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Oct. 18th, 2011

coffee companions

October chill

Finally caught some local seasonal fruit right at the start of the apple season to can earlier in September. Haralson Apple Preserves turned out quite sweet and will be good for making mini apple pies for Thanksgiving maybe, or just as gifts of apple jam. I used the leftovers from canning to mix in with oatmeal. Yum!

The knitting is continuing along a sock trend. Finished one pair for a friend's wedding in November well in time. I had a small moment of weakness and filled up on more sock yarn in Duluth. I still need to take out and finish the darned sleeves on my cotton mid-season cardigan that has been all but done for a while. Am finally going to do what I intended from the start and do short row sleeves from the shoulder down. Had to knit up a baby cardi to remember how again.

Big accomplishment for the season has been scraping a large garage worth of lead paint and priming and painting it before the really cold weather blew in. Still have the siding on one side of it to finish off. Now to research the house siding project.

Aug. 26th, 2011

vintage bicycle

a century of knitting


Sweetest story about a woman in St. Cloud, MN who has been knitting for 100 years! She won a bunch of ribbons for State Fair entries this year. She still sells handknit baby sweaters and hats for a little extra money to get her hair done. Inspiring.

P.S. The sock obsession is still in full bloom, though the fall/winter sweater itch has begun in earnest. I'm well past 12 pairs of socks finished this year, and plans for more on the way. I can see why people get bored with "plain" socks (though I usually add a little ribbing for better fit) and have moved onto a fascination with all things cabled.

Jun. 2nd, 2011

Daily Show: Stephen Colbert

The year of the sock pair each month personal challenge

I have no idea if anyone actually reads this, but sometimes it helps to clarify my thoughts about knitting progress or lack of progress.

So far so good. I'm at the half way point and still on track with an extra pair for good measure. I'm trying to use up stashed sock yarn, but got side tracked by multiple trips to Duluth this spring since The Yarn Harbor has insider access to Three Irish Girls yarns. (The dyer lives in Duluth).

  • January: Three Irish Girls Adorn sock -- a 6x2 rib pattern

  • February: Dream in Color Smooshy guy sock from Vintage Socks 5x3 rib top, plain foot, the Welsh heel was cool to learn

  • March: a day at the hospital with my niece (she's fine) meant I finished this one fast: Crazy Zauberball in the red/navy colorway -- plain sock with a 2 sections of ribbing along the ankle line to give it some negative ease

  • April: Smooshy again in leftover Bermuda Teal -- the Waffles pattern with a co of 60 st.

  • May: Finally finished the mother's day socks for my mom out of the Online Cotton/wool/elastic beach colors ribbed 2x2,
    -- Also finished a pair of guy socks in the Vintage Socks pattern in Three Irish Girls Sport weight along with a pair of baby socks for a guy friend who just had a baby.

  • June: Finished one sock of the Plymouth Happy Foot green I bought ages ago, and really dislike the feel of this yarn. It's dirt cheap for merino, but feels greasy if that's possible.
    --- Good thing I have a GORGEOUS skein of Three Irish Girls Adorn sock in the Yarn Harbor colorway (all misty gray, blue, lavender) for socks for my mother in law. She insists that the yarn is too pretty for socks, but after some false starts, have a 62 co, with 2 mirrored 2x2 cables down the side with p2's surrounding the cable.

    Plans of the rest of the year
  • July: Hand Maiden in blues to make the Angee socks for my friend Angie who's getting married this year!
    August: Three Irish Girls chocolate & cherries colorway from a long time ago to try the herringbone socks once more
    September: If I can find a good dark brown, more guy socks using the Yarn Harlot's Earl Grey pattern
    October: Three Irish Girls in a red/pink semisolid colorway
    November: ?
    December: ?

Sweater Woes: Last fall I started a cotton blend sweater, body done, fits ok, but I made the same mistake on the sleeves again, and for some reason convinced myself to make a small sleeve on a medium sweater. Very slim fit, but should be looser for the look of the sweater. Also after sewing the sleeve onto the body, it puckers in the back. BLAH! Have to unrip some very firmly seamed stiches. :(

Nov. 3rd, 2010

coffee companions

November rolls along

After a brief fling with an unusually warm October, fall has settled in for good. Knitting weather is here to stay for another good five months.


I was gifted with some lovely bulky alpaca (Nashua yarns) by an enthusiastic Twilight fan, so cast on for Bella's mittens. One skien was just enough for the first gauntlet. These will be uber warm once I wash them and the alpaca blooms and loosens up a little hopefully.

I had a moment of weakness in the middle of a week of "urrrgh" recently and all in one day bought the Fall Knitscene and swooped up some Berroco Recycled cotton, silk, and nylon yarn. Not the usual brand I knit with, but I like the fiber combination. It knits up in a jiffy, being a heavy worsted, and the pattern (unfortunately named "Who me?") is a basic 4x4 rib cardi. I like that it starts with a one by one rib, then 2x2 for an inch before easing into the 4x4 to make sure the hems don't curl. I need to track down a copy of Ann Budd's sweater book to figure out how to change the sleeves to set in. Did this recently on a project and like it MUCH better than sewing them in. Plus you can do the sleeves in the round this way.

(I also had a moment of weakness and bought a sweater today. I've got a secret deal with myself that I won't buy store made sweaters if I allow myself to buy yarn while the stash exists. But it was 30% off, and a super soft Italian lambs wool, so fine it would take laceweight and size 0's to knit. It was fun to snoop on the bulky knits that are apparently the trend this winter-- and to see how they did short rows on a shawl collar. Machine knit, but definitely something that could be copied in a hand knit.)

What's on your list of winter projects?

Apr. 10th, 2010


April showers bring..

tax time upon us. Still working out the details on those, but taking a break to say hello here.

I'll post photos next update, but there has been a lot of time for knitting this winter. I spent a busy and useful week up in Duluth with family, and while there mostly finished another Boneyard shawlette. It was part of my Olympic time knitting project. I also treated myself to enough Merisol Nuna for Connie Chang's sweater from Interview Winter 2009. http://www.conniechangchinchio.com/blog/2009/12/alpaca-pleats-jacket-ik-winter/
I love the yarn, love the pattern, BUT it's not turning out as it looks in the photo :( I swear I followed the directions exactly except adding an inch to the sleeves and body, but now I think I need to cut a few inches off the body. I'll recheck my gauge after blocking, but something is off. Only thing left to do is sew the sleeves onto the body and finish weaving in a few ends. It's been a more involved project than I've ever done thus far, so rather sad it's not as it looks in the photo in the magazine.

I'm giving up on complex projects for now (struggling with gauge on a summer top (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/auburn-camp-shirt)in fingering cotton, lovely yarn that I've knit with before (http://www.ravelry.com/yarns/library/araucania-lonco-solid). Instead I'm back to the old standard of a Clapotis in my favorite shade of Noro Silk Garden Sock -- the blues/greens/dark purple almost black shade. This is one of the first patterns I tried where I had to learn how to read and follow a pattern. It's SO much easier now with more experience. I understand the basic idea of each section and how to keep track of how many repeats.

Happy spring and garden/summer vacation planning to you all.

Dec. 30th, 2009

vintage bicycle

Happy New Year

One good thing about getting almost two feet of snow over Christmas is getting a lot of knitting done. I finished the Irish Hiking Scarf I'd started with Malabrigo Twist (new yarn that I wanted to try out). It's a heavy worsted yarn. It'll pill like all Malabrigo, but I like the feel of it a lot better than their worsted.


I finished two Winding River Cowls (from knitting daily). One for me, to try out the pattern and one for a present. I have the yarn for another one, once I get up the gumption for more 2x2x2x2x2x2x2 ribbing. It's a really easy pattern, just had my fill of it for a week or two.



My cats are like snow monkeys in winter, they only leave the radiator to eat and venture down to the box in the cold cold basement. The tabby normally wouldn't tolerate the other cat near her, but this is an exception.

radiating cats

Nov. 24th, 2009

calvin & hobbes

happy thanksgiving

We're doing a small relaxed holiday this year, spouse is on call, so staying in town. I'm looking forward to making a couple of pies tomorrow.

Went to the Banff Mountain Film Festival this past weekend at the U o MN. It's a great mix of high tension high athletic skiing, rock climbing, base jumping films along side thought provoking environmental and cultural films (i.e.: Mongolian horse racing, restoring monastic art in Tibet).

I posted this on facebook, but if you missed it, this is very worth four minutes of time. Amazing Nordic skiing matched to a funny geeky song. I don't know HOW they do these stunts on skate skis.

P.S. Knitting is going well, finished the Berroco sweater! Will post photos when and if we get some sunlight again, and working on a cowl out of the new Interweave. Hopefully will get a couple done by Christmas.

Oct. 12th, 2009

vintage bicycle

October snow

Been a while since I updated this blog. I've been a little distracted by Facebook lately when I give in to internet browsing time.

Things are mostly going alright. I finished two big parts of my giant house rehabilitation project. Now that they are done, I can put the house mostly back together. In the middle of a big "holeeee cow it snowed already, time to clean up the house before it gets colder". It's funny how changes in season inspire cleaning efforts. Spring and Fall are the big ones in our house at least. We've been greatly aided in the effort and inspired by a gift of a Hoover Floormate. Amazing machine. Our floors are cleaner than I've ever thought possible.

Knitting-wise. I thought I was stuck on the Berroco Nonpareil jacket I'm 1/2 way done with. But all it took was talking to an expert knitter who asked if I had "knit even for 6 inches" after the shaping part. OOooops. There's always some part of directions or recipes that my brain skips over. At least with this project it was an easy few inches to rip back and redo. On the Daybreak shawl I was almost done with I have to ditch 2/3's of it. The whole time I had a feeling I had skipped reading something probably very important, but it was too easy to keep going and ignoring that it wasn't increasing fast enough. Grrr. Story of my life: missing part of the directions. Honestly, I don't know how I got through school and life so far sometimes.

Good thing is that once I get a course correction I'm fine. Back section of the jacket is fixed, left front done, and onwards to the right front, sleeves (easy) and then putting it altogether and adding the collar and button band. The weather is perfect for knitting as it snowed again today!

Aug. 20th, 2009

vintage bicycle


It's been a while since I wrote a hello to you all who peruse this blog. I really love this form of communication in which one can wave a hello to people that one has met and enjoy spending time with in various parts of the country and social circles. And that you all can check in on at your leisure, and don't feel obliged to write back as e-mail works. Too many of my e-mails and letters start, "Sorry to have not replied in so long..."

Anyhow, the summer has been good. The goal was to get a plan for the direction our yard is going to go-- my mother visted in May and brought with a stack of garden books. Visiting the MN Arboretum and going on long walks in the neighborhood helped form an idea of what might work for our patch of weeds.

The veggie garden (most of it bought at the Friend's annual Plant Sale at the MN fair grounds) did well despite the heat and dryness at the beginning of the growing season. I did a grand experiment with several different kinds of heirloom tomatoes. I can highly recommend the Siberian and Omar's Lebonese. The first is a nice pasta/ salsa tomato, plum shaped and good flavor, not overwhelming. The Omar's Lebonese is a big hearty tomato with wonderful flavor brought out with balsamic vineger.

The Principe Borghese (roma style) are ok but small and bland for a canning/drying tomato. The Moskovitch is ok, but tended towards blossom end rot and cracking. Mr. Stripey is pretty good too. Then there's the brown cherry tomato from the Longfellow area Community Garden sale that has a really interesting sweet but not too sugary.

The Dinosaur kale did wonderfully. We have had more than our fill of greens in various dishes this summer. The basil and cilantro did very well too. Next year I hope we can build another raised bed and do cucumbers and peas.

Knitting! I think I'm in the swing of things knitting wise, pattern reading is easier, and I can figure out better how to make small changes to garments to make them fit me. I've got a stack of things I want to knit badly that will take me through next year I'm sure to make headway on.

Priority at this point is:
  • Whisper Cardigan from Spring Interweave in Cascade Heritage sock yarn (moss green) (after ripping out half of it for resizing to the small) I'm half way to the 2nd sleeve and then the picking up for the ribbing to finish).

  • Nonpareil from the Berroco booklet #288 in the scrumptious Donegal Tweed from Tahki Yarns. Slubby yummy tweedy wool.

  • Stephen West's Daybreak shawl in two tones of Schoppel Wolle Zauberball. This may be my new obsession.

  • several pairs of Maine Morning Mittens in Merisoft worsted merino from Clara Parks' wonderful Knitter's Book of Yarns

  • Another eyelet hat from this fall's Vogue Knitting. Top down construction. The 2nd one will be slouchier as it is supposed to be.

  • Finishing the Snow Devil Hat from Dominitrix now that I found the errata for how to pick up the sides of the hat. Knitting this with Dream in Color Classy held doubled in Vino Veritas. I'd like to do a 2nd one in a super bulky yarn as it's designed to be knit.

  • Finish the sleeves and collar on the 2nd Knitting Pure and Simple Little Girl's Shrug before a certain someone's birthday

And then! oh goodness, learn to do Intarsia with a vergy geeky Warcraft Horde design for a felted bag. Then sit down and learn Fair Isle knitting with the flower mitten design from Piecework magazine.

Somewhere in there I'm scheduling myself to work full time on the house (cleaning the basement to prep for sealing the cement floor -- cleaning the upstairs to sand and prime and paint one of the bedrooms that is a dark blue currently and very dark in winter, and before it gets really cold -- prep and remove the lead paint frmo the window sills and trim boards on the poorch and bedrooms. I've been researching this for a few months now).


Jun. 15th, 2009

the one ring

podcast knitting

I find I get a lot more solid knitting time in if I have something to listen to or watch. Kala (over at http://vegancraftastic.blogspot.com/) has a great rundown of knitting podcasts (scroll down for the links).

I habitually listen to NPR when I'm in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. There's so many programs that I miss or programs that used to play on the NPR station LA. Luckily, so many of these are now up on their website.

One that a friend turned me onto is the All Songs Considered podcast. http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=37&agg=1 . There's even entire live concerts that you can listen to. Amazingly good sound quality too for a free concert. = )

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