Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Grown-Up Day

I accomplished things today. Just like a big girl. I worked out and then read the paper while nibbling on a few slices of homemade Italian Sesame bread I whipped up last night. It was so good that I formed and baked the rest of the dough. It made the house smell wonderful.

Last night I stayed up late to finish the Chemo Beanie #2. I do like the colors; I might have to make something for myself with them. I hope some guy who needs a hat likes it.

I cast on the last (for this month) preemie hat last night too. The color of the yarn is Toasted Marshmallow and I think I'm going to make a little pompom to top it with. I admit that it's an unusual color choice for a baby hat but I can see it looking great on a bambino with a darker complexion.

I got a haircut this morning. Ahhhh. Carla my stylist got a new job, a social worker job a few weeks ago so she's only doing hair a couple Sunday's a month. She called just before my appointment this month to say that we needed to reschedule. I agreed to the first date she offered. It was 11 days longer between haircuts. I felt like a shaggy dog. I can't say when I've enjoyed a haircut more.

I finished up Tiny Hat #4 yesterday afternoon at work. The name of the color is Cotton Candy. I wasn't sure I'd like the mix of pink and orange but it kind of grew on me.

And I added a couple rectangles onto the Entrelac Scarf. It takes some real thinking to get back into the rhythm of it, and I believe I'm doing it right. I checked out the "reversed knitting" videos on YouTube last night. That's something I'm going to have to practice.

I also did some grocery shopping for Mom and cleaned the bathroom. DS and DIL1 came for cocktails and a visit after she got off from work. That was nice, she's been so busy at work we haven't seen her since just after Christmas. It was a full, busy, enjoyable day.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Home With Money to Spare & Lots of Pictures

Well, not a lot of money, not enough for another night in the motel, but my wallet was not quite a home for moths. We had a great time. Wednesday afternoon we visited Red Sock Yarns in Fish Creek to pick out yarn for our entrelac class the next morning. I wasn't certain I wanted to learn it so I only bought 2 skeins of variegated yarn. This is one time that variegated is your friend. You are drawn to keep knitting because the color keeps changing. I bought these two yarns, both wool, both a bit over 100 yds. Plenty of yarn to learn with.

I went with Lyn, Dusty, and Jennifer to Izora's bead shop whose owner opened just for them. I bought a few beads, mostly ocean related. (what a surprise!) Now I just have to figure out what to do with them. The three little yellow and red ones are for the bookmark I'm knitting, but the rest? They'll find homes, I'm certain. Eventually.

Thursday morning was our entrelac class. The directions were very clear and much to my surprise I enjoy it. It took a lot of concentration and I am definitely going to teach myself to knit backwards soon so I don't have to keep turning my work around. I ended up using the gold and purple yarn--and bought the remaining 3 skeins.

After lunch at a nearby cafe Skully, Cookie & I (Karla and Lyn weren't thrilled with the idea of wandering around in a snowy forest) drove up to The Clearing so I could show it to Cookie. We saw Mike the director and visited the office (and gift shop).

We made a quick stop at Curt's Oilerie in Fish Creek to stock up. I bought a bottle of Toasted Sesame Oil and a quart of olive salad. Yum.

Then (this might be the best part) we drove into Peninsula State Park to find a geocache. And we found it! We were beside ourselves with our own cleverness. My DD and DIL2 advised me that geocaching is to be carried out in a stealthy manner. There's just no way we're ever going to master that part. There's too much wandering around, hollering back and forth--and picking up bags of frozen dog poop thinking it might be the cache--for use to ever go about this in a sedate manner.

After a bar supper (Lyn and I split a chef's salad) we put on our jammies and sat in Karla's room knitting and talking. This morning we packed and reluctantly left Fish Creek. We stopped at Spin in Sturgeon Bay for a last bit of yarn buying and had lunch at an Irish pub down the hill. An excellent way to say goodbye to Door Co. Spin was having its end of winter sale so many of their yarns were on sale. On sale are two excellent words when looking at expensive yarn. I did troll the clearance baskets and found the red wool & camel that should make an excellent pair of gloves, and fell prey to the bulky baby alpaca and pattern for a scarf and two more skeins to make another purse stitch scarf.

Cookie bought me some presents which was very surprising. She got me a yarn c
utter medalion (which I'd been looking for and she wouldn't let me pay for) and a skein of sock yarn that's partly made with shrimp and crab shells. I've never heard of such a thing, have you?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Snowstorm Dana Blows

Blows the snow all over, especially on my car. See? Cool, huh? It's still blowing hard and snowing off and on so I don't expect I'll be busy at work today, but I'll go in a while. Because I promised I would. And it's payday so I want my paycheck. Besides I have all the stuff I want to play with today packed up and ready to take along so I'll just go. I'm sure Durwood needs a break from me, although how anyone could get tired of my sparkling wit (and neverending complaining about things no one can change) I'll never understand. Just kidding, he's a very patient and understanding man and I'm lucky to have run just slow enough so he could catch me. Plus he's an excellent cook. Tonight we're having ham and cabbage stew chock full of mushrooms and carrots... yum. The house will smell great when I get home and I won't have done a thing. I told him when I came in from playing with the snow that menu planning, grocery shopping, meal prep, and clean up are more than an even trade for snow removal and lawn care. Geez, after doing it for 30-some years, I'm happy to do the bull work and let him play with our food. He loves to cook and he's good at it. What's not to love? (I told you he was a catch, didn't I? You're jealous now, aren't you?)

Yesterday I worked on my writing and got one first draft down, reworked an
d submitted a finished article, listened to an interview again and made notes, and worked out a way to redo a press release into an article, and...

I worked on Chemo beanie #2. I love the colors
and I nearly successfully followed the directions for traveling jogless stripes. I forgot to slip the first red stitch on the second stripe but overall it looks pretty darned good.

Z-dawg gave me a tiny skein of sock yarn last week and I found this Mermaid bookmark pattern that I think will be just perfect for it. Quick and easy

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ooh, Baby, Is It Snowing!

For a long time today it wasn't and now (it actually started at noon when they said it would) it's coming down. Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow! Winter has not left the building, no matter how much it seemed like it had last week. That means there'll be snow for me to tromp in up at The Clearing on Wednesday morning and snow for us to dig through when we're geocaching in Fish Creek. Hooray!

I finished the first Chemo Beanie Friday afternoon and really like the way it turned out. I can't say enough about the pattern, it's simple and straightforward, but it makes a very snug hat perfect for chemo caps for the guys or for your beloved teen-age dudes and dudettes (my nephew has been wearing knitted hats 24/7 for years).

I like #1 so much I immediately cast on #2. I splurged (I had a 40% off coupon) on a $12.99 Susan Bates Velocity circular needle to knit it using Magic Loop instead of DPNs. I love DPNs, they're my faves, but I hate the ladders I inevitably get in the ribbing so I'm willing to sacrifice to get a better outcome. I could very happily trade off knitting these chemo beanies and preemie hats for the rest of this month but...

I also used my coupons to build an impressive collection of fat quarters and some Peltex to make more fabric boxes. *sigh* I do not
need another hobby. Do. Not.

And I have some interviews and articles I need to finalize and get turned in by midweek next week. *double sigh* I need to quit screwing around with my toys and get writing. Bye.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Heads & Hands

Those are the two (three?) body parts I'm concerned with these days.

It's still chilly enough in the dive shop to appreciate a nice pair of wool fingerless mitts when I'm sitting still for a long time. I got to the thumb gusset and beyond on the second Fjord wrister yesterday while watching Firefly (Wikipedia calls it a space western, I don't usually like space or westerns but I sure like Firefly) and Bones episodes on Netflix yesterday afternoon in between customers and phone calls. I tried knitting wearing the WI Morning Mitts but my DPN tips kept getting caught so I had to knit barehanded. Tsk.

I added the third stripe to Chemo beanie #1 last night and am into the last 10 rows before I begin the crown shaping. I like the way it's looking.

and I cast on Tiny Hat #4 just before bed. The color's called Cotton Candy; I like the juxtaposition of pinks a
nd orange. It's the same yarn as the first two just with different colors as will be the last one, but I'm a sucker for self-striping and variegated yarns so I make no apologies. Fewer ends to weave in too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Hats!

I did a little pattern surfing on Ravelry and found a pattern for one of those square baby/preemie hats with pom poms on the corners so I dug around in the way-back stash and whipped it up in baby chenille. The crazy thing is that the yarn pooled the same on both sides. Cute, huh?

In the chemo beanie world, I haven't found another pattern I like as much as this one. I got up to the stripes of beanie #1 last night while watching TV with Durwood (we like NCI
S and NCIS Los Angeles on Tuesday nights). I like the way it's looking and I found some yarn to make beanie #2 from in the way-back stash. I'm sticking to soft cottons and acrylics because they're washable and dryable, and I think they'd feel better on a newly bald head. Plus I'm determined not to buy much yarn until I've finished a bunch of UFOs and knitted up a lot of the stash. Except for next week when I'm up in Door Co. with my knitting friends. I make no promises.

I finished the first Fjord mitt at work yesterday but I don't have a photo of it. You'll just have to imagine a blocky tube (with a thumb) of that pretty Sable yarn.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Help, I've fallen into making hats and I can't get up! At last Thursday's Bay Lakes Knitting Guild meeting a couple of the members brought tiny baby hats for an ongoing charity project. They were cute, really cute and really tiny, but they were all in pastels. Now I know that most people think pastels are for babies but as a mom who gave birth to two dark-haired children who looked washed out in pastels I've always liked to see bright colors on babies. Besides they say that babies can see bight colors and strong contrasts better, so I dug out a few skeins of soft acrylic yarn and cast on. I intend to make four hats before next month's meeting. Two are done.

The guild prez got a letter from a young woman working on a project for her GSA Gold Award asking for chemo hats. I had started researching patterns but hadn't decided on one when Terri mentioned that they get very few hats suitable for men. Aha! A way that I can play along but not in the same way as all the others. You've probably noticed that I tend to go in the
opposite direction as the masses. (Oh don't pretend to be surprised, if you've been reading this blog for any time you know that if most people like something I don't and vice versa. This is why I don't make up orders for the dive shop. I give recommendations and let people with more traditional taste prevail.) I thought that Cotton Ease might make a very soft hat for a newly bald head so I went down into the stash, found a charcoal skein and a bag of ends of other colors for the narrow stripes and cast on the first of two manly chemo caps I want to finish before the next meeting. I have some Micro Spun or some Berroco Comfort for the other one. Can't make two the same, you know. I will use the same pattern, tho. Well, probably. Okay, maybe.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Crafty Day

For once I stuck with my plan for the day. I haven't gotten dressed in outside clothes and I haven't done any chores. I finished the charity baby hat I cast on last night when I got home from the knitting guild meeting this morning. I'm using a different pattern than the guild sent out because I like to use worsted yarn and bigger needles, but the hat's so tiny and cute. Look at it! It's lying on a standard 8.5" X 11" piece of paper.

In the afternoon I made a fabric box from a tutorial I linked to through Mooncalf's post. I saw it a couple days ago and it grew roots in my brain. I
talked about it with Dusty the Sewing Guru yesterday and she gave me a bit of interfacing to start with and then I went to JoAnn. (dun-dun-duuuun) That was a huge mistake. They have lots of fabric there. Lots. Lots and lots. Still in the clearance aisle was a lap quilt kit with 13 fat quarters that I'd seen a couple weeks ago. Then I found the bundles of fat quarters, and then the clerk showed me the rows and racks of individual ones. I was there a long time, a very long time, and I left a bunch of my mad money behind, but now I have lots of lovely fabrics to choose from. Dusty said there are easier and different boxes to sew, maybe she'll tell me about them tonight at knitting so I can surf and find other ones to make.

I did pull out the front of the Red Marl sweater the other evening and I knitted 3 rows while I watched TV with Durwood. I should have had it done long ago so that I could wear it this last week or so when the temps were in the sub-basement, but I don't. The cold is motivating me to work on it more. But the cold is also motivating me to cast on a bazillion other things...

like another pair of Maine Morning Mitts which I am calling the Fjord Mitts because the yarn is called Fjord. Gorgeous colors, don't you think?

and I tried (3 times) to do the first cable round of a pair of gloves from this book but I kept losing my place whether the held stitches should be in front or back. I think I need to not be watching TV when I start those.

The Guild is also collecting chemo caps for a young lady doing her Girl Scout Gold Award project (the Girl Scout equivalent of Eagle Scout) so
I want to knit one of those this month. Prez Terri said last night that they get few caps for men so I'm looking for a good pattern for a manly hat. I've got some charcoal colored Cotton Ease downstairs that would be soft on a newly bald head, I think, now I just need to find a pattern. Ideas?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Igloo Days

Oh, man, it's cold today and not supposed to warm up for days. The high temperature today, the HIGH, is supposed to be 7 degrees and the low around -11 tonight. The sun is shining like it's been doing it for weeks and even the dirty snow looks cheerful, but I'm not fooled into thinking the sun would warm me if I went outside although the FedEx guy didn't look too cold. I'm not chancing it. I have my new warm wristers to wear and toe warmers in my stinky boots.

I picked up the Winter Sock the other day and rediscovered the ease of the pattern. That is, until I royally screwed it up on a "twisted stitch" round and had to frog back some until I could pick up the stitches and get back on track. I'm still not sure I like this sock in this yarn, the pattern's kind of lost in the yarn colors, I almost frogged the whole thing the other night but I like the colors and the feel of the fabric I'm making so I'm leaving it.

I'm into the feet of my Toes Up X2 socks. I do love variegated yarns. The colors amuse me no end with the way they emerge from the ball and how they stack up in rows.

This weekend I swear I'm going to pick up the Red Marl sweater front.

I made us a lovely Super Bowl feast on Sunday that stuck pretty close to the way we like to eat these days. DD reminded me of Sesame Chicken Nuggets so I defrosted some chicken breasts and made those. I roasted a cauliflower, made some sweet potato fries, and a small bowl of broccoli slaw. Durwood made DIL1's family BBQ sauce recipe and simmered little smokies all afternoon. Let's see, what else? Oh, he wanted some spinach dip, so I made that too. It was time consuming making it all but it was fun to fill our plates with finger foods and munch away. We had chocolate cake for dessert. Hey, we had to splurge somehow, it was the Super Bowl! Go, Pack!

(Here's the Nuggets recipe. It's a lot simpler and Weight Watcher-y than any I found online. It's an oldie, probably from WW but I don't know when. Thanks for putting it on FB so I could copy it, DD.)

Sesame Chicken Nuggets

1 Tblsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tblsp water
2 Tblsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder

1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Arrange on single layer on broiler pan and broil 10 minutes, turning once, until chicken is browned. Can be served with BBQ sauce for dipping or tucked in a pita half with shredded lettuce. Enjoy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

I've Got Good News and Bad News

First the good news--I finished the second WI Morning Mitt yesterday, gave them both a bath in wool wash last night, and hung them on the line overnight to dry. They're still a bit damp but the yarn bloomed a bit and looks gorgeous and feels softer. I like them. I can see I'll be making more of these. Hey, this'd be a good pattern for DS to practice his circular knitting on. As you can see on the left palm I've got a little ladder there. It's no big deal and will probably fade with wear. The right one's about 2 rounds shorter than the left one. I may just pick out my bind off and add those later this weekend. It's sunny right now so I could probably see what I'm doing but I don't want to do it until the mitt is completely dry. Again it's not a big deal. I can see as Clara Parkes the designer says these would be a good showplace for a single skein of variegated and pricey yarn, and I like the way the ribbing makes them snug on my hands. They feel nice.

Now the bad news--I was putting on my socks and discovered the heel of a Cartoons sock is unraveling. Oh, what to do, what to do?

I'm taking the sock and the yarns along tonight and maybe Zoe can help me rescue it. That's what I'm doing. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Midweek Madness

I sure wish I was off work today. I would like to be at home with my knitting all laid out around me, a couple extra pairs of hands available to me, because I want to be knitting on my Socks X2,

and my WI Morning Mitts,

and, hm, let's see... ah, the Red Marl Sweater, that's the one.

I'd be having a Chocolate Covered Cherry cupcake as a snack when I had my cup of tea around 3 PM, too. It would be very civilized.

If I was at home...