31 October 2017


It's here - the spookiest day of the year - HALLOWEEN!!!  On my way to work today, I saw a few witches, a couple of Harry Potters, a Ninja Turtle, and tiny little toddler twins dressed as Thing One and Thing Two.  It's always fun to see the costumes of the kids who are clearly having a party or something at school/daycare.  (The parents usually just look tired, as you'd expect.) 

When I was a kid, I used to be SO JEALOUS of my oldest sister Nancy, because her birthday is November 1.  And whenever we were all in a Catholic school (we moved a lot, and attended whatever school was closest to where we lived), the next day was All Saints Day, and a day off from school.  So not only did she have Halloween, and a day off the next day, but it was HER BIRTHDAY and so she got cake and presents!  So jealous.  :-) 

Last year we had zero trick-or-treaters, which was extremely disappointing.  This year, I bought only one big bag of assorted candy, so that if it's all or mostly left over, we won't be eating as much.  But in the way things work, it could also mean that since I didn't buy as much candy as usual, a cast of thousands will show up, who knows?

In any event, I hope that your day and evening today is full of treats rather than tricks.  And that it's a Happy Halloween. 

26 October 2017

Three Upcoming Holidays and Why They Make Me Happy

Here I am again with Carole and Kat and Three on Thursday.  I realized the other day that everyone was starting to bitch and moan about the weather and the holidays, so I am going to do my part to counteract that one.  So here are three upcoming holidays and why they make me happy.

1.  Halloween.  I will start by saying that I am not someone who enjoys horror movies, or incredibly scary things - no, basically I'm a wimp that way.  But I do love Halloween.  Why?  Well, I love all of the decorations - pumpkins, black cats, witches, skeletons, you name it.  I also love that [usually] it's a nice chilly time in October when you feel like it *should* be a holiday!  I do enjoy candy as well.  And I love seeing everyone's costumes!  I have a special place in my heart for kiddos who are wearing non-store-bought-non-elaborate costumes, since that is always what I had as a kid.  No way were my parents buying me a Halloween costume, and my mother was not a crafty type, so my costumes were always .... shall we say, "interesting," and I nearly always had to explain what I was actually supposed to be.  As well as the fact that approximately 99.99999999% of the time, I had to wear a coat or jacket over my mysterious ensemble anyway.

2.  Thanksgiving The coziest holiday in the universe.  What is not to like about day that nearly everyone is willing to just enjoy?  The house always smells wonderful with all of the cooking and the baking.  No one objects to laziness on Thanksgiving, whereas on other days, you are supposed to be occupied with useful endeavors (not that I necessarily am, just that it's expected).  People are generally in a good mood on Thanksgiving, at least in my experience.  And I know some people get stressed with all of the cooking and preparations, but that is more because of theirs and others' expectations, not the fault of the holiday itself.  I've always been fortunate to have nice Thanksgivings.  The year my father died, he died the Monday of Thanksgiving week, and so even if it was a sad one, we still were able to all eat a holiday dinner together, even if not at our own house. 

3.  Christmastime.  This one is loaded, I know.  But if celebrated "properly" (aka by my rules and there are many, but they are fun and reasonable if I do say so myself!), Christmastime is amazing.  The lights, the music, the decorations are all so happy.  Then there are Christmas cookies, which I find as much fun to bake as to eat.  I am also a person who loves to wrap presents, so there is that as well.  In spite of the universe's desire to make me miserable at Christmastime, I am always able to enjoy it all, and look forward to it even more every year. 

It's all good, as far as I'm concerned.  :-)

23 October 2017

FO Post (Finally!)

Hello all!  I hope you had a good weekend.  Mine was great, particularly Saturday, when I spent the day with Dee. We had a wonderful time, walking around in Philadelphia, having some lunch, and checking out what was new at Loop.  Then her husband Steve drove into town to join us, and along with The Tim we went out for a really nice dinner, and then back home for a bit before they had to head back to the hotel to see Giroux and pack, since they were leaving to go home yesterday.  It was so nice to have a knitterly, kitty-loving, funny friend to hang out with and laugh.  

Yesterday was a day of catching up with laundry, bills, and that kind of thing.  Also a nice day, just not as busy as Saturday.  :-)

In any event, I can *finally* share my Finished Object post for my Scattered Wishes shawl that I finished knitting and then blocked about a month ago!  I wanted some nice pictures of the finished item not just blocking but looking like a shawl!  The Tim was kind enough to take a few, but they were all too blurry.  So I'd been trying to think of how/where to get some other photos.

Then on Saturday morning, before I left the house, I decided if we were going to stop at Loop, I at least wanted to take the finished shawl to show them, since I'd purchased the yarn there.  Laura, who works there, wanted to take some shots to put on their Facebook page, so I was able to get some really nice photos of the shawl there, and they are at the end of the post.

So here goes.

Project:  Scattered Wishes (Ravelry page link)
Pattern:  Sonora, by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn:  Hedgehog Fibres Sock; Construct (grayish) and Wish (teal)
Needles:  US 7
Modifications:  None (at least not on purpose!)
Notes:  Below after some of the photos

This is the lace border as it is supposed to look, and how it does look for most of the top part.  It was the last part knitted, and threw me for a loop, as lace is not a particular skill of mine.  At certain points, I just fudged things, because I didn't know what I had/had not done to cause problems.  

Fortunately, the fudging kinda sorta worked just fine.  I was both surprised and happy about the result!

The bands of color are created by regular garter stitch for the borders, and slip stitch for the "colorwork."

This is a great pattern, and it is also really fun to knit.  I would definitely make another one, and I would love sometime to try the yarn that the pattern uses.  It has a more lofty appearance than the Hedgehog Fibres, and so I think the end result would look somewhat different.

I can tell you that Kirsten Kapur, the designer, is very responsive to questions sent to her on Ravelry.  When I was getting started, I just couldn't quite "get" the pattern, and wrote to her a couple of times.  She responded really quickly and very thoroughly.  She may have been at her computer rolling her eyes and tearing her hair out at my questions, but I never got that sense when reading what she had written.

Here are the photos I took at Loop.  (Dee has seen these ad nauseum, and I have posted them on Facebook, so apologies if you are seeing these for the umpteenth time!)

This is the back of the shawl.

And here is the front view, which is just especially pleasing to me.

I cannot recommend this pattern highly enough.  It's all garter stitch, and the slip stitch bands are interspersed well enough to keep it from being just a plain old boring knit.  Only in the slip stitch bands are you using two colors, and once you get the hang of it, you're not really even "knitting" with both in a row.  Even I was able to read my knitting once I got things going, and that's saying something!

I'm really happy with how this turned out.  It's probably one of the most elaborate things I've ever knit, and I surprised myself (in a good way, of course). 

I'll be back soon with another FO post about another knit that took me a truly ridiculous amount of time, all of it due to me and my inability to focus.  In the meantime, I hope your week goes well!

20 October 2017

Five Favorites for This Friday

If you are reading this, you too have made it to Friday!  Some weeks it's more difficult than others, that's for sure.  Today I am thinking that regardless of what else does or does not happen, it's just a regular length workday, not like last Friday where I had to be at work until after 9 p.m. - and it took me the whole weekend to feel like myself again!  I'd like to say it's because I've gotten older, but I've always been someone who needed time to recover from a major break to my regular routine.

Anyway, there have been some good things, as I hope there have been also for you.  Here are some of mine.

1.  A spell of fall weather at last!  We had three whole days (count 'em) that legitimately felt like fall, and it was glorious.  Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be 78 degrees.  I may have to seek out the person on the morning news who said, "That sounds wonderful, since it's been so cold."  Sweetie,  if you think it was actually cold, you're gonna be pretty darn surprised come February.

2.  I got in a lot of knitting time, on all of my projects.  We had a ton of stuff that we had recorded, and had not yet watched, so this week we caught up.  Which meant lots of time to knit.  Which meant actual progress, and it felt good to move things along.

3.  The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen show in Rittenhouse Square last weekend.  It happens in October and in May, and I really enjoy walking around looking at all of the various types of work.  The choices include handmade furniture, paintings, jewelry, and even clothing.  A lot of it is not anything I'm that interested in or that I would or could even afford to buy, but I love seeing that types of work people do.  One of my favorites from this show was a booth where the most delicate ceramic pieces I've ever seen were displayed, with tiny works of art on them.  It was an unusual and interesting set of things.  People have amazing talents, you know?

4.  Oatmeal.  When it's really chilly or cold in the mornings, I love having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and this week I had it twice.  I usually top it with raisins, cinnamon, and if available, some kind of nuts.  I also like it with a dollop of peanut butter mixed in, and have recently become aware of the tastiness of Craisins or dried tart cherries in the place of the raisins.  Anyway, it's such a nice, warming, and filling breakfast, and makes me feel like I got a good start.  Weirdly, in warm weather it does not appeal to me at all.

5.  Apples.  This is the best time of year for apples, and they are so good.  I love them just as they are, but I also like apple slices with some peanut butter on them, apple pie, apple crisp - you get where I'm going, right?  And it also means there are plenty of apples available so I don't have to save them only for my packed lunch every day, and can make this recipe.  YUM!  The farmer's market here has had some wonderful Honeycrisp, Mutsu, and Stayman apples and we've been taking advantage of that big time.

Have a good weekend!  Mine should be pretty great, since tomorrow I am getting to meet up with Dee and we are going to have lunch, go yarn store visiting, and then her husband Steve is going to come into the city, and along with The Tim, we're all going to have dinner together.  I. CANNOT. WAIT. 

Most people I know will be at Rhinebeck this weekend, and if you are one of them, enjoy it.  We'll be having our own fun here in Philadelphia.  :-)

19 October 2017

Three Current Obsessions

Yes, I know I just posted yesterday, but I'm on a roll here, so work with me.  Today is Three on Thursday, and I have my List of Three ready for you.

I don't know if any of you become obsessed with random things, but I sure do.  Daily. Hourly.  Some stick around, and some disappear as soon as I see cake or shiny things.  Here are three current things.

1.  This one has stuck around for a week so far.  I saw a Chinese Money Plant on Claudia's blog the other day, and now I long to have one.  I love house plants, and have always at a minimum had a bunch of African violets.  That is, until the Koodle joined the family.  He didn't eat them, just enjoyed knocking them off the plant stand enough times they just gave up and died.  So then I bought some succulents, since they didn't require being *right* in the sunshine all of the time.  Well, apparently our house has bad plant juju now, period, because they were almost immediately dead.  Even after I had been guaranteed that it was nearly impossible to kill them.  Anyway, apparently the  aforementioned plant is hard to find, and are then expensive when you do find it, so I guess it's just as well. 

The Koodle is why we can't have nice things.  Sigh.

2.  Hot apple cider.  I like cold apple cider, but I LOVE hot apple cider with cinnamon.  However, cider buying is tricky in our house.  We don't drink the big jugs fast enough before they spoil, and the small jugs are maybe only two hot mugs' worth, and are therefore gone almost immediately.  Plus, even though it was wonderfully fall the past couple of days, it's supposed to be warm again for the next few, and I don't like hot apple cider when it's warm because FOR GOD'S SAKE IT'S A COLD WEATHER DRINK AND IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FALL.

3.  Halloween decorations.  We have some, but won't be putting 99% of them out this year and as a result, I want all of them that I see!  Right now, our house is still in It-Looks-Like-We're-Moving-But-We're-Not mode as a result of one of The Tim's many projects.  There is not currently anywhere to put out the decorations we do have, and to be perfectly honest, I can't even find where they currently are in order to pull out even a few.  We do have a pumpkin, and I bought a new little wooden decoration the other day at Target, but this year will be, for the most part, a non-decor holiday for us.  And I'm not going to say anything to The Tim about any of  his projects, because he always keeps his mouth shut about mine, bless him.  But it sure is frustrating nonetheless!

What are you obsessed with these days?  Surely there's something, right???

18 October 2017

Projects, Projects Everywhere!

OK, not really - there are three.  But I wanted to use that title for this post.  

Today, after a few weeks of reading what others wrote but not participating myself, I'm back to Unraveled Wednesdays, with Kat.

The past couple of weeks have been weird for me - I had a lot of stuff to do around the house and was betwixt and between with a lot of my knitting and reading.  I enjoyed it, but didn't feel like saying much about it.  I read lovely comments on my blog, and still have not responded (one of my goals this week is to be caught up, so if I have a way to respond to you, look for a note from me), and I just moseyed along.  I think a large part of it was that my camera seemed to be dead, and it was no fun to write post about projects, but not show them.

The Tim finally took a good look at my camera, and determined it was not in fact dead - rather, a button had been pushed on it (when? where? whom? Probably me.) that turned off the display setting.  Hallelujah, I could take photos again!!!  

So I give you my latest projects:

#1  Little Pumpkins for the I ♥ Fall KAL sponsored by Dee and Vera.  I've wanted to make this pattern for a year or so, and finally got around to getting started.  It's somewhat fiddly, and that was annoying at the beginning, but now I kinda sorta have it memorized.  

#2  I've gone quite a ways past the bottom border of my Main Street sweater, which I have renamed my For the Birds sweater, for reasons I shall explain at another time.  Here it is below with bonus head appearance from Pip.

#3  This one is soveryclose to being finished - it's the neckband of my Cranberry Custom Fit sweater!  I need to determine what kind of bind off I want to use, so it will not stick up, and so it will also look nice. 

So no unraveling for me these days!

Reading-wise, I'm well into two books,  Forever Chic (really?) and Double-Booked for Death, which is better than I was expecting.  Once one of those is finished, I'm going to start my latest library book, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.   

What about you?  Knitting/reading anything particularly fun, good, bad?   I am really anxious to finish my sweater and actually wear it ... if it's ever cool enough, that is.  ;-)

13 October 2017

Furball Friday

We have two of these igloos, where the cats like to be when the weather is cool.  (You can see part of one to the right in this photo.)  However, when you are Jack, and you just LOVE Pip, it apparently means that you really *need* to try and be right where he is.

Happy Friday the 13th!  Please kiss any black kitties in your families for me.

And have a good weekend!

12 October 2017

Three Stupid Things

Yes, I know - there are WAY MORE than three stupid things in the world - oy!  But as it's Three on Thursday with Carole and Kat, and I was in the mood to write a post, but didn't know what to write about, here are three things that just this morning are stupid.

1.  This sweater and others like it.

Look - it's either a sweater with sleeves or it's a tank top with no sleeves.  This is one of the worst examples of this trend I have ever come across, and if I saw someone wearing this, I would be tempted to trip them walking down the street.

2.  The story about the actress Rose McGowan's Twitter account being suspended.   I barely know who she is, except that I know she is one of the people who spoke out about that dirtbag Harvey Weinstein.  Apparently something she tweeted "violates the rules of Twitter."  Frankly, I can't imagine what that might be, as a certain party who is an alleged leader of our country seems to do a lot of insulting, bashing, accusatory, and otherwise inappropriate things on Twitter multiple times in one day, without consequences.  I mean, he's threatened nuclear war!   This is just another example of why people who have been victims of physical and/or emotional assault don't speak up. 

3.  OMG this commercial, which I saw this a.m. before I left for work, during a break from the local news.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO x a bazillion!!!  It is currently October 12; Halloween hasn't happened yet, and Thanksgiving comes after that, and THERE ARE RULES PEOPLE.  (Granted, they are my rules but they make complete sense and should be imposed on everyone.)  You may say, well, they threw in the pumpkin flavored pancakes, but no no no no that doesn't mean it's OK.  When you show "holiday" stuff with a tree, red and green decorations, and the "Nutcracker" playing in the background, you are not talking about Halloween and/or Thanksgiving.  Retailers start putting up displays early because they are selling THINGS.  Denny's is selling FOOD, and that's a whole 'nother ballgame if you ask me. (And you didn't, but also know that my rules specifically state no Christmas decorations until Thanksgiving is over.  I completely ignore them anywhere until then.)  Even if they wanted to pop this up around Thanksgiving, I could live with it.  BUT THERE ARE NEARLY THREE WEEKS LEFT BEFORE IT'S HALLOWEEN!  Granted, I don't know the last time I visited a Denny's (there are none near me), but that's not the point.

Stabbiness ensues.

I'm glad to have gotten those things off my chest.  Feel free to return to your regularly scheduled day.

09 October 2017

Long Weekend Day Off

Oh it's so nice to be at home on a Monday because it's a holiday, and you are not using leave time, nor will you get grief from your co-workers when you go back to work on Tuesday!

Yes, today is my third day of the Columbus Day holiday weekend.  And yes, I'm well aware of all of the reasons why Columbus Day is evil, so please do not lecture me about it.  The bottom line for me is that it's a day off.  I'm never gonna say no to that.

Lots of knitting and knitting-related things happened on Saturday and Sunday, as well as of course other things.  It would have been really nice if the weather had cooperated, but the heat and humidity stuck around (and are still here today) and that was the annoying part.  We are getting rain leftover from Hurricane Nate, and I don't mind that, but it's just so uncomfortable.  Yuck.

Anyway, on Saturday I went to a friend's house because she had kindly offered to help me put my Custom Fit sweater together.  You may remember that I managed to successfully seam the shoulders, but even after watching many YouTube videos, could not understand the rest of how to seam the other pieces together.  Kathy (said friend) is a major sweater knitter, and I knew she would be a great person to help me. 

Well it turned out to be not just helpful, but a wonderful afternoon.  I got to meet her kitties, her pup, and we had a great time talking and laughing.  Best of all, I got one of the sleeves added to the sweater and now I "get" it - yay!  I'm going to finish up as much as I can today.  She had a set of these clips, and boy did it make things simpler!  I'd never seen them before, but you can bet I'm ordering a set for myself.  Kindly, she let me borrow hers to finish up my seaming.  She showed me a fairisle vest she is making for her trip to Fair Isle next July!  It's going to be a really gorgeous knit, and the trip she is taking sounds ridiculously amazing.  Included besides all the knitting and fiber stuff is tea and cakes every afternoon and wine with dinner - how could it NOT be perfect?!

So hopefully very soon I can show you an actual, seamed, finished sweater.  :-)

Also on  Saturday, I had put ingredients into the crockpot for dinner.  It was a recipe I had made up in my brain, and was really wanting to try.  It was something I thought would be really yummy for a cool, fall day.  I got tired of waiting for that, so went ahead and tried it.  It turned out to be so incredibly yummy!  I'm going to try and write up the basics of it so I can make it again when [someday] it is cool again.  If you are wondering, it was Potato-Mushroom-Sausage soup, and unlike many of the recipes I make up in my head it's a keeper.

Saturday was a very successful day.

Sunday was just as nice, if quieter.  Not a day to really be outside, as it rained on and off all day, but a good day for knitting.  I have been somewhat obsessively working on this:

Above is the bottom border of the Main Street pattern, which, as you may recall, was hard to get cast on because there were so many stitches and I kept having to start over.  Well, a week ago yesterday, I finally got things cast on properly, and with the help of many stitch markers, I finally got started.  I gotta tell you, once underway, this was pretty addictive and easy to memorize.  In this photo, I'm a little more than halfway through the bottom border, but as of last night, I finished it, so it's on to stockinette for a while.  When I started knitting this, I thought that I should have waited since it's really other than a cold weather knit.  But now I'm thinking it would be fine for this weather ...

We spent the rest of Sunday reading, I also did more knitting, and we had the football game on in the background.  After The Tim made dinner, we watched some shows we'd recorded last week.  So it was a quiet and pleasant Sunday.

Today I hope to seam at least a bit more of my sweater, clean up a couple of things around here, read a bit, and if I have the energy and/or desire, cast on some socks.  It's still rainy at the moment, so it's nice to not have to be out in it.

On the one hand, I'm glad it will be a short week as far as number of workdays go.  But this coming Friday night is Members' Night at work, which means I'll get to work at my usual 7 a.m., but not be able to make my way home until sometime after 9 p.m.!  So it will likely still seem like a long week.  Which means I want to make the most of today, that's for sure!

06 October 2017

Old Photo Friday

Well this is a killer from wayback!

This is a photo of my mother, probably taken by my father.  I don't remember specifics, but I do know he had a Polaroid camera, and was always taking pictures of everything and everyone.  I do remember that my mother was all excited about her new swimsuit, so she was likely showing all of us how nice it looked.  And then Toby the dog decided he should also be in the picture.  The look of annoyance on my mother's face is perfect, and a look we all saw quite often!  I'm 99% sure that a comment like "Oh for God's sake! Why is the damn dog in the picture?" was also part of this event.

June 1968.  Wow, what a time. 

Have a great weekend!

05 October 2017

Three Things to Knit

Hello sports fans!  I hope you are having a good week so far.  I'm plodding through the best I can for the at-work part, and trying my best to enjoy evenings with The Tim and the kitties.  On Monday, we celebrated a year since Jack the kitten joined the family - that went fast!  And technically, I know he is not a kitten anymore since he has turned a year old, but he still looks and acts like a kitten, and for now at least, he's the baby of the family.  :-)  It also helps that today is Thursday, and the coming weekend is a long weekend for me.  Yes, where I work we get the day off for The Day That Should Not Be Celebrated Or Named Out Loud Around Most People These Days (i.e., Columbus Day).  I am shallow enough that a day off is a day off, and I'll take it. 

In any event, being that today is Thursday, it means that it is Three Things Thursday with Carole and Kat.  So I am participating this week because I do enjoy little lists, and have made one for this week. 

Today I am sharing three things in my Ravelry queue that my brain has been obsessing about lately.  Which is not to say that they will or will not happen soon, or even ever, but for the moment they are right there in the front.

Zadie, by Mercedes Tarasovich

I came across this pattern when it was mentioned on The Grocery Girls podcast.  They were knitting it as part of their Craftsy series, Off Our Needles, and seeing both of the ones they made just made me happy.  Cables are one of my most favorite things in the world, and the cable detail on this sweater just really appeals to me.  Also the fact that for one of them, it was her first sweater and she said it was so enjoyable to knit.  The pattern currently has 155 projects listed.

The Parlor Cat, by Sara Elizabeth Kellner

I've had this pattern in my queue for a long time.  Recently, I saw a blog post where someone (I don't remember who, sorry!) showed two that she had made as FOs and they were so adorable, I started thinking of this pattern again.  I've made one very small "stuffie" in my knitting career, and enjoyed it, so maybe I would also enjoy making this, who knows?  As of today, 574 projects are listed - apparently I'm not even close to being the only one who likes this pattern!

Great Falls, by Pam Allen

The other day I was watching/listening to a podcast (again, I don't remember which one ... I really need to make note of these things), and they mentioned this pattern.  So I took a look on Ravelry, and OMG I need this sweater!  It looks sooooo cozy, and since it's knit with bulky yarn, it would be a quick knit (well, theoretically at least).  I *may* even have yarn to knit this in my stash, but I purposely have not checked because I am trying to stay focused on current projects. The pattern sample is knit with Quince & Co. yarn, which is soooo pretty!  It's a new-ish pattern release, but there are already 42 projects listed!

What about you?  Do you have any patterns that have pushed to the front of your brain, or even to your queue?  When that happens, do you actually knit them, or like me, are you often distracted by another shiny (well, yarny) thing?

01 October 2017

Hooray! An FO!!

Hello and Happy October!  I love this month for so many reasons, and the weather has cooperated here in Philadelphia this weekend by being sunny, cool, and crisp.  Sleeping under a cover, pulling on a sweater over my t-shirt in the evening - it's all good.

And to start things off, I have an FO for you today.  I finished these a couple of weeks ago, but had wait to get a decent photo to show them off.

Project:  Summertime Solar Socks
Pattern:  Solar (a free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn:  Yarn Ink Classic Sock, colorway Beach Life
Needles:  US 1.5
Modifications:  I made the legs slightly longer than the pattern instructed
Notes:  This is a whole lot of YES for me.  I loved the pattern, I loved the yarn, and knitting these socks were truly enjoyable.  The pattern is easily memorized and not as complicated as you might think when you first begin.  I had never used any yarn from Yarn Ink before, and this yarn was not just pretty to look at, but so pleasant to knit with.  It was smooth, and not splitty at all.  I could completely understand anyone who wanted to build a sock stash of this yarn alone!

I now have 9 pairs of socks in my Box o' Socks for this year!  For me, that is an amazing feat, and I'm thrilled I've been able to do this.  Next, I'll be making my October socks.  I'm gonna use this yarn:

These socks will be my entry for Dee and Vera's I ♥ Fall KAL.  I've narrowed it down to two possible patterns.  You'll just have to stay tuned to see which one I choose ...

Here's hoping it's a good week ahead for all of us.  ;-)