Friday, December 30, 2011

Year in Review

Looking back, I managed to knit less. It seems I completed 20 projects this year. I must confess to reading a whole lot more. I devoured read 113 books. The books varied in length from novellas to full length sagas, there were some classics in the mix along with brain candy (romances) and a few non-fiction works.

My recent projects were all gift items or commissions. I completed two hats this week, a pair of house shoes and one head band from

Calorimetry was made with Lion Brand's wool-ease yarn.

The dog blanket/sweater was made with Caron's Simply Soft. Yes it's an inexpensive acrylic. A dog will be wearing it and the owner doesn't know how to care for good wool
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She requested I include a horse shoe for luck. If you click on those images, you can view the larger sized photo.

Hat number one is a simple cover
No real pattern, just cast on and start knitting until it was done.

Hat number two is a version of something found in the Leisure Arts book: Slouchy Beanies.
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This year I have also discovered taking pictures of hats in the mirror is a challenge when you have short arms.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November daze

How time flies. I looked at the calendar yesterday and couldn't believe it was already the middle of November. I need to check the stashed presents and see who in the family I still want to shop for.

Along with copious amounts of reading (at 98 books for the year and counting), I have been working on smaller projects. The pumpkin bag I made up for Halloween inspired me to make a slouchy hat. I followed the pattern until the decreases matched a hat opening, changed to a pale green yarn and worked a few rows of ribbing.

I am not only amused by the results, I think I now have a hat to wear while shoveling the end of our driveway. If oncoming traffic cannot see this hat, they are blind.

In other knitting news, I am so far behind on my pay it forward knitting it isn't funny. My only excuse is procrastination. I have finished another project off that list and am going to be shipping it out this week.
Say hello to Norberta

The pattern is from, one of my favorite online knitting newsletters. I like the slightly puzzled air this little dragon has. It's as if everything the humans around her do is a wonder to her.

Last night, the hound and did some volunteer work. If it weren't for my dog, I probably would never be able to stand or move after an hour in a metal folding chair. Arthritis, dampness, plus fibromyalgia = a not happy body.
My fun discovery of the night is that the dog can recognize my phone's new ring tone. One week, with minimal calls and she was able to alert me to the phone ringing in my purse where it was sitting under a mound of coats.

On to the next project.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Knit and Natter

I've been slow finishing up my last scarf for the Super Bowl project. The pattern is sweet. Knitting 325 stitch rows can be boring. I really miss having a television. One good Ghost Hunters marathon and the scarf would be done.

It's a pretty slip stitch pattern. Unfortunately the pattern is not fully reversible. My only other complaint, I do not have quite enough yarn to complete the last pattern repeat:

I may go ahead and bind off since the scarf is almost 6 inches wide.

The other experiment in color work was a knit hat. I recently finished this little gem and sent it off to a friend.

The pattern can be found in Quick Nordic Knits by Ann-Mari Nilsson. The book is very nice. Patterns are easy to read and there are a variety of skill levels to play with while knitting. I checked a copy out of the library and felt compelled to knit the above hat. Thus showing my fondness for slouchy hats and berets.

In other news, I've decided to deactivate my account on facebook. This is in response to repeated "updates" and new features which make chatting with the relatives more complicated instead of simple. Snail mail is much less stressful even if it does cost money. Seriously, having something update and move each time a contact sneezes let alone likes something or writes a comment is almost seizure inducing. It certainly is nausea inducing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Knitting, Politics, Budgets

There's been a lot on my mind lately. Most of it having to do with my personal budget. It seems like the cost of everything is going up however, our pay isn't. Add to this a person who has been paying less of his rent because things are tight for him and I'm getting stressed.

The cure for stress is knitting. I promised a baby blanket (or two) for twins back in March. I completed a nice nine patch blanket done in rows of three squares last week. It was supposed to be delivered to the new parents this week. My messenger has car troubles, a snug budget and is not traveling east on his vacation as planned. Instead, he's sitting around waiting for the car to be repaired.

Exhibit One:
Baby Blanket

I did get a package into the mail today. It contains the Tudor shawl, some toys and books for a friend who is going through a rough patch. I now know why I could not find an auction to put this shawl in over the spring months.

Now to the Political part of my program. There was a big recall of Turkey this week. At first I got very excited. I thought the members of our National Legislature had all been sent home.

I'm appalled at how they have twiddled, diddled and done next to nothing about our debt. If I ran my household like they are our country, I'd be in prison for financial fraud, or worse.

After thinking things over, I came up with some short term programs to help ease the country's financial woes. None of this is a cure, but it can't hurt to implement a few basic bits of common sense.

Pay cuts: when a private company has financial trouble, employees get pay cuts. Personally, I'd like to see those folks take a big pay cut. I'm of the firm opinion members of the House and Senate need to make 5 figures, just like members of our military.

Pensions: those little necessities often disappear during a financial crisis. The Legislature members can lose their pensions just like many folks have lost their IRA's, 401's and so called Social Security.

Retinues: Package them up as staff, or whatever you want to call them. There are too many people earning money for following their representative around. Let them get a real job in the real world, or let the states pay those people, but take them out of the national budget.

Cars, Planes, etc: no more five star hotels, minimize the amount of travel you all do, and drive economy vehicles. Show us you really do understand how the rest of the nation is doing.

Earmarks: I saw a reaction from an 'honorable' member of congress where he said "our peculiar institution" You know what, there was another 'peculiar institution' and it cost our nation money and lives. Drop Them. Stop adding expenses to bills/laws. No more back room deals where in "I'll vote for your healthcare if you add in this pet project" Half the time those pet projects have nothing whatsoever to do with the legislation being passed and only benefit the bozo who's pushing for it. We Cannot Afford IT. Quit Spending Money You Don't Have.

And last but not least, let's hear it for term limits. Honestly, there are people serving on Capital Hill who've been there for 30+ years. Do they still have a clue as to what will be in the best interests of the country? I doubt it. Recall them. As voters, we need to look at what our congress persons and senators are doing. We need to stop voting straight party tickets.
Until there are TERM LIMITS on the seats in both the House and Senate, we the voters need to enforce term limits.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Working and Reading

Over the years I have become less heat tolerant. This means less time where I can easily work in my butterfly garden. I decided to make an attempt at beating back what is fast looking like a rain forest. The back yard is the finger system for our septic tank, so all of the plants are very happy and very big.

After wacking down a pokeberry shrub and taking out the sapling which seems to have a love affair with our deck, I sprayed the driveway weeds with a combination of vinegar and salt. I got the recipe from a friend who swears by it. She also warned me nothing will grow in the sprayed areas for two years. I'm good with the idea of no drive way weeds for that long, or longer.

Since it is summer, and warm, I spend a lot of time reading. So far this year, I've read 57 books, most of them are novella length or full sized novels of 400 or more pages. I should focus more on growing my direct sales business. My only excuse is that reading feels safer to me.

Knitting continues, I'm working on a hat, a baby blanket and want to knit up Alan Dart's chess set. I got that pattern in the June copy of Simply Knitting. It looks like something fun to make and it will be useful since I like to play chess. I might try adapting the pattern and giving the pieces specific personalities based on a series of books. We'll see how ambitious I get over the fall.

Ramadan started today. I have a few Muslim friends who fast during this time. I wish them a good holiday. Lammas is in another day, to all of my Pagan friends, have a good celebration of first fruits.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Little bit of Knitting, Little bit of Life

Since my last post, I've made another scarf for that super bowl project, taught another class or two, traveled to Mississippi and made it to New Orleans for a long weekend.

I did a bit of experimenting with yarn while traveling in the truck and decided jaggerspun was not going to give the effect I was looking for on the needles I had with me.

This swatch went to the frog pond. And I pulled out a cone of cotton yarn from the same company. My first lace scarf turned out nicely, even if some of the cat tracks are from a polydactyl cat.

I got a bit adventurous and made a toy gargoyle. The pattern called for making it in the round. I was not up to playing with nine (9) stitches on double point needles, so I made it flat and sewed up the seams. Instead of a traditional grey, my guardian of the computer is a bit pink and perky.
The photo is a tad blurry because Nugget moved. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blankets, Scarves and Hats, Oh My!

It's winter here in the Midwest which means the weather forecasters are predicting gloom, doom and end of the world scenarios. So far, it's been a normal winter.

With that in mind, and my resolution to knit more, I've dug in my stash and started to use yarns I bought with certain projects in mind. I am finally getting around to them.

I made one baby blanket and have two more on the needles

Then there is the blue and white insanity which is called the Super Bowl Scarf Project
This is my third contribution to the cause

I wanted to make something quick. I needed to see progress in my knitting and pulled out a partial skein of bright red wool along with a skein of mixed red, blue and purple wool blend.
When I cast on, I thought it would be nice to make a beret. I was too lazy to dig out a pattern and put 82 stitches on a US size 10 needle, closed the circle and managed not to twist the stitches. That is always cause for celebration.
After an inch of k2p2 ribbing, I began to knit plain. I decided to place markers every 21 stitches and increased one stitch before and after each marker on every fourth row. This gave me a nice shape. When I thought I had enough increases, I decreased one stitch front and back of each marker at every fourth row.
The decreases eventually made a need to switch to double point needles, and once I was down to 8 stitches, I cut the yarn, slipped the tail through those final stitches and tightened up the hat.
After two rounds in the wash with my darks (heavy agitation, lots of pounding) the hat was the right size for me to wear.

I love it when a plan comes together