Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Now what?

My knitting mojo has slowly returned. I picked up a vanilla sock that I started back in May. Over the weekend I turned the heel and gusset and I'm in the home stretch.

I also have one thing I'm knitting for Christmas. I'm knitting an invincibility star for my son. Last night I joined one side of it together and am currently decreasing down. I am really kicking myself for not getting it going sooner.

Then last week I heard of the Shalom cardigan. Oh wow, I really like it. In my stash I have no yarn for it. However, I do have one pound of a nice brown BFL.

Call me crazy, but I think when the new year starts I'm going to start spinning for this cardigan.

The pattern calls for a bulky yarn. I've always spun as thin as I could go. This will be quiet the challenge for me.

Not only that, the pattern needs to be adjusted because I'm bigger than the pattern. This should be fun.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas ornament swap 2011

This year I participated in the ornament swap that my online knitting group does. A couple days ago my package came in the mail.

I love it all. My partner did a wonderful job picking out goodies for me and the ornaments are adorable and sweet.

She picked this one with a 'spinner' in mind. I thought the bell was a very sweet touch.

This is a tatted Christmas ornament. OMGoodness. I am so amazed at this piece. I have no idea how tatting goes. To me this is so elegant and intricate. I tip my hat to those who can do this.

To my swappee L, thank you! I will treasure these ornaments for many years to come.

Why yes, I am still around

I think this is the longest I have gone on a blog break. The above photo was taken the last weekend we stayed out at the happy place. I'm missing the place something awful.

There is no good excuse for being so quiet except that life got crazy. School started, work got hectic, I was canning up a storm and my knitting and spinnng mojo dried up. It all got to be too much and in some ways I shut down. Not posting on the blog was one of them.

Things are not as busy as they were but still busy enough.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A whole new level to my skill set

Today I got a pressure canner.

This year I got a plethora of carrots, zuchinni and beans from the garden. I filled what little space I had in the freezer with my bounty from the garden. Hubby and I realized that unless we purchase a new freezer there is no way we have room for the amount of stuff we are sure to get from the garden next year.

We pondered it a bit, talked and hubby did some research. We decided to get a pressure canner.

It's a Presto pressure canner. I have a feeling we are going to get a ton of use out of it.

I did my first batch of jars today. It took longer than I thought it would but it was my first time.

I told hubby that I think I know what I want for Christmas -- a larger pressure cooker. This one is the 16 quart.

I have a long way to go in this learning process. But so far I am quite pleased with the results.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Books, books, books ... and more books

I have been on a reading tear the last month or so.

I discovered the joy of the Kindle and Nook apps on the iPod Touch. And free books.

Oh wow the free books for Kindle and Nook. I've got so many books sitting on there, just waiting to be read.

I've also discovered a few authors. T.L. Higley, for one. I got "Pompeii: City of Fire" as a free kindle book. After I tore through the book I requested "Guardian of the Flame" from the library and I purchased "Marduk's Tablet"

Her books are a bit historical. I like the books that are set back in Biblical times. There is also a bit of romance in the books I've read so far. Nothing to graphic, which is a huge plus for me. There is also a bit of Christian spirituality thrown in the mix. Nothing that I felt was very heavy handed. All in all, I've enjoyed the books immensely.

In between reading the ebooks I've also been listening to audiobooks in the car and at work. I'm just surrounded by books and I'm really enjoying it.

I have had no knitting or spinning mojo to speak of. On the one hand I'm sad that I have no interest in it. But then I have all this time for books, which makes me so happy. I haven't tore through books like this since I discovered the "Left Behind" series.

One thing I had planned on doing when I first started this blog was to write book reviews. I'm writing reviews but they are over on GoodReads. I'm now behind on updating my books over there. Gradually I may move them over here.

In other news, this is my 250th post on my blog. This is mind blowing to me. I was surprised when I reached 100 posts. I guess the next milestone is 500 posts. Wow. For someone who could never keep a diary going as a child I'm impressed that I'm still trucking along.

So if you've been along the whole time I say thank you for reading my rambles, successes and disappointments.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations, please leave them in a comment or send me a message over on twitter. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Busy organizing

I gave myself August off (you can't see the air quotes) from knitting and spinning. That way, I figured, I could concentrate on the bounty that is coming from the garden. I am doing a bit of canning and processing. I'm also tearing through the house and cleaning/sorting/organizing.

Sept. 1 my son goes back to school and I'm sure it will take a while to get back into the school routine so I wanted to get some of this stuff taken care of before the "crazy" known as school starts.

It makes me sad as well. This summer went by way too fast. We didn't get to spend nearly as much time as we wanted out at our happy place. Most weekends it rained and one wants to sit indoors in a small cabin.

This past weekend we packed up and headed out there as soon as we got home from work. Oh, it was the perfect evening. Hubby was teaching our son how to cast a fishing reel. (Did I say that correctly?). Our son picked up on it pretty quick and was casting the nut tied on the end of the string pretty far. Now he needs to work on his aim a bit.

I was sitting by the fire when I looked up when I noticed the sky changed. I quick grabbed the phone and took this shot before running to get the good camera.

It was simply breathtaking. I haven't looked at the other photos yet but I'm really hoping they turned out.

Then on Sunday we had a visitor.

I was harvesting stuff from the garden (Yum) and setting it on the picnic table. I mentioned to hubby that there was a frog at the picnic table and my son heard the word "frog" while he was down at the creek and he ran as fast as he could to come check it out. Those two had a blast talking to and about the frog. I think Mr. Frog finally tired of it all and hopped into the grass. I'm pretty sure he said "Wow, what a jungle." I can only guess that it was his kind way of saying that we really need to cut the grass.

Another sort of exciting thing coming up is that I will be taking a camera class to learn how to use my office camera. I will learn how to use a Nikon D90 DSLR. It will be great to finally learn my way around that beast. I have no experience with D/SLRs. It will be an experience to say the very least.

Friday, August 5, 2011


This past week it rained over night Monday or Tuesday. It rained hard. There was a few times it rained so hard I thought it was hailing. It woke me up several times during the night. When I got up it was still raining. While my son and I were watching PBS a weather thing flashed across the screen saying there was the possibility of flash floods in my county. I was a bit surprised at that. I looked outside and didn't see much rain on the ground.

We did have flash flooding. It was bad. Heading out in the county there was standing water on the road. I live just a few miles away from the Nemadji River and I have never seen it this high. I'd heard of it ocassionally flooding the road that goes by the city's golf course. Well, this was it just a few days ago.

There is no road. It just leads to water.

This is a house that is just on the outskirts of the city. Last time I went past. The garage was standing in at least four feet of water according to DH.

I know the photo isn't very big, but let me say that the water you see in this photo should be at least 500 feet away to the left from where it is now.

When you look at the other side of the road, this is the river. The river was running across the road.

Normally the river is at least 1/3 the width it is in this photo.

On our way to the happy place we drove past this house. Again, none of this water is supposed to be there.

We have been really fortunate. Other than the garden looking like it's been trampled on, there is no damage or flooding at the land, or at the house. I heard that the Red Cross was set up out in the county to help those who couldn't get back to their homes. There are people who couldn't leave their homes.

Definitely not what I expected for this week.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Caught on camera

July 28, 2011 9:51 a.m.

Our trail cam caught a hummingbird checking out some Canada thistle that is growing near the camera. I couldn't have got this shot with my camera if I had sat out there and tried. How cool is this?

We also caught a photo of a bear checking place out. I always talk about the bear and I don't think everyone fully believes me. Now we have proof.

We also have deer running through the property too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tour de Fleece 2011 done

While I doubt the actual TDF is done, it is for me.

My goal was to spin 4 ounces with my faster whorl, into a fine weight yarn. I did it!

I LOVE how it turned out. Still debating on plying or not. Even if I do, should I two-ply it or navajo ply it?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I've been dyeing

My birthday was at the end of June. This year I got a serious stash amount of fiber. It's all a blank canvas and I am pretty excited to finally get my fingers into fiber dyeing.

Last week I pulled off a a couple 6 feet lengths of fiber and got to dying when I had an afternoon off from work.

This one was dyed in the pot. I just poured the dye here and there and let it go. I'm really pleased with the results. Though I think the colors will really meld when it's spun up. Either that or get some crazy barber pole action. I enjoyed this method.

This length of fiber I dyed by just putting spots of dye on the fiber and then setting the color in the oven. It was fun and quick. However, I think I needed to make the spots bigger.

Time will tell when it's all spun up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tour de Fleece, first few days

Day 1, I didn't get much time to spin but I was able to go for about 30-45 minutes. I wasn't really keeping track of time.

Day 2, I got to spin for about just a little bit of time before family came for a visit.

Day 3, I was able to spin on and off for the day. I made lots of progress.

Day 4, As of this posting I haven't done any spinning.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Court House square

Last week I made a second square for the "We Can Do it!" skill builders SAL hosted at SewnByLeila.

This one was almost as easy as the first square. It did come out a bit wonky. I was being interrupted a bit and I wasn't sewing as carefully as the first square. I'm still pretty happy with it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Getting reading for Tour de Fleece 2011

Tour de Fleece starts tomorrow and I'm pretty pumped about it. This year I will be using my faster whorl and trying for a thinner yarn and going for more yardage.

This is the fiber I will be spinning. From my favorite etsy site, Forbidden Woolery. It's the poppy colorway.

Last week I prepped my fiber a bit. I split it in half and will try for two ply. Fingers are crossed that I can spin it nice and fine.

After I split it in half I broke it down even more and you can see that I have half the fiber rolled into balls and the other half rolled into rolls.

I don't have too many goals other than what is listed above. I don't think I will be spinning a lot each day, but 15 minutes a day should be enough to get me through the braid of fiber. If I do finish this I will go back and spin the white Corriedale that I have been spinning for the last few months.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Log Cabin square

Monday night I made my first quilt square for the We Can Do It! Skill Builders SAL by sewnbyleila.

Log Cabin Square
Finished June 20, 2011

Thoughts? I loved it! I had so much fun sewing it. I did the cutting Sunday night so Monday night I just had to pull out the sewing machine, set it up, sew, iron, repeat.

This morning I cut and pieced together the bits I need for a courthouse square. It *might* get done tonight. :-).

Fabric for We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler

On Friday I went up to the Wal-mart in the city next to me. None of the bolt fabrics caught my eye. I meandered around the aisles and came across a wall of fat quarters.

I had no idea they sold them as singles or as packs. I grabbed a pack that had some prints and a pack with some coordinating solids. I love the floral prints. To me they are timeless and traditional. You would be able to pass on to someone and more than likely it would fit in somewhere. Specially since you put in a lot of time and effort into what you make.

These colors go with my living room, I think. Even though it was just a little bit more to purchase the 7 packs of quarters to me it was worth it rather than trying to pick and choose through the singles. I didn't want to grab a jumble of different colors.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Skill Builder Sampler sew along

I came across a skill building sew along over on Sewn by Leila a few weeks ago. I am just pumped over this. I've been wanting to make a quilt for years. But have not known where to start or what skills I should have.

This gives me the perfect opportunity. I can work at my own pace, one block a month, and she will be giving us step by step directions. Awesome!

I still haven't picked out the fabric because I'm not sure how much I want to get for each pattern/color. I will do that after the directions for the first square comes out.

I mentioned this over on my knitting group and a few of the ladies are going to participate, which makes me even more happy. We can go through this process together and help each other out.

Now I got my little blog badge over on the right side. I feel so official! :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wendyknits summer mystery shawlette

In May Wendyknits.net announced a a summer mystery shawlette KAL. Since it was a shawlette I knew I would be able to keep up. I did! I am so proud of myself.

It started May 15, 2011 and I finished June 3, 2011. One day after the final clue was released. Something came up the day of the last clue so I wasn't able to pounce as soon as the last clue was released.

Knit with US Size 7 needles
Sock yarn. I misplaced the ballband so I can't say the colorway just yet.
It blocked out to 62 inches, tip to tip, and 23.5 inches from top to bottom.

I am quite pleased with the pattern and the finished product. It started out a bit rough but smoothed out as soon as I got past that first row.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mixing things up again

Over the weekend I decided it was time to refresh the blog a bit. Of course, I'm such a newb to blogger that I can't do anything to wild and out there. I've got the background changed. In the process I no longer have the white borders on the photos. That's a shame because I really like that style. I may have to switch things up again.

Now that we are getting an actual spring (finally) in my area, my thoughts are turning more and more to gardening and all that goes with it. This weekend I bought the Ball canning book. I spent a few hours looking at the recipes. I am probably one of the few people that gets excited about canning. Never mind that fact that you are preserving something that you actually grew from a seed and usually tastes better than anything you get at the store. I get excited about the actual process of canning! Last year I canned pickles for the first time. Until then I've only canned strawberry jam. The jam usually disappears very quickly.

Things are greening up just a tiny bit around here as well. Nothing very camera worthy however. I was out at the happy place each day the last few days. The grass we planted last year is starting to sprout up. There is no more snow on the garden bed and the trees that were weighed down by snow are starting to straighten up.

DH rototilled the area that will be our new strawberry bed. I'm so excited about this. Total length of the garden bed is around 65-70 feet. I don't know how wide it is, but MAN! that's a lot of space. This isn't counting the berm that we had planted watermelons and tomatoes on. We are thinking about potatoes this year ...

On the knitting front: I did finish a few things in the last few days. I haven't taken photos yet, but I will. I promise!

A couple weeks ago I pulled the spinning wheel out, blew the dust off her and did some spinning. I worked for about an hour.

She sure is pretty! The fiber I'm working on is ... Oh gosh, what is it? ... Corridale, I believe. I am not spinning for anything in particular. I have no plans for plying it either. What I may end up doing is waiting for a pattern to find me that will work with the handspun I end up with. Oh and I didn't actually spin 3+ bobbins full in an hour.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Brambles hat

A while back I participated in a swap. I received a skein of Mmmalabrigo worsted weight yarn in the Buscando Azul 186 colorway and a copy of the Brambles hat pattern from knitty.com.

The plan is to cast on this weekend. I do believe I will be making the shortest version of the hat.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FO ~ Green worsted weight socks

I have been working on these socks off and an for the last couple weeks. I finished the second one this morning before work.

I love putting on socks that are fresh off the needles. There is something about the sensation that is absolutely delightful.

Yarn is my favorite, Berocco Vintage worsted weight sock yarn. The yarn is a lighter green, which makes me think of spring. If the grass outside isn't green my socks can be!

Monday, March 28, 2011

And we're back ...

Oh it's been kind of a roller coaster last few weeks. My staff writer left the paper to work at a place closer to her family. It was a sad time for the whole work building. She really made an impression on everyone. Then at the end of February some sort of flu virus came to the house. We all got sick. It was a pretty miserable time.

I haven't done much knitting to speak of. I've done even less spinning. Oh, my poor spinning wheel has been neglected.

The long and short of it is that I haven't done a whole lot of anything.

That will soon be changing, however.

See this photo? It's the happy place. The snow is receding out there. We have been gradually bringing things back out. Just a little at a time though. It is certainly not warm enough to spend any length of time out there, but the temps are steadily rising, the sun is shining and it's warmer. All ingredients to give me the itch for gardening and nature photography.

Which brings me to another hobby of mine, photography. I love taking photos. I'm not as good as I'd like to be but I think I do pretty good. I've haven't been one for doing a lot of digital imaging processing.

That is changing though. I've downloaded the GIMP photo editing software and I'm gradually teaching myself how to process the photos through the program. I have touched up just a few photos but I can see a difference already. It occurred to me that it's really no different than messing with negatives and colorizing, etc. I learned one or two things so far and I feel like a whole world has opened up to me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Test knit - Tambini

I had the honor of test knitting a hat this month. One of the gals on my knitting board has had her second pattern accepted to the KnitPicks IDP.

I love the top of the hat. I do believe it is my favorite part of the hat. It reminds me of a poinsettia.

I knit this hat in Cascade 220, US size 4 16 inch circular.

I realize now that I didn't take photos of the brim. You can see the whole hat over on her blog, sinceroknits.blogspot.com.

I did take the hat for a test run today. We headed out to our land to snow blow and clear the snow off the trailer. The temps were 20-35 degrees outs. The hat kept my head nice and warm.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pi Shawl revealed

I finished my Pi Shawl. I'm almost embarrassed to say that it's been done for a couple weeks and I am now getting around to blogging about it.

I started it back in August 2010. It's the Wendyknits Shetland Pi Shawl.

I plugged along on this for quite some time. I would go in fits and starts of knitting on it like a mad woman and then putting it away.

Then January I decided to dedicate all my knitting to get it done. I am still in awe of myself. I finally got it done!

I look back at the time I've spent knitting this and I am proud to say that it was time well-spent. Though towards the end when the rows were almost 600 stitches long I had many moments of doubt that I would *ever* get it done. I kept saying "one repeat at a time"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Starting clue 5

Oh happy day! I have finally finished clue 4 of the Wendynits Pi Shawl. I am 4 rows into clue 5. What was even more exciting for me was the fact that I did *not* have to double the stitches when this last clue started. I was actually having fits over the thought of doing rows of 1,000 stitches.

These are a couple shots before I started clue 5. I think I may get this shawl done by the end of the month.

This had been a pretty good weekend. We went sledding. There is a smaller snow hill about a mile from the house. What a ton of fun. I had my fair share of wipeouts though. One I flipped over completely and kept going. It was the first time that we went sledding that *everyone* enjoyed it. We forgot to take the camera with us. It was a clear, cold day.

While the month is not turning out quite like I thought it would it is been going well. You can't ask for much more than that.

I do have other stuff that I need to blog about but I will be spacing the entries out a little bit. It's stuff that I planned on posting back at the beginning of the month.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Progress ~ Wendyknits Pi Shawl

Since the first of the first of the year I have been knitting on just my Pi Shawl. I feel I'm so close to being done. I'm on clue 4 and I have two repeats left out of 6.

In other news life is starting to settle back down to normal after the Christmas holidays. I miss the short work weeks that happens at the end of December. The cold is settling in. We are getting temps in the negatives consistently. The worsted weight socks I have feel super comfy during these temps. I love my regular hand knit socks but there is nothing quite like those thicker socks.

This week I also received my first stitchinary. Barbara Walker's first treasury. I am so glad I got it. I'm hopeful that by the end of the year I will have the second and third one. I have not read good reviews about the fourth one. Bummer.

DH and I are already starting to make plans for when we can start staying out at the Happy Place again this spring. He's planning a bigger solar panel set up. I will have a bigger garden and DS will have a trampoline and a basketball hoop out there. (The trampoline is still a secret.)

So yeah I guess we have spring fever already.