21 March 2023


Hello, everyone! First of all, thank you so very much for all of the kind birthday wishes. I had a wonderful day, and The Tim and the kitties made sure the evening was just perfect. 

So today is the first full day of spring here in the northern hemisphere, and for now at least the sun is out and the day promises to be a bright one. Which is nice, because I think the rest of the week is predicted to be rainy, ugh.

I saw these lovely daffodils on my walk the other day:

I love daffodils - not just because they are my birth month flower, but because they always look happy to me. I know I posted a photo in February of our daffodils coming up, which was disturbing because it was way too early for them. But these guys had the right idea, and waited to show up, and I just had to stop and take a picture.

So what are your plans for spring? I don't have any specific plans, aka a list, but I do want to start working on cleaning up our garden and making sure the plants are doing OK. I want to plan the next few knitting projects, since I am very close to finishing the cardigan that has taken forever! But I am not casting on another thing until it's completely done - I don't want a shiny thing to distract me when I'm so close. I know there are some other things rattling around in my brain for springtime, but the ones mentioned are those at the front of the brain.

And the aforementioned cardigan? Well, both sleeves are done, and yesterday I started the neckline/button bands (thankfully it doesn't actually have buttons), so really and truly, I'm close to the end. My hard deadline I've given myself is to have it completed by the end of March, but I may even have it before then. It will be nice to have it ready for the fall.

Yesterday Alfie had his first visit with our vet. It was just a wellness check so they could meet him and get an idea of any issues, etc. before we have to take him in at the end of May/beginning of June for his shots. He was not overly pleased about the carrier, but once out of it in the exam room, he was very busy looking around, and trying to get both the vet and the tech to cuddle him. He has to lose 1.5 pounds, but otherwise the vet was pleased with how well he seems to be. Fortunately when we got home, he seemed to forget about the indignity of the carrier altogether. 😉

So enjoy your first day of spring, and I hope you find something that will make you smile.

14 March 2023

A Lovely Ride

Happy Birthday to me. 😊

13 March 2023

Monday FO Report

Hello all! I hope your weekend was a good one. I'm starting this week by sharing a recent FO with you.

Back in 2020, I knit these "house socks" for The Tim:

He LOVED them! About a month ago, I pulled them out of the washing machine and saw that the heel on one of them was completely gone. The other one was fine, but the missing heel was not even something that could be repaired.

We were getting ready to head to Baltimore overnight a few days later, so I gathered some yarn and needles and got the cuffs started on another pair. While The Tim drove, I knit, and got a really good amount completed:

Between the ride there, the ride home, and some early morning knitting while waiting for everyone else to get up, I got the chunk of two socks knit.  Once we were home, it took only a couple of more days to get the pair finished.

Project: Replacements Slipper Socks
Pattern: Plain vanilla, with some stripes thrown in 
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Worsted in Burgundy and Kelly Green
Needles: US size 5
Notes: I have a ton of Plymouth Encore in my stash, because it's a good workhorse yarn for baby and kiddo things, as well as these kinds of projects. In my opinion, there is enough wool to make things comfy and warm, but the acrylic content makes it hard-wearing. 

I just followed the regular vanilla sock pattern that I use and added in some random stripes and I'm pleased with the results. The Tim was thrilled and immediately put them on to wear when I handed them over.

And then he said, "Even if it doesn't perfectly match, will you make me another one to go with the one sock that made it out of the laundry?"

Sigh. So yeah, he'll get a single similar sock so he'll have that "pair." Just not anytime real soon. 😉

Milo would like to thank everyone for their birthday wishes. He had a good day on Saturday, with lots of cuddles and treats, some special food for dinner, a mini-birthday cake with candles and singing, and a catnip mouse gift. 

"For the record, I didn't share with Pip and Alfie. Mom and Dad
gave them treats too, but *I* did not share any of my goodies!"

10 March 2023

Friday Catch Up

Hello all! I didn't mean to take such an extended "break" from blogging, but that's what happened. The past few weeks have had a lot of little things happening that just seemed to pile on and keep me from doing very much at all. Does that ever happen to you? Every once in a while that happens to me and a lot gets lost in the shuffle. 

Oh well. 

Happy March, by the way. 😉

I somewhat managed to keep up with others' activities, but usually more as a lurker than a commenter. Sounds like all of you are busy, and some of you are really making some pretty things!  I'm glad that - at least in general - things are well with all of you.

There's been a lot of lounging going on around here:

These guys are funny. Pip and Milo have of course been buds for a long time, and though Pip thinks Alfie is the best, Milo the Koodle seems to change his opinion hour by hour. So the fact that they were all on the guest bedroom bed together for most of an afternoon without incident is pretty amazing.

There's also been some ... deconstructing going on.

This is our second floor (main) bathroom after the sinks and vanity were torn out earlier this week. Fortunately, we have a guest bathroom on the third floor that has a functioning sink! 

The bathroom pictured has had a cheapo, unattractive vanity and two sinks since we moved in. It's something we've always wanted to change, but while we were paying our mortgage, we never had enough extra money. About a year ago, one of the sinks developed a BIG leak, and we turned off the water pipes leading to it, and just used the other sink. According to The Tim anytime we would discuss it, we were going to replace things "soon." 

Now you can guess where this is heading. At the end of last week, the remaining sink developed a big drip. The Tim tried to fix it, but the faucet fixture broke apart due to age. So he bought a new fixture, and found a plumber who could come on fairly short notice. Except that when the plumber pulled out the old fixture, it had been jerry-rigged into the sink by the house's former owners, and the new fixture couldn't go into it. So at a minimum, we would have to have the sink torn out and replaced. After some back and forth, The Tim finally agreed that it was just easier to get rid of all of it and get a new vanity, new fixtures, new floor, etc. 

Which of course happened right in the throes of too much expensive dental work happening in my mouth which our dental insurance barely helps to cover. Because as the saying goes, when it rains it pours.

I do have to say though that although it's annoying, this is typical of how things go. The Tim will quickly acknowledge a problem, I will bug him about it consistently, and then a crisis comes along and things finally get resolved. Sigh.

But hopefully soon we'll have a fully-functioning main bathroom and then we can go to the next disaster (and at the current time, there are two waiting to happen. Stay tuned!).

Yesterday when I was at a therapy appointment, I took a photo of this orchid in the office that had bloomed:

I am not an orchid expert by any means, and have never even attempted to keep one alive. The office there has A LOT of orchids in a big window that gets nice amounts of light, but this is the only one like this - look at the little openings in the one section. I think they are not only pretty, but really fascinating. I posted this photo on Instagram, and Dee identified it as a phalaenopsis orchid, and said it's a typical thing. (It's nice to have a friend who knows about orchids, you know?) She said she has a few mini versions that are blooming, and they are so small, you can hardly see the openings. So amazing, right??

And those are the big things that I wanted to catch up with you about in this post. I have some knitting to show in the next few posts, one that has been in progress for a while, and one FO that just started and finished in record time (well, for me at least). Tomorrow we are celebrating Milo the Koodle's birthday, and Sunday is my weekend shift at the yarn store. The weather is supposed to be messy over the next few days, so it will be good knitting and reading time.

I hope you have a good weekend, whatever is happening at your house. I'll see you next week.

21 February 2023

The Sleepover Visitor

We had a visitor for a sleepover last night:

This is Phil. He belongs to one of my co-workers, whose dogsitter cancelled at the last minute when she was planning to go to DC overnight with her husband. Phil joined us yesterday morning and will go home sometime this evening. He is a 14-year-old Bichon mix, and extremely sweet and very chill.

The cats are puzzled. First of all, I'm not exactly sure they understand that he is a dog. I mean, dogs are BIG, right, and this is a creature that is roughly their size. It's been very puzzling. Also, he's not overly interested in being bestest friends with them, and *that* is really throwing them for a loop!

Alfie in particular LONGS to be his best bud.

And Pip cannot understand why, when he tried to give Phil a bath, Phil ran away, and jumped onto the couch! What's that about??

The Koodle seems to sense that Phil is not that interested, and though he's somewhat puzzled about that, he was mostly appalled that Phil thought he would try out the bed that the cats love - I mean, what's going on here???

Phil is an extremely good house guest, and though he is very friendly and seems to be an overall happy boy, it's clear he misses his own family and his own home. So I imagine when he is picked up this evening, it will be quite exciting! I hope sometime he can come back for a visit, but for all I know this may have caused him PTSD and he'll never want to return ... 😉

20 February 2023

A Monday FO

Hello and I hope if you are enjoying the Presidents' Day holiday by having a day off work, that it will be a relaxing and happy day for you.

I meant to share this FO sooner, but kept getting sidetracked, so here it is for you today:

Project: Cranberry Bricks Cowl
Pattern: Rib Interrupted, by Craig Rosenfeld
Yarn: Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Worsted in the Cranberry Compote colorway
Needles: US size 7
Modifications: None
Notes: This was an enjoyable, and if someone else was making it, would likely be a fairly quick knit. This is a pattern that is a freebie at the yarn store if you buy the yarn. It's very easy, and one of those patterns where you think to yourself, "I'll just knit one more repeat before I stop." 

In the cranberry colored yarn, it looks like a set of bricks to me. I was originally making this for myself, because there was a sample at the shop that I just loved, but once I finished this one, I decided to save it for a gift. When I make another one down the road for myself, I'll do fewer repeats because this one is just too tall for my short neck.

But it's a fun pattern, really easy to follow, and written for numerous weights of yarn. Perfect for a quick knit - or for one that will be ready for next fall, like this one! 😉

14 February 2023

A Special Day

First of all, Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! I hope you will treat yourself today, even if no one else does. ❤

Today is also a VERY special day in our house - today is Pip's 12th birthday! 

We actually celebrated with cake, presents, and treats on Saturday, but today is the actual day we have designated as his birthday. Since I don't get home on Tuesdays until after 6 p.m., we didn't want to rush his little party, so Saturday it was.

But today he is getting all kinds of extra attention, kisses, treats, and all of the kitties will get something special for dinner to celebrate.


Happy Birthday to the sweetest, most affectionate, most talkative boy ever! Lover of a good cuddle, crinkly toys, a warm bed, kitty igloos, sunspots, and birdwatching. The best ever at welcoming any new family member who shows up, and who loves it when people come to the house.

Pippy, you are truly the best, and words will never be able to express how we love you and how special you are.

Please give your furry and other family members a hug and/or a kiss today to help us celebrate. 😊

13 February 2023

No Joy In Mudville

Or in Philadelphia, either. Sigh. Our Eagles looked good, until the end of the second half of the game when the defense apparently forgot there was still time left that they were supposed to play. It was at least a close game that could have been even better. Sigh. 

Oh well, it was a good season, and it was all fun while it lasted.

I guess it's also just as well, since it rained all night here, and those celebrations could have been even messier ... 😉

Moving along, I have been trying to psych myself up to start the pair of replacement fingerless gloves for The Tim. I think the fact that the weather has failed to feel like winter has left me devoid of the inclination to get them going. I'm telling myself - and him - he'll at least definitely have them by next fall.

When I went to come into the house yesterday after my shift at the yarn store, I noticed this in our on-the-street planter.

I love daffodils, and normally I'm thrilled to see the first one, but this is just way too early. We very well may not have a serious enough cold snap again to damage them, but if they start now, they likely won't last much into March. Stupid climate change.

The funny thing is that every year, we pull out a bunch of daffodils because they get green but never bloom. And then the next year, we have even more come up and bloom, like they are mocking us. Or maybe they're just saying, "Whew! Thanks for giving us some room." (I don't speak fluent daffodil, so I can't know for sure.)

This afternoon I have my annual appt with the gynecologist, which I'm not looking forward to because, really does anyone look forward to that? I really like the dr and most of the time it's no big deal, but there are plenty of other things I can think of that I would rather do. But the good news is that since that's today, it will be out of the way first thing, and the rest of the week is clear of any appts, which after the past few weeks, is a nice feeling. I feel like I've spent all of the time I haven't been at work in dr's offices, or waiting to have tests done someplace. To have a few days with absolutely nothing will be a treat.

I hope all of you have a good week coming your way as well. Hang in there.

10 February 2023

Superb Owl Sunday

Have you ever seen the show "What We Do In The Shadows"? It's one of our favorite shows. It's about a group of thousand-plus-year-old vampires who live in a dilapidated mansion on Staten Island in New York. It is of course, completely ridiculous, and of course we love it. There are some particularly good episodes (when they go to a rave in Manhattan, when they visit Atlantic City, for instance), but one of those is when their next door neighbors (regular, everyday people, of course) invite them to a Super Bowl Party. Which of course they misunderstand (thinking it is a Superb Owl Party), but are nonetheless thrilled about:

Ever since we saw this episode, Super Bowl Sunday has become Superb Owl Sunday in our house. And of course this year, the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the teams playing. 

Now let's get some things out of the way first. Yes, sports is not the end-all/be-all that so many people think it is; sports - particularly those like football and soccer - can be extremely dangerous and have devastating lifelong injuries; players are paid too much money; there is too much emphasis on sports in schools; blah, blah, blah, insert your own fact/complaint/whatever here. Now we've gotten it out of our systems at least for the purposes of this post.

But I have to tell you that as someone who has lived in Philadelphia now for 32 years, whenever one of our teams is in a major sporting final, it changes the way most people walk around and do things. There is a genuine, universal excitement and even people not at all familiar or usually interested in sports catch the feeling. People embrace the fun aspect of it. For instance, yesterday The Tim had jury duty, and when they called the roll to make sure who did or did not show up, people were given the option of responding "Here," "Present," or "Go Birds!" Apparently every single person opted for "Go Birds!" 

In the past few weeks, nearly every time I've had a transaction with someone at a grocery store, coffee shop, or doctor's office, it's ended with "Go Birds!" Even my colleagues at the yarn store, who for the most part are neither from here originally, or are not sports fans, have gotten on board. It's infectious, and it's just really nice to have people happy and united about something for a change. 

My Sunday co-worker Kate and I are figuring that this week it will be especially busy at the yarn store for three reasons: 1) people coming in to buy yarn for projects they want to work on during the game; 2) people coming in to buy yarn because they want a project to work on INSTEAD of watching the game, and 3) people with one or the other reason coming in, but mostly because it's the last day of the Semi-Annual Sale, where a lot of the winter yarns are marked down 50 percent. So we're ready, no matter what. 

Fortunately on Sunday, the store closes at 4 p.m., so I can come home, enjoy the pizza that The Tim is planning to make for dinner, and then enjoy our own Superb Owl Party with the kitties and lots of snacks. Do I want the Eagles to win? Of course!!!! (Having said that, I'm not a person to have it ruin the rest of my year if the opposite should happen - I mean, that would have already happened you know?)

Even the Philadelphia Orchestra has joined the fun.

Have a good weekend, and 


07 February 2023

Lazy and Cold

Hiya - I meant to post yesterday, but woke up feeling pretty awful. Things improved as the day went on, but I think I might be getting a cold. Today I feel congested and all of my bones hurt. Fortunately, it's not Covid, so that's the good news.

Anyway, it was a cold and lazy weekend. So cold, I happened to snap this photo on Saturday morning:

I got up a bit later than usual, and after getting cleaned up and dressed I came back into the room to make the bed, but there were three reasons I wasn't able to do that. 😊 But I couldn't blame them - the bed was cozy, and the sun was coming through the windows, warming up the room. So I left them all there and made the bed later.

I did a few cleaning-up-putting-away things, but was mostly just lazy all day, staying warm and reading or knitting. I did make some granola, which turned out very well, so I guess that was my major accomplishment! 

Sunday was my shift at the yarn store. It was busy enough, but not crazy busy, and we didn't get one nut job all day, so that made it more pleasant. It's funny, but Sundays go fast as a rule. I guess it's because that's when most people are able to come in, and quite a few people show up for Knitting Circle from 1-3. We close at 4 on Sundays, so once we clean up after people leave, it's just about time to go home.

I guess it's because I don't feel so great, but yesterday and so far today I haven't been in the mood to read or to knit much. I work on my project at the shop, but even on Saturday when I felt fine, I did more reading than knitting. I'm not worried about it, but I would like to finish some of my projects so I could use them. Maybe if this cold gets under control, I'll feel more with it overall. I hope so.

And that's the exciting news from here. I hope your week treats you well. 

03 February 2023

Well, This Is How It Looks On Me

Happy Friday! I just learned that today is National Golden Retriever Day, and oh how I wish Dug and Hamlet could be here to celebrate with us. But I know they are celebrating together, and that makes me happy.

Do you remember this project? When I finally finished the project, it was already too hot to have a photo shoot where I was actually wearing it, so you just saw it finished and on the blocking mats. 

Well, last Sunday I was getting ready to head to the yarn store for my Sunday shift, and realized that I was not only wearing the sweater, but that I was also cleaned up and looking presentable. So I asked The Tim to snap a photo of me in my Steel Doodles sweater.

Not a magnificent shot, but you can see what it looks like on a body. It's really cozy and soft, and it fits me just the way I wanted it to - with some positive ease but not so much that it looks baggy. Since the initial release, they have adjusted the pattern to include a regular neck rather than only the turtleneck. The pattern is well-written and if you are not me, likely knits up really quickly.😉

In other news, I nearly had a chance to meet up with Dee this week. But I'd mixed up my timing and had to cancel. I thought I had an appt to start the process of getting a crown on a tooth for this coming week, but then I got the reminder call that it was the day this past week that I was supposed to get together with her. BOOO! But hopefully it will work out another time soon. (Though with all of the dr and dentist appts I have scheduled, it looks like most of February is a bust.)

So on to the weekend, where I have no specific plans, but hope to get some small projects cleared away. I have a dr appt this morning and then a haircut appt later, and I'm hoping to do a bit of baking in the afternoon so that's the plan for today. I know you are probably jealous of my non-stop exciting life, so I'll just stop regaling you with more details now ... 

Whatever you do or don't do, enjoy your weekend. If you are in the Arctic freeze, I hope you can keep warm!

02 February 2023

It's Winter, Even Though It's Not

 Happy Groundhog Day! 

Apparently, I'm one of the few people who actually enjoys Groundhog Day (the day and the movie, actually). I have always enjoyed seeing what Punxsutawney Phil has to say, and getting to see him all over the news. Of course, I also love winter, so I'm full of unpopular favorites.

But seriously, why do people get so worked up over a harmless tradition? Already today on the news, they have said that "No one cares what a huge rodent says," and that "This has just been a terrible winter, it needs to end." And I know so many people who become *furious* on Groundhog Day, because "Why should a groundhog determine how long winter lasts?" Um, you do know how it all really works, right?

And seriously, I realize that a lot of the country has had severe winter weather, but here in the Philadelphia area, I just have to say COME ON. We've had about 5 truly winter-cold days, including this coming weekend, which is supposed to be seriously cold. We have had barely a dusting of snow, which happened overnight on Tuesday, and is already gone, and it's been way to warm for this time of year. Plus the rain. THE RAIN. Not even April showers bringing May flowers. I mean, come on people, get a grip. This is not what winter is. Yes, technically on the calendar and metereologically it's the winter season, but otherwise, it's not. And yes, I know it's due to global warming, blah blah blah, but it still sucks for those of us who would always prefer winter weather to hot weather. As I said to someone the other day, I only slog through summer because I know once it's over, winter will eventually arrive.

Anyway, leave Phil alone, people! He's carrying on a fun tradition, he's not hurting anyone, and he makes some of us smile at the start of February. 

And remember to watch out for that first step, "it's a doozy!"

30 January 2023

FO Post: Last Year, Three Weeks To The Day

Hello, here's another Monday getting us into the week. This one however, has two things going for it for me. First, the Philadelphia Eagles are headed to the Super Bowl!!! They won their conference championship game yesterday, which was nice enough to be on TV for the most part after I got home from my Sunday shift at the yarn store. Second, for the first time since the end of October, Monday is my own day again! I was filling in on Mondays for a friend who had knee replacement surgery, and she is back at work today, so my schedule goes back to three days a week instead of four. I didn't really mind it, in that it wasn't a true hardship for me to work an extra day, but I like having Monday to myself.

Also, today on this Monday, I have a finished project to share. I know I showed you this picture a little while ago:

This was my New Year's Eve cast on, and I was enjoying knitting the colorful stripes. Well, I finished them on January 21, 2023, which was exactly three weeks since I started knitting them.

Project: Last Year's Socks
Pattern: Plain vanilla sock pattern that I generally use
Yarn: Advent 2022 Serendipity Sock Yarn, in the colorway Sweet Shop, from the Freckled Whimsy; the cuffs, heels, and toes are leftover Hedgehog Fibre Sock in the Budgie colorway
Needles: US size 0 (9-inch circulars)
Modifications: I decided to do a ribbed heel flap, which is not my usual go-to heel, but I just felt like trying it. We'll see how much I do/do not like it.

So my last cast-on for 2022 has become my first FO of 2023, and I feel like that's a good start to things.

I was going to cast on another pair of socks right away, but The Tim informed me that he lost one of his "most favorite" fingerless gloves that I knit for him a couple of years back, and could I knit him another pair? At first I thought, well, I'll make them as a Valentine's gift, but then I thought why give myself a deadline, so I'll start them when I start them, and finish them when I finish them. He has other ones in the meantime to use, it's just that he liked this particular pair the most. So I'm willing to get them going right away, but not kill myself finishing them in record time ...

In other news, my Christmas cactus is still going strong:

For a plant that has done nothing for years, it's taking a good old time making sure to bloom for as long as possible, which really makes me happy. I figure I should enjoy it while I can, because who knows when it will decide to grace us with flowers again?? 😊

And that's it for the news from here on the last Monday in January. Today I have to pick up a couple of prescriptions, stop at the store to get some more milk, and decide what to fix for dinner. Which leaves lots of knitting time, and I'm definitely not complaining about that. (Especially after last week, which turned out to be a real sh*tshow.)

I hope your week starts well, and keeps up with good stuff. Take care.

25 January 2023

I'm Still Here!

Well, I didn't mean to disappear briefly, but I realize that it happened anyway. But no worries, I'm still here and making an effort to keep up with everyone's blogs, whether or not I comment.

Anyhoo, I hope all of you are doing OK, or better than OK. I've been busy with a lot of stupid but necessary things, but I've also been knitting. Over the past weekend, I finished the socks I've been working on (FO post to come), and that was a good feeling. 

But I also finished the body of the cardigan I have been knitting since last year. You may recall that I put it aside at the end of the spring since I didn't want a lapful of wool during the summer. Then once fall hit, I got busy with gift knits. So I finally pulled it out at the beginning of January, and over the past weekend, I finished the bottom ribbing. It was such a sense of accomplishment!

Here's the front (though I realize it's hard to see well in this photo):

And in the interest of full disclosure, the back:

And I'm also excited today, because the beret I knit as a sample for the yarn store is featured in today's Instagram post! Here is the link, if you want to see a much better photo than the one I showed you. 😊

So that's the latest from here for now. I think I'll fix myself a cup of tea and read for a bit. I'm not working today because I have two dr appts. One is already over and the other is this afternoon, so I can have a little time to myself.

I hope the rest of your day goes well. 

16 January 2023

Monday FO Post: Last One For 2022

I hope all of you have had a good weekend, and for anyone in the U.S. who is enjoying a Monday holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I hope you have a wonderful day today.

Today I'm sharing the very last FO of 2022. You may recall the only other photo I showed was when I started the ribbing, back in November:

I've been hoping to get a modeled shot, and maybe someday I will, but in the meantime, I wanted to show you my last FO of the year.

Project: Toque for Tim
Pattern: Antler Toque by Tin Can Knits
Yarn: Plucky Knitter Trusty Worsted, colorway Be Steel My Heart
Needles: US size 6 and 8
Modifications: None

Notes: This was a wonderful, fun pattern to knit - and it's also a free one! I had a couple of questions at the start, and contacted Tin Can Knits, and they responded immediately, which only raises them higher in my estimation.

I decided I wanted to knit a cabled hat for The Tim as a Christmas gift, and when I was searching around for patterns, I remembered that I'd always wanted to try this one. Even better - I felt 99.99999% certain that I had enough yarn left over from my Steel Doodles sweater that I wouldn't even need to buy any yarn! (As it turned out, I had enough plus some still left, which really made me happy.) 

The pattern is extremely clear with what to do, and has both written instructions and a chart. I love knitting cables, and after about two repeats, I had the pattern in my brain, so I could knit without constantly referring back to it. And of course, the yarn is yummy and super soft, so the whole experience was enjoyable.

Plus, I got to learn something new - I'd never done cable decreases and they were necessary for the top of the hat. Again, the instructions in the pattern were so clear, it wasn't hard at all, and please look again at the photo above to see how nice the top of the hat looks. 😊

Best of all, The Tim loves his new hat, and says it's not just cushy and soft, but really cozy and warm. He's worn it nearly every day since he opened it, except for the stupidly warm days we've had. And that makes my heart very happy.

Overall, it was a good gifting season for me; I finished everything on time, I enjoyed knitting each thing, and all of them were very enthusiastically received. As a knitter, you really can't ask for much more than that.

13 January 2023

When 2023 Starts With A Friday the 13th

Yep, right off the bat, January gives us a Friday the 13th <cue scary music>.

Do you worry about it at all? I'm not overly superstitious, but I have to admit that I find it fun when a Friday the 13th rolls around. I'm not a fan of scary movies, but I am intrigued by people's superstitions and how for some, they rule their activities. I guess basically I agree with Baby Yoda:

How has your week been otherwise? Mine has, for the most part, been uneventful. Today I have an eye exam (yearly checkup), and I want to pay some bills, and undecorate the Christmas tree so that we can recycle it tomorrow. Philadelphia has locations where you can drop off your Christmas tree and it will be turned into mulch to be used at city parks. We make sure every year that we have ours ready on the last weekend that they collect them.

Tomorrow other than tree recycling, we'll likely put the rest of things away and stay put for the most part. Sunday I have a shift at the yarn store, and The Tim is on his own. 

Speaking of the yarn store, the other day I answered the phone there and a lady was calling from one of the suburbs. She said that it's hard for her to get into the city, so she wanted to place an order, but over the phone, not online. She wanted an actual person (which I guess meant me) to: 1. choose some baby blue yarn in the amount she gave me for a baby sweater; 2. take her credit card info; 3. pack up the yarn and send it to her. She said, "I know that Loop has a good reputation, so I trust that what you think is baby blue will be what I think is baby blue. And I know you will shred the credit card info so that no one will steal it. So please only call me back if you have no baby blue yarn at all, otherwise I'll just expect a package."

So I ... started looking for superwash baby blue yarn to send to her. I had the info on the yardage she needed, and though it didn't sound like she cared all that much about the price, I didn't want to spend too much of her money. (Though I've always thought it would be so much fun to choose yarn and not worry about price. But for me, not someone else, you know?) I found a reasonably priced yarn that a lot of our customers use for baby things in a shade that I considered to be baby blue. It was the day of Wednesday Knitting Circle, so I held up a ball and said to the group, "Would you consider this color to be baby blue?" and they overwhelmingly agreed. So I packaged it up, put through the payment, and hopefully the lady receives her yarn today or tomorrow and is pleased with it. But that is definitely the only time since I've started working there that someone had that type of request. I mean, it's probably less risky requesting something like that from a yarn store than from other types of businesses, but in spite of the "all knitters are wonderful people" trope, I'm not sure I'd ever feel comfortable doing that. 

Anyway, it was a fun if unusual exercise. 😊

Have a good weekend, everyone. I hope you get at least a little bit of time to yourself to enjoy what you like.

11 January 2023

All for ME!

Hi all, I hope your week has been going well. Today I decided to join Kat and the others for Unraveled Wednesday - it seems like such a long time since I participated, and there's no time like the present, right? So here's what I'm knitting and [what I was] reading.

After making gifts for people, all of which I'm happy to say were very well and enthusiastically received, all of my current projects are for ME! In an unusual twist for me, instead of my usual three projects, I currently have four. I'm making a cowl (no photos yet), and have returned to the cardigan I started last spring (no new photos). The cowl is going pretty quickly and the cardigan should move right along when I can devote some time to it.

Other than those two, I'm working on the socks that were my New Year's Eve cast-on. I have finished the gusset on each sock, and can move on to knitting the foot. These are fun, I do love stripey socks!

I'm also making a capelet, which frankly surprises me, because I have never had the desire to knit a capelet. But there was a sample of one at the shop, and it was so ridiculously cozy, I decided I needed to knit it. So far I'm still working on the neck (it's a top-down knit), so this is all I have:

The yarn is Woofolk Flette Bulky in the Dark Brown colorway. When I posted this photo on Instagram, The Tim commented on how that was the weirdest looking piece of red velvet cake he ever saw. Because he is a laff riot, as you know. He'll be jealous when I'm cozy and warm around the house because I'm wearing my finished capelet, and he doesn't have that OR any red velvet cake ...

On the reading front, I am currently deciding what my next read will be. But I finished this book the other day:

It was an enjoyable read, a little bit of mystery but mostly a story of family, both those we make and those we are born into. I thought the ending was a bit surprising at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Not great literature or a deep thoughts book, but perfect for when you want to read something interesting and engrossing but not have to worry about lots of characters or family trees that go back to the 1600s or things like that.

I hope your making and reading is making you happy these days. I'm having a good time so far this year with mine. 😊

10 January 2023

FOs of 2022 : Work Life

I thought I would show you the FOs I have from 2022 that are samples for Loop, since they are still things that *I* knit!

First up: The Worsted Watch Cap (Loop store pattern)

This is a basic hat pattern, and can be made in various sizes and weights. This particular one is the Adult Large size, knit with Big Bad Wool Weepaca in the colorway Gray Wolf. Sooooo soft!

Next: All-Ways Hat, by Jared Flood. 

This is the hat that in my opinion, for all intents and purposes, is the Musselburgh hat (I think that pattern is a lot more straightforward to read and knit also, but that's just me maybe ...)

Anyway, this is knit in Brooklyn Tweed Tones Light Yarn, in the Zest Overtone and Zest Undertone.

Here we have the Puff Cowl (another shop pattern):

This was knit in Rowan Brushed Fleece, in the Hush colorway. Another soft finish, but this one is hard to tink back if you make a mistake, since the yarn kind of melds together once you make a stitch. (This colorway is a lovely light purple, even though it looks gray in photo. That is my poor photographic skill, I'm afraid.)

Next, the Salut Cheri Beret, by Sari Nordlund (a free pattern on her website):

For this, the yarn used is Berrocco Mochi, in the Garnet Colorway. This pattern was quick and easy to follow, though it's only written for one size, which was too small for my [admittedly] big head. But it does make a lovely beret, and the yarn is luscious and comes in many really pretty colors.

Lastly, the Seed Stitch Scarf (no "official" pattern):

This was made with Malabrigo Noventa yarn, in the Sea Horse colorway. Noventa is advertised as Super Bulky, but it seems more like maybe regular bulky, but that's not up to me. Anyhow, this is knit on size US 10 needles, and involves casting on 17 stitches, slipping the first stitch and knitting the last stitch on each row, and doing K1, P1 each row to create seed stitch. This yarn is pretty, but it's really hard to use, as it really easily twists on itself while you are knitting.

It was really fun to get to try yarns that I might never try on my own for whatever reason, and to be introduced to them. It's also fun when customers come in and want to see something knit in a certain yarn, or a certain type of pattern, and mine is one of the samples!

The Loop patterns are usually free with the purchase of the yarn. If you want to "be in the know," as it were, you can always sign up for the shop's newsletter/e-mail list by sending an e-mail to knit@loopyarn.com and asking to be signed up. Usually that's where things show up, as far as new patterns, yarns, etc.**

So those were my "work" FOs for the year - not bad for someone who just started working there at the end of July 2022, and is not the world's fastest knitter. 😊

**I'm not encouraging this or pushing as part of my job, I just know that over the years that I've been on the newsletter list (long before I ever thought of working there!), a lot of good patterns have been added to my collection.

04 January 2023

Book Report for October, November, and December 2022

Happy New Year! I hope 2023 is treating you well so far. I still have some posts for you that are related to the end of the year, and this is the first one. Here are the books I read/attempted to read during the last three months of 2022.  Not as many as I would have liked, but there were a few weeks during this time when I either just couldn't settle my brain enough to read for any length of time, or couldn't read for other reasons. In any case, here's what I did read, and my thoughts about each one.

Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood. I started this and was finding it interesting.  But then my glasses got broken, and the book was due at the library, so I'll have to try and borrow it another time to see what my final verdict will be.

The Litter of the Law, by Rita Mae Brown. It's getting close to Halloween in Crozet, Virginia, and the residents are preparing not just for the holiday,but for the end of the growing season. There's also the Haunted Hayride coming up, a fundraiser for the local library. 

But when two bodies are discovered that were originally thought to be Halloween decorations, things turn creepy. Were the murders related? How? Why?

This was another entertaining installment in this series, and because of the style and circumstances of the killings, a bit more unsettling than usual. But still enjoyed every page.

The Golden Couple, by Greer Hendricks. This book is really intense.

Avery is a "disgraced" therapist in Washington,  DC - she has lost her license due to an unethical approach to helping clients.But she is busier than ever after an article about her and her 10 Step " maverick" approach to helping couples appears in the paper. 

When Marissa and Matthew Bishop become her clients, to help deal with Marissa's infidelity,  Avery sees them as the perfect couple for her approach. 

But it turns out that Marissa has other secrets. So does Matthew. And so does Avery. But is it possible that they are/will somehow intersect, even though they've never met before? How is that possible? 

There are so many twists and turns and red herrings here, you have to keep reading. I really enjoyed this book, I wasn't expecting it to be what it was.

Flying Solo, by Linda Holmes. This was not a long book, but I still think it could have used another round of editing. 

Laurie has flown to her hometown in Maine from her current home in Seattle to clean out the homeowners her recently deceased Aunt Dot. Laurie was close to her aunt for her entire life, and the house was like a second home. When she finds a beautiful duck decoy tucked away in a drawer, she becomes fascinated in finding its story. Her friend June and former high school boyfriend Nick set out to help her.

It's a good story, and it all makes a good point about single, childless adult women and the worth of their lives. But there just seemed to be parts where it all dragged to move along.

I wanted to like it much more than I did.

In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware. As usual, Ruth Ware sucked me in right from the beginning with the first few words of this book. 

Leonora "Nora" Shaw, a fairly successful crime writer, receives an out-of-the-blue invitation to a hen party, for her best childhood friend, who she has neither seen nor spoken to for 10 years. She and another friend from those days who she stayed in touch with decide to go together.

They arrive, at a location that is both remote and a bit weird. Their hostess, a current devoted friend of the bride-to-be, has gotten the use of her aunt's summer house for the weekend.

The whole thing is weird and unsettling and Nora soon learns why she was invited. But soon things head south, and before you know it, Nora wakes up in the hospital, overhearing the police officer outside of her room talking about a murder. Is Nora the killer?

This was a real page-turner, and appropriately spooky for the Halloween season.

Haunted Hibiscus, by Laura Childs. Another good story in this series. In this installment,  Theodosia tries to find out who killed a young woman author in a particularly gruesome manner at a local haunted house event. The police investigation leads to Theodosia's detective boyfriend being shot, so her motivation is stronger than ever. 

I enjoyed this, with its Halloween timing,  descriptions of Charleston S.C., and the yummy concoctions from the tea room. But the mystery was a good one as well, with quite a few red herrings thrown in. A good read especially during spooky season.

The Paris Library, by Janet Skeslien Charles. A book that appeals to so much that I love!

This us abook that details and celebrates how the librarians at the American Library of Paris kept things going during World War II, even once Paris was occupied by the Nazis. 

Odile Souchet is a French young woman who gets her dream job working at the Library. Along with her co-sorjers, they provide books, magazines, and answers to questions to their patrons every day. When the war starts, and then when the Nazis take over Paris, the staff gas to use their courage and creativity to provide materials.

Another aspect of the story takes place in the 1980s in Froid, Montana, where teenage Lily decides she will do a school report about her somewhat reclusive neighbor. Lily and the neighbor develop a deep bond, and they help each other in surprising ways.

The author used a lot of archival sources to tell the librarians' stories, as well as as talking to those involved and family members. 

There are some unexpected turns in both parts of the story, but I thought this was a good read.

Caught Dead Handed, by Carol J. Perry. When Maralee "Lee" Barrett returns to her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts to interview for a reporter job at WICH-TV, she finds that the job has already been filled. As she is leaving, she comes across a body in the water near where she has parked her car. It turns out to be the body of the tv station's well-loved psychic. 

It turns out that Lee finds herself the new psychic at the station - and while she is preparing to try and be convincing, she has a clear vision. Her Aunt Ibby, who raised her and who she is living with, tells her that she had visions when she was a child.  

Lee starts the job with some success, but she really wants to find out what happened to her predecessor.  As she starts poking around, she has another vision, and learns some disturbing things about some co-workers. 

This was a much better book than I was expecting,  once the whole thing was revealed about Lee having visions. There is a real plot and story involved, and I really wanted to learn how it was all resolved.

The Ghost Fields, by Elly Griffiths. While digging for a development of new houses, a body in a World War II plane is discovered on the site. The land was owned by the Blackstock family, and the body inside turn out to be a son who emigrated to America, joined the war effort, and was shot down, thought to be lost at sea. 

While Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson are trying to learn what happened - because the pilot was shot in the forehead - more and more Blackstock familysecrets are revealed. They learn that one of the family members has turned one of the airfields used by the soldiers - "ghost fields" - into a pig farm, and things really heat up when human remains are found in the pig feeder.

A lot happens in this book, and many of the Blackstock family members are creepy weirdos. Frank Barker, the American historian from the previous book, shows up again, causing Ruth to question her feelings for him.

The book ends during the lead up to Christmas, which I didn't know, but it leads nicely into the time of year when I enjoy reading holiday-themed books.

Winter Solstice, by Elin Hilderbrand. This is the final book in what was supposed to be a trilogy featuring the Quinn family. It's a bittersweet tale, since while some family members are clearly finding their way to happily ever afters, things are also happening that mean their lives will be irrevocably changed forever.

I enjoyed this book, and appreciate how it brought the family's story full circle, but I have to admit that I liked the others in the series more.

The Alpine Christmas, by Mary Daheim. The small town of Alpine, Washington is getting ready for the holidays, and Emma Lord, the editor of the  Alpine Advocate,the town's weekly paper, is busy with the prep for the next issue as well as finishing plans for her Christmas celebration.  But when someone finds a woman's leg, and shortly after a partially frozen body is found near a river, there's suddenly a lot that needs to be uncovered in Alpine, and Emma digs in.

This book was good enough, but I really only finished it to see what the resolution was, and that was an interesting twist. But frankly it didn't grab me much otherwise.

Twelve Slays of Christmas, by Jacqueline Frost. Holly White has returned to her hometown of Mistletoe, Maine when her Christmas Eve wedding plans are canceled. The good thing is that she can help out at Reindeer Games, the Christmas tree farm and well-known holiday attraction. But when the head of the local historical society is murdered on their property using one of the stakes her father made to identify different types of trees, she needs to clear his name.

This book was fine, but the characters weren't that interesting to me. And the person revealed as the murderer was seldom part of the story, so it was all kind of blah in my opinion.

Twisted Tea Christmas, by Laura Childs. In this installment of the series, Theodosia Browning and her associates are catering a party at the home of one of Charleston's wealthiest residents when she is murdered and robbed. So besides being busy with the planning of a few special holiday-themed tea events, she wants to find out who was responsible for something so reprehensible.

Not only does she eventually find the killer, but she uncovers a massive fraud being perpetrated on the wealthy residents of Charleston as well.

Enjoyable, but the food descriptions will definitely make you hungry!

Apple Cider Slaying, by Julie Anne Lindsey. This was a pretty enjoyable book, and for me, for reasons that probably don't matter to a lot of other people.

Smythe Orchards, the family orchard business in Blossom Valley, WV, has been around for a while, but is struggling financially. Winona Mae Montgomery, who was raised there by her grandparents, decides that she will organize a Winter Festival during the Christmas season to bring in crowds and hopefully start a new tradition for the orchard that will help it stay open longer every year, and give herself and her grandmother additional income. It's her way of trying to save the business.

But when the body of a meddlesome neighbor is found on the property while Winnie is walking the local banker around in hopes of him giving her a loan to open a cafe, things start to head downhill fast. First of all, people in the town start to suspect that her grandmother was somehow involved in the woman's death. Secondly, the orchard is closed for a time since it has become a crime scene. And when more deaths occur, and Winnie starts receiving threats, it's clear that the danger level has amped up.

In many ways, this is a typical cozy mystery, with the requisite types of characters and plot lines. But the things that made this stand out to me were as follows: 1) it takes place in northern WV, and most people don't realize that part of the state exists, and is at all different than the southern part of the state; 2) it mentions my home town and one of its historically most important - and well known - business symbols; 3) none of the characters portrayed is the "typical" person you see in most media from WV - you know, the hillbilly with no teeth who lives in a shack, etc. 

Granted, there are guns and pickup trucks, but I have also learned while moving to various parts of the country that guess what - those are everywhere.


What about you? Have you read/listened to anything particularly good or even really bad lately? Let me know in the comments. 

01 January 2023

January 1, 2023

 Let's do this!