Saturday, January 31, 2015

OTN 01-31-15

A very short post today...


Granted, you have to count the stripes to see the progress, but progress has been made.

Hey, don't forget... Today's the last day to use the BEMINE coupon code to receive 25% off at my Etsy shop.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fiber Friday - Spark Story

Have you noticed that I've been in a yarn rut for a while?  As in the last five or ten years?  I find a yarn that I like and I knit with it over and over and over again.  I find comfort in knowing what to expect from a yarn.  Part of me likes being in the rut.  It's pretty comfy down in there.  Except that it can be boring and when the rut gets too deep, it's difficult to see the surrounding scenery.

So, in an effort to force myself out of the rut, my plan is to introduce a new (to me, at least) yarn each Friday.  Or at least, most Fridays.  Thus, Fiber Friday.

Today, for the first ever Fiber Friday, I'm looking at a yarn from Spark Story.

A week or two ago, I stumbled across a picture of a gorgeous brown bark colored yarn from Spark Story and instantly fell in love.  I immediately went to the shop to place an order.  The only problem was, once I saw all the choices, I couldn't decide.  I wanted every single yarn offered.  There were a zillion different  browns to choose from.  One looked like sand.  There was a beachy looking yarn.  There were greens, blues, yellows, purples and did I mention all the browns?  I literally couldn't decide.  So, I picked Stained Glass.  It was sort of a clown barf mixture of all the colors.

The yarn arrived super quick and isn't the least bit clown barfy.  Instead of having a mixture of color on creamy white yarn (which is what normally gives clown barf it's barfy appearance,) it's actually a heathered gray.  The gray tones down all the other colors and mutes them so there's no clown barf in sight.  And I love it!

The yarn feels great in my hands and while it looks like a very thin fingering weight, it's somewhat squishy and knits up thicker than it looks.

#todayonmyneedles 01/29/15

And the frequent color changes will make knitting a plain stockinette sock much more enjoyable.  Have I mentioned how much I love this yarn?  Thank goodness Spark Story has so many lovely colors to choose from.  I have the feeling I'm going to be buying more.  Did I mention they have yarn that's a bark color?  And one that's a sandy tan?  And a beachy ocean water blue?  And several yellows, and purples, and greens and blues, and even more browns?  Oh, I'm in trouble!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

TBT - A Sunday Drive

Today's TBT picture is just another typical Sunday drive.

Ahhh... the good old days, before kids or pets or responsibilities that tied us to the house.  Back in the day when we worked hard & played harder.  Mike would toss a cooler, a change of clothes, a sleeping bag & a few pillows into the car, pick me up from work on Friday night & we'd hit the road and go where ever the car lead us.  We'd camp out or sleep in the car & arrive back home on Monday morning in time for me to shower before work.  We never had a plan for those trips, we just went where the traffic wasn't.  Mike called it "looking at real estate" and we had some of The best times on those trips!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Where's the cheese?

Quick!  Someone give me some cheese to go with this whine.

The knitting funk continues.  Sort of.  I finally dug through the UFO pile last night & pulled out a sock I'd started last summer.  Last summer!  Good grief.

#todayonmyneedles 01/28/15

The sock was a simple, I can read while I knit project to pass the down-time at work last summer.  When I saw it laying there all forlorn in the UFO pile, I knew I better get it out & do something with it.  I've already gotten my Process-In date (which makes it sound like I'm going to jail or something) for this coming summer and I can't go back to work knitting the same project I left with last summer.  What would the security cameras think??  So, I dug it out & remembered how much I like knitting with Felici.  

And yes, the sock is being modeled by Mr. Creepy Hand.  Makes perfect sense, right??

I never could get Sarah to cooperate enough to model the mohair cowl but Magenta said she was willing this morning.  (Please tell me I'm not the only one who names their mannequins.)  Okay, so it's not very exciting from a distance, but look up close.

Can you see the flecks of color?  I love how my brain registers it as "gray" but my eye can see bits of bluish green & pink.  And then you add the silver mohair in for just a hint of a silvery white.

And what I love most is that it's the perfect fit for me.  I never measured it so I'm super excited that the length worked out so perfectly.  Frequently, when I double wrap a cowl around, it's either still super loose & doesn't protect my neck or, it's too tight for my crazy large head & won't actually wrap around me twice.  But this cowl turned out to be the absolute perfect length.  Not too tight, not too loose.  I feel like Goldilocks.

By the way, did I mention you can use coupon code "BEMINE" in my Etsy shop  to receive 25% off your purchase of $10 or more?  Use the code quickly though.  The offer expires Saturday night.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Today's post is pretty pointless but I've skipped a couple of days & didn't want to let another day go by without posting.  So...

Minnie enjoys ear rubs.

Sadly, that's about all the news I have today.  I did finish the mohair scarf cowl yesterday afternoon.  I decided I was too lazy to add beaded fringe and it looked too plain without it so I sewed the ends together & called it a cowl.  It fits me perfectly but I'm not coordinated enough to photo myself wearing it & the dear daughter is being uncooperative this evening, so no pictures.

After finishing the scarf cowl, I started a ear warmer/headband type of thing.  This morning, I woke up & hated the headband & ripped it.  I grabbed a sock out of the UFO basket and decided that I really should have checked my gauge before casting on & it was going to be large enough for me to put both feet into it so I ripped that as well.  I really like the yarn though so I decided I'd knit a hat with it instead.  I sat at the Physical Therapist's office with my son all day and knit & knit & knit.  I got home this evening, and decided that the self patterning sock yarn was definitely meant to knit socks with, not hats.  The patterning wasn't patterning at all, it was simply a mess of color.  So rip, rip, rip I went.

I have nothing on my needles.  Nothing!  Well, nothing as long as I don't glance over there at the unfinished project pile.  I don't dare take anything out of that pile for fear of ripping that out too.  I'm in a knitting funk.  It's an ugly place to be.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dead battery

I'm blaming the lateness of this post on a dead camera battery.  It has absolutely nothing to do with me binge watching the final season of the Gilmore Girls all day.  Nope, Gilmore Girls wasn't the cause.  The dead camera battery was.  That's my story & I'm sticking to it.

Today's #todayonmyneedles is something secret that I can't show pictures of yet and while the mohair scarf is coming along, you can only look at so many pictures of a gray garter stitch rectangle before you blow your brains out.  So....

Instead of another gray rectangle, we have Sarah modeling the It's Only Make Believe cowl.  If you turn it upside down, you see mostly color instead of the magenta but I wasn't about to ask Sarah to take it off, turn it upside down & put it back on.  It was hard enough getting her to agree to let me take this picture.  As much as the girl likes clothes, she does not like to model them.  At least not for the camera.

We also have the finished Lagoa, which I absolutely love!  I've been wearing it around the house for the last couple of days because our heating unit got a bad case of the flu & needed medical attention.  We tend to keep the temperature turned down fairly low in the winter anyway, but with no heat at all.... it was a bit chilly in here.  Lagoa helped keep me nice and warm.  Granted, it looks a little weird with my pajamas....  Yeah, I can't say that beaded lace, paint stained sweatpants & a 20 year old t-shirt is a good look for me, but I was comfortable.

So...  Gilmore Girls.  Is/was anyone else out there as emotionally tied up into that show as I have been?  Good grief!  I can't get over how obsessed with that show I've been.  And I can't believe it's over.  I feel totally lost without the Gilmores to hang out with.  Of course, I may get a few to-do list items accomplished now that they've gone from my Netflix que, but....  Man, it's only been a few hours, but I miss the Gilmores.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Panic Mode

I'm in total panic mode.  I've been waiting & waiting to hear back about the seasonal/summer job and I finally got the job offer email yesterday.  Now, I'm in total panic mode.  I'm not ready to go back to work.  I have too much to do!  Mainly because I have spent the entire winter binge watching Netflix and knitting instead of doing all the things on my list.  Crud.

I have gotten one thing done though.

My It's Only Make Believe cowl has been soaked, washed and blocked.

It's a little too magenta for my taste, but I love the yarn combination.  It was knit with two Knit Picks yarns, "Fairy" Palette and "Make Believe" Stroll Fingering.  I used my #3 Knitter's Pride Karbonz interchangeable needles which won't stay attached to the cord.  I've got a few pair of needle tips (from various manufacturers) that won't stay screwed to the cord.  They are really frustrating to knit with & I should probably contact the company, but that would take time away from knitting and it's just easier to continue whining about it.  If it wasn't for the unscrewing problem, I'd love the Karbonz needles though.

By the way, someone asked me if I get paid to mention Knit Picks since I talk about them so often.  I don't.  I just have them on speed dial.  I'm considering having one of those tube systems installed, like at the drive through windows of banks, so they could just instantly shoot me my yarn.

As for #todayonmyneedles photo,

The mohair scarf is growing.  I'm knitting it with, surprise, surprise, Knit Pick's Aloft in Silver and Shadow lace weight in Opal Heather held together on #11 needles.  The whole scarf will be simple garter stitch.  My original thought was to add a beaded fringe but I'm not sure.  I worry that the beads would pull it out of shape.  Plus I hate adding fringe.

The scarf is sort of a dull gray that perfectly matches the weather we've been having lately.  The silver Aloft adds just a bit of brightness to it though & gives it a frosted look.  Which is also perfect for our weather.  We are supposed to get snow this weekend.  It will probably blizzard.  The freezer isn't exactly stocked and we are almost totally out of bread.  That tends to mean that a forecast calling for light flurries will turn out to be a foot of snow.  We are well stocked on toilet paper though so there is hope.

Except, the yard is full of Robins.  But now that I think about it, does a yard full of Robins mean snow or spring?

Meanwhile, Minnie is pouting because I wouldn't let her have a ham.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

TBT - Snow

It's Throwback Thursday & I seem to have a winter weather theme thing going on for TBT lately.

Once again, I'm not sure what year this was taken.  It was probably 1991 or 1992.  I do remember I'd just traded in the Supra for the Blazer and we hit the road in search of snow and an excuse to try out the four wheel drive.


After having nightmares the other night about spending the hot, sticky, humid summer knitting mohair, I decided I better put the new purchase to good use quickly.  Once I started playing around with stitch patterns, I remembered why I don't knit with mohair often.  I finally decided to knit a simple garter scarf and I'll finish it with some beaded fringe.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Technically, it's off my needles, but #todayonmyneedles...

A free Ravelry pattern, Lagoa knit on US4 needles with Knit Picks Palette in Indigo Heather & Stroll Fingering in Lullaby.  It was a breeze to knit, a bitch to block.  It's got 210 beads on the cast on edge & each of those blasted 210 beads needed to be pinned out.  I thought I was going to run out of pins & have to start using toothpicks.  I know I spent at least eight days pinning it down.  It would have been SO much easier if I had a set of flexible blocking wires.  I'd pin and pin and pin & look back & see an uneven curve.  I'd go back, re-pin, pin some more and some more and some more.  I'd look back & see an uneven curve. I'd go back, re-pin, pin some more and....  Well, you get the picture.

And now, looking at the picture, I'm seeing about 50 places where I need to go fix the pins.  I swear it was nice and evenly curved before I got out the camera.

Meanwhile....  Zack went to the hand specialist yesterday.  Super nice guy, except I wish he hadn't explained the break quite as well as he did.  Apparently, the accident Zack suffered, with his thumb being crushed between one stationary bowling ball & one extremely fast moving bowling ball correlates exactly, as far as impact goes, with a human being smashed between a stationary tractor trailer and another tractor trailer moving at 60 miles per hour.  I can't quite get that visual out of my mind now.  Thanks, doc!  The good news, however, is that Zack should regain full use of his thumb after four weeks of three times a week physical therapy.  Good Lord!

And, to add just a bit of excitement to our lives, remember when the front end of Zack's truck was missing the engine & looked like this?

Well, the back end now looks like this.

The fuel pump died and apparently, it's easier to take the whole truck bed off & replace the pump from above than from below.  And, as luck would have it, the new fuel pump was a bad one.  Good Lord.  Apparently it's a very common thing for fuel pumps to be bad right out of the box.  It must be true because this is the third time it's happened to us.  Third!  Good grief!

Okay, well, I'm off to go shop for flexible blocking wires & to look for mohair scarf/shawl patterns on Ravelry.  Some mohair magically showed up in my mailbox recently and last night I had nightmares about knitting with it during the hot, humid, summer months.  That's one dream that I refuse to allow to come true.

Monday, January 19, 2015


What is wrong with me?  I seem to be going through some sort of hibernation process lately.  Normally, I don't sleep but 4 or 5 hours per night but lately, I've been sleeping 10 - 14 hours a night.  I feel great, except that it's totally screwing with my to-do list.

So, the point of that is that there hasn't been as much knitting being accomplished as I'd hoped.

#todayonmyneedles 01/19/15

Another phone photo with bad lighting.  And wow!  My phone camera really, really hates that purple.  Between my new sleep cycle and the fact that I've got to make a run to the warehouse club to buy dog food I probably won't get much knitting done today.  I had to make the dogs scrambled eggs this morning because there wasn't enough regular dog food left to fill their bowls.  While the dogs loved their scrambled egg treat, Max has spent the day giving me the look.  He's obviously worried about his dinner.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

OTN 01/18/15

I was so busy sleeping through this Very rainy day, I almost forgot to post a #todayonmyneedles picture.

Granted, it's a very bad, out of focus, taken in the dark with my stupid phone (it's definitely not a smart phone) photo...

While the yarns were skeined, I loved the multi-color and the solid purple together.  They were the perfect combo.  But now that I'm knitting them side by side, I'm not so sure.  The solid purple is no where near the same purple that's in the variegated yarn.  The beads may not have been the best choice either.  Oh well.  It's an easy to knit project that I could easily knit a second time.  With one caveat   If there's a next time, I will make sure I do a better job of counting the beads.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Birds

I feel like I'm in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  The birds descended upon us this morning.

Okay, so that photo isn't all that impressive.  But all those little black blobs are birds and that is only a 100th of the number of birds that landed in our trees this morning while I was making coffee.  There were so many birds, even the dogs seemed intimidated and one of their favorite activities is barking at birds.  Instead of barking, they both just stood on the deck staring.  The noise was incredible, in fact, you probably heard them at your house.


 #todayonmyneedles 01/17/15

Not much visual progress has been made.  Yesterday was spent running errands & hanging with my kiddos.  I'd totally forgotten that yesterday was my son's first official vacation day.  He's worked full time for two years & it's the first time he's taken real vacation days.  He chauffeured Sarah & I around all afternoon then took us to dinner.  It's hard for me to remember that my baby isn't a baby anymore, but it sure is nice having a grown up son with a job who can, and does, take his mamma & sister out to dinner (at a real restaurant, not a fast-food place) occasionally.

But back to knitting.....  I got six or seven rows knit and only have four or five more to go before the lace stops, the yarn changes and visual progress begins to be made.  And those dammed extra beads go away.  I am SO ready for those extra beads to be gone.

And just because we haven't seen the sun in so long...

One more picture of the birds.  Or more importantly, the blue sky.  I can't remember the last sunny, clear blue sky day we had.  I think Mother Nature has been confusing Washington DC with the state of Washington.

Happy weekend & I hope you are experiencing sunny, blue skies as well.

Friday, January 16, 2015


I seem to have a purple fetish going on.

#todayonmyneedles 01-16-15

Wow!  I just can't get over how red that bottom piece looks on my screen.  It's really not that red.

Anyway....  The Make Believe cowl has become my project to knit on while I'm reading emails and I've started something new.  The new project is Lagoa from Ravelry.  It's a beaded scarf (they call it a shawl) and I'm either going to love it or hate it.  It's a very simple knit, or at least it should be.  I miscounted the beads when first stringing them & I ended up with almost 50 extra beads on the yarn.  And that means, I'm having to push those 50 beads along the length of the yarn as I knit.  It's Quite annoying.  I could cut the yarn, remove the beads & re-attach the yarn but with the open lace work, I think the join might show so I'll just keep shoving beads down the yarn as I go.  The other glitch is that there's a double decrease every other row that throws off the stitch count leading up to the decrease.  The pattern doesn't mention the stitch count being off every few rows so I'm just making it up as I go.  I noticed in the photos on Ravelry that some people's Lagoa looked like a triangle and some were curved.  I think that probably has something to do with how you handle the stitch count problem.  I just hope that the way I'm handling it creates a curve, not a point.

Meanwhile, I'm wishing my favorite sister a very happy birthday and sending out hugs & positive vibes to a dear friend and her family who are experiencing their own struggles at the moment.  It's times like this I wish I had a magic wand so that I could reduce their problems down to having too many beads.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

TBT - Hat Day

It's National Hat Day & I have a fitting TBT (Throwback Thursday) photo.

My dad, sister & nephew, all wearing toy hard hats.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no idea when this picture was taken or how old my nephew is.  I do know that he's old enough to have his own children now.  I'm guessing this photo was taken prior to the winter of 1981 because that looks like a pack of cigarettes in Dad's pocket & he quit smoking that fall.  

Happy National Hat Day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

OTN 01/13/15

Today's post is so short you may think I've been kidnapped.

#todayonmyneedles 01/13/15

I haven't been.  I've just been binge watching Gilmore Girls instead of doing anything remotely interesting & worth talking about.  I did get a little bored with knitting around & around & around on the cowl so I picked up the peach lacy thing & knit two rows last night.

Damn!  My life is exciting!

Monday, January 12, 2015

National Clean Off Your Desk Day

If ever there was a weird holiday created just for me, it's today, National Clean Off Your Desk Day.

Are you cleaning off your desk today?  I'd planned to, except I slept until past noon.  Oops! But boy did it feel good.  I haven't been sleeping well lately.  It's been getting down into the single digits at night, the boy child doesn't get home from work until around 4:00 a.m. and he's been driving a vehicle with over 350,000 miles on it.  I can't sleep because I keep waiting for the phone to ring because he's stuck on the side of the road with a dead car and no coat.  The boy refuses to wear a coat.  What's a mother to do??

So, #todayonmyneedles...

The cowl is slowly growing.  I didn't get much knitting done yesterday.  Dear Husband was home and when he's home, I feel like I have to at least pretend that I occasionally do my housewifey chores.  Which means, I spent the day vacuuming & doing laundry instead of knitting.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My son, the alien

Well, I'm pretty sure my son is an alien.  We went back to Patient First last night to have his broken thumb rechecked as per the doctor's instructions.  He still can't bend the thumb & it's still slightly swollen and neither of those things should be happening based on his age, health & standard healing times.  They x-rayed him again and uh-oh.  The break was worse than they originally thought and now he gets to go visit a hand specialist.

But the alien thing....  they showed us his x-rays, both last night's and the original one, and good Lord!  My son has alien fingers!  I've seen x-rayed hands before, but I have never seen such long, skinny fingers in all my life!  Zack has alien hands!

And to give Patient First credit, because of the swelling in the original x-ray, you could not see how badly broken Zack's thumb is.  Last night's x-ray clearly shows that the break extends from one bone, through the knuckle & into the next bone.  So, a hand specialist & PT is in his future.  Thumb PT.  The mental image is almost as funny as his x-rays.

Btw, if you ever feel the urge to visit Patient First, go on a Saturday night.  The doctor we'd seen on Dec. 26th suggested we come back for the re-check on a Saturday evening because they were typically less crowded and boy, was he right!  On 12/16, we were in there for almost six hours & it was standing room only in the waiting room.  Last night, a Saturday, there was us & two other patients.  We were in & out of there in well under an hour.

Okay, let's talk knitting.

#todayonmyneedles 011115

Yes, it's still showing up as a weird shade of magenta.  And yes, the lace looks horrible now but a good blocking should take care of that.  I'm pretty sure the pattern I'm using has a name but the pattern book I'm getting it from just calls it "delicate lace."  I'd hoped to make more progress on it yesterday but since the wait time at Patient First was so short....

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ode to working internet

So, yesterday was miserable.  Our "high speed" internet service has been slower than molasses lately.  So slow in fact, I'm pretty sure I could Google something than walk to the library, use the card catalog, find an actual book, look something up then walk back home before Google finished giving me the first page of items to choose from.  It's been very frustrating and a LOT of cursing has taken place over the last several months.  And yes, it's been going on for months.  I married a procrastinator.  What can I say, great minds think alike.

So, yesterday was the painful day where we unhooked our modem & took it to exchange it for a newer, faster one.  So, we were without internet for almost seven hours.  Don't even ask why it took so long.  My dear sweet husband ran the errand and his dearer & sweeter friend tagged along.  I don't know what the two of them do when they get together, but they are slower than a knitter in a fully stocked yarn shop.

But, our internet works now.  I'm pretty dang excited!  Actually, it's working so well I'm a little worried.  Since it now only takes a few minutes to do something that took three hours last week, I have a little more time on my hands.  I sure hope no one expects me to use that time to do the housework.

Meanwhile, here's my #todayonmyneedles photo.

Can you guess what it will be?  It's going to be a cowl.  The other day, a picture passed by my screen (probably on Facebook, but I really don't remember) of a super long cowl knit in different patterns using three colors of yarn.  I didn't follow the link to the pattern, but the image stuck in my brain.

I'd bought the yarn I'm using with the intention of knitting a shawl, but you know how my intentions turn out.  I decided instead, I'd knit my own version of the cowl I'd seen.  So far, I'm loving it.  It's the perfect non-pattern for a knitter with ADHD.  Since there is no real pattern and the idea is to change stitch patterns occasionally, I knit a while, get bored with what I'm doing then do something  different.  It's awesome!  The only not so awesome thing about it is that sometimes I knit something that looks horrible & I spend a while ripping it out and starting over.  And that explains why I haven't made more progress.  I've actually knit about six more inches than what's there.  Also, the yarn isn't quite as magenta colored as it looks in the photos.  In real life, it's a slightly deeper purple.   If it ever warms up above 10 degrees, I'll see if an outdoors photo gets it any closer to reality.

By the way, we live in Virginia.  It's the "South".  Why is it 10 degrees?  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a good cold snap.  The cold kills off the mosquitos & supposedly helps with the stinging nettles in the ocean (according to family lore) but multiple days of 10 degrees?  Is Mother Nature trying to kill of the cockroaches too?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Don't you hate it when...

Rats!  Don't you hate it when you order a bunch of stash pile yarn just because it was on sale and it arrives just days after deciding to become a minimalist?

Oh well.  Guess I'll have to throw out the diet cookbooks & old tax papers to make room for it.


Something new & different because I was already bored with the peach lacy scarf.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

TBT - Ice, Ice Baby

It's TBT (Throwback Thursday) and I'm looking back to 1993.

That's ice.  Not snow, ice.

During our married life, Mike & I have weathered some storms, but this ice storm was probably the most miserable one.  Part of the problem was that the storm wasn't predicted.  No one was prepared.   Adding to that, we had just finished building our house & had moved in a few days before the storm hit.  Because we'd been living in temporary housing while we built, all of our belongings had been in storage.  When the storm hit, practically everything we owned was still in boxes.  Boxes that had been in storage so long we didn't remember packing them.  In other words, we had no idea where anything was.  We also didn't own a single candle or a match.  Our new house did have a fireplace, but we had no wood to burn in it.  In anticipation of the move, we hadn't been to the grocery store in a very long time.  We were pathetically unprepared.

The morning the storm hit, we woke up to the sound of pine trees cracking.  By mid afternoon, the power was out.  Not long after dark, when we were starting to think we might freeze to death in our own home if we didn't kill ourselves first by bumping into things we couldn't see in the dark,  there was a knock on the door.  A neighbor, Thomas (who turned out to be quite a character & there are thousands of Thomas stories I could tell,) wanted to trade something for booze.  Did we have booze & what would we want for it?  We were back in business!  We had booze.  We told our sob story (with frozen tears) to Thomas, gave him a six pack of beer & sent him on his way.  Not long after, neighbors we'd never met started showing up bringing us blankets, lanterns, candles & a few things to eat.

At some point, Thomas showed back up & asked if we would return the favor & help out the neighborhood.  So, for the next 18 hours or so, we walked a circle about a mile long cutting trees out of the roadway.  I had no clue how to run a chainsaw, but I tagged along anyway.  We walked the loop over & over again, ducking falling trees & power lines & cutting our way forward.  As we moved forward, trees continued to fall behind us.  It was cold & miserable, but we met lots of neighbors, formed a few lasting friendships & stayed warm (dragging trees out of the road is hot work!) and entertained.

When the sleet & freezing rain finally stopped, we had 13 inches of ice on the ground. We were without power for four days, which is just a blip on the radar compared to some storms we've dealt with, but those other storms were hurricanes & we didn't have to worry about freezing to death.  The roads were so impassable that the National Guard had to hike food, water & medication in to people.  It was a little scary to look out the window & see the military marching by.  But what was even scarier was watching them hike stretchers in & out because the ambulances couldn't navigate the roads.

While I love a good snow storm, I hope & pray I never have to experience anything like that ice storm ever again.

And... #todayonmyneedles

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Going Minimalist

Don't laugh. Okay, what the heck - go ahead and laugh. Laugh so hard you roll around on the floor, spraying coffee out your nose.

I've decided to become a minimalist.

I know, I know.  I'm laughing too.  Except remember this?

I've put away and put away & thrown away & put away some more.  And it still pretty much looks like that.  The whole house looks like that.  There seems to be no end to the junk I own and I'm sick of it.

I spent yesterday de-junking the kitchen.  I can't say that I created a lot of counter space but I did get rid of a rolling shelf that stuck out into the room & drove me insane.  Granted, we will have to start meal preparation an hour earlier than normal to allow time to find the needed pots & pans but that annoying shelf thing is gone.

In an attempt to de-clutter the craft room, I decided to knit another ribbed hat.

#todayonmyneedles 01/07/15

It's an easy, quick to knit pattern & will use up some left over yarn that was in the stash pile.  See?  I'm multitasking.  I'm knitting And de-cluttering.  And if you look closely at the photo, you'll notice a lot of empty, uncluttered desk space off to the rear left.  Empty desk space!  Okay, so there's like four inches of empty desk space but hey, empty space is empty space.

I am such a good minimalist!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dry hands?

Oh my gosh!  Santa and the folks at Sweet Sheep are my new favorite people.  Why?  Because Santa brought me a solid lotion bar from Sweet Sheep.

I heard about Sweet Sheep lotion bars from another knitter and decided to give it a try, although I had my doubts.  I'd tried solid lotion bars before & had never been happy with the stickiness they left on my hands.  I also have this weird reaction to many lotions made from natural or healthy ingredients.  It seems that the better the lotion is for you, the worse my skin reacts.  I'll find a new lotion & use it for a few days & be happy.  Then on day three, four or five, I wake up to discover that my fingertip skin is literally peeling off my fingers.  It will look like I have 1,000 paper cuts all over my fingertips & around my nail beds.  Oh, and have I mentioned the face reaction?  I have THE World's most sensitive facial skin.  Everything, and I do mean everything, like 99.99% of every thing in the world, upsets my facial skin.  Makeup, face lotions, shampoos... even the ones made specially for sensitive skin upset my skin & cause breakouts & weird splotchy red patches.  And apparently, when I sleep, I lay on my side and tuck my hands, sort of prayer-style, between my face and the pillow.  And that means, my hand lotion affects my face.

Anyway, so it was just a few days before Christmas and I was in that pre-Christmas, 'gotta buy a bunch of junk to stuff the stockings with' shopping craze & I stumbled across a link to Sweet Shop.  It took a while to place my order because I couldn't decide which scent to buy.  I wanted them all.  I finally decided on Pumpkin Spice because, well, it was less expensive than the other scents.  Why spend a bunch of money on something that was going to cause my fingers to bleed & my face to look like I'd been through radiation testing, right?

So, the lotion arrives in plenty of time to make it onto Santa's sleigh.  I was a good girl & didn't open the lotion before tossing it into my stocking.  (And yes, it's silly to have to stuff my own stocking but it does mean that I get some really cool, and sometimes expensive, knitting tools while the rest of the family gets candy & weird junk that breaks before New Years.)

Christmas morning rolls around & I excitedly dig into my stocking.  I pull out my lotion & hmmm, it really doesn't have much smell at all.  That's disappointing.  I rub it on my hands and Wow!  There's the smell.  It smells Fantastic!  But it's awfully strong.  Everything I eat for the next three days is going to taste like Pumpkin Spice lotion bar.  And then magic happened.  The super strong scent disappeared as the lotion absorbed into my skin.  A few minutes later, I could only smell Pumpkin Spice on my hands if I sniffed super hard and sort of imagined the scent.  And my hands felt great!

I must have used the lotion bar 1,000 times over the next few days.  (Remember the trip to Patient First?  There was a LOT of hand washing & sanitizing that went on that day and after each washing/sanitizing, I applied more lotion.)  At the rate I was going, I expected the lotion bar would be completely used up and my finger tips left a bloody pulp within a week.  But here it is, January 6th, I have used the lotion multiple times every single day, the lotion bar still looks brand new, and my fingers are fine!  Fine!  In fact, they are better!  My hands not only feel better, they look better.  My finger nails seem to have smoothed out & are shinier.  There is not a single fleck of peeling skin.  No facial reaction.  And my food doesn't taste like Pumpkin Spice.  The only result is happier, healthier hands.

The only problem with Sweet Sheep lotion?  I really do want them all.  All the scents.  All of them.  I mean, how am I supposed to choose between Winter Wonderland and Jingleberry?  Down by the Bay & Crisp Pear? Black tea & Lemon Cake?  How, I ask you, how?  Good Lord.  I have the feeling my lotion stash is about to rival my yarn stash.

Meanwhile.... #todayonmyneedles (Boy!  That's hard to type without putting spaces between the words.  Guess that's the old dictation taking secretary coming out in me.)

Okay, so it's not officially on the needles anymore.  I finished it last night.  Just a simple 3x2 ribbed hat knit from Wool of the Andes Mineral Heather.  I absolutely LOVE this color.  It's not showing up well in the picture, but it's a muted purple with flecks of pink & blueish green.  Yes, that sounds horrid, but it's gorgeous!  It's also not too girly or too manly.  I love it and am feeling the urge to buy more so I can knit myself a scarf and some mittens, maybe a sweater .... and I should probably have a cowl too.

If you smell something burning, it's just my debit card.

Monday, January 5, 2015

OTN 1/5/15


The ribbed hat is progressing & I started a lacy scarf.

The scarf is being knit from more Knit Picks yarn I found in the stash pile.  The yarn is Shadow in the Queen Anne Tonal color way.  I absolutely love the mixture of peachy tones with just a hint of yellow thrown in.  Except, I swear I can smell peaches while I knit with it.  I'm using a #6 needle and the pattern is a modified Crest of the Wave that's looking more like Feather & Fan than Crest of the Wave.  Basically, it's Crest of the Wave without the solid knit rows.

I'll probably be able to use today's #todayonmyneedles picture again tomorrow.  I won't have much time to knit today because, wait for it.... I'm finally leaving the house!!  I can't believe how excited I am over the concept of dropping stuff off at GoodWill and picking up books from the library. But, I have my car back.  Zack has had my car for a week or so while his truck got various repairs done.  I can't wait to see what music he's left for me in the disc player.  Also, I'm feeling better.  I can stand up for five minutes now without keeling over instead of thinking I'm going to die after only three minutes.  The congestion is finally beginning to disburse & taking a step no longer sends me into 20 minute coughing & choking attacks.

Hope you have a happy, healthy Monday!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

OTN 1/4/15


I finished the blue & red striped scarf last night & started another hat.  I knit the scarf with the intention of listing it in my Etsy shop but I think I'm going to keep it for myself.

I'm a bit surprised at my love for the scarf.  It was knit with Lion Brand Heartland yarn from Walmart (gasp!!) that I'd bought in one of those low moments where I had to buy yarn, Now!, matter what kind it was.  I just needed NEEDED yarn.  Secondly, I didn't have a pattern or do a gauge swatch.  I simply cast on enough stitches to cover the length of cable needle I was using, added a few more stitches & started knitting.  The only plan I had was that it would be 2 row stripes.  Except that plan went out the window on the third row.  I forgot to change colors.  And, I realized that doh! With nothing more than knit stitches, the edges would curl.  Doh!  All I can say is that it was well after midnight when I started it and maybe I was suffering from a post Christmas cookie & chocolate high.  Anyway, I threw in a purl row for texture, called it a pattern, not a mistake, & went with it.  When I decided it was wide enough & I would cast off on the next row, I got totally absorbed in an episode of Gilmore Girls and kept knitting.  When I finally did cast off, I discovered the scarf was a perfect fit for me.  Absolutely perfect.  It's wide enough to be warm when hanging loose around my neck (it's a fake infinity scarf, as in, a circle without the infinity twist) and when I wrap it around my neck a second time, it fits perfectly.  Not too tight, not too loose & it doesn't give me that weird "Look, Ma, I'm a turtle" look that many of the popular, bulky infinity scarves provide.  And, amazingly, the cheap acrylic yarn from Walmart feels nice.

Hmmm, maybe I really am sick.  I just hope they don't kick me out of the yarn snob club for admitting that I'm happy with the scarf.

The next project was supposed to be another pi shawl but I was six hours into binge watching Gilmore Girls, it was after 2 a.m., and I didn't want to get up to go in search of lace weight yarn.  So, I grabbed a skein of Wool of the Andes in the Mineral Heather colorway that happened to be at arms reach & cast on using a 3x2 rib pattern.

And that is what's on my needles today.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

OTN 1/3/15

It's a good thing for the #todayonmyneedles challenge because there is nothing going on in my life to talk about these days.  I'm not even sure I've left my house since Christmas day.  No, that's not true, there was the fateful visit to Patient First on 12/26.  But I really don't think I've been out since then.  I caught some kind of creeping crud cold illness & have been mildly whiney & miserable since.  Now, I'm at the stage where I have bursts of energy that last for about three minutes & leave me breathless.  I think it's partly to the lingering cold and partly because my house has become so gross with accumulated dog hair & dust.  I feel like I'd feel a lot better if I could get the all of the house clean at one time but it's hard to do in three minute increments.

And it's cloudy, cold & rainy.  Again.

And I'm exhausted from jumping up to look out the window.  I'm waiting on a yarn delivery so every little noise I hear outside gets me excited.  And I'm pretty sure our neighbors are drug dealers.    They moved in last summer & appear to be normal, english speaking Americans but they don't speak.  We see them out in the yard, we wave or shout hello & they turn their backs.  They also have cars pulling in & out of their driveway every 15 minutes all day & night.  And since their driveway is only a few feet from ours, their coming & going sounds like yarn deliveries being made.

So yeah, I'm whiney & a tad bit miserable.

So, I could help myself by getting up & cleaning something.  Or, I could watch another episode of Gilmore Girls & knit a while.

And yes, I've started watching Gilmore Girls.  Lord help me!  I actually love it!  It ranks right up there with Buffy for wit & sarcasm.

So, what's your secret guilty pleasure TV show?  Come on, share!  I know you have one.

Oops.  Almost forgot to post the #todayonmyneedles picture.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Challenge Accepted

I'm cursing & sending heart felt Thank You!'s to fellow blogger, Knitting Sarah.  I'm cursing because her challenge is going to be impossible for me.  I'm jumping up and down screaming Thank You! because her challenge just may be the answer to my prayers.

For the non-knitters out there, a KAL is a "knit along" where people join up & everyone in the group knits some prearranged item & shares their progress with each other.  The item could be a specific sweater pattern or a specific type of item like hats or it could even be related to a TV series of some kind where participants have items they only work on while watching the show.   KALs are many & varied.

So, why am I explaining a KAL?  Knitting Sarah has run a year long KAL for the past several years.  I've never participated, mainly because I just discovered her blog recently.  This year, her KAL is a little different.  Instead of the participants knitting a specific thing, the challenge is to post an OTN (on the needles) picture daily in 2015.

Daily!  That's what has me nervous.  I have a hard enough time remembering to photo my knitting a few times a week.  But that's part of why I'm jumping up & down screaming Thank You, Sarah!  The challenge is going to force me to do several things I've been wanting to do.  First, it will get me in the habit of blogging daily, even if the post is simply a photo with the challenge's #todayonmyneedles hashtag.

Secondly, I imagine many of the photos will be taken on the fly with my phone.  My phone is not smart, in fact, it's dumb as a box of rocks and the camera is not great.  Posting not great photos taken with my phone will get me over the perfection fear I have about my photos.  And yes, I realize that fear is pretty silly since my photos are horrid.  I know nothing about photography & I know it.

Third, (thirdly??) posting a photo every single day for a year just may make me learn to use my camera and maybe even learn a little bit about setting up a decent backdrop for the photo.  This challenge may force me to read the Beginner's Photography book I bought & have been ignoring.

Fourth (fourthly??) the challenge may prod me along when I get bullheaded about a project & don't want to finish it.  Not that that ever happens.  No, of course I don't have a huge, giant pile of UFO's (unfinished objects.)  Nope, not me!

Can you say, "Liar, liar, pants on fire?"

#todayonmyneedles 1/1/15

Actually, the challenge already helped me not be so bullheaded.  I've been dragging my feet on these Cape Cod mitts.  After reading Knitting Sarah's challenge yesterday afternoon, and deciding to accept the challenge, I figured I better knit a few rows on those mitts so there'd be some progress to show since the last photo of them.  So, I knit a few rows, snapped the picture (with my bad phone camera, sorry!) and finished knitting them!  Thank you, Sarah, for the motivation!

Going down a totally different rabbit hole....  What is it with me & the people in my life all having the same name?  There's Knitting Sarah & my daughter is a Sarah.  My husband is Mike & my nephew, also named Mike married a Sara.  (She spells it wrong though.)  I have three friends named Margaret.  Sadly, they've all moved away, but at one point, I had four close friends named Karen.  My husband renamed them Sewing Machine Karen (I met her when she bought my sewing machine,) Walker Karen (she walked her dog past our house several times a day,) Crazy Karen (the name pretty much says it all,) and Dope Smoker Karen (because the name "Crazy Karen" was already taken.)

Okay, back to knitting.... So, what's today's #todayonmyneedles photo?

A striped scarf knit with acrylic yarn.  I'm not a fan and almost never knit with acrylic but this stuff isn't bad.  I'll give you yarn details later since this post has already become a novel.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

TBT 1928

On this January 1, 2015,  I am looking forward to the coming year but I'm also looking back to 1928.

Actually, it may have been 1930.  Mom was born in 1922, the wagon says 1928 & Mom looks to be 6 - 8 years old.  I believe that's her baby brother, Dusty in the wagon with her.  I wonder if the goat was cashmere.

Happy New Year!