Monday, June 24, 2013

Packers Stripes

The teenager who asked me to make the toe socks requested striped socks in Packers colors. When we made a trip to Simply Socks, I bought some Cascade Heritage in (hopefully) the appropriate colors.

Noro Stripey Socks (mine ravelled here)
knit in Cascade Heritage 5608 (green) and 5645 (gold)

I used this pattern, which is basically my usual pattern plus comforting words about doing four-row stripes. I was worried that there would be weird pulling or holes by carrying one color up four rows, but there wasn't--just this little blip you see where I changed colors. I put the blip down the middle back of both socks and on opposite sides of each foot. It makes me feel like it's more of a design feature that way. "Hey, I clearly knew this was happening. In fact, I mirrored it."

I did broken rib on these. It seems to make them fit better than plain stockinette, and even though the ribbing slows me down, doing it every other round isn't so bad.

I know this is going to shock you, so prepare yourself.


There's nothing on the needles right now. There's a mystery KAL that starts on Friday, and I have my supplies (yarn and beads) ready for that. Until then, or until it makes me crazy that I'm not knitting, I'm doing something else: embroidery!

I'm a pioneer woman, pal.*

*That's a quote from Thoroughly Modern Millie. She's about as much of a pioneer woman as I am.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Junebug Days!

Jen over at Figknits knows how to celebrate her birthday. She celebrates all month and holds blog contests each week.

Now, clearly, we should be giving her presents instead of the other way around, but she's nice like that.

I won week two! I had a $16 credit to spend in her pattern store.

It was a difficult choice, but these are the three patterns I chose:

Merripog socks

I'm imagining them in gray and pink. Then again, I imagine most knitting in gray and pink.


I bet this would be good in a solid, semisolid, and maybe even a variegated yarn. Yay!


I was very tempted to buy Sean, 'cause it's adorable. Since I don't have babies, I refrained. But seriously, CUTE. A shawl collar and a giant pom pom? Count me in.


All of those images are Jen's.

While I was looking through her patterns, I found the Global Cable Coat. I'd forgotten that pattern was hers. It's been in my Favorites since I first saw it.

Thanks, Jen! I hope the rest of your birthday month is full of fun and pancakes... or whatever your version of pancakes is!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Store Shelf

My maternal grandmother's parents owned a hardware and farm implement store in the tiny town near where I grew up.*

In Coatesville, every point in history falls into one of two distinct categories: Before the Tornado and After the Tornado.

On Good Friday in 1948, the Tornado touched down, destroyed half the town and killed fourteen people. The temporary morgue was set up in my great-grandparents' house. The store was leveled, along with everything else in that block of main street.

So they rebuilt.

My grandfather and grandmother owned and worked at the store together until they retired in the late '70s. I'm too young to remember them at the store, but the stories--oh, the stories.

They built two shelves, one at each end of the parts department. After they retired, the shelves lived in their garage.

And I rescued one.

It was filthy. Really, really filthy. The back was not worth saving, so I tore it off.

I cleaned it with soap and water, and I began painting.

I wanted the wood dividers to stay as they were (just a bit cleaner). My mom says the writing on them is my Grandfather's.

I had pinned this picture a long time ago. It seemed like the right inspiration for this shelf.

I am pleased to report that I owned all these paint colors. Our house looks like the love child of Crayola and Ikea. The purple is in an upstairs bathroom, the blue in our entryway, the green in our kitchen, the orange in another bathroom, and the red in an upstairs bedroom. Actually, to be honest, I had to buy more red. I had used the entire gallon painting two walls of that upstairs bedroom.

The shelf is pretty narrow--just over 7"-- so Andrew attached it to the wall. We learned there are no studs in that area. The only thing we can think is that the builder started to put a window there and then realized it wasn't supposed to be there. Hooray for molly bolts!

I can't tell you how much it means to me to have this in my house.

It's far from pristine. The dividers obviously were build from some scrap wood, and the labels for each compartment are written in permanent marker. Any time I accidentally touched the wood, the white paint was there to stay.

But it's perfect.

I think my grandparents would be pleased. 

I miss them.

*I grew up in the country outside the tiny town. Our address was the town, but we were outside "city" limits. Can I even use the word city when describing Coatesville? Probably not.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thanks and Happy Anniversary

Today is Andrew and my 13th anniversary. He is my very favorite person in all the world. He's delightful.

Let's look at one example of his wonderfulness from yesterday:

After getting home from hanging out with his family for Father's Day, I decided I wanted to wind some yarn. Andrew used to be my human swift, but then he wised up and bought me a swift for some holiday. Clever.

I put the yarn on the swift and didn't have one of the loops correct. It is always a mistake to ignore this. I know this, and I ignored it anyway. Immediately, one end tangled. When I untangled it, it wrapped itself around the main bar of the swift.

After getting that unwound and tucked where it hopefully wouldn't get loose, I was able to wind about 75% of the yarn without further incident. Then all hell broke loose.

The end wrapped itself around the swift again. I eventually just took it off the swift and laid it on the floor.

I tried to wind the yarn again. The ball winder flew off the shelf.

The first time I roared like a lion in frustration, Andrew yelled from downstairs to see if I was all right.

Try again. Then the ball, which must have been too loose, flew off the winder.

Then it wrapped itself around the gears of the winder.

Another roar, and this time I leave the room and shut the door. I'll do it another day.

Except I can't leave it.* Ten minutes later, I'm back in the room. This time, I get it so wound around the workings of the ball winder that I can't untangle it.

I yell downstairs, "Andrew I need you." He trots upstairs, looks at me kindly and says, "I thought you were going to leave it for today."

"I know, but I can't."

He sits on the floor, gently untangling the yarn, and in three minutes the skein is wound.

I threaten the yarn, reminding it that I own scissors and I want no more sass out of it. Andrew asks if it's really a good idea to taunt yarn that is already clearly mischievous, and I simply yell loudly in the direction of the skein still on the ball winder, "You were only $11. If I have to, I will cut you."

And then we went downstairs.

Andrew not only does not have me committed for holding angry conversations with inanimate objects, but he also will spend time untangling my messes that would be easier to untangle if I could just leave them alone for awhile.

And we're not just talking about yarn.

Happy anniversary, Andrew! I love you. I am immeasurably grateful you're my partner for this ride.

*This explains a lot about me.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Some of My Favorite Things

I ran out of scarf before I ran out of favorite things.


That's probably a good thing.

Lots of things make me happy,

like cool buildings

and dogs and cats and scribbles

and pixel-y patterns

and red tractors

and hearts and Celtic knots and flowers and skyscrapers and other stuff.

I blocked it while still on the needles in case I needed to go inside the tube to fix something. The tractor turned out a bit wonky, but intarsia is of the devil. I was lucky to emerge as unscathed as I did.

Kitchnering 240 stitches together is an exercise in patience. I can always use exercises in patience. GLASS HALF FULL.

This is the biggest kitchner project I've done, and I learned something important: I should stop every 10 stitches or so and make sure I'm not pulling too tightly. I did pull too tightly, and it took a long time to try to work some ease back into it. Again with the patience.

Also, the provisional cast on was a little loose. You can see in the picture below the heart section connected to the square section (above the buildings). The heart section was the cast on, and it's a bit flared compared to the other end, even after blocking. It's not a big deal, but it's something to be aware of the next time I try that cast on.

(mine raveled here)

I linked to the patterns I used for each section on my Ravelry page, so feel free to go there if you want information about a certain section.

I really like this project. It did very little to lessen the scrap sock yarn though. I'm going to need to think bigger, like a blanket... or a car cozy. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 7, 2013

"Vacation" Day

I took a second vacation day today and went back to my mom's. The first order of business was to dig out clumps of grass from the center of a perennial bed that's gotten out of control. You're going to have to imagine the swath of dirt covered in root bound grass that was full of evil. EVIL.
Then we tried to terrace the end of the bed a bit so it wouldn't have such a problem with erosion. Mom wanted snapdragons there.
My oldest sister had planted geraniums along the front of one of the beds, and Mom, my niece and I went to the nursery and bought perennials. I dug out all the irises--Mom's done with irises and they spread a lot. She still has them along one side of her house, but I've dug them out of the other two places where they were planted.
We weeded, planted, put down newspaper as a weed suppressant, and carried and spread mulch.

I convinced Mom to buy some plants I love, such as a Serbian bellflower,

 a small delphinium,

a couple big delphiniums,

a pretty heuchera/coral bell,

a dianthus,

and some other gems I didn't get good photos of. I'm hopeful her delphiniums will do well. They get eaten at my house, so I have to admire other people's.

While we're chatting about plants, does anybody know what this bush is?

It has lovely pink flowers with no scent. Mom planted it at some point but doesn't remember what it is.

We also planted four different clematis, three seen in this picture and one in another spot.

Mom put a couple new perennials in one of the beds we cleaned on Tuesday, a tradescantia/spiderwort

and a columbine.

I'm sore and exhausted, but it's great to have it done.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

You Don't Know Me

My friends and I often say, "You don't know me," when someone says something that makes it very clear that they do know me. This is from a Will & Grace episode. An example:

"Bonnie, did you just make a bulleted list from our conversation?"

"...You don't know me."

A friend sent me this link for a quiz that identifies your learning style.

The website then offers some study strategies for your particular learning style. It was a page describing the only sensible way to learn anything new.* It encouraged making lists, taking copious notes, and rereading those notes silently over and over.

At the end of this page was this:

You don't know me.

*No, I don't really think it's the only way. It is, however, the only way that makes any sense to me whatsoever. People learn from talking in a group? Really? Isn't group time another way of saying wasted-time-that-could-have-been-better-spent-if-they'd-just-let-you-read-by-yourself?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gardening Therapy

I took yesterday as a vacation day and headed to my mom's to work in her yard.
 I didn't get "before" pictures of these areas, but they were pretty bad. We weeded, put down a thin layer of newspaper to act as a weed suppressant, and then spread mulch.

This picture shows what a bed at the corner of the house looked like before. See that tiny speck near the right side toward the back? That's a rose.

Specifically, it's this rose that you see here. That shows how much needed to come out of that bed. There were thistles four and five feet high. Luckly, we've had enough rain that the soil is fairly loose. I wouldn't have been able to get as much done as I did if the soil hadn't already been wet. As it was, there were lots of weeds that needed dug out. I didn't have the energy to get the newspaper and mulch down in this bed, but it's ready for it.

There's a garden center near where I live. Earlier in the spring, their sign read, "Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes." It was really good for me to work on something that had clear progress and was physically demanding enough that my whole self was busy with what I was doing.

I'm thinking about taking another day off to go back out and work. It is cheaper than therapy, and Mom gets a prettier yard.

Monday, June 3, 2013


I'm hoping to make a trip to Simply Socks Yarn Company on June 8.

Clearly, I need to think about what projects I might want to make with fingering weight yarn. It's research.

All the photos are from Ravelry and clicking on their caption will take you to the pattern's Ravelry page.


I think this is pretty without being too frilly, and it can be made with one skein of sock yarn. How is it possible to get something so big out of one skein of yarn? 


Holden is frillier, but has a stockinette body that makes the frilly less overwhelming. I like the shape of the edge a lot.


This shawl has gone viral, and I was doing a great job of resisting it until I saw this one and then this one. I'm only human. It needs three different colors, but only one skein of each.

A teenager has requested socks in Packers colors, and it's surprisingly difficult to find decent solid colored sock yarn in the proper colors. I had planned to buy the correct shades of Simply Socks' own solid line. It's reasonably priced at $10 for a 175 yd. skein. However, they also carry Cascade Heritage solids, and they're $11 for a 437 yd. skein. That seems more sensible, although I'm not sure what I'm going to do with half a skein each of hunter green and gold. How many Packers Christmas ornaments does the world need? I'm not even from Wisconsin!


In a clear example of "know thyself," I need to look at some patterns that will work with variegated yarn. I will tell myself that I'm only looking at semisolid yarn, but then some delightful trollop will call to me from the shelves. It will be riotous in color and I will not be able to resist. I plan to tell myself that I meant to buy a skein just for this scarf. 

I also plan to conveniently forget how many variegated sock yarns I already own and the fact that I don't really need another scarf.

And of course there are socks.



Really, there are too many sock patterns in my Favorites to even think about. Let's just say that I'll be fine finding sock patterns for whatever yarn I buy!

I was given the pattern for these awesome fingerless gloves, so I could pick some solids for them.


I love knitting. I love yarn. I love looking at yarn. Yarn and plants are the only items for which I really enjoy shopping. I just paused to see if that was actually true. It is. 

I'm ready.