Monday, March 31, 2008

Are you sure that is a good idea?

Well, Chan is looking for stories to entertain her, and she most specifically wants stories about “Someone talking you into something.” So I am going to give you the story of why it is not always a good thing to be talked into hunting for Easter eggs. (She is doing this as a contest for her Bloggiversary, but it ends tomorrow!)
We moved to Minnesota in the summer of 1999, and the following Easter was April 23rd, and was promising to be beautiful weather. I had talked to our kids a week or so before hand about egg hunting and was informed that they were getting a bit old for such things. Well, it was brought up a couple of days before Easter by Hubband and when they told him the same thing he was obviously disappointed. The conversation went something like this:
“Too old! But it is going to be beautiful weather! We have all this great space and trails to hide eggs on! So much better than having to hide them inside, or in a tiny yard! I was thinking it was going to be so much fun to hide the eggs in extra great places! TOO OLD??!!!
Children look at dad, look at each other, look at me (I just shrug my shoulders), look at each other again and say (with a wee bit of a sigh I think), “OK Dad. We'll do an egg hunt on the trails around the house.” So we decorate eggs the day before (we were planning on that part anyway), so that we will be already for the hiding part on Easter after lunch. After a family conference, it is decided that Hubband and DTY will go hide eggs and then others will go in search. Off goes the first contingent and a while, twenty minutes or so, they are back. The second wave heads out with DTY along, to help with the finding if needed. A while later the second wave returns with an egg count report. They never found one of the eggs at all, one of the eggs that had been up in the crotch of a tree was on the ground, and a couple of the eggs they did find were already partly eaten. Somehow they were beginning to be a bit dubious about this idea, but they were OK with the indulging the dad thing. After they had been back for about ten or fifteen minutes I heard someone say, “ I have a tick!” (I am still not sure which child it was). Then Hubband said something about having found one too while they were out hunting up the eggs. Well, they all decided it would be best to do a thorough tick-check. As I recall the lowest per person count was three or four and DTY came in with the highest count of ten or eleven.
They informed their dad that they would not be looking for Easter eggs on the trails in the future, no matter how hard he tried to convince them. Of course, if they had been home this year, they wouldn't have had to worry about ticks just yet. I am not sure about the partly eaten eggs though. I am certain that they would have had to wear gloves, hats, snow boots, and worry about the eggs freezing if they stayed out too long though!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ramblings in hopes of keeping someone interested

I was bit excited about making a Wee Tiny Sock, so yesterday I sat down to just “get started” and a bit under two hours later, I was all done and ready to stick it in the envelope, but I need to wait to know where I am to send it to! Today I decided it was so cool I made another one, a little bit shorter, as the first one was too long for the blocker.
Someone at Wednesday Night Knit Group keeps whining about how she has been burned in glass bead swaps, so she won't try knitting swaps. She also keeps being wowed at how well I have been treated in swaps; I just tell her knitters aren't like those slacker glass toads. I even gave her a chance to try one with a guarantee, but NOOOO....
Well, we all decided to have our own “Knit Nite Tiny Sock Swap” but still need to work out the details. Stuff like are we going to do an assigned “make one/get one” trade, or make several and then have socks from lots of friends. Leah joined us this week, she just moved here five weeks ago and we were happy to have her crash our party! She was knitting a very cute Opal Brazil Baby Sweater Set (in case anyone needs ideas for babies).
And in case anyone should think that I don't do anything besides knitting, TA DA!! Today I made a pyramid. It was pretty easy (unlike the last one I built, more on that later). I think it wouldn't have taken me as long as it did if I hadn't had help. Help inspecting the sewing machine as I cleaned the table off, help cutting out fabric, and help ironing; fortunately, no one got hurt in the process. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken other than the finished product, especially since at one point she was hanging off of the end of the ironing board by just a couple of claws on each of her front feet. I was having a hard time not laughing at her swinging in the air!This pyramid will live in our room, to keep the door from getting blasted open in the middle of the night by Someone dashing about. I also made some awesome Black Bean Sweet Potato Stew, but I guess most of you out there know I cook.... It is a very yummy vegetarian stew (aka thick soup). If anyone wants, I would be happy to post the recipe; just leave a comment.
So, about that other pyramid I made... (Did you think I either forgot or was just going to leave you hanging?) I am not sure how many of you out there have worked with clay so I will give a brief overview of how it was made. First off, I will say I am really glad I had my brother's help, because I needed the extra hands and suggestions! This is made from slabs of clay, which means they have been run through a roller; thank goodness I didn't have to do that part without the aid of tools. Then the slabs have to dry some, but not too much, and get decorated. That involved marking all the "brick lines," doing some glazing and texture, cutting windows, and attaching "dimensional bricks." I also had to cut the slabs into the base and sides according to the pattern I had drafted. I also had to cut the lid and make the supports for it to rest on.Then the really hard part of sticking the sides and base together without having them fall in on themselves (more than two hands were needed here, wet clay is really heavy!) and putting stuff inside to hold them up until it was completely dry and ready to do the first fire. Then there was more glazing to be done before the finial firing. This will give you a rough idea of how big it is; the base is about one foot square, which means it is also about a foot tall. I think it probably weighs somewhere between eight and ten pounds.

Anybody besides my immediate family, oldest brother, and probably my mom, want to guess what these are?
Hint: It is of one of my most favorite harbingers of spring. I know they look a bit gross today, but soon enough they will be cake, pie, and jam!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I stopped in at Super Target today. I have to say I was not expecting to see lunch trays for sale. Of course, I also don't remember having them in those colors as a kid.

DTE Relay update

I thought would post the date of DTE's RFL event in an easily accessible place, aka, here. She will be doing this on April 18-19. As I recall it is an overnight event.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Request from my DTE

I am posting this for DTE; she thought that this might be one of the fastest ways to get this info out to family. She, and some other members from her Pep Band are participating in her local American Cancer Society Relay For Life® event (If anyone else decides to pitch in, she won't turn it down.) Here is a copy of her information:

Dear Family and Friends,

I've decided to take action against cancer by participating in
the American Cancer Society Relay For Life® event right here in my
community. Relay For Life® is about celebration, remembrance, and
hope. By participating, I am honoring cancer survivors, paying tribute
to the lives we've lost to the disease, and raising money to help
fight it.

Please help support me in this important cause by making a donation.
It is faster and easier than ever to support me by making a secure,
tax-deductible donation online using the link below. If you would
prefer, you can send your contribution to the mailing address listed

Whatever you can give will help - it all adds up! I greatly appreciate
your support and will keep you posted on my progress.


To make a donation online, visit my personal page.

To send a donation, make all checks payable to:
American Cancer Society
Local ACS Office Street
Local ACS Office City, State, Zip

Pictures of finished stuff

Here are the "all felted up and in use" Hubband slippers. Well, they still need to have some stuff painted on the bottom to keep the, from being too slippery. That means I have to ask my information source what it is that I am looking for again.

Just in case you needed the other "scale" identifier, here she is. Perhaps not quite as cute of a picture as last time, but I am sure I will have more to put up in the future.

I did indeed finish my socks on Sunday afternoon. Well, upon wakeful inspection I discovered that knitting when you are falling asleep is not always the best choice. I am missing a few random purls in my seed stitch rib, but decided I wasn't going to go back and fix them. Of course, if they were for someone bedsides me, I would.

I even had some yarn leftover after my socks were all done. (For the record, I think the whole measuring process would work with a regular kitchen scale if one didn't have an electronic one like I do.)

I have also finished another face cloth for Posies & Lemon Drops, this one is a DW, but again in Cottontots.
Not much else on the knitting front, (other than that long question and answer session posted below), but I am guessing there will be in the not too distant future.

Windy nights

Last night I went to put Sadie out for her one last time before bed. I was confronted with this empty spot. I looked about and saw this out in the yard.

So I did the logical thing and went in the house to ask, "Hubband, did you give the dog house permission to go on vacation when you and Simon got back from your walk?"
"Umm, no. Why?
"Well, then it seems to have decided to run away from home."
So I grabbed the camera (of course!) and headed back out to get Sadie. Took pictures and put her in the garage. Then I went out to haul the dog house back where it belonged and the door blew shut. Normally not too big of a deal, but it turns out it was locked. So I head around to the front door to ring the bell, knowing I will need to ring it a bunch of times as Hubband will figure since I am downstairs and he is up, I'll get the door. Sensible thing to figure, if you even think it is a good idea to answer a doorbell at 11:30 at night on a road that gets less cars on it than you can count on two hands (and probably almost never any after ten pm). Apparently Hubband was trying to ask me who could be at our door at such a late hour and decided he should come look when he got no answer. Once I was back in the house I went to retrieve the camera and the girl dog from the garage.
So here it is, back where it belongs today. Good thing I caught it when I did, or we would have had to go a long ways down the hill to bring it home. (Wouldn't be the first time.) I wonder if it is going to be extra windy again tonight? If so, maybe we'll make the dog house come in the garage. Yeah, right.

Last call for coffee swap

Today is the last day to register and have your questionnaire up for the Spring Fling Coffee Swap. So once again you readers can chose to wade through this stuff at your own peril.

Spring Fling Coffee Swap Questionnaire

1. What is your preference? Whole beans or ground?
Usually whole bean, but ground for a French Press is a great thing!
2. What kind of coffees do you enjoy? A rich, bold roast; a light, fresh one, or something in between? Leaded or non?
Dark roast loaded with caffeine!
3. If you were headed out right now to buy some coffee for the house, what would you be picking up?
Either French Roast or Espresso.
4. Do you drink for caffeine, pleasure, or both?
Both. I love the full flavor of a dark coffee, but if I don't have caffeine in time, I will get a headache!
5. Do you enjoy flavored coffees? How about add-ins or flavored creamers?
No and not usually. I will drink it with nice hot frothy milk without flavoring, or iced with milk or half and half. Once in a rare while I will put a bit of real maple syrup or molasses in my coffee, or almond or vanilla syrup. But over 99% f the time I am drinking it "barefoot" (black).
6. A large, lovely mug or a small, dainty cup?
7. Describe your perfect cup - not JUST the coffee, but how you'd enjoy it!
Well, now that it is warming up and the snow is melting, I am looking forward to drinking coffee out on the deck with my knitting and enjoying my yard and the animals, both domestic and wild. That is about as close to perfection as it comes, at least until it is too hot and muggy. (Perfection also comes in the form of Hubband bringing me coffee in bed.)

8. You're sitting down to enjoy a nice cup in the local coffee shop, knitting bag in hand, iPod all tuned up - or maybe you're there with a few friends for knit night! What treat do you pick up to enjoy with your coffee? A sweet, rich brownie, or something more healthy? How about a salty treat? What goes best with that great cup and company?
Well, my Wednesday night knitting group meets at a coffee shop, so.... Some nights I love the yogurt with berries and granola, other nights I fall for the shortbread cookie.


1. Do you knit or crochet?

2. What are your favorite types of yarns to work with?
Soft, non-squeaky, pretty yarn.

3. What do you have on the needles (or hook!) right now?
A sock that has been giving me grief for months (it is going in for help soon), a dishcloth or two, a scarf, and a sweater. Well, that is what I can remember for now anyway!

4. What are your favorite colors in yarns? What about those that you'd never find in your stash?
As far as yarn goes, I am really open minded. I have soft quite ones, loud vibrant ones, solids, and mixes. I have an amazing amount of whites in a variety of different fibers, but those all have the potential of becoming something else after all. I cant think of anything that wouldn't ever be welcome in my stash. Doesn't always mean it would grow up to live in my wardrobe, but I am always happy to help something grow up to become self sufficient and independent from me!

5. What sort of needles or hooks do you enjoy using? Any you just detest?
I usually use bamboo circulars for most stuff. I tend to drop straight needles and have them roll away at the worst times. I have made all of my socks so far on double points and have been happy with those, but am thinking about learning Magic Loop and/or two circulars. (I am most always up for learning new stuff, especially when I get to choose what it is!)

6. Are there any particular notions you absolute do NOT need? Some of us swap a lot - are you sure that you have enough tape measures to last your lifetime? Enough stitch markers to mark every stitch of a 10 foot wide afghan?
At this point I think I have enough stitch markers for a while. I do keep looking for my tape measure though and it always seems to be in some other knitting bag than the one I have with me; same seems to go for fold-up scissors.

7. You walk into the yarn shop and have exactly and only enough money to purchase 2 skeins of yarn in their 2 for 20 special they have going..The choices are a soft, thick cotton/viscose blend in your favorite colors, slightly variegated..a beautiful sock yarn that's just squishy and sproingy in your hands.. a soft, worsted weight wool like malabrigo.. and a lovely bamboo blend with colors to just die for. Which do you walk out the door with?
As hard as the choice would be, I think I would go for the bamboo blend. I have sock yarn to last several (plus) pairs, several skeins of Malabrigo calling to me to help them grow already, and some cotton yarns hanging out. (Well maybe not cotton/viscose blend, I would have to go look...) I think I might only have one skein of bamboo and I am sure it is lonely and would love the company. (Good thing you didn't ask me about Maizy yarn, nobody in this town even sells it, so I would love to get some of that to try!)

1. We're starting sign-ups on the first day of Spring - is it already truly Spring-like where you are?
Well, sure, if spring includes fifty degrees to melt snow, then six plus inches of more snow, then melting, more snow, repeat, repeat.... Yep that would be spring around here. I was bulbs coming up in the garden on the first day of spring, and just a couple of days later, they were buried deep in white stuff. I am sure they are enjoying the sun today, and they had best, 'cause they are likely going to get more snow tomorrow night.
2. What's your favorite spring flower? Do you have one?
Daffodils are most excellent. They come in a lot of different varieties and the deer don't like to dig them up and eat them. (As opposed to the other 300 plus different bulbs I planted our first fall here.) I also like crocus and Lilly of the Valley. Just 'cause they are so determined to not let the snow and cold stop them from their goal in life.

3. What do you most look forward to about springtime?
Flowers, deciding what will go in the garden, baby animals about, the return of migrating birds.

4. They've predicted a gorgeous day tomorrow - Sunny and about 65 with a nice breeze - how do you spend your day?
With any luck having a picnic in the yard or on the deck for lunch. Knitting in the sunshine. Running the grill for dinner.

5. The day after, it's going to be cooler and pouring down rain - does that impact your mood? How do you spend that day? what helps cheer you up?
Impact my mood? Nah, that's just par for the course, it will change again soon enough I'm guessing. It is rain after all, not snow (though it could be). I would just spend the day inside, knitting, reading cooking. Or out and about, running errands that didn't get done the day before.

Odds n Ends

1. Do you collect anything BESIDES yarn and needles?
Well, sort of I guess. I have snowflake stuff, but I never intentionally set out to collect it, it just kind of grew. Books, lots of books.

2. Are you allergic to anything?
Cigarette smoke and strong perfume smells.

3. Do you have pets?
Two bassets and one kitten
4. Is this your first swap, or are you an old pro? What are the last 2 swaps you participated in?
Well, I guess I am turning into an "old pro." I have participated in Anne's last three dishcloth swaps and last coffee swap. I have also been in a tea swap and a few others (see side bar).

5. List 3 of your favorite blogs - craft related or not - and tell us why you love them.
Three! Only three?! OK, I'll try....
Shut Up, I'm Counting; just because Cass has a great way of trying to make everything have a positive spin, even in the face of adversity. (And she's got my back.)
Alabama Fiber Dreams because Jessi has inspired me in more ways than she knows.
A Year In Bread Baking. Bread. Pictures. Can it get any better? Talk about inspiration!

Monday, March 24, 2008

I once had a hat,

but it was allowed migrate north last week. Due to this migration, I don't have a hat anymore. Fortunately, it isn't as cold as it had been, but I am thinking I will need a new one for next winter. Said hat will probably migrate back south in May, but will move north again at the end of August. For a bird this would seem like a reverse migration pattern, but then, this hat is made out of warm, yummy wool.
I think I might have a little bit of time to decide on what yarn will become my new hat (until I fall down hard, once again, for a cute face). (No, that hat isn't the one that has migrated.)

It must be spring...

...despite the snow on the ground. The sun is shinning and our pair of Red Tail Hawks that live in the woods by our shed are busy picking twigs from the trees and flying back to the nest with them. Looks like they are thinking of having more babies! (Wonder if they are going to need any baby sweaters?)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Winnie The Pooh quiz

Well, other than the "follow the crowd and let others make the decisions," do any of you think it fits?

Which Pooh character are you?

You choose your friends wisely and even though they may be few in number, they are high in importance.You feel most comfortable when you can follow the crowd and let others make decisions. But that's not to say you can't make up your own mind if you need to.Faithful and true, Piglets make the best friends.
Take this quiz!

One way to spend a snowy couple of days

First you take a nice skein of yarn,
and then you wind it into two yarn cakes.


At that point you cast on for a sock. Then you knit some ribbing, and then for the sake of science, you do it all again on the other brand of needles you have "in the same size." After that ribbing is done, you keep knitting for the leg, and when that is done, you go back to the first set of needles and make another leg. If you start this on a snowy Friday afternoon, there might be stopping for the dinner fixing thing and sleep at some point, but only when you are so tired that you are having a hard time keeping your eyes open. Then on the snowy Saturday you finish the second leg and move on. From there you make a heel flap, and then a second one, turn a heel, and then another and make a gusset.

Then you get to make another gusset, and you are all ready to knit a foot or two. Once again you might be interrupted with the dinner cooking, and making a cherry pie for a friend; leaving you here, all ready to knit a couple of feet and toes. But I am certain there will be a finished pair of socks come bedtime on Sunday.

There was some admiring of glaring at the six plus inches of snow we have gotten since Friday morning. After all, Thursday at noon we could see the grass greening up in the yard and the beginnings of bulbs coming up in the garden.


OK, as most of my family knows, I don't usually get very excited about sports, but there are exceptions. The last time I got very excited was when the girls high school football team had an undefeated season. For the record, I never even saw a football game in my life until DTE was a sophmore in high school and in the marching band. Isn't really about the band?
Soccer? I have seen lots of soccer over the years of three kids playing from the time they were each four years old. Soccer I understand. I think Hubband got tired of trying to explain football to me even after several years of going to see the band.

Wee Tiny Sock Swap

Yarn Miracle has just opened up her annual "Wee Tiny Sock Swap." This is pretty easy, all you have to do is knit one (wee)tiny little sock (she even gives a pattern) and mail it off in an envelope. Fast, easy, and no SSS.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Frozen Four is down to "Frozen Two"

Bulldogs and Badgers will batle for NCAA Title Saturday at The DECC afer 3-2 UMD win over New Hampshire.

X of Minnesota Duluth (center) reacts after defeating New Hampshire 3-2 in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinal game at the DECC in Duluth Thursday. The Bulldogs will face the Badgers in the championship game Saturday. [Derek Montgomery/News Tribune]

DTE says
The team won in an AMAZING game. [There is a] Picture of us being excited about scoring.... not the greatest pic but oh well. Our girls are amazing. There was almost a whole minuet of us being down by two players. Our goalie is really good.

The girls and goalie being really good and amazing probably has somehing to do with them being ranked in the top four or so in the nation on a regular basis.

I thought the picture was just fine.

UMD pep band members DTE(from left) X, and Y cheer after Minnesota Duluth scored its first goal against New Hampshire during the NCAA Frozen Four Womens Ice Hockey National Championship semifinal game at the DECC in Duluth. [CLINT AUSTIN/NEWS TRIBUNE]

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wishing for a new tool

Have you ever wished someone would invent that cool new tool?

The one where they take one of

and combine it with this?

It looks to me like there is enough room in the ball winder to stuff a computer chip inside and space for a digital display on the base. Until someone markets such a thing, I will have to resort to a multi-stage approach to achieve what I need want.

This is the deal, someone gives you a nice skein of yarn and you just want to knit a pair of socks. That skein has to be wound into a ball first, and because you would like your socks to end up about the same size, it would be really nice if you knew when half of the yarn skein was in the ball.
What you do is wind the whole skein into one ball and then put it into a bowl on your scale (luckily the scale I have has a wonderful tare function for the bowl). Then you start to wind a second ball from the first.

You wind on past here,

and here,

until you get to here.

You end up with two balls of yarn to knit two socks the same size. A little extra step, but it works.

Except, I could have done without some of the help I got.

Maybe she'll get to stay in her room next time.

Life distractions

It has been a bit busy around the home front, but in a laid back kind of way. DTE came home late Saturday night for a shortened spring break. She had to leave this morning to get back to school, even though classes don't start back up until Monday. She needed to be back for Pep Band at Women's Frozen Four. If any of you out there follow Collegiate Women's Hockey, I am sure you have heard of this team more than once. If you have a favorite team that isn't UMD, you probably tremble a bit at the mention of Bulldogs. I will add that DTE is a bit disappointed to be going to nationals in the same town she spends most of her life in these days. She is hoping the team does a repeat next year and they'll be "Band in Boston."
Mostly we were busy hanging out together, cooking, watching a movie, etc. You know, weird family bonding things that distract me from writing a blog. I knew it would still be here after she left.
There was knitting involved while she was home (by me, she doesn't knit). I made her a DW facecloth, but it was not allowed to be photographed. Maybe its owner thought it was shy or something. I also made one for the kitchen, since the first one was claimed by Hubband. (I am not entirely sure what he is going to do with it besides look at it on top of his radio.) Once again, I am drawn to yellow and sage green. I am guessing the West Desert of my childhood isn't blooming yet, but the colors remind of what is to come.

I finished up the last of my Knit For Lent hats. I used red and blue held together until I ran out of the blue and had to finish up with just red. It wouldn't have been my first (or even second or third) choice of how a hat looked/turned out, but since part of what I wanted to do was use up some yarn that I didn't have other plans for, it worked out. Plus, if the yarn is used up, it won't be something I would choose again! All twelve of my hats have been squished into a box and mailed off. I do still have some yarn left, and since they collect hats through out the year, I probably will be knitting some more.
I also knit up the dishcloth pattern/yarn that I got as a prize for my Three Bags Full entry over at WhoDuKnit. Not that my entry was necessarily the best; the prizes are given as a "random draw" from all the entries in any given month. Though some months there aren't very many entries. (I didn't knit anything for the February book, but you can stop in over there if you want to see some one's knitted DNA.) For those of you wondering about it, WhoDuKnit is fun. Great book suggestions, a lot of them that I never would have heard of otherwise, fun swaps and contests, and it is run by a really great lady! It is always open to new members, so feel free to join us!

Oh, I guess you might want to see the dishcloth from another angle.....

Just reminder that since today is the first day of spring (according to the calender anyway), registrations for the Spring Fling Coffee (and yarn) Swap are open from now until the 25Th of March. Short window of opportunity but I am guessing there will be quite a few folks involved.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Homage to Jessi

Yesterday Hubband and I went for a car trip for the day. I am sure you all know this means knitting time! I took along the yarn and needles Jessi gave me a while back. I had decided to make the "Darrell Waltrip" dishcloth that I had seen on her blog. How could I not do something to keep with the Jessi theme? I have to say I agree with her about her about the whole Nascar part, but I also agree that it is a really great pattern.

I have a feeling this will soon be my second favorite/"go to" dishcloth pattern! It is a really fast and easy knit and it looks awesome! (Just in case you wanted a close-up of the stitches.)

Hubband's slipper's part 2

Hubband was very kind and took a few pictures of his slippers for me while I was out so that they would be ready to toss in the washer.

It would seem that Someone took a great interest in them.

Apperantly before they were all done, she decided his ankle needed a hug.