I’ve lost that loving feeling

I have been unfaithful to my knitting. Very unfaithful. I have taken up with my long time love of books. I think it began when I was somewhat forced to go through all of the books in my house in order to decide which were mine, and which are my husband’s. It could also be that I was just kind of bored with knitting – tired of the same old dishcloth, really kind of burnt out with the niceness of it all. I needed some bad boy energy, something more sexy, you know?

So I am reading SciFi again. A tasty 2-book series from Dan Simmons, Ilium and Olympos.

I did spend some time on Ravelry trying to get the love back — looking at lacy shawls, looking at sexy colors and even doing a few rows on the toe of a sock that was begun back in March of 2008(!), and I started a new dishcloth. But there wasn’t enough umph in those feeble attempts to really hook me. So I am back reading, journaling (personal stuff that’s not online), moving boxes of clothes and stuff back and forth within my too crowded house, and trying to figure out a way to keep myself out of trouble. The bottom-line is that I am bored with all of these activities, but not as bored as with the knitting.

Maybe it is just cabin fever, not having enough business, experiencing a break from my corporate job and……


But Spring is coming, the sun has been out, I had a great play date with my dogboy Spencer, and a chance to kick back with friends, meet some new people, catch up on email and some further web site stuff. And today a call from work! I will be back to my corporate job for at least a few weeks. That for sure will keep me out of trouble!



No big progress to report. Still plugging away at 2 afghans. One is very nearly complete (knit), the other one -crocheted squares- is going to be my travel piece. I decided to chart the rows because reading the directions was making me crazy.

Insert elegant segue here.

Fun = pets, pets=fun. Spencer aka "the doggie Lama" will stage himself to get maximum popcorn exposure. That usually means at the our feet, or leaning his head on our feet. WT managed to coax him onto the sofa to see what he would do. Here’s a shot – so intense!

Spencer trying to will the popcorn into his mouth

It looks like he is trying to will the popcorn into his mouth.

Our cat Guinevere likes to keep us hopping – in and out all summer log. She has this trick of telling us when she wants back in. Jumps onto the outside stair rail, and bats at the window screen (or hangs onto it – lovely). It sometimes looks like she is waving hello. I caught her looking into the popcorn scene:

I'm watching you!

This afternoon WT, Chaachi and I are going to take in the new Harry Potter movie. Super bargain matinee – cheap(er)! I hope your afternoon is just as fun.


Needle Art Potluck

I’ve got a whole bunch of needle art/craft goodness here for you.

First, progress on the knitted afghan:

knitted afghan

Not a lot of progress, but this is the one that I do when crochet doesn’t want to travel with me, and I don’t have anything else to do like my latest craze=punch needle.

I decided to pick it up that punch needle kit I purchased on my quilt hop trip because I was getting hand cramps and bunched up muscles in my back and shoulder from working on christmas afghan 2. Oh yes, I finished christmas afghan number 1, here it is:

crochet afghan for Christmas 2008 - 1 out of 8

It turned out very nice, and is now the favorite spot for Guinevere’s naps. I haven’t washed it yet, and because of said naps, I will probably hold off until right before the gifting.

The next afghan, another crocheted one, is done in strips. Here is part of the first strip that I have completed:

crocheted afghan in greens

I am only on the 2nd strip out of a total of 5 strip – but I since I have until Christmas to do a total of 8, I have alloted a whole month of time for each afghan. That way I can take breaks and still meet my deadline. That is turning out to be a very good plan, because I picked up that punch needle project, and didn’t want to ever put it down. It is fun! Like painting with thread. Kind of hard on the eyes but my faux Ott lamp helps a lot. Here is the (maybe) finished work. I need your opinion on something, so the photo shows my work and the pattern. Have a look!

Spring Lamp Punch Needle

So, what I want to know is, do you think I should do a french knots for the eyes, or just leave it be? My opinion is that it looks more folksy and okay cartoonish without the eyes. Please let me know.

I purchased another punch needle kit but am holding off on that while I make headway on the 2nd afghan.

Finally, I leave you with this photo of my wonderful birthday boy Spencer. He is 10 years old today! When his poppa comes home we are going to make a trip to Culver’s for his own dish of vanilla frozen custard. It is also hot enough for some dog in kiddie pool action, so I have the pool out and filled, warming in the sun.

Spencer at 10 years old


So far

So far I have 20 stripes done on my ripple afghan. Here it is:

one week's worth of rippling

What do you think?

I only have a few new colors to introduce, then you and I will see more of the same. Already there are doubles of some colors – those balls of yarn that I had purchased 2 balls instead of 1 (1 ball = 3 stripes, 2 balls = 6 stripes). I think it will give the eye something to rest on. Most of the doubled colors are the palest of each group of colors pink through red, blues, greens, yellows, but I have 4 colors of orange into brown and white into tan, so I didn’t double up there. I chose the red to double instead of the pink, because I like red.

I went up to a bigger crochet hook (5/F) and it is working much better as the hook on the 4/E was too small with the yarn being so splitty. I am still getting the same gauge so that is really good too.

The weekend was full of just hanging out, a bit of crochet, some teaching – a nice calm weekend. Spencer and Guinevere really appreciated the turkey I cooked up yesterday. Do you pet owners notice you see the sweetest faces when there is good food to be had?

sweet Spencer in search of turkey


A very, very good day

A post ago I mentioned that I was planning out a ripple afghan. Today the yarn arrived! I am really cheap when it comes to having things shipped, so I have to "be okay" with sometimes sloooooooooow delivery because slow=cheap. Sometimes slow=free, and that is a really good reason to be patient. Anticipation and all that stuff.

Anyway, my yarn from Knitpicks.com arrived today! 22 different colors of their 100% wool, fingering weight yarn named Palette. Because I am making such a large size, I thought that a fingering weight yarn would be best. My soft ripples afghan will be in 23 colors (I already had 2 skeins of one yarn in my stash). 5 colors will be used 6 times, the rest will be used 3 times each. That is a total of 168 rows, 84 2-row stripes. It will be 24 repeats of the pattern, and approximately 72 inches by 84 inches; big enough to cover the top of my queen-sized bed with a little bit of on each side and on the bottom. All for a steal at $51.74. Plus another paltry $3.98 for the two skeins I already had but that hardly counts because it is from stash *grin*. Still, a queen-sized afghan for under $60 – whoa!

Here are my colors:

Fingering weight Palette Yarn by Knitpicks.com

and one sheet of my 3 sheet plan for the stripes/rows:

ZenKnit's ripple afghan plan

I am trying hard not to think about how unwieldly it will become. It will probably be an "at home" project after a certain stage. I guess I will find out. No rush on this one either, but from reading the posts on The No-End-In-Sight Ripple-Along, some of the participants are really ripping along.

Today was also good because I got together with my friend Kerry. She showed me some of her finished projects and we talked about what we are both working on right now. She gifted me some dog chewies that don’t match her carpet (they stain). My dogboy insists on taking his chewy bones outside; I think he is afraid that I will steal them from him. He says,

Thanks for the great chewies!
Thanks for the great chewies Kerry!

no thanks from Guinevere
Guinevere says, "What am I, chopped liver?"


Foxes and Rabbits

I have been knitting and sewing a bit, but not a lot to show you. I am in a red and pink mood – probably because February is coming in, but mostly because I love red, and find myself needing pink socks.

Why pink socks? Because. I wear a lot of red, raspberry and pink things – but don’t have any hand knit socks. Not enough hand knit socks for me in any color. I have a lot of sock yarn, but just need to get down to it again.

I did need to shop for the red and the pink though. I picked up a lovely red and grey Cherry Tree Hill named Foxy Lady. Try saying or thinking that without the Jimmy Hendrix voice. Tried more than a few scarf patterns for making the perfect red toned scarf. No go on all of them. Got back on the internet and found this pattern for a stitch called Rabbit Tracks. Perfect! Foxes and rabbits don’t really go together in the getting along way, and similarly, I had to really work on getting them together. I finally landed on the right number of stitches, the right start, the right edging and am making my way along fine now. Here is what I have so far:

To help keep knitting relaxing and more flowing, I find using a small note, pinned to the arm of my sofa where I knit – does the trick vs. something on a magnet board. Of course, this only works for the simple patterns. This one is simple enough to have completely in memory, but I know myself well enough to have it written so that I have a bit of reminder. Makes for fewer mistakes.

Stress-free stuff is important right now. I had a bit of an exciting day on Wednesday. I have a history of racing heart episodes. Nothing to worry about – it is what it is, and I have had my heart checked out many times. I just have a heart that likes to really get ramped up sometimes. Well, this time it raced for too long. I had my sister take me to the emergency center (clinic, not a hospital). Of course by then the racing had stopped (good thing). But my pulse and blood pressure showed that I still needed help. The doctor suggested that I change my blood pressure medication immediately, and come back the next day (Thursday). So that is what I did. I am feeling much better now, but not quite 100%. Just trying to chill a bit and relax with my knitting.

Sewing right now isn’t so relaxing. My dog doesn’t like when I spend too much time with my energy focused elsewhere (computer and sewing). He is okay with my knitting, isn’t that weird? Here he is, hanging off the sofa, chilling out like his mama.

Right now I am feeling calm but sad. Sad because my youngest brother Vim’s dogboy Ace died this morning. They have been pals for a long time. Ace (I liked to call him Acey Security System) was a sweet dog – feisty and big acting like all little dogs are. A true companion. I would like to think that he is somewhere chasing rabbits, or maybe even foxes.


Christmas Eve

I will put the knitting content first. Family members who visit my blog, there will be a lot of photos after the knitting schtuff.

I have a pair that I didn’t show you before; Moc Croc pattern from KnitPicks.com. I chose a green color that had a serpent look to them. They are meant for Jody, whose D&D character is a huge croc-alligator-like being. I haven’t tucked in the ends – just in case I have to add length or such.

Also the felted mini-bags (see previous post for the details). Here all in a row sans one because I forgot to photo that one (with the across the shoulder strap vs. braided). In the background is a small Christmas quilt I did back in the 80s. Perfectly sized for a loveseat throw.

I think the sewing in of the braided ends too longer to do than the actual knitting. Very fussy, but I was trying hard to make it neat. I hope they don’t come apart. They felted down very nice. I could have let them go a bit more, but the tan colored yarn that was in 3 of the 4 bags actually started to felt to itself. I pulled it apart, but a few of the bags have tiny creases in them. Not majorly ugly – but something I notice. I would use the yarn again but if I ever make another felted object with it I will put plastic bags in the center and not set the washer on such an agressive super wash setting again.

Christmas Eve at my folk’s house aka no more knitting content
Getting ready to go, I had it in my mind that dogboy Spencer wouldn’t be coming along because my folks have a very small house and it would be jammed with people. But he sensed that we were going somewhere – I don’t know how he figured it out because I was just getting ready to sit on the couch, wasn’t making movements to leave for another 45 minutes. He was so upset that we decided he had to come along. He is our child afterall.

There were already a few of my family members there. I didn’t get photos of everybody but here are a few…. I was asking them to "show me Christmas Crazy".

Then just regular photos – some of them blurry (dang!).

I don’t know who was more happy




I think Jessica because she showed us her

Engagement ring.


Willow Bud Socks and Spencer the Wonder Dog

The newspaper writeup about Spencer has been published. You can find it at the Ironwood Globe website. Cool!

Here is a photo of my Willow Bud Socks from Sensational Knitted Socks
Willow Bud Socks - Essential Socks

What is that you say? You can’t see the Willow Buds???

That is because I whimped out made a design choice of only doing one repeat. Here is a closeup so that you can see them:

Willow Bud Socks - closeup

The yarn is so yummy. I am glad I finally knit it up. Like I said, previous attempts had been futile. This time I just kept on going with it. I know the buds don’t show that much, but I know they are there and I think the socks look cool anyway. I did the 60% heel and a 50% toe, and I think I am going to go back to either a 50% toe or less.

I’ve Been…

WT, Spencer and I went to Presque Isle, Wisconsin. Waaaaay up North to visit
Ed Wegner
Ed & Marcia (sorry Marcia I have zero photos of you – what is up with that!!!)

We saw their


Went to several
4th of July parade
4th of July parade 2

Firetrucks and community floats galore.

Spencer really enjoyed himself and was the star of the evening when we went to see:

4th of July fireworks

He even was approached for an interview because he was so popular. No kidding – when I get a copy of the newspaper article I will let you all know.

A good time was had by all. Oh, and I kept knitting on my modified Willow Bud (Sensational Knitted Socks) socks. I should be able to show you a photo of them soon.


Natural Laws trump Positive Thinking

Positive thinking doesn’t trump a long-standing belief of High School tournament time=major ice and snow storms either. So, I guess I called Spring too early. Because this is what I see out my back door this a.m.

That is not a sprung green willow tree, but my neighbor’s snow laden maple. Here is our Minnesota sky:

Maybe if I broaden my definition of spring to include this type of weather. But I just can’t seem to do that. My version does include chunks of dirty snow and a lot of mud, kind of like how it looked on Saturday.

and smiling dogs that are really trimming down

smiling dog
getting skinny!

I am feeling very positive about my Weeping Willow Shawl edging. I have turned the corner and am on the home stretch. I would share that I haven’t had to fudge the edging numbers but I don’t want to tempt the smack-down from the knitting goddess, so let’s just not talk about that right now.

weeping willow shawl

Even though Spencer doesn’t really care,

spencer, not willow

it means a lot to me to be finishing this project. Back to the trimming down of the big dog — I figured that since I am home during the day, we could feed him 3 times a day instead of just a.m. and p.m. It has really made a difference and very quickly! Being hungry makes people and dogs hang on to fat. He will never be a totally trim dog, but every little bit helps.