21 June 2018

Current Things

Hello all, from vacationland (otherwise known as my house)!  It's been a good week so far, and I've got a lot left, so I have no reason at the moment to think that the rest won't be as good or maybe even better.


Today is Three on Thursday day, so I thought I'd share Three Things I've Decided During My Vacation:

1.  I have decided what one of my next knitting projects will be (socks don't count, they are always happening one way or another): The FLOTUS Shawl.  I  didn't know this pattern even existed until yesterday when I visited Loop to pick up some stitch stoppers (these, for those who may be interested).  They had a sample of this pattern knit, and it was just so pretty and so happy-looking!  They had done it in rainbow colors, so it looked really summery.  I have a LOT of variegated sock yarn in my stash, so I'd only need to buy a few minis that I liked to go with it, and voila!

2.  I have devised a plan for a Christmas in July giveaway on my blog.  Details will be forthcoming, so stay tuned for that.

3.  This one is kinda dumb, but nonetheless, for me it's a big thing.  A little bit of background: I like to wear skirts and dresses some of the time to work.  In the winter, I wear tights with them, because I like tights and they also are warm in non-extreme cold.  I have always hesitated to wear dresses and skirts in the summer, unless they were past my knee though.  Mainly because my knees have been through a lot!  But I was always self-conscious anyway, because, well, my legs have been through a lot too!  So I would usually stick to pants or capris.  But I have decided that SCREW THAT, I'm gonna wear dresses and skirts when I want to in the summer.  I'm going to learn to not care that I don't have perfect legs, or worry what other people may think.  I have several thoughts related to this:  a) overall, I'm pretty happy with myself, and so I should wear what I like, even if my legs are beat up and not tan at all, b) other people look a lot worse on a regular basis (a shallow and judgmental reason, but true nonetheless, and c)  I will be wearing regular clothes - not micro-minis or midriff tops, etc., so if anyone would complain I will point them Reason B.

I'm such a rebel.


Not.  ;-)

I hope you are all having a lovely week as well.

19 June 2018

A Bag of Goodness

About a month or so ago, via Instagram, I saw that someone I followed had reposted a photo of a pair of socks one of her acquaintances was designing.  They were, as the expression goes, right in my wheelhouse.



What could I do, but start following the person myself, and keeping track of her designing, so that I would know when the pattern was released?  It turns out that she is an interesting person to begin with, in that she lives on a boat (!) with a boyfriend, a dog, and a couple of cats.  She also designs all kinds of cool and interesting things for knitters - like stitchmarkers, shawl pins, etc. 

She then announced that she would be releasing the pattern at Woolinn, and had created kits to sell there, as well as on her website.  I decided that I not only needed the pattern, but I needed the kit, since I couldn't go to Woolin, or any other fiber festivals this year.  So I ordered one, and it arrived a couple of weeks ago.  I wanted to open it right away, but told myself that could only open it AFTER I was well into the second sock of a pair I was knitting.  I knew that if I opened the package, the already underway pair would be completely abandoned, and I was determined to finish those!

So this past weekend, when I was well through the leg of the other sock, I opened the package.  Though as you can see, the package itself was pretty darn exciting.


The inside was even better!


There was the pattern and yarn to knit it, a Sinister Cat project bag, a tin of cat stitchmarkers, and a pin with Sinister Cats that says, "Smash the patriarchy."  I just love it all, and can't wait to start the socks, because I think they will be a fun knit.  This truly qualifies as one of the best kits I've ever received.

Opening this package was a really wonderful way to start my vacation week.  And now I have even more motivation to finish the pair of socks I'm currently knitting - the peeky cats await!

17 June 2018

In Honor of Father's Day

The whisky on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

My Papa's Waltz
by Theodore Roethke


May your Father's Day land gently.



14 June 2018

Next Week


I try to live in the moment, I really do.  And most of the time I do a pretty good job of it, and have been able to make it work MUCH better than I used to be able to do.  But for today's post, I'm going to talk about next week.  Why?  Because I will be on vacation the entire time.  We are not traveling anywhere, but by taking the entire week, I will be able to use the vacation days instead of losing even more of them (I'm losing a LOT - but it's not because of me, it's because we are so short-staffed at work, most of my time off requests were denied.  Grrrrr.)

Moving on, since it is the way to go forward without going on a murderspree, I've been thinking of the 400,000 things I want to do/need to do, during that time.  Needless to say, I'll be lucky if three of them get checked off the list, but since it's Three on Thursday time, here is a list of the ones in my brain right at the moment.

1.  Sewing.  Even if not a lot of sewing happens, I want to at least get something started and ideally, completed.  I've spent quite a bit of time clearing lots o' crap off the sewing table, and I don't want that effort to have been wasted.

2.  Eat fried clams.  I love fried clams, and very few places serve them.  However, the BEST are at Smitty's Clam Bar, in Somers Point, NJ, right across the bridge from the Ocean City, NJ beach.  It's a typical beach place, kind of a shack, but clean, inexpensive, with humongous servings of yummy food, particularly the fried clams.  It gets super crowded, but if you go during the week when they open at 4:30 p.m., or right around 5:00, there's no long wait.  And it is SO worth it.

3.  Be.  I have a couple of dr appts, and have plans next Friday for lunch with a friend, but other than that, I'm gonna mostly get up in the morning, be leisurely and then see what I feel like doing.  You know, just BE.  That's the best thing about not having to go to work, or anyplace in particular on any given day.

Of course, it goes without saying that I'll be doing plenty of the stuff I usually do, but I want to try and make a concerted effort to do these three.

12 June 2018

Why Are Some Things So Hard?

First of all, thank you for indulging my post of anger and despair about The-"Leader"-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.  I really try to leave my comments and feelings about him and his administration and family out of my blog, but be warned that every once in a while it will creep in.  Some things are just beyond the pale, you know?

Moving on (if only our country could, sigh), I've been thinking about all of the crafts lately.  And how enjoyable they are, and the fun of seeing what you can do, admitting what you can't or don't like to do, and finding like minds who feel as you do.  I am ridiculously happy with the friends I've made through knitting especially, since most of the other crafts I can do pre-date Ravelry, blogs, etc.  Though many of said friends are multi-craftual as well, which is nice.

And so, we are exposed to so much more than we could have ever come across on our own.  I will happily admit that an awful lot of the things I have knit or plan to knit were randomly discovered through Ravelry, blogs, and podcasts.  Left to my own devices, I'm not sure I would have ever become acquainted with most of the designers and patterns out there.  So much to see!  So much to knit!  So much yarn!

I mean - YAY!, right??

With all of that wonderfulness out there, then why are some things so hard?  Why, when I can knit a sock, can I not successfully wrap my brain around the technique known as Wrap and Turn?  I can zoom along on a pair of fingerless gloves, but a 4-stitch lace repeat boggles my mind, and has to be torn out and redone several times, or even sometimes just abandoned altogether.  And OH MY GOD what is with the "decrease 4 stitches at the beginning of every fourth row, at the same time as you are standing on your head and baking a cake from scratch."  (OK, that's an exaggeration, but you get my drift, right?)

These are just a few of the things that make me stabby when I'm knitting.  I cannot tell you how many You Tube videos I have watched about Wrap and Turn, and other equivalent methods, and the whole thing still evades me.  I'm sure that someday the light bulb will turn on and I'll finally understand it.  But in the meantime, I will admit that I tend to avoid patterns where this is mentioned at all. 

True, it is not necessary to know how to do everything there is to do in knitting, or any other craft.  And there are some things I've been able to figure out well enough to enable me to finish something, and then decided that I would avoid it in the future.  We all find the kinds of things we like to knit, and some techniques "take" while others just never, ever do.

What are the things that are hard for you?  Do you forge ahead and do it until you have it seared into your brain, or are you like me, and you avoid it like the plague whenever possible?  Surely I'm not the only knitter or crafter who gets frustrated from time to time when I just can't get something to work.

Feel free to share in the comments.  If I can manage to get my act together, I may even do my best to respond!


10 June 2018

Oh Canada! Oh Rest of the World!

When I was a little kid, and would say I hated someone, my mother would always say, "Don't say that.  It's not good to hate people, and besides it takes too much energy."  Years later, she mentioned someone, ans said, "You know, I think I hate her."  I pointed out what she told me, and she said, "Yeah, well, it takes very little energy to hate her." 

And I have to say, the Orange Menace occupying the White House  definitely falls into that category.  Words cannot describe my loathing for him and his group.  On top of of which, he has decided that the last few countries who were are friends need to know "who's in charge," and wants to teach them a lesson. 

To my friends in Canada, and the rest of the world - PLEASE know that he does not speak for me, or for a large number of people in this country.  He is just simply one of the most terrible persons ever, and has always been that way.  I've got nothing, as far as understanding or explaining why anyone supports him.

I do my very best to try not to talk about it here, but lately he has just gone above and beyond, even for him, and I just want any readers who are not from the U.S. to know that I do not support his actions, his behavior, or his ideas. 

God help us all.  Now onto the week.

06 June 2018

Reading But Not a Lot of Knitting

I will admit that I have been distracted in pretty much every aspect of my life lately.  I'm not sure why, but this does happen to me regularly, and some things suffer more than others, though it is not necessarily always the same.  

This time around, my knitting is the main victim.  I have *been* knitting, but not in any real consistent way, or with exciting results.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have managed to finish one sock of a pair, which is a good thing.  Usually, I can't wait to cast on the mate and get moving - second socks tend to take much less time for me to knit.  But I haven't even picked up the project bag, much less cast on any more stitches.

I also did cast on and start knitting my Edie top, and made some real progress.  I do want to make it, and knitting with linen has not really been an issue for me.  But it hasn't gotten much attention in the past few days, either.

I just have to wait it out and hope it won't be too long!  I want to knit, but I don't - do you know what I mean?

My reading has been doing a bit better, though in my distracted state, I am only interested in "non-serious" books.  I started this book on Monday, and have been enjoying it so far.


I'm reading it on my Nook, during lunch hour every day, so it's taking longer than it would otherwise, but I'm sure I'll finish it by the end of the weekend it not sooner.  It's the second book of a series, and I enjoyed the first one, though I read it long enough ago that it took me a few minutes to remember the main characters and their stories.

Other than that, we've had lovely days and cool evenings so far this week, and that is a real mood booster for me.

What are you up to?  To see what others are doing (or in my case, not doing!), check out the other participants' posts for Unraveled Wednesday.

*****

I apologize by the way, for not responding to comments.  As I'm sure you have read, Blogger seems to be having issues right now, e-mailing comments so I can respond, and I tend to forget to note who is saying what when I read them.  I tried commenting on my own posts, but have received nothing.  Hopefully it will be resolved soon, but in any case, while being so distracted, my attention to that detail will likely not improve any time soon.  Please know that I do value your comments, and will do my best to get back on track with things.

03 June 2018

Recipe: Pasta with Uncooked Tomato Sauce

Hello there!  I had not really planned to be so incommunicado this past week, but work stuff and humidity left me with very little energy in the evenings.  It's weeks like that where you are extra happy to have a weekend to gather yourself back together.

Though it was still disgustingly humid yesterday, I did venture out so I could go to the Farmer's Market.  It was a pretty successful trip, and it allowed me to fix a dinner that required very little energy and more importantly, very little time cooking in the heat and humidity.  It's a recipe that I know has many variations, but this is the one I have always used, from Cuisine magazine (an oldie but goodie!), November 1983.  I thought I'd share it so you could give it a try this summer if it sounds good to you.  It helps when you can get fresh, yummy tomatoes, either home-grown or from the Farmer's Market.  Ours aren't ripe yet, but there were some *really* nice ones yesterday that made this possible.

*****

Pasta with Uncooked Tomato Sauce
(Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:

6 fresh, ripe medium-to-large tomatoes
1 lemon (or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pepper
Fresh basil leaves
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound pasta

To make the sauce:

Bring water to boil in a large pot.  Turn off heat, and drop tomatoes into the water for 2-3 minutes. Rinse under cold water, and peel.  Slice tomatoes in half, and scoop out seeds and juice; discard.  Break tomatoes halves into pieces into a bowl.  Slice lemon and squeeze juice into bowl with tomato pieces.  Add minced garlic and pepper.  Tear up as many basil leaves as desired and add.  Mix well, and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.

**

Cook the pasta as directed and drain.  Place on a serving plate or into serving bowls, and drizzle 1/2 Tablespoon over each serving.  Pour sauce over each serving, and serve with additional pepper and some grating cheese.

Notes:  If you are making this near the time you are planning to eat, you can use the water and pan for the pasta to prep the tomatoes.  If you are making this ahead, cover and refrigerate, then take out of the refrigerator to get sauce to room temperature before serving. 

*****

I hope if you try this one, you'll find it as yummy as we do.  It's a perfect summer recipe for so many reasons!

28 May 2018

Memorial Day 2018 and William McBride

A lot of people think Memorial Day is the same as Veteran's Day.  It's not - Memorial Day honors those who died fighting for their respective countries, whereas Veteran's Day honors all veterans, living and dead.  Not that there is anything wrong with honoring veterans, period, you know. :-)

Anyway, every single year I think of the poem/song below all day on this day.  I posted it a while back, but I'm sharing it again.  It is so beautiful, and so poignant, and I think it captures the feeling of all of us that are still here among the land of the living.

**********

Well, how do you do, Private William McBride, 
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside? 
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun, 
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done.

And I see by your gravestone you were only 19 
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916, 
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean 
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly? 
Did the rifles fire o'er you as they lowered you down? 
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus? 
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind 
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined? 
And, though you died back in 1916, 
To that loyal heart are you forever 19?

Or are you a stranger without even a name, 
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane, 
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained, 
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er you as they lowered you down? 
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus? 
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?


The sun's shining down on these green fields of France; 
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance. 
The trenches have vanished long under the plow; 
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.

But here in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land 
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man. 
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned. 

And I can't help but wonder, now Willie McBride, 
Do all those who lie here know why they died? 
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?

Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame 
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain, 
For Willie McBride, it all happened again, 
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er you as they lowered you down? 
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus? 
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?

-- "The Green Fields of France"

Eric Bogle


***********

I find it even more poignant when sung, so I'm sharing my favorite version with you.

24 May 2018

Just a Quick Check-In

We have reached that time of year when everyone except me will start to wax poetic about summer, even though technically it is still spring.  But Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, at least here in the U.S., and the weather forecast is calling for temperatures of and above 80 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend, so what do I know??

I came across a couple of links recently, and thought maybe you might be interested in them too.

Have you ever seen a production of the musical "Carousel"?  There's currently a production on Broadway, and this article is about the woman who knit sweaters for it!

Have you ever thought you looked really nice, or had it all  put together, and then suddenly you see a recent photo of yourself, or see yourself in a window, and suddenly you feel like you look horrible?  I know it's happened to me recently, and it threw me for a loop, to be honest.  Well, Sue had the same thing happen to her, and she writes about much better than I'd be able to.  Reading her blog post made me say, "Yep, that's right!"  I like her phrase "Curating Confidence" - we all need to do that more often.

Other than that, I don't have a lot to report at the moment.  We are heading to WV on Friday morning for a long weekend visit with family and friends.  I'm looking forward to it, though I always miss the kit kats when we are away.  But we'll be home with them on Monday, and can have our own little holiday picnic.

I hope whatever plans you have work out, and that you have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day long weekend!

22 May 2018

And Now It's Time to Put It Away Over the Summer

"Yarn, needles, and me,
Then knitting I'll be,
And in the end I'll be happy in 
My Blue Sweater."

[with apologies to Walter Donaldson and George A. Whiting, who wrote "My Blue Heaven"]


Yesiree, the person who has only finished four sweaters/tops in her knitting life (and one didn't work out at all), finished a sweater!

Pattern:  Zadie, by Mercedes Tarasovich
Yarn:  Cloudborn Fibers Highland Worsted, in the colorway Stormy Skies
Needles:  US 5 and 7
Modifications:  No modifications (at least not intentionally!)
Notes:  When I saw The Grocery Girls wearing the sweaters they had knit in this pattern for their show on Craftsy, I fell in love with the cables along the sleeves.  They talked about how simple the pattern was to knit and understand, and said they were doing a KAL so others could knit along, and that Craftsy would have kits on sale for the yarn.  I was busy with other projects, and as you know, I don't have the best record with KALs, but when I saw that the amount of the yarn I would need to make my size would cost only $35.00, I decided to purchase it and see how I did.

I've never made a sweater in this fashion - you knit the body, then put it aside to do each sleeve.  Then you start knitting the body again, knitting the sleeves in as you go, and then follow along until it's done.  You weave in the ends, graft the underarms, and Voila - a sweater!


The fact that the Grocery Girls made tutorial videos for it meant that even at 10:00 at night or 5:30 in the morning, help was available.  Watching them really helped with some of the techniques.  The pattern is well-written, but I just wasn't comprehending how some things could be done, and the videos made all the difference.

I highly recommend this pattern, and I liked the yarn as well, but if you have enough worsted weight yarn in your stash, you can just work with that.  I took a long time with it not because it was hard, but because I was interrupted a few times by having to concentrate on other projects or activities. 


The Tim took these photos for me last weekend, and though it wasn't really all that warm, the sweater was *very* toasty!  But it fits well, I think it looks nice on me, and I can't wait to pull it out next fall and wear it for longer than about 10 minutes.  

Look how nice the cable detail on the shoulders is!


Love, love, love!

Of course, with every photo shoot there are some outtakes.  Here's mine.  This is just as I was moving towards The Tim to tell him something.  He says it looks like I've suffered a brain injury.  I think it is absolutely hilarious, and I can't stop laughing when I see it!


The Tim says if I die in a terrible accident, he'll give the news stations this photo.  He's a real laff riot.

Anyway, the sweater is now put away until cooler weather, and other knitting is happening, so it's all good.  :-)

20 May 2018

When Swatches Lie

Well, OK swatches don't lie, but they can tell us things we don't want to know.  I have been wanting to make this top since last summer.  I didn't tackle it last year, because I was determined to finish my Cranberry Custom Fit sweater no matter what, and did not want to even think about starting something else.

But as you know, that sweater was finished, another was actually started and successfully completed (I still find that hard to believe!), and this year I decided somewhat informally that my knitting goals were going to include learning some new things.  (I say informally because for the first couple of months of the year, my knitting goals changed several times a day.)  So a few weeks ago I bit the bullet and purchased the pattern and some Quince & Co. Sparrow yarn in the colorway Port.  My "learning" for this was going to be knitting with linen yarn.  I know it's supposed to be tricky, and that it also softens and becomes much more lovely once it has been washed.

Starting off, there are already two things here that are So Not Me:  1) I actually purchased a pattern.  I am such a cheapskate when it comes to patterns, and I think it's because I feel like "little" purchases add up so fast I'm always surprised.  If I spend $$ on yarn, I'm spending all of it at one time, right in front of me.  But if I buy three patterns over the course of say, a month, and each one is $6.00-$10.00, all of sudden I'm surprised at how much I've spent; 2) I am trying a type of yarn that even a lot of really experienced knitters I know just won't even try, as they think linen is AWFUL for knitting.

I can tell you right now, that it's not really wind-able into a center pull skein - ask me how I found out. ;-)  But that aside, I got two skeins ready and knitted a swatch.  Obviously, it's different than using wool - I mean, it's got NO give or springiness at all (kinda like me on my best days).  But I didn't find it particularly frustrating, and I dutifully knitted my swatch, gave it a soak, and a bit of blocking.

Proof (and yes, it's a bit wonky.  Work with me here).

The pattern calls for 5.5 stitches to the inch.  I'm usually pretty spot on getting gauge, which is lucky because I'm not someone who can easily figure out the math/measurements/whatever involved to adjust things.  I measured in four different areas, and each time got 6 stitches to the inch.  GAH!  I asked God WHY SUCH TERRIBLE THINGS MUST BEFALL ME???? (Oddly, he seems otherwise occupied and not completely focused on my knitting.  Thanks, Obama.)

Sigh.  I don't want to go up a needle size, because I like the fabric I have with this swatch, and think going up would make it too sheer for my tastes.  The pattern says that the resulting top has approximately 2 inches of positive ease.  So it seems that my choices are to go ahead with this, but then possibly end up with a top much bigger than I would like, or actually go down a size, and then worry that it will be too form-fitting for my taste (and my form).

It's true.  These are the times that try men's [women's] souls.  WHY MUST MY SWATCH LIE TO ME????

I shall have to make a decision and go forth.  And I will, and hopefully it will all work out in the end.  But I didn't choose the color "Port" so I couldn't w[h]ine.  (I'll be here all week, folks!)

Anyway, if you have any words of wisdom, feel free to share.  If not, fall onto your knees and thank whatever deity you believe in that such tragedy has not entered your life (and you can also thank them for not making you Overly Dramatic while you're at it).

***

In other news, yesterday was of course the royal wedding, and the excitement level at our house was insane.  This photo pretty much sums it up.


I will say that I thought her dress was lovely, and I hope they will have a happy life.  I shall leave it there, since I have *many* thoughts about the entire topic, but let's just stick with the kind ones, shall we?

***

And, finally (yes!), I will just share with you that 40 years ago today, The Tim and I graduated from college.  I was first in the class!**

Have a nice Sunday.  I just saw the sun come out here, so I'm gonna get dressed and take a walk.

**we graduated in alphabetical order

17 May 2018

The Case of the Rattling Brain


I didn't really mean to be incommunicado the past few days, but things at work have just done me in, and only because it's the day before Friday am I able to function at any proper level.  And seeing as it's Three on Thursday day, why not do a post with that prompt?

So here are Three Random Things Rattling Around in My Brain:

1.  Tonight I want to swatch for my next knitting project.  I attempted to do so last night, but it was not to be.  The yarn was not cooperative for winding, and my thoughts were too scattered for swatching properly.  I am hoping to knit a summer top.  Actually at this point, I am determined to knit a summer top.

2.  I'm not going to be able to get going on fixing up the garden this year until the first weekend of June.  This weekend is going to be rainy (as the whole week has been), and next weekend we plan to be out of town for Memorial Day.  Yes, I know I could do things during the week, but once I get home from work the idea of physical endeavors that are not absolutely required does not appeal.  Also, how did next weekend get to be Memorial Day already???

3.  This summer, I really want to do some sewing.  I managed to clean up a lot of crap that was in the craft/office/sewing room last weekend, so that I can actually make it to the sewing machine and clear off the sewing table of things completely unrelated.  I have a bit more to do, which will work nicely on this rainy weekend, and then I can get started actually doing something on said machine.  At the moment, I'm not sure what my first project will be, though I must admit that Kym's tunic has me itching to want to try something like that.  But since I haven't sewn for a while, maybe I'll start small and work towards that.

What about you?  Anything interesting rattling around with you?

13 May 2018

Finito

Hello from rainy Philadelphia!  I signed up to do the 3K walk of the Susan G. Komen Foundation Breast Cancer Race today (it's always on Mother's Day here), but though I am not afraid of the rain (I like rain, except when I get soaked on  my way to work), I've decided to be a weather wimp and wait it out.  Partly because I packed away my sweatshirts in a fit of conscientiousness, and getting one out to wear would require more de-organizing and re-organizing than I am in the mood to do this morning.

Yeah, I know that was all superflous information.  So let's move on.

I have two FOs to share, so let's get going with the first one, OK?


Project:  These Socks Have No Class
Pattern:  Just a plain vanilla sock pattern made shorter in the leg
Needles:  Size 1US
Yarns:  All leftovers from other projects - the dark green is Reflections at Roclans Out of the Dyepot Merino Fingering, green colorway; variegated is Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in the Molly colorway; orange is Ancient Arts Fibre 100% Superwash BFL Wool 4-Ply Fingering Sock in the Orange Tabby colorway.
Modifications:  The socks are all modifications of a regular pattern!
Notes:  I was originally planning to make scrappy short socks, but decided that always changing to do stripes was more than I was inspired to do at the time.  So I grabbed the first three balls of leftovers, and made these.  I knit the cuffs in 2 x 2 rib for 12 rows, then switched to the variegated for 1.5 inches.  Then I used the Orange Tabby yarn for an Eye of Partridge Heel Flap and heel, then returned to the variegated for the gusset plus two extra rows.  The foot went back to dark green, and the toes reverted back to Orange Tabby.  They are weird but I really like the way they turned out.  :-)

So I have my next pair of socks for my Box o' Socks, and I have a feeling that they will amuse me every time I put them on.

******

Today is Mother's Day here in the U.S., and if you celebrate, I wish you a happy day.  I will close by sharing one of my mother's inspirational sayings from when I was growing up:

"If you're born to hang, you'll never drown."

And there you go.

09 May 2018

Differently Ravell'd

Wednesday has arrived, which means it's time to join Kat and others for Unraveled Wednesday.  This week I have no knitting to show, though of course, knitting is occurring.  Nope, today I am going to show you a different use of a different needle that I learned in a class this past weekend.

As I've mentioned before, this year I didn't make it Maryland Sheep and Wool, and I would have enjoyed it I'm sure, but since I knew for awhile it wasn't gonna happen, I wasn't too sad about it.  Then I saw that the Butcher's Sew Shop was offering a class in Beginner Embroidery on the same Saturday that everyone else would be taking the bus to Maryland.  Since I had a credit voucher from a class I had to cancel out of, I decided to sign up.  I know basic needlepoint, and can do counted cross-stitch, but I've always wanted to learn embroidery.  I figured there was no time like the present, and especially since the class was being offered at the location near to our house, I signed myself up.

There were about 15 people, none of us with any experience, which meant we were all in the same boat, as far as knowing how it all worked.  The instructor was really great, and incredibly patient.  The class was from 1-4 in the afternoon, and it was timed perfectly.  We all had a chance to learn the stitches she wanted to cover, and get a little bit of practice with them.  We learned back stitch, chain stitch, fern stitch, lazy daisy, cross stitch, satin stitch, branch stitch, French knots, queen  stitch, and spider stitch.  My efforts are below.  It was fun, and just challenging enough for my brain and hands, and I'm so glad I attended.


The only down side was not any fault of mine really, but you can see the fabric has some dark areas on the upper right.  Well, we all had the same project, and she had printed the image using an inkjet printer, on something called Sticky Solvy, which dissolves in water once you have embroidered the image.  As a result, as we were working, we all ended up with ink in our fingernails and on our hands!  But that's not really a huge problem as far as I'm concerned, only that the first time I noticed my fingernails I thought, "Wait - I washed my hands today!"

As far as my reading goes, I'm planning to start this book today during my lunch hour at work.


I've been intrigued since I first read a review of it, and have seen it mentioned favorably on a couple of podcasts.  My name finally rose to the top of the hold list at the library, so I am really looking forward to seeing for myself how good it is or is not.

And that's what's going on with me.  What kind of good stuff is going on with you???

04 May 2018

Let's Write Some Friday Letters


I had forgotten all about Friday Letters (were they originally Kym's idea?), until I looked at Bonny's blog today.  I enjoyed her post, and since I was in the mood to write today but was uninspired, I thought I'd do a few letters of my own.

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Dear Pantsuit Politics,

Thank you for your podcast!  Not only is it interesting and lively, but it provides a calming influence in the current political climate.  Why can't the rest of the country talk about things reasonably like you do, and like we used to do?  In any event, you give me hope that we will somehow be able to move forward.  Keep up the good work.


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Dear Camille Cosby,

WOW.  Really?  I mean, I'm all for loyalty to one's partner, but comparing your husband's conviction to what happened to Emmett Till?  And wanting the legal team involved on the prosecution side investigated for misconduct?  Wow.  Personally, I would have already dumped him, but in any case, I'd just keep quiet.  But you decided speaking out was the answer.  And ... WOW.

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Dear Paul Ryan,

Admittedly, even on your best days, I think you are a tool.  But clearly you have never ever spent any time with Jesuits, or if you did, you *really* were not paying attention.  Thanks though, for the high level of amusement you have provided.

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Dear Puerto Rico,

I know.  It's been 255 days and counting and still you are not really any better off in most areas where you were.  And hurricane season is getting ready to start again.  I love you, but right now that isn't helping much.  And I'm doing what I can to help, but I'm sure by now you have realized that since you are neither wealthy nor lily-white, and have only limited voting rights, the Orange Monster and his ilk can't be bothered.  I hope you get even a tiny bit of comfort from knowing that someday, somehow, it will come back to bite them all in the posterior.  In the meantime, God bless all of you.

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Dear Springtime,

I've been told that you will be coming back, starting this weekend.  Please do.  You're the only thing standing between me and a too early, too long, summer!

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Happy Weekend!  I  hope it's a good one for everyone.

30 April 2018

Borderline Obsession

I don't know about you, but my weekend went by much more quickly than I think it should have.  It was Friday evening, and then suddenly ZIP it's Monday morning, and the alarm is waking me up.  Dear Diary:  WHYYYY???

It was a good weekend - not busy at all, and not incredibly productive, other than in my knitting.  The weather was very nice both days - Saturday was warm and sunny, and Sunday was cooler with sun in and out all day.  Saturday morning, The Tim and I went to a Lowe's near our house, because he wanted to get some tomato and herb plants.  We were successful with that, and we also got a rosebush to plant to replace the one that died a couple of years ago.  I hope this one "takes" - I loved the pretty roses right outside the door!  Fingers crossed.

But mostly all weekend, I worked on this:


As you may remember, I was working away knitting the sleeves most recently.  Well, they were both completed, and it was time to introduce them to the body of the sweater.  Keep in mind, this is the first time I've ever made a sweater that is constructed this way, so there was a lot of hope involved.  And from what I can tell, the operation was a success, so that's good.  I worked in this over the course of two movies ("The Space Between Us" [stupid], and "Suburbicon," [OK but much darker than I was expecting]).  By the end of the day on Saturday, I had both attached the sleeves and added some inches beyond that.  And I was pleased with how it was going.

However, on Sunday, it occurred to me that warmer weather was coming, and that meant I needed to decide how to proceed.  You see, I want to finish it because I want it to turn out and be wearable.  BUT - at the moment, it's really heavy to knit with all of the pieces joined, and could be quite uncomfortable for knitting if the weather is warmer.  So my choices were to a) try to finish it sooner rather than later, or b) let it languish until the fall.  OK, so I included the "b" option because it did briefly occur to me, but I wanted to go with "a" from the get-go.  Why?  Because it's so close to being finished at this point!  And it would be more fun for me to be able to pull it out next fall and think, "Well, I can just wear this right now," instead of still having to finish knitting it.

Which is reasonable and also makes sense.  Except that now finishing this sweater is ALL I can think about.  And it's not necessarily "hard," but I am at the point where there are both cables and decreases, so I need to pay attention to avoid having to rip back all of the time.  So for instance, this morning, I had to tell myself not to pull it all out for the 15 minutes I had to knit - because by the time I pulled it out, got the pattern set out and was ready to start, the 15 minutes would be over!  I'm already thinking about whether or not I'll have any time to work on it this evening, and any other evening this week.  And frankly, I have other stuff I should do!  But I am borderline obsessed now with finishing it.  I just hope that other than the few too-warm days we're supposed to have this week, that spring will both arrive and stay for a bit so I can get it done.

Plus, who knows if I'll see something shiny and become completely distracted???  It could happen, you know ...

27 April 2018

Things From the Week

This seems to have been a week where some people were in rare form - and not always in a good way!  It was topped off this morning for me when, on my way to work, a woman with a really cute dog came up and stood next to me waiting for the light to change to cross the street.

Me:  Your dog is really cute.  Is it a puppy?
Woman:  Just shut the f*** up and don't EVER ask me that!

Ooooo-kay.  I tried to think of why she was so mean and rude, and yes, maybe she had already been asked the same thing 100 times before I saw her.  But you know what?  She is lucky to have a healthy [looking] dog.  And I know that even when I was in the deepest darkest of moods, if someone said anything at all to me about Dug, I was nice in my response, even if it was a brief one.  Because it takes two seconds to say something nice and go on with being in a crap mood.

Anyway.

But other stuff also happened. 

Yesterday, for instance, was Poem in Your Pocket Day.  I was going to post a poem, but got completely distracted with this below, and was unable to think of looking up any other poem in the universe without laughing so hard I cried.


It's still hilarious to me today.  This will likely be one of those images where I will only have to think about it and it will amuse me.  Forever.  

Then there was the Bill Cosby trial, which has fascinated me from the get-go.

Last year:

Me:  Wow, look at these allegations against Bill Cosby - that's nuts!
The Tim:  Everyone has known about him for years, that's nothing new.

A.  No, everyone hasn't known - I didn't.  B.  How did The Tim know this???  He will often come up with things like this, and after I have time to think about it, I'll just wonder how in the name of a small black dog named Pete he of all people knew.  

In any event, I was irritated last year when they declared a mistrial and this time around for various reasons I really wanted him to be found guilty.  I was 100% convinced it wouldn't happen though.  But then it did!  I still can't believe it.  We were talking about it at work yesterday, and then when I got home, The Tim and I were discussing it for a while.  We stopped though because:

Me:  Isn't it ironic that it happened on the first day of the Penn Relays?
The Tim:  Yeah, he was always running around there, being recognizable.

Me:  Do you think now Bill Cosby has to go around to all of his neighbors, knock on their doors, and warn them he is a sex offender?
The Tim:  You are getting way too much amusement out of this.  Could we please talk about something else?

Buzzkill.

One more thing on that topic though, and then I promise to move on.  This article in today's New York Times is really interesting.

On the topic of funny headlines, someone on Twitter posted this headline:

Duchess of Wales Gives Birth to Baby Boy : Palace

and then commented: "Palace is a crap name."

And then apparently the Daily Mail (in the UK) had a headline that needed some editing:

Rachel Weisz Walks Red Carpet for First Time Pregnant with Rachel McAdams

Which reminded me of a clipping from our hometown newspaper that my sister sent to me a few years back that never fails to amuse me.  There was a picture of a heavy-set woman smiling broadly and a story below about how she had been elected to some local office.  But the headline right next to the photo said: "Blimp Visits Wheeling." because of local excitement that the Goodyear Blimp was going to be on display for some reason.  To use an expression of my friend Lisa, it's Fried. Gold.

Of course there were lots of other things good and bad that happened, but that's it for now.  I hope everyone has a good weekend, with some nice springtime weather.  We have no specific plans, but I have a few things rattling around in my brain, so who knows what may or may not happen?

25 April 2018

Neither/Nor

I'm currently experiencing a neither/nor existence.  For example, I'm knitting every day, but not spending any real amount of time on any specific project.  Case in point: I have been knitting sleeve #2 of my blue sweater, which I have really been wanting to finish.  Last night, I had 6 rows left until it would have been done.  And I left it.  Because I just couldn't be bothered.  

I would say the project receiving the most attention recently is my blanket - I added 3 squares (top, right) over the weekend.  But then I put it back down.  I do like the way it looks, but as I said, nothing seems to be "sticking" at the moment ...


I did finish reading a book over the weekend, and it was fine, but again - not inspired.  I've started this book, which I've had on my Nook reader for a long time.


Since it contains essays, I can easily pick it up and put it down, and don't necessarily have to have a block of time to read it.  So far I think I've read 4 of the essays, and enjoyed them, but like everything else, I'm not dying to finish them all as soon as possible.

Things are neither great nor terrible.  I'm neither ecstatic nor particularly depressed.  I feel like the guy on the greeting card who, instead of a smiley face, has just a straight line drawn where his mouth is.  You open the card, and it says, "Have a day."

Check out what others have going on for Unraveled Wednesdays.

23 April 2018

It Was One of the Good Weekends

Well, it's Monday again.  And time for another team-building meeting later today at work.  Ugh.  Whenever anyone says "team-building" I want to throw up.  But I'll save that for later, and instead tell you about my weekend.  Which was lovely.

Admittedly, there are very few times when I don't enjoy a weekend - I mean, any day not at work is a day well spent, if you ask me.  But you know how every once in a while, even if you weren't travelling, or counting money someone gave you, or eating massive amounts of chocolate that will have no negative affects on your person, it's still a standout weekend?  That was this past one.

Saturday we started out by making a trip across the bridge to New Jersey.   We generally go there because gasoline is cheaper (even though someone pumps it for you - how does that work out??), and if we have other places we want to stop (Target, Kohls, the liquor store,* etc.), it makes it a worthwhile trip.  This time, we wanted to go to Target, the liquor store, and I wanted to stop at the Cherry Hill Mall to return a gift that was the wrong size.  We got an early start, which made it all very pleasant, because we were able to avoid crowds.  And it was one of those outings where everything we wanted to get and do went smoothly.  So by noon we were home again and had the rest of the day to ourselves.  I walked over to Loop since it was Local Yarn Store Day, and boy was it busy!  Which made me very happy.  I did buy two skeins of Andorra yarn from Kelbourne Woolens, for the Adventura Shawl by Laura Nelkin.  I hadn't necessarily planned to buy anything, but they had the sample shawl(s) there and they were lovely, and since I had a store credit which would cover the cost and still leave some in the account, I figured I'd go ahead.  I purchased a skein if Kelly Green and Lavender. 


(Images from Kelbourne Woolens site)

Then I came home and spent the rest of the day and evening hanging out with The Tim and the kitties, and knitting on a couple of already underway projects.  All in all, a lovely day.

Sunday I was inspired to go to the gym and work out first thing (I know!).  Then after breakfast, I decided before I took a shower, I'd do some cleaning (Again - I know!).  I have to say I was quite pleased with myself to have both things completely finished well before noon.  After then cleaning up mine own self, I headed out to get a few items we needed that are not available at places like Target.  Then I spent the rest of the afternoon knitting, watching a couple of podcasts, and watching the Penguins/Flyers hockey playoff game (the Flyers lost, but they gave the Penguins a good run).  

Besides the niceness of the weekend, I can also report that last Tuesday, my new great-nephew was born!  (You may recall I made this sweater for him.)

Introducing Oden Cassidy Groff:


Here he is with his big sister Penn - I think this picture is so adorable!


But my *very* favorite one is this one, where Penn first visited her mom Julie and new brother in the hospital.


From all reports, everyone is doing well, and Julie and Oden left the hospital to go home on Friday.  I'm sure they have many adventures ahead.

They had narrowed down the name choices to Rowan or Oden (which of course we assumed was "Odin" but it's none of our beeswax how they spell it.  As The Tim pointed out, at least they didn't do the celebrity thing and give the kid a name like Doorknob or Paper Clip), and I'm guessing Oden was chosen in the end because it's less common these days.  Anyhoo, he has arrived and is healthy, so that is the ideal.

I hope your weekend was a good one as well.  The weather is supposed to be more spring-like here this coming week, so hopefully that will be the case.  After all, we deserve spring weather, not only because it IS spring, but because of having to endure the aforementioned team-building ... ;-)

*technically, we are breaking the law buying liquor in New Jersey and bringing it across the state line to Pennsylvania.  So if I ever mysteriously disappear, you'll know we were busted.

20 April 2018

Friday FO

Well, I realized last night that I finished a pair of socks a few weeks ago, and completely forgot to show you!  So today is the day.

You may remember at some point I showed you the wip version, with the happy combo of pattern and yarn. 


They are now finished and safely tucked away in my Box o' Socks.


Pattern:  Zigzagular Socks (free on Ravelry!)
Yarn:  Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock, in the colorway Molly (sadly discontinued)
Needles:  Size 1US
Modifications:  None
Notes:  These may be my favorite pair that I have knit so far this year, and one of my all-time faves!  I have had this yarn in my stash for a long time, and decided that it just needed to be a pair of socks this March.  I came across this pattern, which I had saved into my Ravelry library a while back, and since it was particularly created for variegated yarn, I thought it might be a good match - and it was.  This pair was just plain enjoyable to knit in every way.  The yarn is wonderful, the pattern is well-written and once you get through the first repeat, it's pretty memorable and doesn't require intense concentration.  I highly recommend it.

Here's another shot of the socks, where the color is closer to what you would see in person.


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Happy weekend!  I hope whatever you have planned works out.  Our weekend is probably going to be quiet, though I am hoping to make it to Loop tomorrow for Local Yarn Store Day.  Especially now that Rosie's has closed, I want do my part to make sure that my two other local stores, Loop and Hidden River Yarns, stay in business.  Since Loop is about 1 1/2 blocks from my house, I'll probably head over there.  (Laziness usually wins out, especially on weekends!)