Thursday, December 31, 2015

Getting it right and wrong

This year was a year of growing that I have not faced in a while. Trying to find a new me, hopefully a better me. It was a year of learning. How to deal with frustrations, how to ask for help, how to let go.

This day marks the end to my first year as the volunteer financial secretary to my church. It was a much bigger job than I thought. Learning as I go, teaching myself, setting up a new system and massive data entry did not make it any easier. Quite honestly there is so much more to do. It has been a bit like treading water, next year I might just learn how to swim.

So that used up a lot of my time. Time I would normally spend knitting, exercising, blogging and doing all the other things that fill up an evening/weekend. I missed those things.

I tried to knit at any opportunity. D gave me some great advice, knit at the very first church meeting I attend. Let them get used to the idea right from the start and don't worry about what others think. He is really quite a smart guy. I can tell you it worked. The only thing I get asked is if I've finished a sock during the meeting. I've proven that I can pay attention and participate, even with my fingers busy. And I resent the time away from home less too. You ever been in a meeting that seems to go in circles? It is not so bad when you have knitting that goes in circles too.

A couple of months ago I was feeling that my knitting time had taken a hit and wondered how bad it was. Turns out all those little moments can lead to good solid knit items, mostly socks. Sixteen pairs, half of which are not for me. I can add in three cowls and a hat. So while I may not have managed a sweater, no wait a minute I reknit half of a sweater for D because it was too big. It fits nice now. Anyways I was quite productive even if I was not as relaxed as I used to be.

I set 52 books as a reading challenge and crushed it. I've got 58 stories in my head now. I found listening to books and a new paperwhite Kindle to help. Most times I've had 3-4 books going at a time. My favorite was The Martian by Andy Weir Audible edition. My sister recommended it to me and wow what a great story! It was a bit heavy on the swearing but when you're alone on Mars trying to survive it does not need to be PG 13. I missed seeing the movie but have something to look forward to next year. What? It is all the small things that add up to make a good year.

Unfortunately the thing that I could put off and did put off was exercise. It was so hard to make that time for myself with a box of obligation weighing me down. D has been gently helping me find time and making it a priority. I did tell you how smart he is, right?

Jack is a fan of Mom's paperwork. He likes to sit next to me and make sure I am doing it right and taking breaks. Gus likes that Mom does not have quite so much time to focus on him. It is nice to be able to take a nap without getting poked.

Well that is about all I have to tell you for this year. May next year bring us more joy than heartache!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hugged by a sheep

What is the saying? If you cannot be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

I took this picture back in October on Hug-A-Sheep day. It still makes me smile.

Gus had a bit of a set back this weekend. A bout of vomiting that was quickly remedied with meds. I am so thankful that we found meds that continue to work for him.

Christmas is usually the beginning of a tough time for him so I am happy that he delayed till after. I certainly have learned a lot from all his illnesses. Mostly I have learned to appreciate the good times while they last.

I came across a how old is your cat table recently. Both of my boys fall into the geriatric portion. Gus' human age is 88 and Jack is a very spry 80. Good thing they can make me feel so young.

As the Vulcans say Live Long and Prosper!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cat Nip Balls and Christmas Cats

My boys are not spoiled, I have no idea what you're talking about. It is not like they get their own throne under the Christmas tree. Or that Mom's shawl makes a great throne cave.

Well it is not like they get their own entertainment system in the form of a purple and white cat nip ball.


It is not like they enjoy playing with the entertainment system on the throne.

You're right. But it is not like they use the tree for entertainment.

Gus did you just bite the tree????

I have no idea what you're talking about Mom. I was just sitting here doing a wee bit of washing.

Now Jack he has the innocent look down pat. Me? I'm just admiring the pretty lights. I would never bite the tree! Or at least not while you had a camera in hand.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

In need of a bit of a lie down

Last night before going to bed I looked at my Ravelry account and confirmed a suspicion, you may need to sit down for this, I know I did. I only have one project on the needles! One!?

I know, breathe in to a paper bag for a moment. You may need to have a bit of a lie down to recover from the shock.

One project what kind of multi-knitter am I? And to top it off I/we put up a Christmas tree instead of casting on today. Seriously can someone drive over here and take my vitals? I think I may have overmedicated my Startitis syndrome.

Maybe if I look at some yarn I can get my levels back up to normal.

Thanks Jack I needed that.

I'll just be over here organizing all the needles I have free. Oh wait I had some fingerless gloves that need some thumbs added to them. Where were they again? Oh look I found the yarn I needed for them.

Whew this may tide me over till a skein of desperate yarn falls into my lap and asks me to knit it into socks. 

If you have not heard from me in a few weeks, send brightly colored sock yarn, I'm sure that would help.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Quickly before anyone notices

Did you feel that gigantic whoosh go by you too? I am pretty sure that was November. Or at least it felt like November. 

So I may not have proof of what I am knitting because I can't get any pictures now. I can tell you what yarn I just cast on this week. It is from my Rhinebeck 2014 stash so I did not even have to dive too deep. 

STR in the colorway Muddy Autumn. Shh don't tell anyone but I'm knitting these for myself. I know it is not like my sock draw is empty but I love the colors so I'm keeping them.

I may or may not have just squirreled away a Hubby sized pair of socks till I can get them wrapped. They won't be a surprise but I bet they will be appreciated.

Now I'm going to knit for ten minutes before I have to do a night of Christmasy activity.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Knitting with Acorns

While I was busy taking pictures of the Rhinebeck haul I amused myself by collecting acorns in the back yard. This little pile represents all that was within arms distance. I do believe I made a few squirrels angry. But really when you move a few blades of grass, tuck in an acorn and put a leaf over it, is that really a hiding place?

 To amuse myself further I decided to take knitting posed with acorns pictures.

A sock for Mom. Don't worry I won't be sending only one. I figure that I have a sock that Mom tried on in the spring here. If I can keep one sock to measure against here and send on any completed pairs, knowing they will fit her. 

This is a nifty little ear bud sock. Jack likes to chew on all things string-like so it is best to have a nice little un-stringy pouch to hide ear buds.

Oh the Honey Cowl may just be my new socks, always on the needles. Knit over and over again.

Here's a more true to color picture. I've knit two now and bought yarn at Rhinebeck for another.

You know I should probably knit a sweater first though. Or two you can never have too many sweaters in the winter. I really do need to knit some sweaters...

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hauling Rhinebeck Yarn

I've reached the time of year that I sit and stare at my yarn and plan what I will be doing with it. Socks, there will most certainly be many socks. I love having pictures of my yarn to look back on. In my case it is true, becoming a knitter has made me appreciate all the colors more. 

You'll notice that I have found a new function for my tea service tower. Normally you would bake tempting treats, plate them and display them with your lovely three tiered tower. I'm gonna display my yarn goodies there for a bit. It also makes carrying everything outside easier.

Remember a few years ago I discovered Wild Apple Farm's yarn? I even made my first Rhinebeck sweater out of it. I was lost when they stopped coming to Rhinebeck a few years ago. Wait a minute was this my 9th trip to Rhinebeck? Yikes! Think of all the wool I've found.

Back to sweater yarn, I found out that Bartlett Yarns was actually making my sweater yarn. So I bought a new sweater, assembly is still required but that is half of the fun.  I'm thinking of a sweater from A Fine Fleece.

They had a lovely dark gray that I still wish I had bought, but the lighter gray will be able to show off the cables better. And let's be honest I will probably get the dark gray next year, hopefully while wearing this year's light gray.

Buttons! I guess I can no longer hide it I am a button person. Top one says "either you love SHEEP or you're wrong." Bottom is pretty clear, "A life without yarn is no life at all." I also found one for a yarnie friend of mine but I'm going to keep it secret for a little while. 

Seriously, how does a woman who professed to hate yellow and orange, buy this kind of yarn?

Or this?

Now this one I get, I could claim it is mostly blue. 

 I forgot to take a picture of them all out laying on the ground together. I took individual pictures to post the yarns into my stash on Ravelry. I bought more than three skeins. I believe I bought enough yarn to keep me busy for a while. Since I tend to buy my yarn at festivals or Portland Oregon it is important to make sure you have enough to tide you through the coming year(s).

I did take another picture once I had packed it all back up. That whole top shelf is my Rhinebeck yarn. Yeah, if yarn makes you happy...I've got an excellent year in front of me.

For the Record
Dragonfly Djinni Sock "Aurora Borealis"
Dragonfly Dragon Sock "Hudson River Valley"
Dragonfly Traveler "Starry Night" (I love this colorway so much I bought it again in a different weight. I was thinking of making the Honey Cowl again.)

Blue Moon Fiber STR lightweight "Free Range Chickens"
Blue Moon Fiber STR mediumweight "Farmhouse"
These two are remarkably similar. I've been in love with Farmhouse for a while and who can turn down a colorway with chickens in it.

Shelridge Soft Touch Heather "Bronze"
Shelridge Soft Touch Heather "Gunmetal"
D already has a pair of Gunmetal socks but it is such a good color and yarn that I may just delegate it as a repair yarn, we'll see.

Peace Love and Yarn Kestrel "Sunflower"
This is a new yarn to me and totally out of my color comfort zone, but I totally had to have it. It will be interesting what it knits up as.

Lisa Sousa Hard Twist Merino Petite "Awwe-tum"
Again out of my old color habits but so beautiful. They also had a sock yarn base but I thought the hard twist might be better for socks, now I am not so sure. I checked on Ravelry and people have made socks from this yarn, another we'll see.

Fiber Optic Yarns Foot Note "Prisim Break"
Catkin Pattern, I finally broke down and bought it. Now I just need to figure out what color combo.
I remember finding their booth one year and easily buying yarn the next few years it was not so easy. I am happy they are so popular, but am glad I can get in the booth now. I can not say the same of Miss Babs.

Bartlett Yarns 2-ply Aran weight 9 skeins
Hopefully to make a cabled sweater from A Fine Fleece.

Three funny buttons at Bitsy Knits. I should have bought more but there is always next year.

Carolina Homespun Knitter's Dreamz needles 2.25 cubic needles and fixed 32" US 9 circular. I had a lovely chat with a lady. She even asked me if I had used the cubic needles and liked them. 

Gary's Pickles 1 quart spicy and 1 quart sour. (Spicy is much better!) These were a D find last year. I promised to get some if they were there again. When I texted him the choices, he texted back: Yes. So I got both. 

Two bottles of wine from Crooked Creek. Cab Franc and Riesling. Yeah I am complicated that way, I like complex red wine and sweet white.

So in summary I took my time this year and went through most of the barns several times. I remembered to eat before I got angry and to drink too. I tend to let myself get dehydrated. I hit all three restrooms too. The lines were long but moved quickly. I made one stop off to empty my bag at the car. It was nice to lighten up and sit quietly.

This year I concentrated on being in the moment and not getting overwhelmed. It is so easy to let the crowds get to you. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ahhh Rhinebeck and other things

I've been dreading and anticipating this weekend for months now. Because of my new volunteer position at church I've been getting my fill of people and things to do that are not knitting. My little introverted soul is ravaged. I'm listening to The Martian and thinking other than the possible starving to death, being the only person somewhere sounds ideal.

OK maybe not ideal but I may need to admit that I could use a break from people. Good thing I have some trusty feline companions to snuggle in with and a very understanding husband.

Back to the great and the good of this weekend. First up it was Rhinebeck weekend, NY Sheep and Wool Festival. Huge crowds but lovely wool to tempt you. I think I spotted a cousin to one of my favorite CrazySheepLady's sheep.

Anybody else see Ewen McTeagle in this fine Shropshire Sheep? Go ahead and try to say that five times fast. Shropshire Sheep.

I had my now traditional falafel lunch. Still as tasty as the first time.

The trees were not at their best this year but I managed to look up and capture this one in a lovely moment.

 This little guy almost grabbed me from the pen. Once she got my attention we started off with a double cheek rub and chat.

Then because I successfully negotiated a photo shoot. We switched to one handed rubbing with eyes closed. I offered to take her home but said she would have to share the bed with my boys. Then I realized Gus would probably make her his bed. I regetfully said goodbye and went off to but more yarn to help with my loss.

Back at home I gleefully unpacked my new yarn. 

Whew I just passed my Jack inspection.

Dad thought Jack needed more of an all-in approach to his technique.

Gus said "Wake me for dinnertime. It is exhausting looking at your yarn."

I worked very hard on enjoying myself and having a good attitude. The crowd is so overwhelming. I found a few more treasures on second and third trips through the barns. Rhinebeck only comes once a year I may as well enjoy it for as long as I stay sane. 

I even got my first ever Yarn Harlot in the wild sighting. She was wearing her Fox Paws scarf when she walked right by me.

On Sunday we had a big project for me with a short time to do it in. I had been dreading this day for months. I am very pleased to say it went well and was not as bad as I had imagined. It is funny how things can overtake your life and make you stressed. 

Now if you will excuse me I have some new yarn to gaze at...

Thursday, October 15, 2015


No it is not yarn cake this time but honest to goodness Birthday Cake, decorated and everything!

D put in an order at a local bakery for my birthday. What? I did not want to assume that you all could work it out from that very pretty writing above.

He even had them decorate with a couple of my favorite things. Gus says he resents being called a "thing." And that image captures none of his silky fur element.

 I like to look at the shadows on this one. It gives you an idea of the texture of the icing.

We enjoyed birthday cake for several nights. I'm considering going back for D's birthday too since we enjoyed it so much. But how should I have them decorate it for him? Hmm...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival

It is that time of year again! 

I get to pet some short sheep and fondle woolie goodness to my hearts content. I just have to remember to buy the woolies before I love them, and pet them, and call them George.

I do believe I will start documenting one of my festival traditions. I like to wear a pair of socks made from yarn bought at last year's festival. It is a way for me to connect with the vendors. I can be rather shy or quiet at times so this works as a method of breaking me out of my shell. A beautiful form of woolie armor.

This year's armor is Fiber Stash's You Pick socks. Now these socks have my heart with all their vibrant beauty. It is very difficult to be sad looking at these socks.
So I bought more yarn from them.

Left to right: Tweedy Toes in "Moss", Polworth Roving in "70083" and Twinkle Toes in "Bushel".
Now I am not a Twinkle Toes kind of girl but sometimes when the yarn calls to you, you just pay the darn bill and be happy about it.

From D's Salt Rimmed Margarita Socks vendor, Mt Rutsen Studio, I found some more lovelies.
Little Abbey in "Auroa Borealis" (with neps) and Madison in "Deep Cornflower". Also I bought two more packs of my favorite stitch markers. You know the ones that made sweater knitting fun.

Last year I bought yarn for a sweater from Ensign Book Farm. I swatched the yarn but started having anxiety about running out of yarn so I let it sit and marinate in my mind. Last month I realized I can just buy more yarn in different colors and knit a colorwork yoke sweater. (I think I may have enough for sweater, cowl and mitts, na maybe I should buy more.)
In front may be my last skein of their Great Scott sock yarn.  

A nice big sweater/shawl bag from Stitched by JessaLu. Doctor Who themed of course.

That is five of the sweater skeins in there! Yowsa!

All of my new pretties taking a class picture. Could I be any more proud? 
Oh right I will be once I knit them into their destiny, right!

Like this sock of D's. It was showing off what some of them could/will be.

D came out at the end of the photo shoot to check out the new kids. 
Then he played yarn Jenga with them. 

Yarn Jenga is the best kind of Jenga!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yarn Chicken

I lost, sigh, at yarn chicken. Let me explain, yarn chicken is when you're happily knitting along and you realize that you may not have enough yarn to finish the project. I know what you're thinking how can someone with so much yarn not have enough? I buy a lot of single skeins of hand dyed yarn. Shhh, you don't need to look at my stash, let's talk about how to handle the problem at hand.

Into the Whirled - Gloucester Sock - Children of Time

Me? I went to my big bag of left over sock yarn and found a bit of complimentary yarn. I sorta like it. I keep thinking that I want to start making my toes out of different yarns. It would use up some of the left overs that I am hoarding.

Or I could find another use for them.

D has a love/hate relationship with the wild socks I make for him. He prefers to wear business appropriate blue/brown plain colored socks, till I let him in on a secret. When you wear wild socks it boosts your I-can-tackle-this-day feeling.

Since  colorful socks are so fun to wear, he has worn these out a few times. Sometimes repairing socks feels like work. Knitting new toes onto old socks? That just sounds like fun knitting.

Instead of trying to find a complimentary yarn I just went with something more wild. So now D has new/old socks back in the drawer for the cost of weekend knitting. I have a couple more toeless socks to work on when the whim hits me. Plus it lets me enjoy a yarn all over again.

And yes I do know that the next time these get a hole it will not be in the toe area. That is the game you play when you knit socks for a hard on his feet guy. It is either that or play more yarn chicken.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Five More Presidents

Back in May, my sister and I had a quick tour of the Presidents in Rapid City.
It has been a little while but I think we should learn a few more presidential facts before my local trivia starts up again.

Anybody want to guess who this guy is? I would have gotten it wrong myself.

 He threw out the first presidential pitch, making it a tradition.

That's why they gave William Howard Taft a baseball.

 This guy was the only president that had been a POW.

Andrew Jackson and his brother were taken captive by the British during the Revolutionary War.

This poor guy and his wife, Jane, lost their last son to a train accident two weeks before he was elected. Jane refused official duties for the first half of his presidency.

 Franklin Pierce

He is the only president to hold a patent.
Abraham Lincoln

Our only bachelor president. 
James Buchanan

How did we do? 

I know Taft was quite a bit trimmer than the pictures I had seen of him. And I had no idea that he was the presidential pitch thrower.

Pierce's story broke my heart. All I will say here is that it was a very bad accident and they both witnessed it. No wonder she became a recluse.