Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Revolutions

Every year people rush to make New Year's Resolutions and about a week after they totally forget about them until the next year and feel they are a failure if they don't meet all resolutions. I decided this year would be the year I make resolutions I can follow through on. 2011 will be the year ALL resolutions are met. So here is my list:

1. I will knit at least 1 sock this year.
2. I will buy at least 10 skeins of yarn.
3. I will attend my knitting group at least 3 times this year ( this would be the group that meets 2-3 times a month).
4. I will eat at least one meal a day.
5. I will go to work with a smile on my face at least once in 2011.
6. I will cuddle with Chief and Bert at least once a day.
7. I will read at least one book.
8. I will meet up with my friends for dinner.
9. I will mow the lawn at least once this year.
10. I will enjoy the small things in life and not have to look for big changes to know I am a happy person.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Wish

Growing up Christmas was a huge thing. We waited till the Sears and JC Penney catalogs showed up and studied the pages many times picking out the toys that would be written on our Christmas list. One year Mouse Trap was on the list, another year Barbie's theater. One of my favorite years was getting my first 2 wheel bike. I came odwn the hall and around the corner into the living room. There parked in front of the tree was a shiny new turquoise Schwin bike. I loved that bike. It took me all over the neighborhood and gave me the freedom that kids seek.

Our family gathering on Christmas was also a huge thing. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and more were all brought together to celebrate. After the meal the "women folk" would clean up the dishes while the men took a nap in front of the TV. As kids we waited with great expectation because about 4pm a miracle would happen every year. Santa stopped by the house on his way back to the north pole to visit with us and drop off a few more gifts. Can you imagine! Santa actually stopped by to see us. It was thrilling! Before we could get the presents, we had to perform for him. You had to sing, read a poem, play the piano or some other performance for Santa and the rest of the family. It was such a special time.

After Santa left, the kids would pass out the presents under the tree to everyone. Piles grew in front of each person and once the last present was passed out we would take turns - starting with the youngest - opening presents. Each person opened their present showed it to everyone then the next youngest would open a present. There was always an arguement with the adults as to who was actually older but always with laughter and joy. When the presents were all opened it was time for supper. The day ended with very tired but happy children and adults packing up presents to return to their own homes.

Those were the good old days. Now, we have grown and Santa no longer comes to visit us. We will all get together and enjoy the day with family - my aunt and uncle, the cousins and cousin's children. The grandparents and others of the next generation are no longer with us but stories of Christmas past will be told. At some point we will tell the story of Russell, the little boy who lived next door to my aunt, seeing Santa and rushing into the house to meet him. This year will be a quieter year because we've had a few deaths recently. We are a family that loves Christmas and loves the chance to get together and share. Yup, it will be quieter but filled with love and family.

I have a Christmas wish for all of you - that you will take time to enjoy family and friends, share stories and find the joy and excitement of the season that we had as children.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Topic of the Day

If you live in Minnesota (the lower half) or parts of the country near us there is only one topic of discussion today - snow. Shoveling snow. Getting stuck in snow. Remember the last blizzard when..... You get the idea. We become stuck on the topic of snow and can't get out of it. It's our battleground and some of us survive, some don't.

So here's my story about today's snow.
Yesterday at work I decided to check out a few web sites and look for a snow thrower. I haven't had one since becoming an adult and I'l really tired of shoveling. When I saw the weather report I decided this was the year to get one. Sears reported a wait of 10-20 days for their models. That just wouldn't get me through this blizzard. Another home store had a model that was big enough to deal with what we were getting but not so big I couldn't handle it. They had 21 in stock. That was at 5pm.

6pm - I got to the store after dealing with rush hour and when I walked in the store 3 throwers were waiting in line to be checked out. When I talked to the clerk and he checked - they were down to 11. 10 of this model were sold in one hour. Glad I didn't wait! I got it home after a stop to get gas for it and waited for the snow.

This morning 10am - I got on line and checked for the fun of it. All 21 throwers were sold and they were out of stock of several other models. Really glad I didn't wait!

4pm - I waited till 4pm to clear the driveway so I'd only have to do it once. My new snow thrower (still waiting for a name) is wonderful. The snow was up to the top of the front end (21" high). It cleared out the driveway nice and pretty.

6:30pm - My friends were having our annual party tonight at 7pm and I only had to go a couple miles away. I headed out with my treat I was sharing, a shovel (just in case) extra mittens, etc. I was ready to go. My street wasn't ready. The plows haven't been through yet and after getting stuck in my street right outside my driveway 3 times I finally gave up.

8pm - yes, I was out there well over an hour getting my car unstuck from the street. I gave up and came in the house to cuddle with the cats, watch TV and eat dill,fresh veggies pizza squares. No party for me tonight. I checked with my friends and our party was cancelled. First time in 30 years.

So, that's my snow story. Tomorrow is another day and all I know is there will be knitting and I'm sure there will be a plow in the street to block my driveway. It's winter in Minnesota and it's gonna be a long one! And I will survive.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Alive but busy

I don't have much to say except: life is busy.
I have a computer that is trying hard to die permanently so I'm looking for a new one.

Things are happening at work causing many changes and so extra mental effort that doesn't wear me out but makes sitting around at night doing nothing a really nice thing.

I finished the Tree of Life afghan but need to work in the ends before I photograph it.

I have parties and gatherings over the next couple weeks that mean making treats, and getting ready for the parties.

I have plumbing that needs attention (drat!) and no time to call a plumber to get it fixed. Fortunately, its an inconvenient things and not something I need to fix to have the house function.

So much more is going on but - I don't need to bore you. I only wanted to post something since its been a long time and I wanted to say -I'm here, I'm fine and I'm getting ready for the holidays!

Enjoy your December with all the celebrations and when I have some knitting to post - I'll be back....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Knitting + Food + Goats + Friends= a Great Time

I'm a little slow in posting this but - a couple weekends ago my local knitting group headed out of town to Lanesboro, MN and the Cottage House Inn. We spent Friday afternoon to Sunday morning thinking about nothing but knitting and friendship. It's something all groups should do at some point and we plan on making it a regular event.

The people at the Inn were wonderful. They gave us the meeting room to camp out in for no additional cost. This room had tables to sit at and several comfy places to sit - couches and chairs. It also included a refrigerator/freezer, microwave, sink, and several plug ins for crock pots on a counter. We took advantage of all these things.

We didn't plan any meals but all brought food. The shocking thing about this was - it was probably the healthiest retreat I've ever been to. Fresh fruit and veg, salads, yummy soup and meat dishes. Everything was wonderful.

After staying up way too late Friday night (past midnight) we all headed to our rooms and planned to meet for breakfast at the local Pastry Shop cafe. Again the food was great. They had Vegetable scrams that were a ton of fresh vegetables with scrambled eggs and homemade toast and grapes. All for $4.00. You gotta love small town cafes!

Back at the Inn we sat around and knit. Early afternoon some of us headed over to the local Mohair Goat farm to pet the goats and buy some yarn. Austin's Mohair's is a fun place just outside Harmony, MN. The whole farm is purple which made PurpleKathy (one of our group) very happy.

There was a purple shop, a purple barn, purple fences, purple everywhere. Inside we met Ada. What a character! She is the Old Goat Lady and worth the trip just to meet her. Many things in the shop are made from yarn from her goats by local ladies. Ada helps ladies around the area who have ended up in welfare and can't make ends meet.

There's also mohair yarn to buy. Yup - there's purple yarn with PurpleKathy (note the purple turtleneck and sweatshirt) zooming in on it -some did go home with her.

The other side of the shop had items from the local ladies and other fiber goodies.

Once we made our purchases we headed out to the barn to say HI to the local critters.
These guys looked pretty tired and the one of the left reminded me of Lee Marvin in the movie "Cat Ballou. OK I admit that's a pretty old reference but- there's a famous scene where he's on his horse drunk leaning against the side of the building. Ya gotta give me this one!

This cute little guy loved getting pet, especially his horns. I never noticed before but goat horns are warm and they have the silliest grin on their faces.

Meanwhile - we headed back to the Inn and got back to some serious knitting....

and eating with knitting.......

Our final morning we headed back to the Pastry Shop cafe and had their Sunday morning special - Spinach, Swiss Cheese, and Ham stuffed Crepes. Huge serving, tasted great and only $5. Then back to the Inn and home.

This was the weekend after my Dad's funeral and was such a great way to get back into things and start a new life. I suddenly don't have any parents to have to look after. There won't be any calls from a nurse telling me I need to head over to the hospital or Dad needs some special care item. I spent the entire weekend just enjoying my friends and not worrying about anything. It will take time to get used to this but I know Mom & Dad would be happy I'm able to do things now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Knitted Accessories

For the past year I've been working on and off on accessories patterns. Each set is a different technique - lace, garter stitch, etc. My original plan was to write them up as a booklet with 6 different sets. Lately I've been thinking about a different plan.

Every year people talk about planning for Christmas or talk about wishing they planned their knitting better. Lots of people do a sock a month clubs type thing but I got to thinking - why not an accessory a month group. Each month would be a different technique and accessory or set. People could knit these for Christmas presents or just because it's fun. Besides - we can all use a variety of accessories for ourselves depending on which outfit we're wearing.

So - what do you think? Would you be interested in a Ravelry group with a different original accessory pattern each month and different techniques? One month might be garter stitch scarf and mittens, another month lace hat and fingerless gloves, another month mitered square slippers, etc.

Let me know what you think by posting in comments and if I get interest I'll plan on starting a group in January. (I'm checking a few other places as well)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

They're walking together again

About 10 years ago I wrote something to my Dad for Father's Day. I happen to find it last week not knowing how much it would mean to me later in the week.

It's easy to remember good times when there are so many.

As a little girl I remember looking up at the tall, strong man holding my hand tightly as we walked. I remember how much I loved him and thought nobody was as lucky as me to have this love. I remember the patience it took to teach me so many things - how to canoe and drive the car. I know how easy it would have been to shoo that little girl out of the workshop but somehow, each time I came into the shop or stuck my head under the hood of the car with you, I was met with a smiling face that made me feel welcomed. All the questions were answered, and there were a lot.
Of course, I also remember being disciplined and not getting my way every time I wanted something. Now I know discipline is part of love, that we all need to learn lessons of life - happy and sad. I also know that love does not mean spoiling the child.
As I grew up, that tall, strong man was not as tall as I once thought but was strong in ways I'll never fully understand. I know I gave you more than a fair share of traumas; but because of you and Mom, I grew to become an adult who could love others and accept love. An adult who could look at the world and not be afraid to try. The best gifts anyone can give another are love, knowledge and a sense of self worth. Thank you for giving me these gifts and so many more. I love you now and forever!

Last Sunday I got a call from the hospital that Dad was in ER with an apparent heart attack. Later that day he was moved to their hospice care and on Thursday morning while I was with him he very peacefully and quietly breathed his last breathe on earth and went on to hold hands with Mom again. They were a couple that needed each other and I'm so glad they are back together again.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Unknown Heroes and Inventors

Driving home in rush hour traffic is a great way to let the mind wander (safely so there's no accident!) I bounce past so many topics in my head, its hard figure out how I started at Chief & Bert and end up at pasta salad. Somehow there's thread that binds all the topics but I'll be darned if I can keep up with my free flow thoughts.

Yesterday it all started with the knot in my shoe getting stuck while I was putting them on in the morning. By the time I got in the car I was thinking about my shoes. Who was the person who invented the way we tie our shoes? At some point in history someone decided to use shoe laces and tie them in a bow. People like this person - let's called her Sally cause I'm guessing it was a very clever woman who's husband then took credit. So anyway, Sally was untying the knots in her kids shoes for the 8 millionth time and she decided there has to be a better way. She plays around with the leather laces and discovered if she put little loops in them she could pull them out so much easier. What a time saver. So Sally showed her friends and her husband. They showed other people and eventually it became the normal way for us to tie our shoes. None of us will ever know Sally's real name.

In knitting the same thing happens. Who invented knit? purl? YO? So many things we do in knitting that are just there. Taking fiber and twisting it together and then taking 2 of these twisted strands together to make a stronger one called plied yarn. Who thought of that the first time!?!

Now with the Internet some of the new techniques are getting people's names attached to them. We're learning about the people who make of knitting lives different. Barbara Walker invented SSK (slip,slip, knit) some 20-30 years ago, It decreases a stitch but instead of the stitch leaning to right as they do in k2tog, the SSK leans to the left.

It's a simple thing to us now but when I learned how to knit- it didn't exist. Magic loop didn't exist back then. Knitting is just 2 stitches - knit and purl - but thanks to our unsung heroes, knitting today is so much better than it was even since I started knitting. So, thank you Barbara Walker. Thank you everyone to all the unknown inventors who have invented a new technique for us or created a new tool to make our knitting such a new pleasure.

And- if anyone knows who invented tying shoe laces with loops - let me know so I can thank that person too!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chief takes over

Mom is busy so she said I could write a post. So all you kitties out there, get your Mom & Dad's out of the way and I'll tell you how to get extra cuddle time. I have Mom totally under my control and she doesn't even know it.

Step 1 - Get Mom's Attention. Sit on the arm of the chair while she's working on the laptop and stare at her with big blue eyes until she can't stand it anymore.

Step 2 - Once she has decided you're not going to give up, she'll help you get into the sweet spot between the computer and the arm. This spot is very comfortable for sleeping and Mom will even pet you while she is working on the computer.

Step 3 - After a while you may need to get her total attention because she's too busy with the computer and not petting you enough. Get up and crawl onto her chest where she can't ignore you. This will get you the best petting time.

In the meantime, Bert is very happy in the kitty cottage in his special spot. He just doesn't have the cuddle time thing figured out yet.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Leaking Brain Day

I read other blogs that have random posts and thought - what a good idea. Some days there are so many things bouncing around my brain I can't come up with a topic. Today is that kind of day. I haven't posted for a bit but really have nothing to post so today is -open up the gate and let the random stuff leak out.

1. I've had the week off and have done virtually nothing productive. Sure, I loaded up the car with donation stuff and drove over to the Bible for Missions store; and I finished my flying saucer socks; and I caught up on sleep and down time; and I got quite a bit done on a sweater; and I got a lot done on my pi shawl; and the laundry is being done as I type and the kitchen was cleaned but - when you think about it - that's a small list compared to the time I have had to do things in. I usually end up doing a lot less than I plan on. It's just the way life is.

2. You can make a meal with virtually nothing in the house. Last night I had noodles, canned diced tomatoes and the usually spices, etc in the cupboard. I made a pretty pretty sauce by adding cupboard stuff to the tomatoes and cooking them down for an hour. Problem is- I have to go shopping today or starve. That's really nothing in the house. Really. The refrigerator has a few cans of pop, condiments, and one bagel. The freezer - one egg muffin; package of corn; and ice. That's it. Really. And I like to cook. I just hate to go grocery shopping.

3. A friend has been having a lot of problems getting her Husqvarna sewing machine fixing (Hi, Toni). This whole story has really bothered me because I was a dealer when I had my shop. I never had a customer wait as long as she has for parts and then have the machine not work properly. I had a great repairman and parts were in within a week - not a month or longer like her took. Toni lives in a totally different state and I am no longer a dealer so I am not able to help her but the story makes me very sad.

4. There are somethings that are so totally unexpected that they give you the giggles that turn into a belly aching laugh - that's a good thing. Last night on Mythbusters Jamie and Adam were testing how far a sneeze will go. They had to make themselves sneeze "on command" and then have the resulting sneeze particles show up and be able to measure the distance. Their method was to use snuff and just before a sneeze came to get some food coloring in their mouths. The result was colored sneezes and leftover color on their faces and in Adam's case, on his mustache. I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time. Chief and Bert both came in the room to see what was wrong with me and I had Chief so worried he kept meowing and pacing until I managed to stop crying and laughing. If you want a good laugh check out this Youtube video of the show. The colored sneeze starts about 7 minutes in. But- go to the bathroom first; it's that funny!

5. I mention above there's been knitting this week. I have been bouncing between projects each with a different needle size and different technique. This keeps the fingers from getting tired and the mind from wandering too far. Right now I've got a lace pi shawl; garter stitch sweater; simple sock; a knit version of Rust Goes Green bag; Tree of Life afghan; then when I have nothing else going on I'm still working on my sock yarn, mitered, haven't decided what it's going to be project. I tell people it's going to be a shawl but - who knows. People have been donating their sock yarn to the cause and right now I think I have enough for a huge shawl or an afghan or???? We'll see.

6. Bubble Spinner is a huge time suck. I noticed a friend was playing it on Facebook and thought I'd give it a try. BAD MOVE! It's one of those games where you have a cannon to shoot different colored balls and try to hit 3 or more to make them drop off the group. The normal group is colored balls coming down from the sky but this one has the group in a circle in the middle and when you hit the circle it spins around based on where you hit it. I've been playing - just one more game - a lot this week. The link above is for the game at you can try it there or on facebook if you belong. But be warned - it's very adictive!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Finally some knitting

I did some blocking this week so I could finally call a few projects complete and get some pictures taken. I block a bit differently than some people - I use an ironing board and steam iron. This all started in my machine knitting days when some projects just needed to have the knit "killed" to become a fabric instead of a knit. This technique works great when blocking wool shawls and some other items. For the wool shawl I actual touch iron to shawl after misting quite a bit with a water bottle/mister. The other items are misted and then the iron sort of hovers over the items without actually touching it. Works great on seams. Once they are "steamed" I set them on a flat surface to dry and finish blocking. Using this technique means no pinning or blocking wires.

The one problem with this technique is - well - the iron board is left alone for a few minutes while I bring the completed item to the flat surface and get the next item. I usually don't come back to an empty ironing board and have to reclaim it before I can continue.

First up - my first cousin twice removed had a first birthday party today. (For those of you trying to figure that out - it is my cousin's daughter's daughter)

About a month ago someone at my knit group brought in some hats she had made from Bernat Baby Jacquard. I totally fell in love with the yarn and had to make something out of it. So- the project I had just finished for the party became a Christmas present (it's a little big) and I ran out to get some Baby Jacquard to make something.

I made 2 things. A little vest using a couple patterns and some ideas of my own. It has a couple little green flower buttons and ruffled sleeves. I love this yarn the way it makes little flowers without having to do anything except knit.

The second item to go with the little top/vest is a skirt. The skirt is on the Bernat website in the free patterns for this yarn. It's so cute and was very quick to make. The ruffle is just knit/purl and decreases, very easy.

I had a simple surgery procedure this week and needed to take it easy for a couple days. The first day I hunted up some green stash cotton and Susan Anderson's Ribbit pattern (another free pattern).
Mom of birthday girl loves frogs so I thought it would be fun to make this cute little guy to give to the birthday girl. He was quick and a big hit - especially with the Mom!

Back in April I made a short sleeve vest/top from the Drops patterns that I planned on wearing to Yarnover. We ended up with very warm weather so the top never got blocked and finished. Well, it's finished on except for button, which is typical of me. I've been wearing one sweater for about 15 years and it still doesn't have buttons.

The yoke of this top is all bobbles (actually mini-bobbles) and the body has cables running down the front next to the button band and down the middle are a more complex cable. Yarn is Woolease cause the budget is a bit tight and this yarn is a good basic budget yarn.

Don't look too close at the button band cause you can see the string I based the button band together with for blocking.
Actually - maybe you should look at the string. When you are making something that splits like a cardigan and want to be sure things line up right, the best thing to do is baste the two sides together for blocking and they will match once it's dry and ready to wear.
One more item. Quite a while ago I knit the Haruni Shawl. According to my Ravelry page I finished in April. Well, it got blocked this weekend too - finally.
It's out of Knit Picks Telemark yarn. Thicker than the recommended but it works and will be a nice warm shawl on cool evenings.

There's a few more items but I won't be posting them until I decided what I'm going to do with them. There's the Christmas present for our little 1st birthday girl; several accessory items that will either be submitted to magazines or I'll be doing a self published accessory booklet. We'll see what I decide.....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coming Soon

There's a couple things coming soon...

1. I've been knitting but things that I can't post because of a few people that read the blog. This weekend all will be revealed and I can post pictures after that.

2. I had a simple day surgery procedure this week that ended a long time problem. This means coming soon is healthier, less problem filled me. Sorry not much in details but this is the Internet and it's very public. Some things are best left a bit private.

Knitting pics and cats pics later this weekend - stay tuned........

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Bert

August 14, 2004 was a big day in our family but at the time I didn't know it. That was the day a cute little bundle of energy was born.
3 months later this little bundle came to live with Chief and me and he told us his name was Bert. Bert has made our lives much fuller and taught us many things.
Bert showed us how to do his best Yoda impersonation on the first day he came to us.
It took a few days for Chief to get used to this little guy but soon they were sharing everything including meals.

Bert learned how to sit and would spend long lengths of time sitting up just looking at the world

He loves to watch TV but has decided Craig Ferguson is his favorite.

Bert and Chief love to play with each other. Just like all little boys they play hard and they play rough.

After a hard day of playing Bert loves to relax and watch more TV.

Bert has been a great hunter lately. He helped stop 2 mice from setting up housekeeping. This great skill came from hours and hours of practicing catching the little gray mousey.

One of Bert best skills the past 6 years has been to pose for pictures. Tell him you have a camera and he strikes his best pose. Or should I say - I tell him I have a camera because as cute and full of energy as this little guy is - he's scared of people. No one gets to meet Bert which is just a shame.

So little guy - sit back and enjoy your birthday. Today you'll get some special treats and big snuggle time. Thanks for agreeing to be a member of our family and bringing so much joy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cats and Computers

Yeah, I know... still no knitting pictures. I am knitting and being quite productive. It's just that, well, pictures of knitting blobs that you can't tell what it is aren't too exciting to me so I just can't get enough excitement going to set the knitting out to take a picture. Soon - I promise.

In the meantime let me tell you about the boys and the computer.
The boys love the laptop. I'm guessing it's because of the warmth. They always head toward the heat. Here's the proof.

Chief and Bert on 7-17-10 - sitting on top of the laptop together.

Chief and Bert on 7-19-10 - sitting on top of the laptop

Yup, you guessed it. Chief sleeping on top of the lap top.

For a change, because I'm using the laptop, Chief sitting on top of me next to the laptop

Some things just seem to fit together. I'm guessing when I put the laptop back on the chair next to me I'll find a cat there within 15 minutes. Any bets?
Update - just before I published this, Chief crawled up on my lap to cozy down next to the laptop. Life is good.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Tale of Two Kitties (and two mousies)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I read about a wonderful breed of cat and knew someday I would have a Ragdoll. They were everything I wanted; a companion, lovable, big and fluffy, could be trained. Just perfect for me. Then Chief came into my life when he was 3 months old. He picked me. I went to the breeder to meet the kitties she had. They were all cute but he crawled up on me and snuggled into my neck with the biggest purr. He wouldn't leave me alone. How can say no to that! Jamie could, that's who. She was an old cranky kitty who was still in mourning for her "sister" when Chief came to live with us. She missed Jessie who had dies a few months before and just wanted to be left alone. Chief had other ideas and tried so hard to be her friend. He hugged her, licked her, tried to play with her but nothing worked.

After Jamie died Chief did the next best thing. He made friends with the mice that got into the house that fall. I would find Chief walking down the hall with a mouse next to him, just like buddies. That's wrong, it's just wrong! This event happened a couple different times with a couple different mice. I know they were different because I physically and permanently removed each mouse as it happened.

Then came Bert. Mister bundle of energy. He took care of Chief's need for a buddy and they became the best of friend - inseparable. Time pasted and we moved into a different house. No mice in this house, only the occasional fly or other bug that would amuse the boys for a while.

Earlier this week I came home from work and headed down the hall. There in the middle of the hall were two blobs. Crap! Bert's been at it again. He likes to play vacuum cleaner and suck up every bit of fur left on the carpet. He gets so excited about sucking up the little fur bits that is whole butt wiggles like a Labrador puppy. After he sucks up enough fur and condenses it in his tummy, it comes back up in the form of a tight fur hot dog (sorry that's the best description I could come up with without being gross). So, there it was in the hall, two dark fur hot dogs. Bert had been busy.

Unfortunately, looking closer at the blobs, they turned out to be a couple dead little mice. ICK! This brings up a couple questions- 1. How did one, much less two mice get into the house when I've been without them for many years? 2. Who did the deed of protecting the house from these intruders? The first question bothers me because I want to prevent more from coming in this fall. But the second questions has me curious. Chief would just as soon make friends with the mice so if it was him; his size probably scared them to death. Bert runs away at any noise in the house or outside so he would probably see a mouse and go hide under the guest bed. Guess I'll never know. At least the mice are, for now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Good Hair Hat

Really poor picture of Brioche and Garter stitch Hat


I don't have much to post but I've been playing around with some bulky yarn I was given at Yarnover in April. This hat is a loose fitting hat because I have a friend who hates her hair being smashed down by the normal fit of hats. Brioche stitch (the body) is a very loose stitch but is double layer so nice and warm. It's quick to make up and I keep forgetting this lovely stitch but - it spoke to me for this project. The brim is garter stitch - another looser fitting stitch.

The hat took one ball of Lion Brand Jiffy and less than one evening's time. I will evenually write it up as a proper pattern but until then - if you want to try it out, here's the basics....


Good Hair Hat


Bulky yarn. Sample was 1 ball of Lion Brand Jiffy

Size 11 needles


CO 60

Knit garter st for 8 ridges (16 rows)

Knit brioche st for 36 rows


Top shaping:

Row 1: (k1, p1 catching the purl st and loop), repeat across

Row 2: k1, p1 across

Row 3, 5, 7: ssk across row

Row 4, 6: p across row

Run the stitches on needle thru yarn, pull tight and sew side of hat.


Brioche stitch: The stitch is one set up row and then repeat the next row for length needed.

Set up Row: * k1, bring yarn to front between needles, slip one st as if to purl, knit next st bringing yarn over right needle to the back creating a loop over the slipped st; repeat from * until last st; yarn forward between needles and slip last st.


Working row: *k1, yarn forward between needles, slip one st as if to purl, knit next st and loop over it bringing yarn over right needle to the back creating loop over slipped st; repeat from * until last st; yarn forward between needles and slip last st.


Sorry about the formatting- for some reason blogger isn't letting me put in blank rows lately so I'll put in a row with one dot just to split things up a bit and this creates some blank row and the dot row - go figure......

Sunday, July 11, 2010

He Gets It

I made a pair of red socks. They were out of Paton's Classic Wool using Elizabeth Zimmermann's Woodman's Socks. I've made these socks tons of times. Each year Dad would get a pair to keep his diabetic feet nice and warm. He liked them so much he even washed them himself to make sure Mom didn't put them in the washer and felt them.
But this pair - this red pair went to a friend. After I gave him these socks I didn't think about them anymore. This week I saw the socks again. I stopped by the house to bring a couple knit hats and socks for a charity auction and his wife mentioned the socks. "Can they be repaired?" They had been well worn. When I saw the socks I almost laughed. The heel no longer existed, just a giant hole the size of the entire heel. The side of the toe area was gone. It too was a giant hole.
These socks were worn constantly by someone who loved them literally to death. This is what a knitter likes to see. Someone gets it. They get that hand knitting is to be worn and enjoyed. I'll be making my friend another pair. He deserves it!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Knitting in the Rain

This summer has been odd. There really isn't any other word for it. It's been very rainy and when not raining it's hot and humid. So we rotate between 4 "weather" modes: rain - drying out from rain - hot and humid - dark (night time). This makes it tough to find time to mow the lawn especially since I like to put it off. I'll get up Saturday and think -I'll do the yard Sunday morning and when Sunday comes it's raining. Then I complain and berate myself and say- I should have done the yard Saturday and the next weekend I'll know better. During the week when I get home at night I'm too tired and the weather is too hot so I wait till the next weekend and the grass grows - and grows. It's amazing how quickly grass grows when it gets a lot of rain and heat! So I've spent much of the summer talking about how I should be mowing the lawn. I'm getting very boring!

While it rains I knit. That's the good thing about rain, nothing else to do but knit and watch TV. I've used up small odd balls of yarn and made some hats, gauntlets and a few other items. I've also worked on a cardigan. Of course none of this is photographed as of yet. I need to decide if I'm going to write up the patterns before I post pictures. I've also knit socks. Yup. No pictures.

Last night while watching the fireworks on TV (and knitting the cardigan) I got to thinking about a design that would be black background with a hand dyed multi-color yarn for the design. The design would be fireworks. I think that would be a really cool looking design but I don't have the "umph" to sit down and design it. Maybe someone will read this and be inspired.

Right now I'm in a good place - the yard is mowed (yes, I got out there today and got it done before the rain came), the air conditioning is on and I have knitting to do. Unfortunately, I should get to bed cause tomorrow the work world returns and I really hate getting up early in the morning. We should have 3 day weekends more often! Hope your weekend was filled with family-food and fun with a bit of knitting thrown in!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th

We all celebrate in our own way.

I planned on writing a post about celebrating the 4th because I haven't been on here in a week or so but then I saw the last date and it was the middle of June. Where did the time go!?!
Many people in Minnesota all but live at the cabin in the summers. We all go "up north" or "to the lake". There are well over 10,000 lakes - actually 15,291 lakes over 10 acres in size. We love our cabins. My family was no different.
Grandpa built a cabin in the 1940s that would house the family when the big bomb hit )people did that thing back then). It was 2 hours north of Minneapolis and had multiple buildings for all of us to stay at. The main cabin had 2 bedrooms, a porch and a large main room/kitchen. Then there was the guest house and the screen house. Many weekends would be my grandparents; my family, Mom's sister and brother's families. Six cousins to hang out together and enjoy our freedom.
July 4th weekend would include going to the local small town that had fireworks on the beach at night. July 4th has always been a family time for me and the changes in my family are most noticeable on days like today. But the 4th is still a day to celebrate what we do have.
I'm so grateful to grow up in a country where we can celebrate our freedom and families on a day like today. For the most part we don't worry about bombs going off in the neighborhood. We may disagree about the "other" political party but rarely do these disagreements turn to violence or the government throwing us in jail. I know our country is filled with flaws and problems but I also know we have it so much better then most of the world. We just assume we'll have enough food and fresh water. We assume we can complain about the government. We assume our life will be basically a good one. We are a very lucky country and today we can celebrate and remember how lucky we are.
(sorry everything is all mushed together - blogger isn't letting me format properly)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Meet Some New Friends

The best blogging rule is - when you have nothing to talk about, talk about other blogs. This isn't actually a rule but it's what we are going to do today.

I have a long list of blogs that I subscribe to in Google Reader but I tend to glance over many of them and just look at the pictures. But there are knitting blogs I love to catch up on and here's a list of some of them.

Note: I read most of the usual well known ones - Brooklyn Tweed, Crazy Aunt Purl, Yarn Harlot, etc. but everyone knows these so I won't mention them here.

A Little Yarn on the Side - Toni and I have become friends through our blogs and last year did a food/stuff exchange. She lives in Idaho and has a monthly soup "party" with her friends. I felt the need to get her some Minnesota Wild Rice and she gifted me several Idaho food items. Toni has kitty buddies that are with her while knitting, quilting and dealing with life. She's also trying to eat non-processed foods and that part of her life can be read about in her second blog: A Little off the Beaten Path. In both blogs she comes up with lists about life and things she notices that make me wish I had said it.

Of Faith and Fiber - Lorraine is a local Minnesota person. I love reading what other locals are doing and Lorraine seems to get into everything. Currently she posted several pictures of cleaning a fleece for the first time. It was fun to be taken along on the adventure without having to clean the mess! She's also a big sock knitter and has lots of pictures of her projects.

Passing Down Crazy - Another Minnesota knitter, Maria has done a wonderful job at creating a blog that's fun to read, incredible pictures of projects and her life journey. One of my favorite recent pictures was a close up of her knitting and the next was of a sunset. The colors of the 2 are very similar and the comparison is amazing. Great pictures of quilting, knitting and a cute dog- what more do you need!

The Rainey Sisters - Surprise. Another Minnesota blog. Well, half of it is. One sister lives in Minnesota and one in the "outside world". Susan and Sally trade off writing on the blog and showing current projects, pictures from days gone by, and other fun bits. Susan has an afghan available as part of the KnitPicks IDP program so it's always fun to see people you know (even if it's just as a person in your local knitting guild) make it in the real world!

Too Much Yarn - never was a blog was aptly named. Christine is a crazy sock yarn collector. She's one of the ladies in my knitting group that meets twice a month and I'm always excited to see what yarn, project bag, or other goodies she has purchased since the last meeting. On her blog you'll get to see several sock clubs, her latest projects, and soon I know we'll be seeing many pictures of her summer trip to London and Paris. If you like sock yarn you'll love Christine's blog.

Well, other than Toni's blog this turned into a tour of Minnesota. I like where I live and I love the people I meet here so, I hope you'll give these blogs a try if you haven't read them before and I really hope you'll enjoy all the pictures of knitting projects and stories of these ladies and their knitting journeys - ENJOY!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Don't Drink and Drive

When I come home after a long day at work I can depend on one thing - my neighborhood is peaceful and quiet. I live on a street that time forgot. Neighbors know each other and other than new looking cars our neighborhood could be from any time from its beginning in the 1950s to the present. We like living here. We live right off a highway but other than rush hour its pretty quiet. The outside world just doesn't affect our little neighborhood.

Until today......

When I came home after shopping today I turned onto the service road only to discover a very long line of cars waiting to get through our quiet little neighborhood and around a huge number of flashing lights just past my block.

This picture doesn't show it well but there were cars coming up and going down my street - cars lined up on the service road. Just a big mess.

Once I got home (and Chief yelled at me for leaving for 2 hours) I grabbed the camera and headed down the block to see what happened.

Here you can see the line up of cars on the service road better. If there's a couple cars an hour on this road its a busy day. Hard to see what's going on but off in the distance on the next block is the cause of all the traffic. Lots of official vehicles and lots of lights.

The lady that lives on the corner house of my block got the scoop from the guy next door who was out in his yard when the whole thing happened. He's also a good one to ask questions of official type people so usually knows the whole story.
Our highway is a quiet one with a 45mph limit. About 4 blocks away on either side of me are stop lights, so it's not a freeway where you can go long distances without having to stop.
Some guy decided to drive down our highway at 70+mph and slammed into a little red pickup truck. The pickup then slammed into the car next to it.
Once the police, ambulance, fire department and several others got there, the guy was hauled away because he was drunk. His kid went to the hospital and the lady was stuck in her truck. By the time I got home they were still trying to get her out and about 15 minutes later the ambulance was heading down the road. When I left to go back home cars were still being routed around the accident.

This all leads me to the 2 questions I always ask:
Why do people think its OK to drink and drive?
Why to people think speed limits aren't for them?
Oh one more question-
What kind of stupid moron drives drunk and speeds with their kid in the car?!?
Please be safe in your car.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What Goes on In That Little Head?

Bert is a strange little kitty. He's got all the energy in the world and a love for life that you can't believe. He's a happy little boy but, he's a scare little boy.

I think things went "wrong" for him when he was young and he got a deep inner ear infection. During that whole time period he spent much of his time having vets poke at parts of his body he didn't enjoy. He ended up with a fear of strangers. He also ended up with bell's palsy on one side. His eye doesn't blink and his ear doesn't wiggle around.

This no blinking eye thing makes for great pictures of him "winking" but it made him very protective of his eye and he hides from the world. When its just the three of us in the house (Chief, Bert and me) he runs around like a maniac, getting into all sorts of trouble. Poking his head into anything and everything.

Sometimes he doesn't fit into the places he finds so well but that doesn't stop him. If I call his name he appears almost instantly from wherever he's sleeping or hiding.

But usually, I don't have to call for him because he's always near. When I sit and knit he's on top on me or in the rocker next to my chair. But, with all with wanting to be around me and Chief, he needs to protect his bad side.

Bert needs to be where he can make a quick escape in case there's a strange noise outside. He doesn't like to be held too long but loves to be pet if he's got his feet on the ground or a solid surface.

Bert is one cool kitty and I'm glad he's part of my life - even if I can't figure out what's going on in his little head!

You don't need to understand me - just love me. - Bert

What I've Been Up To

I've been rather lazy in getting around to taking pictures. My excuse is the camera and and weather. I had a nice day and took pictures but I forgot to put the card in the camera and the pictures ended up in the camera itself. My cable has been missing for a while which doesn't cause any problems when I use a card because it will just plug into the computer but - pictures from the camera need the cable and well, its not around. That's my story and you just have to live with it...

I've been into socks lately. I got some yarn from a stash exchange my knitting group did and I decided to play around with it. It's Regia Jacquard Color - more of a sport weight. Because its so bright and stripey I decided to keep it simple and just add a slip stitch diagonal for a little interest.

Then there was the May Mystery Sock on the Sock Knitter's Anonymous group on Ravelry. Cookie A designed the sock. Each week in May another clue came out. Mine were made out of Knit Pick Bare figuring I'd decide what to dye them once I saw what they looked like. Well, I like them plain and for now they will stay natural color.

One of the classes I took at Yarnover was 2 color knitting with Meg Swanson. We started a hat and I just kept going. I finished that hat on the right and then plowed right into the hat on the left. I didn't know how much yarn was left so I made a simple striped hat to finish out the 2 skeins. These hats will end up being donated to charity next fall. They're Paton's Classic Merino and its a great basic yarn for projects like this.

I brought out of the small project mode long enough to knit a shawl. It's made from Knit Picks Telemark. Pattern is Haruni. Telemark is a bit rough for a shawl and I haven't blocked it yet so I'm not sure what the final project will end up like.

At Yarnover the ladies from Lila and Claudine's did an amazing thing. They gave everyone who stopped by their booth a skein of Aslan Trends Pima Classico Cotton and a pattern. This is not a cheap yarn and there were a lot of people! This weekend I decided to give it a try and made a Spa Cloth. This yarn is so soft and silky, I'm in love. It's 4 strands of cotton twisted together. A bit splitty but not terrible. The difference between this yarn and the bargain brands like Sugar N Cream is very noticeable. I'm totally impressed with the yarn and ,of course, with ladies at Lila and Claudine's.

Finally, another sock. A friend is part of the Breast Cancer walk and they have an auction as part of it. Last year I donated a couple things for the auction and this year I decided to do something a bit special. I found some pink yarn and a ribbon pattern sock. The pattern is Pink Ribbons and the yarn is Lion Brand Sock Ease in Cotton Candy.
I've added an extra ribbon to the toe so the foot won't be quite so plain.

There you have it - I've been busy knitting lately just terrible at taking pictures.