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O is for...



I have lived most of my life in America's Dairyland.  I can get you to a farm in almost any direction from my house in about five minutes.  Last week, from our back yard and with the wind "just right," we could detect "fertilizer" being spread on a farm somewhere -- it smelled like it was right next door!  There's even a small, working farm right across the road from where I work -- a hold-out from encroaching development -- and I often see cows in a little pasture there.

I've never lived on a farm.  My Grandma B grew up on a farm -- her dad gave up the railroad business when she was three and moved his young family from Iowa to a farm in central Wisconsin.  Grandpa B never lived on a farm, either, but his dad sure did.  Grandma K was also raised on a central Wisconsin farm; she and Grandpa even tried their hand at farming for a very short time after they were married.

The only "close" relation I knew who actually lived on a farm was Grandma K's youngest sister and her husband -- Great Uncle Al & Aunt Loretta.  Loretta was much younger than Grandma -- young enough to be the flower girl at Grandma's wedding -- so some of her kids are not much older than me, and some are even younger.  It was always a special treat when we'd stop by Al & Loretta's farm on our way home from visiting my mom's sisters.  As a little girl, I wasn't interested in outbuildings, but I did learn all about electric fences, bulls, barn kitties, and cow pies.  Once you step in a fresh cow pie, you'll never do it again.

Dsc08002It's a weird word, too -- outbuildings.  I was introduced to "outbuildings" (the noun) years ago when I set type (that's lingo -- it was actually done by computer, at a keyboard) for real estate and farm auction ads for the paper.  It was only after learning what they were called that I actually began to notice outbuildings, even though I'd seen them almost every day of my life.  They're everywhere!  Some farms have only a few, some have a half-dozen or more.  Sometimes they're all spread out or neatly arranged, other times they're willy-nilly or little tacked-in additions to each other.  Some are big, some are small, some are well cared for, others quite neglected or downright dilapidated.  They are machine sheds, pump houses, summer kitchens, outhouses, chicken coops and pig pens and stables.  I suppose it's a fascination with romantic country living, an appreciation for history and architecture -- and curiosity about function -- that keeps me looking.

Come Saturday Morning

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This is not what you want to see on a Saturday morning when you're hauling junk out on the driveway for a rummage sale.  The day before was a hundred million degrees, though, and I had said (numerous times) that I'd prefer rain to heat.  I got my wish.


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Get yer shot of cool here!  In a few short months, I'll be able to complain about the ice and snow and freezing temperatures instead of how I'm wilting in the heat and humidity.

I'm heading north today.  I never should have clicked on the weather link that Celia posted yesterday to check my weekend forecast!  Crazy thing is, it's going to be about 10 degrees hotter where I'm going than at home -- "north" usually means "cooler"!  It's a good thing I like my sister.  ; )

I do need a break, and I'm looking forward to it, but it's weird that I'm going alone.  I don't think I'll be posting or even checking email much.  Feel free to come back and get a shot of cool over the weekend whenever you need to.  ; )  I'll be back on Monday, for sure -- and hopefully, I'll have found the perfect "O."

Look at my baby

Dsc07959My baby tomato is almost all grown up!  It was just a little over a month ago that I spotted it, brand new on the vine, and yesterday I was thrilled to notice through the kitchen window that it was starting to turn RED!  This is the "Better Boy" variety and, I have to say, compared to the other pot that has "Big Boy," this one is definitely better -- a lot more fruit!  I can't tell you how excited I am that I'll soon be harvesting my first home-grown tomatoes.

I will have a nice, long stretch of time off around the Labor Day weekend, and DH and I are planning to (finally) build the loggia over the patio/deck -- and I'm getting excited.  The plans include built-in seating and planters.  Originally, the planters were going to be for things like pansies, petunias and morning glories, but now I'm thinking more along the lines of tomatoes, peppers and green beans!

I missed my WW weigh-in last week, so was kind of looking forward to this week.  I've not been particularly good, but not very bad, either -- I tried to keep a balance.  The mushroom & swiss burger I had at the diner last weekend meant a big ol' salad for supper on another night.  That burger was so good, I still salivate when I think about it (so worth it)!  I hardly felt deprived when I made my salad with organic greens, tomtoes, mushrooms, a good salad dressing -- there was such a wonderful, colorful variety of greens and they looked so good (seriously, a container is so much better than a bag).  Yum.  So, anyway, all the give-and-take resulted in another 2.4-pound loss (over two weeks) and I'm only about a half-pound from a total of 10.  That's a milestone I wouldn't mind passing by.  ; )

I finally located all my Sugar & Cream cotton last night, right under my nose, but not until after I looked in all sorts of drawers and bins and bags.  Sheesh, sometimes I wonder why I bother with trying to organize.  It's all going right back into the bag from Three Dog Designs, from whence it came during the organizing, so I can take it with me to my sister's this weekend, anyway.  I've begun to Log Cabin in a very random way -- perfect for road-trippin'.  Taking a cue from my very good friend (and because it's one of my favorite songs ever), Let the Good Times Roll!


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These were taken in panoramic fashion at around 4:45 yesterday, though the last was actually the first and the camera settings obviously different.  This is a big storm that traveled S/SE across the state.

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These were about 15 minutes later as I walked to my car.  Cool, huh?

I tinked and re-knitted and counted and tinked and over and over and back and forth with the little shoulder shawl last night and I didn't get anywhere.  Perhaps I just don't have the mind for it right now.  (Ya think?)  My stitch count is just not coming out right from row to row -- only one or two off, usually.  It's entirely possible that it has less to do with the knitting and more to do with the counting.  I'm tired, I'm stressed from this thing or that thing (or both those things and then some other things), and there's just a lot going on; I've been busier at work lately, too (that's a good thing, really).  From the comments, it's obvious that I'm not alone and concentration is in short supply everywhere.  I'll take the hints about putting it away for now -- it will definitely come out to play again when other demands are less.  (Please, let me live the dream.)  I will need something a LOT more mindless to take to my sister's.

By the numbers

Apparently, we have a two-timing cat -- Roxie again.  DH just called me to let me know she was at the back door this morning -- looking healthy -- after have been absent again for several days, just like two weeks ago.

DH had two cats when I met him -- they were kittens, they were sisters, they were black, they were named Daisy and Cutie.  They allowed us to feed them for 20 years and pretend that they were ours -- minus a few months each when they'd take off here and there to sow their wild oats, or whatever.  They were with us through the births of all three children and stuck with us through several moves -- one of them half-way across the country.  It's been several years since they died and we still miss them.  We always will, of course.

We were without a pet for a short time, but it wasn't long before DH and the girls "went to look" at a cat.  Famous last words, those; "We're only going to look."  Naturally, they came home with a cat -- a fluffy, orange cat that Katie dubbed "Cleo" -- she had the biggest, poofiest tail ever -- and she was both sweet and adorable.  We had her for a relatively short time, given the record of her predecessors; only a couple of years and she is the only cat we lost due to anything other than natural causes.  It was very sad and traumatic.  We still miss her, too.

Enter Scamp... or Roxie... I don't remember anymore which came first.  They, too, are littermates, but Scamp is a boy and Roxie is a girl.  We were only going to have one, you know, but they were from a litter of Maddy's best friend's cat and when there was a straggler from the litter -- that Maddy saw every freakin' day -- well, then there were two.  I think it was only a week between bringing home kitten #1 and kitten #2, but from the way they behaved, you'd have thought they'd never seen each other before, much less be related.

It was the fireworks between Scamp & Roxie that made me really hesitant about introducing a dog -- our first -- we resisted Maddy's pleas for many years.  For a beagle, Mickey is amazingly mellow and easy-going, though Scamp intimidates her to this day.  Scamp decides, in that transparent, nonchalant, "I'm just minding my own business -- what?" way that cats do, that the middle of the doorway between the kitchen and living room is the best place for a little lie-down -- knowing full well that Mickey will not pass.  All-in-all, it was and has been a piece of cake.

I thought we'd pay the price, then, when Duncan was introduced -- a second male.  We'd never had three cats before, never mind a dog, too!  Turns out, Mickey & Duncan were practically best friends from the start; Roxie had a harder time with Duncan than Scamp; and while Scamp & Duncan scuffle on a regular basis, it reminds me a lot of Mufasa and Simba in The Lion King.

I didn't really mean to write the history of our pets -- I didn't mention the various fish and rodents, so it's not even complete -- but the phone call about Roxie prompted that.  I've been anxious and worried about her.  When DH and the kids asked what I was worried about, I said that I was worried that she missed us.  ; )  She is experienced in the ways of the world and we couldn't be better situated in terms of romping and stomping, but I do worry about them being trapped in someone's shed or basement or garage.  I think that is what happened when Duncan went missing a while back -- he was skin and bone when he returned, obviously cut off from any food source.

Dsc07363_2More on the weekend's numbers, along with a random pic of two girls and one of many decorated cows from our trip to Madison last month.  This cow was decorated with maps and I found an area where I once lived.  I got a lot done this weekend, the highlights:

Dsc07362One very large "work" table removed from the playroom (though no one has played there in years, it will forever be "the playroom").

Two original Skydancers and their launchers found (the four pieces were not all found in the same place).

Hundreds -- no thousands -- no millions -- of Legos unearthed, including Ali's train.  ; )

Six baby balloon flowers discovered!  There's the original, growing cluster of balloon flowers that I've had for a few years now, and yesterday I discovered tiny little babies -- I counted at least six small, single stems, each with a balloon bud at the top.  Adorable!

One daughter, the last, signed up for driver's ed.  Whoa, Nelly!

Countless stitches tinked, ripped, frogged, counted, re-knit, counted, tinked, frogged, counted, re-knit, tinked... sensing a pattern?  I am no further this morning than I was at the beginning of the weekend.  I nearly tossed the Victorian Shoulderette aside in favor of something else, but there's nothing on the needles that I favor more at the moment.  Must.concentrate.

Saturday night's all right

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The first two were taken early this afternoon; the last one was this evening from the grocery store parking lot.  The sky was pretty dramatic all day with storms all around.  I saw a few raindrops, but that's all.

I've been working on the Victorian Shoulderette -- tinking, then ripping, then getting it back on the needles, knitting a row, I think.  I'll be tinking some more; hopefully not ripping.  My stitch count is off and I'll have to wait 'til tomorrow for my eyes to uncross.

Sweet dreams


I dreamt of alpaca last night; here it is in early morning light -- a dream come true.  ; )  It's celebratory handspun, part of a gift from Down Under sent by Yarnivorous Lynne a few months ago in commemoration of a year smoke-free.  I've actually had in mind a Smoke Ring for this yarn -- more about that one day soon -- but I think it is going to be good as the Victorian Shoulderette -- with the added feature of edge-of-your-seat suspense (that some of us go for in this "relaxing" hobby of knitting) because the yardage may be just a wee bit short.  That's a worry for another day -- if it even develops at all -- and I have some ideas if it does.  No (real) worries.  ; }  I have never knit with handspun before -- oooooh, this is nice!  I'm not buying spindles or wheels or talking about "whorls" or "top," yet (is that right?  I think that's spinning talk...), but it's nice!  I knit 25 rows of the little shawl last night and I love everything -- love the yarn, love the pattern, love the stitch markers, love that I'm doing it on straight needles instead of circs (for the time being, anyway).  Is there a Sivia Harding Fan Club?  Sign me up...

Dsc07777It gets better.  Along with the above-mentioned alpaca (in-the-hank on the left) Lynne sent more handspun.  OMG, this stuff is so soft -- this could turn my head to spinning.  Heh.  I am planning to make a scarf with it -- I want it close to my face -- though I haven't decided on a pattern.

I have no big plans for the weekend -- there will be nicer, cooler weather for the farmers' markets tomorrow, thankfully, maybe I'll do some gardening/yard work.  It might even be nice enough for working with a wool cardigan, in which case Fib may see the light of day.  Next weekend I'll be selling some junk stuff at my sister's huge rummage sale, so I'll be continuing to ready for that.  It would be nice to find time to visit the girls at Yellow Dog Knitting again during that trip -- maybe Thursday morning-ish.  (Their site appears to be down at the moment, but that link should work eventually.)

Sleeping through the night

It's a good thing -- and not just for babies and their parents.  That's not to say that I didn't get up to go to the bathroom, that doesn't really count IMHO -- I've had three kids and it's been hotter 'n hell and I've been drinking a LOT of fluids, so when's the last time I did NOT get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, that's the question -- well, anyway, it's all a matter of timing...  I must have awakened way too early or way too late to worry about anybody else's alarm going off last night/this very early morning!

I'm thinking of taking a Red Paperclip clue, and bartering my way from, say, a Red Heart afghan pamphlet to Aran Knitting.  Obviously, stranger things have happened.  ; )

Dsc05737_2It was hot, I was cranky, the night got away from me and my living room was full of young people last night -- which is fine, but that displaces me -- so after I hunted down the fiber that I wanted -- I couldn't find it because, you know, I cleaned and organized recently -- I sat in the computer room, updated my iTunes software, listened to a couple of podcasts (I am woefully behind on those, let me tell ya, and they keep multiplying anyway), and cast on for the Victorian Shoulderette.  This yarn was my #1 choice -- baby alpaca, a gift from my secret pal Jessica last October -- even though I knew it wasn't anything like sportweight or fingering.  I just love this yarn and it's got to be something soon, but it won't be the Shoulderette; it's going to have to be something lacier.  It only took two tries to get it through my head (second time with the seldom used cable cast-on, much better than the first).  So then I started to wonder about lace patterns and did some surfing.  ACK!  It's so easy to veer off course!

Tonight, I will put away the laceweight -- but not too well or too far away -- and will search the stash for more suitable sportweight or fingering yarn.  I know there's some in there.

You are very sleepy...

Oh, was my ass dragging yesterday afternoon!  Every ounce of energy went towards keeping my eyelids open and eyeballs focused.  I had to pick Katie up after work, but also had to wait for a few minutes, so she took my order and I enjoyed a Mocha Frappuccino Light caffeine/cool fix (my second in as many days) (I roughly figure about 2 points per WW) and knit a few rounds on my Trekking sock.  I missed my WW weigh-in last night, but hopped on the scale at home this morning and, depending on its location on the floor, I may have lost 6 pounds or I may have lost 4.2 or I may have lost...  I'm gonna call it a loss and be happy.

The Barista Sisters were both out the door before me this morning!  I go to work early by most standards (I am at my desk by 6:45 a.m.) and my daughters like to sleep in, so this is BIG.  ; )  There was a family emergency where Ali works, so she's opening/working the next three days instead of having them off, as she'd thought.  And that's okay; plans for the days off changed, anyway.  Katie had to open today, too, but hers is earlier -- she had to BE there at 5:00 -- that translates to a 3:30 alarm -- that's A.M.  And, wouldn't you know, I got up to go to the bathroom at 3:15... Maddy'd left every light on in her wake, so I went downstairs... it was 3:22 and Katie wasn't up yet... but would be soon... I knew I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep, knowing that she'd be up within minutes... wondering if I'd hear her... needing to make sure she got up... so I waited.  I decided to check my email, read a couple of blogs -- I read them very closely, too, since I didn't even have my glasses on!

Yeah.  It didn't help to wait.  I still didn't really fall back asleep before my own alarm went off -- I tossed and dozed and hit snooze a few times so I could do it some more.  Watch for more ass-dragging this afternoon.

I forgot to make special mention of my new camera lens cap cord, visible in yesterday's "kaleidoscope" photo.  I'd been using plain old, knotted string and, while very serviceable, it left me wide open to ridicule and I finally had enough!  I made the new one myself, using these instructions for Twisted Cord.  I've been wanting to try this, with the finishing of Fibonacci in mind (for use in making frog closure or using as trim), and it was very easy to do, but not quite right for Fib.  (I just had to try.)  I have made myself a little cheat sheet from various sources for making Applied I-Cord and found some yarn to use for seaming and I've tucked it all into the Fib project box, and it means that I'm moving ever closer.  My enthusiasm for other projects is waning, but definitely ramping up again for this one!

I'm also excited about Sivia Harding's Victorian Shoulderette -- I ordered it on Friday and it was in my mailbox yesterday, nothing to complain about there!  Three suitable yarns come immediately to mind... four, maybe five... I'll have to look.  I found the appropriate circular needle and put it on the table by my chair this morning.  I'll bet this is fairly quick to knit -- and it's so pretty!

* * * * * *

Yesterday, Chelle asked, "What's helped?"  To what do I attribute the success in quitting smoking?  I couldn't really come up with an answer right away, and I thought about it a lot yesterday.

I had a long talk with a friend last night -- she went to her first AA meeting in years yesterday morning.  A lot of things have led her to this point, including family pressure, and we've talked frequently all along.  She used to feel guilty if she smoked while we talked on the phone.  ; )  She's been with me the whole way and we've talked a lot about the planning and preparation, why I smoked and why I miss it, why I don't give in -- even when, so many times in the last several months, almost anyone would have "understood."  Different addictions with many similarities.  She cried when I admitted that one thing that's helped is that I don't want to disappoint anyone -- and that the people I'm most worried about aren't necessarily the ones you'd think.  I'm most worried about Ann, who I'd never even met when I decided to throw my hat in her quit ring; all those people who were so supportive last year -- Cara with her Care Package of straws and gum sunflower seeds and DumDums (which I shared with Ann); they're Sarah and Lynne and Yvette who make tears spring to my eyes when I think of their thoughtfulness and encouragement.  They're people who, for the most part, were or continue to be strangers except by blogging.  They're not my husband or my mother or my kids... not those three kids who pleaded with me daily, for years, to quit smoking.  It's not them.  My friend was SO relieved -- she thought she was weird or warped for worrying more about disappointing strangers than her own family and friends!  It has to be that we know their love is unconditional -- sure, they'd get mad and maybe not talk to us for a while, but we know that they'd still love us and care for us -- always -- they'd eventually forgive us and come around.  And I guess, in the end, that helps, too.

Blah, blah, blah.  Thanks for reading.  ; )

Poised for take-off

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These feet were made for walkin' and pretty soon, that's just what they're gonna do!  We spent a good part of yesterday at the mall, escaping the heat -- there was plenty to keep my nephew busy, thereby keeping us (his mom, me, and our mom) busy, and one of his favorites was this arrangement of two empty clothing racks.  He really liked negotiating between the vertical poles, and must have liked the feel of the cool metal on his bare feet.  He's awfully close to walking, but he gets around just fine using the butt-scoot method, too, which allows him to keep both hands free; there he goes!

Dsc07902On Sunday afternoon, we checked out the recently renovated children's museum -- here we are checking out the duck-under kaleidoscope.  We're already talking annual passes for Mack and Nana -- there's plenty there to keep the little guy occupied for a few years.

Thank goodness for the cooler weather that came in overnight.  I was up at 2:00 a.m. (!), being among the first to wish Norma a happy birthday (go on... you can, too), and I turned off the A/C and fans and threw open the windows!  Please, please, please let the reasonable weather prevail for a bit and, even more, I hope that the night of insomnia was just one of those flukey, extremely rare ones for me.

I had Julia's number -- the Knitting Naturalist at Yarnmaven was the random pic for the extra back issue of IK; it'll be in the mail this week!  That's just the impetus I need to get a few other overdue packages in the mail, too.  It was nice to hear from so many people -- so many NEW-to-me people.  I haven't had a chance to get around yet, but I will, and I'll definitely do this again sometime, if I can!  Jody's doin' it with a different issue -- let her know by the end of the day, if it's one you might want/need!

Ann and my sister and I are Sweet Sixteen this week...  16 months smoke-free!  That's 9,744 (and counting) cigarettes NOT smoked, over $1,700.00 saved, and nearly 2-1/2 months of my lifetime saved.  Who's better than us today?  One thing I've done with some of the money "saved" this year is to give it away more frequently than I used to -- I'm feeling a little deja vu with today's tsunami news.

Free to a good home

Dsc07821Last month, I came home from a trip up north with an amazing haul of Interweave Knits back issues -- about a dozen issues dating from 1997.  I duplicated only one issue in my "collection" (it is now a collection) and I'd like to give it away.  Please be aware that it was a thrift store purchase and I know not where it came from originally; also, I don't smoke anymore, but I do have three cats and a dog, so there's a chance that there's a hair on it or in it somewhere.  You can see from the photo that there is a crease on the cover; otherwise, the magazine is in excellent condition and even still has all those annoying subscription cards (though they do make good bookmarks and that's what I used them for in my first copy).

Dsc07826If you only read magazines like this for the articles, then you'd be interested to know that the subject matter includes "Exploring Argyles" by Nancy Marchant (there is an accompanying argyle pullover pattern)' "Understanding Yarn: Singles, Plied Yarns, and Cabled Yarns" in the "Beyond the Basics" section; and "Crazy for Cuffs" was the staff project.  Among the staff then were Ann Budd, Melanie Falick, and Leigh Radford.

Patterns include (pictured) Retro Prep Cardigan & Pullover by Maggie Shepherd, Sleek Cabled Raglan by Shirley Paden, Curry Cabled Cardigan by Cathy Payson, and Olympic Pullover by Kathy Zimmerman.

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Not pictured:  HoJo Pullover, Box-Pleat Dress or Coat, Chrysalis Pullover, Cropped Tweedy Pullover, Funky Family Fair Isle, Peace and Love Pullovers, Tuscan Hills, Loopy Accessories, and Folk Art Rug -- and more -- by designers such as Fiona Ellis, Melissa Leapman, Fayla Reiss, Kristin Nicholas, Norah Gaughan and, of course, more.

Leave a comment if you're interested.  I have no idea, but if there's a whole bunch clamoring for this one issue, I'll employ a Random Number Generator, so let's say, let me know by end of business tomorrow (Monday).  Perhaps there will be room in the package for a little surprise.  ; )

I was pretty sure that this haul would have rounded out my "collection" nicely, leaving few holes.  In reality, I'm missing over a dozen issues!  I don't remember exactly when I subscribed -- must have been late '03 or early '04, since I have them all from that point -- but I'd make random newsstand purchases before then.  For the record, I'm missing all of 1996; Spring, Summer and Winter of 1997; Spring of 1998; Summer, Fall and Winter of 2000; Spring and Summer of 2001; and Summer of 2003.

It's hard not to feel blah-zay about the blog and everything else when it's 99 degrees in the shade, isn't it?  Mack's coming today, that'll be a good perk-me-up!

Hot, hot, hot!

Saturday20sky_2Dsc07808_1Today's installment of Saturday Sky is another cherry tomato sky -- this time, there's actually fruit on the vine!  One of my big plants -- the Better Boy, I think -- has already had one branch give way under weight of the fruit.  So far, I've been able to keep it supported.

We'll be heading to the market soon and should be seeing the season's first corn!  I think that's what we'll have for supper tonight along with left-over salmon (I like it cold) from last night.  I've been cooking salmon in our George Foreman-style grill; I don't have to use any added oil and I love how it turns out.  It's going to be HOT today -- seems like it's going to be hot almost everywhere today.

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Dsc07814With camera in-hand for the Saturday Sky picture, I walked around to the front of the house.  There are three pink hydrangeas in the front garden, but only two are doing anything this year.  Aren't they gorgeous?  I love that green with only a tinge of pink -- so light and fresh; I wish I could wear green!  Another thrill in that garden -- back for the third year in a row (or maybe even fourth!)  is the balloon flower -- there are about a half-dozen flowers in bloom right now and many, many "balloon" buds.  This is one of those plants that makes me shake my head in wonder every single year.

I completely finished Robot last night and, as predicted, Maddy was thrilled.  He really is adorable.

*gasp* It's all about knitting

Dsc07794I spent some time working on Maddy's Robot last night, finishing the seaming on the body.  I still have to seam the arms and attach them, then I can stuff and close and call it done -- hopefully yet today!  That'll make the girl happy.  I'll be signing her up soon for driver's ed soon (*gulp* my baby) and that will make her happy, too.  Ali's got Oddfellow riding shotgun, perhaps Maddy will have Robot...  Katie is saving big-time for a car (either a new Yaris or a used Impreza) and will have to choose a car toy, too.  ; )

Knitty.  I've been carrying around a little reminder-to-post/memo-to-self about the patterns for over a week and now that it's been misplaced, I'm ready.  Yeah.  I'm happy that this is the last of the "crazy" issues, but also happy with quite a few of the patterns -- and so happy for Amy.  My friend Cara, of course, had the Spin-Out article in the Knittyspin section of this issue -- "yeah, yeah, yeah," I know you've probably all read it by now, but she's amazing -- and a force -- so keep your eye on her.  Stand-out patterns, to me, are:

RPM -- Isn't that spiral thing cool?

Baudelaire -- I think this is my favorite pattern and -- look! -- Lynne's already started a pair!

Crosspatch -- I absolutely totally love this hat, and especially the colors that Elizabeth used for the model.

Swell -- I'm trying not to knit anything (much) for the holidays this year, but I think I know one person who would really appreciate a hat in a design like this.  Same for Lilies.

Manresa -- I like the practicality of these and the traditional design, as a woman of a certain age, though, legwarmers just conjure weird things in my head; these might help me finally let all that go.

I also like Sivia Harding's Reptilian Lace socks, but found myself clicking through to her website and ordering the pattern for the Victorian Shoulderette, which I like even more.  ; )  I have a number of perfect yarn candidates in stash for that, I would definitely wear that, and it'll get me doing a little lace.

While I'm at it, Magknits had some stand-outs, too.

It's not quite my style, but I think Wimbledon is a beautiful sweater.  Alison is an amazing knitter, designer, blogger, and knit-along hostess, not to mention mother.  When she combines a number of those things into one project, WOW (one of my all-time favorites)!

The Pixie Sundress is genius.  I don't have a girl to make this for, but I'm going to have to make it anyway.

Alexandra works wonders with a camisole, Ballet.

Bakerloo is another intriguing sock design.

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Here's progress on the two vests.  There's been a slight change in material for the one on the left due to a visit to the yarn shop.  I just got it in my head to go the other day and so I did.  Katie came along to Iris Fine Yarns where I found some Ella Rae Kasbah in color 301 that reminds me of a sandy beach is just fantastic with the Hemp Yarn -- they're both kind of rustic.  The Kasbah replaces the Imagine which wound up back in stash.  The vest on the right is complete and utter, random frivolousness.

They're ready for their close-ups.

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Vote for Carole (or Pedro or someone -- just get out and vote -- but my vote goes to Carole) -- she's a finalist in The Amazing Lace Poetry Challenge.

Chipn0ceA plug for Stacey's friend Dale who recently underwent a bone marrow transplant.  There's a fundraiser underway through August 2nd to help with expenses -- Chip-'n-for-Dale -- with fabulous daily prizes, too.

Coming up tomorrow:  Saturday Sky at 95 degrees.  HOT!

To everything there is a purpose... or a repurpose

By the time I got around to thinking about blogging yesterday, it was too late.  I tried to sign on twice without success, so moved on to other things... taking more photos of stuff on the clothesline!  I'm making much better use of the line this year.  ; )  These are two items -- a dishtowel and a sleeveless linen top -- that were originally something else.

The dishtowel is one of three that I have, and my sisters each have (or had) three of the same.  The original purpose of the fabric was as a tablecloth.  It was worn in spots and had a few stains and wasn't very pretty as a tablecloth anymore (or if ever, but that's debatable), but there was still a lot of life in most of the fabric -- and because it was a tablecloth, there was pretty good amount of it. We saw potential in the cotton/linen when it was purchased at a city-wide rummage sale in Kansas during a "Sister Weekend" when one of the aforementioned sisters still lived there.  We cut it up -- that and one other, I believe -- and hemmed it, and voila! something new. I had one on the line recently when a sister was here and she said, "You still have those?"  (See, even a lowly dishtowel-once-tablecloth can have a story and shared memories attached -- is it any wonder that I have a houseful of stuff?)

The sleeveless linen top originally hung from the hanger as a long-sleeved linen smock -- in a very unflattering XL or maybe even XXL.  It was a hand-me-down from Mom and I never quite understood how it looked so much better on a smaller her than a bit larger me.  It was quite similar in length and overall cut to a sleeveless linen top that I already owned and so, one day, I laid the purchased top atop the smock top and whacked off the sleeves along a similar line, then finished off the edges (none too neatly, I might add) with the sewing machine.  I have to say, it's one of my favorites this summer.  It has pockets!  (I just yanked off a button, though, and I'm not so good at getting to the mending)!

Purpose (function).

Repurpose (reuse, revise, restructure, repackage); also, a fun blog.

Katie recently took two vintage tablecloths I had no real purpose for and used one as a curtain on her closet door (looks great with the new, but vintage-looking window curtains she just bought).  She cut the other i two and made a skirt from the larger piece and a little hip-wrap thingy from the other.

Maddy took a few old LPs (ohmygod, we have more than few of those -- but also a turntable on which to play them and we do... sometimes) and brightly painted them on one side, affixed some artwork to the center and hung them on the wall in her room.

I can't think of anything specific at the moment, but I'm sure Alison has done something recently that's equally as clever, resourceful, and re-purposeful.

Seeing potential, or the potential for potential, or the promise of potential... well, these things also figure into the "houseful."  Every once in a while -- like now -- I just have to be ruthless and know that I might one day (maybe tomorrow, maybe next week) regret it but still just throw away the sorted, nested, neatly stacked drawerful of cottage cheese/margarine/whipped topping containers... and the lids... and the like.

Dsc07791When I came downstairs the other day with a shawl to frog, it wasn't what I'd intended to get when I went upstairs.  I must admit that I was entertaining thoughts about tearing apart a sweater that my husband recently gave me.  It's an okay sweater -- the cut's okay, the color's okay, the buttons are fun -- but I'm not really sure I'll wear it much because the sheepish look on DH's face when he gave it to me is about as close to WOOL (or anything natural) as that sweater gets.  It's not that I won't wear acrylic, it's that I pretty much can't.  You may as well wrap me in an electric blanket, turn it on HI, and then put me in a sauna.  How many admittedly soft-as-a-baby-butt robes has he bought me that I put on at the closet in our bedroom and tear off before I even hit the bottom step?  I end up rummaging them or thrifting them -- another one hit the box yesterday.  He was being sweet, thinking that perhaps I'd like a sweater ready-made for a change, but I'm going to have to reiterate that the fiber content label is the most important one.

Anyway, I dashed upstairs with a hank of yarn to check color coordination with the gift sweater and it just wasn't right.  Then I started to think about the other knitted items in my closet and drawers and that's when I came up with the close-but-not-perfect shawl -- the color was perfect and I decided to put that yarn to better use.  I have frogged and reclaimed yarn from knits before, but only if it was something I knit myself.  I have purchased sweaters with a thought for reclaiming, but have never done so.  I will un-make entire sweaters I've knit with my own two hands in order to not "waste" the money/yarn, but I will not un-make entire got-for-a-song sweaters in order to "save" money/yarn.  I guess, to me, the gamble is too great -- not knowing what you're actually going to end up with and frogging and skeining an entire sweater is hard work!  So far, the gift sweater's still intact and, I discovered yesterday, so it will remain -- the fabric has been cut and sewn and the yarn cannot be reclaimed.

It's my life


Every day is a "sky day," isn't it Sandy?  These were taken on Sunday afternoon, in the midst of a severe thunderstorm watch (nothing materialized in our immediate area).

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So dramatic and so gorgeous.

Ann asked, "What project do you have planned?"

I've been babbling, haven't I?  I know, it's a lot like Mitch Miller and his bouncing ball around here lately, except with the addition of hormones and teenagers and a missing pet.  Everything's fine now -- as of this morning -- and I should be used to it, as it happens from time-to-time, especially with indoor/outdoor cats -- but Roxie was missing all weekend and I've been working hard at staying on this side of frantic.  There's been a lot of talk about playing favorites in my midst recently (did anyone read the article about Siblings in Time?), and I must admit that Roxie is my favorite cat in many ways; just as is, in his own way, her sibling Scamp, and also Duncan.  (Mickey, of course, is my only favorite dog.)  I came downstairs to get my first cup of coffee this morning and DH, sitting in his chair, as usual, pointed to his lap.  Roxie was all curled up and I just had to go over and coo and pet and she purred (but didn't bat an eye) and, wow, that's a relief.  Also, Alison is home from her road trip to WV.  The hormones will just continue to be...

Heh.  So, anyway (the ball's back over here now), there was absolutely no planning.  This began as an exercise in sifting through and inventorying the stash with an eye toward the purging and letting go, which turned into contemplating a hank of this and a skein of that, mixed with a little Googling, resulting in a new downloaded pattern -- and there you go -- ultimately, there was casting on!  I just had to "swatch" after all that!!  More truthfully, it's a diversionary tactic linked to the procrastination thing about the purging project.  (Yeah, I purged like 3 balls of crap from the stash -- and I keep looking at it and wondering if "I'm sure.")  I've kind of stalled on the whole purging thing -- but I'll kick it into gear again!  I will.

And you may as well make it plural ("projects"), because TWO unplanned things started knitting themselves onto my needles over the weekend -- though I think of them as one.  They're the same, but different, like identical twins!  It's/they've kind of taken off on its/their own and I'm not sure how far I'll be going with it/them.

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They are both Jane Thornley's Road to Indigo Vest.  At left (the blue) is the Hemp Yarn and Imagine and I'm going to have to come up with another one or two yarns -- hopefully from stash.  At right (the green) is the Blue Heron, along with the yarn from the frogged shawl, some very skinny green cotton, some blue merino, some chenille.  That hemp version is very "me," the other one is not.  It's kind of loud and raucous and a little bright (though not quite as bright as it looks in the photo).  Katie said that I'd have to get a whole new wardrobe, though I don't think that's really true.  I have plenty of complementary neutrals and black.  ; )

What the friggin' hell, you know?

I don't know if I'd ever have done this without having knit the Fibonacci sweater first (yeah, I know, finish the damned thing!), and without having read about, thought about, and had a conversation about using a Random Number Generator with the knitting -- and also looking at every ball of yarn with a Log Cabin thought.  I actually generated some random numbers for the green vest, but quickly, and rather randomly, abandoned that idea for this project.


It was so cold here this morning, I could have worn socks and a sweater.  I believed the weatherman when he said the sun would come out and it'll warm up (it is).

Kersh_1I'd left the ball winder and swift set up on Saturday night, so yesterday morning I made a nice yarn cake out of that Blue Heron Cotton Seed.  I came up with scraps of this and that to use with it -- some green cotton, some blue wool, maybe some of the Blossom (either or both colors) and some of the chenille -- and, mostly, the yarn from this shawl which I completed last September.  I wore it several times last winter -- many times, actually -- but it never sat quite as nicely about the shoulders as the Simply Garter Shapely Shawlette.  I tried it on one last time yesterday and then, without batting an eye, I frogged it.  The color, "Pansy," is perfect with the "Summer Meadow."  As it turns out, I have plenty of yarn more suitable for shawls of this type and if this yarn can be put to better use, so be it.

Knit at Nightie

Dsc07252I'm wearing the nightgown at right today (really, it's a sleep-shirt, just a super-long, knit t-shirt) in celebration of an impromptu Pajama Day today!

Oh my goodness, now that I look at it, I must have had subconscious inspiration from Celia's PJ Day banner for my "N" post.  I have loved that banner forever and it always makes me smile! I didn't put two-and-two together 'til just now.

Being in my PJs, at least for a good portion of the day, will force me to stay here and focus.  I was not so good at the focus yesterday, easily distracted and swayed by those around me, not to mention washing and trimming berries, washing and trimming beans, blanching the beans and freezing a good portion of them, and various other domestic activities which did not include (but should have) laundry.

In the guise of weeding out the stash in readiness for my sister's big rummage sale (coming right up at the end of the month), I not only looked at my entire stash yesterday, I photographed it, too -- I did, at least, do THAT.  I even had to take a break to recharge the camera battery and recommence.  From an organizational standpoint, I wanted to attach a purpose (if not a project) to each and every ball of yarn I've got in stash -- and if I could not attach a purpose and/or project, it was supposedly ripe for the getting rid of.  I did not intend to attach NEW purpose or find NEW projects...

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The yarn on the left is Cotton Seed by Blue Heron Yarns, 450 yards in a color called "Summer Meadow."  I admired it every time I went into a local shop, but didn't know what I'd do with it and it was too expensive to just have as a pet.  When that local shop closed their doors and had a 50% off sale, though, well, "Hello pet."  Upon googling a certain combination of pertinent words, I found myself visiting the site of Jane Thornley where I immediately fell in love with all of these vests.  I must admit that I have begun a little journey down the Road to Indigo which, at the moment, has nothing to do with the Blue Heron Cotton Seed, but everything to do with this:

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This Hemp Yarn has been at the forefront of my brain for a long time.  It was a pal gift nearly a year ago from Jessica*.  When I mentioned knitting a market bag a few weeks ago, this was what I considered using.  Thank goodness I forgot it, though, because I really don't want to knit something like that out of this yarn -- I want something that I can wear!  My first reaction was to use the Cotton Seed and the Hemp Yarn for the vest, but the colors just aren't right.  Instead, I dove in and found this Classic Elite Imagine -- an impulse purchase at a shop around the corner from Katie's dorm at UW-SP (seems like ages ago already) originally intended for a shawl -- and it looks wonderful with the Hemp Yarn!  I need at least one or two other yarns to go along, though, and haven't quite come up with a combo from stash -- yet.

Dsc07741Meanwhile, that bit of chenille on the right would go well with the Cotton Seed, don't you think?  Oh, maybe even with the Hemp & Imagine...  And those two on the left might do well as accompaniment to the 400 yards of Great Adirondack Yarns "Cyclone" pictured at left.  And I have all that Noro Blossom...

When I pried the lids off the yarn bins yesterday, I was actually opening fresh, new, BIG cans of worms.

*Oh, do go visit Jessica to see the Interweave Knits Fall PreviewWow!  That's all I can say... except, also, that I can't wait for it to arrive in my mailbox.  ; )

Sunshine Saturday Sky Addendum

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Sky to the west of me, jokers to the east, here I am...

Dsc07689...stuck in the middle of a beautiful day!  Cancel my earlier prediction for hot and muggy -- it's absolutely gorgeous outside!  Clear and hot in the sun, but with the most wonderful breeze.  I so needed a day like this.

The sky was so interesting for about 5 minutes this morning while we were at the market and I'm so glad I brought the camera.

I treated myself to two hosta pots today, while Mom & Katie both went for flowers.  One of the pots actually has two plants, so BONUS for ME.  They are "Pathfinder," dark green with a green-speckled white center, that I intend to plant in a narrow strip along the walkway between the house and garage.  Huh, that's kind of like a path, so there you go.

In the "yum" department, there are more berries (rasp-, straw- & blue-), green beans and purple ones, too, an adorable pattypan squash, and some more zucchini; corn should be in abundance next week.



This installment of Saturday Sky is mostly leafy -- with geraniums.  I'd just watered the geranium and the tomato nearby (I keep forgetting about that darn thing) and the light through the trees was so pretty.  The sky this morning is clear and pale, pale blue; I think it's going to get hot and probably a little muggy.  I'm off early to the farmer's market.  Katie has to work at 10, so we're going early and we'll go out for breakfast, too.  I haven't done that in ages.  I am currently being fortified for the morning's activities by a mighty strong pot of coffee -- I wonder if I miscounted.

Happy day.


Dsc07657I'm a little robot, short and stout...

I've been thinking "Robot" but my mind's eye has been seeing "Squarey."  There's a big difference in their sizes, so I was a little surprised at how small this guy is!  This is by request from Maddy.  I started the sewing up last night -- holy cow, there's a lot of that!  The sides of the body, one side of the head, one leg, and one shoulder are done; I've also placed the eyes and embroidered the mouth.  And... I've knit my first-ever I-cord, two inches of it, for the antenna.

The I-cord made me think of Fibonacci -- not that I haven't been thinking of it (it's on my mind constantly) -- because I-cord is an option for a couple things, really... applied as an edging, possibly with gaps for buttonholes, or used to make a frog-type closure and button... it also made me ask DH about the household supply of drills and hooks because I still want to experiment a little with a twisted cord option, possibly with multiple colors...  Hmmm, can I-cord be knit with more than one color?

Dsc07237I've also been thinking about Trellis.  I have some seaming yet to do on that... didn't quite make it for Mack's birthday (but believe me, he didn't suffer in the birthday present department), so it'll be a Happy Late-Summer or Autumn present.  It ought to still fit him and I believe I have enough yarn that I can make a matching hat of some sort.  He definitely wears hats!

I'm still working on that second Trekking sock, and thinking about starting something new -- from stash -- maybe.  I have no business thinking about something new or buying yarn -- it's just an avoidance technique (see all of the above and then some).  What I really need is a kick in the pants.

At right, the aerial view of the back garden mentioned yesterday.

Katie got the job!  She gave notice at the grocery store last week already.  She'll be working at a very well known, international, almost synonymous with "coffee" coffee shop that's opening another location in our area -- that just happens to be about a half-mile from where I work!  I'll probably have to stop on occasion for a morning brewski from my other barrista daughter.  (The first one rarely works in the morning and, even if she does, I'm out the door much earlier than she is, anyway.)

Speaking of barristas, Ali is on her way to ...Almost heaven, West Virginia... this afternoon with two friends to visit another friend who is doing a theater internship.  A road trip!!  (Oh, that sounds like fun.)  They'll be seeing lots of theater this weekend!

Maddy has an adorable new hairstyle and color!  Ali cut it last night.  Maddy's not crazy about the color, but I, of course, love it, which means that she'll soon be changing it.

Of course.

H is for...

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Holly-HOOEY!  Dang, we've already done H!  My hydrangeas are doing so nicely this year, too!

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I think I was ripped off in the hollyhock department last year, but am very pleased with this year's display.  I know they're biennial...  I need to synchronize so I have a good year every year, you know?

Dsc07660So far, I've got a pale pink and a white blooming, and this one (coming up right in the middle of some other plant) looks promising, a darker pink.  Mom complained that she's got nothing but the very, very dark ones blooming this year and she doesn't like it.  I just bought a packet of seeds in that color because I do!  Go figure.

Who'd have guessed that nighties would get such a reaction?!  It's not like I was airin' my dirty laundry!!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the ABC-Along?  The minute Anne suggested it, I was in.  I might be tardy with a post on occasion, and I might put up a little complaint about how the difficulty of a particular letter, but I have taken the ABCs to heart this year and, truly, try to make each post/letter a reflection of me.  Hence, nightgowns -- on the clothesline, no less.  When it finally occurred to me that nightgown was going to be my N, I was giddy with excitement -- how to shoot, when, where...  It was a labor of love to gather them all together from drawers, baskets and hooks, haul them all downstairs, pin each one on the line...  I renewed acquaintance with some old forgotten ones, some that need mending, some that I just can't part with (even if they might not fit at the moment).  I think I overlooked only one altogether.  My delight in the project even allowed me to momentarily overcome my fear of heights as I crawled out of the sleeping porch window onto the back porch roof in order to take the "aerial" shots.  And then, because I was already there -- and I could (it might have been the rarefied air) -- I walked around to the other end of the porch and took a couple of pictures of the garden from there -- it's a walk-out basement on that side, so another story up (or down, depending on whether you're a cup half-full or -empty type of person), but I did it!  Believe me, I never got too close to the edge and was even down on hands and knees at times.  I get so lightheaded and woozy even at the thought of being up high sometimes that I feel like I'll just lose all function and control and just collapse.  Dsc07658Thankfully, not the case that day -- way back in May!  I've been so excited, waiting patiently for N's time to come.  I'm so pleased.  The comments (Ann, yours is going to tickle my funny bone for a long time to come!) are priceless.  Thanks for taking the time to share them with me.

At right, a preview of what's on tap tomorrow... KNITTING!

N is for...



I have a few.

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Dsc07253Almost all of them are cotton.  Some are new and some are very, very old.  I was wearing the one pictured at left while pregnant with Katie.  That's 21 years ago -- I don't know what that translates to in nightgown years.  It's a soft, old faithful, and I still wear it.

Apparently, I favor long and white, buttons and ruffles.  There are a few florals, some blue, a shocking pink!  Most of them are missing the tags because I have an annoyance with those irritating things that seems to only get worse.  Many of the sleeves are whacked off because I can't stand anything too tight around my wrists.  If it was easily accomplished, I simply removed the elastic, but most of the time, it required a whack job to make the thing wearable.

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I often spend a good deal of my day off or a Sunday morning in my nightgown.  Having no neighbors on the east side, none in back, and mostly hidden from view in the front, I can have coffee on the patio in my nightie or hang out the wash or pull weeds or water my tomatoes.

I suffer comparison to pioneer prairie girls gladly.  ; )

Cherry tomato sky


Saturday20sky_1There isn't any fruit on my cherry tomato yet; I've got it in a hanging basket at the south end of the back porch.  The sky has been gray on & off, sunny on & off -- chance for storms later.

We scored raspberries, strawberries and blueberries at the farmer's market this morning, as well as a nice bunch of baby carrots, and beagle bagels and other assorted baked treats of that nature.  I sense some sort of WW variation of shortcake for dessert tonight!

There was an antique shop on our morning route, too, and Katie found a small, kidney-shaped stand to use as a bedside table and another suitcase to add to the stack that's already serving as a stand in her room.  She's about half-way through the painting.  She was trying very hard to figure a way justify the purchase of a yellow formica & chrome kitchen table (with leaf and 6 chairs -- all in VERY good condition) -- too big to use as a nightstand, too hard to use as a bed -- it was right up her alley, though.  Someday...