Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Last week the first frost, this week snow! How did that happen? :-) It was just gorgeous! The trees were heavy with snow and hanging really low because all the foliage hasn't fallen yet. We were a bit concerned about losing the utilities, but the snow turned to rain, and all we ended up with was a slushy mess. It did get colder last night so what little snow was left is still here. It all makes me want winter to get here even faster now!

Boy!! I'm so happy to have found the Paperback Swap . I have found knitting, crochet, and cross stitch books that I've had on my wish list for ages! Even though it says "paper back", all the books I have gotten have been hardbound so far. I'm so very, very pleased that I joined it! I just got notice yesterday that Barbara G. Walker's Knitting From the Top was listed and since it was on my wishlist there, I got first chance at it. I was so excited to finally have gotten it!!! Why didn't I join in the swap before?

Progress report:

I've been able to do some more stitching on Stefani Martin's Covered Bridge Spring .

I just turned the heel on the second Feather & Fan sock and picked up the gusset stitches. I'll need it just a bit quiet to do the decreases with the pattern repeats. I don't feel like frogging it. Today I'm just easily distracted for some reason. I guess I'll just blame it on the weather

We ordered oil today $2.16.9 a gallon. Ouch! It's more than doubled since last winter. Our outdoor boiler is on the fritz, so until that's fixed, we can't use it and are at the mercy of the oil company. I'm hoping it gets fixed soonly - I'm too tight to pay for my heat. Look at all that money that could have went to something useful like stash! :-)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Our Van is Totalled

DH called this morning from work and passed on the good news that he hit a deer while driving in. He didn't get hurt but he couldn't drive it. A man from the DOT was on his way to work when he saw DH and stopped and picked him up.

I spent the morning rushing the kids around to go get DH, drop him off, so he and my brother could pick up the van. It was sad seeing it on the side of the road, smashed with pieces of metal behind it. Sadder still was the poor deer. He was a large and beautiful buck, in his prime. He would have made beautiful offspring - probably was on his way to do so, when he met his doom. It's that time of the year when bucks have only one thing on their mind, making driving so dangerous now.

Also on the way down, we saw our second black bear dead on the side of the road. That's the second one in a little over a week! In my 40+ years here on earth - I've seen 4 dead black bears on the roadside - and 2 of them were just those that were recently hit! I wonder if that means our bear population has increased. It seems like we are seeing a lot more critters that I don't remember seeing hardly at all as a child. Bobcats and coyotes are much more abundant, and the rabbit population is showing it. You don't see many rabbits any more. My brother saw an unusual animal - one he's never seen before (could it be Bigfoot?!) He contacted the Game Commission, described it to them, and they sent him a link to see if it's what he saw. Sure enough, it was. He saw a Fisher. They have been reintroducing them into our area. He had to fill out a report for them. I take it that they've been extinct in our area since the time of the Depression because they were wiped out from pelt hunting (at least that's my understanding of it). I thought that was just so cool!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I Won! + WIPS

I went to check email this morning and found a wonderful note in my inbox stating I had won 2 charts that I had put my name in a drawing for!! I was so very happy and surprised, to say the least. As you can see, they are just so cute and adorable!!
I immediately sent my information, and hardly any time later, I received a note that said they are all packed up and ready to be sent. I can't wait to see them in person.

I must be on a lucky streak - these adorable charts this week and the Opal yarn a couple of weeks ago. Speaking of the Opal, it still hasn't arrived yet. I can't wait to see what color I'm getting, but it seems to be taking a long time getting from one coast to the other. I bet it's because there are so many knitters in the postal system, that they have to fondle it before it goes on :-)

This morning, I casted on DD's second F&F sock, and have finished 2 pattern repeats so far. Not a lot done, but some, all the same. Last night I sat and worked on a piece of XS that I had started some time ago and put aside. It's a small piece from Cross Country Stitching from their Shaker Afghan in the April 2004 issue called Plain & Simple. I'm doing just this one panel and making it into a wall hanging. I'm stitching it on the recommended Fireside Afghan - just the one square, and it is interesting to work on. So far, it is looking really nice.

We had our first frost overnight. It has been long overdue - by almost a month! No complaints though, as we got some of our garden in late, so everything made it. It was still sad to know that there will be no more fresh tomatoes until next year. The house has chilled down. It was 64 in here this morning, and I absolutely refused to turn the thermostat up. Instead, we made a nice hot breakfast of Apple Fritters and Hot Chocolate (from our homemade mix) and in no time everyone was nice and toasty. Tonight, we are having a nice smoked ham - so the oven is heating the house. As long as I keep cooking, we'll stay warm - until I break down and finally turn the heat on.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Little Weathers - Chilly is finished!

What a cute little design this is. The kids have been teasing me that the reason I picked it was because that's how our home is going to be this year - chilly. You know how it is with those fuel prices and all. Aren't they just the sweetest things? LOL

The design was stitched on 14 ct. white aida using the recommended DMC colors but I changed the metallics to an unknown brand. It called for the DMC metallics, but I've had trouble with them tarnishing, so I used something I picked up at a sale a long time ago and they've held up wonderfully on everything I used them on (sure wish I knew what they were!). After stitching the igloo, I thought it looked just a bit too plain, so I did half cross stitches over top of the stitching with Kreinik BF 032. Then I back stitched - and it turned out just as I wanted it - sparkley enough to look like snow/ice. Now, just to sit down and finish it. I'm thinking about a tuck pillow, or maybe done like a large ornie to hang...

Monday, October 17, 2005

First Kool-Aid Sock Finished + Another Online Knitting Mag!!

The Kool-Aid Sock is finished and not looking half bad. The kids don't like it and tell me the yarn is UGLY, but all in all, I'm very pleased. I did a striping on the toe, as I wasn't sure if I'd have enough of the Kool-Aid dyed yarn, giving the sock 3 different looks. In the round, the yarn pooled, turning on the heel created striping, and the toe ended up with a softer more pastel look. I really had fun not knowing how it would turn out and this was more like playing than anything else. Who would have guessed that making socks would be so much fun! LOL

I was reading through one of my lists, and found that there is another free online knitting magazine. This one is called MenKnit and I was very excited to see it published! Finally, a magazine devoted to knitting for men that actually has some designs in it that the men in our family would wear! I have a couple of patterns already printed out - one that is very appealing is the For Better or Worsted Cable Topped Socks that I'd like to try next. With the guys doing all kinds of outdoor activities all winter long, we really need worsted socks for them. I'm always thrilled to find another pattern in this weight.

This morning I started a small cross stitch freebie called Little Weathers - Chilly by Susan Aldrich from the Free Patterns section at CyberStitchers. Susan also has a yahoo group where you can find more of her designs and get some exclusive group freebies as well.

I'm planning on casting on the second Feather & Fan sock today and getting that finished up this week so that DD can have them to wear on Halloween. I also want to have it finished so I can start on the next sock in the Socks3KAL. I also would like to get started on the Mosaic Socks that they are working on in the 6 Sox KAL. Unfortunately, that one will be put on hold a bit while I get another pair of worsted weight socks done for DS. Hunting season is upon us, and one pair of socks just aren't enough.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Demand For Socks Keeps Coming!

Ahhhh - here it is, a beautiful Saturday morning. After a week of rain, the sun is shining on the flaming shades of autumn that covers our surrounding mountains. It's stunning to see and looks so crisp and bright after all those days of wet, dreary weather.

The house here is quiet - with only the sound of the pc humming and the clicking of the keys. The children have gone with DH hunting for the day. The stillness is wonderful but won't last much longer. As soon as neighbor-child gets out of bed, the peace will be broken with the sound of his "music" that he plays at such a volume, that no matter how loud one turns things up in here, you can still hear the base rumblings. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he had a very late night last night :-)

The first Feather & Fan Sock is finished. I had to redo the toe, as it was way too long and looked like it had been designed for an elf... grin... I went over and over the instructions to see if I made a mistake, but I couldn't find an error on my part. The only conclusion I have come up with is that even though my stitch gauge is on, the row gauge (which is not given in the directions) isn't. Instead of knitting 3 rows between decreases, I went down to 2 - and ended up with a much better looking sock that fit DD perfectly. I must cast the other one on and get busy so that I have them done, washed and ready to go for Halloween.

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Without flash to see lace

The Kool-aid dyed yarn is finally dried and balled up. I started my socks with it yesterday, and am getting an interesting pattern on the cuff of the first sock. I'm using the yarn for the cuffs, heels and toes and the undyed for the body of the sock.

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Hey - it's not that bad!

This morning, DS went to put his heavy socks from last year on, and they no longer fit! They did when we washed them and put them away this spring, however, he's grown like a weed, and I never gave it a second thought about outgrowning those that I made last year. So, now I need to do another pair for him. That makes 2 more pairs he needs done. I'll finish DD's first, and mine - as I need the needles mine are on to do DS's socks. Hmmmm... so who's bright idea was it to learn how to knit socks?! (grin)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Iowa Cruise FO, F & F Update + XS FO

Wahoo!!! DH's Iowa Cruise Socks are off the needles and all I need to do is weave in the ends today. They fit well and he likes the contrasting heel, toe, and stripes on the ribbing. I'm still amazed that he likes them enough to comment on the design. I didn't get the usual "they look like socks" comment.

DD's Feather & Fan Socks are coming along nicely. I'm very pleased with both the pattern and how well they are fitting DD. I have a little more to go before I do the toes and this one is finished and off the needles. She was so excited when she saw how far along the sock was - and asked if by some chance that they might be done by Halloween. :-)

I'm hoping that the Palette yarn will hold up to wear. It isn't as tightly spun as a regular sock yarn, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It knits up so nicely and the color is gorgeous plus it appears the cost of this sock will be knit for under $3 for the pair! That is comparable to Walmart's prices for acrylic socks!

October snuck up on me without being noticed. The calendars sat on September for quite a while before we noticed. Then I looked up above the sink where I keep my "gallery" of monthly pictures, and saw that there was no October! OOPS - forgot to get that one done, so I took some time to wip out the Lizzie Kate October Flip-it. I stitched it on an unknown color of a Fiddler's type 14-ct aida using the recommended threads. I don't like the hat - but I didn't want to take the time to fool with it - so just followed the chart instead of changing it. My intent was to remove the hat altogether and put something more fall-ish in it's place. So much for personalizing. :-)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Monday Musings

I can't believe it's already Monday. I've been offline fighting phlebitis in my leg, and having a lot of time on my hands to be able to knit and read - and read and knit.

Saturday my Knit Picks order came in, and I'm very pleased with the colors and quality of the yarns - especially for the cost!

My order consisted of 3 skeins of Palette in Apricot purchased to make some fall-ish looking socks with, 2 Skeins of Simple Socks in Sweet Tarts for DD's next pair of socks, 2 skeins of Shadow - one in Grape Jelly and one in Jewels to be used for scarves, directions and wool for the Alpaca Hat using Wool of the Andes, and a bottle of Kookaburra Woolwash to try. With all that said, I'll probably get 2-3 pairs of socks, 2 scarves, and a hat for just a bit over $30!

I just had to cast on the new Apricot Palette. It was just so pretty and much richer than I had expected. I'm working on Feathers & Fan from Socks, Socks, Socks. I only have 3-1/2" completed on the leg, but it's gorgeous and I love working the lace pattern. I would have had more, but I found that I cannot work with music - or a beat. Someon on one of my lists said that you develop a rythmn when knitting lace, and if music is playing, you are doomed to mess up. I had no problems working the pattern, and watched TV and had a discussion with DH, but yesterday, the neighbor's son had his music on, and although all one could hear was the base and drums, it was enough to totally mess me up. I worked, and ripped, and worked and ripped. Finally gave up, and after the teen went on his merry way, I picked it back up, and had no problems working it! So.... my conclusion is, this woman knows what she's talking about! LOL

I'm almost done with the second of DH's boot socks! I only have the toe to do, and it's done! Soon to be a FO today! :-) I had some leftover Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool from the socks, so I decided to experiment and try doing the Kool-Aid Dyeing in Socks, Socks, Socks. Each of us picked a color of Kool-Aid to try, and then picked where we wanted the color on the skein to go. I'll warn you - that not only is the result, ummmmm - interesting..... but the colors didn't turn out like we each had thought. I picked grape for a purple, and it came out about like I had thought it would, but the kids were disappointed. DD picked a red that turned out more orange than red, and DS picked out the Bluedinie color that didn't mix up blue at all, but green. Hey - it was fun!! Our kitchen smells like a wet sheep that was dipped in vinegar flavored Kool-aid, and we might just have the ugliest yarn around, but we all had a great time :-) I'll be knitting this up for a pair of socks for me.

Next finished item was a mouse for our kitten. I saw Wendy Knits had directions for one posted, so I had to make sure to knit one up for our little baby. Yes, it was a big hit, but for some reason he was more impressed with the tail. However, as you can see, DH couldn't take it away - as he let it be known that it was his toy and he was keeping it!!! He wasn't letting go no matter what!!!

Saturday, the poor thing had to be taken to the vet's office. I noticed he was losing his balance and then started walking with his head cocked to one side - the same side he would lose his footing on. Uh-oh! I called and told the vet I thought it was an inner ear infection, although I'd never seen one in a cat before. Sure enough, after 2 shots of antibiotics, he came home with a bottle of pills that he has to take once a day. Poor, poor thing! We were told he won't be feeling so great for a bit, and the balance issue won't be totally corrected by the time we finish the pills, but it will in time. I can just imagine how much it hurts, and he's such a trooper. If it wasn't for his balance and head cocked, you'd never know he was sick!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

In Memory of My Grandmother

1914 - 1988

Today my grandmother would have been 91 years old. She was an amazing woman, living on a farm alone with three children, in another state - while her husband worked in the family store. My Grandfather would come home on weekends to see his family, and then back to NJ he would go on Sunday night. It was rumored that they moved here from NJ because my aunt had rheumatic fever that cause problems and they had to move from the city. My aunt did have it a child - but I don't know if there was an urgency to leave the city or not. My grandmother never confirmed this story, so I really don't know if it is true.

Arriving here from Poland as a very small child, she learned to speak English - forgetting Polish, and then had to return to Poland with her mother and siblings to take care of the family business. She came back here a few years later - after learning Polish and forgetting English - having to again learn the language. This time, Polish was remembered and used many times while I was growing up to have adult conversations with my Grandfather and not worrying about us understanding a word.

My grandmother was a fantastic cook and a wonderful needleworker. She could do everything - and I mean everything!!! I don't know of a skill that she didn't know - lace net darning, huck embroidery, tatting, crochet, knitting, cross stitch, braided rug making, rug hooking, net making, and I could go on and on! And sew... Oh, she made beautiful clothes! She learned from her mother, and my great-grandmother was a fantastic seamstress. She said they would go to New York City and her mother would ask the kids what clothes they liked, and would come home and make them. Just by looking at them! My grandmother said they were always in fashion and the best dressed around. Sadly, the sewing skills were not passed on to me. :-(

She did pass many of the skills on to both my mother and me - but not all. Cooking was something that she was going to teach me, but became very ill and died before she could really teach me a lot. She took many of my favorite recipes with her - Spinach Soup, Potato Soup, and her Vegetable Soup as well. They were things she did with no recipe, and those were the things that weren't passed on as I was only learning. I do have a lot of her hand written recipes, but the things I remember most weren't written down.

My grandmother was a huge part of my life. I spent every weekend and every summer at the farm with her. We were pretty much inseparable until my later teens when I no longer had much time for hanging around there as I seemed to be dating all the time and doing teen-ager kinds of things. I will always regret that - because during that time, I could have been honing my skills in and learning so much more from her. I had assumed at that point that she would be around for many more years. She went to visit my uncle in another state, was diagnosed there with lung cancer, and she died before I could get there to say goodbye.

I miss you, Grandma.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Secret Pal Package, Finishes, and a Great Weekend!

I was gone Saturday and when I arrived home, I found a card in my mailbox stating that I had a registered piece of mail to pick up and sign for at the post office. That made for a very long weekend, as there was no information on who it was from or anything.... I had all sorts of thoughts going through my head. LOL

So, when I finally got to get to the PO - there was a wonderful package waiting for me from my Secret Pal!! Maybe it's a good thing I didn't know who it was from now, as it would have made the wait seem even longer.

Oh goodness! Let me tell you, my pal sure knows just how to spoil me! I received 2 charts: Blooms by San-Man Originals and Bent Creek's Holiday Snappers Happy Independence Day complete with the snaps! There was a large piece of a beautiful blue evenweave, 6 skeins of Needle Odyssey's Dip & Twist in 205, 076, 087, 096, 206, & 097 (clockwise in the picture starting at the top left hand corner). Also included were two of the most nice smelling candles in a decorated delicate blue drawstring bag.

Last but not least, were two of the most adorable buttons that I tried to photograph - but they just bleached out :-( They are white and pink strawberries with black seed dots, and green tops - very cute and will be a perfect addition to one of my spring designs that I have in my 2-do pile! How did you know, SP?!!! THANK YOU!!!

We had a great time this past weekend. We when to the Fort Freeland Heritage Days and as always it was FANTASTIC! Every year the Fort Freeland Heritage Society puts on a reenactment of the capture and destruction of the Fort as well as having a ton of demonstrations of crafts, cooking, butchering, and life in that time period. The actors dress and demonstrate "their lives" being totally in character - and using the words "I" and "we", making you almost believe you were transported back in time. I spent a LOT of time talking to the women demonstrating different textile skills. I learned so much, and couldn't believe that we spent the whole day there - and still could have seen more.

The kids and DH had as good of a time as I did, and they all came back with more knowledge than what we left here with. DH was fascinated with the cigar making and watching the blacksmith and the nail making. It is amazing that each nail that was used for building was made by hand! DD's favorite part was the magic show - which was much more than magic, but the history was woven into it. The presentation was wonderful!

I think the thing that makes the Heritage most appealing to me, is the passion that the things are presented with. These people LOVE what they do! This wasn't acting - but a true love of their crafts and wanting to share with others. The woman that made crochet rag rugs doesn't have any need for them any more, but will give them away to a child that falls in love with them and wants them in their room, or to someone else that could use them. She won't sell them. She spent all her time ripping and sewing the rags to get them ready for the presentation, only to just give them away!

So another year has gone by - and we will have to wait another whole year to be able to attend again. We've only missed a couple of years due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances, and each year it gets bigger and better. If you ever had a chance to get to one of these, please make the effort - you won't be disappointed!

After we got home from such a great day out, I relaxed for a bit then decided to check email. To my surprise (and DELIGHT!) I found an email from Soxie, stating that I had won in the Opal Chatters drawing! So now I have a mystery color skein of Opal flying here from the other coast! I still can't believe my luck!

Now, onto the personal side of crafting news. I finished the mate to the CIC sock, and DH's second sock has been started. I'm also fooling around with my own design - and trying to make DH a fingering weight sock out of 3-ply Kroy that he'll like. He wanted the ribbing to come down to the ankle to fit tightly and not sag. I did what he wanted, but he wasn't pleased, so I ripped it back, only to find I had a difficult time getting those little loops back on the needles at the time. The project was abandoned, and last week I found it, and fixed the dropped stitches and am now plugging away on it again. I think I will try taking the ribbing down across the top of the foot, and hopefully with doing that, it will preven the sag that he had before. DH is a tall man and has a big ankle/wide foot, so I'm working on 88 sts. It's a slow go, but I think I'll do it as an in-between project for now. That way I won't get bored with it.

I'm itching to get back to some cross stitching. I've got my LK's October Flip-It to get done yet. Here it is, October, and I still have my September pic up. I also have to get a box of small things out to Online Angels for their annual St. Jude's Children's Hospital Christmas party. I'll probably mail both that box and the CIC Vest and socks at the same time.

I placed an order at Knitpicks yesterday. I decided to try their yarns since I've heard so much about them, and they are considerably cheaper. I bought some Simple Stripes sock yarn in Sweet Tarts, Pallette fingering weight in Apricot, an Alpaca hat pattern and Wool of the Andes yarn to make it, some Shadow lace weight in both Jewels and Grape Jelly. One of the Shadows is for Knitpicks free pattern for a Scarf Cowl and the other will be used for a lace scarf I plan on doing as soon as my Sampler Scarf is finished.

Now, just to wait all that time until my new goodies arrive..... :-)