"Nuttin but knittin" - that says it all, with an occasional deviation into the real world.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Besides some finished objects, I have a few acquisitions to share in this post.  I doubt there will be a long line of folks wanting to join in on my new items, but just the same.....I want to share!

First off, remember these chairs?
 I don't actually, but I am told they were commonly found in church basements, schools, fair ground buildings, that sort of thing.  I've been wanting one for the last several months.  Whenever spied in antique shops or flea markets, they were either too rickety and unsafe to sit on, or else I felt they were over-priced (usually the first scenario).  Well, on the drive back from Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, we ran into a neighborhood flea-market.  It was fun to walk thru the vendors, a small gathering of locals.  There were two of these chairs, being sold by a very nice pair of sisters.  This little chair was sturdy and in very good shape, and the price was terrific - only $10.  So....loaded her in the back of my hubbys' pick-up and away we went.  A little bit of wood cleaner, and I am very happy with my little folding spinning chair.  Very happy!  :)

This past weekend, we went to Wisconsin.  Had a great time - shopping, cheese tasting, museum visiting, fiber mill visiting, bargain diving at Duluth Trading Co. Outlet, touring a craft brewery...we crammed in a lot in a short time.  It was a nice little road trip.  We had been there a couple of years ago, and revisited some of our favorite locations.  First off was the Argyle Fiber Mill, where I picked up some nice wool/alpaca blends.  One skein has some llama in it also.  Fun yarns that will be knit in to uper-warm woolies!  I love her yarns.  Had a nice chat with the gal on duty at the mill that day too.
 Made a stop at The Cat and the Crow yarn shop, where a bought some miscellaneous tools and also this yarn:
So soft, and my colors...made better with a bit of tweed.  It's grey/brown.....not blue.  This may be a hitchiker if the yardage is correct.  I'm one of the few people who have never made that scarf.

And, stopped at a most delightful yarn shop in Dubuque, Iowa Yarn Soup.  The owner was just a delight.  I bought some miscellaneous this and thats - no yarn as such, but sure enjoyed the stop.  It's a relatively new shop - open only 2 years, but well worth a visit if you find yourself in the area.

October is a big birthday month around here - my hubbs, and also my daughter's are this month.  For my husband, I knit him a new pair of felted slippers, but have not felted them yet.  I need his feet present for frequent try-ons, and it's just not been convenient for us both yet.  I'm hoping they will shrink down to the correct size.  Felting is somewhat stressful for me.....never quite sure of the final results.
 They are knit out of double strands of Cascade 220.  My experience is that's a good felting wool.  Time will tell, I presume.

Another knitted gift was a pair of socks, in an Orange Opal yarn.  Orange is his favorite color, but I was a little apprehensive that they would be, well "TOO" orange.  But, he likes them (or it actually) as I had only one sock finished.
I worked on the 2nd sock on the way back and forth to Wisconsin this weekend.  Should be finished soon.  They are a pretty large sock - using the majority of two skeins of Opal, so I don't knit socks for him often.  He's worth it though.....

I finished these little mitts - will be gifted as soon as I can get to the post office. 

Fun knit, and I have plenty of yarn to make another pair - again to be gifted.  

Better hush for now.....fall is finally here.  It's been cold and getting colder around here.  All of my houseplants are back inside till spring, with the exception of the Christmas cacti.  I leave them out till after a very light frost, and then bring them in and within a week or so, they will be covered with buds.  Probably not the conventional or only way of getting them to bloom, but I accidentally discovered this method years ago, and it never seems to fail.  It looks like our first frost will be early this week.  I love cooler fall weather!

Monday, October 07, 2013

HELP - I need an intervention!

I'm caught in some sort of mitten madness here!!!  Is it an attention deficit disorder? The need for instant gratification?  Desire to use up bits and pieces of stash yarn?  Or perhaps a little bit of all of the above?  Whatever it is..... it continues!

The latest finished set are these:
The name of the pattern is "Secret Garden" by Kulabra.  Another test knit for her.  It's actually an update of one of her older patterns.  I used 2 skeins of stashed Knitpicks Palette. 

I am knitting a pair of Mystery mittens for the Rav group "I Make Mittens".  First clue is finished, and the 2nd clue should arrive in the morning.  I'm pretty excited about these, as I am using handspun, and not quite sure how they will turn out.  Chatter on the group's board has been fun also. 
Here are my finished cuffs.  While they look very mismatched at this stage, I'm confident that they will be fine once the colors are distributed amongst the total mittens.  Handspun is just so much fun to knit with!!!  Love it.

Speaking of handspun, I have been spinning some plain off-white fiber, with super results!  I first spun a supply for the mystery mittens, and then went to town on the rest of the fiber.  It's a bag that I purchased this spring at the Adel wool festival.  It was sold as "Brown Sheep Mill Ends", so the fiber content is not known to me.  I was not sure that it would spin up into nice yarn, but the price was right, and it felt nice to the touch.  I'm thrilled with the outcome. 
I have a total of 3 nice sized fingering weight yarns - great for my colorwork projects - which cost me a grand total of $9.90!  It's nice and soft and squishy..... love it! 

One more hand-covering project.  This time, not from stash, and not mittens actually.  Fingerless Mitts, rather, knit from a skein of MarigoldJen's Merino,Cashmere, Nylon blended fingering weight yarn.  I have a recipient in mind, hoping to finish them soon.
The pattern is a freebie found on Ravelry - "CanCans".  They are nicely shaped to the hand/wrist.  I did modify the pattern panel that runs down the front - more to the recipients liking than the original design.  Otherwise, I knit them per directions. 
The back shot shows the shaping a little better - also the "pops" of colors that are sprinkled all over the dark charcoal background.  The upper photo is more the true color - they read more black than blue in true life.  Fun project.  I finally broke down and have been watching "Breaking Bad" on Netflix.  I think this mitt was knit exclusively while watching that show.  It's pretty intense, but has sucked me right in as a fan! 

This weekend, the hubs and I hit the road for a little road trip up to Minnesota.  He's been housebound, and getting a little "buggy".  He recently had another surgical procedure on his shoulder.  Third operation in as many years.  Needless to say - we are hoping for the best this time.  We are vacationers in the fall, and these surgeries have put a damper on our travels.  Perhaps next year we will be able to wander further.  But for this past weekend, we went up to Big Island Rendevouz.  We have enjoyed this crazy festival several times..... this time was again a fun time.  Among the vendors, I found a potter, where I purchased this sheep mug. 

It's NOT mis-shapen.  The camera angle was bad.  Sorry. 

And, I'll end with post with a little grandmotherly bragging.  BG1 had his first school conference  last week.  His mom tells me that he's currently reading at an "E" level - achieving a "D" level is the goal by the completion of kindergarten.  I knew that he seems to have just taken off in the reading department - but this just solidified my suspicions.  I assumed he was brilliant ;) - now I know it's true!  (All you grandmums out there are smiling!!! ;) )

And BG2 - here's what happens in a month's time....
 Amazing!!  Slow down little girlie.......Grandma doesn't want to age so quickly...... 

We were discussing how fast the kids were growing up the other day, and speculating what we would all be doing in 10 years.  (BG1 with a learner's permit - behind the wheel of a car) that sort of thing - when BG1 asked if I would still be knitting.  One can only hope, my little man!  One can only hope...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Life is good.....

Almost two weeks have flown by.  Where do the days go? 

While in the midst of a nasty drought, we did manage to have a little rain the last couple of days - and some cooler temps.  While it's way too late to save any flowers or vegetation, it has cleared some of the allergens from the air.  Dogs suffer differently than people, in that they really don't get relief as quickly as we do.....after a few years even hard freezes don't have much affect on their discomfort.  Usually they will have symptoms nearly year-round.  We're not to that point with Sofee yet, but getting close.  But, with the recent rains, and the cooler temperatures, we plan/hope to open up our house soon.  We've had it battened down with AC on for months now.  Anything that can help her is worth a try.  I'm looking forward to some cool fresh air for good sleeping soon.

Along with being grandma, I've been knitting and spinning.  Last time I mentioned a pair of mittens that were finished, but I was not able to post a photo.  Well, here they are:

Last I checked, the pattern was still not up for sale, but it should be eventually.  Kulabra is her name.  I used Knitpicks Pallette - from deep stash.  Fun playing with all those colors (13 in all) and weaving in the ends wasn't even too much of a chore. 

I also recently finished a "Flip-top" pair of gloves.  Glittens, I call them. 

I've knit from this book before, and while I find the instructions somewhat "clumsy" for lack of a better word, the outcomes are always very much to my liking.  These are no exception.  They fit well,  and once they are finished I have a strange ability to forget how fiddly and frustrating the process was. 

Here's the book.  Tons of really pretty designs.  These were knit from offwhite Cascade Heritage and the blue is handspun.....hence the variation in the colors.

I've also done just a bit of spinning.  I spun an older braid of fiber from Crown Mountain Fiber Farm, who is no longer in business.  It had been in my stash bin for several years.  One of those Club shipments that really was a bit of a disappointment.  Also, it was Shetland, and I had always heard that Shetland was scratchy and not desirable.  So, when I decided to spin this fiber up, it was really just to spin something - not with the intention of producing a yarn that I would like.

So, I was shocked when I realized how nice this had spun up!  I failed to get a photo of the unspun fiber, but here are the bobbin:  It shows the color variations typical of CMF.  One end of the top was always lighter than the other end.  With this, I just broke the long (thin - almost pencil roving which was their normal put-ups) into three equal lengths and spun end to end.

It produced a nice color distribution, although there will be some lighter/darker areas in the finished project.

I plan to join in a mitten mystery KAL with the I Make Mittens Rav group starting Oct 1st.  I think I'll use this yarn paired with an off-white.  That is assuming the designer doesn't talk me out of it.  It's difficult choosing yarns/colors when you have no idea what the pattern is.  Hopefully these will work.

So, I will leave you with what is most exciting right now.  The Grands!  I am totally enjoying the new addition to our family.  She is doing quite well - up to 8lb 7oz now.   They are no longer having to wake her for night feedings, and my daughter tells me she slept 4.5hours straight last night.  She's a good baby, and we are ALL madly in love with her.  Not the least of her admirers is BG!  So, I will close with a photo of the two BG's.  Not an exceptionally good photo of the babe, but I couldn't resist that big brother grin!

Catch  ya later ..... enjoy life - whatever yours contains.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Oh My Goodness!!!

Has it really been THAT long since I've blogged.....  Lots of "new" things, and people, to tell you about!  Here goes....

Miss BG2 is here:
 She weighed in at 7LB, 11oz.  She was born Tuesday, September 3rd.  Everyone is home from the hospital and doing fine.  Well, mom and dad may be a little tired by now, but BG is a heavy sleeper.
We are all in love with her.  She's a very good little baby.  Lots of black hair....but prefers to keep it snuggled in her hat right now, so photos don't tell the story.  She's a good eater, and well....just perfect.  What more can I say???  :)

We had BG while the rest of the family was in the hospital, and enjoyed taking him back and forth to kindergarten, etc.  Amazing how fast he is growing up and maturing.  His reading skills are soaring..... so much fun to see the process.  He's pretty excited about this new family member, and his new role as big brother.  He tells me that she will laugh at him when she gets just a little bigger.  I think he intends on being the entertainer.  Why does that NOT surprise me!?!  LOL

I've been doing lots of knitting.  I've been knitting mittens for a designer Natasha, aka Kulabra.  I'm having fun delving into my stash yarns, producing some really pretty mittens.  The first two pair have already been gifted to friends.  The Poppy's may become my own.  Not sure.  And, I have one other pair that is complete, but not photographed yet.  They are equally pretty - another floral design. 

These were knit with blue opal sock yarn, and the off white is Cascade Heritage.  Not sure which side I like better.  Really pretty traditional design.  These went to my friend Paula.  She's not an experienced colorwork knitter, but will be giving it a try soon.  She'll do just fine.  

 These were knit out of Dale of Heilo Falk yarn.  It's a sport weight, so they came out heavier than my normal fingering weight mittens.  They have side thumbs, making them wearable with either side as the public side.  It's a toss-up as to which I like better.  My friend Janet owns these now.

These are the Poppie mittens that may very well become my own.  Love them!  Knit out of Knitpicks Palette.  Nothing special, but they bring memories of my grandfather's poppies.  He was always into growing pretty flowers.  Not sure I can part with these.  Do you see a picket fence on the palm side?  One of my knitting friends saw that, and now I do too.  The designer did not intend it, but likes it also.

And in comparison, these next mittens are not very exciting at all!  Just a few kid's mittens - my usual charity mittens that I feel driven to knit this time of year.  There should be more of these soon.  Perhaps I'll take a break from knitting test patterns.  She just has such pretty patterns, and given the opportunity, they are hard to pass up.  

The top two pairs are knit with double fingering weight.  A solid brown alpaca blend and a color gradient yarn - specifics unknown.  They are soft and should be very warm. 

These last two are knit with left-over handspuns.  Heavier yarns, so not held doubled.  

So....you can see, I'm indeed in a mitten mood.

Sofee is struggling with a very severe allergy season.  It's been so dry and hot here....we need a good rain to wash the air a bit.  On top of that, she had an adverse drug reaction to her rabies shot.  Poor little girl - her face swelled all up.  Her forehead and her muzzle were twice the normal size.  We had just gotten home from the vet when it occurred, and luckily it didn't take long to get her back there.  An injection of Benedryl, and 24 hours of oral doses brought her the relief that she needed.  I felt so sorry for her though.  :(  I always wish I could explain things to her.   

Granpa and I are going to watch BG and Miss BG2 tomorrow so momma and daddy can have a break.  Probably a nap will be in order.  It takes a village you know.....  Loving it!
Take care.  Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later.  k

Sunday, August 11, 2013

And now, introducing:

Willameina! (aka Willa)

Winston and she are great pals!
These dolls are just so much fun!  Somewhat addicting.  I've stopped (for now) but I'm sure I'm not done creating these guys.  It's just an amazingly written pattern.  They are totally seamless - needing seamed only in 3 places - crotch and underarms - very small seams.  The challenge is getting them stuffed solidly enough so that their neck is rigid.  Especially for those of us that like to create masses of hair - it makes for head-heavy dolls.  There are lots of fun clothes patterns in the book also.  Yes, I'm done for now.....done for now.....done for now..... 

Since I last posted, I also finished several other items, although not as much fun.

A pair of PlainJane socks - for me.  These are knit out of Opal, in one of the "sweet and Spicy" colorways.  As always - Opal can't be beat, for fun and durability.  At least IMO. 

I dug into my deep stash to find some worsted weight yarn - handspun that has been around since 2009.  Some of my first spinning results, combined with some scraps of other handspun went into these mittens: 
This is a pattern by SpillyJane, called "Anna's Mittens".  This pattern has been in waiting since 2009 also.  August's challenge with the "I Make Mittens" Rav group was to knit a spillyjane pattern, so FINALLY these were knit up.  I rarely knit with worsted weight yarn, but this was a quick and fun project. 

A little more challenging was this pattern, "Rowan" by designer Natalia Moreva of Kulabra designs.  
(I like the palm side almost as much as the front.)  I knit this as a "test" for her, although I'd call it more a sample knitting.  The pattern was perfect, and I just knit it up and sent her photos.  It was a joy to knit, and they fit me perfectly.  I knit them out of Knitpicks Palette that again was deep stash, so 4 days of "free" entertainment.  Sigh..... retirement bliss!  LOL.   While I don't think this pattern is available for purchase yet, she has some gorgeous patterns that are.  I plan to purchase several.  Normally I don't care for the peasant thumb construction, but she allows enough room for adequate movement of the thumbs. I really hope that I can knit more "tests" for her.

My local curves closed down.  Here yesterday - gone today.  Literally!  Enough said.  Grrrrrrr.  I was probably in a rut anyway, and a change was past due, but I was a little unhappy with how it was handled by the owner of the location.  But, EnoughSaid!

So, I scurried around finding resources in my area for a regular exercise program.  While I was totally willing, and expected to pay for such, I discovered several free offerings.  One gem is offered at our local senior citizen center.  There is a personal trainer that comes 3x a week, and teaches an hour long class.  Yes....an oldie class.  But, I AM an oldie, so say no more!  Anyway, it's so much fun....and a real workout!  She's terrific in that she assesses all of our physical abilities and pushes us.....just enough!  I have been going for 3 weeks now, and I must admit that I look forward to it - immensely.  I'm exhausted, hot and sweaty when I'm done, but it feels so good, and is so much fun!  Meeting lots of nice people too - which is another plus.  Makes me feel just a little less guilty when I sit on my bottom and knit, knit, knit......  I can live with guilt though, if need be.  

We had BG for a sleep-over this weekend.  (I always called him my personal trainer, if you will remember.  He kept Granma moving!!!)  We saw the new Disney movie "Planes".  Grandpa liked it especially, I think.  The old-man, retired, beat-up military airplane was a bit of a hero in the end.  :)  Following that was dinner at Perkins (BG's favorite restaurant - free cookie for kids marketing is priceless).  I heard quite a few details about kindergarten.  I don't think I'll ever forget how much his face brightened with enthusiasm when he told me he was "Table-Leader" for his table.  I'm not exactly sure what that duty entails, but it comes with a huge dose of excitement!!! 

The Iowa State Fair started last Thursday.  BG's school - the entire school K-5th grade went for a field trip.  I can't imagine taking a bunch of kids to the fair!  But, they had a great time, apparently.  At least I know one kindergartener that did.  I went with a friend, staying several hours less than the kids did, and we were exhausted.  There is just "something" about walking around the fair that produces a certain type of exhaustion.  My friend calls it "museum walk" - and she may be right.  It's such a slow gait.  Both of us walk a lot and are in fairly good shape for "ladies of a certain age" - but we were so ready to come home! 

Speaking of the fair, it's now day 4, and so signs of allergies for Sofee.  I'm not sure what's going on.  Ragweed pollens are very high according to the local news.  My daughter is suffering, and Sofee always shares the same "bad" days as my daughter has.  So......  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a small miracle to occur.  (Actually it would be a HUGE miracle to us).  She's been on some new Omega supplements for 7 months, and I've switched her to a fish based food, both on the suggestion of her vet.  But..... well, time will tell.  We've also had our AC on nonstop, and I'm not letting her go outside except to potty, which may also be helping.  But..... I'll keep you posted!

A little over 3 weeks from today, Miss BG2 will be born (if not before).  So, unless I pick up my blogging pace, the next blog post may very well contain baby news.  I can hardly wait!!!!!  

Hope you all have something to get enthusiastically excited about!  
Catch ya later - k

Saturday, July 27, 2013


He is a camera hog:
Totally enjoyed his photo-shoot.
He's knit with his undies intact.
One of the gals from knitting brought a couple of dolls she had knit to knit-night.  I was totally smitten.  She loaned me the book, and during the next week, I was obsessed with creating this guy.  The book is this one, by Arne and Carlos.
I have my own copy now, and plans of making more dolls in the near (as in this afternoon) future.  Such fun!  Yes....retirement allows for such nonsense!

Since I have Winston finished, I returned to a pair of socks, and also my Mystery mittens.  Both are finished, but the socks have yet to be blocked, so photos of them will come soon.  Here are the mittens.
 After all my doubts, I really do like them.  They look antique-ish, and old world museum-ish in a way.  They fit so very nicely.  And, I love the pattern.  This will be one that I'll make often - for gifts and such.  The designer gave several modifications for fit.  Great pattern!

Sofee is trying to take it easy - saving her energies so she can combat the allergens that will be bothering her in a couple weeks.
She has it down to a science!

And, I leave you with a parting photo.  School started this week for BG!

Have a great week - put everything you have into whatever you do!  k

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


First off, Thanks for all the birthday wishes for Sofee.  She was quite grateful for all the well wishes she received.  She's had a few big days, as we've been babysitting Herky, her half brother.  It's so much fun to watch the two of them....they are totally like little kids....competitive and jealous, yet they really do like each other at the same time.  FUN!

So, it's been almost 2 weeks since I posted any real knitting or spinning content on here.  There's been some major spinning going on.  This Tour De Fleece thing is fun, but I'm getting ready for it to be over!  Not sure, I may stage a flat tire tomorrow, and call it quits for this rider.  I'll see how I feel in the morning.

In the last post, I told of my attempts to separate a braid and divide the colors.   I hand-carded the fibers to blend the color, and spun those tufts of fiber. I am happy with the results.

150 yards
 250 yards
240 yards
525 yards (full braid of this color)

They are all traditional 3-ply yarns.  Tightly spun fingering weight.  I think I'll combine them into a shawl - perhaps this shawl. It calls for four colors, and I have adequate yardage.  We'll see.  It was a fun spinning project though.  Hopefully I'll find the right project.

While I am still working on the Mystery Mitten KAL, with somewhat shaky results....
The jury is out on these....  They fit, but, well, enough said.  Perhaps a miracle will happen and they will be ok when they are finished.  Not my best work, but no fault of the designer.  The pattern is great..... just poor color choices on my part.  Working blind is not always easy!

These, on the other hand, turned out much more to my liking.


I especially like the thumbs.  This is a great pattern, one that I have knit several times.  It's also FREE!  To be found on Knitty.  These were knit out of this handspun and an undyed fiber. 
I think this is my most favorite use of handspun in colorwork.  I love to see the color shifts.... fun to knit, and I think the finished items are interesting to look at, and unique.  Definitely not Walmart mittens.

Well, I think that gets things caught back up.  We had BG for an overnighter this weekend, and then drove him half way to Chicago to meet his parents.  They returned to Chicago to finish out a family vacation with him on board.  He loves Chicago!  He's especially fond of  "The Bean".  :)   It's amazing how all of a sudden, he is such a grown up boy, and not a preschooler anymore.  I can only imagine what kindergarten and a baby sister will do for his maturity level.  He's a good kid!

Currently, one of his favorite toys to play with at my house is a set of inexpensive Army Men.  So, we thought he might enjoy a trip to the local Camp Dodge Gold Star Museum.   He totally enjoyed himself! 
 Lots of vehicles to climb on, and
 And lots of imaginary missions to accomplish!
Inside the museum were lots of interactive displays.  (When he pushed the button, there was machine gun action from the fighter plan.) He had a great time!  Grandpa enjoyed it too.  ;)

Oh - and the garden.  It's going insane!  We've been giving summer squash and zuchinni away by the bagful!  To community centers, congregate meal centers, and food banks.  It's nice to have found outlets for the overflow of produce.  He planted no more than usual, it's just been the weather and adequate moisture.  Hopefully we'll have a good crop of tomatoes also.

And speaking of good crops:

This time our neighbor gave us a big bag of blueberries from his garden!  The same gent that shared his cherries.  (It tasted better than it looks)

Enjoy your days.....doing whatever makes you happy.  k