Friday, June 28, 2013

This One's Tabled...

finally.  And, it only took a year!

In my defense, I had to spin the yarn first.  A little over a year ago I was following a video blog that promoted a Spin-along where you were challenged to spin new-to-you fibers.  The fiber suggestion for April was Masham.  Sure, I'll try it.  At the same time, fractal spinning had taken over my brain and was something I was focussing on to improve technique.  What fun for a still relative newbie!

I dutifully ordered my fiber, after spending hours and hours struggling to choose just the right ombre shading from a selection of Etsy stores.  Then, once it was spun, the process of picking something to knit began.  Several ideas floated around, but this yarn really is not something I would want next to or near my skin.  However, something house-y would be great.  South Seas Table Runner had been on my mental to do list for some time.  So, cast on was completed and it feels like an eternity has passed since that time.  The project had to go into time out for awhile due to multiple "knitting in the car yarn-over tragedies".

Finally, done and off the blocking board.  Sadly, even after a Eucalan Eucalyptus soak, there is still some residual sheepy smell, which doesn't bother me, but the cats are getting too friendly with the runner!  Good thing I pictured this on the back porch dining table.

The ombre effect of each section was fairly well maintained.  There was enough yarn to do several more inches, but frankly I was done.


Shells still need to be attached, because of course something soft-ish and slightly sheepy smelling NEEDS dangly things for cats that like to sun themselves on the back porch!


Works for me.  Anyone want to place bets on how long it stays there before some kitty has other plans for it?


Oh well, don't all good Meowmys know that everything is feline fair game?

*************




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Epic Fai(L) Isle...

or aka: Lessons in choosing colors carefully.

As per usual, I am sidetracked from pressing projects that have a deadline.  In my defense, I signed up for a fair isle sock class before deciding on making the "project with a deadline".

So, Saturday, I arrived at my LYS with yarn in hand that I could envision becoming THE most awesome socks ever to have been made and worn in the history of man.  My skeins had been lovingly divided in order to make my evil plan of making both socks (on separate needles...can you IMAGINE doing stranded work two at a time with Magic Loop...don't answer, as I am sure there is someone that can and does perform that bit of magic!) happen.  Every intention was to make sure that dreaded Second Sock Syndrome did not infect this project.

Cast on.  Yay!  Learned a new cast on technique to add to my bag of tricks.

Started the cuff.  This is kinda fiddly but once my hands and brain were on the same page of separate yarns in each hand but working in sync with each other, I got in a rhythm.  Fun stuff people!

After class, I went home and proudly showed off my lovely (so far) cuff to the hubs.  He was duly impressed.

And then Sunday happened.

Two repeats into the chart revealed a sad sad moment of truth.  The two yarns had too much color similarity to allow for the distinctive portions of the pattern to shine through.  What to do?!?!?!?

FAIL:



Off to the stash!

Fortunately, I had an entire skein of Heritage Sock Yarn that had been lounging around in the stash basket for several years waiting to tell me what it wanted to be when it grew up.  Main color-bingo.  Contrast color turned up in the leftovers basket:  Heritage Silk Paints that was leftover from when I made Boxy.

Cast on and hallelujah we have a winner.  The other lesson to this is that fair isle knitting is addictive...can't seem to put it down.

WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!:




With:  Size 2US itty bitty teeny tiny circs (my hands are screaming!)

This, my dears, is exactly why Stash Yarn is vitally important!!

**************




Friday, June 21, 2013

Stop Mocking Me...

aka..."Tales of the B-ugly Yarn".

You've done it.  Don't even try to deny it.

The pity purchase.

You know the one, where you are in a small business and you feel like you NEED to buy something just to show support for their endeavor.

I have one such pity purchase that has been a thorn in my side for the last few years.  The colors match my living room, but, well, honestly, it is b-ugly yarn (the "pc" version of what I really want to call it).  It has been on and off the needles through so many potential projects that I have lost count.  Shoot, it has even been cast on FOUR times for different projects since midnight last night!!!

Please don't even bother to point out that given my startitis/enditis problems of late, I shouldn't even be messing around with anything else.  However, it was out of my control.  About 10:30 last night I went in to straighten up and reorganize my craft room cabinets.  After re-arranging and (fatal move) pausing to look through a couple of books, I wound up pulling stash baskets out and the b-ugly yarn started laughing at me.  I may have reacted in a bit of a cocky manner and that was all it took.  Game on...again.

At present, the fourth cast on (the whole two rows completed of garter stitch) is working out.  HA!  But, the darned stuff is whispering taunts at me from inside my knitting bag under my desk at the shop.


Who will be the ultimate winner?  Only time will tell.

************

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Daddy, Two Papa's and a Great Grandfather...

My Daddy.  Where to start.  Never Dad, Father, Pa, Pop...always my Daddy.  He is a rock that I know I can turn to for advice, a shoulder, a kick in the butt, a hug, a laugh...whatever is needed.


He has a humor that is slightly off (which explains a lot about me) and the drive and perseverance to do just about anything he sets his mind to.  He is also one tough cookie!  

As young girls, my sister and I spent countless hours at the drugstore with him.  He was a pharmacist and my mother kept the books.  Carrie and I were taught from a young age how to work.  We were taught far more than how to keep records, how to deal with customers or how to do inventory (blecchh!).  What we were witness to was not only a lesson on how to have a life partner that was your best friend, that you loved spending time with to the point that you worked side by side every single day-rarely apart, and how to develop a work ethic to carry us through life.  When he retired from pharmacy and took up the reins of my grandfather's real estate business, it was again side by side with my mother.

As I had my sons, he was right there guiding them and enjoying time with them.  Many hours have been spent walking, talking, shooting, and plain goofing off between the boys and their grandfather...hours spent at home, at the farm, at pow-wows and on so many occasions.  He has shared his love of history, play time and heritage with them.



But where did he learn the things he has and continues to pass on?  That would be by the side of his father, my grandfather...Papa Grammer.  What an inspirational man!  Early in his marriage, he took his wife and other family members across the country from Arkansas to California to search for work.  We are talking dustbowl/depression times.  Family stories that have been passed down are rich with jobs he held to, antics of he and my grandmother.  Papa Grammer, to me, was a quiet man of incredible strength.  He worked hard and then he worked some more.  I cannot count the number of times that I have called him needing help with figuring out how to do something.  He is greatly missed, but I am proud to have known such a wonderful man.  Still today, true to the goofiness which I come by naturally, I cannot make or eat pie without thinking about Papa G.  To say he loved pie would be an understatement.  When we would go out to eat as a family, he would never come right out and say he wanted a slice, instead ALWAYS asking, "Do you want pie? Well, if you want some, then I will have some too."  Of course, you always said yes, because he reallllyyyy wanted a piece of pie.  


And then there is my Papa Phillips, my mother's father.  Oh my heavens that man had the greenest thumb on earth!  There was absolutely nothing that he could not grow.  He was a tall and lanky gentleman with a quick and easy grin.  The years that I remember most with him included visiting him when he was still working at Lewis Brothers on the square in Fayetteville.  At that time he and Granny lived in a two-story white house that my mother lived in when she met my father.  That house always seemed huge to me.  The back yard and garden, enormous in my eyes.  I recall walking through the garden with him and rummaging in the garage as he potted and replanted and nurtured all manner of plants.  He had a special touch to the garden area pathways...each grandchild had their footprints cast in concrete with their name and date scratched in with a big nail.  It was always fun to stand in my cousins' footprints.  He smoked Camel cigarettes, but NEVER in the house and to this day, if I perchance catch a whiff of one, his image pops into my head.  


Granddad.  It would be a much better world indeed if every child had a Great Grandparent or two (as I did) actively in their life.  My Great Grandfather (on my Daddy's side) was a hoot and a half!  Rarely did I see him dressed in anything other than overalls and a plaid flannel shirt.  He had a love of Papa Burgers from A&W, root beer floats, and popcorn.  Oh, the popcorn!  From the time I was 16 until I moved away after college, I went to his house every Sunday.  We would sit and visit.  Sometimes we would watch baseball...which literally meant watch as he always had the volume turned down.  Often I would bring jiffy pop to fix while we sat and shot the breeze.  He was a source of many of the funny family stories.  One involves him as a young man at a barn dance.  He spotted a pretty young girl and wanted to talk to her.  He mustered up the courage and tried to join in the conversation where she was.  They were discussing a fire.  His flustered, infatuated contribution to the conversation:  "I saw that star fart."  (instead of I saw that fire start).  As he approached his late 80's, he was adamant that no Grammer lived past 89 and that was that.  Well, when that birthday came and passed and he was still alive and kicking, he revised that plan for him to be that he believed he would hang around to see his Great-Great Grandchild.  And that he did.  Alex was born on October 12, 1991, five days after Granddad's 100th birthday.  He got to see and hold Alex twice before he passed away a few months later.  Perhaps those encounters contributed to Alex's wry wit.  Either way, Granddad was my special Granddad and I miss those afternoons of jiffy pop.


Without question, these great men have impacted my life in subtle and obvious ways.  I love you all.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Beginning of Enditis...

Hallelujah!!! Some startitis projects have turned the corner into FO's.  In the last couple of weeks, 4 items have graduated from one status to the other:  The Slink, South Seas Table Runner, miniature items, and a Moss Grid Hand Towel.  However, only The Slink and the Moss Grid Hand Towel are available today for your viewing pleasure.

The Slink, what beautiful yarn, but, lemme tell you, by the end of this thing I was beginning to curse the moment that the "need" for beads entered my head.  That is, until the fringe was pulled and the gloriousness was revealed.   My poor dear husband nearly had a stroke when I began to unravel the fringe.  He is not unused to me ripping things out and starting over, but he claims it pains him to watch. So, at the moment of truth, the shawl was carefully spread across my desk at work and when I grabbed that little loose end and pulled, he just about jumped across from his desk to stop me.  Once he was calmed down by my explanations of intentional pulling to make fringe, he was in awe by the way in which it worked.  I, however, was quite nervous, not so much about the pulling of fringe, but about whether all those stupid beads would fall off with each tug.  Nope...they stayed put.  Whew!




The need/desire for some kitcheny items has gained momentum in my knitting finger fury.  Thus, the plan to do some dish towels was hatched.  Who in their right mind does not enjoy the patterns and writings in any of the Mason Dixon Knitting genre?

Moss Grid Hand Towel made with Sublime Yarn Egyptian Cotton on US 5 needles.  Pretty straight forward pattern resulting in an exceptional end product between the pattern and yarn.  (the Chevron Stripes pattern is on needles as we speak).



It feels good to finish a few things for a change!

***********


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Nice Buns...

Bread.

Warm bread.

Sign.me.up.

Tonight on the way home from work, my dearest and I were discussing what to have for dinner and plans for the evening.  The lawn needed to be mowed and a few chores around the house were calling out.  Plus, the poor little hummingbirds were in need of some fresh nectar.  That ever dreaded question of "what's for dinner" loomed on the evening's horizon.  Lunch consisted of leftovers that were leftover from last night's refrigerator leftover clean out free for all meal.  Fortunately, I keep the freezer stocked with meal-sized portions of a number of our favorites and knew there was a package of pulled pork.  

While Wes set about tackling the yard, I retrieved the pulled pork and made the decision that tonight was the night to make homemade hamburger buns.  I have made a terrible mistake.  Never again will I be satisfied with store bought, chemical laden buns.  Two things learned were:  1) they are ridiculously easy to make and 2) you really should remember to get the measuring spoon out of the mixer before you turn it on--that's all you need to know about that.  

The recipe for tonight's first experiment was 40-Minute Hamburger Buns, but don't let the name fool you, it doesn't really take 40 minutes.  Active prep time was only about 10 minutes.  The lack of rise time was surprising to me, but the results don't lie.



 SHHHHH, it's resting...







This past Saturday, I picked up some rhubarb at the Farmer's Market.  Never tasted it (to my knowledge) and certainly never cooked with it.  Talking to my Dad last night, he was reminiscing about the rhubarb patch my Great Grandmother had and how, as a little boy, he was allowed to pick it and sell it around town.  His voice was full of excitement telling of how wonderful the pies were that she would make with it.  After some searching through my favorite, trusty cookbooks with no success, I ventured into the webby world and found a promising recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.  The only adjustment made to this recipe was to use my Granny's pie crust recipe.


I don't normally use a trifle bowl as a mixing bowl, but desperate times (every other mixing bowl was in use) call for desperate measures.




The result...

Only one thing left to say:  YUM!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It's baaaaaaccckkk...

One of our favorite things to do in the summer is to go in town for the weekly Farmer's Market. We pass the time wandering around, taste testing treats, people watching and usually end the trip (after getting our shopping list completed) with a meal from local vendors.

Last year we got hooked on locally raised, grass fed, hormone/antibiotic free beef from Brothers Beef. There is absolutely no comparison to store bought beef. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Unfortunately, their season last year was hindered by the awful dry spell, so I failed to get the freezer stocked. That will not happen this year. A hefty purchase was made today to start the beef hoarding.

I picked up some perennials for a few of my flower beds along with some fresh baby lettuces and a new to me purchase. Rhubarb. I'm planning on making a rhubarb pie or something. Not sure yet, but what the heck, I'll give it a whirl. Another new item we are trying is Hickory Nut Syrup...oooooh Lordy is that tasty. Of course, now I'm on a quest for recipes to make my own since there is a hickory tree in my front yard. We shall see how that turns out.

The weekly excursion would not be complete without a Lemonade Shake Up and a bunch of pretty cut flowers for my kitchen counter. Don't know what it's like where you are, but here it is a pretty day, so my sweetie and I are outta here to work in the garden weeding and doing some more planting. Per his request, I will be a good girl and wear my big garden hat. Y'all have a great Saturday!!





Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lucky...

It is said that if you are lucky enough to live on a lake, you are lucky enough.  It is true.







Sunday mornings spent fishing, knitting and hanging out with my sweetie are beyond compare.

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