Friday, March 18, 2016

This and That

First off, I'd like to say that in the last post I mentioned that the entralac scarf structure was not very "giving".  Well, that is not true!  It is very pliable.  I think it would make good socks or hats as it isn't firm at all.  I don't know what I was doing that day, but it wasn't feeling my work!!!  Also related to the last post--the socks.  They are finished, given away and are said to fit perfectly.  I love when that happens.

Happy spring socks

We had our "winter" picnic which was so much fun, even though the weather was definitely more like spring at almost 60 degrees!   Afterwards we went for a lovely walk in the woods.  The dogs thought it was great and Rosa got her first close up look at a flowing brook.  I was wondering if she would like water.

Rosa exploring the brook

She thought it was wonderful.

I am working on my scarf, and also the pair of socks for myself.  Neither of these are very taxing so I am casting around for a more challenging project.  Now that the folk's house has sold I have a lot more free time on my hands.  It will take some getting used to.  Especially Sunday afternoons, as we have gone over there on almost every one for the last 25 years.  I think I will warp the loom for a few small rugs to jump start the creative juices.

The weather has been very warm and rainy.  The bees were out and about, but as there is nothing really blooming yet we decided to feed them.  They get a sugar water jar on their hive that they have access to.  The chickens are also out and about.  One of the younger two spent yesterday making a very sad sound the entire day, non stop.  Occasionally Miss Buffington, the older hen, would answer her.  I was sure that this was a death sound and fully expected to find her demised this morning.   She wasn't!  Today she is acting totally normal.  I did find blood in one of the overnight droppings,  whether that was hers or not I will never know.  What her problem was, I will never know!  It didn't stop her from laying an egg.  One of the reasons I was hoping for a recovery is that she and her sister are the only egg layers right now, and I would hate to be down to one laying hen.  I'll keep an eye on her today, but so far she looks perfectly normal.  Chickens!

All recovered

Don't get excited about the green grass.  That is a picture from last summer.  It is still pretty brown around here.  There are clumps of spring bulbs starting to pop out only it is supposed to get pretty cold again this weekend, so I hope they don't emerge too much!

Now I am going to get out the Easter decorations.  I am looking forward to that Sunday as both girls and their families are going to join their aunts and uncles at their  Nain's house.   And we all know who I am going to be happy to see--my beautiful grand daughters, especially that cutie--Miss T!

Love this baby!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


It seems to me that learning a new thing is good for the brain.  I like to learn about things and how to do things and what things are and what is the name of that bird/flower/whatever?  Stories, songs, poems---all these things keep me going.  Last Wednesday at the Village Yarn Shop, I learned a knitting technique called "entrelac".  According to what I can discover, the word entrelac comes from the French meaning "to interlace".  The fabric constructed with this method resembles woven strips, although in reality the material is one piece.  I had played with entrelac many years ago and decided I hated it and would never do it as it was all about picking up stitches.  Not my thing.  However, when this class was offered I decided it was time to revisit the technique to see what I found so unappealing. 

Entrelac knitting

Turns out that, with the right kind of yarn and a little encouragement, it's FUN!  The yarn makes a huge difference.  I am using the yarn Gina made by Plymouth Yarn.  This is a scarf pattern which I think is a great way to get used to the rhythm of the structure as I knit.  The method can be used for anything, from hats to socks, but attention has to be paid to the fact that there is no "give" to the fabric.  It is hard for me to think that socks knit in entrelac would be comfortable.  I think hats would have to be exactly fitting.   The scarf feels rather sturdy right now but I have great confidence in the softening factor of washing and blocking when finished.   Which probably won't take me long as it is a slightly addicting sort of knit.  Watching the colors change and seeing the blocks form is quite intriguing.

Hoping it will fit all her hair!

I did find time to finish Alice's hat.  The lining is very nice.  Probably not necessary only she will be up near the Canadian border the next time we have winter and will be glad of an extra layer around her ears when the north wind starts howling.

Socks for someone with small feet

The socks are coming along nicely.  They are just straight knitting, nothing fancy.  Used the basic pattern and construction from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.  Her methodology appeals to me for some reason and I find that I turn to her book often when I do socks.

The non winter continues.  Although the ground is still frozen and a layer of ice lurks under the mud, spring is trying to force its way in.  The birds sing like winter is over, the sugar makers are boiling and the temperatures stay above freezing during the day.  Nonetheless, we are having our winter picnic this weekend in Cropseyville where we hope to find at least one pile of snow in the woods.  The menu will be the same as always--brats, beer and s'mores.  Well, except for some who will not have beer.  Let's hope it doesn't rain!

Last year's picnic

This year we will have a new member at our picnic.  Little Miss T is changing and growing so fast.  Can't wait to see her again.  I wonder if her Mommy and Daddy will let her have a s'more? 

With great Aunt Katy

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Family Fun

There was a time when my parents lived in Pennsylvania.  The house they bought came with many interesting things.  Among these was the board game Michigan Kitty.  It was a very old board with the instructions still with it, a card game of chance involving poker chips and lots of anxious waiting for the right card to be played.  We loved it.  Mostly because it required no thought at all, so if we happened to be consuming drinks that dulled our thinking process we could still play.   My brother and I really took to it.  It was so much fun to play that at one point I even painted the board onto a round patio table (the kind with an umbrella in the middle) so we could play out by the pool. 

Source of hours of fun

The parents moved again after that, always bringing the old board with them.  Another generation learned how to play.  Then, one time when my brother was up, we couldn't find the board.  I assumed it was at my house, as my children loved to play it, and it would have been natural for them to bring it home.  But it wasn't here.  Nor did my mother seem to know what happened to it.  Later on, when we had to clean out the house to put it on the market, my brother was sure we would find it stuck away someplace.  We didn't.  At that point I think we both decided to find a board for ourselves.

And we did--although his is a different edition, the game is the same.  Mine is like our lost one.  Needing to celebrate,  I invited the girls and their attendant families to a lunch and a Michigan Kitty day.  It was great.

Demonstrating chip placement

The star of the show was Miss T., now a whopping 11 pounds of adorableness.  We all took turns holding her and spending inordinate amounts of time watching her sleep.  Cousins and grampa included.

Happy baby

It was such fun to have the family together.  It makes us miss the Wisconsin couple.  We definitely will be playing a game or two with them when next they come east.

Meanwhile, back to the knitting needles.  I finished the two pairs of lace and ruffle fingerless gloves for the woman who requested them.  The one pair has a definite ruffle, the other more of a "ruff" so that she can choose which ever one comes closest to whatever she had envisioned.

Two pair of lace and ruffles

Also finished adding six inches to Annie's sweater.  Now am working on a hat for Alice which is to replace one I made years ago that I had lined with polar fleece.  This one is being worked from the top down with two stitch cabling to give it texture.  The polar fleece will line only the ear area.  The yarn is alpaca plied with merino/silk which has lots of colors in it.  Should go with everything.

Top down construction

Working from the top down allows me to make sure it will cover her ears before I start the ribbing.  My fault in the past has been to make hats too shallow when I start from the brim and work up.  

I also promised socks to her Mum, which I am excited to do because she has such small feet!  She also wants them out of thin yarn which means I get to knit on size ones or zero needles and I haven't done that for a while.  And I get to buy sock yarn.  My favorite yarn to buy!

It is pouring rain again.  It started with snow, turned to sleet and by the time we awoke was rain.  The temperature is at 32 degrees, holding steady.  I had hoped it would warm up so that I would feel comfortable driving, but at this rate I think I will just stay home and work on my projects. 

Rosa is being a good dog and is sleeping away the rainy morning.  She is really settling in now.  Since this last outburst when she was left at home and didn't want to be, she hasn't had another.

The guilty party

Which is good, as she doesn't have a bed anymore.  I put a towel in the empty bed cover and if she gets wild she shakes that.  But no more bed to shred.  I am looking forward to taking her to obedience class.  She is really a smart dog.  It will be fun to train her.

Right!  Enough talk.  I am off to do really important things.  Like make more coffee!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Ice on snow

With ice on snow keeping me indoors for the day,  it seems as if it is as good a day as any to get back on track with my writing.  It also is a memorial day for me--two years ago this day my mom slipped her earthly bonds and tired body to wing her way to heaven to be with her Lord.  It was icy that day, also.

The past year was one of all the ups and downs that are easier when spread over time.  They weren't.  We managed to cram in my father's coming to live with us, dying, emptying his house, putting said house on the market,  going to Wisconsin for a wonderful, joyful wedding,  having an East Coast reception for the newlyweds, getting a dog, losing three chickens to predators, gaining a brand new baby granddaughter on Christmas Eve, and many more of the usual life things that one expects.

They do

Moving forward, I have closed my Etsy shop and let my trade name lapse.  It was a five  year run in which time I found out that I really am not a business person.  I really don't like to have to make things just to sell them.  It's time for me to get back to making things that I want to make for the sake of the creating.  (After I get done with a pair of fingerless gloves that I am doing for a woman who is wanting lace with ruffles.)   Besides,  there are many baby things that need to be made.  Like these things.

Booties in alpaca

Cap and wrap around sweater

My new dog is Rosa.  She was a stray in South Carolina that got to a kill shelter from which she was rescued, fostered, and then finally trucked up to Vermont with 9 others so that I could adopt her.  I worked with Passion 4 Paws.  They are great.

Favorite thing to do--follow her nose

She is seemingly one of thousands that look just like her coming up this way.  Only about a year old, so full of energy.   The cats were not thrilled at having their home invaded by her, especially as she is still barking at them three months into living here.  Finnegan will actually sleep on the bed at night with her, which works until he gets off, then Rosa has to jump off too, in order to see where he is going.  O'Malley avoids her at all times.   She would chase everything that moves if she were not always on a leash when we are out.  Chickens!  She actually did chase them once when she escaped.  They have been living in a fenced in area since the bobcat (or fox) snatching.  They can only go out free ranging when Rosa is at doggie daycare or inside for the afternoon.

Now I must go and rinse my fleece.  Am working on one for Glo.   Projects on the needles include a pair of socks for myself, the lace fingerless gloves and an addition of several inches to a sweater for Annie. 

Nice to be back.  Hope you think so, too.