27 June 2018

Not Unraveled, But For a Minute There, I Was Close ...

Hello friends!  I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that you are all as excited for my Christmas in July plans as I am!  I think it will be so much fun, and can't wait to get started.

Also, Nancy sent me an e-mail with instructions of a possible fix for having comments e-mailed to me.  I haven't had a chance to try it yet, since our Internet was down at home yesterday, so I'll try it later today (right now I'm at work before it's time to start while writing this, and I don't want to tempt fate by doing anything much here with anything ...).  Anyway, fingers crossed it works!

In any event, it's time to get to the subject of the post.  I'm joining in today on Unraveled Wednesdays with Kat and friends, showing you my current knitting and reading.

You may or may not recall that I attempted these last summer, and was suddenly overcome with yarn barf in the ball that I could not untangle, so I gave up, and threw the yarn away.  Well, because I interpreted that as a personal insult, I decided to try again.  The first sock proceeded with no issues.  Then I cast on the second, and about two rows in after the cuff - MORE YARN BARF!!!   I decided to give it a maximum of two tries to see if I could get the yarn to untangle, because I didn't want history to repeat itself.  Fortunately, with only a couple of glitches, this one untangled pretty easily.  Thereby avoiding unraveling on both a personal and knitting level.

Next up:  Edie

As you can see, I'm moving right along on this one. We are getting along quite well, and I actually have about 4-5 more inches knit on this since I took the photo.  The tricky thing about this was preparing the yarn.  I'm using linen yarn (a first for me), and I learned right away that linen yarn does not like to work with a swift and ball winder.  Once that lesson was learned, we are getting along just fine.  I am hoping to have this finished by the end of July, so I can wear it at least a little bit this year.

On the reading front, I just started this book, and oh how I do enjoy Barbara Pym's books!  The characters are always so well-written, and even though the stories are of regular people leading their lives, she makes it so much fun to read.  I highly recommend her books if you have not tried them yet.

And that, as they say, is that.  I hope your knitting and reading are going well these days.  Happy Wednesday!

25 June 2018

Christmas in July!

Hello there!  I hope you are having a nice day, like we are here in Philadelphia - warm, sunny, but breezy with no humidity.  The kind of weather that I wish summer would have the whole time.  And maybe somewhere it does, but not around here.  By the end of the week the heat and humidity is predicted to be way up there, meaning that it won't just be miserable (in my opinion), but it will be really hard to breathe.  Ick.

But I am going to do something to try and make me feel like summer isn't that bad, by hosting Christmas in July here on my blog.  Here's how it will work.

Every Wednesday during July, I will post something for a giveaway for that week.  It might be a book, or some kind of accessory for crafting or for your person, a pattern, yarn - to be honest, I'm not even sure right now exactly what each week will bring.  All you'll have to do is answer a random question and then have your answer chosen in a random drawing later in that week (I'll let you know each time). The final Wednesday in July is the 25th, and since actual Christmas is also on a 25th, that will be the "grand prize" so to speak. 

I've been thinking of this for a while, and initially was thinking it would be related to an informal make-along.  But I know that many of you are like me, and as soon as you say you want to participate, you lose all crafty interest.  So the giveaway idea came to me and I decided I liked that better!

This will also mean that I will be forced (in a good way, I mean it!) to respond to comments.  I have tried the "notify me" thing but I'm still not getting comments mailed to me.  I will admit that this has made me lazy about it, and I really haven't been making any effort to respond, and I miss the back and forth.  I know that some people prefer responses via e-mail, rather than on the blog (I know I tend to forget to go back and see if someone answered me in the comments), so this will be a good way for me to get back in the habit of responding whenever I can.

I thought I'd announce this today, because a) I wanted all of you to know what was coming and not miss out by finding out too late, b) it's Monday, and something good should happen to make up for that, right? and, c) July begins NEXT WEEK!! 

I hope that Christmas in July will be fun for all of us.  :-)

24 June 2018

Sometimes All You Really Want Is a Quickie

OK, get your minds out of the gutter.  ;-)  I'm talking about something else entirely, related to knitting.

You know the feeling when you are making progress on your projects, but it feels like forever since you actually finished something?  I was feeling this way later in the week, because the two projects I'm knitting are moving along well enough, but not really quickly.  I thought I would start something else, but it had to be small.  The problem is, the patterns I thought I'd use were not ones I had printed out and our home printer is currently having issues.  Sigh.

But then some Sugar and Cream yarns I'd bought on a recent trip to A.C. Moore caught my eye.  They had been two for a dollar, and a lot of them were in summery colors.  But one in particular seemed like a really good idea.  I also decided to use a basic mitered square pattern, like the one used for the Coziest Memory Blanket, and which I have memorized.

I grabbed a pair of size 9 needles, cast on 50 stitches, and got started.  About an hour later, I was finished.

And now our kitchen will have something in it for the Fourth of July.  It was a nice feeling to just get something completed, finished, done, whatever you want to call it. 

I may even make another.  :-)

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)


6 fresh, ripe medium-to-large tomatoes
1 lemon (or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)
2 cloves garlic, minced
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!