Monday, February 29, 2016

Knitting Time

Today, Hubby had to go to the local hospital for some tests. It made for some great knitting time.

You may or may not remember these socks. They were part of the Craftsy knit along I signed up for back in January. I call them my Smocked Brown Cow Socks. The pattern is Smocked Guernsey Socks. (Brown cows, Guernseys, get it? It's a dairy farm joke.)

Everything past the ribbing was done today. I even knit through the fire drill. (The nurse told me to stay put.).

The smocking wrapped stitches leave little bumps of texture you can see in the top picture. I really am enjoying this knit, and even the wrapped stitch isn't too hard. I am quite proud of my progress.

I have been pretty much sticking to my Freyja as my sole active project. I have been watching all these pictures in the Bang-Out-a-Sweater Knit-Along. Many if not all of the knitters already have finished their sweaters. That's not surprising because their pullover pattern was knit at a much looser gauge thank my Bang-Out-a-Freyja which is a cardigan. I think I can continue to work on it at Knit Nite, but I may be able to branch out to some other projects during the week. Like these socks for example, and maybe I can finish my Blue Tweed Vest too.

Maybe I can even finish something.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Dreaded Crochet!

I suppose I have made it quite plain that crochet is not my friend. The relationship is tenuous at best, nothing like the way knitting and I get along.

One of the things I am dreading about when I finally get to the finishing stage of Bang-Out-A-Freyja is the crocheted edging get around bottom, neck, fronts, and sleeves. I may be able to manage it with my self taught single crochet, but I am not confident in it.

As a result, when our local yarn shop, The New Ewe, offered a class making a sampler crocheted scarf, I decided to jump for it. The class is paid for and I even purchased the yarn, Cascade 220, in a deep cranberry color.

Let's see if the relationship can warm just a bit.

I did want to share a photo of the catalogue page showing the style of my new coop. Like I said, it's like the Tiny House of chicken coops.

Isn't it cute? Just imagine it in blue with white trim.

Giving Up, Taking On

One thing I didn't mention on my resolution review was how well I am going with my Lenten discipline.

And so far so good. I have not read any political blogs, although I have to confess to seeing some of the same information on Facebook posts. And although I really want to pick up the next book in two different mystery series, I have refrained from reading any novels. I did manage to finish reading Spoon River Anthology, a classic book of poems I was introduced to in high school literature class. A bit draggy towards the end but I finished it.

I have also been reading some books on Catholicism and am ready to start reading a book called The Emmaeus Road, linking the Old Testament to Jesus throughout the Bible. I am quite excited to begin. And on Kindle, I am reading the fascinating book on Cleopatra. (It better be good after I paid for it twice!)

I realize this post could belong on my alternate blog, but it is more about items mentioned here in the past, so here it stays.

In the mean time, here is a picture to distract you of an adorable child.

"And this is my nose."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Here Chick, Chick

I'm looking for chickens, or if I must, some chicks.

I mentioned a while back in a Facebook post that I was looking for a chicken coop. I have finally given up on ever being able to use our current coop for chickens. My Hubby prefers to use that building as a glorified calf hut. Newly purchased calves reside in there for a few months before being put into the barn with the other cattle.

So I checked out a few options at various locations. Those coops available at the local farm stores seemed a bit....well, chintzy. So I went to a local Amish Mini Barn company and went home with their chicken coop catalogue. Today I went back and put down a deposit on a small but sturdy coop.

The pictures above showers the chicken run of a similar sized coop. Look in the middle, to the right of the gazebo. The pictured coop is barn red, mine will be a medium dark blue with the same white trim. Over all it's only 5 X 7 feet, and half is the run. The chickens also have acces to the area under the coop, and can get out of the sun. I can scrape out the manure from the door on the end, and reach in the side hatch to get the eggs. Delivery should be in 3-4 weeks.

Once the chickens get that big, that is.

Anyone with a surplus of young hens, ready to lay? I need about a half dozen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bullying, Brash, Blustering, Bulldozing Braggart

Just to be clear, this is a political post. Probably even politically incorrect and reflects my honest opinions.. As such, if I decide I am brave enought to share this on Facebook I will probably ignore any and all comments from those who disagree with me.

This political season has certainly been crazy. The person referred to in the title is probably easily recognizable to those who are not his fans. Those who are his fans may be stunned to find out that I am referring to "The Donald."

I admit there are some points he brings up that I can agree with.

But, (and it's a big but), the manner of presentation and behavior and rudeness of the campaign toward his opponents is extremely off putting. It is frankly rather frightening. When I see that rudeness being cheered, I can see my country has changed, but perhaps without the hope promised 8 years ago.

My Bible study group is currently studying the book of Revelations. It was preceded by the book of Daniel last fall. One thing that I have picked up this year and am clinging to, is the knowledge that there is a God in heaven, and He is in control. As I look around the country and the world, I see all manners of frightening things happening. One of the chief of these is the cheapening of lives, all lives: black, white, police, unborn and Christian. Isis is frightening. In short, while there is no way of knowing, it seems like the time is right for the end times.

The only way I can keep calm is knowing that, as I said before, there is a God in heaven. And he is on the throne, in control.

In the meantime, I better research casting a presidential write-in come November.


And just to cheer up this gloomy post, here is a snowy Lizzie.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Maybe I Am Making Progress

I sat down with my Freyja today to knit, as I have been all week. It seems like slow progress even when I have been working on it a lot all weekend, but when I stretched out the curling bottom I was pleasantly surprised at the growth from last week.

I had to take out the ruler and measure.

And later, while at Knit Nite, I started the last waist decrease round. And look how much is left from the first plate of unyarn!

I think at last week's meeting, I had just started the shaping, marked here with the little stitch markers.

Oh, and here is a picture of the new home of Knit Nite, as we were arriving tonight.

Nice long table, good lights, and extra chairs.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mud and Mush

This is why spring is my least favorite season. Well maybe the heat of summer makes that a bit worse. But I hate the mud and mush and slop of our driveway.

And that is the "good end" of the drive. The far end is even worse. Younger Son has been having his rides only come in the end of the drive, to avoid tearing it up more.

A good freeze. That is what we need. I really dislike this mud.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Let's Go Racing!

Finally, at long last, official points competition is back in NASCAR! Did you know I am a bit of a race fan?

Not long now before the green flag waves. Just prayer, anthem and engines starting. I am so ready.

It will be an interesting season. My current favorite Brad Keselowski is here. For the first time I am even happy to see Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. (Although I still haven't forgiven him for stealing that Daytona 500 win from my man Mark Martin.)

So, let the race begin for another year.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Birth Day Supper

Not my birthday, but the day of the month (a different month) that my birthday falls on. A local restaurant offers, during the month of February, one percent off your meal for each year of whatever your age will be in 2016. (Does that sentence make sense?)

I'm not telling any tales, but Prime Rib! Oh My. Even better with $10 off my meal.

Hubby and I both had a great meal. But mine was cheaper.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Being Accountable

I thought it would perhaps be a good idea to check in occasionally on my resolutions to help me in at least try to work towards them. Of course I didn't really call them resolutions. More like goals, at least as far as my knitting was concerned. If you want, you can see my original post on these goals dated January 8, in the archives sidebar on the right.

I wanted to work on finishing the most active projects. I did finish knitting the Lilac Cardigan, even though at the time it was dangerously close to being abandoned. The lace was seriously slow going at the time. But it still needs washed and delivered before I can say it is truly done. I also finished the Stonehenge Shawl. And the back of my Navy Tweed vest is up to the arm shaping. Although as I reported recently, it is still stopped in mid-row. The other items I mentioned then haven't been touched. Oops.

The main reason for my lack of action on the other WIPs (Works In Progress) is of course my Bang Out a Freyja. The "Banging It Out" means it is supposed to be the only project I work on. I think before long, I will be reverting to putting something else in rotation. But, on the bright side, the Freyja does help my second goal of knitting one or more cardigans for myself. I did intend making them out of stash, but hey...a sweater is a sweater.

Socks? As I mentioned in the January post I need more socks. And that is more so now. I discovered another pair that needs darning. I started one pair of smocked socks, but....Freyja happened.

So three projects have been finished so far this year, not too bad.

I haven't finished any of my Craftsy classes yet either, but I have been dabbling with them.

There were two other goals that I noted in my Bullet Journal that didn't hit the blog.

The first was to try to blog more often. My exact words were "as close to daily as possible." I think I am doing fairly well with that goal. I deliberately left myself wiggle room.

The other goal is also one I have already taken action on. It was to explore finding a new church. I think that has been accomplished. I feel quite at home at the Catholic parish I am attending now. Classes for membership won't start again until September so I have time to settle in and make a final decision.

If anyone wants to know more about this big jump. I am blogging about it at :

I will not be posting there daily, but I just wanted a place where I could record the reasons I am making the change. I also hope to simply journal about how the change progresses. Feel free to bookmark the website because I will not always be sharing those posts on Facebook as I do this blog.

And now, just to finish on a cheerful note, here is my favorite small human again.

I love that kid.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Approaching the Dark Hole

There is no clearly visible change in the appearance of my Bang Out a Freyja. I have had a couple decerease rounds worked and several more to go. It doesn't even look any longer. But it is slowly growing. Right now, it is the only project I am working on. It's is fast approaching the stage where you can knit and knit, with no discernible growth. For days, if not weeks. In other words...the Knitting Dark Hole. And let me assure you, it is real.

Although I did notice I stopped in mid row on my Navy Tweed vest. Maybe I should go finish that row at least.

Non-knitting at least I have been keeping busy. And today was my day with Little Farmer. I am amazed each week at changes I see. Toys that enthralled him one week are ignored the next.

He was much better at stacking cups and rings this week.

And eating is as popular as ever.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Knitting Along

My "Bang Outa Freyja" cardigan is growing slowly but surely. It doesn't look much different from the last pictures I showed. But it its past four inches and the waist decreases have begun. These will take a while. There are eight sets, with five rows between each set. After that there will be some increases, but only half as many. The cardigan is a "swing" style, so it is sort of an A-line shape.

It will be a long slog though. And other participants in the "Bang Out a Sweater" Knit Along are already posting finished sweaters! It will be a while before I cross the finish line.
I am enjoying this though. I don't even dread the steeking in my future. It's the crocheting that is looming heavy over me.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Difference a Day Makes

Most of the day yesterday, there wasn't a lot of snow. It did start flying when we headed off to a fish supper, with a fair coating on the roads. The view of the woodpiles yesterday had some snow.

But a slightly different view do the same wood piles shows a bit more snow this morning. It must have kept snowing through the night. I love it!

Why yes, Hubby does prefer to cut wood as we go. Why do you ask? Even a winter hospital stay over 25 years ago didn't cure him of last minute wood cutting.

Luckily the boys are old enough to cut. Younger son would have it all cut up, except his chainsaw was broken until after really cold weather hit. Hopefully next year, we will have it cut and stacked early.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Grandkids are Great

Even after being mad at Grammy for refusing to pick up his blocks for the umpteenth time after he deliberately dropped them out of his reach, my Little Farmer is a little love.

And he loves his big sister pretty much as well.

She thinks he's ok too.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Freyja Fun

After the cast on woes with the persistent twist was solved the Freyja has been banging right along.

I feel rather excited to know that Ann, from Mason Dixon Knitting, not only got her yarn from Reykjavik like I did, but she also got the same Winter Blue Heather. Our two sweaters will be siblings! My cardigan has grown slowly. As I am using 4.5 stitches per inch on size 6 needles for my sweater, and she is using the pattern with 3.25 stitches per inch, on size 10.5. If she hasn't passed me yet, she soon will.

As you can see here, I have almost two inches completed. The back is even longer, with two sets of short rows, and another yet to come. I hope the crocheted edging will help keep this edge from curling. So far this has been plain knitting, for a few more inches until the waist shaping starts.

I am having fun knitting this. I am just putting the color work part out of my mind for a while. It's a whole body and pair of sleeves away. Then will come the dreaded crocheting.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Purple Period of Lent

It seems strange that the color of royalty, regal purple, is also the color used for the quiet, reflective periods of the church year, Advent and Lent. Advent is a time of preparation for the birth of Christ and runs through the four Sunday's before Christmas. Lent is the time before Easter when we prepare our hearts and souls for the events leading up to Good Friday and culminating in the great Resurrection of Easter Sunday.

Of course in Victorian times, in the historical novels, as women left off full mourning for loved ones, they got rid of the black, but started half mourning, in grays and purples. There was some mourning being done. In the same way now, as we view our lives, with our pride and lack of being all we should be, our sinfulness if you will, there is a touch of mourning for what we should be during these times.

This year, as I start my journey exploring my future in the Catholic Church, Lent feels more real and important. I am still learning what is I am to become. But I am trying to throw off some frivolousness this year,

As my Lenten discipline I am turning to my reading: No novels during this period. Poetry is allowed, and non-fiction. (Finishing "Spoon River Anthology," and my Kindle version of the lost "Cleopatra" on my apps. The Emmaeus Road for hard copy book.). I did that in the past, and really felt it did me a lot of good.

In addition this year, I am avoiding reading any of the political blogs I follow. Other blog topics are allowed, and I can watch the news, but no reading commentary until after Easter. That could even help my blood pressure!

May you have a reflective and growth filled Lent.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Knitting On

While our knitting group awaits confirmation of a new permanent location, we are meeting at another spot.

Sorry Cindy. I couldn't quite get you framed.

A new meeting place was needed when I left my previous church, and turned in my key. Hopefully next week we can find a quieter place, with less food.

Not everyone made it tonight, but we still managed to get a bit of knitting finished. In spite of the rowdy middle school aged girls sports team sitting behind us.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Random Thoughts

Random thoughts on a Monday:

1. Cats like to sun themselves, on anything. No matter how hard or uncomfortable looking.

2. Meeting with friends for breakfast/lunch is always a good thing. Especially when you have time to bare your souls and discuss life and faith. (Thanks.)

3. A cat on my shoulder, or chest or arms is like a mini blast furnace. How will I ever survive summer with Lewie?

4. The above mentioned cat also makes knitting extremely difficult.

5. So far, this winter has been a big bust.

6. Banging out a sweater may be more of of a pop than a bang. I have almost an inch done so far.

7. Monday is nearly over. Yea!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Casting On, Casting About

With this wispy and delicate unyarn, (much thinner than pencil roving) casting on took some deliberation. There was no way I was going to try a long tail cast on. Not with 277 stitches needed. So I tried a couple of methods, and decided on the knitted cast on. No tail needed, and still some body to it.

But the casting on wasn't the hardest part. The hard part was joining it without a twist. I decided to knit one row first, giving a bit more fabric to use as a guideline before joining.

After joining and knitting one round, I once again checked the twist. After the first round, it is possible to twist the join to straighten it out. But only after the first round.

I had to pin it down as I worked my way around. And thought I had I right. After knitting one more , and nearly another, I just didn't trust it. I pinned it down again.

And now, I am unknitting my unyarn. Very carefully, and winding it back up as I go, all the way back to the end of the first round.

Sometimes there is a little heartache in knitting.