Monday, December 30, 2013

A Techie Holiday

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and friends!

The Engineer and I took a road trip up to Massachusetts for Christmas.

Christmas 2013

We enjoyed our visit and had a very nice Christmas celebration. 

I must say that Santa was very good to me… I received a new iPhone 5s to replace my antique Blackberry Curve.  I say antique because in tech terms a phone that has been well used (and loved) for just a few days shy of 6 years is antique.  I have been perfectly content with that phone all these years but recently it has been showing it’s age.  The lights under the keyboard had begun to flicker on occasion, the camera stopped working a couple months ago and the roller ball has been temperamental more and more these days.

Vintage BB

For months we’ve been discussing what to get for replacement phones – it’s a big decision because we don’t change phones often or easily.  Although we have loved this phone we have not been happy with what we’ve seen come out of Blackberry over the past couple years.  I knew that Apple usually introduces a new phone in the fall so we waited to see what new features the next generation of phones would bring.  We were quite happy to see the addition of a fingerprint scanner as part of the phones security.  We had also considered the Samsung Galaxy 4 but in the end  decided that they are larger than we wanted to handle.

I think we will be happy with the iPhones and expect to get many years of service out of them.  We added the LifeProof Nuud cases to protect Santa’s investment.  Our daughter in SC has used a Lifeproof Case on her phones for many years.  It has survived many a sandy trip to the beach, babies drooling on it, and toddlers dropping it.  I have no plans to hand my phone off to any kids but I won’t have to worry about touching it with wet hands while in the kitchen, taking it along while gardening or shoveling snow, and I can drop it and not worry.  The LifeProof case it is water, dirt, snow and shock proof.

My other Techie gift was a Fit-Bit Force fitness tracker.  I almost got myself a Flex earlier this summer but decided to wait and do more research and ask Santa for it.  I’m glad I waited as the Force seems to be a bit of an upgrade from the Flex.  This ought to help me out with my “Word” for the New Year… Move!

Last but not least is a new case for my laptop – it’s a knitting bag with a padded laptop sleeve!  Nifty!

I hope Santa was good to you this year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

To Resolve or Not… That is the Question

I don’t think I have ever met a resolution I could keep. 

I am consistently inconsistent… and I know that about me.  Over the years it has been my position that it didn’t make sense to set a goal that I know I am not going to meet?  I don’t need to set myself up for failure.

Recently I’ve seen several blog posts written about adopting one word for the new year.

One word to focus on… no guidelines, no restrictions, no must do list, no don’t do list.  Just one word… oh hell yeah I can do that!

So here it is…


Not Move more

Not Move fast

Not Move everyday

Not even Move X number of times a week

Just Move… I can do that!

Friday, December 20, 2013

On The Needles… 12/20 and Happy Holidays!

Why didn’t I start these little things earlier?  I’ve decided that they will be the perfect thing to stitch on all through the summer when you really don’t want to knit anything hot.  And quick?  Oh my yes – probably more so once you get the hang of it and DON’T KNIT SO TIGHT!  Goodness… it’s worsted weight yarn (acrylic cheap) and a number 1 needle… only 1’s I had handy are double pointed stainless steel but I think I have a small SS circular around someplace.  These Christmas Tree Lights are designed to be knitted flat and then seamed.  Below the blue is in progress – that is as wide as it gets, far left red has had the red side stitched up and I will finish the stitching after I stuff it.  The white one is just folded and the other red one I tried to lay out – they don’t lay very flat as they are knitted to have a curve.  One note - if you want to make these too… don’t stitch tight.  If you do it makes it almost impossible to work from one needle as everything is so scrunched up.

Christmas Lights

I made another one of these BUN Hats – this time in a worsted weight 80/20 Acrylic/Wool blend held double (per instructions).


After wearing the first one (made from 100% wool) on Sunday for 3 hours clearing the driveway… and this one for about 2 hours the other night again clearing the driveway I can honestly say I like the 100% wool one better.  I was warmer and didn’t get sweaty feeling in it.

Check out what others are knitting over at Judy L’s Patchwork Times blog.

I don’t know if I’ll get back here before Christmas so let me take a moment to say I hope everyone has a Merry Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Not Much Knitting…

I’ve tried to avoid the painting I’m suppose to be doing in our bedroom… but it’s got to get done so I’ve been doing it.

And while the paint dries I’ve done a little knitting…

This is another pair of the Montgomery Fingerless Mitts – same as the ones I showed last week only done in a Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Hues yarn.  I didn’t realize until after I had started that the yarn transition from dark to light… and back again.  Oh well – they are what they are!


I’ve got a few more inches done on the Morning Bells Shawl 


To see what others are knitting on… head over the Judy L’s Patchwork Times.

Oh and here’s one of the ways we got rid of Thanksgiving Leftovers.

I called this Turkey Dinner Leftover Salad…


To the regular lettuce, tomatoes, and red peppers – I added turkey, crumbled stuffing, and I made the salad dressing out of the cranberry orange relish mixed with mayo and some lemon white balsamic vinegar.  Goodness that was good dressing… we both loved it and it’s so pretty!  We had this salad for lunch several days –  it was delicious.

Friday, November 29, 2013

What’s on the Needles?

You would think that I would choose to finish any of the many other started projects…. but no…

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Valley Yarn “Deerfield” – an Alpaca & Silk blend - that I purchase (ummm wait I think my daughter paid for it?) for this Morning Bells Shawl.  We were wandering around in Webs (Northampton, MA) a few weeks ago when I was up in New England and they had this shawl done up in the natural as shown in the pattern – oh my it was lovely… so lovely.  My girl liked it and I was happy to offer to knit it for her.  Although the natural was very pretty (they didn’t have it in stock at the time) - she choose the charcoal yarn.  I am almost done with the first ball of yarn… only another 5 to go…

Morning Bells Shawl (2)

Morning Bells Shawl (3)

I washed and blocked all the stuff I talked about last week.


I had to bring down a section of my design wall to lay out the Leftie Shawl.  The shawl measures approx. 32 inches along the longest leaf and 62 inches across the top (diagonal) edge.  The BUN hat is at the other end. 


I do need to take a ‘rolly sticky’ to that board to get rid of those threads… or take the picture from the other end where the old towel is - LOL.  I left everything to dry over the weekend and then spent a morning weaving in any yarn ends that I hadn’t done yet.

Check out what others are knitting over at Judy L’s Patchwork Times Blog.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I had high hopes of getting out of making much for Thanksgiving dinner since it’s just The Engineer and I around this year… but no… he wanted turkey.  So I spent the better part of 2 days cooking for 2 people… the up side is I don’t have to cook again this weekend.  I’ll just dish us up a couple plates and throw them in the oven to heat up.  I don’t know about y’all but I don’t like using the microwave to heat up my food… everything warms up better in the oven and since the plates are hot too – it all stays warm while you eat.  Yum!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Lot of Knitting…

I’ve got a small pile of stuff I’ve finished recently to wash and block… lots of little things.

I started and finished this BUN Hat (Bottom Up Neckflap) on Wednesday.  It is a very quick knit in a bulky weight yarn.  I used a ball of Ester Bitran Hand-Dyes Talinay that I had picked up on sale several years ago.  I really like this hat and will make more – love having the coverage on the back of the neck!  I have lots of leftover hunks of Baby Alpaca Grande’s from fingerless mitts I’ve made in the past – I might try and use up some of those on the next one.


Back on Columbus Day my local yarn shop had a 20% off sale on all their Alpaca Yarns… so I went armed with several patterns from Ravelry and picked out yarn for a couple projects… one of which was these Susie Rogers Reading Mitts.  I used Plymouth Yarns Baby Alpaca DK.  These are the small size which will be good for my older daughter as her hands are smaller than mine.  I’ll be digging through my stash to see what other DK yarn I have and make a pair in the medium size soon… they also knit up quick and turning under the hem along the top and bottom edges was quick and easy. 

SR Reading Mitts (1)SR Reading Mitts (3)SR Reading Mitts (4) 

While I was in MA & NH for those 3 weeks I had worked on and finished this feather and fan scarf using a Louisa Harding Grace Hand Beaded wool and silk yarn.  This is also a very quick knit… I need to block it and then weave in the ends.  I think the color matches well with the mitts above so it will go along to my daughter. 

Beaded Scarf (1)

I finished the Leftie Shawl while I was gone.  I had a hard time weaving in the colored ends from the leaves – it looked so sloppy – but with some expert guidance from my friend Sue in NH I was able to finish it off nice and neat.  I think I’m going to start hunting for a good ‘finishing’ book for knitting as I don’t think Sue will come to visit every time I need help.

Leftie Shawl (3)

This is for my next Leftie Shawl… I love this brown (A Knit Picks Stroll Fingering Tonal) and it will look great with the colors from the Zauberball yarn.

Stroll Fingering Tonal (2)Kettle Dyed - Zauberball

I finished these Montgomery Mitts for my sister-in-law this week.  We picked out this lovely turquoise color Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky the other weekend to go with her chocolate brown coat when I was down in VA. I hate to sound like a broken record but I did like this mitt pattern with a tiny bit of a lacy look on the edges and it worked up very quick.  I think I actually like the way they increase for the thumb and I may try this method on some other mitts

Montgomery Mitts (1)Montgomery Mitts (4)Montgomery MItts (5)

The mitts will go with the Shawl Collared Cowl from Alana Dakos (I made one of these last year for my daughter) and I’ve got some yarn to make one for me this year as well.  Money well spent on the pattern.  This only takes a couple days.

Sherri cowl mitts (1)

I did finish the Turbulence Cowl while I was in MA but forgot to get a picture of it before I gave it to my daughter.  I made it with Knit Picks City Tweed in the Lemon & Snowshoe.  It was fun to knit and I still have yarn (Jacquard  & Snowshoe) to make me one so I’ll have a picture of that down the road.


I finished this Gathered Scarf before I headed up to New England… but I don’t have a finished picture.  It was made with the Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK… love that stuff… so soft!

Gathered Scarf 1

So you say… “what’s still on your needles?”  Oh there are several things still in the works.  The Triplicity Shawl… I have made no further progress on that as I need to pay attention to the pattern and I haven’t felt focused enough to sit with it.

Triplicity (4)

Multnomah Shawl is still hanging out… all the easy stuff is done and the lacy patterned edge is holding me up… same reason as above.

multnomah 3 

Oh and these silly things from last winter… I am about 3/4 of the way done with the second of these Felted Clogs – I need to pull that bag out and get them done… because it’s chilly and they would be cozy!

felt clogs 2

These socks are still right here… feet are done…

2 Up Socks 4

I picked up some yarn and a very cute pattern for my daughter while up in New England… but I’ll have to tell you about that project later after I get it started.

To see what others are knitting go over to Judy L’s Patchwork Times blog.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Really - Late November Already?

There are times when I just don’t know what happened to the day…

Or month… and a half…

Well - all right Yes… I was up in New England for 3 of those weeks and had the opportunity to hug on some quilty friends, work at Southampton Quilts during the Massachusetts Shop Hop, hang out with my kids, visit some friends I hadn’t seen in a couple years… eat some wonderful foods… knit… and spend a long quilty weekend at my annual retreat with friends at “A Quilters Gathering” quilt show up in Manchester, NH.

Then I came home… spent one day unpacking and doing laundry and the next day throwing up.  Goodness… being sick can sure knock you for a loop.  Then - that very first weekend I was back - we traveled down to VA to visit with my sister-in-law and attend a business related event with The Engineer.  Before leaving VA on Sunday we helped my SIL with a mountain of leaves from all those blasted lovely trees surrounding her house.  I spent a fair amount of time using the leaf blower… which I paid for over the next several days with an arm that was next to useless.  That blower didn’t seem like it was too heavy… all I can figure is that the vibration in it drowned out my muscles telling me they were done working.

This week I’m suppose to be painting the master bedroom… which needs to be done before we can install the new flooring we hauled home this weekend. 

Have you ever driven your car with the seat pulled ALL THE WAY UP?  I did on Saturday with approx. 210 square feet of bamboo flooring in the back.  If the air bag had gone off it would have crushed me flat… I was so close I couldn’t even see the speedometer… I had to duck sideways to put the visor back up as I couldn’t see to drive with it down.  I had to keep my hands at 11 and 1… and I had to remove the head rest so I didn’t feel so claustrophobic.  The Engineer who was suffering the same situation in the passenger seat wanted to stop for lunch on the way home… HA!  I told him we would drive home – leave my car in the driveway and take his car to lunch… I had to get out of this car and wasn’t getting back in until I could move my seat back.  For a short person I don’t sit close to the steering wheel… so this was way too much for me.

I’ve been doing a fair amount of knitting and need to get some pictures… hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be back to show you what I’ve been working on and have finished!

Here are a couple of pictures from Halloween from South Carolina.  Looks like a western theme for my daughter and the kids… not sure who (or what) their friend is… LOL

Halloween 2013 (4)

And here are my daughter and son-in-law… she always loves to dress up for Halloween.

Halloween 2013 (1)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Knitting and More Knitting…

I don’t usually wish winter upon myself… but I am looking forward to those long winter days when I can sit and knit. 

OK… you are right… I am sitting and knitting anyway so let me re-phrase that… I look forward to those long winter days when I can sit and knit and not feel guilty about all the outside work I’m ignoring.  Yeah – that’s better.

I am almost done with this stockinette section on this Triplicity Shawl (Ravelry) and ready for Monday’s class where we will tackle the last pattern section and get a tutorial on the “picot bind off”… which reminds me I need to make a swatch to use as a sample.

Triplicity (4)

Here’s a closer look at the two different pattern sections.

Triplicity (5)

And since I don’t seem to have anything better to do with my time than to poke around Ravelry… here are a couple patterns I bought this week.

I just love this Turbulence Cowl by Laura Chau… on Ravelry.


I had picked out some possible combinations from the City Tweed collection at Knit Picks… I ended up ordering Lemon Curd/Snowshoe for one and Jacquard/Snowshoe for another.  I just love the shaping from the short rows in the pattern.  The Brocade didn’t make the cut although it would have been pretty with either the yellow or white as an alternate.

pick 2

The other pattern I purchased was Just Enough Ruffles.  This pattern has been in my Library for some time now and I was wanting to start it… but it looks like Turbulence will be up first.

Just Enough Ruffles

I wish I had seen these pumpkins before I placed my order – I would have added in some yarn for them.  It’s a FREE Knit Picks Pattern for either knitting or crochet.  Don’t know if I’ll make any this year but they are darling.

Clove & Spice

I think I officially have too many projects started…

Hope over to Judy L’s Patchwork Times blog to see what others have on their needles

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Little Bit to Knit…

With the quilt retreat here last weekend I haven’t gotten much knitting time in what with all the cleaning and working on the challenge quilt… but I did declare last Monday a pajama day to rest and recoup and instead of finishing the hand quilting on my challenge quilt I did a little knitting and some napping.  OK – probably more napping than knitting!

Later in the week I had the opportunity to sit at my MIL’s house while some work was done and that gave me the knitting time I needed to get the homework knitting done on the Triplicity Shawl (free from Ravelry) so I’m ready for class again on Monday.

Triplicity (2)

A little closer view showing the first pattern section sandwiched between two plain sections.  I had gotten one row into the pattern section and messed up and started all over… but only once.  I think that I’ll get out what I need to put in a life line before starting the next pattern section in class.

Triplicity (3)

I am still plugging away on the Leftie shawl (a purchased pattern on Ravelry).  It’s easy to get a section done while watching TV as you only have to pay attention when you do the leaf and that knits up quick.  I hope to have this done in time to enjoy this fall… so I best keep at it.

Leftie (6)

It did occur to me last night that I need to drag out some yarn and get to work on a pair of fingerless gloves I am making for a friend up in MA… I’ll be heading up there in a few weeks for the MA Shop Hop so I need to have them ready for that.  I’ve made several pairs of these fingerless gloves but apparently I never took any pictures… so that will have to be next a challenge for my next knitting post.

Check out what others are knitting over at Judy’s Patchwork Times.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another Year… Another Retreat…

Each year since 2009 I’ve had a group of friends arrive to spend a few days sewing, chatting, eating, shopping, and laughing.

We moved our gathering this year to September from it’s traditional mid-July date and by consensus I think this will be the preferred time to gather.  It’s so much cooler outside and inside!

Here is the 2013 (Year 5) group picture taken with some of the Star Challenge Quilts behind us.  Listed below left to right are those pictured with a note as to their attending the Retreat (sewing with us), submitting a block, top, or finished quilt for the Challenge, and those regular attendees that were unable to make it this year but either sent a Challenge quilt in and/or were with us in Spirit ( we sure missed you! )

HoeDown 2013

  • George – Retreat & Challenge
  • Lori – Retreat & Challenge
  • Ginny – visitor with sister TJ
  • TJ – Challenge
  • May – Retreat & Challenge
  • Me – Retreat & (I don’t enter my quilt in the Challenge)
  • Brian – Retreat & Challenge
  • Bev – Retreat & Challenge
  • Melissa - Retreat & Challenge
  • Neen - Retreat & Challenge
  • Wendy - Retreat
  • Sue – with us in spirit & Challenge
  • Dawn – with us in spirit
  • Elaine – with us in spirit

This is the 2009 (Year 1) photo.

hoedown 001 2009

Here are the Star Challenge Quilts in no particular order…

Bev’s winning Lemoyne Star Quilt

Star Bev

Brian’s combination Lone/Lemoyne Star top

Star Brian

George’s Lemoyne Star Block

Star George First Blk

May’s Sawtooth Star top

Star May 1

Melissa’s Star Quilt

Star Melissa 1

Lori’s Tropical Stars

Star Night Lori

Sue’s Carpenters Star Quilt

Star Sue 1

TJ’s Star Sampler Quilt

Star TJ 1

Neens Birthday Star Sampler Top

Star Neen Birthday Blks

Again this year we gathered in the classroom at Piece by Piece Quilt Shop in Ephrata, PA.  If you ever need a large retreat location… this is the best! 

First row of work tables – yes there are seven tables

2013 Working

Second row of work tables ( 3 )and extra large cutting table (6 large cutting mats fit easily around it) behind that (with challenge quilts laid out) and against the far wall are ironing stations and more tables if we needed them.

2013 HoeDown (3)

Everyone headed out for home Sunday afternoon and Monday was declared a PJ day for me.  I had intended to finish the few little areas left of hand quilting on my Challenge – but took a nap instead!  Maybe later today I’ll finish it up and get the binding cut and sewn on… maybe…

I will post a picture of my quilt when it is finished later this week after I wash it… hoping that the wonderful rumple look will hide my newbie hand quilting.  I have decided that I am consistently in-consistent – it’s all about being consistent.