About Me


Post-Christmas thoughts

We had a picture-perfect Christmas this year. The snow is so pretty and really set the stage for the holiday. Speaking of the holiday--my guys liked the socks, mittens, and hat (for Ben). Now I have to go back and finish writing the pattern for the hat.
Because we almost ran out of cookies, I baked another batch of cut-outs using Grandma's large pig cookie cutter and my little one. This time I flavored the butter cream icing with mint. (We still haven't hammered our peppermint pig, yet!) We had supper with friends on Christmas eve, went to church (it was fun to play bells at the candlelight service) and actually waited to open presents until Christmas day. We took lunch over to Mom, and then came home to get ready for company. I finally made Roladen, potato balls, and red cabbage yesterday, so we managed to get our traditional food in!!
I hit the stores for bargains--nothing much impressive, though. JoAnn's had some cute wood ornaments that make great gift tags, and the trays are better than tins for cookies--I was happy.
The Faye is almost sewn together...no rush...it'll be done when it's done! I'm contemplating buttons right now. Also, when it was sunny, I observed the landscape and color--the Christmas money may go toward yarn for a Lopi cardigan (with steeks--can't avoid them forever) in winter landscape colors. I made sure to write them down, and the possibilities are endless for combinations of the six colors I chose.

Photo from Lopi book #16



Danish--Glædelig Jul og godt nytår English--Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Faroese--gleðilig jól og eydnuríkt nýggjár! German--Fröhliche Weihnachten und ein glückliches Neues Jahr! Icelandic--Gleðileg Jól og Farsaelt Komandi ár! Irish--Nollaig Shona Dhuit Lithuanian--Linksmu Kaledu ir laimingu Nauju metu Norweigan/Bokmål--God Jul og Godt Nyttår Pennsylvania Dutch--En frehlicher Grischtdaag unen hallich Nei Yaahr! Scots Gaelic--Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ur! Swedish--God Jul och Gott Nytt År Turkish--Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun Ukrainian--Veseloho Vam Rizdva i Shchastlyvoho Novoho Roku!


Baking cookies

Mm mm...I know it's Christmas when I've made the cut out cookies. The brown sugar recipe is great because I can work the dough right away without chilling it first. I'm waxing nostalgic today, as the puppy dog cookie cutter and candle holder were my grandmother's. (The puppy dog has mini-chip eyes, a cinnamon nose, and a dusting of cocoa powder/sugar over chocolate icing.) When I was little, I loved those angels because they had my haircut! The cookie cutters (there's a pig, cat, dog, and polar bear) were made by a tinsmith in Baltic, Ohio. One Christmas Mom decorated the tree with cookies in addition to the other decorations. She wrapped them and tied them on the tree with red ribbons. Of course, we four kids couldn't resist the temptation of all that goodness, and we nibbled on them every chance we had! That was the Christmas I got my Blue Willow tea set in a little wall cupboard. I was a tomboy, but I did love to serve tea (I highly recommend the Boiled Buttons)!
Anyway, on to the knitting. I wrapped Ben's mittens from Knit One, Felt Too. Jim's bed socks are also wrapped, and I'm working on some mittens for him. Yes, the Faye is still not sewn together. I have other things to do...Ben still wants an ear flap cap and I found a fun motif (VW) to incorporate into the design. So many projects--how do those elves do it every year?



Little spinner in the snow village.

It's that time--time to bake cookies! I've made the cranberry chunk, old school peanut blossoms (with stars, not kisses), and chocolate bar cookies. Tomorrow I'll do the cut outs. I want to include gingerbread people this year. The house smells soooo good.
If you look closely, you can see the shep
herd and sheep ornaments. The tree is so pretty and the stump will make a nice Santa this year.
Now all I have to do is finish the laundry! I finished a pair of socks for Jim and Ben's mittens. (I didn't take photos before I wrapped them.) One of Ben's mittens felted shut, which really ticked me off. I took a scissors and 20 minutes of carefully slicing to open the mitten. They look wonderful and you'd never know I had problems with one of them.
The boys took third place overall in the invitational swim meet over the weekend. Ben got third in the 100 breaststroke and was part of the 200 medley relay that took second. It was really fun to see how excited they were--you'd have thought they took first place.
I'm still stitching together the Faye. I got bogged down finishing gifts for the boys. Now I have to start Jim's other gift. I found a great hat pattern for Ben and will alter it by adding ear flaps.
I'm done at work for a couple of weeks, and now I can relax and knit for fun, and bake, and read, and sip cocoa in front of the fire, and knit some more...


Diving in head first!

Swim season began with a big splash! On Saturday the boys took third place in the conference relay meet. It's wonderful, because they came in behind two of the toughest teams in the Northwest Suburban Conference and ahead of two of their rivals! That's a great way to start off the season. Jim and I volunteered during diving, so we spent most of the day at the pool.
Now, let's back up a bit. On Monday, I finished the cards. Tuesday, I braved the snowstorm to finish up some last-minute shopping and took lunch to Mom. On Wednesday, I wrapped the gifts and packed them for mailing, which I did in the early afternoon (of course, that means waiting in line and being captive of some old guy attempting to engage me in a conversation about the crappy current state of the world--sorry buddy, not gonna happen). I was so happy to be finished mailing (although I have to finish translating some letters to German). That evening, I had the brilliant idea to invite the swim team over for a spaghetti supper on Friday. By Thursday, that idea fell under the "what was I thinking" category. Friday I spent cleaning and cooking. The boys that came after practice really enjoyed it. We had a good time, and it's a great way to begin the season and prep for a party in January and the big spaghetti dinner we will be hosting later before varsity sections. The boys will be in taper by then and pretty squirrelly. Sunday we played bells for two services (being ready to set up and practice at 7:30 am), Jim and Ben ushered the second service while I dashed home to change so we could cut down our Christmas tree before my classes. I walked into the shop around the stroke of 12, just in time. Whew! The trees (we got Ben a real one this year) are up and at least have lights on them. That's as far as I got last night.
The Faye is blocked, so I'll use it as a teaching tool today for seaming today.
Kathy, check out my mittens in the photo!



Decreases, we have decreases! I love the cables in this pattern, and it's going to become a favorite--I can feel it.

About last night...the weather was like the photo on the left, but my evening was made delightful by
the photo on the right! This morning it's beautiful--the perfect day to head to the post office and mail the gifts, and then I can work on gifts for my knitting buddies, Jim, and Ben. It's fun to knit for knitters and my guys.
The ornaments for Morning Break need to be finished for our Christmas brunch. The theme is gingerbread. I Swiss darned gingerbread boys onto 20 small 9st X 11r stockinette stitch rectangles. (I need to make 5 more.) I'll mount them on felt and we'll see what happens!


Still knitting the sleeves...

Well, as the title states, "still knitting the sleeves." The fronts and back of the Faye went so quickly and this is like watching paint dry. The increases are finished, so now it's just a matter of a couple more inches before the sleeve caps. I can't find the camera today, so no photos. I did, however, post a photo of the Lopi cardigan. Maybe that will inspire me to finish it. Every time I open my blog I'll have to see it glaring at me. This one has some history--I was happily knitting away on the body and got to the shoulders, when I realized I didn't split for the sleeves. (No, I'm not into steeks, yet.) Anyway, it's been on the needles ever since. In fact, I started the sleeves, so it should go quickly (again, famous last words). The colors match the model, which for me is rare. Depth of Field in Minneapolis had a sample and the chocolate, green, and cream are really lovely together.

The photo is from my outing on Saturday at Shepherd's Choice.


Let it snow...and snow...and snow

Saturday--There's a winter wonderland outside my window. I just got home from my outing. It was not a very good day for all the driving I had to do, but it was good to visit with friends and then go see the sheep at Shepherd's Choice.
Naturally I couldn't drive all that way without coming home with some yarn--sooo I got some Cascade 220 in black tweed. Enough for a little cardigan.
This is what has fallen since this morning. Eevee has a trail. Jim likes using the big snow blower. It's a guy thing.
It's Sunday, and here's a nice view from my room. I particularly like the little pine tree on the right. Ben and I ushered
at church today, and on the way home we saw Jim running the snow blower for one of the neighbors.
Well, here's the yarn I couldn't resist yesterday. I got six skeins, so I'll be able to do the body with this and add color from the stash. The wheels are turning, and I'm sure to come up with something after I finish the Faye, Lopi, and red cardigans...oh, and the socks...and the bed socks...and the snowmen...


Waiting for the storm (trust me, it ain't about the weather)

Swim season has started, so far so good. I getting the sleeves of the Faye done. I had to frog one of them and now they are together again. I put my knitting down for a while so I won't mess up right away--I can do that later!
I found the diorama in a shoe box the other day. What a nice surprise! That's the Kristkindl Markt in Nürnberg, and yes, it really looks like that.
To the left are the bed soc
ks. I use washable yarn like Amity, Wool Ease, or Encore. The little sweater is knitted from Shepherd's Choice yarns and I'll take that along when I go to the open house tomorrow.
Ben's slippers are off his feet long enough for me to get a photo.
It's time for me to go work off some frustration.


Brrrr...5 degrees, feels like -9

It's chilly out there this morning! That's why we moved here, though. The Santa forest is on the mantle. That vent is ugly, but it's a functional fireplace and the heat from that vent keeps the downstairs warm. It's still ugly.
We have qui
te the collection, now. A fellow in Sherman, Texas carves them. I send him 12"-20" of our Christmas tree stump and about six months later, we get a Santa. They date back to 1998 (one year we had two trees). I can see one of the Pixies got in the photo, too. My two favorite Santas are the one in the green hat on the left and the unpainted hat on the right. It's fun to see where Danny hides the pom-pom of Santa's hat.
Great progress on Faye. No interesting photos to show. I'm almost done with the fronts. I kept messing up the neck edge. I'm fussy about decreasing cables for shaping because they can look funky. Now I'm happy, so it should be smooth sailing from here on--famous last words! I'll post photos when I begin to sew.
I found something for Joanne yesterday--he, he! I'm not tell-in'! I had a pleasant surprise this weekend. I'd done some early knitting, felting, shopping, and wrapping, so I'm ahead of the game this year. The required letter (always short and to the point) is finished, and I just have to print, stuff, and mail the cards. Jeez, I haven't been this organized since Germany. We had to send cards and gifts right around Thanksgiving for them to arrive in the States on time for Christmas.
I'll bundle Mom up and take her out today. When the snow flies, that won't happen, so we have to take advantage of the dry days.



It's snowing! I'm making a casserole to take over to Mom's. We had our Thanksgiving last night. It's kind of nice to relax today. Tonight we'll have dessert at our friends' where we can play games, have a little wine, and chat. We're all so busy these days.
The Faye is progressing nicely, IF I can stay focused. I'm up to the neck shaping.
I have t
o check the turkey dinner in a dish, and then it'll be time to get ready. Have a very happy Thanksgiving!
In the photo you can see the snow. The flowers are from Ben. Nothing says Thanksgiving like Trolls, don't you think? Jim's mom got those for Ben when he was a toddler. They've come out every year since then.


Minnesota's Gemütliche Ecke

Last night the Bavarian Musikmeisters performed a concert at the high school for the German Club/German trip. It brought back a bit of home (x2) to me. We had a bratwurst feed before the concert and it was such fun. I got Ben up to dance--his friends enjoyed that. He's graceful in the water--not on land! Ben's a good sport. He was also the Master of Ceremonies and did a great job. Jim and I also danced, which we haven't done for ages. I can't wait to get back to Germany this summer!
I'm working on the fronts of the Faye and it's progressing
quickly. Tonight's captain's practice, so I'll get two hours of uninterrupted knitting done at the pool.
My boots came yesterday! Yay! The boot toppers look nice tucked in them. Jim's mom requested bed socks this year. She and Debbie need new ones. I'll probably do two pair each for them. I have some fun colors in my stash of washable yarn. Kathy gave me Baba's Bed Socks pattern a few years ago, and I think it's a great for an easy sock pattern. They fit well and everyone likes them! Thanks Kathy!



I figured I'd better get a photo up of the cables. I'm really enjoying this. Believe it or not, it's very easy. There's moss stitch on the sides. I should have the back done today and I will knit the fronts together. I like the undulating cable on the left (there's a mirror image on the right). The center of the back is the cable between the bobble cables. (I'm knitting the small--37" finished measurement.)


Silver Belle morphs into Faye

Yes, it's true. I frogged the Silver Belle and re-visited my books to find a cable project I'd enjoy. I found Faye in Mission Falls Decade. It's fun to knit, and I'm already past the armhole shaping for the back. No photos, yet. The Cascade 220 is so soft and the color is perfect. I know I'll get more wear out of this sweater. The Silver Belle peplum was pretty, but I had the nagging feeling that I wasn't going to like fit of the sweater on me. Besides, the darned diagonal edges were making me crazy. I kept messing up. Sometimes the easiest things trip up the most experienced knitters. I've finished my boot toppers and am patiently waiting for my boots to arrive from LLBean.
Vintage turkey copyright free clip art



Snow--yes it's snowing. It probably won't last, but it sure looks pretty to me. Yes, I'm one of those people. I like clouds, rain, cold, and snow. Ten years in Germany makes one appreciate it. (All that moisture makes things GREEN the rest of the year!) When the snow melted , the grass underneath was intensely green--very cool. Understand that I walked everywhere or used the train/bus/streetcar/u-bahn, so I didn't have to drive a car in bad weather often. Hey, it's really coming down. Now the snow looks like "dippin' dots." It's hitting the window like little pellets.
There's a fire in the fireplace and Ben's got today off. I have to rake the leaves in the house that Eevee drags in from the yard. It gives the place an outdoorsy appearance, which is appropriate for the season. I made apple-cranberry crisp this week. We need to bake some cookies to make the house smell good--mmm...some brown sugar cut outs...time to pull some butter out of the freezer. Look closely into the fire and you can see Eevee.


Last leaves of fall...

The wind really blew hard yesterday and there are leaves everywhere. I'm surprised that some actually hung on this long. I always pick up pretty ones and sometimes paint them or press them. I didn't have time to do a painting, so I played with photoshop. I rather like the result. The colors are so pretty and I'd LOVE to do a sweater (riiight--like I need another project on the needles!). The scarf in the photo is one I purchased at Morning Break a couple of weeks ago. Mindy from 10,000 Villages brought goodies from the store on Grand Avenue. She always brings a basket full of knitted finger puppets, which I love. I use them as "finial gloves" on my spinning wheel lamp in my office. Right now I have a bat on there--the llamas are my favorites. Anyway, the scarf is really fine, lightweight wool and has beautiful colors in it.
I'm going to fix a cup of cocoa and work on my second boot cuff.


Super Scraps & Lovely Leftovers!

I needed a fast project yesterday between bell performances, so I did a boot topper from Kristin Knits with some leftover yarns. I wove in ends and Swiss darned around the black diamonds this morning. Now I just need some great boots to tuck these into!


Twists and turns

Naturally I couldn't knit a project without making mistakes! I was on a roll with my cables on the SB's peplum, and twisted the large cables the wrong way. It really doesn't matter, so I just left them. At the bottom you can't really see the twist, so what the heck! Cables in a straight line are fairly easy to fix, but traveling cables are a bear to take out and fix. Case in point--the capelet from IK's Wrap Style I made last year. I had to take out an inch of knitting with over 300 stitches--I didn't make that mistake again!! I'm now on track and already to the third twist of the larger cables. I'm so happy that Kristin Knits is out. I got my copy at the shop and of course, I love it. The projects really reflect Kristin's wonderful use of color. The designs are simple, but the use of color adds a complex element that I love.
I promised photos from Halloween night. I couldn't find my special knife, so I had to use a regular one--that's why the faces are plain. I like the effect--I had the votive in a gold holder and one in a red holder. The window cover was from Target last year. I put the lamp close to the moon and the effect was pretty cool. Next year I'll use the other one (a graveyard scene) and then all four windows will be covered. Today, Jim's putting up the lights because next week it'll be too cold. Yess! Sweater time!!



Beware--it's Jack-O in a skirt? No! It's-it's Jack-O surrounded by the SILVER BELLE! Ohmygosh, those gnarled tangles of cables will soon choke him. Run for your life Jack...oh the humanity! Hey, this might look more attractive on him than on me. Well, that's about as scary as my knitting can get right now. Kathy's looked so good, I decided to dive in and work on mine.
Tonight's going to be a great night for Trick or Treat. Cold and windy. I have to carve my pumpkins today. I'll post photos of those later. It's time to get out the rest of the decorations for tonight.



Knitting rant...

I was just working on the little charity sweater. Something's clicked with that. I actually enjoy it!! I'm also excited about refinishing the pansy sweater.
Here's the deal...lately, I've not enjoyed many of my projects (or anyone else's!). The Bianca's Jacket was about the only one I've liked well enough (heavens--I made two of them). It's frustrating as a knitting instructor to come across poorly written patterns, of which I'm seeing more and more. The books in the bookstore are boring (how many "fun and funky" projects can one do?) and knitting lingerie is ridiculous--I don't want my knitting on my body where the sun don't shine--eeewww! I may never knit one of those glorious sweaters from that Kaffee Fasset boo
k, but I can still remember how I felt when I saw those designs. It made knitting exciting. Don't get me wrong--there were some real stinkers out there, too. It's funny to look through my old books and see the big hair and big silhouettes. People would write in and complain about the lack of style and sizes of the designs in the 1980s, too. I have high hopes for Kristin Knits, which I ordered from Borders. I've always liked her color work and designs. It's supposed to arrive on Halloween, so we shall see...
There, I feel better. Thanks!
Detail of pansy sweater with watercolor effect.


Proud Mom

Ben gave his speech last night. He is very good at public speaking. It's amazing how many of the professional scouters and businessmen and women know him since he became Outstanding Eagle Scout--I just HAD to too his horn because we're sooo proud of him.
Anyway, we're enjoying the lovely weather. Wouldn't the colors in the photo make a pretty Fair Isle combination? I'm working on the little sweater and need to felt Ben's slippers tonight. I'm a bit burned out on large projects right now. Oh, I did bite the bullet and began to un-sew the Susan Duckworth pansy sweater. So far, so good. Eesh! I'm horrified at my sewing technique. I did have an excuse--Ben was a baby, we'd just moved back to the USA, and were building our first house. The image on the left is the outside and the one on the right is the inside--my knitting technique is really good. I must've been nuts--23 colors on separate bobbins. It's gorgeous, although the photos don't do the colors justice. I swear the yarn is as thin as some sock yarn. I'll be happy when I fix it--then I can show it off with pride.


Felty Feet

It's that time of year--clogs and socks! I made Ben a pair in Scout green and red. I have one sewn together, as you can see. I like to make Baba's Bed Socks better than the clogs. They're fast on the needles and I can knit a sock during a swim meet! None of those pesky short rows and losing my place hassles like the clog pattern.
Once I finish the charity sweater, I'll revisit my red and green cardigans befo
re I start the new stuff.
The swim season is gearing up and I have to get some sign-up sheets made. Today I have to go through the box and work on the t-shirt design.


It's all about fall...

I went to Shepherd's Choice on Saturday morning to drop off the little sweater. It was a beautiful drive! I wanted to visit the sheep, but they ran away when I approached the fence. Bah-bah! Instead, I took photos of the pretty leaves. Despite the dry summer, the leaves are still really pretty.
Today I decided to clean my windows. I got thr
ee sets done today. The box elder bugs (ugh!) are bad on the back side of the house, so those windows will just have to wait. Even managed a walk with Eevee and got to class in time. Tonight's Help Night--and I can see that it's about time to go!


Another FO!

I finished the little Knitting for Peace sweater last night. Naturally, I didn't do the pattern that was included with the yarn--didn't like it. I found this one while browsing the freebee websites http://www.margarethubertoriginals.com/CHILDBLUE.html and it's perfect for this project! The sleeve was a bit wide and short, so I picked up half the stitches and made cuffs. Next time I'll CO half and knit for six rows, and then increase for the sleeves. Today I'll make a run to Shepherd's Choice and pick up another kit. The Blue Sky yarn is wonderful.
We had fun at the 10th Anniversary of the troop last Sunday. Here's one of the cakes that a troop mom decorated. It was freezing cold and damp, but that didn't stop us. Some of the older boys came back and one even had a part in one of the adults' skits. He was Little Ole, who "vanted to be a Boy Scout," in the Ole, Lena, and Sven skit. Lena's played by a bearded man, which is hilarious in itself!
So far it's been a nice long weekend. The kids are out for MEA. We did a second visit to Gustavus with a side trip to the yarn store. I started a punch card "just in case" I'm there more often after September '08!


Coffee and conversation

Howdy do, how are you?

Jack came to coffee with Kathy and I today (Friday). He looked quite dapper, too. I just love this guy. He makes me smile every time I look at him. I decided to knit a girlfriend for him, so we'll see how that goes.
Monday--It was a crazy weekend. Ben made some money for our German trip at the yard sale, we managed to get to the swim meet, and yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the scout troop. We had a pig roast. Being outside in the damp cold takes its toll, though. Let's just say I haven't needed my fan lately!
Thankfully this is a short week for school and we have a second visit to Gustavus planned. Last week was tough and a break will be very welcome! Mmmm--maybe I can manage a visit to the Tangled Skein
yarn shop. I like that name, gee--it reminds me of the yarn in my multiple knitting bags--always tangled!


FO--Fabulous Object

Look at that handsome fellow. I just put the finishing touches on Jack O'Lantern. I didn't make his lantern, yet. He wants to go along when Kathy and I meet for coffee tomorrow. The tiny buttons are antiques and his eyes are from my button stash. I'm pleased with the result.


Getting Stitched

Stuff and stitch is the name of the game today. J's sitting in Ben's little rocker, so you can see his height. I was sewing together one of the hands and when I snipped the yarn tail I caught the knitting--crumb! I'm going to stop and walk the dog. Jim thinks I need to give my hands a rest, which translates to, "you're way too obsessed with this right now."
Well, as usual I got sidetracked. The German Trip group is having a garage sale on Saturday and I didn't have much to sell, soooo I went through my yarn and bagged up some orphan skeins in felting yarn, craft/novelty, and crewel y
arns. Now I have room in that little cedar chest outside my office to put some of the projects in progress that I keep tripping over in here! I also found some toys that Ben can get rid of, as well as some extra Halloween stuff. I loathe garage sales, but any money Ben can put toward the trip is helpful. He's got an interview on Friday at the fitness center (lifeguard), which will be great if he gets the job.
Eevee's waiting patiently for me, and it's time to take a nice, long walk in the crisp fall air!