Fri, 06 Feb 2015 18:44:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 cross your heart Fri, 06 Feb 2015 16:37:13 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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.



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.

]]> 1 Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:09:37 +0000 Ewe tu Brutus


]]> 1 Mon, 19 Jan 2015 20:47:11 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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.



]]> 0 Wed, 14 Jan 2015 15:10:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]>  

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.

]]> 0 Tue, 13 Jan 2015 18:04:43 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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.


]]> 0 Mon, 05 Jan 2015 18:11:44 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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.

]]> 1 Fri, 02 Jan 2015 22:06:02 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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 Tue, 02 Dec 2014 22:11:49 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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 Thu, 13 Nov 2014 20:54:20 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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 Mon, 10 Nov 2014 15:40:44 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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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