Fish and things

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I love Swedish Fish.  They are awesome and tasty.

I don’t get them often but on my stroll at lunch today, I went to CVS.  After asking Paul if he wanted anything and getting his usual request of Raisinettes, I saw the Swedish Fish on the shelf. I am trying to eat healthy but I didn’t eat my lunch yet (mistake number one) and I was hungry and they just seemed like the best thing in the world to get and they don’t have any fat in them, right?  I then proceeded to eat 3/4 of the bag while watching/supporting a web-based training my co-worker was doing.  Then I was in a sugar coma and had a headache.

So I texted Paul this picture and told him what I did and how I was feeling…

I texted him for two reasons.  One, I was feeling guilty because I’m supposed to be eating healthier and that is just NOT healthy eating and so I felt like I had to come clean to someone.  Two, if I told him I had them, I knew he might like some and seeing how I already ate 3/4 of them, I would then feel obligated to not eat any more so I could bring him some. It worked.  He will have 1/4 bag to eat for dessert tonight.

Other things going on around here involve a lot of knitting!

I taught the beginning of the Fish Lips Kiss Heel sock class recently:

And here is my progress so far for the next class which is in a week or so…

I need about 5 more inches before I’m ready to teach the heel.  And in the meantime, I’ve got other things happening…

Me and a few knitting friends are doing a casual knit-a-long to make the adorable Sam the Ram:

That is my progress so far in the bottom of the picture. Ha! 11 rows.  But I can’t really get going until I’m done with this:

I’ve been going full tilt to get it done before it gets cold.  It was supposed to be done before the start of the first year of college for this guy:

(#12 in the white)… so I’m really late at this point.  It still needs another foot in length and then some colorful border-y parts. If you know him, don’t show this to him.  He basically knows he’s getting it and knows the colors but he doesn’t know what it looks like.  I think he’ll like it! (Those are his school colors.)

Smudge has been trying to help with it:

And THEN, these adorable things totally distracted my knit-a-long group:

So we are already planning another one.  SO. CUTE!

I think that’s it for knitting.

BUT THEN…. this is also all-things-pumpkin-all-the-time season you know, and I always jump in full throttle.  I have found a couple of new pumpkin-y things to obsess over.

Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joe’s!  OMG. Don’t get these unless you want to go back and get three more boxes.

Pumpkin soup – a yummy recipe my friend Pam devised, trying to replicate the one she loves at Panera.  It is excellent!

And I’ve had a million iced pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks.  And once it’s chilly out (some day) I will get the hot ones. I love them so much. Pumpkin bread is in the very near future as well.

And lastly, another picture of Smudge because he is so stinkin’ cute sitting next to my new books:

And here is his cousin Nikki because she is stinkin’ cute too:

That’s all. Stay tuned for more knitting adventures and some traveling adventures too!

 

 

 

The Reason

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Well then.  That was a long break from the blog.  But, there is a reason.  There is a really good reason.

There is a reason why you haven’t seen these finished knitting projects:

Jadis Shawl

Winterlong Cowl

Buds & Bumbles Shawl

(Thanks to Mari at The Spinning Room who came to my rescue to send me pictures of my projects because my brain is a little fried due to The Reason!)

There is a reason you haven’t seen pictures of this guy:

There is a reason there have been no book recommendations like:

The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman (love, Love, LOVED this one especially!!!)
Summerland: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand
Badlands: A Novel (Highway Quartet) by C.J. Box

There is a reason there have been no garden updates (and still no garden pictures to show you).

There is a reason you haven’t seen the picture of the Frank Pepe’s pizza we got as we passed through New Haven in a roundabout way to get to our vacation in Cape Cod:

There is a reason you didn’t see my yarn-purchases-in-a-garbage-bag-because-I-went-a-little-nuts-at-the-sale from WEBS:

There is a reason you haven’t see any food pictures like my recent so-happy-to-find-it-in-August pumpkin spice finds:

And here is The Reason:

I got a job.

An honest-to-goodness-five-days-a-week-Monday-to-Friday-get-a-paycheck-like-clockwork-full-time job.  I haven’t had one of those in ten years.  TEN! YEARS!

Since 2008 I have owned a yarn shop, sold a yarn shop, became a part-time nanny to my niece and nephew along with teaching knitting classes, then added proofreading on the side to those two jobs, then they went to school so I had proofreading, knitting classes, selling on eBay and being an office manager for my friend’s business.  Aside from the nannying, none of the jobs had a regular, predictable paycheck.  And it finally wore me down.  So, I looked for a job.

Now, I’m an Education Specialist at the Professional Development Program at The Research Foundation for SUNY.  I teach the NY State child welfare workers how to use their case management computer system.  The great part is that I LOVE IT!  It’s right up my new-in-the-past-ten-years-loving-to-teach alley and I can still use my social work skills without being out in the trenches. It will soon involve travel so hopefully I will still love it once that ramps up.

Needless to say, no longer having an incredibly flexible schedule seriously put a cramp in my lifestyle.  Oh my gosh, the things I’ve had to adjust to:

1) Waking up at the same time every day.

2) Leaving the house at the same time every day.

3) Getting home at the same time every day.

4) Having to schedule any kind of appointment for the hours that I’m not at work (at the same times every day).

5) Doing every kind of errand on the weekend.

6) Not having vacation whenever I want. That one is seriously a bummer.  I have to accrue time.  I have to wait until November to take it since I just started.  And I can’t have as much vacation as I want. Unlike my husband who has been at his job for almost 20 years and the company now has a permissive time off policy where they just take all the time they want.

I totally realize that these are things that most people go through, and I even went through them myself for many years, a very long time ago.  It just took some adjusting.  Just ask Paul…. he’s trying really hard not to roll his eyes every time I say something like, “Well, I would do that for you on Tuesday at noon, but I can’t because now I have A JOB.”  Or, “I’d love to take a couple days off with you to go away for a long weekend but I can’t because now I have A JOB.”

And it truly is fine.  I feel very lucky to have a job that I like, with a like-clockwork paycheck and good benefits. (And I do still have a second job – my knitting classes!  The Jadis Shawl and Winterlong Cowl are both upcoming classes at The Spinning Room.)

So, hopefully I’ll be back to somewhat regular blogging for those of you who have missed reading about my adventures.

What’s new with YOU? : )

 

 

 

 

It’s Freezing Here So I’m Knitting

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It’s 25 degrees here in upstate New York on this April 5 morning.  Something much less with the wind chill.  Perfect knitting weather although I’d really like for our just-sprouting crocus and daffodil greenery to not freeze.

Here’s what’s been happening in the frozen tundra….

Some knitting!

I finished the Paris In Berlin cowl which I love!:

Class coming up next week at The Spinning Room if you are local and want to come!

I kept working on my semi-secret project which I really need to pick up the pace on:

I started another project that I hope to teach as a class, the Lin-Lin Shawl:

Very pretty with lots of new techniques (including interpreting a slightly confusingly-written pattern –  I hope I can interpret it!).

And I even worked a little bit on my Apple Blossom Socks which I started last year and had a big problem with two different sets of needles (round and square) giving me different gauge.  Remember that? Read about it here.  I have restarted them with two sets of square needles in a size 3 and I’m well on my way:

The pattern is by Helen Stewart whose patterns I love and I have made many.  I just recently signed up for her Handmade Sock Society and now I’m dying to cast on more socks. Even though I haven’t finished these….

In other news….. well there’s not much other news, so enjoy some pics of us with Smudge:

He’s very tolerant of my hugs and squeezes. (Do I look tired?  I think I look tired. Note to self: Remember makeup next time.)

Squirrel watching.

 

 

He’s In!

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Today’s knitting blog post is starting with drag racing (don’t worry, there is knitting later.  And banana bread)….

Paul has been thinking about trying to do this HOT ROD Drag Week for a few years.  Drag Week consists of 400 cars, drag racing during the day for five days straight.  After drag racing each day, they have to drive the car they raced in to the next drag strip which is between 2.5 and 5 hours away.  They have to fit all supplies and tools they may need to fix their car in their car and are not allowed to have any other car following them to help. Paul drives a 1970 Buick Sportwagon so he’s got a bit of an advantage over some in the roominess department.

It’s crazy.  Crazy FUN, apparently.  Did I mention the racing starts in Altanta, GA, moves to Darlington, SC, then Concord, NC, then Bristol, TN, then back to Atlanta, GA????

So, this was the year to try and get in.  After teaching my Amulet shawl class last Saturday, I had to make sure I was home by 2:30 pm, well ahead of the 3:00pm start time for registration, so I could help with the process (I can type really fast. Paul can’t.).  There are only 400 spots and last year, it sold out within 5 minutes!  We were in front of the computer at 2:50, anxiously watching the clock turn and refreshing the page every minute just in cast it came up early (it didn’t).  At 3:00 pm registration opened and I typed fast and furiously.  Paul got ticket number 207!!! It was sold out shortly after.  Stay tuned to this blog for preparation updates and race recap (race is in September).  Jury is out on whether I will be attending with him (I’m the jury).

Meanwhile, in the knitting world, I’ve been slowly working on my Paris in Berlin cowl by Joji Locatelli:

It starts off like a shawl and now I’m 4 rows away from joining in the round the make it a cowl. It has a really pretty, subtle textured look and soon will have some slipped stitch details.

I’m also working on a crochet something for someone:

Sorry, that’s all you get.  It’s a semi-secret project.  This is a zig zag pattern that I learned in a class at The Spinning Room.

And in winter-will-apparently-never-end news, we had a whopper of a storm the other day:

About 26″ total.  And we have another storm going on today for which we are in the 12″-20″ range.

The bad news is…..

There sits the Jeep, which Paul has pretty much declared he is done with.  He spent many hours trying to fix it and get it through one more winter.  We’ve been doing that for 10 winters now!  Looks like this is it.  He’s on the hunt for a plow to attach to his truck for next year (in case anyone knows anyone who may have one to sell…).

In the meantime, we are making do with a small plow attached to the ATV and a small snowblower we are storing for Paul’s mom.  Smudge supervised the plowing:

He’s pretty much become the household supervisor in general, even while I’m knitting:

Want to try a new recipe? I made this Chocolate Banana Bread from Two Peas and Their Pod the other day and it was good!….

I dare say it is a tad TOO chocolately (if there can be a thing) and I might put 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup cocoa powder next time.  I did use the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, so that might be a factor.  But, overall, very moist and yummy!

If you try it, let me know if you like it!

 

 

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…

 

 

 

 

Smudge

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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:

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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!