Friday, November 29, 2019

Christmas Socks

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We sure did!  And, amidst all the cooking...

sock knit with self striping Christmas yarn. West Yorkshire Spinners Signature yarn in Holly Berry
Christmas Socks
I cast on a Christmas sock.  The yarn is self striping, obviously, and from West Yorkshire Spinner.  The yarn is from their Signature line and is called Holly Berry.  The name couldn't be more appropriate and, the yarn comes with a free pattern.

I'm not using the free pattern.  I just wanted plain vanilla socks that I could knit up in a jiffy.  The pattern is adorable though and has cables or bobbles or something (I really didn't look that closely) that form bumps that look just like berries.  They really are cute.

For once, I really am going to keep the post short.  I need to go to bed so I can get up early and go shopping.  Ha!  That's a bold face lie.  There is no sale on earth that could entice me into a shopping center tomorrow.  No, the reality is, I need to go to bed because I've eaten myself into a food induced coma.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


A giant Thank You to all who responded to my stash issues/yarn diet post the other day.  I wanted to to reply to each of you individually but once again, life got in the way.  Our oil furnace went beserk, the house filled with noxious, throat burning fumes, we had to evacuate and the fire department had to come to our rescue.  We made it out safely, the furnace is our secondary heat source so we're still warm, the house didn't burn to the ground and everything is okay.  But it did set the tone for the day and in reality, it was sort of the highlight of the day.

Charles City Fire and Rescue

I'm just glad we were here because my MIL had no idea anything was wrong.  It could have been an unimaginably horrible situation.  The firemen were fantastic and we very much appreciated their help and friendliness even though Grandma failed at her attempt to get one of them to propose to my daughter.  Grandma has decided Sarah needs to find herself a man.

Thank you, Charles City Fire and Rescue!

Thankfully the day's events wore out Grandma, she went to bed early, and I was able to hide out in my attic yarn stash closet and finish the Newborn Vertebrae.

Finished Newborn Vertebrae Cardigan

I even blocked it!

My apologies if this entire post is blurry or the colors are off.  I'm sitting in a Dunkin Donuts using the internet and being blinded by the sun streaming in through the window.   

.... And I just realized I'm still wearing my sunglasses, not my reading glasses.  No wonder I'm having so much trouble.  

I swear!  Dementia is contagious! 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday Supper - Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

Yeah, I'm taking the easy way out today.  I keep seeing recipes on Facebook for chocolate chip cheese balls.  My first reaction was Eeww.  But the more I think about it...  

Super simple Thanksgiving desert or appetizer recipe idea.
photo courtesy of

I found this recipe and well, I've changed my mind.  I'm now thinking, Yum!

So, may your Thanksgiving appetizer and/or desert table be blessed with this super simple Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball recipe from Lil Luna.  The recipe seems so simple even the younger kids can help make it.  And I know they'll enjoy eating it!

Friday, November 22, 2019

It has to happen

It has to happen.  I must put myself on a yarn diet.

Ordinarily I'd say there's no such thing as too much yarn but in this house...

yarn stash

Yes, I feel a bit like Harry Potter, except that I live in the attic instead of under the stairs.  

But the yarn....  almost that whole back wall, that giant tower of Rubbermaid tubs, the giant cedar chest not in the picture, the couple of boxes and a giant knitting bag beside my chair, also not in the photo....

Yep.  It must be done.  The yarn diet starts now.  My new rule is, I can only bring more yarn in if (1) a customer wants something custom made with a specific color/yarn, (2) I need (like, really, really Need, not just want) a skein to finish a project, (3) I inherit a 36 room mansion from some long lost and unknown relative or (4) yarn magically appears on my doorstep.

This new rule has been in effect for about two hours and I'm already starting to twitch.  

I'm fairly certain I don't have any long lost relatives.

Gosh!  I sure hope yarn magically appears on my doorstep!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Three on Thursday - Progress

It doesn’t feel like I’ve made any knitting progress this week but I have.  Actually, I’ve made much more progress than I’d realized.  Yay for this blog post pointing out that fact out to me.

First and foremost, the Newborn Vertebrae.

newborn raglan sweater knit with fingering weight wool and cashmere
Newborn Vertebrae Cardigan

It has a body, pink ribbing and the beginning of a sleeve.  I think the last time I mentioned it, it only had top-down shoulders and no body at all.  Lots of progress!

Aurora Hat knit with Wool of the Andes Tweed
Beam me up, Scotty

Second, my Weekender sweater.  Not much visible progress photo-wise but I’m done with the ribbing and a few inches into the sweater.  I’m so glad I decided to cast this one on.  It’s the perfect mindless project to knit on while hanging out in the radiation lab and it has the barest minimum of detail to keep me from loosing my mind with all that stockinette.  In my size and with so much positive ease, it’s a LOT of stockinette!  And best of all, this Wool of the Andes Tweed is heaven to knit with.

Wool of the Andes Aurora Heather
Aurora Hat

And last but not least, the plain but gorgeous green hat. It’s hit the stage where it’s being ignored because it’s too close to being finished to bother carrying it doctor’s appointments.  Once I finish the Newborn Vertebrae, I’ll focus on finishing this hat.  Besides absolutely loving the heathered green, I’m excited to pick out a pompom for it.  I actually woke up in the middle of the night recently thinking about my available pompom color choices.

Wishing you happy knitting and I hope you’ll join me over at Carole's for today’s Three on Thursday gathering.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Failing well

I'm failing pretty miserably at this whole knitting blog and Etsy shop thing but that's okay.  Considering everything that's going on in my life these days, I think I'm actually doing fairly well.  The blog, the Etsy shop and the knitting bag don't begin to look like what I'd like for this time of year but...  I'm not in jail, nor am I in the mental institute.  I haven't cried this week nor have I made anyone else cry.  These days, that goes in the Win column.  

Tomorrow I'm going to my very first Alzheimer's/dementia support group meeting.  I hope I don't cry there.  *** The remainder of this paragraph has been redacted to protect the innocent.  My apologies to the family for any hurt or embarrassment I may have caused by my original wording.*** 

But enough about my life drama.  Let's talk knitting.

Weekender sweater knit with Wool of the Andes Tweed

Yeah, you're going to have to get used to even more horrible than normal photos.  There is just zero time in the daylight hours to knit, much less take photos of my knitting.

Although I haven't cried this week, trying to cook dinner while dealing with the sundowning behavior drove me over the edge last night and the only cure was to watch Grease 2 and sing along, out loud, to the bowling and the Cool Rider songs.  Yes, I'm a total weirdo-geek.  I love Grease 2 for it's ridiculous music.  It's one of those movies that's so, so terrible you can't help but love it.

*** This paragraph has been redacted to protect the innocent.  My apologies to the family for any embarrassment I may have caused by my original wording.***

Sorry.  I lost track of my topic.  Again.  I'm starting to believe dementia is contagious.  Back to knitting...

I started a Weekender using Garnet Heather Wool of the Andes Tweed.  I've never knit with the tweed before and I'm loving it.  It's so much softer than regular Wool of the Andes.  This may be my first project using WotA Tweed but it definitely won't be my last.

The Weekender is supposed to be a quick, simple knit.  It's definitely simple but I have the feeling it's going to take me many, many weekends to finish it.  Between my schedule and my size, you can expect to be seeing this one on the needles for a long, long time.  Sorry about that.  Hopefully a few of the doctors we go see will be running late occasionally and I'll have a little bit more knitting time.  

Only a knitter would wish for lengthy waiting room time.

Oh, and  help me wish my baby girl a happy birthday today.  How in the heck did my baby girl get to be 23?? 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sunday Supper - Cheesy Brussels Sprouts

I think I've mentioned before how much I despise brussels sprouts yet LOVE them cooked in bacon grease.  Well, for today's Sunday Supper post, I Googled fall vegetables in season in Virginia and wouldn't you know it - brussels sprouts popped up.  A rabbit hole or two later and I discovered cheesy garlic roasted brussels sprouts.

Simple to follow recipe for brussels srpouts from
Cheesy Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The recipe comes from Cafe Delight and seems simple enough.  There's no bacon grease but there's plenty of cheese so...  I'm thinking these might be delicious too.  You can find the recipe here, but you will have to scroll way, way down to get to it.


Friday, November 15, 2019


I'm so glad to be back to somewhat of a blogging routine and I hope I can keep it up. I was surprised how much I missed the community here. The move was one day of moving men and 13 days of shuffling boxes around and going back to the house to grab stuff we'd never packed or that didn't fit in the moving van. We have a lot of stuff.  A LOT of stuff!  And while that has been going on, my MIL has had daily doctor's appointments.  

Mentally, I'm doing Much better this week than last week but still... My new reality is no where near what I'd pictured it to be.  I'd imagined my MIL sitting quietly on the sofa watching TV while I sat at a desk nearby 'JGK'ing' (which in my world means blogging, working on the Etsy shop and a few other desk/computer type projects I have going.)  The reality is, *** The remainder of this paragraph has been redacted to protect the innocent.  My apologies to the family for any hurt or embarrassment I may have caused by my original wording.***

All of that means both the blog and my knitting bag are taking a hit.  There have been entire days where I never knit a single stitch.  That never used to happen.  Even when I was working 16 hour days I still managed to knit full rows.

So all of that to say, I don't have much to show in the way of knitting.  The Newborn Vertebrae is progressing but not as quickly as I'd like.  It's a top down cardigan type of thing and I've put the sleeve stitches on holders but I don't have a photo.
Wool of the Andes Aurora Heather

And I started another simple, hemmed brim hat to work on while hanging out in medical centers. This one is knit with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Aurora Heather.  And in case you're wondering, Aurora Heather is SO much prettier in real life than it looks in that photo.  (Note to self:  Dunkin Donuts doesn't have the best lighting for photographing knitted stuff.)

Oh, and it snowed the other day!  It Never snows this early.  It only accumulated to about a half an inch but considering it had been 70 degrees the day before and 50 degrees and pouring down raining all morning before the snow started.... In any event, it was a fun ride home from the doctor's office.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carol for today's Three on Thursday gathering.  Today I have three things I want to knit for the soon to be grandbaby.  I'm having trouble because the baby is due in late March/early April, which means only a month or two of wearing sweaters before summer arrives.  I desperately want to knit cute, little newborn things but I should really knit for a six to nine month old.  But that's okay too.  Big baby things are just as cute, and much more practical.
Hungary Caterpillar sleep sack

So, item #1, a Very Hungry Caterpillar sleep sack.  Besides being a fan of the book, I think the sleep sack is adorable and, I love that it has 'sleeves.'  I always worry about the baby sinking down into the sack and suffocating but this version has shoulder straps which should keep the newborn's head up and out.
Helen Joyce Dress

The second project is the Helen Joyce Dress.  I just love how girly it is with that simple lace design.
Latte Coat

And third and possibly my favorite, the Latte Coat.  It's so simple but I love it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Think Pink!

We're thinking pink over here!  We finally got the official word from the doctor that my grandbaby-to-be will be a girl.  Phew!  Now I can buy yarn!  The other set of grandparents were hoping for a girl while we didn't really have a preference.  I just wanted to know what color to be knitting.  And now...

Tulip and Graphite Bella Cash baby yarn from Center of the Yarniverse
Bella Cash yarn

I can knit!  I have a surprise baby 'thing' for my son and wanted to make a black Newborn Vertebrae to match.  And yes, I know.  You're probably asking, "Black?  For a baby?  What's wrong with you?"  Once you see the 'thing' you'll understand.  Anyway....  As it turns out, I'm  knitting a dark gray Newborn Vertebrae and since the baby is going to be a girl, I'll add pink ribbing to girly it up.

I chose the gray, or Graphite to be exact, mainly because it was close to black and on sale.  It's extremely difficult to find black yarn suitable for a newborn.  Anyway, the colors are Graphite and Tulip and the yarn is Bella Cash.  The yarn is so soft and I'm loving knitting with it.  It's mostly superwash merino with a little cashmere thrown in.

Knit Picks Sock Labs
Laser Tag, Sock Labs Hawthorne

After the Newborn Vertebrae, I want to knit something with this Sock Labs Hawthorne.  The colorway is called Laser Tag.  Several months ago Knit Picks had a few retro colorways of Hawthorne in their Sock Labs line and when it went on sale, I grabbed a pinkish and a blueish skein in preparation for the gender reveal.  My plan all along has been to knit an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise jacket but now I'm wondering.  Once I finish the pink and gray Vertebrae I'll wind this yarn and see if it's going to stripe or 'blip' colorwise then I'll make decision.

And tomorrow is knitting group night at the yarn shop, and we all know what that means!

Meanwhile, think pink!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sunday Supper - Pumpkin Dump Cake

Okay, so I'm cheating a little bit here.  These days if it can't be cooked in the slow cooker or microwave, it's not getting cooked.  Life is just a little too hectic still.  But I am starting to think about Thanksgiving food and with that, I bring you...

Thanksgiving cake recipe; pumpkin cake, chocolate cake, spice cake
Pumpkin Dump cake, photo courtesy of

Pumpkin Dump Cake.  Yep, a Thanksgiving dump cake.  Are you old enough to remember dump cakes' popularity back in the '80's?  They were all the rage.  Just dump a few ingredients into the greased pan, stir them around a bit and bake.  Yum!

Dumping, stirring and baking is about all I have in me these days.  This Pumpkin Dump Cake recipe from Delish fits the bill.  There are a couple more steps involved than simply dumping and baking but it still seems easy enough.  And apparently there are several flavor options if pumpkin isn't your thing.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Yarn Therapy

Thank you all for the kind, encouraging words on yesterday's post.  I was in a rather dark place yesterday.  Thankfully I was able to attend last night's knitting group gathering which always helps.  Getting a couple of hours of sleep also helped.

Bamboo Pop Sock yarn purchased from Center of the Yarniverse
Bamboo Pop Sock

A little yarn therapy helped too.  It's a good thing we'll close on the sale of our house and be debt free next week because I keep spending all our money on yarn. But hey, yarn is cheaper than the mental institute and that skein is ready to knit.  No winding needed.  And, I have the Reyna pattern already printed.  I'm feeling a lot better today.

Knitting group was quite productive.  Besides making me feel better and helping me de-stress, I was able to finish the Martha Shawl.  

Knit an i-cord bind-off on my Martha Shawl
I-cord bind-off

I still have quite a bit of the Sunset (the pink & yellow) from Dying for Art but I ran out of the Carbon from Knitted Wit.  Since there was so much Sunset left, I thought about knitting some kind of lacy border but ... dark place.  I took the easy way out and knit an i-cord bind-off instead.  

Garter stitch shawl knit with Knitted Wit and Dying for Art yarns
Martha Shawl

The shawl isn't quite as long as I'd hoped it would be, but then, I haven't blocked it yet.  Garter does stretch a lot when blocked.  It may even be too long after blocking!

Triangular garter stitch shawl knit with Dying for Art and Knitted Witt yarns
Completed Martha Shawl

I really love the way it looks with a shawl cuff, although I definitely need to buy myself a black cuff.  The brown leather one isn't really cutting it.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Three Yarns for Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carol for today's Three on Thursday gathering and I'm hoping you can help me choose which of these three yarns to knit next. 

First choice is a sweater with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed.
What to knit next?

I don't have the mental bandwidth to knit much more than flat garter or stockinette in the round at the moment.  Casting on may even be a problem.  I have to admit, the new living situation is taking way more out of me than expected.  I knew it wasn't going to be ideal but I was not prepared for the reality. 

I'm sure it will get better once we are all settled and the packing boxes are gone, but that won't be for another week or two.  My husband is still staying at the old house doing the final cleaning and punch-out type stuff.  He's living on a mattress on the floor so he's cranky and not available to help us and the MIL went 48 hours without sleep which means I went 47 hours without sleep so I'm cranky....  Oh, and there's a spider in the shower stall and Mike's not here to take care of it.  

The whole situation is an eye opening, frustrating adjustment.  But, we are getting to spend precious time with the MIL and as of next week, we'll no longer have a mortgage payment and will be 100% debt free.  I just need to keep reminding myself of that.  Besides, sleep is underrated.

Anyway...  Enough whining.  Let's get on with my three yarn choices.

Do I knit a simple hat or maybe some mittens with that lovely brown wool from Love Ewe Farm?  My hesitation on that idea is that (1) I don't have the mental capacity to deal with dpns and I've never been a fan of magic loop.  And (2) I feel like that yarn deserves more than simple stockinette in the round.  And (3) this choice would involve winding the yarn and while I have unpacked my swift, I haven't come across my winder yet.

Or do I start a Close to You shawl with that pretty bluey, purpley, greenish skein of Mountain Colors Twizzlefoot I picked up at the Center of the Yarniverse's birthday bash/grand opening of the new, bigger shop a few weeks ago?  I'm dying to knit with this yarn, I think it would be an excellent match for the pattern and I've been wanting to knit a Close to You for ages.  But... this yarn needs to be wound too.  

My third choice is a Garnet Heather sweater out of Wool of the Andes Tweed.  I really, really want to knit myself a sweater but I haven't decided on a pattern and I'm not in the mood for gauge swatching.  Like I ever actually am, or even do, for the matter.  Who am I kidding here??  But.... while I don't want to swatch, I also don't want to knit a sweater that doesn't fit and the yarn looks thinner than 'normal' Wool of the Andes.  According to the ball band it's the same but...  I've never knit with the Tweed before so I'd be afraid to guestimate like we all know I will actually do when I finally start knitting a sweater.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Dunkin' Donuts, my new best friend

It’s been a while.  The move took much longer than expected.  Moving day ended up being a full week later than we’d originally planned.  Good thing because we were not at all ready on the first date.  The date change did make things interesting though because I’d packed all our dishes and all but one pair of socks and underwear.  It also meant that when we finally landed, I didn’t remember which box I’d put the important, “I need this in my daily life” type of things in.

The move itself went fine.  We gave away or donated about 80% of our belongs then rented a giant 28 foot U-haul and hired two dudes to help (okay, do) the lifting and carrying.  The two dudes were both about eight feet tall, adorable, and incredibly polite, patient, strong and energetic.  I sure hope their boss appreciates them half as much as we did.

The after-effects of the move, on the other hand…. 

messy move
What a mess!

That black and white blotchy thing in the lower left is my bed.  I really thought I was going to have to sleep outside that first night.  At one point, the entire room, including the bed was wall to wall boxes and shelves.  The problem was the shelves were in the center of the room so I had to keep shuffling things around and around and around to make space to put a shelf where it belonged so that I could unpack a box.  I finally made a narrow path from the door to the bed and got the piles of stuff off the bed so I could lay down.  Can’t say I slept that first night though.  Between the back ache from all the toting and moving boxes around and the massive leg ache from the 1,000 trips up and down the stairs….  and my legs were already sore and achy from the 1,000 trips up and down the stairs I’d taken throughout the previous days/weeks…  Basically, that first night I lay in bed moaning from the twitching, muscle cramping, Charlie horse having legs.

And then I did it all over again the next day. 

Day three was a little less toting things up and down the stairs and a little more organizing and grocery shopping.  We are slowly getting settled.  Very, very slowly.  It has definitely been an adventure.  In case I didn’t mention it before, we moved in with my mother-in-law who has dementia and needs some help.  For every three things we put away, she’d un-put two.  As frustrating as it’s been, I feel horrible because I know it’s been hard on her too.  Our presence has confused her even more and she doesn’t even realize she’s in her own house most of the time.  It’s pretty sad to see and as much as I’ve griped about making the move, I’m happy we will have the time with her.  We are definitely making some memories! Some funny, some frustrating, and some rather sad memories, but memories all the same.

The Martha Shawl is getting low on yarn.

As you might have guessed, there hasn’t been much knitting time.  I haven’t had the mental bandwidth to do any fancy knitting.  Thankfully my Martha Shawl is still on the needles because I haven’t even had the brain power to finish the baby sweater sleeve.  Oh yeah, I started a new baby sweater a few days before the big move.  I need to dig it out and take a few pictures.  One of these days….

Dunkin Donuts Rt. 60, Bottoms Bridge, VA
Thankful for Dunkin' Donuts'  wifi!

There is a lot I need to do one of these days.  Including getting internet.  We still don’t have any internet service  here and it’s making me very, very twitchy.  And I’m going to get very, very fat because the closest place with free wifi is a Dunkin' Donuts.  Can you smell the sugar wafting off this post?

Until my next trip to Dunkin', happy knitting!