Sunday, January 31, 2010

Getting it done

Well it seems my needles and yarn are attacking me again. I've cast on 2 new projects in 2 days. The good thing is I've finished some smaller instant gratification projects in the mean time and D's sweater is washed and drying. He should be able to wear it this week.

Second bonus for him is that one of the new projects is for him. He mentioned today that he would like another pair of socks. Yep I think the sock bug has bitten him too. Or does it bite me through him? I had picked up a couple of skeins of Red Heart's Heart and Sole yarn to try. It is brown with some white and navy blue thrown into the mix. He thinks it should be manly enough, but it is that self striping stuff that seemed to saturate the market a couple of years ago. I must admit I am no longer a fan of stripy socks but hey they will look fabulous on him.

Oh my instant gratification projects? Dish towels/spa towels. Depends on if you use them for the dishes or your face.

Yep that bug finally bit me too. I did not understand what the fuss is about. Turns out they're fun to knit. So fun I started another when the first was done.

Gus decided he wanted to model the cloths, to make them all the more tempting to the viewing public. I was worried the cotton yarn would be hard on my hands but it was much smoother and softer than I expected.

The brown yarn my Mom picked out while I was home for Christmas. And the green I found here in NY. My sister will be getting one of the green ones and I'm keeping the other one.

My first instant gratification project was not a cloth. It was a bulky yarn hat. Foliage from

It was the yarn I picked up at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival, in September. I rather like the hat but not so much on me. It is a close fitting hat and I feel a bit claustrophobic in it. Maybe I'm just not cold enough to appreciate it. I will use the rest of the yarn to make another I think. Unless I can find a different hat pattern that will work. I've used half of the yarn so the other half must go to the back of the "I'm knitting this" list.

Also I started another pair of socks for me, out of the new Paton's Kroy sock yarn I got in SD. I will be knitting it in the Retro Rib pattern by Evelyn A. Clark from Favorite Socks. I've wanted to knit those since I got the book a couple of years ago.

I also worked on putting together some ideas for what socks I want to knit out of what yarns I have. Sometimes it is fun to look at all the patterns and imagine what the yarns will look like knit up in a certain pattern. Sometimes I would like to have that planned out for me, so I could just get started with it. I still reserve the right to change my mind at anytime. Many of the socks that I'm thinking of knitting are in the Favorite Socks book. Well maybe that is one of the first books I looked at in the planning. I think many of the designs are beautiful. I still have a few others up my sleeves but I think I have some things to keep me busy and out of trouble for a little bit.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I tried out the knitting group at the library the other night. Seems to be a nice group so far. As you know I'm anti-social so this was a big thing for me. Well not big, but I did have to talk myself back into it several times.

When I get home after a day of work I really don't want to leave the house again. For food, fun or even money. Well now that last one has not been tested, I've never accepted a bribe, mostly because it has not been attempted, but that is another story.

So one of the ways I forced myself to go was to finish the audio book I was listening to in the car. turns out I really don't like the radio that much anymore so I really needed a new book. Guess where they have books....the library!

I used my knitting group time to weave in the ends of D's sweater. Yep the sweater that would not end is finally done. (I think, you never know how shifty a sweater can be till you wash it.) Pictures will be posted shortly. He seems to like it so that is good news.

I discovered an interesting side effect to having startitis. (The urge to start as many projects as you can in a short amount of time, regardless of what projects are currently on the needles.) I had a wicked case of I-want-this-doneitis. (The urge to finish something, anything so you can have a feeling of accomplishment.) When you start all your projects at the same time, none of them get your full attention and thus all seem to be with you for a longer time. This feeling sometimes actually heightens the feelings of startitis. If you can not finish anything you might as well start something else for the simple change of view it affords you. Stop messing with me startitis, you know they're working on a pill for you!

Well that is all the knitting theory I have in me tonight. Where are my needles I need to lock them up for the night.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A blogging story

Last December I had this brilliant idea that I would look back and blog about our trip to England as if it was happening a year later. While I still think it was a good idea, I failed to realize my true nature.

I had visions of writing up each post and fondly remembering what when on each day. Now if I was going to do that I should have started writing the posts then and just had them scheduled to post to the blog.

As you know Christmas was a hectic time for me this year. I felt that things were not going as I wished they would. Sometimes life is like that and I usually accept it when I get into a funk like that.

Tagging on a week of intense blog posts on to that really did not do me any good. I think I stopped enjoying it by Wednesday. Don't get me wrong it is fun to look back and remember. I just should have planned it better and started working on it earlier too. I did not realize how long each post would take. It takes 10 minutes to read and look at something that took me an hour or two to import pictures, type and edit. Let's be honest my editing is not that good.

The unforeseen thing that struck me was how limited I was in what I could tell you. Usually I think things during the week like oh I need to remember the funny thing I saw on my way to work so that I can tell the blog. Well this week I could not tell you because I was too busy telling you about what we were doing a year ago. It is funny how I missed being able to talk to the blog.

So here's the plan: I will continue to post about England as I get a days worth of blog ready (and I will continue to work on them). I will also allow myself to fail this task as it was planned. It is over and done with let us move on and look back without guilt.

I now return you to your regularly unscheduled blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

England Day Two - Look Kids Big Ben/Parliament!

January 20 2009
We woke up late (8:30) and rushed down to have breakfast. We had a full English breakfast, bacon, sausage, eggs, baked beans and stewed tomatoes.

My stomach rebelled against this idea, but it calmed as we had some tea also. Oh they serve a strange version of lemon juice instead of orange juice. We did quick showers in our water closet. No really it is a small closet area turned in to a bathroom.

Figured out how to do the Tube. Took train from Euston (pictured above) to Victoria station and walked over to Buckingham Palace. We walked past the royal mews on the way.

The royal mews. Where the horses and royal carriages are kept.

I took a picture with and older gentleman in a long red military style coat with medals on it. He was looking for a hospital but we were unable to point him in the right direction.

Got to Buckingham in time to see some of the changing of the guard. Unplanned, we saw them march in, a couple of different ways.

Took some pictures of the Victoria Monument.

Walked down to the Arch.

I think this is where the horse guards train and practice.

This one cracked me up to no end. Guys taking a midmorning break just seemed so British to me. I don't kno why.

Westminster Abbey

Monument to Oliver Cromwell in front of Parliment. Don't know why but I found it a bit odd there. I guess I would think that they would have moved it to a different location.

Queen's entrance when she attends Parliament. I think I should have a sign made up and placed on our garage door saying the same thing. A woman's home is her castle right?

The Victoria tower of Westminster Palace where Parliament meets.

Statue in the Victoria Gardens of The Bughers of Calais

Another shot of Westminster Abbey. We went on a tour inside the Abbey but photos are not permitted. I did see several people snapping away with their cameras. Yes it did break my heart a bit to see it and no I did not turn them in.

Inside the Abbey is very strange. They bury people under the flagstones that you walk on. So it was like walking on everyone's grave which is very unsettling for me. The whole place is full of tombs and monuments everywhere. If there is a corner it has been sold to someone who put a loved one in it.

We saw Queen Elizabeth's tomb and Mary Queen of Scots too. We walked over Poets corner.
The most touching part for me what the tomb of the unknown warrior. There were prayer candles lit. Very moving for me.

My daily email back home follows.

Hello All,
We had a very busy day today. First time on the London tube. It is not as hard as you would think. Took it down to Victoria station then waled to Buckingham Palace. The wer doing the changing of the guards. That was not something I planned to see because I heard it was over rated. Turned out to b pretty cool. The Queen is not in residence, think they will rent out her fooms to me? Same low price I have now?

Walked a ways down the road passin many statyes. The know how to memorialize people here. Heard the bells of Wesminster Abby chiming. Beautiful. Walked past Big Ben (He really is!) and Parliment. They sure do know how to do architecture here. Sat by the Thames looking at the London Eye. Nope I am definitely not doing that one. It moves so slow you can't see it move, or else it is really not moving.

Went cak in for a tour of Westminster Abby. It was odd. More on that another day. Hard to describe it. Got to hade the turbe back up north to the hotel area. Walked past a pub with the TV on playing the inauguration of Obama. Had a moment realizing I am watching the first African American presiden being sworn in, in England. Wow the world seems smaller all the time.

Wow we just have to figure out which pub to go to and what beer to try.
Oh we had our firs Full Engleish breakfast also. With a small amount of jet lag it is not appetising.
Jet lag is not as much of a worry. Seems to be mostly fine but I did have weird dreams last night. Had some lovely fish and chips for dinner last night and the biggest bottle of Newcastle they could find. I thik we are off to Windsor Castle tomorrow. My feet are not happy with me but I think I can condidently say I have had two good workouts this week.

Oh yeah, our bags showed up today so I can changge into different clothes finally. MMMM fresh clothes.
Well that is all for this installment of the Yarnkettle in London show. Tune in tomorrow for further adventures.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

England Day One

Monday Jan 19 2009 7:23 am - Email sent from the hotel
WE MADE IT!! Off to get lunch now. Not a bad flight, but our bags did not make it yet. Had to run for the London flight, but they reopened the doors for us. Thank God. More to come later, 12:20 local time.

I woke up on the plane pretty well. I was able to sleep most of the way, till they started making coffee on the plane. That smell will wake you, especially if you did not eat the night before.

Yep I travel with a stuffed horse as my pillow...You want to make something of it? His name is Dozer in case you wanted to know and I think he is as excited as I am.

I choose to believe those are the white cliffs of Dover. If I am wrong please don't tell me. I think this sight made it real for me.

I will use D's travel journal entry for this day too. I will add anything in italics to let you know it is me talking.
We arrived in Gatwick and went to talk to the Customs official. After a few questions he asked me why I want to go to Dover after I mentioned that we had planned a day trip. He then explained it would be disappointing in this weather and would do better in Canterbury. We then got some money to find our luggage was lost but a very nice gentleman guided us through that process.

We then rode the train to London. We sat nest to two chitter-chat girls dueling with their Ipods. We were able to tackle the train with no problems. It was probably better to navigate with out the luggage anyway. We got to St Pancras station and walked down Euston St into the Bloomsbury area. We are staying at The George's hotel. The room is cozy but nice. Luckily our room was done early so we could off load one of the backpacks.

The view out our window.

The hotel had a little area to lounge in and a computer for guest use. That is me writing the email above.

Back to D. We then went and ate at a local pub. An older gentleman kept remarking to Yarnkettle that she had a great smile! He kept going out of the pub and returning a few minutes later. (Smoke breaks?) I think the Pub name was Maquis of Cornwall. I love pub food and beer. My Gent also sent us off again when we left. By the way British bacon is way different and very good. (Had some on my sandwich)

That is my "gentleman" on the left in the picture above.

After lunch we wandered through the neighborhood and got caught in a brief, strong downpour. We walked on to Regent Gardens. Even though it is January I was struck by the stunning green and the number of grounds crew working.

D and me in the garden enjoying it.
D in front of one of the many fountains.

D took this shot. Just seems to me you could solve the world's problems walking through a garden like that.

We also saw some rugby players as well.

This was the fountain that was built to water the cows in 17 or 18 something. No this cow did not drink from it. It was dry.

Yes here we have our first English squirrel picture. D love his squirrels.
Sometimes you just know you're in a different country. This was one of those times. I feel like you could take pictures every 30 seconds when something new comes into view.

Returning after a long walk through the park our feet were very tired, we caught our breath while relaxing in the hotel.

This is our street. It curves around the tennis court you can see out our front window.

After some more emails we went to a local pub for dinner. I had a local brew (Bishop Finger) and some pub food while watching a football game(soccer). I had the biggest bottle of Newcastle beer I've ever seen. I had fish and chips, and D had mash and steak. Also it is amazing to see how excited Britain seems to be about the inauguration of Barrack Obama.

Monday Jan 19 2009 11:24 am - Email home
We went and had lunch at a real pub. We both had half pints of beer. Why? Because we could and a whole pint would have put us under the table. Had a real pub guy chat us up a bit. Took a long walk around the neighborhood. Had to stand under an awning to keep from getting hailed/rained on. We need to get umbrellas first thing tomorrow. We walked through Regents Park in the north of London. Beautiful. Now if we can manage to stay awake for a few more hours and get some dinner, we should be able to make a day of it tomorrow. Not sure if we have a schedule of what is on tap for tomorrow. I think Buckingham Place will figure in somewhere.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Going to England 2009 A Look Back

Sunday Jan 18 2009
I think this is the biggest, most planned, unplanned and re-planned trip to date. I will gave a history later of what happen to us while planning this one.

Two weeks ago I was excited for the trip. This last week I was terrified. As in I don't want to do it, I want to stay home. As I continued to pray about it I was calmed. I will always be a worried and someone who hates change, but that is who I am. I can not let fear control me. As I say that I wonder what I will say in a week. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

We woke to beautiful NY snow, or as I call it movie snow huge white flakes falling soflly to the ground, no wind to disturb anything. It continued to snow through out the day. Our flight was in the evening so I had all day to wind myself up. The first leg was from Albany NY to Philadelphia Pa. When we land in Philly the planes are backed up by 50-70 to even get to the gate. We only had a lay over of around an hour so this could mess things up.

The flight crew keep telling us that most likely all flights are delayed. We get off the plane at 8:30 and our London flight is scheduled to leave at 8:45. As we are trying to make it to the gate (in another concourse don't you know) we hear them announce the last call for our flight. I tell D to run for the gate separately because he is faster. They tell him at the gate that they just canceled us, but process us and open the gateway door and let us on. Yay!!!

The London plane pulls away from the gate then tells us there will be a 30-90 minute delay while we wait to get deiced. Buddy take all the time you need we're on the flight it is all good.

The flight is not packed so I lay down in the seat and try to sleep. I pulled the shawl over my head and went off for a date in la la land. D stayed up and ate the dinner. I remember hearing the flight attendant talk to him and woke up later to find him gone. She had told him that he could move to another aisle to lay down if he wanted. I found him later about three rows up from the bathrooms. It was a large plane but not as large as the one he took to Norway. It was 3 and 3 with no center seating. Still a good sized plane when most our flights back to SD involve a 1 and 1, or 1 and 2 plane.

D thought it would be best to immortalize the start of our trip with a picture at the airport. That would be my "I'm going to England" smile.

D found a granola bar in his coat pocket that a friend gave him earlier in the week. He was so happy he had to eat it right then in the airport, and I had to save the moment with my camera.

That is his I have food face.

London I can not wait!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


So as you can tell my knitting has been languishing. Poor knitting. It turns out the thing that I need to motivate me on a knitting spree is a cold. When I feel this unattractive and leaky the only sane thing for me to do is stay home and knit. I finished my Christmas socks.

Not my best picture but I blame the cold. They are made from Decadent Fibers Savory sock yarn. I used my standard sock measurements but placed the cable from Widdershins socks from I had the hardest time understanding it but in the end it worked out and I really like them. They will forever remind me of Christmas 2009 spent with D's family at their home in the middle of a huge snow storm.

I also worked on D's sweater, it now has most of an arm. I had to try it on him twice today to make sure it is working. Measure 3 times knit twice. That is how this sweater is working out. Maybe that should be my name for it Measure 3 knit twice. I still have a couple of inches to go but for this sweater that is major progress.

We received the packages from SD on Thursday. Can you spot this year's knitting theme?

Yep, looks like there will be a lot of color work/mittens in my future! I am so happy! You can see I included the electronic scale in with the knitterly goodness. I'm going to use it to weigh my yarn to make sure I have enough for the second socks that I knit. I used it to weigh my beer sweater.

And the remaining skein of yarn that I knit the sweater from. So now I know I have enough yarn to knit another wee beer sweater. Ain't life grand? I had a great time weighing all my yarn this weekend, does that make me weird? Nah, I didn't think so either. As a side not many of the yarns came in at the weight that they claimed. Most came in slightly over stated weight. Yea a little bit more yarn for me.

My mom, sister and I made time for a yarn hunt. I've been hunting for Paton's Kroy sock yarn for a while now. I've heard about it on blogs and podcasts but never seen it in real life. Now I own a bit of it. Seems like a standard sock yarn but I will have to try it out. I also needed another wind up tape measure, so I've got one now in a color that I may be able to keep track of.

My sister requested a hat and my mother quickly said she would like one too. So that explains the two I love this wool yarns. I think this one will be a fun one to try out too. They want the hat shown on the brown yarn package. Too bad that when I got home I opened the directions and found that we need two skeins of yarn to make one hat. Why did I not check that? It is not like I opened the package and was not going to buy the yarn. Live and learn.

I will also be exploring the world of knit dish clothes. Mom requested I make one. Who can deny Mom on Christmas? I don't really get those but I will be happy to fulfill a request. See I'm not a selfish knitter I just need very specific requests.

I've already filled the knitting project void left by my completed Christmas socks. I will show it to you when I get a picture. It is bulky yarn so it should not take me long. Happy knitting

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book it

Well this one will be a book post. My loving Hubby gave me "The Sittaford Mystery" (The Murder at Hazelmoor) by Agatha Christie. I enjoyed it thoroughly on the plane ride to and from SD. I must admit that I could not figure this one out. It was not my favorite but I was amused. I was having a devil of a time choosing a book for the trip too, so it all worked out nicely for me.

My sister and I were discussing mystery books and we are a wee bit different. While I like to figure out whodunit, my sister thinks that if she figures it out it was too easy. As in the plot was not complicated enough, or at least that is what I understood. Her taste seems to differ a bit from mine too but that could be because I'm new to mysteries.

I've picked up a couple of new ones from the library, "A Royal Pain" by Rhys Bowen and "Sick of Shadows" by Marion Chesney. They are the second and third books in two different series. Maybe I can reroute some of my knitterly urges this way till my Christmas books make it here. Yeah, I don't think it will work either but it is worth a try.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How it is going in my world

My knitting hands are itching, not in an allergic way just in anticipation. I recieved some wonderful knitterly items for Christmas. Unfortunately for me I am not able to touch and feel all my great gifts. They had to be left in SD to be shipped later. My wonderful Father in Law is sending them to us.

This year turned out to be a scandinavian knitting year. I receive three books on Norwegian knitting. So you should expect to see some fantastic colorwork mittens in the future.

I'm still working on the same three projects I've been working on. D's sweater, my Christmas socks, and the Selbu mittens. The mittens have not been touched in weeks. I have come to the decision I need to frog them since the thumb gusset is not working for me. I just do not have the time or guts to face that frogging session.

I bet they would have been useful during our recent trip too. Well at least they should be done before the spring comes, at least I hope they will be done by then. Note to self always start mittens in the fall rather than in the winter.

D's sweater has 1/2 to 3/4 of a sleeve. He is still waiting for the other sleeve and collar. I wold say I 'm working as fast as I can but that does not seem to be quick enough for either of us. He is being patient but I don't think I am.

The good news is that my socks are moving right along. Turns out when you're stuck in a snow bound state with only one project to knit on it gets knit up.

This lovely shot is my second sock enjoying a good sit down in the airport before boarding the plane home. But first it had to have the heel flap finished and the heel turned too. It is quickly working it's way to being a real sock like its partner already is. It is looking forward to taking a dip in the washing machine when it is finished. The funny thing is I had to frog a bit of the first one when I was talking to my Mother in Law I forgot to cross one of the cables. I tried to drop stitches and just twist the cable and knit that small section back up, but that is a skill I have not yet learned. Maybe I just need more practice. Hey but that is not something that I want to be practicing all the time.

I did have time to look over the books that D's family gave me for Christmas. I had them on my wish list and they are as good as I hoped they would be. So my fingers are itching to start something new.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas '09 Highlights

We spent ours back in South Dakota with family. Luckily we managed to get in before a huge snowstorm plopped itself on the state and decided to stay a while. So here are the highlights of Christmas 2009 more details will follow but I wanted to get these down while it was still fresh.

Huge snowstorm - we flew in a few hours before the airport was closed for 2-3 days.
Having a nephew tell us oh I thought you died - Yep I have nothing to say about that other than kids the darnest things.
Seeing new houses - D's grandparents moved into a condo and my parents had a new house after a fire took their old house about 2 years ago.
Meeting all the new dogs - My parents got a dog right before they got the new house, and my brother let the boys get a dog too.
Realizing we're the only cat family left in our family - My sister still has a cat but I think they are officially dog people now. I really missed my boys on this trip too.
Great Uncle passing - We received a call on Christmas eve that D's super cool Great Uncle passed away. So so sad and a bit surreal since the snow storm kept him home that day, we had just been talking about the possibility of seeing him the day after Christmas instead. I still can not believe that he is gone.
Yarn shopping with my family - I may not be a selfish knitter anymore. I also made a lady laugh in the yarn aisle because I was explaining that I would be happy to knit my sister something if she picked it out because I never want to see the "why did you make this for me" face. I think I have a feel for what my sister likes maybe she will get more things in the future.
Leaving knitting projects behind - I came to a sad realization while packing that I could only take one small knitting project with me because I would not have room for D's sweater. Yep that also means that it is still not done. Poor D at least I got him other Christmas presents.
driving across the state both times but the one being wicked cold
Seeing other knitters in the airports - D was seated next to a knitter on one of our flights and I saw another knitter in the airport. I'm still shy enough to just smile and walk on with out making first contact.
Sleeping 12 hours on arrival - I was felled by stress over load on arrival at the in laws house. They graciously allowed me to throw in the towel early and sleep off the exhaustion. Plus then we got to have hash the next morning to use up leftovers. Hash is some tasty stuff! Thanks Big H.
Seeing how the apple does not fall far from the tree - It is amazing to see family traits in action.
Enjoying a belated new years with hubby - We arrived back home on New Years Day and were having dinner at midnight.
Leaving new Christmas things behind - All our wonderful presents will be making the trip here shortly due to the above mentioned luggage space crunch. Good thing I have such a great Father in Law to take care of things. I thought we would be able to post them but we ran out of time and realized that the post office is closed on New Years day. Time flies.
D and my nephew connected over college - It is getting to be time for my oldest nephew to go off to college and he had lots of questions for my Hubby. D was happy to arrange for a tour of our old department at the college. Strange to see but happy.

There they are in no particular order, just how they jumped into my head. Well now you know what is coming in future blog posts. Hope you enjoy them. Happy New Year!