Friday, December 27, 2013


D does not have a new Christmas sweater or new socks. I am a bad, bad knitting wife. The sweater just needs a collar and ends tucked in. But I still have more than half a sock to go. Guess that is why I received no yarn as a gift this year. If you can not finish what you have, you can not have any pudding yarn. (I jest, you know my yarn basket is very pleasantly plump.)

I did however get a couple of knitting related books and some DVDs to watch while working out. It was a lovely day. My workout was a personal record (PR) too. It feels so good to get up on that machine and pound out some milage.

I'm going to be reading about Adventures in Yarn Farming by Barbara Parry. I'll also be honing some new Knitting with Two Colors skills. I love expanding my library. Books just make me happy, especially when they talk about knitting. I'm using a new bind off on D's sweater. It is from a book I received for Christmas a couple of years ago, Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor. Let's hope D notices the new bind off.

My poor boy Gus had his pancreas flare up starting on Christmas eve. So today we went to the vet and we get to go back tomorrow for more fluid and meds. He just does not understand how his body could turn on him like this. Getting old is Hell according to him. But he is a fighter so off to the vet we go.

I hope your holidays were lovely too.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Seriously, nimble fingers

Oh, we are working so hard getting Daddy's sweater knit. You see that we're working so hard we can barely keep our eyes open? Well one of us, that is.

D's Christmas sweater will be a close one. I have most of a body and most of two arms. I'll do another try on session, but I matched it with on of his other sweaters and my future looks like a whole lot of ribbing till Christmas. I'm thinking that may have been a mistake since I have a limited tolerance for ribbing.

I have my first equipment failure to report. This sweater broke one of my cables on my interchangeable needle. Good thing I have more cables right?

I was thinking of getting some fixed circular needles to try out. But if this had happened on one of those it would have been total equipment failure, instead of just swapping cables.  Does anyone prefer fixed circular needles over interchangeable?

Well I am off to dream about knitting never ending ribbing on a sweater. Sweet dreams.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Turns out

It turns out that even though there is only one knitter in our house, everyone wants to be included in the process. 

Here is D giving me his "I'd really like to wear a new sweater on Christmas" look. Who could say no to that face? Bonus points for wearing a sweater I've already made you.

Jack is working the quality control angle. See how he tries it out on different body parts? Belly warm? Check.

Whole body warm? Check.

Gus believes his position is more of a supervisor/inspector Gustav. He plans to inspect the sweater under the Christmas tree. Add a few Gus hairs to make it luxurious.

So right now I have most of the body done, most of a sleeve done and a really good start to another sleeve. I took it with me to trivia last night and met a lady that appreciates wool. This is a rustic not soft yarn. She felt the sweater and said Ooo that is going to be warm. It is nice and thick.

I've had non-knitters recoil when they feel a sweater I knit myself from the same wool. Seriously she snapped her hand back with a look of horror on her face. People, what can you do?

The socks may be doable since I carry them around with me. I'm finishing up the second heel flap, after that just a foot to go.

Back to the knitting, or should I go exercise first?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nap while the sun shines

Gus says he has never heard "Make hay while the sun shines."

No mom I am sure it is "Nap while the sun shines.

How else am I going to contribute to Dad's new sweater? Do you have one of those "Inspected by Gustav" labels? What am I if I am not quality control? Do I get paid in Greenies?

I don't really ask that many questions. Mom misquotes me a lot, but not as much as I expected when she moved in. Seriously Mom get some Greenies.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Nimble enough?

My little finger have been getting a workout. I decided to give D a homemade Christmas. (It is OK he already knows it is not a surprise.) I am working on a sweater and a pair of socks. In that homemade I will include a lovely dinner and I may even let him win a hand or two of cards. (maybe)

The problem with the knit portion of my plan is that the knitting may still be on the needles once Christmas comes. But I am doing my best to have at least one item done that day.

If I changed the sweater into a vest I would be almost done. But at this stage in this pattern it just looks like a really weird 90s wooly crop top. Nobody wants to live through a crop top phase once they're out of high school. So I'll keep on working. I did manage to add 2-3 inches while at the movies with Kisknit and little Kisknit.

I also managed to wind up some of the yarn D's sweater will need. I just had to make a leaning woolman. You know like a snowman but made of wool balls?

Yes indeed we did get our tree up this weekend too. Gus and Jack just love rubbing their faces on the tree. I just though you should know that.

As far as the sock goes I have one done and around four inches started on the second one. The sweater seems like the most likely one not to be on the needles come Christmas day so much of my attention is focused there.

Wish me luck in my knitting adventures would you? I certainly could use a bit.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I hear it is good for the soul so I think I will tell you all a few things today.

1. I am considering knitting a Norwegian sweater for Gus. It is just another crazy step in my plan to get practice knitting color work. My goal is to eventually knit one for myself. I have the books now I just need something relatively small and not seen in public to practice on. We all know how knitworthy Gus is in my eyes.

2. I am knitting a sweater and a second sock for my Hubby for Christmas. This is even though I've had a sweater on the needles for me since early this year. Dog -gone-it I just love knitting that one plain raglan pattern over and over it is like a big sock to me. And we all know how I love knitting socks.

3. I don't get why picking out gifts is so hard for me. I have three Christmas parties where cute little gifts are required. I have no clue what to give. Well one person is getting a bottle of alcohol but the other two???? I'll take suggestions if you have any.

4. Gus wants to give the vet's office Greenies for Christmas but I told him no. He keeps telling me they are the best snacks ever, no really the best.

5. Jack agrees that they are the best things ever but he wants Gus to give him the Greenies instead.

6. I spent part of the weekend updating my knitting journal and it is still at least a month behind. I have not even written about Rhinebeck yet. D had to find the journal for me. I think it was opposite day because I usually have to help him find things. Thanks Honey.

7. We watched the movie Fargo last week and we both got homesick for the frozen prairie. And the accents, Doncha know Hon?

8. I had Cheetos and edamame for lunch today. I don't even feel guilty because they staved off a migraine and upset stomach. Who knew they would do that?

9. I still love listening to audiobooks when I drive. My Audible account maybe my favorite thing I've bought myself, except for yarn of course. And knitting needles, and Jack. Well it is up there.

10. I am still exercising every day. I had a personal record (just over a mile and a half in 20 minutes) on Thanksgiving and it made the food taste even better.

11. I make excellent pumpkin pie and dinner rolls. My pie crusts are store bought but my dinner rolls are homemade. Both are very tasty if I do say so myself.

12. Our Christmas decorations are not up yet. There was a time when I had them up the day after Thanksgiving but not this year. I used part of that day to relax and knit on D's Christmas sweater. I don't regret it either.

13. It is time for bed if I am to keep this migraine at bay. To all a good night!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ramble on

I've been doing many things I swear, even though blogging is not one of them. I am almost two months into my goal of doing 20 minutes on my elliptical machine every day. I am so darn proud of myself that I can not stand it. Go ahead ask me now proud I am.

I thought it would be difficult to make that change for myself, but once I made the decision to do it my priorities changed. Since my time on the elliptical was not negotiable it changed from if I could fit it in today, to when I would fit it into my day. The last two days I've come home done my time, cleaned up and went out to have fun. Now you should know both nights included a fine time and cake. Really good cake too. I changed priorities, not my love of cake. I think cake tastes better when it is after a workout. All of the fun none of the guilt.

I've also been knitting. The weather is getting colder and I am feeling the need to knit seven or eight sweaters. Oh heck let's just make it an even ten. I think this weekend will be full of finding patterns, winding yarn balls, locating correct size needles and using all that to fill a couple of project bags. It is time to get my wool on.

Is it wrong that I am thinking of knitting Gus a wooly blanket? My boy is a bit thinner now and the cold seems to get to him more. I still think my alpaca shawl played a part in his decision to get better and not give up. Well that and he can not stand to see me get teary. His blood test a couple of weeks ago showed his pancreatic level dropped significantly, which is a very good thing. D keeps telling me that G needs a sweater too, but what yarn can compare to the silkiness that is Big G?

Of course with colder weather I also start baking more. I found a great recipe for an Oat-applesauce bread. It was so good that I made it again the very next day. That loaf did not last long either. I still have one loaf of pumpkin bread in the freezer, so don't worry about us.

I finally broke down and bought a new bread machine. I do so love the smell of fresh baked bread in the winter. And now I am thinking of making some pulled pork to go with it. Do you think the post workout appetite is kicking in?

So to sum up I am meeting my exercise goals, my knitting goals have switched to their winter schedules and my baking goals are quite tasty. All of these goals seem to come at the expense of my blogging, guess I'll be working on balance goals next.

I'll be back showing off bread loaves soon.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

USS South Dakota

All the way back in August we took the opportunity to play tourist in our home state. Where ever I live I will always think of South Dakota as my home state. 

Turns out our state had a very successful battleship named after it in WWII, USS South Dakota, AKA Battleship X. In her five years of operation she received thirteen battle stars. Battle stars were issued to US Navy warships for meritorious participation in battle or for suffering damage during battle conditions. She was nicknamed Battleship X due to her successes before her first year in operation. She operated in the Pacific Theater, seeing 15 months of combat in her first tour.

The largest town in SD, Sioux Falls, is home to the memorial. The memorial is shaped like the ship rising out of the ground. Rather a neat idea I think. You feel a bit like you're walking on board a mighty battleship.

The chain links were hefty. I just had to place my knitting bag there to give you a glimpse just how big the chain links are. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "ball and chain" if this is your chain.

This would be the anchor and my anchor clanker. Dad says thats's what the Navy guys were called during his time in the Army. You know how witty the Army guys are.

The mast overlooking a set of guns.

This was one of the 16 inch guns. It was massive. No really I mean massive. I don't remember the size but I do remember the feeling staring a long ways down its barrel.

They had one of the screws on display too. That thing was massive also as you can see.

My father-in-law told me that the ship was considered a bad luck ship initially because the state of South Dakota broke with tradition. The state was too poor, too thrifty, or too cheap to buy the ward room china. Traditionally the honoree outfits the ward room. But I can not find confirmation of this. I suppose it is not one of the things that you should note about a great battleship. Only the ex-Navy guys can talk about it. 

I first learned of Battleship X when touring USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC. They had a whole room of clippings and displays of her successes. There is a video about her here.

Battleship X or the USS South Dakota did her job and did it very well!

Monday, November 4, 2013

You may be right...I may be crazy

D accused me of having a sickness. He may be right. Let me tell you a story and see who you agree with.

Things have been busy at our house for a while now. I have new front teeth, which meant multiple trips to the dentist. And G has been not feeling well for a while too. Which meant multiple trips to the vet. Now we're giving him fluids at home and things are starting to fall into place.

Speaking of fall it is where our story begins. Our leaves are coming down which means we need to clean them up. Too thick of a layer of leaves can kill your grass over the winter. Yes, we did not get them up properly one year and learned that tidbit the hard way. 

What works best for us now is to mow them into smaller pieces and then bag up a big pile. D does the mowing since I burned myself so badly on the mower that one year. I went out to help bag the leaves and stepped off the porch and I turned my ankle. 

D helped me back to the steps so I could sit down and I decided that would be a good time to take a picture of my Witchy Woman Socks. What? Don't you take pictures of your knitwear when you're in pain too? That's when he told me I have a sickness.

After a few moments I tested out my ankle since it was not hurting like I thought it would. It is just a wee bit tender in a small area so I would say that I fared very well. I braced it up and we cleaned up the leaf piles. I even did my normal elliptical work out too. So the streak of workouts remains intact.

I don't know if that makes them my lucky socks or not?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Daytime training from August

I've been meaning to get the train ride out here since we've been back. It just never seemed quite done. It must be all the time I've spent at the dentist and with Gus at the vet's office. So without further ado our first day of training.

The first leg of our train journey was mostly during the day. As I mentioned before we boarded the train a bit after 5 am and promptly fell back asleep. Well except for the bit where the guy across the way from us pulled off his head phones and all I could hear was Mexicali horns. Grrr 

We woke to the lovely green farm land of Iowa. I do so love to pass through farm land. 

One car back from us was a windowed dining car. D had a bit of fun making shadows. Many of the passengers here stayed here during the day. It was reasonably comfortable and the windows were great to look out. We played a game of cribbage here, which I think D won. But the call of my knitting and book was not to be denied, as was an afternoon nap.

We had bagels for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch here. Good basic food nothing special. The high class food happened the next day. But my bagel came with a tiny plastic spoon that I hid away in my purse. I think this makes me an official collector of tiny plastic eating utensils. I have a silver fork from a fancy party and a wee white spoon from Amtrak. It is the little things that amuse me so.

Maybe if I find a tiny knife I will show my eclectic family to you. What did you not know I was this weird?

One of the stops in Iowa was Ottumwa, which made me giggle. It is a real place! Any takers on why it is famous?

It is Radar O'Reilly's hometown in MASH.

I really loved this portion of the train ride. I found it to be relaxing and exciting at the same time. I enjoyed it so much that it seemed to be a much shorter trip than it actually was. You know how that six hour car ride that you find just the right audio book turns into a pleasant journey. It was like that.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Technique Tool Kit

I've been going to Rhinebeck for seven years now and have never taken a class there. This year Ann Budd decided to come and teach so I went and learned. I took her class on Friday; Cast On, Bind Off. You saw my wee swatches for the class a couple of weeks ago. 

As a bonus I got to see some of the vendors in their prep time. It is hard to believe but this area was packed the next day. I mean packed.

The number floating around for Saturday's attendance is 47,000. 

A bit easier to believe when you see all those people. 

Anyways, my class was very informative. Ann was charming, entertaining and knowledgeable. She told stories of how she learned to knit in Switzerland.

We each received two binders that we filled with the printed instructions and our swatches. We started off the day with the red binder and learning how to cast on. A few I knew and a few I did not. Even the ones that I knew I learned a couple of helpful tidbits. Ann initially split us into three groups. Each group would go and stand behind her while she demonstrated. We then went back to our spots and worked up a swatch leaving the last stitches live but on a red life line. That way we would not be confusing the cast on and bound off edges. Her comment on this was ask me how I know that. 

The blue bind off binder was filled in the afternoon, with you guessed it, bind off swatches. I learned how easy and lovely an i-cord bind off can look. Now I just want to knit a vest just so I can do an i-cord bind off around the arm holes like all the cool kids can.

I just love that I have so many more tools in my technique tool kit. Thanks Hubby for encouraging me to go and Thanks Ann for teaching.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rhinebeck Stash Enhancement

I found a lot of great yarn at Rhinebeck this year so you best get yourself a nice cup of tea and settle in for a show. I of course took my mandatory yarn on the grass poses. 

My first purchase this year is was what must be my favorite commercial sock yarn, Socks That Rock. I picked up two skeins of lightweight, because with all the exercise I am getting I should be a lightweight too soon. (I know it really does not work that way but a girl can dream, right?) This yarn makes some of my most reliable socks. I just wish Hubby felt the same, ah well that just means that I keep trying all the new yarns I find for him.

Shelridge Farm had some Opal colored yarn that I could not resist. I've made D a few pairs of socks from this yarn and they seem to be holding up fine. The yarn is called soft touch but to me it has a nice rustic feel, I find it quite enjoyable to knit with.

I finally decided to get a new circular needle case, my plastic one from Knitpicks never really won me over. And the best part of this one? I found one that holds dpns too. Crippenworks makes a fine needle case. Want to see the inside?

It is quite stylish. The maker will replace the elastic closure if I simply send it to her.  I told her I was still happy with my original dpn case I bought about five years ago. She inquired how the elastic was holding up. It has just a bit more play so it is good to know that I can get it fixed if required.

I found some lovely green cashmere sock yarn at Ellen's Half Pint Farm, smooshy smooshy yarn. I always think of how Pa called Laura Half Pint in the Little House on the Prairie books. If you have not read them maybe you should. Ya know since one of them was set in South Dakota. Of course that was also the book that had a terrible blizzard.

I bought a button! Mostly because I've been wanting this one for a while now. 

I even made it into the souvenir tent for some shirts. I almost saw a fight breakout too. There is a very fine line between line jumping and asking way too many questions. Especially when the person answering your questions tells you the best way to get service is to get in the line.

After the ruckus I grabbed a falafel for lunch and took a trip out to the car. You know for unloading purposes. It is pretty hard to manage the crowds and your over filled bag. Plus I had to pick up my book for Ann Budd to sign. She told us in class the day before that sitting alone at a book signing is very lonely and boring, and you all know how badly I wanted another knitting book signed.

D could not figure out what the inscription meant. "Enjoy your trip to the Masters." He was trying so hard to figure out how golf was related to the book. Sock knitting Master Class, get it?

A new shawl pin from KokoNoelle. This year I decided to go with a neutral color so I can confidently wear if with my more colorful shawls like say my Color Affection AKA the-shawl-that-will-not-be-photographed.

Bittersweet Woolery finally got me to buy Frog Prince. Every time I see the colors they call to me, this year I answered. Plus that name is almost as good as the name on my first skein of her yarn, Terrible Lizard.

Into the Whirled called to me with a skein of Martini & Rossi and a braid of Romney fiber in the Aurora Borealis colorway. It is so hard to chose fiber, first I zeroed in on the colors I wanted then you have to decide what fiber content you want. I've heard good things about Romney being a good beginner fiber.

My surprise find of the day was Tucker Woods. I must have walked by their booth three times before something lured me in. When I first started knitting I listened to podcasts and found out what was popular and in demand. As my stash has grown I've been able to purchase some of these well known brands. But now I find myself looking more toward the lesser known and local farms. I find it very gratifying to be able to purchase yarn from the shepherd, or at least someone that knows how real sheep smell. Plus look at that awesome bookmark! This Iverness colorway just keeps making me smile.

My surprise purchase of the festival was this particular colorway from Mt. Rutsen Studio, limey green is so not me. But it is called Margarita and something inside me hummed at the thought of limey socks. I don't even care that much for Margaritas, but seriously happy to make some limey socks. It is like knitting has broken all my color hatred rules. Things ten years ago that I would have wrinkled up my nose at, now make me happy. And those stitch markers there? They were the ones I missed buying at the Southern Adirondack Festival. I came for the stitch markers and stayed for the yarn.

Not a bad haul if I do say so myself. Eight new pairs of socks just waiting to get on my feet and worn out. I am a happy knitter. Are we taking any bets as to what gets cast on first?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

So Rhinebeck...Not the Stash Post

Oh Rhinebeck (NY Sheep and Wool) I do so love thee!

Yep that is right I am hopped up on yarn fumes. I think some wore off on the cats and they may even feeling the effects too, or they might just be sleeping, who can tell?

I have some new lovelies to show you. But first I have to do my front lawn photo shoot, that  makes my neighbors think I am crazy.  I also know several new cast ons and bind offs. Ann Budd really is that nice in person too. (Can you tell I took my first Rhinebeck class?)

I finished a book during my drive time and started a new one. Poor Major Pettigrew is having a tough week. Did I tell you recently how much more reading I get done when I listen to books in the car? Even with the long ones I think I've doubled my reading.

The weather cooperated, sort of, the morning was just chilly enough for me to finally wear my Rhinebeck sweater at Rhinebeck. But once I made the lunchtime run to the car to empty my bag I stripped down to a t shirt. One lady walked by me and said she had just done the same thing at her car. Even the wool fumes are warm there.

My poor feet and I are going to bed so we can dream about all the wool we did not buy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I am a day away from taking my first workshop at Rhinebeck. I am working off two or three lists now, because I am a list person and one is just not good enough. Considering that they have repeat items between them, I don't know why I like having so many. I think it is due to my habit of writing things down when they occur to me. Things occur to me repeatedly so I have several working lists. 

Yeah that explanation does not seem right to me either. Let's go with I do it because it is who I am. 

Anyways I have a swatch and a half to go. So I should be set there. Of course I may do a few sock weight swatches just in case I want to have samples after class, or because I am really excited.

I have printed my tickets for getting into the fair on Saturday. Admission was included with my workshop fee so I don't want to forget those. 

I stopped by the bank to pick up a $20 in case I find something nice to buy on Saturday. You know if the whim hits me. 

I am also washing last year's Rhinebeck sweater just in case this year is cold enough to wear it.

Last year I tortured it by leaving it in the trunk, because it was so darn hot. How can I show off my wool knitting if it is 75 degrees outside? I want swoon from wool fumes, not pass out from heat exhaustion.

And on top of all that I am still exercising every day like I promised myself. Tuesday was my three week mark and I am going a bit farther each day.

My boy G has been having a difficult time lately too. He is not eating again. We've been to see the vet several times and we're working the problem. My boy is just as tough as his Momma so we will do what we can to get him back on track.

I do have a funny story for you about Jack but that will be another day, as I have to go hit the elliptical machine now.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival 2013

Last Saturday I took myself off to a lovely fiber festival. As I've said before I like it because it is quite a bit more laid back and relaxed than Rhinebeck. There are less people to rub against but there are also less sheep to rub against too. 

Hey lady you have a cookie?

I like cheek rubs more,  I can never quite reach that spot. Yep right there!

I had a very nice corn chowder bread bowl from the 4H booth but I ate it before it could get cold, so no pictures. Since my ice cream was already cold I took a picture of that instead. It is great ice cream that I only discovered last year. This year I did not care if it was chilly I needed a creamy sugar high.

And with that we move on to the non edible goodies. Well Jack would try to eat them but he is just a tad string crazy. I think he may be trying to floss his stomach.

I got two skeins of my now favorite sock yarn. Icy Acres Icelandic sock yarn. I am hoping they might have some brown yarn next year. They have lovely brown Lopi yarn but not in the sock yarn. I'll just have to make some more favorite socks to tide myself over.

In the same booth but different farm was my second favorite sock yarn from last year. Ensign Brook Farm's Cheviot sock yarn. Two bright colors, I really loved the one on the left but the one on the right convinced me it would be fun to knit with also.  Never mind the fact that I have a natural skein left over from last year too. So many yarns so little time.

This one I picked up for D. You know there is such a sock number discrepancy between us that I am trying to make up for. Alas if you don't come shopping with me, I don't know what colors you will like and I tend to pick the colors that I like, and then make socks for me. Unless I find a nice blue/black/forest green colorway. That color combination just screams manly to me. It may have something to do with the Black Watch Tartan being those colors and there is nothing more manly than a man in a kilt.

Back to topic, Foster Sheep Farm's sock yarn, dyed by Carole. You catching the local theme here?

Once early on D called me while I was shopping for yarn. I asked him what color yarn he wanted for his socks. He replied Chestnutty, so now when I see it I usually buy chestnut colored yarn, hence my skein from Ball and Skein.

When I was showing off my yarn to him he really liked that color. I am starting to believe that he just may be a squirrel at heart.

My first purchase of the festival was a bag by Jessalu. This one may break the sheep theme but I still have some lobsters on the inside. I like her bucket style too because I can wrap the handle around the bar at the American Legion and knit without taking up space on the bar. This knitter has her priorities.

This year's haul, 2 for him, 4 for me and a bag. I did forget to go back for some nice stitch markers at a booth. Maybe next year?

I even got my lost phone back so it is easy to say it was a good festival this year.