On the house & In the Mail

Today I spotted something special on the house when I was giving Jackson a bathroom break -
Up there, on the roof - a hawk!
We frequently see them flying around, this is the first one I've spotted on the roof!

After that surprise, there was a surprise in my mailbox as well.
A pattern booklet, Simplicity Volume 2 - Women's. I had almost forgotten about this job - I test / sample knit a sweater for it with Simplicity HiKoo yarn.
I knit the blue one in the middle. It was a fun knit and the end result was cute - I was able to fit the Medium size, and I knit the one with 3/4 sleeves (this was back in Novemeber, 2010)
I am glad I can finally share that project!


Shop Hop

I have done informal yarn crawls and today I participated in my second "official" yarn crawl, the I-91 Shop Hop that covers 3 states! My in-laws were kind to take the Lorax for a bit, so I just popped around Connecticut - I went to a LYS, a nearby LYS, a new shop and a shop I haven't been to in years. On the whole I enjoyed it, and I do hope that it turns into an annual event, and that in future years some things are done differently.
A neat feature, when you bought your passport (a booklet that had info on each shop and directions) you also got a tote for your purchases! (Thanks to Jennsquared - I bought her passport since she couldn't go!)
A group shot of my goodies:

My first stop was up to Village Wool which was a new find for me. A very sweet shop, nice selection. I was pleased to be able to indulge in some Madelinetosh Tosh Sock and Be Sweet "Bambino Taffy" and some silly knitting cards that I think I will frame.

The next stop was at a shop I haven't been in years. Unfortunately when I stepped in I remembered why - it is a very cluttered shop, and while I appreciate that there are labels of the yarn and prices - most things were shuffled around and not near their labels or were incorrectly priced! The owner also seemed tired and somewhat annoyed but at the same time, gossipy - I had noticed one beautiful scarf and was about to ask where the yarn was when she came over to me and mentioned that she didn't carry that yarn as it was $66. Ok fine. Then she continues, "But you get what you pay for" - well duh, that's part of why the yarn / object was so gorgeous. She had a lot of lower priced yarns (and inexpensive yarn on clearance), but I did notice a few skeins there priced for $80, so I really don't think that a $66 skein would have trouble there. Anyway, I do want to support my local shops, so I picked up some Kollage "Glisten" yarn in red, with some sparkle - I think that will become a Koolhaas hat for me. I was short on time so did not make a big deal, but when I was rang up the price was more than I calculated in my head - I think the price I read on the label was her cost not retail. Sigh. It's fine, but I know I will not be returning to that shop.

I haven't been to Knit New Haven since I took a class there last year, but I am glad I made a stop today - it's a very sweet shop - nicely organized, well lit, friendly staff. I had trouble focusing on a yarn, so I went with a new mug and some stitch markers. Those herdy mugs are so cute!

And last, I made it to my LYS, The Yarn Basket - again I had trouble deciding on a yarn, so I picked up Whimsical Little Knits 2 by Ysolda.

At each shop you could enter your name for a daily drawing; it would be nice to win something! In the future I would love to see the shops do sales to coincide with the yarn crawl - sure there were clearance items (my impression is that they were there before the crawl and would be there after), but a little extra incentive is always nice (and just buying yarn before it is taxed is not an incentive, in my opinion). Also, I get the idea behind the yarn hop where if you make it to all the participating stores you get entered in a drawing for a prize worth more than $1,000 - cool, but for people like me, I can't do that. Maybe I am being selfish with my entry in just the daily drawing... why not turn in my passport at my last stop and be entered for one more prize? Or an extra daily drawing entry?

This was a nice little treat on a Friday - probably the last of my yarn shopping until Rhinebeck. I am expecting some books to arrive next week or the week after as I did online shopping at Interweave's Hurt Book sale and the KnitPicks Summer Reading sale too!


Strawberry Season

Finally. We went strawberry picking last week and I am hoping to go again. The Lorax and I picked four pounds last week, and I am already missing them.
Many many berries were eaten just as berries. I made a batch of Strawberry Vanilla Jam in those cute little jars - and used my hot water canner that I got at Christmas. I think I may have not let the "jam" get hot enough before canning, because it is very runny - not that it is any less delicious! I have mixed it in with yogurt and it was so wonderfully sweet and sticky! I think I need to get some vanilla yogurt to have it on as well. And maybe try adding it to a glass of milk. Or on top of a cup of shaved ice snow cone. And make a batch of pancakes or waffles. If I do that, then I also could use the Strawberry butter that I made - this is wonderful on bagels, english muffins, toast... I also eeked out a small batch of freezer jam. I really want to try the Strawberry Cake
The weather is looking iffy, so maybe instead we will just go to Bishop's and buy them.


Yarn Along

Yarn Along: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr.

It has turned into a good week for books! My birthday was on Monday (Hello 33! It was calm and peaceful and relatively quiet, which hopefully will set the tone for the next year.) and my brother-in-law & parents gifted me several books from my wishlist. And then I also borrowed books from fellow knitters. I am now reading 4 books and working on 4 projects. Having multiple projects going is nothing new, but generally speaking I tend to be a monogamous reader.

Here's what I am reading:

Cherries In Winter by Suzan Colon - lent to me by WifeMomKnitter. I am only a few pages in but already in love with this book due to this:
Why do we have all this stuff? The answer is simple: It's because I can't bear to part with anything that belonged to my family.
So true. On top of the book pile you can see a Sheldon - he is going to be a gift, so I do not want to say too much because the recipient has on occasion swung by the blog. His costume is in progress and I think it will be adorable!

Bossypants by Tina Fey - I had to start this one right away, I was so excited to get it as a gift! I keep hearing such great things about it. I am finding it hysterical - enough so that it makes me laugh out loud thus disturbing Dan (I mostly read at night before bed). His complaint is that no book can be that funny. He is also a reader but tends to stick with the likes of World War II and Chuck Palahniuk, so of course those are not laugh out loud. So, I started Unbroken (a WWII story) - what a life this guy had - very engaging.
My "JuneBlueBerry Triangle" is coming along nicely - I am on to Chart D. I had intended to leave out the bobbles when I started, but decided that they would add to the "berry"-ness, so I went with them... and, I hate bobbles. So I did 3 rows with bobbles, skipped next set of bobbles, and have decided to do the next set for a balanced look. I hate bobbles. This seals the deal. Seriously. No more bobbles, ever!

Our Best Bites cookbook, from the website of the same name, is making me drool! I have made several recipes from the website and they have all been fantastic! This tortellini bake was awesome and I will make this teriyaki sauce again soon! Right now my grocery list for the next week has a lot of ingredients to make several items from the book!

I am just about halfway through with a Babysquared blanket for baby #2. I'm using Encore Colorspun Worsted (same yarn as for my cousin's blanket) - it's a green mainly with bits of purple-yellow-light red-light blue with it.
I've also completed one section of all the colors in my "Neon Nightmare" crochet blanket:
I am in no rush whatsoever to finish that project, but I do like how I can be working on a blanket and can hold it so it is not all on my lap, as happens with larger knitting projects. Maybe that will change once it is bigger, but for now all is good.



I come from a long line of coffee drinkers and love the daily routine of having that first cup in the morning. I do like my coffee regular and being on the East Coast, that means cream & sugar. I have never been big on stirring my coffee, unless I'm out at a diner. Growing up I do not remember seeing either of my parents stir their coffee (or tea) after adding anything to it.

My husband is a different story - he wants to prevent any sort of sugar sludge, even though he doesn't put enough in to create the sugar sludge. Every morning, this is seen in my kitchen.
Frequently there is also a paper towel folded up underneath. I can appreciate the paper towel underneath to catch the one or two drops of coffee from the spoon, but really? It is wasteful. Without it though, that glass cutting board / work area catches the drips and it is a pain in the neck to clean. Seriously - I happened to notice it one day and tried to clean it and ended up breaking out the baking soda and elbow grease and was at it for 15 minutes! Ick. What is a knitter to do? Make a coaster.

Super quick and the pattern is one of many found here. I have started another one to have a back up, and I may do one more in a non-bumpy cotton yarn, just because I am sure I have scraps to use up.

Spoon Coaster
Now the trick will be to remember to use it!


Yarn Along

From Ginny (and long have I followed fellow bloggers doing it!) - ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?
I think I may have found my reading mojo again. Thanks to Wife,Mom,Knitter - she is the one who lent me The Murderer's Daughters. This book so far has been just right for a summer read. The story is narrated by each of the two sisters from the beginning when their father kills their mother, and continues over their experiences over the next 30 years. Very interesting; and the story really sticks with you. I am about 40 pages from the end and am quite curious as to how it will all be wrapped up.

I've been enjoying working on the Juneberry Triangle in Malabrigo (Periwinkle) - charts A through C moved along quite quickly. Now on Chart D, there are bobbles. I am not a fan of bobbles at all and thought about leaving them out of this pattern, but decided in the end they do contribute the "berry" aspect of the pattern. They are not too terrible to work, but they do slow me down. Also this chart requires a bit more attention - I haven't been able to find the rhythm of the pattern yet. One stitch at a time, one row at a time, it will get there.


Photo update - color!

TNNA happened over the weekend, so I can go ahead and share color photos of one the projects I knit up for it. Over on the Lorna's Laces blog the posts have been discussing the colorway names - interesting stuff! I have never been to Chicago, except for an airport layover, but hope to someday! I am anxious to read about the colors I used in the Brick House shawl sample, "Grant Park" and "Watercolor" in the new "Solemate" yarn. According to the blog, "Solemate is a blend of 55% superwash merino, 15% nylon and 30% Outlast, a fiber that interacts with your body's microclimate to moderate temperature from being too hot or too cold." Nifty!




I need to practice taking photos of shawls, I am always stumped with styling - and I can't hand the camera over to the Lorax or Jackson either. I have played around with the self timer but maybe I should look into investing in a remote. I expect that I will get more practice soon - I have started my "Juneblueberry triangle" and have already finished 2 of the 5 charts. Gotta love a shawl knit in a worsted weight yarn!


Put on your "big girl" pants!

I'm pleased to say (quietly for fear of jinxing things, though in my heart I am shouting from the rooftops) we have tackled the potty training issue! Something clicked last Friday and since then it has been all systems go at home and out of the home and one emergency pit stop. The plus side of this going into action this late in the game (so it seems) is that she really is ready - and ready for prizes and praise and special treats, including nail polish on her fingers and toes, gum, and a Tinkerbell dress.
Who is this kid?

I decided that if the Lorax could do something so huge, so could I, so I have recently started (or prepped for)two projects that I have been thinking about for a long time but was hesitant to start.

I like to work from my stash but I have this desire now to actually make a visible dent in stash box. I pulled out the yarn I had put away deep in winter for a "I'll make that someday" project - Granny Stripes from Attic24. I have wanted to make a new blanket for our bed and this seemed like a fun idea. I had a lot of Caron Simply Soft already in the stash and was able to swap for a few other colors through Ravelry. I must have been thinking about summer in the dead of winter. These colors are not my normal color palette,
After the yellow, I have a limey green to use. I can't stop calling this project my Neon "Nightmare". I think I love it. This is a perfect auto-pilot project, and for now, not too heavy to cart around, easy enough to pick up and put down. I hope I am not too ambitious here. I keep reminding myself that my first knit project was a blanket, so for a first "big" crochet project, I have already been-there-done-that. Even if it does not end up on the bed, it should be a great blanket to have around kiddos and a dog and the thrills and spills of everyday life around here.

My second project I am going to dive in on is Juneberry Triangle. I originally intended to work this up in a gorgeous fingering weight yarn I bought at the Knitters Review Retreat, but as I thought about it, I decided I would check the stash for something closer to what the pattern recommends. My next choice was to use a true-to-its-name alpaca (named "Oh so soft" by Delly's delight) that I bought at Rhinebeck. As I wound it into cakes, the fuzz factor got to me and made me think twice about using that one as well. Back to the stash. The pattern is also worked up in a large size with worsted weight - and I have enough Malabrigo!! Score.
I do have the St.Denis booklet, but decided to purchase the individual pattern as well. As a lefty my stitches go in the opposite direction, so I find it easiest to have any chart printed in a mirror image. I also go back and color code the stitches. Just need to wind up the yarn and I will be all set!

The air conditioning is already on today in anticipation of hazy, hot and humid weather, so these projects will work out just fine for now. I will be picking up the cotton yarns soon (one for a test knit) and returning to the socks!


This Moment. Rewarded.

From SouleMama: {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Serendipity hat

The weather is warming up and being just all kinds of gorgeous, which I can appreciate even as I suffer from seasonal allergies (for whatever reason, this time around my eyes are killing me! Itchy, watery, can't wear my contacts!). I was gifted the Serendipity pattern (by Brandy Fortune, of pixiepurls.com)recently and in less than a day I have a new finished object! No time like the present to get a jump on winter! Plus, it has been freezing at SnB, so working on wool while in air conditioning works just fine.

I used one ball of Rowan Country in a colorway that is described on yarndex as red-red-orange. I think it is a great multi-colored / gender-neutral colorway. I made the infant size, which is slightly larger than my iphone.
Jackson was less than thrilled to model it for me, as expected.



It's not child labor, it's an age-appropriate-developmental-sorting-activity. And at the very least occupies her attention for 4 minutes.
I hope she's still happy to have this chore years from now. I have been emptying the dishwasher for as long as I can remember. Seriously. Here's proof, circa 1981 or so.
Certainly I was also in a "paparazzi avoidance" phase here, I am sure I was thrilled to help out at Nana's!


My Needles are Free!

Two projects that have been are the needles are now on their way to their respective homes before going on to a display adventure at TNNA next week. Life happens and as it happened working on these projects overlapped, so they were completed and shipped out within days of each other. One item is still under wraps as it is in a new yarn and a new pattern from y2knit.net. The second item was for Lorna's Laces to showcase a new yarn and new colors, a shawl, Brick House by Laura Nelkin. Once I got going and established the pattern I really enjoyed the knitting. It is the type of project that requires you to notice the row you are on, but is good for semi-auto-pilot knitting. I do not want to ruin the fun of seeing these beauties in person at TNNA, so for now here is a black and white photo of the shawl:
I am looking forward to getting some baby projects knit, maybe a Christmas gift or two done, and some selfish projects at least started.

Almost exactly one year ago I was dealing with girly pink princess flip flops. Hello, full circle:
Those would be princess shoes. Snow White, red sparkle heels with a sparkly blue bow and a picture of Snow White on the bow.
Someone has gotten quite picky about the local paparazzi, so I have to be sly with my photo taking. The shoes were a reward for a successful potty moment. We will take anything we can get, so, no matter how small, we praised it to no end and gave her the prize. We are still quite far from being done of course, but it is getting ever-so-slightly better. Baby steps, little acorns = big oaks, etc, etc.

Over the weekend I made this Strawberry Yogurt Cake. If, like me, you have given in to the temptation of strawberries in the grocery store, give this recipe a go. The strawberries I bought recently were ok, but having come from California they just aren't the same as local ones. They look juicy and red, but once you cut into them the flesh is still white in the middle. The cake had strawberry flavor with just the right amount of sweetness. I can only imagine how good this would be with local berries. I also tried a Popsicle "recipe" along the lines of this but I was not entirely impressed. They are almost too sweet (which is really saying something if you know my sweet tooth!) and I think I should have let them set a bit before putting the sticks in because when I went to share I pulled the sticks right out, no pop! Oh well, the weather is just heating up - there is plenty of time to try something else.
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