Lesson Learned?

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Well then. That was a long hiatus. The holidays happened.  The new year is here and we’re in the second month already. I was very busy knitting up a storm and completely aggravating my elbow tendinitis. I knew I was knitting too much. But I was so tired of not knitting, so I kept knitting. Now I’m not knitting again because, guess what? It hurts too much.  Lesson learned? I don’t know.  History says no.  In the mean time, I have lots to show you!

I finished three shawls that were each about 75% done but I had gotten distracted by other patterns.  They are all by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.  I really like her patterns and have joined The Shawl Society for the past two years.

The Amulet Shawl:

The Fairyhill Shawl:

And the Sprite’s Fen Shawl:

I also made a few things in order to schedule some classes to teach:

The Amy Shawl (the second commissioned one, for which the owner is letting me use it as a class sample!):

The Sugar Twist Cowl:

And my take on the Rick Rack Scarf:

I also started a mystery sock knit-a-long with Knitter’s Brewing Company:

That is going very slowly because the smaller needles are harder on my elbow. A row here and there.

Since I used up some of my stash with all these projects, I couldn’t pass up the sale at my LYS The Spinning Room. If you got there at 6am, your purchases were 50% off!!! That’s CRAZY! The discount got lowered as the hours passed.  I got there at 5:50, in the dark, and I was not the first one in line.

Here is the madness at about 6:45am:

And there was a beautiful sunrise when I left:

In non-yarn news, I baked a couple of things that were AWESOME!….

Peanut Butter Fudge Buckeye Cake from King Arthur Flour:

And Stromboli from Smitten Kitchen:

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately with some very short reviews:

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrick Backman: Loved it.

Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel by the same author was also great.

Starry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber: Nice love story.

Hardcore Twenty-Four: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovick: Fun.

Wedding Cake Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke: Meh.

Necessary Lies: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain: Good but sad. Brought me back to my social work days.

And lastly, a Smudge montage…..

2111111111111. (those numbers were his contribution, stepping on the keyboard)

New favorite toy:

Like he has no idea how my scarf and project bag got there:

“Helping” me work:

Still his favorite spot:

Hopefully I’m back to a regular blog posting schedule.   If my lesson has been learned, you’ll be seeing slow progress on not many projects. Ha! Maybe more book reviews or recipe reviews or other ramblings.



Hat, Hat, Hat, Hat, Cat, Cat, Cat, Cat

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HAT #1: NFL Superfan Hat Recipe for my boss Tyler…

HAT #2: Hannah ponytail hat for Miss Ladybug…

HAT #3: Super Basic Hat for Mr. Doodlebug (his will get a fun applique too…)

HAT #4: 21 Color Slouch for me!…

No I’m not weaving in all those ends. (You wouldn’t know unless I showed you.)

CAT favorite spot #1: On his condo, in the window, watching the world go by….

CAT favorite spot #2: On my lap while I’m working…

CAT favorite spot #3: On the couch, on a blanket, between Paul and me…

CAT favorite spot #4: On the chair in our room (but not at night because he turns into an awake ninja at night)…

Happy Holidays! See you in the new year!


A List

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Thanksgiving has come and gone and now we move on to the preparations for the next holiday! In the meantime, here is a list:

1) This happened since the last post…

It didn’t last long but I didn’t really welcome it.

2) I made the Meatballs Marsala with Egg Noodles from my new Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites cookbook

They were DELICIOUS! Looks just like the picture in the book, right???

3) I finally snagged a skein of the Gauge Dye Works sock yarn in the All Together Now colorway:

I got obsessed with it after seeing a finished sock (click on the link up there to see it) and missed out on  two of the shop updates before finally getting this one.  Starting it soon…????

4) Here is what happens when you temporarily lose your TWO Portuguese knitting pins:

Found one at the bottom of my knitting bag and the other attached to my sweatshirt that went through the wash.  I predicted this would happen the moment I started learning this technique.  There is nothing like opening the little tin you have for storing your knitting pins and finding it empty.  Thanks to The Google for the knitting pin hack.

5) In other knitting news, it was Shop Small Saturday and I did….

….at The Spinning Room.  It was BUSY in there! (I made a tree with my purchases, in case you couldn’t tell.)

6) How about some Smudge pictures?  He is growing and creating kitten-y havoc around here and we love it.


Plopped right down on top of my knitting and started purring, looking for some pats and scratches.



Cooking and knitting and the cat

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Wow, fall is in full swing around here.  Colder weather, leaves are gone from the trees, leaf raking has happened, and lots of cooking going on.  And a little knitting.

I told you a couple of posts ago, that I received the Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites cookbook for my birthday.  I love this book!!

I made the Sausage, Kale and Crouton Saute:

So delicious!

And then I did a holiday test run of the Bakery-Style Butter Cookies:

Boy, did they pass the test!  I will definitely be making these again and again and again.  Butter cookies with jam in between, dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. So YUMMY!

And tonight I am trying the Chicken Marsala Meatballs with Egg Noodles.   Stay tuned…

In knitting news, I taught two oldies but goodies recently…

The two socks on one circular needle class:

And the Noro Striped Scarf:

I love my Noro striped scarf – it is my go-to scarf for those really cold days because I can wrap it around my neck a few times.

I got a few rows done on my 21 Color Slouch hat and started my second commissioned Amy shawl.  Not much progress on those so I didn’t take a picture.  Hopefully I’ll have a finished hat to show you next time….

In kitten news…

I realized I didn’t tell you how old Smudge was in my last post.  The picture of him makes him look grown up.  But he’s just a baby! 12 weeks or so.  He has come out from under the bed and hasn’t stayed still too often for pictures…

And we made the big splurge:

HOWEVER, he now has a virus/cold that he apparently obtained from the shelter where we adopted him.  Poor guy has the sneezes and the sniffles and the runny eyes.  An early trip to the vet this fine Monday morning resulted in eye ointment and medicinal treats and the vet saying he will be ok in several days!

So I definitely needed my tea and cookie treat and knitting and subtle daily reminders today…






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Just a quick post today to introduce you to this little guy:

This is Smudge.  [All of his markings are symmetrical except for that little smudge on his nose.]

He came to live with us this weekend and he is very cute.  We were pretty sure of this anyway for the past two days… he has spent most of his time under the bed so far.  He did come out to see us finally for a few minutes today to confirm that he is, in fact, cute.  Then he went back under the bed. [The bed that, shortly after he came home, we had to upend because the fabric underneath the boxspring, covering the wood and springs, had come loose on one side and he had climbed up inside of it….]

We have not had pets in our home for several years, and no baby pets since I adopted Phoebe the cat back in 1997 (waaaaaaay before I met Paul), so this is kind of new to us.  Stay tuned for stories on how he is ruling the household…..

[I will not confirm or deny that we may or may not be making another trip back to the store for a super-duper cat condo thingy.]


Portuguese Knitting and Rhinebeck

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In my quest to find knitting techniques that are easier on my arms/elbows, I decided to try a method recommended by a couple of women at my local yarn shop.  Portuguese knitting has now become my go-to knitting technique, and I even prefer it over the continental knitting method.  I was having a really hard time with my tension when doing the continental method and I’m not having that issue with the Portuguese method.  Once I heard that this method was also good for those with some hand/arm issues, I was all over that.  After borrowing and studying some books and videos, I was really hooked.

The Portuguese knitting technique involves using a knitting pin, attached near your left shoulder, which the yarn is looped over and helps to tension the yarn.

Then, the main movement for knitting or purling is flicking the yarn with your left thumb to wrap it around the needle.  It’s really very easy and, unlike English or continental knitting, purling is EASIER that knitting.  No joke.  I utilized the Portuguese knitting technique to finish my Dreaming of Spring hat:

Dreaming of Spring

I’ll be teaching this hat as a class November 18 at The Spinning Room if you are interested!  At any rate, it turned out great and I love it.

I also used the Portuguese knitting method to make my Big Herringbone Cowl:

I modified this pattern to use a size 15 needle and cast on 250 stitches (as opposed to a size 17 needle and 220 stitches cast on).  I used Malabrigo Rios which I love, Love, LOVE knitting with. And it will be another class I’m teaching in December at The Spinning Room!

And I am currently using the Portuguese knitting method to make my 21 Color Slouch hat:

(that’s the pattern picture)

Yes, it looks inside out becuase I am knitting it that way so I can purl the body of the hat, instead of knit it.  (See aforementioned purling is EASIER than knitting.)  There will be a gazillion ends to weave in because of all the color changes but I love this hat so much, I will put up with it.  Or wear it with the ends not woven in.  Who would know?  Besides you.

I will be teaching basic Portuguese knitting techniques in the next couple of months at The Spinning Room if you are interested!

By the way, I was working on that 21 Color Slouch hat on our way to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck!

It was the most beautiful fall day and we had a great time as usual….

Here is my haul by about 9:45 (gate opens at 9:00)….

(That is a fried artichoke/artichoke French combo in case you were wondering.)

And here is the end-of-day haul:


Wonderful stuff I can’t wait to work with.

In cooking news, I finally made an apple crisp with apples from our local orchard Indian Ladder Farms:

It is so yummy – Paul and I can’t get enough of it.  Recipe is from my trusty Good Housekeeping Cookbook that my mom gave me when I moved into my first apartment in 1992.

Also, on the suggestion of my friend Sue, I’m testing out making my own vanilla extract!

(Great book, also given to me by my mom: Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch–Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods)

It needs to sit in the jar for a couple/three months but I’m hoping to try and use some of it for holiday baking.  It is definitely MUCH cheaper to make your own than buy at the store.  And so, So, SO easy!

And finally, I got the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites, from my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and niece for my birthday:

I love Smitten Kitchen and can’t wait to try some of these recipes!

So, as you can see, fall is in full swing here, including starting up the furnace and the wood stove! Bring on the cozy knitting!





Shawl Design at Harrisville

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I had the BEST time taking a two-day shawl design class with Bristol Ivy at Harrisville Designs in Harrisville, New Hampshire.  It was EXHAUSTING, but fun!

But the fun started way before arriving at Harrisville.  Sue picked me up and after a stop to pick up cider donuts (freshly made, still a little warm….) at The Gade Farm we made our way to WEBS in Northampton, where we met Lisa, Christine and Robin.  Needless to say, we bought some yarn.  Just a little.  Here is my haul selections:

And this, which is my favorite purchase from there:

I already started it:

(Did you see the project bag?  Knit More, Work Less!!)

Then we had lunch at Paul and Elizabeth’s (yes, that is the name of the restaurant!!!!) and then made our way to meet Lynn at Harrisville.  The six of us stayed in their boarding house which was on the third floor of one of the old buildings in town.  Several rooms, bathrooms to share, a full kitchen and a great, comfy living room to knit in.

What a beautiful, picturesque New England town!…

I made this really yummy (if I do say so myself – but others did too!) tomato focaccia to share at our appetizer-y dinner that night.

It is a Martha recipe and she rarely disappoints me.  I will definitely make this again.

The next day was Shawl Design with Bristol Ivy at Harrisville Designs, just across the road from the boarding house.

That first day we made 8 tiny shawls, to demonstrate the various shawl shapes that you can make:

Yes there is only 7 there.  Somehow I didn’t get the pi shawl in there.

Homework was to choose the shawl shape we wanted to design the next day.  It is a hard decision!

The second day we spent starting the design of our shawls.  We spent the whole day on it and here is how much I got done:

It’s a lot of work!!

Others got a little further but most only had a little bit.

We had lunches at the Harrisville General Store,,,,

….where I had a cheddar sandwich with maple caramelized onions and apples. OMG.  I had it both days because it was so good.  I also had their famous kale salad which was so delicious.  Here is a link to their recipe:  Harrisville Kale Salad.  So good for you too! I’m making it this weekend.

At the end of the second day, Paul picked me up and we went on to spend the night in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  We stopped at the Portsmouth Brewery and I had my most favorite ever in the world sandwich, their fried eggplant sandwich. So. Good.

Then we had breakfast at our most favorite (aside from Jordan’s Pond House in Acadia) popover place, Popovers on the Square.

Before breakfast, as we were waking up in the hotel, Paul and I had this conversation…

Me: Did you lock the car last night? [good time to think of it, in the morning]

Paul: No, did you?

Me: I don’t think so.

Paul: What’s in there to steal?

Me: All my yarn.

Paul: Oh.

Me (after thinking for a minute): Actually, no one would steal it.  Non-knitters would look right past it to find something “more valuable” (as if).  Knitters are so great that they would see it and lock the car for us to make sure no one else would steal it. But really, no one else would  steal it. [see non-knitters comment]

We made our way back home via Vermont and saw some beautiful colors on the trees…

We made a stop at our former favorite ice cream place from when we lived in Vermont, Ice Cream Fore You (at a driving range)….

They had my favorite flavor:  Campfire S’mores!

And had to make a stop at King Arthur Flour (man, I love that place)…..

Then, on the way home I regretted not buying the Nordic Ware Harvest Bounty Loaf pan when we were there so I ordered one from Amazon in the car!

And made a pumpkin cream cheese swirl bread from the recipe on the pan label….

It was YUMMY!

And then I saw they have a mini version…. Nordic Ware Harvest Mini Loaf Pan, Bronze and I’m a little bit trying not to order that one too.

WHEW!  A great few days.





Kindness of Knitters

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Knitters are a special breed.  The community that knitters have created is amazing.  Enthusiastic, encouraging, helpful to each other and supportive (see my last post) because we all share this common obsession. But it is the kindness of knitters that, while never surprising to me, never ceases to amaze me.  Kind to other knitters and also the non-knitters. You see knitter’s knitting things for others or to donate to charity but it’s not just that they are kind with the things they knit. They are kind in so many other ways.  Want an example?

The other day, I went to Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru for a frozen coffee.  After being slightly disappointed that they were out of the pumpkin flavor (again), I arrived at the window and the woman handed me my drink but would not take my money.  She said, “This has been paid for by someone who loves to knit!”

WHAT?????  HOW????? HUH?????

Then I remembered:

My license plate says, “KNIT.” It must have been the woman behind me in the drive-thru line.  I looked in my rear view mirror and waved frantically but I’m not sure she saw me.

How great is that? Seriously. It made me smile all day and even two days later.  I’m proud to call myself a knitter because I know that I, too, try to be kind, supportive, and helpful in my everyday life and now I’ll find a way to pay that free frozen not-pumpkin coffee forward to make someone else smile for a few days!




Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!(again)

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I’ve got so much to tell you, I have to split it up into at least three posts!

This past weekend we made our yearly trip to Maryland and the Cecil County Dragway for a drag racing event.  We always have fun at this one and get to see some friends we only see a couple of times a year.  On the way down I knit on my latest pattern/yarn obsession,  the Big Herringbone Cowl with the Malabrigo Rios:


250 stitches in worsted weight yarn on a size 15 needle.  I’m still not sure that I didn’t twist it when joining in the round, but I’m going with it for now.  I had to stop knitting very quickly because this herringbone stitch pattern was a little fiddly and it was making me car sick, having to look it at constantly!

Paul and I got to the hotel in Maryland a little early this year, so we made a trip to Vulcan’s Rest Fibers in Chesapeake City.

Where, as you can see, I didn’t find much…


The wonderfully nice woman at the yarn shop recommended an excellent seafood restaurant for us to go to, Schaeffer’s,where we had a great view from our table:

And I had an awesome crab cake sandwich.

Just as we left the restaurant, we got THE CALL

Our friend Rob had almost made it to the hotel when he had a trailer tire seize-up issue.  One trip to Home Depot for an angle grinder later and we were on our way to help.  I’ll tell you, these guys know what they are doing and, despite being under an overpass on the side of the highway, were able to get things up and running fairly quickly.

Back at the hotel, we always have fun socializing with all the other racers and their significant others.  Denny and Renee are friends who live in Ohio (Hi guys!!).  Renee is a kindred yarn hoarder who crochets, and I spent quite a bit of time “having her back” when Denny asked why she needed to keep buying yarn (because it’s on sale; because we love, Love, LOVE yarn; because we can’t help it; because it’s just what we do — pick any one of those) and why she doesn’t “do anything” with the things she knits and they take up space on the recliner that he can’t sit in (because it’s nice to admire your own hard work, plus it’s good insulation for the house, plus there are other chairs for you to sit in).

Once at the track the next day I immediately abandoned my Herringbone Cowl for a little while to start the Coffeehouse Cowl with the Berroco Noble super bulky yarn I found.  Which is also super soft!….

That, too, did not last long because IT. WAS. SO. HOT.

Can you imagine this?…

Paul has to wear pants, a fire jacket and a helmet.  And the inside of his car is black.  So, he keeps the door open until the last minute.

…until the last minute of the last race where he was first place in the Quick 16 bracket!!!

Hooray!  I took the liberty of assuming that some of his prize money would go towards more yarn.  It seemed like the right thing to assume.



This Row

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“Let me just finish this row.”  Does that sound familiar to you knitters?  I’ve said this countless times to Paul.  When he has asked if I’m ready to go somewhere, it’s “Yes, let me just finish this row.”  When he has asked me to help him with something, “Sure, I’m just going to finish this.” Or I’ve said it to myself: “When I’m finished with this row I’m going to bed.”  When I say it to Paul, I get the eye roll or the sigh and the resigned “okay.”

Well, the other day I asked Paul if he was ready to eat dinner and he said:

“Yes, let me just finish this row.”  The minute it was out of his mouth we both laughed!

And after that one more row and eating dinner and a few more rows….

Hooray!  We have a deck!  Railings will come next year.  I texted this picture to my sister and she said, “I think you might need a bigger table.” Ha!  Better furniture coming next year too.  We do have a gazebo-y thing to put up but that will go up sometime this week.

I immediately put the deck to good use…

In other news, I happened to be at Starbucks on THE FIRST DAY OF PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES!!!

Those are my jam!!  I love them. [The experience was only very slightly marred by the cashier at the drive-thru window telling me how much he also looked forward to the pumpkin spice lattes coming out but that inevitably a week before that happens, his lactose intolerance acts up. I kid you not.  He really said that.]

And speaking of fall when the PSL’s come out, so does the potential for frost:

We were prepared (actually, Paul was prepared) with this humongous tarp that happens to fit over the whole garden. My tomatoes are finally starting to turn color and my one, lone butternut squash is hanging in there and ripening.

Raise your hand if you took advantage of Craftsy’s free viewing day yesterday.  I did!  I watched a class on how to make bread.  I’m hoping to make sandwich bread and English muffins sometime soon.  For some reason I can’t find the exact class to share with but you can click here for a link to Craftsy Food and Cooking Classes. It was fun and very interesting!  I’m hoping to take the Handmade Sourdough: From Starter to Baked Loaf  class next.  Sourdough is one of my favorite breads – especially when it is toasted and spread with butter and jam.  Let me know if you viewed any classes and what you liked!

And now I’m off to finish several rows on my commissioned knitting project so I can show it to you in the next post!