Saturday, December 31, 2011

More Makings

I finished a couple of projects this week, little things. I needed one more soap sack so that everyone I wanted to give one to got one. This is the last one for a while since I ruined my wrists and hands with my marathon crocheting over the last month.

I finished up the teeny tiny tree I cast on the other evening. I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with it. Maybe I'll take it to Friday Night Knitting tonight and someone will love it and adopt it. It's very small, about 1-1/2 inches tall, and it's stuffing is exposed if you look under its skirt, um, trunk.

Friday, December 30, 2011

One More Day After Today...

... and it'll be 2012. I couldn't be happier to see one year go and another come. In my extended family we started 2011 with three Grandmas up, DIL1's Grandma Carol was the first to go, then DIL2's Grandma Shirley, finally my mom pulled her little "burst appendix" stunt in late October so DS & DIL's Grandma Maralee rounded out the year at three Grandmas down. This is not a good score, people. To paraphrase Grandma Carol's daughter HJZ, "we don't like it one little bit."

What we do like, what I like are the gifts I got from the crafty people around me.

My pal Skully is into machine embroidery so she made me these flamingo kitchen towels. Aren't they cool? And she wrapped the package in a fat quarter of fabric in this gorgeous "sand and sea" print. She really knows me.

Cookie was making these coasters when we
were up at TC in November, and she made this snowman snow globe ornament that I immediately put on the tree.

DD gifted me a skein of Happy Hippie sock yarn in the Jungle colorway. She knows I only make one sock, and I love the colors.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Making Stuff

I love to make things, no, really, I do. (Exactly how many commas can I put in a nine-word sentence?!) I'd put these two sewing books on my Amazon wish list and my darling DIL1 & DS got them for me. DIL1 did say she had a hard time restraining herself from putting markers in the Zakka book and looking through it I can see why. I'll have to consult with her re: colors, etc. so the sewing can commence... once I can find my sewing machines amidst all the yarn and other things heaped in the crafting area down in the basement.

I've gotten a tiny bit of length accomplished on my Hellical Stripe sock, see? I made one unfortunate yarn choice so the contrast isn't as great as I'd anticipated but it's a logical way of making jogless, single row, stripes. Maybe I'll change out that one yarn for a different one...

Like a total goofball I also got out my size US1 DPNs and some sock yarn with sparkles to attempt to make the free knitting pattern of Christmas day which was tiny tre
es. Tiny is the word. Look! I'm 10 rows in and it's not big enough to cover my fingertip. It took me six or eight tries to get the first round done. There are only 6 stitches in the first round and the needles kept twisting around so I'd have to rip it out and do it over. Finally about 10 PM I managed to make it to the second round and then I kept going, zooming up to row 10 before calling in a night. This is my first go on such tiny needles with such teensy yarn. I don't like the llittle needles, not one bit. Size three's about the smallest I can tolerate. How do people knit on 00s? Or even 0000? Eesh.

DD and my nephew, CA, decided the bonsai needed to be
decorated for the holiday. Pretty cute, eh?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Like Crack

I need to learn to knit faster. Lots faster. Lots and lots faster. I have way too many projects OTN (on the needles) now and I cast on more whenever the spirit moves me. Since there's not really much danger of running out of needles (I have a metric crapload in all the sizes in the free world plus crochet hooks from 3 generations of women in my family) I could easily dig myself into a deeper hole--and probably will before long. One thing I want to do next week is pull out all the UFOs (unfinished objects) and see what I can put in some effort on and finish. Like one of the two sweaters I have down in the heap. One needs only a sleeve and a quarter and neck edging. (Why do I put things away when I've got so little work left? *shrug*)

Remember I showed you that bag of sock yarn I got from Z-Dawg? I dug o
ut a pattern for Stashbuster Spiral Socks that has intrigued me for years and I've been looking at it and checking out the pages and pages of projects on Ravelry, but the pattern's for toe-up socks and I really don't especially like knitting socks that way. Then one of the Rav projects said something like "I'd rather knit socks top-down so I just took the process and made it my way." Revelation! I could knit it my way still using the spiral stripe part. *head-desk* So I picked out yarns and cast on, first on DPNs (double pointed needles) and then I transferred it to Magic Loop (one long circular needle) because the skinny sock yarn was sticking to the bamboo too much for comfort, now it's better. I'm excited to get past the ribbing and into the leg of the sock so I can add in the other three yarns. I decided to go with 4 different stripes, all variegated/self-striping so this should be one odd looking sock, but I don't care, it'll be in my shoe and under my jeans anyway. Who gives a hoot?

DD & DIL2 helped me decorate a birdie tree this afternoon. Durwood boug
ht me a bigbigbig jar of creamy peanut butter that I spread on some of the branches with a spatula, then I sprinkled shelled corn and birdseed on it. I popped some popcorn in the micro and tossed that into the branches and the girls zip-tied on little bundles of suet cake wrapped in colorful net squares. Durwood warned that squirrels will make off with the suet just as fast as they can but I don't care, squirrels gotta eat too. Hmm, maybe I'll cut up an apple and an orange and put them out there. Or not, maybe I'll eat those myself.

When I went thourhg Mom's doll room I found a box with a bunch of spoolies in it. Spoolies are tiny little Christmas ornament dolls made of tiny spools dressed in cute. I want everyone in the family to have one on their tree. Aunt B, d'you have a color request?

Here's my dishcloth swap cloth from Bay Lakes Knitting Guild last week. Don't you love the colors? Mitch made it on a loom, he knits exclusively on looms and m
an, does he crank out the stuff. He's a knitting machine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not Much To Report

I haven't been knitting or crocheting for the last week because all the cotton-crocheting I did enraged (there's no other word for it) enraged my hands to the point that I had to go and buy a new wrist support and I've been wearing them nearly constantly for the last week. Evidently I'm having Carpal Tunnel problems. Will I need surgery? Lordy, I hope not but I haven't seen a doc for it, this is self-diagnosis at its finest. My fingers get numb and it's hard for me to do fine motor things like put on earrings. Feh. I hate this.

Mitch took a picture of my Kiss Under the Mistletoe dishcloth that I took to Knitting Guild last week and forgot to take a photo of before I went. Thanks, Mitch! It was a fun and simple gift to craft, and we had fun admiring all the dishcloths and then passing them around whenever Terri said the secret word until The End. I got one Mitch made on his loom. It's nice and squishy and bright. I'll take its picture soon. Cross my heart.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Z-Dawg Knits a Lot of Socks

On Friday I went to Friday Night Knitting and Z-Dawg had brought the yarn she wanted to give away. Everyone had gone through it when I wandered over to look at the shopping bag of sock yarn leftovers. She said, "oh, just take it and donate what you don't want." So I did. When I got home I got out the ball winder and Durwood and I spent a couple of hours untangling and winding up balls. I've spent the days since thinking about what to make out of all that sock yarn. So far I'm thinking about a striped scarf or maybe a striped sock.

I've been unable to stop crocheting soap sacks. So far I've got 8 made; number 9 is on the hook.

I cast on a yoga sock in Cascade Fixation last Wednesday before I
went to the first night of Yoga Basics. I've knit a few more rounds this week, but I've mostly concentrated on soap bags. I don't know why I'm so fixated on soap bags but they are consuming my every yarn moment. I promise I'll knit on the sock tomorrow at work. Cross my heart.

It's 11 days until you-know-what. I can't imagine being ready.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Do Not Put a Thermal Mug of Coffee in Your Purse **

Ask me how I know... once I see if the stains come out of my hoodie, Clearing tee, and sports bra.

I got to go to Friday Night Knitting with a clear conscience last night. It was the first time I took Mom's knitting basket as mine. I put a few of my Copper Harbor buttons on it so that it wouldn't feel undressed and it worked just fine.

And I had it stuffed to the
tippy-top as usual.

On Thanksgiving I cast on the Pom Pom Stocking from last winter's Knit Simple. The dark red and old gold of the stripes really appealed to me and I liked the white heel, toe, and points with small pompons that rings the top. There're a couple wives, new-ish to the family, that don't have handmade stockings just in case Santa wants to drop off a few items for them here. I had hoped to finish one by this coming Christmas but Mom's little stunt in October put paid to that. I plan to knit one and sew one to honor both of my favorite crafts.

I got the newsletter from Bay Lakes Knitting Guild and it talks about the December meeting which is a party and elections. I'll keep being Member-At-Large by request of the new Prez. Whew. Everyone's supposed to bring a cotton dishcloth to exchange, and people whose last names start with A - M bring dessert and N - Z bring salad. I had a brilliant idea for my dishcloth so I got right down to making it at work this week. And I had another brilliant idea for what dessert to bring. Double whew.

Way back in the dawn of time before Mom burst her appendix and up and died, Aunt B asked me to knit her a Potato Chip Scarf. I cast it on and kni
tted away on it, only to discover when I was nearly finished that it was going to be too short and way too narrow. So I frogged it, cast on again adding 30 stitches, and got going again. To make it wider I doubled the knit rows (from one to two) between the increase rows. I finished it week before last; it took 3 work days to bind off. I intend to mail it off to her early next week to protect her from the icy winds of December in North Carolina. (Yeah, let's all feel sorry for her. It's barely above freezing and supposed to snow tomorrow.) Have you ever tried to photograph something black? That black hole is the scarf.

For some reason the idea of making Soap Sacks has been scratching at the back of my mind. I think it'd be nice to have a place to collect bar soap scraps. I hate throwing them away and they stick to everything. Maybe I can melt some glycerin soap and make bars to put in them. I crocheted one and started two more last night. I've got another pattern that's more lacy that I want to try out too.

The coolest thing about Friday Night Knitting is that a new knitter, Mardi, came. She's very nice and she's a yoga teacher. She and the program director of Harmony Cafe are planning to offer a Friday Night Yoga class starting in January. That means we can knit a bit, go yoga-ing across the hall for an hour, and then go back and knit until 9. I am so excited about it that I woke up earlier than I had anticipated to do a half hour of Wii Yoga. Lucky I have made a clearing in the living room or I might have done myself an injury. Now I have to find a pattern for some of those cool yoga socks. (As if I don't have enough UFOs lying around.) Oh, I also will be placing a yoga mat on my Christmas list, if anyone's interested.

Another new-to-us knitter, Kathleen, was there last night too. She doesn't have an obvious advantage to bring to the mix but she's nice and friendly and I think we're going to like her a lot.

**The coffee stains came out of my sports bra and Clearing t-shirt. I'm happy about that.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I finished the Fast & Fearless Fingerless Mitts the other night. I love them. I love the yarn. Now I wish I'd bought every skein of it she had. Not that I need even one more SCRAP of yarn. I don't need any at all. Want, now, want's a different story. I work in a place that's all about want, not much about need, so I'm very familiar with want. (Hm, on a totally unrelated note, both my kids played Want in the local production of A Christmas Carol when they were small.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Rutabaga That Ate Green Bay

One of our customers, an enthusiastic gardener, stopped in yesterday with a second box of veggies for me. He brought leeks, carrots, apples, squash, and a rutabaga. I thought when he told me what was in the box that maybe one rutabaga wasn't enough for a meal. I was wrong. So wrong. I think Durwood might have swooned a bit when I hefted it out of the box to show him, but he's gamely making plans to subdue it for our table. We've agreed that the next batch of soup will be Jamaican Pumpkin Soup. It is to die for. Makes me want to eat my chicken soup faster.

I've been knitting a bit. I finished the Fast & Fearless Fingerless Mitt #1 and immediately cast on Mitt #2. The first one I made on double points so I transferred the second one onto a long circular needle to see which one I like better for making mitts. I've only done a row or two on the circ so I can't be sure but I'm thinking I'm liking the DPNs better.

It was sunny and beautiful when I crossed the bridge toward work this morning so I snapped a photo as I crossed the bridge. I love sunny and clear days like today, it's pretty darned cold and windy though. I'm not as much of a fan of that.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Bit of Knitting

I'm telling you (and I know I keep harping on this but it's consuming all my available personal RAM) but I'm too driven to get thorugh all of Mom's stuff and have a sale before the end of November so we don't have to pay another month's rent. I did make an awesome discovery the other day in the doll room. I found Mom's knitting basket. I remember being pretty small, about 10 years old, and this basket sat on the floor next to her place on the couch and held her knitting and her latest romance novel. Now it's holding my knitting. No novel because mine lives either on the counter next to the potty or on my nightstand.

I found a pattern for some bulky yarn fingerless mitts and decided that I need another pair. So I dug up a couple of skeins of worsted that I bought at a Fiber Fest in Valders last November. They're the undyed wool of a "black" sheep. I put the word "black" in quotes because the sun bleaches the wool and it's really dark, walnut brown, but I like it anyway. I'm holding it double and it's knitting up beautifully, crisp and defined stitches and it feels great. I can't wait to finish them. Here's some of the sheep that the wool came from and here's the mitt so far.

Last night we took DS & DIL1 out to supper at the Prime Quarter Steak House for DS's 33rd birthday and to thank them for all their help during the funeral. We had a great time. Mmm, steak.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cool Stuff I Buy-ed

I was determined not to spend much time not at The Clearing last week or to spend too much moola if we did indulge in a little retail therapy. I did okay.

On the way up we stopped in Sturgeon Bay at a quilt shop that Skully knew of. I was fairly restrained. She had her fat quarters priced "buy 3, get 1 free" so I found 4 that I especially liked. Don't you like the 60s vibe they give off? And I love the bright orange with the prints.

Then I
cruised the $1 piles and found these striped ones and one little print. I love the prints.

We went next door to
the corner bar for burgers and fries (photo in previous post) and then continued on our way.

On Friday Skully and Cookie wanted to go to a Sister Bay quilt store but I stayed at The Clearing and took a walk. Good girl, me.

On Saturday Cookie said she wanted to go to Fish Creek to Red Sock Yarns and then we'd have lunch so I went too. I mostly bought this single skein of yarn to be polite. I do like the colors and don't have any like it. It'll make a good sock.

Then they insisted on going back to the quilt shop because the lady was a hoot. Well, she wasn't on her game on Saturday like she'd been
on Friday. Her husband was in the shop "helping" and they were bickering. I don't like bickering so I found a few fabrics, had her cut me fat quarters of each, and I lit out for the quiet of the parking lot.

We had the most delicious burgers and fries at Northern Grill and went back to the peace of The Clearing where we walked in the cold wind and Skully and I tried out the new stargazing circle. It worked great. (It was dark then. Even I know that the stars aren't out in the daylight.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


See this? It was raining and blowing to beat the band this morning,

then THIS!

OMG, it's not even into the double digits of dates in November. It's not supposed to stick and it's melting immediately on the pavement, but, yup, it's really snow. Ack.

In estate news, I finished up sewing the cheerleader outfit and got her all dressed up. Yesterday the lady came to pick her up and paid the estate $75. That'll help.

We've gotten all sorts of forms to fill out and send back so that we'll get Mom's insurance, etc. so that we can settle all the bills. Slowly but surely we're moving forward and getting things done. Now I'd rather have a bulldozer to clear out the apartment instead of a flamethrower. This is better.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Weekend Runaway

Last Thursday Cookie, Skully, and I ran away to The Clearing for a little self-directed retreat. They brought their sewing machines and their knitting. I brought my writing and my knitting. They sewed, I wrote, we all knitted. We ate too much (brought out own food) and walked in the woods. It was sunny and cool and breezy. A perfect November weekend and the perfect get-away antidote to the previous two sad and busy weeks. Not that I'm not still sad or don't have a boatload of things still to do, but that little break of needing to only think of myself was most refreshing. Most. Here's some scenery pictures and one of the reading nook in my room. I stayed on the loft bedroom and had a breathtaking view of the bay. I was smart enough to be on the business end of the camera. Although I suspect that at least one of the others had her own camera.