Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along...

The visible progress on my Antarktis has slowed considerably but I'm inching towards the finish line.

knitting scarves and shawls and Yarn Along reading My Familiar Stranger

I'm also nearing the end of My Familiar Stranger.  This book has a strange mix of multiple dimensions, elves, nice vampire, vampire hunters and humans.  Somehow the author manages to weave them all together into a mostly believable romance novel that I'm actually enjoying.  It helps that the nice vampire has just enough 'bad boy' in his past to make him lovable instead of wimpy.  I'm enjoying reading this book almost as much as I'm enjoying knitting Antarktis.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

On the needles

Just a quick OTN update.

Antarktis shawl scarf, hand knit simple lacy shawl scarf

My Antarktis shawl is coming along nicely.  The pattern is fantastic.  It contains lots of garter stitch for mindless TV knitting with just enough patterning to keep it interesting.  And since I'm using another colorway of Pittura yarn.... I'm in knitter's Heaven.

Friday, August 26, 2016

On its way

Great White (remember the great white thing?) is finally on its way to its new owner.  I hope she enjoys using it.

simple hand knit baby blanket pattern, checkerboard blanket pattern, free knitting pattern
The Great White Baby Blanket

I'm also really happy that the humidity finally dropped enough to be ale step outside without instantly fogging up my glasses and camera lens.  It's been a long, humid summer.

If you're interested in how I knit the Great White baby blanket (yes, it was a baby blanket) I'm putting a quick and dirty version of the pattern below.  The blanket is basically stockinette & reverse stockinette squares surrounded by a garter stitch border.  You could easily change the number of stitches and rows to accommodate any yarn weight.

Simple Checkerboard Baby Blanket:

Aran Weight yarn and #8 needles or size needed to obtain gauge

Gauge:  4 stitches per inch or 16 stitches per 4 inches

K = knit
P = purl
pm = place marker
sm - slip marker
BO = bind off

Cast on 180 stitches
Row 1:  Knit 10 stitches, place marker, knit 160 stitches, place marker, knit 10 stitches.
Row 2 - 18:  Knit across all stitches
Row 19:  K 10 stitches, sm, *K 10, P 10* to marker, sm, K 10
Row 20: K10, sm, knit the knits & purl the purls to marker, sm, K10
Row 21 - 34:  Repeat Row 20
Row 35:  K10, sm, *P 10, K10* to marker, sm, K10
Row 36 - 48: Repeat Row 20

Continue working Rows 19 - 48 until blanket is 2 inches short of desired length.  
Knit across for18 rows.
Bind off.

Please note:  I typed this pattern up based on the notes I scribbled while knitting the blanket.  I have not tested these written instructions.  If you decide to test them, please let me know if you find errors.  I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

There is a difference!

Have you ever wondered about the difference between knitting two together through the back loop  versus slipping two stitches then knitting them together?  I've always thought of the two methods as interchangeable.

heel gusset for hand knit socks, Yarn Along, and reading My Familiar Stranger
Heel Gussets

Apparently, there is a difference.  For the gusset on these sock heels, I accidently knit through the back loop on the top sock and SSK'd on the bottom sock.  Can you see the difference?  The back loop method has a slightly flared, wavy line to it while the SSK version formed a much straighter line.

I'm not going to bother fixing my mistake.  The socks are for me and I doubt anyone but a fellow knitter would ever notice the error and I further doubt too many knitters will be checking my heel gussets once the socks are on my feet.  I'm claiming no harm, no foul on this one, but it is nice to know that there really is a difference.  A tiny difference that could be huge in certain designs.

And since this is Wednesday and I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along, I'll tell you what I'm reading this week.  I'm reading Victoria Danann's My Familiar Stranger.  It's the first in a series of books about a secret society that fights vampires.  At least I think that's what it's about.  I'm 29% into the book according to my Kindle and haven't seen any vampire action so far so maybe I'm confusing this book with something else.  I do know it's the first in a series and it's currently free on the Kindle.  And, I'm enjoying it with our without vampires.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

And then I had a coma

My knitting has been sporadic at best for the last week.  There was that nasty eye infection (which spread to the other eye,) there was family 'stuff' and of course, there was work.  Work got the better of me and I ended up falling apart and going home early Sunday night. I honestly don't understand how I could possibly come down with a different sickness with all the antibiotics pumping through my system but apparently it is possible.  Monday morning I woke up long enough to call out sick then went back to sleep until about 7 p.m.   It's amazing what 19 hours of sleep will do for you.  Actually, it was more like 19 hours of coma.

It really is amazing what 19 hours of sleep/coma can do.  I feel much better but I also have  one sunburned knee.  Apparently, my curtains were open and one knee was sticking out from under the covers.  Oh well.  The sunburned knee just goes along with the still red, puffy eyes.  It's a look.

But since this is supposed to be about my knitting....

lace garter stitch shawl hand knit with Pittura wool.
Antarktis Shawl

Thanks to a bit of gentle persuasion from Karen over at Pumpkin Sunrise, I cast on my own version of Antarktis shawl this morning.  It doesn't look like much yet but I feel unbelievably productive.  Row-count wise, it's a crazy fast project to knit.  At least it starts out that way.  We'll see how fast it feels when there's almost 200 stitches on the needle.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Second Sock

It's a good day. My eye infection is clearing up and I'm not suffering from Second Sock Syndrome.

hand knit wool sock, womens knit sock, wool socks, striped socks,
Regia 6-fadig Sock

I just can't get over how quickly this Regia 6-fadig sock yarn knits up.  Despite being half blind for several days and only having a few minutes to knit each day, my second sock already has part of a heel flap!

As for my eye, the heavy dose of antibiotics seems to be clearing up the infection fairly quickly.  My eye is still draining a bit & I wake up with it crusted shut but the swelling has gone down considerably, my vision is back to almost normal (it's like wearing fingerprinty glasses instead of vaseline smeared glasses) and I no longer cringe in pain when I blink.  Being able to shut my eyes and blink without pain has greatly helped my attitude!  I'll be back to lacy knitting .... dare I say it?  In the blink of an eye.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Eew Factor

So, with a title like "The Eew Factor," you know there's a TMI warning coming.


I woke up yesterday convinced I had pink eye even though the symptoms weren't quite right.  Several times during the night, I'd woken up with eye/facial pain that felt like I had been punched, hard, in the eye.  When morning light broke and I crawled out of bed and looked in the mirror, I was greeted with the worst case of under-eye bag you've ever seen.  I looked like a Vienna Sausage had been implanted under my left eye.  While I fed the dogs and started the coffee, I convinced myself that I'd simply hit myself in the face while sleeping and that I had a bad case of 'haven't slept more than four hours a night all summer' eye bag.  (I totally ignored the fact that I only had the bag issue under one eye.)  (Never underestimate how much can be ignored or overlooked before that first cup of coffee.)

Once I sat down with my coffee, it became obvious something was wrong.  My eye began to ooze. And ooze and ooze and ooze.  I must have pink eye.  I called my eye doctor and got an appointment for later in the day.  As the day progressed, my eye continued to ooze (all though "squirt" would be a more accurate word for it) and my vision got worse and worse.  It was/is like looking through a layer of Vaseline. And it hurt to blink and/or close my eyes.

The doctor diagnosed an infection, similar to a sinus infection, in my eye rather than pink eye.  It was good that I'd gone to the eye doctor rather than a GP because a GP wouldn't have had the tools necessary to make the correct diagnosis.  The doctor prescribed drops and "super strong" antibiotics and warned me about eating before taking the meds because they could cause a yeast infection.  He actually twitched with the eew factor when he said 'yeast infection.'

While waiting for the prescriptions to be filled, I wandered around Walmart for 45 minutes looking like I was crying (the one eye was still oozing and actually squirting any time I touched the left side of my face) and I was getting more and more nauseous from the blurry vision.  When the prescriptions were finally ready, the pharmacist called me over & warned me to eat before taking the antibiotic because they could cause diarrhea and she actually shuddered as she said it.  Eew.

So here I am today, still oozing (but not squirting.  Yay!) and still feeling like I have Vaseline smeared on my glasses and still feeling like I've been punched in the face.  Oh, and I have a that 'sinus infection face ache' thing going on, except it's my eye socket that aches instead of my cheek.  Eew.  And it still hurts to blink or close my eyes.

Luckily, I can knit basic stockinette without looking.

hand knit sock knit from self striping yarn.
Regia 6-fadig sock

I finished a sock.  And look how well it goes with my 2017 Passion Planner which just arrived in the mail.  And sorry if the picture is blurry.  I honestly can't tell.

So now, I'm sitting here wondering what to do with myself.  I can't see to start a new project or knit on my other current lacy project.  I can't see to read and watching TV makes me slightly nauseous (there's still the Vaseline blurriness going on) and it hurts to close my eyes so I don't want to nap.  I guess I'll go get something else to eat and take another round of antibiotics and pray there's no additional eew factor happening.

Apparently, besides the eew factor, there's also just a tiny bit of self pity happening.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Night Skies

I seem to have a night sky theme going on here. I'm still knitting on Starshowers

Hand knit cowl, knit scarf, lace cowl, lace scarf, simple lace shawl
Starshowers Cowl

and I'm reading Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh.

Midnight Exposure, a romance mystery with strong female charecter, set in Maine.
Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh

I'm struggling with this book because it's hard to put down.  It's a good story and about the only time I have to read these days is the very early morning hours after I get home from work.  My routine is to come home, grab a shareable snack, flop on the couch and chill out while snuggling with the dogs, reading and sharing my snack with them.  (Truck stop donuts are their favorite.)  I haven't been getting a lot of sleep since I started reading Midnight Exposure.  Hopefully I'll finish it tonight and I can get some much needed sleep tomorrow night.

huge, low hanging August moon; harvest moon, full moon in night sky
The moon.

So what's the deal with the blurry photo of a street light?  It's not a street light.  It's the moon! On the nights I'm not being blinded by lightening and/or monsoon-like rain, there has been an awesome AWESOME moon barely hanging up in the sky.  It's been HUGE and crazy bright and so low in the sky I feel like I can reach out and touch it.  Pretty incredible, even if my photo isn't.

Join me over at Ginny's Yarn Along to discover what others are knitting and reading.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Yarn Along Wednesday

Come join me and many other knitters over at Ginny's blog, Small Things.  Honestly, this week I'm hesitant to post. I've watched a lot more TV than I've read.  I used to be a huge Sons of Anarchy fan but after the violence of Gemma killing Tara I just couldn't ... deal.  But lately Netflix keeps asking if I want to rewatch the show and I did enjoy the early seasons so....  One day last week I clicked on.... and to my surprise, there was another season waiting for me.  I was instantly hooked.  And I've been spending every spare moment this past week binge watching.  And tonight, I finished the series.  Holy Moly.  I'm left speechless, near tears and fighting the urge to destroy something.  Since I try to keep this blog fairly family friendly, I'll leave it at Holy Moly.  Holy freaking Moly.

Reading The Witnesses by James Patterson and knitting Starshowers cowl scarf shawl.
James Patterson, The Witnesses

As for my knitting and reading...  I'm making lots more progress on my knitting than with my book.  My Starshowers cowl is coming along.  The Pittura yarn is definitely much happier to be a cowl rather than a sweater.

As for the reading, I came to the conclusion that The House Between Tides will have to wait until the (work) season ends.  I'm not allowed to take a paper book to work so it will have to wait.  But I did start a new James Patterson e-book, The Witnesses.  I'm only a few chapters in but it had me hooked from the very beginning.  The sense that something horrible is about to happen on the next page makes it very difficult to put down.  If you're interested, Amazon is currently offering it for free!

Don't forget to check out Ginny's Yarn Along.

Monday, August 8, 2016

On the needles

I am loving this Regia 6-fadig yarn.

hand knit sock, wool sock
Regia 6-fadig 

The sock is practically knitting itself.  These days I only have about 30 minutes a day to knit, and I'm knitting while I'm reading my email.  But despite my lack of knitting time, this sock is coming along fairly quickly.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Magic Number Five


This is the fifth time I've attempted to knit with this poor yarn.

Starshower, a hand knit cowl, shawl, circular scarf

This poor Pittura yarn has been knit and frogged four times so far but I think the fifth time's the charm.  I think it's going to be happy being a Starshower cowl.  The cowl's texture may not show up too well but then again....  I think five may just be the magic number.

A small/medium sized knitting project bag.
Project bag from CreativeJenV

And look how well Starshower fits into my new project bag.

canvas knitting bag from CreativeJV on Etsy
Knitting bag from CreativeJenV

I love LOVE my new knitting bag from CreativeJenV.  It's the perfect size for a smallish (but bigger than a sock) project.  I'm so pleased with how sturdy the bag is and how it stands up by itself.  Oh, and there's no velcro in sight.  It's the perfect project bag!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Yarn Along Socks

Very creative post title, right?   Yeah, it's late, late the night before or early, early the morning of (depending on your sleep cycle) Yarn Along Wednesday.  It's too late/early to think creatively.


It's Yarn Along Wednesday so please go check out what others are knitting and reading over at Ginny's blog, Small Things.  But before you go....

Yarn Along Wednesday, what I'm knitting and reading.

I'd like to say, "I am reading" but in all honesty, I've only read the back cover of The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine.  I just picked it up from Barnes & Noble today/yesterday (once again, depending on your sleep cycle.)  I was walking down an aisle looking for my daughter and not searching for anything to read when suddenly this book reached out and grabbed me.  It practically jumped up and down and screamed, "Read me! Read me!"  I felt compelled to buy it.  I hope I enjoy it.

As for my knitting... you may notice, that's not Twisted in the photo.  Nope.  Twisted is gone.  I had to face facts that my yarn choice just wasn't going to work.  Twisted has been frogged.  The yarn is now thinking about becoming a Starshower cowl.

The knitting that is in the photo is socks.  Well, sock.  A simple stockinette sock knit from the Regia 6-fadig I bought the other day at Knitting B's.  I am loving LOVING this yarn.  I love the colorway and the sock is practically knitting itself.  It's taking every ounce of strength I have not to go back and buy the yarn in every colorway the shop has.

So, that's my Yarn Along story for the week.  Go check out Ginny's blog to read others' Yarn Along tales.

Monday, August 1, 2016

I feel like Cousin It

A Biotin update....

Cousin It from The Adams Family, photo borrowed from

I feel like Cousin It.

Biotin results on hair and nails

As you can see from this poorly lit photo, my nails aren't doing much.  They have lost their wet tissue paper quality and now snap when they break.  But they still break and aren't growing as much as I'd hoped.

Admittedly, some of the lack of nail growth could be my fault, not the Biotin's.  At work, I'm constantly either sticking my hands into bags of loose coin or shoving things into little wooden compartments sort of like this:

except smaller and older and much more splintery.  Have I mentioned what a klutz I am?  It's no wonder my nails stay broken.

There's also my diet to consider.  During the summer when I'm working crazy hours, my diet is basically 'college student' minus the alcohol.

So.... the Biotin may not be doing a whole lot for my nails, but my hair....  My hair is out of control.  It's grown over four inches since the last week of April.  That's more than an inch per month.  I feel like Cousin It.  Thankfully, unlike Cousin It, the Biotin only seems to be affecting the hair on my head.  Thankfully, it is not affecting the hair on the rest of my body.  Scientifically, I have no idea why but I am not questioning it, nor complaining about it.