Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fire in the Sky

Last night my daughter & I went driving around looking at Christmas lights.  At one point, we were driving down a dark road & we could see a weird orange glow off in the distance.  We had the conversation about how we hoped someone's house wasn't on fire & kept driving.  A few miles later we entered a neighborhood and what did we find?

It wasn't a fire making the sky glow.  It was a Tacky Lights tour house.  It was impossible to get a good picture because there was a line of cars waiting to see the house & when you made it to the front of the line, you were too close to get a picture of the whole thing.  Here's another picture, very blurred because we were rolling but I like the way the lights squiggle in it.

We made our way across town & entered Windsor Farms which is an old money, extremely well to do neighborhood in Richmond.  Big mistake!  Those old money folks don't waste any of it on street lights or road signs.  We got so lost!  The neighborhood is not laid out in straight, rectangular blocks like most city neighborhoods.  The roads twist & turn and vee off of each other.  And did I mention there was a distinct lack of street lights & road signs?  Anyway, we drove around in there trying to find our way out for almost 30 minutes.  We finally ended up depending on the car's compass & just kept trying to go in one direction.

We finally found our way out of Windsor Farms & headed down to the James Center.

Being a Monday night, we were able to find a parking space so we stopped, got out of the car & walked around in the lights.

Rudolph!  I just love Rudolph!

And a shot of Sarah standing in front of Rudolph.  And yes, the photo is cropped strangely.  I swear, the pile of trash by her feet that I cropped out was not there when we were taking the picture.

After the James Center tour, we warmed up with a stop for ice cream because any Richmonder knows, there's nothing like the cold wind that blows up downtown Cary Street.  In comparison, even ice cream felt warm.

As for knitting news, don't ask & I won't start screaming.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Smut

Well, I'm not in jail.  Yet.  A week of no knitting and I haven't killed anyone!  Instead, I have read two self help books & several trashy romance novels.  For some reason, I always get the urge to read Christmas smut this time of year.  Coming Home for Christmas, by Jenny Hale doesn't qualify as smut but it was a great read.  I worked for the author's father for years & years & am quite proud of Jenny for writing such a wonderful, clean romance novel.  Since I knew her before she was even old enough for braces or boys, it would have been just plain weird to read a bunch of 50 Shades of Grey smut coming out of her mouth.  Or maybe I should say coming out of her pen.  Whatever.  It was a nice, well written and well edited story.  In fact, it was the first book I've read in quite a while where I didn't find a single typo!  Go Jenny!  Another book I really enjoyed was Rebel by Elle Casey.  It also doesn't qualify as 50 Shades of smut but it did have a bit of an edge to it.  What I enjoyed most about it was the silly situations the main character kept finding herself in.  She made me laugh out loud many times, once while sitting alone in an Arby's restaurant.  Quite embarrassing!

So, reading is what I've been doing instead of knitting for the past week.  I'm afraid I may be reading for another week too.  My hand has been healing much faster than expected and I even began to knit a little last night without pain.  Yay!  I didn't get much done yesterday though, only one mitten cuff.  I didn't want to push it & reinjure myself so I only allowed myself one TV show's worth of knitting time.  First thing this morning, I cut off the tips of two fingers, one on each hand, with the new packing tape dispenser.  Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one.   The cut on the finger on my left hand is only a little worse than a bad paper cut.  But you know how paper cuts can hurt! The cut on my right hand is ....  well, I might have needed stitches.  Or at least some of that emergency room glue they have.  This cut is much deeper and much wider and hours later, it continues to bleed if I look at it funny.  But you know me.  I don't do doctors.  As long as the old ticker continues to beat, I'll treat myself thank you very much.  I learned long ago that enough antibiotic ointment and a tight enough Bandaid will seal just about any wound.  But, with two hands with cuts, one of which is sporting a bandage oozing ointment & possibly bodily fluids, I'm back to not knitting.  For today at least.

And just so that there's some kind of photo in this post, I'll leave you with a picture of my deal of the season mini Christmas tree.  It's only about three feet tall, but it was a steal for $4 at GoodWill & came with working lights & decorations.  Can't beat that with a stick!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Total knitting panic mode

Where do I even start?  With the Christmas countdown on 20 Panic Days remaining and 18 projects on the Get It Done Or Else list, I hurt my hand/thumb and can't knit.  You've heard of "shopping till you drop"?  Well, I shopped until my thumb fell off.  Good grief!  I was carrying one of those plastic shopping bags hooked over my thumb and the weight tore something in there.  My palm & base of my thumb ended up bruised, swollen & miserable.  Unfortunately, in the panic of realizing I couldn't knit, I failed to take a picture of the fairly impressive bruising.

Luckily, minutes before going on that fateful shopping trip, I cast off this slip stitch hat.

So, that's a horrible picture taken in bad lighting with a flash.  In real life, it's "regular black" not the shiny black it appears to be in the picture and the colors are like muted stained glass.  As simple as it is, I think it may be my all time favorite thing I've ever knit.  Too bad it's too small for my head.  December has NOT been my month!  But that's okay.  I have more yarn and one of these days, the coloring in my hand won't be matching those greens & purples in the hat & I'll be able to knit another one.  A larger one, large enough for my freakishly huge head.

So, what have I been doing with all my non-knitting time?  Well, I have to admit, I have watched a Hell of a lot of Netflix, eaten my weight in self-pity Twizzlers, I've thrown a few more temper tantrums than normal, I've threatened to poke out the eyes of anyone who comes near me (with knitting needles of course) and I cleaned out my linen closet.

Yeah, that before picture isn't pretty.  Everyone had just been cramming stuff in there every which way & when ever someone dropped something, they left it where it landed.  For many, many months we've all been putting off changing our sheets as long as possible because no one wanted to have to fight trying to get the door re-closed.

So, the "after" isn't exactly pretty or decorative, but it's a lot less junky.  The door closes now, the sheets may not be folded perfectly, but they are once again stacked by size & the first aid supplies, medications, batteries & screwdrivers are back in their respective baskets instead of all jumbled up together.  Once I finished tossing the medicines that expired in 2007 (why was our family so sick in 2007??) and getting rid of the hundreds of pillow shams that don't match anything we currently own, look what happened -

An empty shelf!  Oh My God!  I have an empty shelf!  Think of all the yarn I can cram in there!

And for those of you paying attention & wondering why I have a kitchen strainer in my linen closet....  It's for cleaning out Poor Fish's bowl.  Or his rocks I should say.

Something else I've been doing is learning to paint making a mess with paint.  Apparently, I can hold a paint brush, but not knitting needles.  Argh!  But the painting has been a lot of fun.  A friend got into mixed media painting a while back & I've been pretty jealous of her creations.  I can't even draw a recognizable stick figure!  Recently, I found this book and have been following the directions and having a blast with it.

Actually, I haven't been following the directions so I've been making a lot of mistakes but I learn something from each of them.  For example, on that page, I was supposed to paint "media gel" over the black lines with a small brush before I watered down the rest of the water color pencil colors.  I failed to do the media gel step & the black lines smeared all over the place.  But whatever.  I had a good time playing with the pencils.  (And now I have the verse from Alice's Restaurant about sitting on the Group W bench & playing with the pencils running through my head.)

So yeah.  Instead of working on Christmas gift projects or shopping for items to replace the handmade ones, I've been attempting to paint & spending all my money on art supplies.  So, if you actually do receive something knit from me for Christmas (or maybe Easter - yikes!) and it's covered in paint, you'll know why.

And, now our power is starting to flicker so I think I'll rush this to a close before I end up loosing it.   We are in the midst of a three day ice storm.  We had freezing rain thunder storms yesterday which were fun!  I just pray (& so should everyone else) that our power doesn't go off.  I'm not sure I can survive if I loose both the internet and knitting at the same time.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


There's a lot to catch up on.  Let's talk knitting.  It's been quite a while since I posted here & much knitting has been accomplished.  I've knit six pair of fingerless mitts, several boot toppers (none of which I photographed) and two scarves similar to this one.

On Thanksgiving, I finished the above slipstitch scarf.  In real life, the colors are much more muted & not so mustardy looking.  I liked the pattern so much I immediately cast on for a matching hat.

I also started a white scarf in a simple lace pattern.

I love the feeling of the knitted fabric on this one but I may end up ripping it out anyway.  I bought this cone of yarn at GoodWill the other day.  There's no content label on it & I have no idea how much yarn there is but the price was too good to pass up.  Knitted up, it feels like cashmere but the price made Red Heart look expensive.  Anyway, about this scarf, I'm just not sure.  Not sure I can stand to knit an 11 inch wide scarf in white in a simple, one row lace pattern.  The boredom had already set in before I had four inches of knitting.  And have I mentioned I like looong scarves?  I'm pretty sure this one can officially be classified as a permanent UFO.

It's probably a good thing the boredom set in on the white scarf though because I got three custom orders yesterday!  Three!  That may not sound like a lot, but to me it is.  I don't normally accept more than two at a time and I've never had multiple orders come in on the same day, but....  They are all relatively simple projects that shouldn't give me any trouble.  (Wow!  That was a close call.  I'm knocking heavily on wood just in case I jinxed myself for even thinking it.)

Changing the subject....

So, why is this post titled "Ketchup"?  Have you ever seen the movie Pulp Fiction?  I love the ketchup joke and every time someone says "catch up" I automatically think "ketchup."  Anyway....  I had a lot to catch up on.  And why is that, you ask?  Because I completely screwed up.  I decided to go pro & buy my own domain name & move everything I sell onto my own website.  What a disaster!  First & foremost, what in the world was I thinking when I thought the beginning of the Holiday shopping rush would be a good time to make that kind of change?  Good Lord!  Apparently, I wasn't thinking at all!  And secondly, I've been having massive issues with the site.  Even my IT guy is having problems with it.  I won't go into details, mainly because I am NOT an IT guy & don't understand the details, but let's just say it's a disaster & not much of anything works on it.  And every "fix" just makes it worse.  So, for now, I'm back here and in my Etsy shop.  Mr. IT continues to work on it but I'm thinking I may have to pay him more than the pizza & Mt. Dew I've been supplying.

So, that's my story.  Please forgive me for the confusing excited announcements about new sites & locations that led you nowhere and for not posting here for so long.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Summer Vacation

Summers are normally a very relaxing time for me.  By the time May rolls around I'm usually feeling a teeny bit of burn out after homeschooling all year, which in our household means, I spend 90% of my time in the car driving the kids places.  I always look forward to a summer spent at home, not in the car.  I love those lazy summer days where we simply walk down to the lake, park our butts on the beach & vegetate until dinner time.  If we vegetate long enough, Hubby will come home from work & fix dinner.  I love summer!

But this year, I traded my vegetative state for "spending money."  I went & got myself a part time job at the local theme park.  What was I thinking??  Actually, I was thinking I'd work a couple of days a week & earn a little extra yarn money.

That's not exactly what happened.  The part time, couple of days a week job turned into 60 - 70 hours a week.  It's my own fault.  Jason, Creator of the Schedule, who's young enough to be my grandchild, would look at me with his sweet little face & I'd hear myself saying, "Sure, I can work that day."  I'd hear other worker-bees mention that they'd been scheduled for a day they wanted off & I'd hear myself saying I'd cover for them.  My work load would be finished & I'd find myself sticking around to help out everyone else.  I'd tell myself that since I'd put the uniform on & was going to have to go home & wash it, I may as well get it good & dirty.  So, it's my own fault.  But good grief!  After not having worked outside the house in 18 years, it was quite a shock to my system!

It didn't help that my hours were so screwy.  I'd leave home between 1:00 & 2:00 in the afternoon each day & get home around 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning.  And I'd be starving, which usually meant stopping off at the local all night truck stop for something either full of sugar or horribly greasy.  After gobbling down the truck stop food in the car, I'd get home & watch Netflix for an hour or two while I washed my uniform & my stomach settled.  I'd hit the bed around 5 a.m., sleep until noon & get up, shower and go do it all over again.  That was my summer vacation.

I can't complain though.  I really enjoyed the job, the people, & the atmosphere.  Oh, and the strawberry slushies.  The employee cafe's strawberry slushies were what kept me showing up for work day after day.  I'm not sure how I'll survive the winter without them.  They are more addictive than crack.  More addictive than sock yarn!  Hand spun, hand dyed sock yarn!!  Hand spun, hand dyed sock yarn on sale!!!

The job continues through the end of October, but it's weekends only now.  Finally!  I can return to knitting.

My summer knitting pile is pathetic.

That's all I accomplished all summer long.  A few hats, a few scarves & a couple of shawls.  Pathetic.

The problem I face now is that there are so many things I want to knit, I don't know where to start.  Instead of casting on, I sit here staring into the yarn bins for hours, frozen in indecision hell.

Maybe some music will help break me out of indecision mode.  I'm weirdly excited about my new gadget.

It's a little tiny, portable speaker that hooks to an ipod.  It works great & I use it constantly.  I carry it around the house & use it instead of headphones, I take it to work & subject my workmates to my music.  (They deserve it!  I did spend months listening to their Justin Bieber & some girl playing cups. I really don't understand the whole teen fascination with musical cups.)  I even use it in the car so that I can blast my loud obnoxious rock music while driving home from work at 3 a.m. when there's nothing worth listening to on the radio & I'm trying to stay awake.  That little $9 speaker has probably saved me from taking quite a few ditch naps.

So, I think I'll go turn on the music, close my eyes & simply grab something out of the yarn stash.    After all, any knitting is better than no knitting.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Growing Gills

I'm starting to grow gills.  June 1st marked the beginning of Hurricane Season & while we haven't had an actual hurricane yet, we certainly have had a lot of wet.  Tropical Storm Andrea arrived the first week of June & brought flooding rains.  I'm not sure how much rain we actually got, but they'd been predicting 6 inches.  Here's a photo of the Rappahannock River.  Every other day since, we've had massive thunderstorms which have each dumped 1 - 3 more inches of rain on us. This afternoon's storm is supposed to be the wildest so far as far as wind & tornados & may give us another 3 inches of rain.  In other words, I'm growing gills!

So, my new "real" job where some other company that I have no ownership rights to pays me is kicking my butt.  Rather literally.  I am so beaten up!  I fear I'll loose a fingernail from where I dropped a bag of rolled coin on my hand, that same hand has multiple cuts & scrapes, my forearm is bruised, both of my calves are bruised and I have a scrape/cut on my ankle.  And let's don't forget the first day's shin splints.  (Luckily they went away after only a few days.)  Who knew counting money could be so dangerous!  The job is a lot more physical than I'd ever have thought possible.  The actual counting of the money, not so much, but gathering & storing the money takes muscle.  But, injured or not, I still love the job.  So much so that I sort of feel like a Stepford employee.  The people are fantastic, they don't mind my constant questions (not yet, at least,) they are friendly & kind to the clueless newbies & everyone in my area seems to get a long well.  We also have a nice bathroom (which can be dang important!) with THE absolute coolest toilet paper dispenser.  So, yeah.  My life is so pathetic these days, I'm excited about a toilet paper dispenser.  But this thing is awesome!  It doesn't appear to be all that freakishly large, but it holds about 8 rolls & when one roll runs out, you just spin the dial & a new roll is ready & waiting.  I so want one for our house.  They can keep their money - they'll never have to worry about me stealing the cash, but if I can figure out a way of smuggling that toilet paper dispenser out of there, I'm taking it!

The only problem with the job is that it's severely cutting into my knitting time.  In the two weeks I've been working there, I've only knit one shawl.

And it's not even that large of a shawl nor did I use a tricky lace pattern that took forever to knit.  It's just simple garter stripes of gray & red with a solid red stockinette ruffle.  I like it though.  The red is bright & cheerful but the gray tones it down so it doesn't look like a stoplight & the ruffle girlies up the gray & red stripes just a bit.  It's another one of those shawls that I was planning to put in the shop but I may end up keeping for myself.

To add more color to this post...

My sad attempt at rose gardening.  I'm not sure you can call it "gardening" though.  Several years ago, my husband's buddy dropped by with a pickup truck full of plants he'd been hired to remove from someone's home.  He knew our "garden" consisted of not much more than crabgrass & thought we could use them.  Anyway, most of the plants have done exceptionally well.  This poor rosebush, however, has not exactly thrived.  First, it died.  I cut the trunk of it back just about to the ground & the next year, it came back & started to grow.  It just didn't grow roses.  For the past 3 or 4 years, it's produced a few leaves & grown a little in size but hasn't produced more than one or two roses.  But this year...  Blooms galore!  Of course, if you look closely, you'll see that the leaves are covered in brown spots which I'm sure mean something dreadful will happen to it soon.  Time will tell.

Can you tell?  I consider myself a naturalist gardener.  At least that's what I like to call myself rather than someone who kills plants constantly due to my lack of effort & caring.

And with that, I'll bid you adieu as I need to go hop in the shower & get ready for work.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shin Splints

So, I think I've given myself shin splints.  I decided I needed more yarn purchasing power so I decided to get a job for the summer at the local theme park.  Yesterday was my first day & let's just say that being on my feet for 8 hours, on concrete, uses a totally different set of muscles than sitting on the porch swing knitting for 8 hours.  Despite the fact that my lower legs feel like they may shatter with every step, I really like the job.  The people are great, the atmosphere is fun, and the work is simple but fast paced.  And best of all, I lost two pounds yesterday!  Weight loss beats shin splints every time.

As for knitting news, I hope I haven't made a grievous mistake.

An unblocked Christmas tree skirt that is knit using Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pie R Squared shawl formula, except I knit it flat instead of in the round.  I KNOW I did it correctly, except after looking at it off the needles, it sure does look like I only made half a pie.  Boy, I hope the magic of blocking works on this one!

I also knit this shawl using Sparkle from Haute Knit Yarn.  The yarn, my swift & my ball winder had a bit of a disagreement but all parties report it was due to user error, not material error.  The fight did leave me spending almost 18 hours untangling knotted yarn & winding it by hand, but again, it was user error, not the yarn's fault.  It's also a testimony to the yarn's yumminess that I spent 18 hours detangling it rather than simply tossing it in the trash can.  I really did make a mess of it.  It was the first time using the ball winder since I'd moved it from one side of the swift to the other.  Much to my dismay, I discovered, after winding probably 100 yards, that I didn't have the yarn feed thing latched into place & as I wound, the yarn feed thing was pulled closer & closer to the forming ball of yarn.  When I noticed it & attempted to properly lock it into place, I couldn't because it caused the yarn being fed from the swift to rub against the skein being formed.  Okay, that probably makes no sense, but trust me, it wasn't going to work.  I took the little skein I'd created off the winder & attempted to wind it from the opposite end of the loop of yarn hanging out on the swift.  All that did was cause the little skein I'd already created to wrap tightly around the base of the swift.  Next, I attempted to unwind the the second little skein I'd created & rewind it by hand but all that happened was a horrible, tangled mess.  Eighteen hours of horrible, tangled mess.  But again, the yarn was so pretty I stuck with it and spent those long 18 hours cursing and detangling.

Currently, for the first time in probably 30 years, I have nothing on the needles.  Well, nothing that I actually plan to finish that is.  I knit the last stitch on the Christmas tree skirt just minutes before I had to leave for the new job yesterday and since I'm working the night shift and didn't get home until almost 3 a.m., I didn't start anything new last night.  But today is a whole new day.  Which means, I'm off to play in the stash pile.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cap Crazy

I've been cap crazy lately.  I knit 5.9 hats over the past week.  I finished the gray one knit with Palette.

It was a fun, relaxing project.  Just enough pattern to keep me from going bonkers from solid color knitting.  I'm not sure what to call it.  I'm not sure I can call one yarn over & a decrease lace or faggoting, but....


A brown on brown striped slouchy hat.  That one is knit from more Palette & some other self striping, brown variegated yarn I had in my stash.

This one started off being a chevron scarf but I wasn't thrilled with it so I went frogging.  I like the yarn as a hat much, much better than as a scarf.

Next up, I went cable crazy.

I found a large skein of this natural color wool in the stash pile ended up knitting several hats with it.  The one above is the first.  The second hat had a few design issues.  It turned out way to pointy & looks like a nicely cabled dunce cap.    I didn't even  photograph it, although I probably should have just for giggles.  The third is the ".9" hat mentioned above.  I failed to photograph that one too, but it's more, but different, cables with the same yarn.  I've started to decreasing so it's almost finished.  Thankfully, so far, it's not looking very duncey.

A lot of other stuff has gone on over this past week besides knitting.  I've been in an ongoing argument with myself about next year's homeschool bowling league.  Was I or was I not going to run one.  I'd been leaning heavily towards not, but I've decided to go ahead & do it and do it in a much bigger way.  We won't just be a bowling league.  We'll have classes going on all day long in the bowling alley's conference room as well.  It's going to occupy a lot of my time, but I'm pretty excited about it too.

In between knitting & homeschool planning, I also managed to catch a mean case of poison ivy.  Thankfully, it's not spread all over my body, just my right arm and left hand.  But it's got that horrible bee sting itch thing that WILL NOT go away no matter how much Benedryl, Calamine or Rhuli Gel I use.  It's making me extremely cranky.  So cranky in fact, yesterday felt like six Mondays, Friday the 13th, April Fools Day & Murphy's Law all rolled into one.  There was the annoying poison ivy itch.  The cicada invasion has hit & they aren't making their normal noise.  I sorta like normal cicada noise.  It  brings back many happy childhood summer memories.  But this, this noise is horrible!  It's like some kind of weird mind control noise & it's driving me absolutely mad.  Madder than the poison ivy itch is driving me!  On top of that, I dropped Mr. Freaky Face (my hat model) and now he looks like a scarred tough guy with a freaky white face.  Some how, the button on a pair of jeans got stuck in the dry vent thing, the dryer continued to spin & the pants were spun to death.  Or at least the button is was ripped off.  In the process of listing four new hats in the Etsy shop, I accidently deleted six other listings.  And of course, I don't know which ones they are so now I've got to take inventory & compare what's actually on Etsy to what should be on Etsy.  And worst of all, I forgot to watch Vampire Diaries last night.  Argh!  I'm not sure there are enough yarn fumes in the whole world to help me recover from that.

I'm not going to let it get me down though.  I'm going to go apply another layer of Rhuli Gel, refill the coffee cup, hope & pray that I can find last night's episode of Vampire Diaries online somewhere & finish that third cabled hat.  After that, there should be enough yarn for one more!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hail to the Redskins!

I'm not feeling overly creative at the moment, we are having a massive thunderstorm with dime sized hail and I needed a blog title so....

Hail to the Redskins.

Although I freely admit to being a yarn snob, I couldn't resist Red Heart's Team Spirit in Redskin colors.  That's Mr. Freaky Face modeling the hat.  He's very happy to have ear flaps because they cover up the dent in his ear from where he recently took a tumble off the shelf.

I haven't made much progress at all on the latest chevron scarf.

I wasn't feeling the love & quickly put it down & started another blanket instead.

I got the idea from a rug I saw in a magazine.  I'm using Fibonacci's numbers (the Fibonacci number?? not sure how to word that) for the stripe sequence & solid color scrap yarn for the stripes.  I like it & hate it at the same time.  It's bright and gaudy and tacky but oddly, the bigger it gets, the less gaudy & tacky it seems.  Is that what they mean by "growing on me"?

While working on the blanket squares, I watched Once Upon a Time on Netflix.  I started noticing all the different hats the characters wear which got me thinking about hats and how much easier & quicker they are to knit than a blanket and...

Voila!  The beginning of a hat.  On my screen, it looks like slate gray yarn but it's actually a dark gray.  Palette's "Ash" to be exact.  I chose the yarn simply because it was within reach & I had two skeins (wasn't sure one would be enough.)  It doesn't look like much yet, but it's going to be my version of Red's hat, only in gray.  It's also going to be slow going because once again, I'm using fingering weight yarn & #2 needles.  I really should stop complaining about that.  With the exception of that Red Heart hat up above, I don't think I've used anything but fingering (or worse, lace) weight yarn for the past year or two.  I think it may be time to give in and admit that all my projects take me a while.

Well, the hail has finally stopped and the thunderstorm seems to have moved on.  Think I'll go see if the newly planted tomato plants survived.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Scarf fever

I've got scarf fever!  My knitting obsession seems to have turned to scarves.  I'm choosing to ignore my list of about 80 things I'd planned to knit for the summer & instead, I'm madly knitting wool scarves.  At least I know I'll be warm come winter.

Yesterday, I finished this beauty:

I started with a mitered square and turned it into a loooooong rectangle.  The yarns are Knit Pick's Palette and a Jawoll Magic knit on US 3 needles.  It took me several tries, but I'm happy with the outcome.  I'd started out using only the Jawoll but the scarf was eating yarn like crazy & I decided I wouldn't have enough.  I frogged that & started over using a coordinating blue Palette & the Jawoll but although the two skeins looked great sitting next to each other, the knit stripes weren't so hot.  I frogged it again & gave the black a try.  Hats off to the Jawoll for surviving two froggins!

Rather than weaving in the ends & blocking it, I promptly cast on for another scarf.

I'm not sure I like  how the stripes are falling on the chevron pattern but I'm hoping it will grow on me.   The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks which I've used many times and the needles are Knit Pick's interchangeables, size US 4.  Have I mentioned how glad I am to finally have a set of interchangeables?    I love my interchangeables!  They are like my Kindle.  I thought I was probably throwing away money when I bought both the Kindle & the interchangeables, but everyone else had one so....  Turns out, Everyone was right!  They each quickly proved their value & became prized possessions.

Well, it's a cool, rainy day here & the couch & afghan (hand knit, of course!) are calling.  I think it's definitely time for a rare afternoon nap.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Wow!  I've been horrible about blogging.  I blame many things; laziness, an obsession over my recent knitting projects, and my son's bowling & work schedules.  The boy child recently got his first job working as a mechanic at a bowling alley.  He's in Heaven!  The glitch is, he still doesn't have his driver's license & he doesn't get off work until 1 a.m.  And the bowling alley is an hour away from home.  Which means, I am surviving on about 3 hours of sleep at night since we don't get home  until 2:00 or 2:30 a.m. and that %$#@%^ loud, chirpy, morning-loving-bird starts making a racket at 6 a.m.  By 6:30 a.m., the woodpecker has joined in and any hope for additional sleep is lost.

I've also been spending a lot of time watching my son bowl recently.  The Youth YBA season was winding down & there have been lots of tournaments & end of the season hoop-la to attend.  Besides the regular schedule of bowling 4 days a week, there was the awards banquet for Zack's regular youth league.  Zack brought home several trophies, lots of patches (so many that for the first time, I'm thankful that he nails them to his bedroom wall instead of asking me to sew them onto something) and a ring.

Zack was presented with the ring for rolling an 820 set which was a youth record breaker.  It's a really nice ring, sterling silver & has his name, date & score engraved on the inside.  Sadly, he didn't get to hold his place as a record breaker for long.  Another local youth, Austin Washington (hope I have his name correct) rolled an 825 this past week.  I'm not positive  he rolled it during sanctioned league play though, so it may not count as an official score.

Zack's travel league also came to an end, with, wait for it.....  AMF Sunset becoming league CHAMPIONS!  AMF never wins, a Bowl America team always does, but not this year!  I'm so proud of the kids!  The last two games of the season were quite tense & the kids handled that stress much better than the parents!  Way to go kids!

It was a bit of a bitter sweet victory for us though.  It marked the end of Zack's youth bowling career.  He still has the State tournament in June & the Jr. Gold tournament in July, but this past weekend was the end of his youth team play.  My baby is growing up!

Meanwhile, amongst all the bowling, I've been getting a little knitting done.

I finished the mitered square afghan.

Pardon the messy desk.  After weaving in all those blasted little ends, I realized that I didn't have a decent place to photograph it.  I'm quite happy with the way it turned out and I used up lots of little scrap balls, although I probably still have enough to make another.  Shhh.....  don't let me have that thought for a while.  I have other projects I need to focus on instead of making another afghan.  Anyway, it was knit with fingering weight wool on #2 needles.  Fifteen rows of eight squares, and each square contains 440 stitches for a grand total of 52,800 stitches.  Hmm, sort of wish I hadn't done the math!

Yesterday I finished a chevron scarf.  It was knit with Patons Kroy Socks & a #4 needle.  I've said it before & I'll say it again, for "cheap" craft store yarn, it doesn't get much better than Patons Kroy.  I used 2 full skeins and I still need to weave in the ends & block it.  I have one skein left & I'm trying to decide if I should knit matching fingerless gloves or a hat.

And to prove that I have done something other than knit & hang out in bowling alleys,

The spinach is starting to come up although it still looks more like rows of weeds than spinach.

I also got a few tomato plants planted.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

That rascally groundhog lied.  Phil promised an early spring.  Instead, we have this:

For the 4th or 5th time since he made his early spring prediction, we found ourselves driving to a bowling tournament in the snow yesterday.  Today, the snow continues.

Despite the weather, it’s been a busy week with lots of little accomplishments or experiences.  First & most exciting, I went to bread baking class last week.  For the life of me, I can not bake bread.  I end up with cinderblocks every single time.  Even with the bread machine, if I take the dough out & make rolls, I end up with hockey puck shaped cinderblocks.  My lack of ability makes me absolutely crazy.  So, I turned to a professional.

First, she taught me how to make & knead the dough.

Second, she was great about not making me wait for it to cool completely before cutting into a loaf.  Yum!

I haven’t had the opportunity to try making bread all by myself in my own kitchen yet, but I’m looking forward to the chance.  Maybe tomorrow if things go well.  

I finally blocked the Pond Water shawlette that I mentioned here.

A close up:

I absolutely love how it turned out and am going to have a hard time listing it for sale in my shop  but I promised myself I would, so....  If the sun ever shines again, I’ll get it properly photographed & listed.

Meanwhile, my fish tank of little, tiny balls of scrap yarn reached the over-flow stage so I started another mitered square afghan.  I really do love making them.  Even the ones knit in all garter never get boring because of the constant color changes, plus, I feel very self important by being all green & frugal while using up scrap yarn.

I had hoped to be a lot further along with it by now, but I found myself in the driver’s seat all weekend instead in the knitting seat.  Normally, my husband & I take turns driving my son to the bowling alley (he bowls Friday, Saturday & Sundays.)  But this weekend, my husband got called away for work.  It wasn’t even the good kind of called away where I get a few days vacation from cooking (the kids would just as well rather eat sandwiches or frozen pizza than a real meal.)  Instead, he got the call around 11 p.m. on Thursday that he needed to go to NY on Friday.  He left Virginia mid day on Friday, drove to upstate NY, did the requested repairs on Saturday morning, & drove home that evening.  By 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, he was home & wanting to know if there were any dinner left overs.  Argh!  I am glad he got home before the most recent snow storm hit though.  But the point of this was, I ended up having to drive to the bowling alley each day.   And to make life even more fun & less knitty, my son was bowling in Richmond while my daughter had places to be in Fredericksburg, 60 miles in the opposite direction, each day.  Basically, all I did all weekend was drive up & down 95.  And for once, I didn’t even hit any horrible traffic jams where I could pull out the knitting & get a few rows in before traffic moved again. 

But, if I stop rambling & wrap this post up, I can go knit for an hour or so.  


Monday, March 11, 2013

March in Virginia

So far, it's proving to be a pretty typical March in Virginia.

We had a snow storm followed by several days of temperatures in the mid 60's.  The snow started Tuesday night & continued through Wednesday evening.  As is typical of Virginia weather, the storm couldn't make up it's mind what it wanted to be - rain or snow.  It would snow like crazy for an hour or so & the snow would accumulate to 5 to 7 inches, then it would rain like crazy for 30 minutes  & compact/melt the snow down to just a couple of inches, then it would change back to snow & start accumulating again.  Those periods of rain sure did a number on the travelers as it turned the roads into slushy, icy disaster zones, but it sure helped keep the total snow accumulation down.  If it hadn't been for the rain, we'd still be trying to dig out.

While it snowed, I knit.

It's a chevron scarf desperately in need of a good blocking.  I've also started another mitered square blanket.  I have several of them in the works, but I think I like this new one the best.  I'm not exactly happy with the square size of the other two, one's too large & one's squares are too small.  This new project is the Goldilocks of them & seems to be just right.  I've only gotten eight squares done so far so there wasn't much to photograph.

I also finally got around to blocking Sarah's scarf.

It looks much better in real life.  The light is horrible in that picture, plus the gray mannequin does nothing for the bright colors of the yarn.  Sarah seems to be happy with it and I think she'll be able to get a lot of wear out of it.  It's wool so it should be warm in the winter, but it's extremely light weight & lacy so I think she'll be able to wear it in the summer too.

For non-knitting news, I need to take a moment to say how proud I am of my son.  I've mentioned before that he bowls.  This past Saturday, he rolled an 820 set.  His coach thinks it's probably a state youth record, so that's pretty exciting!  A 900 would be three perfect games (36 strikes) in a row.  If Zack's information is correct only 17 people have rolled a 900.  Sixteen of them were adults & one is a youth with an unconfirmed score.   Also, with only three more weeks to go, his youth travel league remains in first place with quite a few points separating them from the second place team.  It's a little too early to start bragging, but ....  Go Sunsetters!

Well, I hear scrap yarn & mitered squares calling me.  And unfortunately, I think the laundry may be making some noise too.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I'm racing to get this blog post done.  I have 10 minutes before I need to go get dressed for today's grown up lunch with grown up women.  Grown ups!  I get to go see grown ups!

Yes, motherhood has been kinda getting to me lately.

I've been knitting like crazy lately & finally finished Sarah's scarf.  Which I haven't blocked or photographed.  I finished a cowl that I also have not blocked or photographed.  I'm excited about the brown cowl though - I have left over yarn.  Enough to either knit a pair of fingerless gloves or a pair of boot socks.  I can't decide which.  Feel free to chime in with your vote.  And of course, I still have not blocked the "pond water" shawlette.  The blocking pile is steadily growing and it mocks me.

Instead of blocking, I'm knitting another chevron scarf.

The colors aren't showing up well, but it's light grey, pale slate blue & green.  It screams "wear me with your favorite faded blue jeans" so of course, I love it!

Well, the clock is ticking down & I'm outta here!  Going to grown up lunch with grown up women & we'll eat grown up food & have grown up conversations.  I am so excited!  So excited, you'd think I was 12 & headed to Justin Bieber concert.  Good grief!

Don't forget to vote - fingerless gloves or boot socks?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Group W

I thought my baby boy turning 18 was bad enough but today he received his invitation from the Selective Service to take a seat on the Group W bench.  I have all the respect in the world for our military, but boy, am I glad there's no more draft.  Zack does not handle being bossed well without a clear & detailed understanding of why he's being told to do something.  He also does not have a single follwer bone in his body.  Zack would never survive the military lifestyle.

In knitting news, not much has changed.

The skein has gotten slightly smaller & the scarf has gotten slightly longer.  That's about it.

Instead of knitting, I've been rearranging furniture, purging & filing.   For several years, I've been using a desk made from a bathroom sink base & topped with el-cheapo kitchen counter laminate.  And for years, I've been hating that desk & swearing I was going to toss it out the window.  I finally reached the breaking point last week.  I didn't toss it out the window, but I did move it aside.  I'm now using an old dining room table as a desk & the old desk is pulled up to the end of the table (it fits perfectly!) for extra space to pile stuff.

Because the table turned desk doesn't have drawers, I also rearranged the one zillion plastic file cabinet/drawer things I have.  I ended up tucking several of those plastic drawer things under the table & so far, it's working great.  One of the plastic drawer things is on wheels so I can pull it out & use its top to set stuff on as well.  I've also rearranged the entire desk area so that my back is to the wall instead of to the room.  In the process of moving everything around, I decided to purge quite a bit of crafting paraphernalia that I have either never used or haven't used in years.  Much of that you'll be seeing over the next few weeks in my shop.

All in all, I'm loving the new desk arrangement.  I find I'm much more motivated to get to work in the mornings.  The only problem is, once my mind starts to wander, there's a whole lot more to look at now.  Instead of staring at the wall with one motivational quote on it, I can see the whole rest of the room.  And there's a LOT of stuff in this room.  It's a large room & serves many purposes.  My husband's office is on the other side, all of our homeschooling stuff is in here, the drum set lives in here (because it's so much fun to do office stuff while a teenager bangs away on the drums) and the room also serves as our "family" room with the TV & thousands of gaming systems.  I'm thinking I may hang curtain rods from the ceiling & "wall" myself into the corner some how.

Hmmm.....  maybe I could knit the curtains.....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pop Quiz

Pop quiz....  How many times do I have to do the same load of laundry over again before I remember to take it from the washer & put it in the dryer so that I have clean, fresh smelling clothes instead of a wet, moldy lump of clothes?  They say "three's a charm" but I'm hoping that this fourth washing will be the one that makes it into the dryer.

I've once again taken a full month to write a blog post.  Good grief!  What is wrong with me?  I'd like to say it's because I've been so  busy knitting & otherwise being productive that I haven't had time, but sadly, no, it's more like I've just been lazy.  I'm blaming Netflix.  A few months ago, my daughter lay moaning on the couch from the flu & she found a free trial offer so we signed up.  I know, everyone else in the free world has already tired of Netflix & moved on, but our family tends to run about 15 years behind everyone else, technologically speaking.  Anyway....  I fell in love!  I can sit at my desk & pretend I'm working when in fact I'm obsessively watching eight seasons of various TV shows.  It's fantastic!

Luckily, I can knit & watch TV at the same time.  Granted, I've been spending so much time choosing the next show to watch that I haven't gotten that much knitting done, but....

 Before blocking....

After blocking.   Actually, during blocking. The candle is in the photo simply as a reference as to how much the shawl grew during the blocking process.  It's knit with two skeins of Patons Kroy Sock's yarn, one in blues & one in pinks.  I'm not normally a lover of pink, but I love the way these yarns blended with each other.  I also really like Patons Kroy Sock's yarn.  It's inexpensive, it knits up well, it feels good in my hands, and it seems to hold up well.  I've only knit one pair of socks with it, mostly I use it for shawls, but the one pair have held up in the wash just fine for over a year.  I'd planned to put this shawl in my Etsy shop but during blocking, I noticed an extra yarn over along the center column.  Items with obvious errors don't make it into the shop.  Too bad, looks like I get to keep this gorgeous shawl!

During the past month, I also knit this shawlette:

I'm calling it Pond Water.

 Not an overly attractive name, but the blurr of greens, blues & browns screams pond water.  The "pond water" yarn is Opal's Vincent Van Gogh and the solid green is Froclicking Feet.  I love the way the it turned out and can't wait for it to be blocked.

Apparently, I can wait.  It's been finished for several days & I haven't tossed into the bathwater yet.  It's been cold & cloudy & our house is freezing.  No matter how much I like the shawlette & want to see the finished product, I can't bring myself to hand wash anything in cold water at the moment.  Can you say, wuss?  It is supposed to warm up later in the week....

The other day, I discovered a new local yarn shop.  Actually, it's not all that new, just new to me.  The shop has been open a while now, but it's in a part of town I don't get to often.  After visiting the shop, I think I'll be driving to that area much more frequently from now on!  Anyway... my daughter talked me into knitting a scarf for her.

The yarn is from Araucania Yarns.  I'd like to tell you more about it but I can't read the tag.  The yarn itself is fantastic, but the label...  The label is horrible.  It's gold ink printed on brown paper and the print is microscopic.  Even if the gold ink didn't blend into the brown paper & become invisible, I still wouldn't be able to read it because the print is so small.  The yarn shop tells me it says that it's 450 yards of hand painted merino.  What ever it is, it's lovely to work with.  The finished scarf will require some serious blocking though.  I'm using a fishbone lace pattern but unblocked, it looks more like ribbing.

Another thing that's kept me busy...

My baby boy turned 18 yesterday.  Apparently entering adulthood didn't affect his fondness for having his picture taken.  Or maybe he's mad because he had to light his own, single birthday cake candle.   He's also wearing the exact same shirt he's worn for the last two birthdays. Wonder if that means I need to take him shopping or if he's just a loyal Disturbed fan.  Anyway, happy birthday, Zack!