I do love a simple, clever idea

Sometimes the best things are so simple, you wonder why no one ever thought of them before.  I recently discovered one.

Check it out!  The pin is attached, so you can’t lose it!  Brilliant, I say.

The woman who makes these works with me, and when I heard she makes jewelry and sells on Etsy, I went right over to check out her work, of course. When I saw this, I had to have it.

Silver colored fibula shawl pin sweater scarf brooch aluminum wire

(Photo from her Etsy shop)

What do you think?

Check it out, and her other work, because she clearly has many brilliant simple ideas – like the hoop earrings for non-pierced ears – NO PINCHING! I have pierced ears and still might need a pair of those as well.

Adroit Jewelers

And FYI, I was not paid or otherwise influenced to write this – just want to share a great find with you all.

Saturday at last!

I am off to the Fiber Frolic in a couple of hours – so just thought I would document what I think I am getting – then we can check in later to see how I did!

I aim to find the Hidden Brooks Fiber lady, and get some of her luscious angora/wool blend – I have someone interested in my Chevron hat, but in a smaller size. Her website was our of commission the other day, so I need to see her in person. And see all her fiber.  So sad.

Then I want to connect with the Purple Fleece, and talk about spinning lessons. And maybe buy some of her bright colored yarn.

My old favorite PineStar is on the vendor list, so I will stop by and PROBABLY get some yarn for another lace shawl, because really, you can’t have enough of them, right?

I’ll be on the lookout for some sock yarn, and new vendors and other exciting stuff, but I will be trying hard to stick to my budget.

Our plans for today have changed a bit – A has to work halfway across the state, and originally, we thought the timing would work that she could drop me at the fair, go work, then pick me up several hours later.  But between the time she would have to drop me off and the fair would actually open is a couple of hours, and I just figured it made no sense to sit and hang out there for that long – even though I could knit, it is a bit longer than I want to be standing by the side of the road.

So, I will do a few things this morning, including going to the Post Office to see if any of the clothes I recently ordered have arrived – and if they have, I might come home and change, lol.  I’ll head out around 9:30 or so, and stay at the fair for a couple of hours – if I have the energy, I will hang about until 2 when there is a Ravelry hook up. Never been to one of those, but I will give it a shot.  Very silly, but it is a big deal to this introvert!

Tomorrow, I have no plans, I should do a bit of cleaning, of course. And yard work, since I will do none today.  It will be tough to get off the couch with all that new fiber, though.

Here are some photos I took lately.  The Trapper Cowl I took with my phone – aren’t you proud of me? Of course, I got it onto Ravelry and could not figure out how to get it here, so you will just have to follow the link to see it.  🙂

First up – yarn and knitting.

Here is the newly dyed yarn hanging in the rain – not drying.


And here it is all dry, with the first batch I did.  I think these colors will work well for the lefty shawl.


Next up is the lace leaf shawl adaptation – I did not block it hard, so it has more texture than my purple one.  And as you can see, I added one stitch when I cast on, and created a third section of leaves, for a different shaped shawl.  This is the yarn I dyed using beets, and it just is too orange for me.  But I like what the pattern did with the extra section.


Here’s the beginning of the Indian Feathers – I will likely wish I had used size 6 beads instead of size 8, but these are the ones I had that looked nice with the yarn, so it is what it is.


Now, onto the glass beads.  Remember last month I took that class?  One aspect of the Haystack day is a studio “tour” where everyone can look at what was made during the day.  But our beads were still in the kiln, so she had us paint pictures of what we were making.  I am not artist, for sure, and of course, I had no idea if what I thought I was putting into the kiln is what would come out!  So here is the card I painted that day.


And here are the beads, which I was finally able to pick up this week.  Definitely lumps, but some of them are pretty, if you don’t worry about what they were supposed to look like.  I love the bubbly ones (that was on purpose!) and some of the purple ones – I was trying to get the colors of a mussel shell.  Failed that, but they are still pretty.



Then there is the garden this week – veggie plants are sprouting like mad, loving the rain. Tomatoes are in a holding pattern though, waiting for warmer weather.  Which will come eventually, right?

The strawberries look better than ever, and I ignored them this year.  All I do is pull out the occasional weed.  No compost, no mulch, no bird netting.  I am disowning them, if they produce, great, if not, out they come.  They take up too much space for the yield.


The tomatoes are holding on, but the squash popped right up!


Here we have radishes, garlic, lettuce, mesclun mix and peas all doing great.  Carrots are in there, too, they will sprout soon among the radishes. Oh, and there is a small pumpkin patch in the corner.


This patch is sister-in-law L’s.  Not sure what all she has planted besides beans, but I do know that she is also getting grass and morning glories (which she did NOT plant.) and the beans look great!


This is the asparagus – we ate a lot of it this spring, but I am letting the rest go to grow and fill this planter bed.


Mother Nature is working hard to get all the things caught up to their normal bloom time.  We have lupine (and a fine example of what we have for soil in this yard)


and wygelia both getting ready to pop with color.


Here’s a gratuitous sugar bomb picture.  Last weekend A was craving sweets, so I baked brownies.  then she asked if we could frost them.  We could, we did, they were delicious but an incredible pile of sugar, couldn’t eat too many of them in a sitting!



That’s it – the camera is empty now.  🙂

So did you see?

Great Britain has a new princess. Isn’t she adorable?  DID YOU SEE HER BONNET?  And blanket?  Those look lovingly handmade to me! I’ll have to go searching the webs to find clear close-ups of them.

And I hope when Kate got home she got to lie down for a while. Public appearance ten hours after giving birth?  I would NOT be into that part of having princes and princesses for children.

On another topic – sort of –

Ever since my sister made a delicious root salad using beets and other vegetables I didn’t think I liked, I have been thinking about using beets to dye yarn.  So last night I went at it.

I started with about 3 ounces of worsted weight natural colored wool, inherited from Cousin Nancy (I have a HUGE spool of it – pounds, in fact) that I wound into a cake.

Nancy yarn cone

This is the spool. It is great for experimenting, and I think I might use it to make myself a garment.  Someday.

I chopped up one smallish beet (about the size of a small apple) and a small portion of stems, and cooked them in the crock pot with water and vinegar for about half an hour.  Then I plopped in the yarn and let it cook until the beets were white.  Really!  Chemistry is amazing.

beet dying 1

But what I got was yellow yarn.  I think it was the stems. I was sad.  This was not the amazing pink I was expecting.

beet dying 2

So this morning, I am at it again with two beets this time, no stems.  So far, I have the pink I was hoping for.  Not magenta as I might expect, but as I am starting with yellow yarn, I am just pleased to see pink.  Beets still have color, and the water is still violently pink, so I will keep on cooking.

beet dying 3

beet dying 5

beet dying 4

See the beet bits are getting lighter? And the yarn darker?  I am getting there!

A is just so pleased that the house smells like beets and vinegar and wet wool.  🙂

Since she went off to play golf with my step dad, I am airing out the house so she will never know how bad it really got.

I’ll let you know how the yarn comes out!

What I did on my summer vacation in photos

Well, mostly photos.  I can never resist a few words.  🙂

A few touches for the screened porch – the lantern a tag sale item, the flower pot an IKEA special.


painting before



 painting during 2

painting during 1

and after:

painting after 1

painting after 2


Then there was knitting:

5 hats

I made these 5 hats in a couple of days – 4 side button hats, one Alpine Topper.  The Alpine still needs to be blocked to stop that curling edge.

Those side button hats need buttons, right?  I have been scouring yard sales to find some that are big enough, unique and special at reasonable prices.  I found these this summer:

buttons 1

Then, one day I was in a local artisan collective shop, killing time, and I found these babies.  They are made by a young woman who owns a quarry nearby.  She makes these stone buttons from the local granite, and the beach stones and tumbled china ones as well. And the shell – I love that shell! They are VERY reasonably priced, considering just how unique they are, so I bought several, and  expect I will get more someday. Maybe today… buttons 5

buttons 2

buttons 3

buttons 4

Now, how to choose?

choosing 1

choosing 2

choosing 3 

This is just too much fun, but I hope they sell!  I don’t really need ALL of these hats.  🙂



Fun Friday, slow Saturday

Yesterday was just what the doctor ordered.
Always fun to take a road trip with Mom, so we can visit. She drove from her house, so I could knit on my socks – made huge progress on the second sock. Socks with Sarah is going to make a huge difference in me choosing to knit socks and finishing them. I like it.

On the way, we stopped at brother N’s future home – currently a muddy construction site in the woods, but it is already clear that is going to be a really nice place, in a great location. Hard to believe from the state it is currently in that it will be complete in 4 months, but that’s the plan, and I know how construction works – it looks like it is going slowly, then POOF, it is done. Speaking of which, here are a few current photos of the screen porch – almost done until spring when it will get really done. I think it really will look nice, and break up the long boring expanse of the back of the house. These photos also show how dreary things look right now – BUT NOTICE – almost no snow! We have had a good ten days of melting. That’s done with again, it is snowing now, but it gives hope of spring to come.

screen porch jan 17 2014 1

screen porch jan 17 2014

We got to Portland in time for lunch, which as always, was delicious. My sister is really good at making simple food taste delicious, and she always makes it pretty, too. She made a yummy lamb soup and a salad, and it was perfect. We sat chatting and knitting until it was time for her to go to the school to get E. A few minutes later, they returned, and we could hear E at the door downstairs, excited and giggling “I hear chatting” she hollered up the stairs, then erupted into the room, so excited to see us and to be able to join in the knitting. She ran and got hers, and hopped up next to C, and started in on her cheese hole scarf. It has remarkably few cheese holes. She was so cute, with her crazy ponies on top of her head, hair sticking out everywhere, glasses crooked on her nose, clearly feeling so grown up. When she asked Mom why she wasn’t knitting, and Mom said “I was making too many mistakes, I would rather sit and talk to everyone, and hear what they have to say.” She admonished her “You have to concentrate and pay attention” 🙂

It was a good day.

Today I finished the last half-inch of that last sock – first pair done!
socks with sarah pair #1 complete
Next pair will be cast on with Tosh Sock Steam age today or tomorrow. Meanwhile, I continue working on the bulky red sweater. Close to finishing the neck and rejoining the front and back, then it will finish up pretty quickly.

Took a few photos of our new storm doors, all hung up by the contractor. They are cuter than these photos show, the light wasn’t good, and the flash isn’t helpful when taking pictures of glass! The one with the cat cut out is our front door, the one with the sailboat is to the deck in our room – lovers leap as my family calls it. And you can just see Allie watching me, wondering what the heck I am doing out in the cold and snow with no shoes and coat. 🙂

front door

lovers leap door

Today has been a boring day of chores – we FINALLY got the Christmas tree out – it has been standing around with only the top-most ornaments on it – those I needed the ladder to reach. We tipped the tree over, A held it while I took the last ones off, then we pitched it over the deck rail and down into the woods. Needles everywhere, as you might imagine. I saved a bag full in case I decide to make balsam bags. We also went to the dump, the grocery store, the Post Office, and did laundry. Cleaned the pellet stove, rearranged the living room furniture. Sounds like my usual Friday list huh? That’s what happens when I play on Fridays. 🙂
Now we are sitting, watching our dvr’d TV shows… Hawaii Five-0 right now… so nice to buzz through the advertising!

what I see

office view January 2 2014

Let’s start outside… this is a view out my office window Monday – around 3:30 (which is seriously depressing). It hasn’t changed much since then, but by Monday night, it might. We are on track to get a lovely storm of wintry mix that ends as rain. Will that rain freeze? Or will it wash away all of this ice and snow?

I took these photos today when I went out to move the car so the plow guy can clean up the parking area. I was out a while, thought it was pretty warm out until I came in and my glasses totally fogged up. I checked the thermometer. 14 degrees F. And it felt warm. It will be a long winter.


diamonds 1

diamonds 2

ice house

What I see inside – so much more cheerful!

Here is my red star. A thinks it is a new Christmas ornament, but I might have to keep it up all winter, I love it so much. So warm and cozy. I wonder when she will notice? 🙂

Christmas star

Remember when I said I wanted to make a pompom garland, thanks to all of you who did amazing things with pom poms? I did it one afternoon last week, and here it is. I think it makes the loft railing look cheerful and merry.

pom pom garland

And on my needles? Last winter, I made this great red sweater, from Tom Scott, as shown in Vogue Knitting. But the bobbles weren’t right on me, and it wasn’t long enough.

wip red sweater

So, I ripped it all out, changed the bobbles to another cable and started again. This time, I am making it as long as the large size, and it will have to do because I am NOT ripping it out and reknitting it again. I LOVE the red color and warmth of it – it is Lamb’s Pride bulky, in blood-red (number 80, I think.) It works up fast, and I should be wearing it before the end of winter. (Which might mean May, I know. 😦 )

wip red sweater redux

Do you knit?

Today I was at work, where the heat seems to be inadequate to deal with sustained negative temps.

I was wearing a turtleneck, flannel shirt, denim jumper, tights and the following items:


sox and allie

and wrapped in a huge pi shawl, and a new coworker asked me “Do you knit?”

I wonder what gave it away?

whoa! It’s Friday again.

I guess I am not all that great with doing my lists on time when I am on vacation. Sorry about that.

Make jelly with all the berries that had to thaw when there were no lights.
Make cookies to take to A’s family gathering this afternoon.
Go to A’s family gathering this afternoon.
Take photos of all the things I finished knitting this week. Well, the one thing, but this item should be motivation for me to finish the last couple of inches of leg warmer, right?
Knit on the big red sweater that I cast on yesterday. You might remember it, it is the one I made last winter, then frogged because I didn’t like where the bobbles were. Now I have altered the pattern, no bobbles. 🙂
Plan the next mobile project for when I finish the leg warmer. I know that first there will be a hat, but then what?
Where does it come from?

The power of you internet knitters

You constantly amaze me, not just with your creativity, your excellent workmanship, but your generosity!  OMG.

In today’s mail at work I got ANOTHER big box of hats, this time from a woman in North Carolina who saw a post about our winter wear project over at She Makes Hats. These contributions really do make a difference in people’s lives, we get them out and onto heads in schools, in churches, in homeless shelters, wherever we hear of the need.  We tuck them into our Christmas packages.  We just can’t give away enough hats to keep everyone warm, but we try our best!

And you all help so much, thank you so much.

Everything is Blue!

This won’t surprise people who know me, as blue is my favorite color, but I realized today that everything I am working on is blue. A blue Christmas present for my eldest niece, and a blue beaded scarf for me, which I keep in a blue yarn bowl on the coffee table (not blue). Hmm, what? Oh, yes, I thought you knew. I have not yet finished that blue beaded scarf. I really do work on it some most days. It just is a slow progress kind of thing. I think it is the pulling the yarn through all the beads that is slowing me down. Sometimes the only work I do on it is to pull yarn through when I have a few minutes to sit. I plan on making it ten sections long, and I am almost done with the 7th one. When I get to ten, I will see if that is really as long as I want it before I finish it off. I was hoping to wear it Sunday to the carol sing, but that isn’t happening. Still, I will have it, and can wear it next year. I *might* have another scarf or shawl I can wear. 🙂

diagonal scarf 2

If you look really closely in this photo, you can just see the beads marking the diagonal triangles on the scarf. In person they are slightly less subtle. Really, they are worth the work. I hope that by the time I finish I will have figured out how to photograph it so you can see them. They are like a little touch of glitter. 🙂

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