cross your heart

today is National Wear Red Day . and all month is heart health awareness. take a few minutes to check out these sites and find out the symptoms of stroke and heart attacks.

imagea few years ago my husband was feeling under the weather – not really experiencing pain but flu-like symptoms. we called our doctor who suggested rather than come into the office why not go to the ER. well this seemed like a big deal over some flu symptoms  but luckily we have good insurance so off we went. Long story short after several tests and keeping my husband in for just one more day that turned into a week the doctors found clogged arteries. we were lucky by not ignoring the ‘flu’ like symptoms my husband had surgery before a heart attack.

Valentine day is just around the corner and I wanted to knit up something to send my daughter. I saw some adorable knitted wash cloths that I thought would be perfect for the KnitPicks Dishie cotton I found in my stash. the red reminds me of Campbell’s tomato soup red. unfortunately my brain wasn’t following the directions for the wash cloth. I completed it and it is heart shaped but the decreases that were wonky and didn’t match up side to side. so after some thought I decided to swatch my own heart using a favorite shaping stitch. ….short rows. forex



first I used short rows to make the curved tops of my heart. and then I used short rows again to form 2 triangles for the sides of the heart and then finished one with short row decreases. it was nice but for the second cloth I used a mitered square.

lastly I crocheted a border of singles around the heart to clean up the ends of the rows. as I swung around one side I added a loop so the wash cloth could be hung after using. learning to crochet is coming in handy for finishing knits.

imagenot complicated knitting just snowy day playing. I kept a pad of paper close by so I could jot down notes. one ball of Dishie cotton yielded 3 nice sized washcloths, a tiny coaster sized wash cloth and one scrubbie.


I am trying to learn to write pdf’s so I took my notes and made a pdf file cross my heart wash cloth.rtfd

now a word of warning – I send out my patterns and they are edited and then formatted before I sell them on ravelry. the finished pattern is tested, edited and is laid out with pictures.

this file is just my rough notes row by row…a learning swatch pdf …. so to speak. it works but it isn’t laid out all pretty.

ok I have to do a quick update – it seems that I am not attaching the file properly so I am going to add the file here for your use


materials: knit picks dishie 100 grams 190 yards this gave me 3 large wash cloths with enough left over for a scrubbie. you could use any similar cotton worsted weight.

needles: size 6 straight knitting needles, g or h crochet, hook darning needle

gauge: 18 st / 4” 38 rows / 4”


cast on 38 sts


R1: knit

row 2 is the first section of short rows. these short rows will make the curved top of the heart. when doing a project like this it can be fun to explore different ways of doing a w+t. I used the very basic w+t since the wash clothes garter in this top section you do not need to pick up the wraps and knit them with the stitch.

R2: sl1, k10, w+t,      k3, w+t,      k4, w+t,       k5, w+t,       k6, w+t,      k7, w+t,       k8, w+t,       k9, w+t,       k10, w+t,      k11, w+t,       k12, w+t

k13, w+t,      k14, w+t     k15, w+t,     k16, w+t,     k17, w+t,    k29, w+t,      k3, w+t,      k4, w+t,       k5, w+t,        k6, w+t,         k7, w+t

k8, w+t,        k9, w+t,      k10, w+t,     k11, w+t,     k12, w+t,    k13, w+t,      k14, w+t,    k15, w+t,      k16, w+t,      k17, w+t

k18 (to the end of row)

R3: sl1, k37

R4: sl1, k17, k2tog, k18

this next section of short rows make a wedge on each half of the heart shape. I picked up and knit the wraps with the stitch in the next 2 sections of short rows. if you do not it leaves a large opening or a series of holes along the bottom of the wedge.

R5: sl1, k17, w+t, k18

R6: sl1, k16, w+t, k17

R7: sl1, k15, w+t, k16

R8: sl1, k14, w+t, k15

R9: sl1, k13, w+t, k14

R10: sl1, k12, w+t, k13

R11: sl1, k11, w+t, k12

R12: sl1, k10, w+t, k11

R13: sl1, k9, w+t, k10

R14: sl1, k8, w+t, k9

R15: sl1, k7, w+t, k8

R16: sl1, k6, w+t, k7

R17: sl1, k5, w+t, k6

R18: sl1, k4, w+t, k5

R19: sl1, k3, w+t, k4

R20: sl1, k2, w+t, k3

R21: sl1, k1w+t, k2

R22: k2tog, k to the end of the row picking up and knitting wraps along with the sts.

repeat rows 5 – 22

this completes the short row sections that forms the top of the heart. row 36 – 60 is a mitered square

R36: sl1, k15, k3tog, k16

R37 and all odd numbered rows sl1, knit across

R38:sl1, k14, k3tog, k15

R40: sl1, k13, k3tog, k14

R42: sl1, k12, k3tog, k13

R44: k2tog, k10, k3tog, k10, k2tog

R46: sl1,k9, k3tog, k10

R48: sl1, k8, k3 tog, k9

R50: sl1, k7, k3tog, k8

R52: sl1, k6, k3tog, k7

R54: k2tog, k4, k3tog, k4

R56: sl1, k3, k3tog, k4

R58: sl1, k2, k3tog, k3

R60: sl1, k1, k3tog, k2

R62: bind off keep the last stitch live and do not cut yarn. using a crochet hook through the last live stitch start a single crochet all the way around the wash cloth. if you like add a loop on the side of the cloth for hanging. when you get back to where you started binding off cut the yarn and thread through a needles and sew the end in. weave the leftover securely and you are done.

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Ewe tu Brutus


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you know what is great about knitting?

do-overs. usually people tell you no do-overs.

look at the Packer game last night – how many people would love to have a do-over for that game.

I started watching the game with low expectations. after all our quarterback has been playing with an injury for several weeks now. and I thought the Sea Hawks were a good team. but watching the game I got my hopes up.  the playing was mediocre. don’t get me wrong the Sea Hawks are a good team just not the best.  the Packers played better than the SeaHawks for most of the game but at that decisive moment in the last minutes of the game Seattle did everything right and they won.

and Wisconsin fans wished they could have a do-over.

well you can’t have a do-over. what is done is done. that is life.

unless you are a knitter. we have do-overs. ok I am not going to leap with joy and say it’s fun to scrap hours of work but my knitting is never a catastrophe. there is always the option of a do-over. right now my yarn looks like ramen noodles and I am working on my third try.


thank god for knitting and do-overs.



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In Japan there is a kind of reverence for the art of mending. In the context of the tea ceremony there is no such thing as failure or success in the way we are accustomed to using those words. A broken bowl would be valued precisely because of the exquisite nature of how it was repaired, a distinctly Japanese tradition of kintsugi, meaning to “to patch with gold”. Often, we try to repair broken things in such a way as to conceal the repair and make it “good as new.” But the tea masters understood that by repairing the broken bowl with the distinct beauty of radiant gold, they could create an alternative to “good as new” and instead employ a “better than new” aesthetic. They understood that a conspicuous, artful repair actually adds value. Because after mending, the bowl’s unique fault lines were transformed into little rivers of gold that post repair were even more special because the bowl could then resemble nothing but itself. Here lies that radical physical transformation from useless to priceless, from failure to success. All of the fumbling and awkward moments you will go through, all of the failed attempts, all of the near misses, all of the spontaneous curiosity will eventually start to steer you in exactly the right direction.

there was a small accident at our house over the week end. the way I reacted you would have thought it was a major accident on the scale of a nuclear disaster.

imagethats right mutt puppy was a bit bored and decided it was time to teach me a lesson for not taking her for an afternoon walk.

in my defense mutt puppy is getting a bit arthritic and was limping through the heavy snow in the morning so I really thought since she was content to lie on the bed and look out the window when I suggested that maybe we should skip walking in the sub zero wind( really it was -29* outside – does any sane person choose to walk in this kind of weather).

so to fix this I have hand stitched one hexagon patch and  appliqued it over the smaller hole. It seems proper to hand stitch the patches to keep with the spirit of the quilt.

I have made a patch of 2 hex flowers to cover the second hole and that doesn’t seem like enough. it barely covers the chewed area. so yesterday afternoon I started on a 3rd flower.   as I sit and fashion these patches I am trying to meditate and attain a zen attitude to Meva’s bad behavior. after all it isn’t a heart attack or something fatal. it’s just a bedcover. I need to take things in stride. I got upset because my life doesn’t fit the lifestyle  I see in pictures on tv or the internet. when I saw my blanket I yelled that I can never have nice things. I would love to live in that house with the pretty furnishings and the clean counters but the truth is that there will always be dog hair and dust on the wood floors. and unless I clean up there will always be dirty dishes on the counter because I am the only one that it bothers.

on the plus side I am learning something new. I found this website for printing out templates of the shape.

so its disappointing that my dog chewed threw a flour sack vintage quilt that has survived some where around 70 years but it is just a thing and I didn’t buy it and finish it so I could throw it in a cupboard. I like to have useful things that I can enjoy in our home and hopefully my mending will add  beauty and something of me(and Meva) to this quilt. and maybe it will remind me to not take life so hard when this type of thing happens.

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my little grannie squares are growing. imagethe arrangement is a bit more orderly this time. so far I have only hooked 2 sizes. the mini square has 3 rounds. they hook up lickety-split. imageI can easily hook up 12 in an evening. they use up even the smallest scarp from the bin.

imagethe next size is a medium – roughly double the mini size. I say roughly because I want it to be the same size as 4 minis hooked together. so where you would think I would need to hook a square of 6 rounds I actually hook 7 rounds. it doesn’t  make sense until you look at how I am hooking the squares together. I use a technique called join as you go which adds on a row  or 2  as you join 2 squares together. so when I join 4 minis together they add up to a 8 round square which joins nicely to a 7 round square. if a person wanted to sew or maybe single crochet the squares together than these numbers would change. but google ‘join as you go’  and look at the different ways to join your squares. I liked this method on Attic 24 because it has nice clear pictures to help you figure out the stitches




in the blanket I just finished I made 2 additional sizes – a large granny square of 11 rounds. which was equal to 1 – 7 round square edged by 5 – 3 round square




imageand a grande granny square that was the size of 4 medium squares or 16 mini squares. the grande was a total of 15 rounds of crochet.



I am still working out of left overs that I have saved and using whole skeins of darker shades to join the squares.  the current joining yarn is a easter egg dye flop. I took white sock yarn and dyed it in a crock pot using easter egg dye kits that I bought on discount after easter had come and gone. the color on one of the skeins turned out horrendous so I threw this dye failure into the vat of fermented walnut husks I keep in the shed. it toned down the garish colors and now it ranges from a burgundy/brown color to a dark green. but luckily this project uses up all the garish colors from the stash with out looking terrible. I have only a tiny bit left so I will hunt up a new dark yarn.

right now my leftover sock blanket has reached almost reached the size of a scarf.imageso I bundled it around my neck and fastened with a pin to brave the cold morning walk. as it grows I see it becoming a shawl to wrap around my shoulders and then maybe a lap blanket before it finally claims its place as a full sized blanket for our bed.


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this morning I am grateful to have new boots. it doesn’t sound like much does it but my old boots fell apart while snowblowing on Saturday. I thought there was a lot of life left in the old boots but the rubber portion gave up and rotted out. my hikers are pretty old too and I have been having some problems wearing them so in with the new out with the old.

the walk around the pond was great this morning. it was 10* below 0* and the snow was crunchy. my new boots had nice traction even on the ice and they are a lot lighter than the old boots.image

the lake is completely froze over this morning yesterday I could still see an open spot in the middle where a few ducks were grouped along with 5 eagles nearby watching and waiting. the waiting paid off because later in the day I could see 2 of the eagles enjoying a nice lunch.  today the ice is still and I don’t see any activity. I don’t even hear the ice cracking and growing.

last night I made a few more squares imageeven though I have been looking at different patterns for my leftovers I keep coming back to this one – I guess this pattern still holds a lot of joy for me. maybe its a little monotonous but I enjoy the repetition so I keep coming back to this simple little square. imagejust like the last blanket I am enjoying the wide assortment of colors and putting them together in a way I never would in a garment. orange and purple would be too loud for me to wear. pinks would be too girly and frilly. image

I wouldn’t wear neon yellow– well I won’t say never since my favorite hat right now is the brightest orange I could get out of the dye pot but neon yellow would not be a first choice. some of the yarns in my box are 30 yard samples.  but most are leftover from socks I knit. some were socks made from cheap sale yarn – self striping varieties from Benny’s(before there was a lys nearby). some are pretty garish – it is a good thing socks are hidden when you wear long pants. others are from hand dyed yarns – the lovely ends I squirreled away after finishing up luxurious socks for me and my family. even the smallest amount was saved and hoarded in the closet. 


imagethere are not many rules in my project. the most important one is using all sock weight little balls and getting them out of the hiding places.  I am working with an f size crochet hook.

the second rule is I use the same pattern for each square. but I changed the pattern a bit – it is a series of double and single crochet. and after making a few I found I had to cut out some of the single crochets because my corners were too sloppy and loose.

the third rule is a number rule. this rule is kind of loose and I had to play around a bit to find numbers that worked for me. those numbers are 3, 7, 12, and 15. those numbers represent the number of rounds hooked before putting them together. having different sized squares relieves the tedium of making the same square over and over and over again. it also give choices of how to arrange your squares into something other than a checkerboard.  it is true the patterns do not stand out as much because of the wide assortment of colors but they are there and are pleasing to look at.

the fourth rule is figure out how to crochet in those blasted ends. I swear I will not leave them till the finish this time. I spent hours weaving in ends on my finished blanket only to find more every time I thought I was finished.

the fifth isn’t a rule more of a design thingie. I want to crochet the squares together as I go instead of sewing them together and I will use one color so it ties the whole thing together and looks less like a mish-mashed together whimsie and more liked a planned mess.

there are not many rules to my blanket recipe and the rules that are there can be broken. I mean I could use laceweight doubled if I want. and I did do that in a couple of places in the finished blanket. I also used some handspun in some places. I ran out of my dark brown color for the first blanket and the world didn’t end I just subbed another dark color when I couldn’t buy any more of the brown.


the main rule is to enjoy and relax while turning the stash into something useful.


made this pork roast on New Years. I think Marty and I will be eating leftovers for a while.

pulled pork

1 – 7 to 10 pound pork shoulder or butt

1 c white sugar

1 c + 1 tbs coarse salt

7 tbs dark brown sugar

mix 1 c white sugar and 1 c salt in a large ziplock bag place pork in the bag and then let marinate over night. take pork out of the bag when ready to cook, discard juices and place in a roasting pan in an oven preheated to 300*. cook for about 6 hours(if you remember or have time you can baste with the juices that accumulate in the pan) after 6 hours mix brown sugar and 1 tbs of salt in a small bowl. take roast out of the oven and raise temp to 500* . press the sugar mixture to the top on the pork roast and then replace it in the oven(at this point I take all the salty juices out of the pan). keep an eye on it you don’t want the sugar to burn just to caramelize. take out of the oven and shred up the meat. yummy served as is over bread or rice. can be fried as leftovers with rice, onions and celery. or make quesadillas.

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not a year in review here. I would rather look forward than back. 2014 was a rough one. I found myself wallowing a bit. I was so far down in the dumps it was hard to climb out.

sure I read the suggestions the pamphlets from Hospice that say after a death in the family a person can get swallowed by grief and surprisingly –  anger. I swung back and forth from sad to angry. and I still find myself sad. I think November and December were the worst months for me. I am just happy to finally put the year to rest and move on. the posts I wrote in December and didn’t publish will remain behind the wall and I will continue work on my moods.

this morning we have been watching the eagles. while I cooked breakfast we spotted 5 eagles on the ice in our bay. only one of the birds bore the markings of a mature eagle. It is always thrilling to spot an eagle and 5 of them in one place is thrilling. the lake is nearly frozen today and that is probable the reason we are seeing so many out the front window. just outside our bay is a very deep part of the lake and it is one of the last areas to freeze over.

after breakfast we walked through a field to a pond that we walk around every day. halfway around we spotted 2 immature eagles flying overhead. as we watched them fly past they started playing and coming very close to each other like how adults come together when they mate.

all day there has been a pair of eagles out on the ice watching a flock of ducks that are swimming in the small open area.

I am busy thinking of my next project I finished the granny square blanketimage but still have some leftover sock yarn to use up. I think the scraps will be turned into a cowl or a scarf.

I am half way through a pair of socks for my son. the socks are in time out while I try to figure out the easiest way to fix a too tight heel. I think I just need to face the fact that I will need to frog the sock down to the heel and reknit it because no amount of time out is going to make that ankle bigger than it is.

I finished a pair of socks that Alice and I are working on.image Last year I knit my Day and Night socks and struggled to write the pattern for them. Alice has a full time job and unless I am willing to work on my computer skills there is no way she can help me write. so I switched to a newer computer and learned how to do a couple of new things and did a rewrite. I reknit the sock pattern and made a pdf. And Alice is on her after x-mas vacation(las Vegas) and is test knitting and editing a pair of socks. we will see the results when she arrives in Milwaukee in a couple of days.

the socks are so much fun and easy to knit. they are mosaic – which means that you get the stranded knit look while using only 1 yarn per row. its kind of magic makes one look like a knitting genius. the knitting goes extremely fast ….kind of like knitting stripe you just want to knit one more row to see what the pattern is going to look like.

I also knit this hat in a mosaic pattern. imageevery one that sees mosiac knitting wants to learn to do it. the lys where our knitting group meets would like me to teach a class but I keep telling them I am not a teacher. I did show 2 friends how to knit in this style and they agree that it is very easy to do. I have sketched out a couple of designs I want to knit but right now I just need to find the energy to start.


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sunday in okauchee

the beautiful view from the tree house. for reasons unknown to me I can’t upload the picture of the eagle as he sat in a tree in the front yard eating his lunch(lunch was sushi or raw pike) but the here is the last shot I took of him as he flew off.


Sunday was a good day I watched football and worked on my knitting.

I did some stranded knitting while the Packers played.

imageand then I picked up my jonesing project in the evening.


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the Irena Wrap

part of the fun of the Indie design gift-a-long for me is finding new to me designers. I like designs that put stitches together in new and unusual ways.  IMG_2082_2_front02_small2

the Irena Wrap by Deirdre Lejeune caught my eye right away. it is quirky and fun and looks like it would be flattering on lots of body types. the bulky yarn will knit up quickly to give as a present. and the stitch pattern is anything but boring.

this would be a great present for under the tree but an even better selfish knit for me. I just finished running a bunch of errants and getting my flu shot and let me tell you I could have used this to layer under my coat. It is cold out there and snow flakes are falling again today. I thought the weather predictions for this winter said that it was not going to be as cold as it was last winter and the lake is already starting to freeze.

what better way to kick off the Indie gift-a-long then to knit up this wrap. remember the 25% off discount starts tonight on Ravelry.


and yes my patterns are included also.


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tree rings

through out the month I am going to highlight a few patterns from the Indie gift-a-long which starts on Nov. 13.

sock projects:  are something that live in my purse and go everywhere with me. they are small and tote-able. it is easy to add a row or two as I wait in line at the store. it is really amazing how quickly these rows add up and how quickly I can have a finished pair of socks.

and really….. could anything be better than a sock gift for X-mas? even non-knitters are impressed (or pretend to be impressed) with your talents when they receive a pair of socks. AND as soon as hand knit socks are tried on – the look on the their face is priceless. you know how a brand new springy soft wooly sock fresh off the needles feels – – could there be a better present? suddenly every stitch on those tiny needles are worth it. and the best thing is your sock project lived in your bag and came out to keep you amused while waiting your turn at the doctor or while riding the bus to work. all those wasted moments when you otherwise sit and fret about what isn’t getting done while you are trapped somewhere waiting are turned into lovely warm wool socks.

but it gets even better – sock are great gifts but they are also gifts for me. I get to play with the soft yarn and try out new sts and patterns. it a win-win situation.


I have fallen head over heels in love with this pattern by Star Athena.

Star is participating in the Indie giftalong2014 and Tree Rings is one of her patterns. I love the idea of knitting socks with growth rings topped with just a tiny bit of lace. and the little stripes would just egg me on to finish just one more row. I think this would be a fast project to add to my present list and I can think of a couple of people who would love to receive a pair of these socks.

and what better time to buy a pattern than during the gift along – you get 25% off if you buy between Nov. 13 – Nov. 21. then if you join the group and post on the forums you are eligible to win prizes. the Gal runs until Dec 31, 2014.

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making a list

GAL02.jpgam I getting ready for X-mas??

well — kind of but not really. I am making a list for the Indie giftalong2014.



What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a whole bunch of designers that have banded together to bring you some great deals on knitting and crochet patterns.

the Gift-a-long starts off with a bang on November 13 with a 25%off pattern sale that last till November 21.

once you have your patterns you can join lots of other folks in the forums to post and boast about your projects. it’s fun to see what everyone is making – I know last year that reading the forums added lots of projects onto my wish list. there were just so many great ideas.  when you join in and post it makes you eligible for prizes. all the designers are donating prizes. you might win a pattern or you may win some yarn. but you have to post to win.

but maybe you are a grinch and don’t want to knit for anyone but yourself…..

….thats ok – selfish knitting counts –  you can still play and knit along with the group.

the Indie Design gift-a-long runs from Nov.13-Dec.31 grab some needles or your hook and join in




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hunting gear

imageit’s hunting season in Wisconsin so I decided it was time to do something about appropriate headgear for myself. we are outside a lot walking and working in the yard and I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a deer. so that means orange but I didn’t want an ORANGE hat. ok you know what I mean – the bright orange hats that hunters wear…..the neon eye-searing orange that Walmart sells.

recently I dyed some sport weight with cosmos flowers and got a beautiful orange. but even that was more orange than I thought I could wear on a daily basis or at least through November.

so half the yarn went into one of the walnut pots in my dye shed. I do this a lot – using walnuts to overdye my yarn. I am convinced that my browns are that much richer when I have first dyed it orange or yellow from flowers in my garden. I was thinking a striped hat maybe. that would be fast and simple – orange but not too orange.


as soon as the yarn was dry I was itching to cast on. keeping things simple I cast on in brown and then immediately switched to the orange cosmos yarn and knit a 2 x 2 rib. to tell you the truth the hat would have been perfect just in orange. I love the way the yarn shifts from dark to light shades of orange. it is a rich color that is hard to capture with a picture.

after a nice wide band of ribbing I knit a few rows of brown but stripes just seemed too boring for such wonderful yarn.

digging through pattern books I decided to grab a pattern from B. Walkers Mosaic patterns.


mosaic patterns are fun to knit. and fast because you don’t actually use more than on strand of yarn per row. the pattern is achieved by slipped sts.

I redrew the charts to make it easy to follow and once the hat was big enough I started the decreases. I didn’t chart those out I just winged it and kept to the pattern fudging it here and there. it worked perfectly and my hat has a little star on the top where all the sts come together.


I feel safe to walk in the woods with my bright orange cap.

the colors and the pattern I came up with delight me – can you tell by my smile? 
imageI usually don’t include too many picture of me – I mean who wants to look at an old lady but I think it is a pretty cute hat.

now my next worry is a matching cowl because we had snow over the week end.

good thing I have lots of orange yarn to play with

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butcher block table

a side trip to the thrift store and suddenly an unexpected purchase.

we didn’t exactly NEED this table but I couldn’t leave it there.

about 350 pounds of maple. just one leg weighs 6.58 pounds.

we needed to use carraige bolts fix legs because they were cracked.  the main problem was that someone put wheels on the legs and there was just too much weight on that small pivot point and there was too much stress on the legs causing them to crack. we could have used the table without the wheels but it was rather low.

it was tough to find wheels that would work so finally we settled on making a dolly or shelf for the table to set on. that way you can still move the table without getting a hernia and the platform or shelf provide a place to store pots and pans.

the before picture shows the table before a little cleaning and tlc. but look once it is cleaned and oiled.


it dominates my tiny kitchen but in a good way.

cleaned, sanded and oiled the table demands you stroke it as you walk by. it is a marvel ….maple blocks on end all dovetailed together. it is hard to imagine having the patience to dovetail and fit 13″ blocks of wood. every scrap of wood was used even strips that were only an inch in width.

imagethe craftmanship is unbelievable. I wish I could read the writing on the underside of the table and find out where it is from. I can only imagine that it was in a butcher shop or maybe a restaurant and it was used daily.


the table did not need a lot of work before putting it in our kitchen. the hardest part was figuring out how to attach new wheels with out cracking out the legs more. we thought about putting new legs on but it seemed a shame to use pipe legs instead of the original wood legs. building a little dolly for the table to sit on seemed to be the best solution for us. it doesn’t change the table at all and adds storage space in our tiny kitchen.

to prepare the table for use I cleaned the top with vinegar which got off some of the grime and dirt. then after it dried overnight I used an orbital sander to clean it a little more. I didn’t want to sand and level the top just clean and prepare the surface for oiling so I used 120 grit sandpaper. that took a lot of the surface dirt and marring off. I spent less time on the sides of the table and just sanded it enough to open the grain and get off surface dirt.

once we got the table inside I coated it with mineral oil. the wood is fairly dry so I have rubbed oil into the surface 3 times. the sides and legs I only have oiled once. we want to stain the dolly too. and I am thinking some walnut husk dye will do the job and then I will oil the shelf also.

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fo on friday

for a change I actually have a finished object on friday. DSC01645last knit I finished knitting the cuff on the second sock and wove in the dangling ends and promptly put them on my feet. brand new – never worn – hand knit socks are the best thing ever. warm and soft and hugging your foot just right – they make even the gray dismal weather we are having cheery.


more cheery-ness is the blanket that I am standing on. ok it isn’t finished but it is cheery and bright and it is so grey and damp outside that we need a little cheery in Okauchee. the blanket is made from all the left over sock yarns cleaned out of my stash. I couldn’t bear to throw it away and it really needed to be cleared out so it is growing into a blanket.

last night after finishing my sock I started ends in. no matter how much time I spend weaving in those dangle-ly ends there are still more to do. DSC01652I wove for an hour and a half while watching tv and there are still hundreds of ends to do. it really is a never ending job. I have started to try to crochet the ends in as I go but every time I sit down and thread my darning needle and work at the ends I never seem to make any headway.

I don’t care though — I love this blanket and I love crocheting the little squares and knowing how beautiful this will look I certainly can weave in those ends. DSC01646and look DSC01654

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weather predictions according to woolie caterpillar
DSC01530don’t know if the caterpillar is right but I saw snow this morning.

get the woolies ready

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Folded and ready for the sock drawer. image
These are comfy thick socks. They are a plain ole pattern – easy for walking and knitting at the same time.
And these are my new project for walking the dog
Kind of plain until you see the unusual construction
image I started these a long time ago and then they wandered into exile (which is the bins under the bed in the spare room). I have been trying to purge some stash and finish some projects. So I grabbed this half finished, strange sock and settled down to finish it once and for all.
When I was getting ready to travel to Michigan last spring and a knitting group friend asked if I would show her how to knit my night and day socks. She had the cuff done and was about to embark on my weirdo heel and couldn’t wrap her head around it. I showed Patty how to put a waste line in for the heel and she could happily continue on to the toe and I figured I would be back by the time she was ready to try the heels.
When I got back I needed to show her the after thought heel and all I had going was this toe up sock. So I quickly knit a second toe on the sock turning it into something that looks like a maxi pad YEW!!
Maybe a better comparison would be an insole insert for a shoe…….yes that is much better. So I took the insert and met Patty for a knit session. Using the 2 toed insert I cut a stitch and started picking up sts to my needles and then knit the cuff. While she unraveled her afterthought and turned it into a heel.
I like after the fact heels. They are no nonsense and straight forward. I like them because they are knit just like my toes and are mirror images. I like this toe and heel so much that I knit more cuff down socks then toe up socks these days. I like that you can put in a waste yarn line and easily pull it out when you are ready to knit the heel. But it isn’t hard to knit a plain tube sock and then measure a person’s foot and cut the yarn to add the heel.
Now I don’t think a 2 toed sock pattern is going to catch on any time soon but it was a fun experiment. The sock itself is very plain because that is what I needed at the time just plain ole knitting without thinking stockinette giving me plenty of time to think of more important things like taking care of Mom. Knitting on it now is relaxing and I don’t have to think about the pattern which makes it a nice knit and walk the dog project. Also a nice knit and watch tv project.

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no FO’s here

when I read other blogs fridays are FO days however these days I seem to be more about WIPs so my picture this morning is WIPs again.DSC01451my excuse (if I need an excuse) for having 3 different socks on the needles at a time is that some how I misplaced the finished plain ole sock (variegated blue and gold in the lower corner)…….without the first sock I finished how could I know when to start the sweet tomato heel. I searched high and low. I knew it was in my bag wens. but where it went to I just couldn’t figure  out. so wens. evening I made granny squares all the while muttering under my breath about what happened to the sock. actually I didn’t mind too much because I like making squares. thursday I searched a bit more  because even though I am not wild about the colors the first sock fit so nicely and the wool is thick, warm and soft. besides it just bugs me that in the space of an afternoon I  misplaced that sock.

I couldn’t find the sock anywhere but I did manage to find a Kroy jacquard patterned sock I started last spring and then abandoned to finish hats that were in Mom’s stash. a perfectly good sock but still not exactly what I want to work on.

in the end it seemed like a lot more fun to just start a new sock. with new yarn that I dyed 2 weeks ago.


so I got out some colored pens and modified a chart that I  purchased. not bothering to swatch I just cast on what seemed like an appropriate number of sts and started to knit. after an hour I decided to give up on the first toe. the lighter color isn’t a strong enough contrast to the orange.  so I started a new toe with an undyed white for my second yarn and now I am happy with it. it is a little hard to make out what I am knitting I think but when I have more done you should be able to tell what it is.

of course if I flip it over you probable can guess when you see these sweet little paw prints.DSC01459 so these will be my tv watching project and the Kroy patterned socks will be my walking project.

but wouldn’t you know this morning while stripping the bed and getting laundry out of the closet to wash I found the first plain ole sock of blue and gold ….. only an inch to knit and then I can start the heel. so I think it will be the Kroy sock for the morning walk. and the plain ole sock for the afternoon walk and any errants where I am a passenger in the car. maybe – just maybe by next friday I can show off one or two pair of finished socks.


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wip wens

wip or work in progressDSC01428my sock drawer. the weather has gotten cool enough that socks are part of the wardrobe lately. 2 pair that I finished have been gifted and a couple more added to the drawer. might have to move to a bigger drawer or give away more.

DSC01424new socks have a sweet tomato heel. one got finished last night and the second is on the needles now. but more about the picture.


this Hummel is the one ‘precious’ I brought home from Mom’s cottage this summer. this Hummel had been in my Mom’s house since I was a little girl. Mom had quite a few Hummels that my Nana had brought back when she went to Europe. there were 4 Hummels that stuck out in my mind. because Nana had picked them out for the 4 oldest kids in our family. (the youngers weren’t left out on purpose they just weren’t born yet) this is the Hummel she picked out for me. I have always loved it and it was the one thing I really wanted from the house. sure there were other things but this one meant so much – like Nana really knew me.

even though I didn’t pick up needles till later some how she knew this little knick-knack was me all wrapped in a ball of yarn.

the other thing I brought home was a  medalion. it was in a box of broken religious artifacts. I lost my religion years ago but I decided to take this anyways. I tell myself it may be Nana Jo’s.  and it could be – it is very old and worn and I know that Nana wore something similar. but that is besides the point –  I wear it everyday because I am a wip. it is a reminder to be patient and to forgive and maybe most important to forget. I am still working on it especially the forgive and forget part. it isn’t easy not to frog and obsess about the past. letting go of angry and bad feelings is hard. I work on it and most of the time I am like the little girl knitting and chirping away but still ….. well lets just say there is a lot beneath the surface.

I am slowly returning to my toys here are a few just waiting for some eyes and noses. I am just loving the sunny orange from the cosmos flowers in my garden. it truly adds the color that is missing outside my window on this cold grey rainy day. DSC01426

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wip wens.

DSC01405we woke up early yesterday anticipating a special day. there was an eclipse so it was as if nature was celebrating too.  as I watched  the moon and clicked a couple of photos an owl called out before taking off for the woods to slumber. what a wonderful start to the day.DSC01409yesterday I spent a little time just sitting and relaxing on the pier. I am close to being finished with this pair of socks. the pattern is my plain old sock recipe with an old lace pattern inserted to stave off boredom as I knit the cuff.


but my mind wanders so much that even that wasn’t keeping my attention so I began to play with the yo’s and the decreases to see how reversing them alters the pattern and ended up with  a swirly, wavy cuff. 6 more rows and I start the ribbing on the second sock so there is a good chance these will be on my feet tomorrow.  the socks are far from perfect because I am so distracted but no matter they fit and will keep my feet warm.  DSC01388we saw a few snowflakes on Monday morning but nothing is sticking to the ground yet.  the mornings are cold enough that you need a winter jacket and gloves while walking the dog but if the sun is out the afternoon can be pleasant enough to work outside in just a jacket.

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sock blankie

it starts with a couple of chain stitches with yarn leftover from Bud’s socks ………DSC01296

some double crochet sts and suddenly a square is born…………….

DSC01300a few more and suddenly you are over run with grannies


can you tell how I am hooked on this color madness? it is very addictive to sit with my bag of tiny balls of leftovers – turning the throwaways  into something warm and cuddly. so far it is 3 foot by 5 foot and growing.

although I thought some of the leftovers were questionable I can’t find one square that the color-mix clashes. it seems like the more outrageously bright the yarn is the better. really where else are you going to see red, green, purple and orange getting along so well.
I am still enjoying the process but and this is a big BUT…..


BUT …. those dangling ends.  once you get past all the gorgeous colors you start to notice all the hanging threads.  and there are a lot of them hanging about. I should have been crocheting over them as I added each new color but that is part of the learning curve so I am trying different ways of weaving the ends in as I go. so far I don’t have a method I love but I will keep trying out new ways of taking care of the ends as I go.   but there are still a tons of ends on the squares already done that need to be woven in. so the new theory is if I weave in 10 threads each time before  I  make a new square the ends will be taken care of in no time at all.

I really need to finish this soon rather than later…there is snow in the forecast.

SNOW and I am halfway through a pair of socks. I just found a pair of mittens that are done but the matching hat that I started last March still needs to be finished. the sweater I planned in my head exists only in my mind and not on the needles. this morning I needed gloves and a winter coat to stay warm on the morning walk. I just am not ready yet.

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DSC01284I have knit so many socks I could probable knit a sock in my sleep…well not really but I certainly could knit a sock in a dark room while watching a movie.

this morning I was knitting my current sock while walking the dog. in fact I was knitting and chewing gum while walking mutt-pup.


sometimes I even read while knitting…socks are my comfort knitting. they get tucked into my purse when I am running errants. they calm me when my husband is driving to the cabin and the traffic is horrendous.  once socks are started it is just round and round until you hit the toe then a little bit of decreasing and some kitchener and voila a finished sock falls from your needles. there is nothing so nice as a hand knit pair of socks as the weather cools off. and there is nothing so special  as being given a pair of socks as a present….all those little sts on tiny needles and you turned a heel just for me….best present ever.

so what happened to the socks in the picture?

just how did I manage to screw these up?

it could have something to do with the fact that I was watching tv while knitting and my ipad was probable open on my lap.  plus I just got a little too big for my britches thinking I could knit and not pay attention. DSC01289there is no way that I am willing to undo all those sts to fix this heel. these socks are for my son who wears a size 10 shoe – it is a lot of sts to ubdo and reknit. so I put this sock aside until I had some time to think through a fix .

well the fix was easy. first  I threaded a needle with  matching yarn and duplicate stitched along the row of sts before cutting my wayward, goofed up stitch. then I left the yarn and darning needle threaded and ready….cut the misplaced stitch…… picked up the knitting needles and knit my afterthought heel just like I normally would. once the heel was knit and the final 8 sts were kitchenered I picked up the darning needle again and darned a little more above and below my screw up to strengthen the spot.


and unless I point it out to my son he will never know how I screwed up this pair of socks. and even more importantly he will continue to think I am a genius.

now if only I could figure out how this happened in the first place and what knitting Goddess I offended so it doesn’t happen again.DSC01283ps because I never learn my lesson I fixed these socks while watching the Packers beat the Bears and drinking a rum and coke. thank goodness I didn’t attempt this fix the week before when the Lions trounced the Packers … who knows what might have happened.


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indigo blues

besides reworking a failed sock last week I kept busy cleaning up the garden. fall is just around the corner.


the garden at the cabin has become an overgrown jungle the past 3 summers. instead of tending to the garden we were tending illnesses. slowly I am reclaiming the garden beds and trimming out branches and vines. while I was unable to do much planting this spring because I was in Michigan what I did plant in the dye garden grew beautifully.


DSC01278the cosmos is abundant and every week I look forward to pulling in the drive and seeing the masses of cheery yellow and orange blossoms. and every week I am out there picking off those cheery flowers to throw in the dye pot. I also froze some of the orange flowers  and dried them too.

dyeing with cosmos is super easy. I just pick the flowers and throw them in a pot and cover with water. simmer and add yarn mordanted with alum. no fuss – no muss and in just a few hours I am rewarded with the most gorgeous bright oranges. I love this orange I am going to use some of it straight up for an orange hat and cowl. I will be easy to spot while I am walking this fall. a little more will be used in a stranded project that will be a special present. and some of it will be over dyed with walnut husk because I can never get enough of that wonderful orange-y brown I get.

this is my kind of dyeing…easy and unmeasured. I throw things in the pot and heat them up to see what happens. or even easier I pick and then put it into a solar jar and leave the jar to sit in the garden and heat up.

there are times when I wish I had the patience for a more scientific approach which you need to work with some plants like indigo and woad. when working with indigo you need to follow a strict regiment to get those awesome blues. sure I can and have bought a kit and managed to get the blues. but I have never achieved blues from the plants in my garden. twice I did get the dye pot to the  blue point but failed when the blue washed out of the yarn.

well this year I grew 15 indigo plants…my sister Peg supplied the seed and she also gave me some extra plants she started. the plants she started were bigger than mine and actually have flower buds now.

my plants were smaller but still produced some leaves. so last week I picked the leaves and followed a  recipe on the internet. this recipe was more my style – no measuring or heating to an exact temp.

I took an old tupperware bowl and filled it with chilled water and then added a glug of vinegar. I placed the bowl on the ground and proceeded to strip indigo leaves off my plants. I tore the leaves up as I picked and put them in the chilled water right away.

since I don’t have a blender I used my pruning shears to cut up the leaves a little more. then you just let the bowl sit for an hour.  after an hour you strain the leaves out saving the water in a bowl. then add more chilled water to the first bowl.  the water had just a faint blue tinge to it so I thought I had another failure but I added the wool to the bowl anyways and wandered off into the garden to do a little pruning.

when I stumbled out of the bushes about an hour later to my surprise the wool had turned a very pretty robin egg blue. the directions said to leave the wool in the water for a half hour then to dry for 2 days then rinse. so I hung it to dry and added yarn in the second bowl of water and  a little later I had 2 skeins of robin egg blue yarn. the skeins of yarn started to look more turquoise when I hung them to dry.

DSC01277but the big test is washing and rinsing the yarn. is the blue going to stick or is it all going to wash out when I add some soap and water?

DSC01275after 2 days I rinsed one of the skeins with a mild shampoo and the blue stuck. well to be honest the color shifted slightly and is a little more green than blue.  but it is still lovely so I count this as a win and I will be growing more indigo next year.

the only disappointment with this method is it is not as magical as the traditional method. when you use the traditional method you add the fiber and when you take it out it is a little yellowish and then as the fiber is exposed to the air it magically turns blue right before your eyes. you have to be careful how long you leave fiber in the dye pot because it can turn a very intense blue very quickly. with this method there isn’t that moment of oxidation and the blue/green that I got isn’t very intense.

but this is so much easier than  having to heat the dye water in a double boiler and watch the temps carefully. and beat the mixture, then add a chemical to take out the oxygen and then watch the yarn turn blue only to have all the blue run out when the yarn was washed and hung to dry. this is more my style of dyeing and I am pretty excited with this shade.

DSC01276the skein on the right is washed and rinsed — the skein on the left is not. there is a subtle difference between the 2 skeins. next year I think I will blend the dye water and that should release more pigment into the water and maybe I will get a darker colorunnamed-1




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problems in paradise

DSC01283last week was ready to finish a pair of socks and after pulling out my fore thought thread was simple flabbergasted to find this. can you see it???? there in the middle of my easy-peasy knit a hundred times with out a lick of trouble was a problem. look closer…..

DSC01284I have no idea how this happened. being me there is no way that these socks will go to the frog pile to be started over. but being me I hid my head in the sand and just started fresh on thisDSC01285and worked a little more on thatDSC01286while thinking about the best way to fix the wayward socks without losing all that work.

proving once again when the going gets tough some knitters just grab a different set of needles and pretty yarn from the stash and start fresh

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buffet style dyeing

here in the Mid-west we are fond of the all you can eat buffet style dining. long tables filled with all kinds of culinary delights. often at luncheons you will see a couple of roasters with dividers. well these all you can eats can be a little hard on the waist line and since I have given them up and also no longer serve up big family style meals I decided the divided pans would be better suited to high fiber diets. namely yarns. and the soup du jour would be flowers picked in the garden and made into a stew.DSC01260the nesco roaster is easier to regulate the temperature than my open fire at the cabin. and also takes up less space and I don’t make as big a mess with it. I really love how I can heat up dye materials in the nesco and then leave it at a low temp as I work on other things during the day. I am also glad to have a new use for the divided trays. what a great way to get tri-colored yarns.

I had brought home a few frozen flowers from the garden to play with. in the middle is golden marguerite. a beautiful daisy like flower that gives great yellows. to the right is coreopis flowers which yield a whole range of oranges for me. on the left I started with cosmos but the orange was just too close to the orange from the coreopis as you can see below.


I think this yarn is beautiful but we wanted 3 distinct colors. last year I had potted up some fox tail as an accent plant for the containers by the front walk. I noticed that the tails left a stain on the porch when they dropped off so of coarse the tails had to be added to water and experimented with. the crimson tails of the chenille plant gave me a nice medium brown on wool yarn so this spring I decided to grow some more. so my daughter and I picked all the tails off my 2 plants and added them to the cosmos in the roaster.

much better.


so this was our high fiber – low calorie luncheon yesterday. can’t wait to see what it looks like made up into socks.

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so yesterday was a wip or work in progress day showing off socks that were not quite done.

today is a wtf and I will leave it to you to figure it out.

we went for our walk early this morning and I took out the eggshells for the garden. you see I have been crushing the shells and spreading it around the kale cause the slugs have been feasting on. I had read in a garden book or maybe the internet that eggshells will stop slugs dead in their tracks.  so  we were gone for maybe 20 minutes and this is what I saw when I got back


they like the freaking eggshells. wtf no wonder my kale is so full of holes.

and then the second half. I spent a good portion of the day yesterday working on thisDSC01215and thisDSC01214a soft buttery yellow from golden rod and a bright orange from cosmos.

I wrapped them in plastic to bring home from the cabin to dry and then in my scatterbrained way I left them wrapped in black plastic to bake outside the garage.  it will be a week before i can go back and retrive them and they will probable have mildew spots on them since they are still wet. arrrg.

slugs…… mold……….. oh will I ever learn.

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I may have 4th sock syndrome. The socks on the right are sock number 3 and 4 of the same pattern. image

i started these back in May and am determined to finish that orange ribbing tonight.

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I am obsessed with the hook this month churning out 2 blankets with older stash yarn that has been hidden away in the closet. first there is the godzilla granny – granny has hit epic proportions and now is confined to the spare room. it has been rather hot lately and I can’t work on this blanket with it on my lap anymore so I have been sitting on a chair near the bed and hooking away. unfolded she covers the entire top of the bed and yet I keep stitching – maybe another 6″ of double crochet rounds and I will then call it done.DSC00930

……is this blanket obsession a sign that we are in for another brutilly cold winter?

after all squirrels stash away more nuts in the fall if they think the winter is going to be extremely harsh….maybe my fingers are feeling another cold winter coming. just call me Squirrelly Jo as I hook through my stash.


when you knit socks there are bits and bobs leftover – fun stripy colors that are too precious to throw away(no matter what my husband says)  . so I squirreled away all the small balls of preciousness that I couldn’t bear to throw out and threw them in a drawer hidden but not forgotten. but these little balls of yarny goodness start to build up and migrated to a nearby closet. but lets face it I only have so much closet space and even less drawer space.

DSC00925well inspiration has hit and I am churning out lighter, smaller granny squares for a second blanket.

my hooky madness has no specific patterns or rules(except use up that leftover yarn before I get buried in it). I crocheted a little basket which I load with 10-15 small balls of yarn and a hook. the basket was just an experiment to see if I could follow a pattern(I can sort of)… it does make everything just a little more portable.


sometimes I pick out tones that I think will work together other times its just a random pick without looking first. colors I wouldn’t normally combine sometimes work out beautifully other times I look and it is an ugh. but no matter – I don’t pull it out I just go on to the next ball of yarn.


I have a variety of sizes represented here in my hooky madness. I am not sure of the rules for hooking different sizes together so I am just laying them out and stitching until it looks right. you can see in the center I have stitched hooked together 8 squares just to make sure it will work out. the smallest squares are 1/4 of the size of the medium sized square. the bigger size is maybe a third bigger than the medium


clearing out my stash little by little …. a yard here and 40 yards there….

this winter when the North wind blows you will find me buried under a pile of blankets instead of a stash of yarn balls. and if you can struggle through the snow drifts and pound on the door I will welcome you to sit by the fire and swaddle you in a wooly soft blanket give you a hot toddy and we can watch the snow flakes outside the window.



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DSC00875The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
Rocks dont see it.
Bless and sit down.
Forgive and forget.
Practice kindness all day to everybody
and you will realize you’re already
in heaven now.
That’s the story.
That’s the message.
Nobody understands it,
nobody listens, they’re
all running around like chickens with heads cut
off. I will try to teach it but it will
be in vain, s’why I’ll
end up in a shack
praying and being
cool and singing
by my woodstove
making pancakes.

Jack Kerouac

Brain Pickings

working on forgiveness and understanding and living in the moment so these words are just what i need at the moment.




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godzilla versus gramma

lurking under my bed growing hungrier  by the minute is a monsterDSC00915

a monster granny
I swear I heard it growling ………FEED ME……..last night


(ok it might have been Meva she was pretty bitchy last nite)imgres-1honestly I am trying to keep this granny fed but she is insatiable. I am on a quest to find more fuel to keep her happy. I have cleared out 2 closets and under the daybed in my office – sorting through bins of yarn. she refuses all but wool flavors and is persnickety when it comes to color.imgres-2this crochet monster is eating through my stash faster than Japanese beetles are eating the leaves on my grape vinesDSC00907

it all started innocently enough – you know an odd skein here and a leftover ball there – but it quickly has escalated to the point where I am frogging unfinished projects to satisfy her hunger.
is it hooking itself in the middle of the night when I am not looking????DSC00913

will it smother me in my sleep?????


am I actually making a house cosy and not a blanket???????


ok a bit of an exageration but this blanket is growing by astounding amounts.


today it stands at 4 1/2 feet by 4 1/2 feet who knows how big it will be tomorrow.  the quest to find more wool to feed it is relentless.   crochet eats up leftover yarn at an astonishing rate and the hook is always starving for more fiber.

today I will clean the spare bedroom and search under bed for those stray balls of yarn that are hiding there while the ‘monster’ lurches in the corner groaning “feed me”.  wish me luck in finding enough yarn to feed this hulking gaint and pray that the monster doesn’t consume me too.


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