. The response, she thought cleverly, was that she didn't need her hands to listen. All well and good, but here is the annoyance factor. She was a disturbance. That, my dear, is not being clever, it is being rude.

Airports: Yes, yes, yes. I wouldn't be caught in an airport without knitting, books, ipods etc. Everyone is usually in their own little space, inner and outer. I annoy no one, no one asks me ridiculous questions, and I don't implode.

Airplanes: It depends. If I am in a middle seat between two over sized gentlemen, then maybe not. If I can make my own little nest by the window seat, probably. I always take it with me and make the best judgement.

Waiting Rooms: Yes. See Airports, above.

So where will I knit? I always have a traveling item and knit while waiting for the littlest school kid to get out of class, while watching kids after school, while riding in the car, with other knitters at coffee shops or Knit Nights, sometimes at the ball park while watching a game.

When I was in my 30's, it didn't bother me to have people make the "My grandmother used to knit" comment. I felt I was doing my part to change the image of knitting from something only little old ladies would do. Now that I am a grandmother, I resent the stereotype, but feel I am adding to it and it falls on deaf ears for me to protest that "No, no. Many many younger people are knitting these days". So it is better for my blood pressure to just avoid the conversations and not knit. I have nothing to sell, I am not an evangelical trying to convert all I see to becoming a knitter. After all, if they don't knit there will be more wool for me.

I do get my knitting time, however, and have completed 2 out of the 6 Who? hats for the granddaughters for Christmas. At this rate I may have them all done before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good, Better, Best

Still lots of color in the backyard even though there was just the littlest bit of snow mixed in with the rain. (Fuzzy picture for some reason)
Thursdays are my running around day. Weight Watchers meeting, grocery shopping, returns to the library, some yarn shopping. You get the picture.
So I returned some DVD's the library and was able to score the next two LOST dvd's in my quest to review all the shows before the final season starts. I am following the discussion in the Washington Post on line at Lost Central and am behind by about 4 weeks what with vacation
and weddings taking up my time. So I was really happy to see the two dvd's that I needed on the shelf. As I was checking out, I looked over at the shelves and there was a volunteer with gloves and cleaning solution wiping down all the cases on the dvd's. The bad news is he was only on the first shelf and hadn't gotten to the ones I took out.
So if I have the flu and get some movies to pass the time, won't I get germs on the inside of the case as well as the outside?
Do you think we are becoming altogether way too paranoid about the H1N1 flu? I do.
I lost half a pound, even though I really haven't been following program this week and haven't been able to exercise as much as I usually do because of the crazy knee thing that was going on. It's okay now, but I want to ease back into my routine so it doesn't get aggravated again.
I went to Joann's to look at some beads for the eyes on the Who? hats I'm making for the kids for Christmas and scored the IK Holiday Gifts magazine. I have been looking out for this since I saw the teasers for it. I looked at Barnes and Noble, the grocery store which usually carries all the IK mags, JoAnn's last week (I was so disappointed not to find it last week that I bought 6 skeins of sock yarn). I was going to order it on-line but then there it was. Actually just a few of them by the pattern books, none on the magazine rack.
I wonder if it is the price that is stopping some stores from carrying this, or if their supplies just haven't come in yet.
There has been a lot of buzz in the internet chat rooms about the cover price ($14.99) and the fact that some of the patterns are recycled.
I had a 40% off coupon so got $6.00 off the price. But I would have bought it at full price, if I had to. There are more things in it that I will make, than items I would not. There are 5 sock patterns! Some people download sock patterns at $5 or $6 dollars each, and don't think a thing about it.
I would have bought it for the You Kiss a Hundred Frogs Purse alone. It is so cute. But the pattern I really wanted was the Ionic Column Scarf made with 1 skein of Kid Silk Haze (or Kid Silk Crack, as the Yarn Harlot calls it). A perfect gift of elegance at a reasonable price. I want to make one for each of my daughters and myself, of course.
Yes, two more skeins of sock yarn came home with me. This is a jaquard called Lavender. Love the purples. You can't have too much sock yarn!

Monday, November 2, 2009


This is a picture from last year of Jordyn and the heads of giant sunflowers. Mainly because I took my camera but didn't take any pictures of the kids with their Halloween costumes. Again! And they were cute. Jordyn was Tinker Bell, which she loudly told anyone who mistook her for an angel. Collin was a three eyed monster, with a big eye in the middle of his forehead, and Nathan was an army guy dressed all in camo, including his new fingerless gloves.

For the first time he wanted to go around with his friends, instead of his cousin and sister and there was much discussion and hand ringing about this. One of the mothers went with them and he was given strict orders to be back by 8:15. The father was on the porch waiting for him when he made his way home by 8:22. Not too bad. But it is only the beginning of missed curfews and anxious waiting.

He slept over and we watched some Ghost Hunters, went to the Pancake House for breakfast and got the hour back that we were robbed of in the Spring.

I started my Christmas knitting and finished the right side of my blue cabled cardi. Hope to get the left side done this week.

We are going to West Virginia next week, so I would like to have the socks for DD#1 done down to the toes, so I can have her try them on for that custom fit that is so nice with handmade socks.

Chili and corn muffins and beer for dinner, wool knitting and cool fall days what could be better! Oh yes, a good game of football to watch. Too bad we just have the Bills.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Some Things Change

I was knitting on my blue cabled cardigan while we were on vacation, and really took a good look at how I was knitting. I admitted to my DH that the stitches were uneven and that I didn't knit as well as I used to. When I looked at Jordyn's pink elephant sweater, the same thought occurred to me. My stitches just weren't even.

I have been knitting for almost 60 years. I was 6 0r 7 when I pestered my mother to teach me and I have been knitting consistently ever since. There are patches of years where I knit less than others. There are some periods of time when I knit obsessively. But I was always knitting to some degree.

My first part time job when I got my last daughter into school was at a darling knit shop. This was in the mid 1980's. There were two owners who were very talented knitters and 4 or 5 of us mother-types who were part timers and we had a blast. (I still have sweaters I made while I was working there and I am working my way through yarn I accumulated during that time. The blue cabled cardigan is some of that yarn.)

I was one of the people who custom knit sweaters for customers. My knitting was so even that it looks like commercial knits. If I was working a pattern with the same yarn as the pattern called for, I could ALWAYS get gauge with the recommended needles, both stitch and row. I never had to block garments to size because they were always perfect. I'm not bragging, I'm just saying. It was effortless on my part.

Now, not so much.

This is a sweater I made in the 1980's for DD#2. Not sure if you can make out the details, but not only are the stitches even, so are the cables.

I think I am a better knitter, more technically better, than I was. I have certainly tried many more techniques and continue to challenge myself. But my knitting just isn't as consistently even. I have to knit gauge swatches and adjust needle size sometimes.

This is the current blue cabled cardigan I'm making.

I think the reason for this my lie in my fingers. Or the stiffness that gets into my fingers. They just don't work as well as they did when they were only 30 years old. And I can be okay with that.

I'm not in a competition. No one inspects my garments with an eagle eye and points fingers at me and laughs. Everyone I knit for is unfailingly pleased with my efforts and begs for more. I am the most critical and even I can just say "Oh, well I've got many more miles of living and knitting behind me, than I did then" and let it go.

When I was taking my first sock class, I was trying to knit them as quickly as I could to keep up with the class and knitting a few other things that had a deadline, so I completely overdid. I got cramps in my fingers and joints so sore that I thought I would never knit again. It scared me!

I rested my hands for over a week which meant no knitting, not using the mouse on the computer, generally becoming left handed as much as possible. Adding a few yoga stretches of my hands and fingers several times a day, I was able to slowly come back to knitting. I never want that to happen again so I have devised a strategy that has worked pretty well, so far.

I resist the attempt to "do too much". That means I am not joining knit-alongs that require a time limit. Trying to keep far enough ahead of the gift projects that I don't have to rush to complete. If I am going to miss a date, I give up and give it to them late rather than rushing to get it done. The thing that has been the most help is keeping a combination of projects going and alternating between them during my knitting time each day.
I have a sock going at all times, plain vanilla type for waiting and in between times. Then something with larger needles and yarn so that I am not cramping my hands on too small needles constantly. Right now it is the blue cabled cardi on size 8 needles. Something plain like garter stitch baby blankets may be part of the plan after Christmas knitting is finished. Knitting with cotton yarn is done in small increments and only if I really, really fall in love with the project, as cotton does an incredible number on my joints. It has worked so far and not slowed down my knitting time at all.

Can you see the joints of my index and ring fingers in the picture? Not at all the way they looked when I was twenty. But you know, I think I am a better person, mother, wife, friend, knitter than I was when I was twenty, also.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What happened to the last two weeks?

Well, the wedding is over and Halloween is coming. It has been a very busy couple of weeks and I have just about caught my breath. We had the out of town group of 2 adults, 4 kids and a dog staying with us for four days for the wedding (which was wonderful
We had the kids after school for the past two weeks because of the wedding preps and sickness among the brood. Just coughs and fevers probably from all the contact with bunches of people and the unseasonably cold weather. The wedding went well in spite of the cold and now we get ready for the holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It seems you don't have to travel very far from your own backyard this fall to see the most spectacular colors. The leaves haven't fallen yet and are turning the most beautiful colors of gold I have ever seen. The burning bush is vivid and the maple has yet to turn completely. I drive on my usual routes and keep finding myself distracted by the beauty. We haven't had the strong winds that are usual and that strip the trees bare in an afternoon so we are really enjoying a spectacle.
I finished Nathan's fingerless gloves that he wanted for his birthday in September but were pushed down the list by the Wedding Shawl. He patiently waited until I finished his sister's birthday sweater but has been dogging me to finish them so he can wear them on Halloween. So they are done and now I am free to pick up anything I want! What freedom.
Oh, yeah.....Christmas knitting. I am going to make hats for everyone, so I better start them soon.
When we went to Letchworth for five days, I really thought about the knitting I wanted to take with me. I usually overpack yarn and books, being overly optimistic about the knitting and reading time I will have. We are usually very active, walking numerous trails, so don't have a lot of sitting around time. I brought Jordyn's Elephant sweater, back and sleeves plain knitting, the green and purple socks which needed a heel turn, and the makings for my blue cabled cardigan. My plan was to knit the plain sweater in the car going down and back and on the trip to Hammondsport; turn the heel and knit the remainder of one of the socks and get the back of the sweater knit in the evenings when I could pay attention.
It worked perfectly. I got everything done I had planned and gave myself a great sense of accomplishment instead of being disappointed that I knitted so little, as had happened in the past.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back From Letchworth

October 13th

We are back from our five days at Letchworth and back to our regular work week. DH is at work and I will go pick up the littlest school girl in a few minutes. Our stay was as peaceful as ever. Even though there were lots more people to contend with than we usually run into. The library was busy (and noisy) every night and the weather was just a little cooler than normal. The food was wonderful and the rest was just what we need about this time of year.
The color was spectacular. It rained all day on Wednesday but we walked our morning walk with our rain gear and were rewarded with the sight of a beautiful 6 point buck deep in the woods with about 10 members of his family. They are going to allow bow hunting in the park in a few weeks because of the tremendous overpopulation of the deer, but I hope he is spared!
We went to Hammondsport on Wednesday and visited a few wineries. We had an early dinner at Bully Hill and were treated to the spectacular sight of a rainbow below us over the lake. Notice the lack of pictures? Where is my camera when I need it!
These pictures of the park were taken on Friday when fog blanketed the ravine. that dot is a turkey buzzard circling.
(I wrote this on the 13th and left it to edit, but haven't had a chance to post since then.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I finished the wedding shawl on Monday and washed and blocked it yesterday. It is still drying, although I think it is mostly dry. I'll unpin it later. It really turned out well.
Here it is soaking ( why is it losing so much color).

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This plot in the back garden turned out to be a lovely surprise this year. The grandkids call it the island of flowers since it is an oval plot in the middle of the yard. I had it filled with perennials and over the last two years have moved all of the flowers to different beds as we added them around the new structures in the back yard. The plan was to have this bed empty and dug up, waiting for the fall so that we could plant all lilies in it. To keep it from getting overrun with weeds and to make it look nice for the summer, I put in Giant sunflowers (see how heavy the heads are with seeds?), cosmos and zinnia seeds. It turned out so well that we are rethinking the plan. It has been continuously colorful, so we think we will do the same thing next year. We will change the location of the lily garden to the perennial beds bordering the path to the back yard. Gardening always gives you surprises, sort of like knitting!

Got through through 201 rows of the shawl. That's 77.7% done. I am on the last chart. Should be able to get it completed if not by tomorrow, (which was my very optimistic goal) at least through the weekend.
Having wonderful fall weather. Sunny, warm lovely days with just that hint of coolness that signals fall. The leaves are turning rapidly so we should have some beautiful color when we go to Letchworth in 2 weeks. Can't wait. I'm already planning the books and knitting I intent to pack. A couple of socks (plain vanilla and the famous Cookie A's Monkey socks) and either the blue zip front cabled sweater or the Central Park Hoodie depending on what I get knit after the shawl is completed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Was going to write about the wedding shawl progress last night but decided bed was more important. At the 164th row, that's a little less than 50% but not by much. A lot of running around to do today including birthday presents for my big 11 year old guy and an attempt to find my dress for the wedding so knitting may not be a priority today. The weekend should be quiet and a good time to get into the more complicated lace patterns.

Turns out that the 2 hours free in the morning doesn't get much more accomplished. Who would have thought!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Now What Do I Do?

For 41 years, more or less, I have not had mornings to myself. Not consistently, as part of my regular routine. Oh, there have been the occasional days went I would get an unexpected gift of peace and quiet but for the most part I was wrangling three girls and husband, working where I wrangled customers, students, reports, and now my retirement years where I wrangle husband and grandchildren.
But now the husband is doing his part time work thing over tax season (school and property tax) and the "baby" is going to pre-school. I pick her up at 11:00, so that means my house is absolutely quiet. I can hear the fridge running and the clocks ticking! I get a gift of two hours. Wow! What am I going to do with them, that is the question.

The first day of school prompted these conversations:

To grandson #1: What was the best thing about your first day in middle school?
His reply: "Technology. Two words, Nana. Circular saws! "

Pre-schooler when Mom woke her up for the second day of school: "Again?"

I finished the green vanilla socks for DD#2. I was going to use the Knit Picks Essential Multi in Fruit Punch for my next "vanilla socks" But I think there will be too much "pooling". I'll pick a different pattern for this yarn.
I'm halfway into the fourth repeat on the wedding shawl, so far so good.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's a Process

Yes, this is lace that has been ripped back. Yes, this is hours of my life I will never get back with nothing to show for it. Yes, this is the third time I have ripped back. The THIRD time. Due to my own fault. This is not a difficult pattern. Knit, yarn over, knit 2 together, yarn over, ssk, knit some more. Easy. Yet I have reknit this three times and made dumb ass mistakes over and over. Deep breath.
I took Friday and Saturday and knit through the third repeat. I keep looking it over for the same stupidity, but it looks pretty good, so far. Only two more repeats until I get to the edging, where it gets more challenging.
I have knit for over 50 years. I think I am fairly good at it. I have knit all kinds of things, look for new challenges, enjoy the process, have custom knit many items for customers and have persevered with a smile on my face. But I was really ready to cry when I knew I had to rip for the third time.
I'm over it now.

Here are some pictures of giant bubbles. Homemade bubble soap, and kitchen gadgets for some great fun.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Had to post something today at 9:00 on 9/9/09.

I am making the Icarus shawl for DD#2 for her wedding on October 17th.
I love this shawl and had it in my Ravelry queue
I hate knitting deadlines
The color is beautiful.
I am never going to get it finished
Really very easy pattern so far.
Boring , boring repeats
I started this on Sept 7 and have one and a half repeats done
That is only 15.6% of the total
I will be knitting on this exclusively and putting in all my love and good wishes
I can't work on all the other beautiful things I have lined up
I'm going to post my progress on Wednesdays. Will try to have it at the 50% mark next week.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Season's Change

It's September. How did that happen? Wednesday was the last day we would have the kids this summer. Asked them what they wanted to do and they said "Bake Cookies" so we did. Made chocolate chip and had a really nice day. The pool is very cool, but Nathan went in one more time on Tuesday. The nights are so cool that even though it's a nice upper 70's during the day, the water doesn't get very warm.
On Wednesday Jordyn had pre-school orientation. She starts school on Tuesday.

I took my walk on Thursday and the kids on the block were out waiting for the bus. They started on the 3rd, before Labor Day! Kenmore starts next Tuesday after Labor Day. Hard to believe the summer's over, probably because were missed one whole month with the miserable July we had.

Because of that rainy month we lost all our tomatoes to late blight. It is really sad to see this huge crop of tomatoes rot on the vine. We are taking out all the plants and tomatoes (which actually smell really bad also) and bagging them up to go in the garbage. Our other crops came in like gang busters and we have tons of peppers, eggplant, and the ubiquitous zucchini so the new vegetable garden wasn't a total bust.

I made Dante's sweater and am working on a hat to go with it. Should ship this out today or tomorrow. His 1st birthday is Sunday. How fast it goes by. My September birthdays and Jordyn in October sort of took me by surprise. I'll have to plan better next year. This is a cluster of three, while the others are spread out more.

DD#2 wants a shawl for her wedding in October, so I ordered some yarn for the Icarus Shawl Also ordered yarn for the fingerless gloves for Nathan and the yarn for hats for the kids for Christmas. Then I placed another order for a Fair Isle Mystery knitalong on Knit Picks so I had to throw in a couple of skeins of sock yarn to get the free shipping! (I know, I know, it's a sickness).

Sock Journal:
On hold while I finish birthday gifts. Want to get the green socks done this weekend.

Reality Check:
Finished putting the Lizard Ridge Afghan together. Finished up the Gold Columbines that just needed some ends tucked in.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mini Vacation

The kids went camping and we took the opportunity to take a few days off ourselves to go to Hammondsport and watch the sun come up over Keuka Lake. We left after church on Sunday morning and arrived in time for the Crafts Fair on the village green. Even though it was hot, hot, hot (in the 90's) we wandered the stalls for a bit and bought this:
a really pretty ceramic cup to hold sponges and that scrubber thing that is always getting misplaced.

We walked around the beach and had dinner at The Village Tavern which was excellent, salmon for me , Maryland Crab cakes for Pat. in the middle of wine country we chose beer! It was hot and we were thirsty. Walked around the village which is cute as a button and got some ice cream at a new place that was advertised as "homemade". When we asked about how it was made, we find out it is actually made in Florida. Huh? So instead of Perry's ice cream available at the really cute 50's Crooked Lake Ice Cream Parlor and enjoying ice cream made from local Upstate New York cows, we were suckered into "foreign", who knows what cows it came from, ice cream.

We lazed around reading and on my part knitting by the water for the rest of the evening. On Monday we went to the Glenn H. Curtiss aviation museum. It was amazing to see all the things this local boy invented and developed, from motorcycles to the first airplanes to land on ships, to the first travel trailers. He is known as "The Father of Naval Aviation".

This is the DH looking at the trailer.
Also a picture of a rebuilt Curtiss "America", the first flying boat that was rebuilt, flown and landed in Keuka Lake last year. We talked to some of the volunteers who put in thousands of hours rebuilding the planes, making them as authentic to the originals as they can. Amazing.

We left for Elmira and had a nice visit with the sister and brother-in-law and dinner at the Olive Garden. We really like to go to one of the local restaurants but being Monday, they were all closed so our only choice was a chain.

Left for home on Tuesday morning. It was nice to get away and just relax. Even though you think you relax at home, there is always something calling you, you are constantly looking at all the projects that need doing.

Sock Journal: I took a plain vanilla sock with me and knit as I travelled. DD#2 saw it and loved the colors, so I will be making these for her. My first gift socks!

Reality Check: Serena's bat and leg warmers are ready to be sent out today. Not much else done from the stash.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Organized Chaos

This is a post I am writing because I have too much yarn!!! Yes I do......
I wanted to get some books during Knit Picks 40% off August book sale, so put a few in my cart and was content with that. As I waited I noticed that the Chinook shawl kits were labeled "Last Chance" which meant they would not be available any more, so into the cart went the purple and the green colorways, with much hand wringing about not getting the neutral. Oh, and I might as well get a hank of the new Stroll hand painted sock yarn in a brown and pink colorway. What harm is one little hank of sock yarn going to do! And they had the new Zephyr acrylic points up on the website so I put a 6, 7 and 8 in my cart along with the perfectly adorable holder. (My DH, ever the total supporter of my knitting obsession, actually asked why I needed more needles). The total blew my mind so out came three of the books and in went the order.

I needed another skein of yarn for Serena's leg warmers as I came up just a teensy bit short so off I went to my LYS and there in the sock corner were all these new colors and yarns for the fall. Had to pick up three new skeins of the On Your Toes sock yarn and a beautiful hand painted yarn in reds and yellows. Then I needed buttons for the eyes on the Fuzzy Mitten Bat that I am making for Serena and happened upon some Red Heart sock yarn (yes Red Heart) with aloe and again beautiful color combinations, two pairs of socks worth. In a matter of two days I had purchased 24 skeins of yarn. When I went to put them away I realized there was no more room in the bins, in the closet, on the floor or in the baskets of my craft room for any of the new stash.

Well, let's get better organized, I said to myself. Yesterday I tidied up the craft room, removing some items I will never get to (old sweaters that I was going to take apart and reuse the yarn). I took all of the orphaned projects that have been stashed in various places around the house and put them all together in a big basket in the craft room. I checked them all to make sure I still felt the love and wanted to finish them. I will bring one of these out as I finish a project.

By my knitting chairs I have the Bat for Serena's birthday that has to be put together, the "Afghan that Will Never Get Done" with 19 more blocks to go, the Lizard ridge afghan that needs to be finished, the Blue cabled cardigan that is going to be my next big project, and the Dinosaur afghan for Chiara that I would like to finish for her birthday. Oh yes, Monkey socks and the vanilla socks out of the lime green and orange Red Heart yarn will be my travel knitting this weekend when we go to Hammondsport for a few days.
This is one half of the closet that has my yarn stored. The other half has bins full of yarn and two containers with enough sock yarn to make (gulp) 40 pairs of socks! OMG!!!
When I saw this, I actually got light headed. If I make nothing but socks, it would take me a year, at least, to make all these socks. Maybe I shouldn't have counted it.
I went on to Ravelry and organized my queue so that I have the next five projects I will tackle at the top. Of course that doesn't include the knitting for the kids birthdays. We have Dante and Nathan in September and Jordan in October, but they should be very quick projects that I already have the yarn for. Oh shoot, Christmas knitting!

So I have to face a hard reality. If I want to get all this knit up I have to stop buying anything new for the next few months (years?) and concentrate on getting a handle on what I have already.
I do go through it periodically and there is nothing in this stash that I don't still love.
One of the phrases that I used to use at work when we were facing a monumental task was:
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
So that's how I will tackle this. Stay focused, stay off of all the yarn and pattern sites, or at least
try to resist temptation, and knit, knit, knit. I'll also use my blog to keep myself on track, I'll call it "Reality Check".
Do you have a passion that sometimes takes over your good sense?
Reality Check:
So for August: Finish the Lizard Ridge Afghan. Finish Serena's Bat. Start the blue cable cardigan and the blue sweater for Little Dante for his birthday. Nathan wants the Fuzzy Mitten Penguin for his birthday and fingerless gloves.
Sock Journal: Serena's leg warmers took over for my sock knitting for the last few days. They actually look really good. I just hope they fit!

Friday, August 7, 2009

In Full Bloom

The weather is finally more summer like and all the rain has made the flowers and vegetables in my garden grow like mad. The butterfly bushes have been very popular with a wide variety of butterflies, more than we have ever seen! The first picture is of a hummingbird moth. We get some every year. The first time we saw them, we thought it was a baby hummingbird, but they let you get really close to them and we could see the differences.

So far this year we have had spinach, lettuce, zucchini, radishes, peppers, tomatoes and yesterday I harvested a whole bunch of beets from our garden! We actually got 1 raspberry from the raspberry bushes with more to come in a few days, I think. Can't wait!

Sock Journal
I finished the gold Columbine socks. Not hard at all and here is what I have learned:
1. I really enjoy knitting socks
2. When you make a mistake and have to rip, it is probably a good idea to tink back rather than ripping out the rows! Small needles and fingering weight yarn and yarn overs that get lost are not a good combination. I kept missing the yarn overs, for some reason (probably not paying close enough attention) on the first leg. Had it almost finished when I realized the count was off. Ripping it back a few rows, I was not able to pick it up without really messing up the yarn (splitting the fiber and getting ugly pulls. So I ripped it back to the cuff and started over.
3. I can see why some people find knitting socks addictive. As I am knitting, I am getting all kinds of ideas on stitch and pattern combinations I can use on sock designs of my own.
4. In a week or less I can complete a pair of socks, if that is the only knitting I am doing or I can keep a pair as the go everywhere portable knitting project.
I am going to try Cookie A's Monkey socks next using Knit Picks Felicity self stripping yarn in the Gelato colorway. I have it sitting on my knitting bag tempting me while I finish up the birthday knitting for DGD#2.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Love Those Quizzes

You Are an Ice Cream Sandwich
You are well grounded, reliable, and very balanced.
You love to work hard, but you also know how to take it easy.

People might be surprised to know you have a very goofy side to you.
You like to let loose and have fun. You just don't let yourself go too crazy!">What Frozen Treat Are You?

True and I love ice cream sandwiches!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


The sunflowers are opening up! Always a happy time. These were free, started from seeds from last years crop that just grew by themselves. Okay, one more comment about the weather. I keep saying I don't remember a cooler summer, weather wise and I am right. We are officially having the coldest summer in the last 66 years which is more than my lifetime.

I am slowly piecing together the Lizard Ridge Afghan. I am trying to do at least one 4x4 square every day or two. Haven't decided what edging I will use but am leaning toward a i-cord. I bought a teal green/blue Cascade 220 for the edging.

Sock Journal

I have finished my plain vanilla ribbed socks and will now start the Columbine Peak socks from Cat Bordhi's Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles using Knit Picks Gold Kettle Dyed Stroll yarn. This is listed as an intermediate pattern. I am reading through a large number of patterns that I have found on Knitty and Ravelry and the thing I find most intriguing is that I can probably use the plain vanilla sock pattern and just change the stitch pattern for the leg and top of the foot for most of them. This is the basis of the Charlene Schurch book Sensational Knitted Socks. If I was stuck on a desert island (with a case or two of sock yarn and needles) this is the book I would choose to have with me.

What I have learned so far:

After fumbling attempts, I have mastered the good join that Cat has in her book (transferring the first stitch from one needle to the other). When I checked her website for errata for the book, I had to laugh. She listed a few other joins, since so many people have had trouble with that particular join. I thought it was just my fumble fingers.

I really like the heel flap and will probably choose patterns that have a nice heel flap for my next few socks (I think I will try the Eye of the Partridge for my next plain vanilla sock that I will be making for my DH).

I don't think I will ever have the dreaded second sock syndrome. (Check back on this as I continue on my Sock Journey). I really don't like knitting two at a time anything, sleeves, socks, gloves....I can't knit as fast when I am trying to keep two balls of yarn from tangling.

I have mastered not having holes when picking up the gusset stiches and don't seem to have an "ear" problem when grafting the toes. The best explaination of Kitchner stitch I have come across is in 2-at-a-time Socks. Great pictures, too.

I must say I am itching to get to CookieA's socks, but I really want to have the basics mastered before I attempt any of her fantastic designs

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weather Complaints and Sock Journal

Okay, I'm really not one to complain about the weather. "Every day you're alive is a wonderful day", that's my philosophy. When it's hot, I say "Well, it's not snowing, is it"....when it's snowing I say "Well, it's not like having hurricanes or tornadoes blowing your house down, the snow will melt eventually with no harm done".

But I am just despairing that we will have any summer this year. The temperatures have gotten in the 80's only a handful of times. It has remained in the 60's and 70's with lots and lots of rain. No, not really horrible weather if it were spring. And my garden really has never looked so lush and full. The vegetable garden is brimming over with produce. I know it could be really awful weather and I shouldn't complain about it but I really look forward to enjoying my pool and swimming with the kids in June,July and August, and we have only gone in 2 times so far this summer. And I wore a coat (not a sweater) to church yesterday and even now am huddled in a jacket to keep the chill off (it's 57 degrees and it is July) and it is not going to get much warmer all week.
Okay all done whining about something I can't change.

Sock Journal
I'm really bummed about not going to the Sock Summit
in August, so I'm having my own Sock Journey. I have books by a lot of the teachers that are going to be there, so I'm starting my sock knitting journey with their help in print form,
I am making another of the Cat Bordhi plain vanilla, two rib socks that are in her Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles
that I made my first socks with. This is a review of the basic parts of a sock and I am reading through the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules and Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks to reinforce my learning experience.