Hot Green

Project:  Lily Cloth

Pattern:  Muguets Cloth, scroll down on the left, but I hear some of you have trouble with the website.  I really liked this.  It was an easy knit, and reminded me of the Lily of the Valley that grew against the house of my childhood.  (And the French name reminded me of Mugsy, which is always a good thing.)

Yarn:  Sugar ‘n Cream’s Hot Green.   It is very vivid, but I like it!  The yarn isn’t my favorite cotton; it’s hard on my hands, but it was worth it for this hue.

Needles:  Crystal Palace bamboo #6.  I like them a lot.

Verdict:  Will likely make more of this pretty cloth.

I hope you like “hot green” too, because there’s more!

That’s my Tofuchief

Pattern:  Silk Kerchief.   A quick and easy shawlette or triangular scarf, written for Noro yarn.  It’s a great travel project, as it’s all garter stitch with a few yarn overs every other row, and a color change every two rows.  My version blocked to 51 inches wide rather than the 30-something in the pattern, but this was mostly knitted at the firehouse, so I just kept going and going and wondering how wide it had gotten…

Yarns:  Tofutsies, in a “hot green” and a variegated pink.  I chose the colors because they’re bright, happy and they won’t show dirt too easily.  I went with Tofutsies because it’s machine wash and dry, plus it’s a great blend of wool, soy and chitin, so it will serve me well through all four seasons at the office.  The colors above are pretty accurate.

Needles:  Knitpick Options, Harmony tips, USA #3 for everything but the bind-off.  I used a #5 for that, to give a nice, stretchy edge.

Verdict:  It was intended to be a utilitarian shoulder and/or neck warmer, and that it will be.  Visually, I don’t find plain garter stitch shawls too appealing, but it will be perfect for the job I had in mind when I started the project.

I’m thinking about finally getting around to my first ballband cloth next, but I’m also eager to try the lizard ridge cloth.   Actually, by cast on, bind off math, I’m now three patterns to the good, right?  So I could cast on for both of those AND something else…

Waiting on those humans...

Waiting on those humans...

We have a family reunion this weekend, and that’s about it.  Otherwise, we’ll be at home with the fur-girls, making up for all the time we didn’t spend with them this week.

What’s on your agenda?

Called on Account of Rain

gse_multipart112972Happy Dogs on Thursday

Pout.  I was planning a post based on a play date we were going to have with a four-legged friend last night, but due to flash flooding, there was no meet-up with the mastiff pup.  No rain check was offered, I’m afraid.

I’m skipping the County Fair tonight because the girls need a little more attention than they’ve had thus far this week.  (Gretchen looks cranky or mean there, doesn’t she?!)

I’d also planned to photo some of their favorite toys, but the weather hasn’t cooperated, so maybe I’ll get that done another time for Dogs N More.  In the meantime, I’ll just flash some silly girls photos.

We need to work on Gretchen’s hiding skills.  Of course, if the deer would leave the garden alone, that would help…

We should all be more like Sissy and just let go laughing, all the time.  

I’m enjoying finding photos of my girls being silly.   Their ability to make me laugh works when we’re not in the same place!

I’ll let Sissy offer the final bit of advice for the post.  Life’s an adventure, and you can always find something interesting if you look hard enough!  Or maybe she’s trying to find a phone number to call someone who cares? 

Happy little friday!


Wool + summer heat x humidity = on hold

Wool + summer heat x humidity = on hold

Startitis makes its way around to most of us who knit or crochet or sew or… at some point or another.  I’d been doing reasonably well, with a tobegiftedbefore Christmas gift on the needles waiting for it to cool down some, a lace project that I lost interest in but want to finish, another gift whose deadline won’t be met, and a sock that’s just too complicated for me right now (and will likely be frogged) in the works. 

I was making progress on the gift I want to finish, but it is just complicated enough that it won’t make a good travel project, so I cast on TWO travel projects last night.  You know, because I’d had THREE FOs in the past five days?  Some of you understand that logic, and the rest of you just have far more discipline than I do.  I only like algebra and calculus in the math world, so don’t try adding and subtracting; it won’t come out right, but trust me…  I actually got an “A” in logic and in ethics (both ironically required subjects for a philosophy major), so somehow, it does work in knitters math.

The sock that probably wont be...

The sock that probably won't be...

My sock mojo has wandered away again, and has been replaced by have cloth, will travel mojo.  I’ve never really enjoyed cloths asides from their instant gratification abilities, but here lately, I’m liking them more and more.  Crazy that, huh?  I know some of you always have cloths on the needles, but I have historically been a travel sock or simple lace wrap kind of girl.

Now, I’m sure that in time, the cotton will be too hard on my hands and I’ll move on to something else, but in the meantime, I’ll knock out several little gifts, since y’all  have been good enough to send cloths to stock my linen closet (um, well, linen basket, because I think I’ve already confessed that my main linen closet became my fiber arts library, right?) for the Knight.  Thank you, thank you, because that also means I’m under no pressure at all and can quit on the cloths whenever I want without sentencing the Knight to commercial terry cloths.   (The  horrors!)

What did I cast on?  Well, I don’t have photos, and my fellow Rav-stalkers already know, but I couldn’t resist the Muguets Cloth (scroll down to Expert, click, and then scroll down for the English version), which will go with some nice soap as a belated gift to my mother. 

Anita also reminded me yesterday that there’s a baby due in about five weeks for whom I need to get knitting.  Big brother to this little one got a blankie and a hat, so I need to knit on!  I chose  Savta’s Shell Pattern Afghan, in part because of the sweet story, and because I think it works up nicely in a variegated yarn.   Ann helped me select some Berroco Comfort for the project, because with this being the second baby in less than two years, my girlfriend doesn’t need to worry about special care for handknits, even though I know she and her darling  husband thoroughly appreciate them.

Almost all grown up

Almost all grown up

I also failed earlier to note that our baby girl is almost not a baby anymore, although I called Mugsy my baby right up through his death.  Today is Lady Gretchen Greer’s 11-month birthday.  (No, that’s not her registered name, but I sure wish it was.)  Never has there been a better, more delightful puppy, ever.  While we needed Sissy’s silly, wild antics to combat our grief (upon grief , one death after another), Gretchen’s bubbly but always polite mannerisms continue to warm our hearts too. 

Zoom-zoomies outside!

Zoom-zoomies outside!

I just have to caution everyone who doesn’t know many Jack Russell Terriers or Parson Terriers (AKC), because she isn’t the norm.   She is very high energy, but she will let her “zoomies” carry her through the house, lap after lap (with MUCH bigger Sissy at her heels) if she has excess energy built up, whereas at her age, Mugsy often had me in tears and I took up running again just to make him a happy, almost well-behaved dog.  She has plenty of that terrier spunk, but she’s just so sweet about expressing it.  

Sissy says she still loves Lexi-Beastie

Sissy says she still loves Lexi-Beastie

While I’m babbling away and eating up your blog-reading time, I should also report that the car shopping is over.  No, there’s no purchase to announce.  I realized yesterday that I am stressing myself and the Knight out with my rather manic, OCD approach to shopping.  Around the same moment, it suddenly dawned on me that some friends from my childhood own and operate a service center that is a certified Lexus repair center, so tomorrow, Beastie goes to the doctor.  Not so long ago, we loved Beastie (aka: Lexi).  Maybe if we can correct a few of her issues for a reasonable price, we can continue on with the plan to see her to at least 100,000 miles.   In the meantime, we can casually explore auto options in as non-psycho of a fashion as I can manage.  I’ve heard rumors that some of you actually enjoy test driving vehicles and even do so when you aren’t IN the midst of a hunt for the next ride!

Phew.  That almost catches us up.  I still have a new FO to share and I completely overlooked the last shipment of the shared Wollmeise sock club, but we’ll save those for another day.

What’s in a voice?

Many of you know I don’t care for the phone, but I do delight in putting voices with faces, blogs, etc.   My voice is one of the things I’ve always liked about myself, except when I hear me talking on a recording.

Anita & me, fall 2008

Anita & me, fall 2008

I pick up accents easily.  I’m sure I sound more Southern when I’ve been on the phone with Anita or Jessi,  and I know I grab a touch of the Kiwi affectation when I’m around my NZ rellies. 

However, I don’t seem to be influenced at all by my Yankee friends, which is interesting, because my mother’s paternal side resides in upstate New York, and I visited a few times as a child.  So it’s not like I haven’t been exposed to their dialects, but for whatever reason, they don’t impact me at all.  In contrast, a local friend from the Boston area immediately picks up New England dialects if only a few words are spoken in her native tongue.

In my former life as a fire dispatcher, I tried hard to have a very neutral voice.  However, people generally guess that I’m from the Tidewater region, which isn’t totally off-base.  (I don’t live in the grey area, but it’s not THAT far away…)  A friend of a friend I met Monday evening asked where I was from, and admitted her shock upon learning I was Central VA born and raised, with a stint in DC for college.  She’s a Charlottesville native, and she said I sounded just slightly more Southern than the average local, and then decided to add, “You know… that more polite version of Southern.”  I think that was a compliment.

I am also aware that I have a powerful speaking voice.  Even when I was teaching at national workshops, I didn’t use a microphone.  I project plenty well without one, and the Knight often gives me a sign to turn the volume down in small groups.   I’ve used them from a stage, but in groups of 200 or less, I’m usually fine with just my lips and my lungs.

No arrrooooos here...

No arrrooooos here...

Some of you have heard me bemoan Sissy’s lack of a lovely basset voice.  She can bay and bark, but her howl is grating, and thankfully, fleeting.  Fred could howl, deep and long, and I sorely regret that we never recorded his beautiful voice.

I’m not sure why I’m babbling about voices today, other than to note that it’s an element of personality we just don’t capture in blogs.  I feel quite a connection with some of my bloggy pals, but while we can share photos, few of us share audio clips.

So… what IS in a voice?  Those of you who know my voice, what do you think of the friend of a friend’s guess?  I am well aware that there are several regional accents within Virginia’s state lines, but I didn’t know I sounded like any one in particular…

What say you?

I Ain’t As Young As I Once Was

Maybe that’s why I like Toby Keith.  His lyrics aren’t fancy, and I can relate to far too many of them.  However, today I’m dragging because evidently, this 40-year young woman cannot leave the house at 8am and return around 11pm and still function the next day.

Yeah.  That’s me today, droopy and distracted.  If I venture out in our lovely Virginia heat and humidity where the temperature and the humidity are nearly the same number, I’ll really be drained, and my hair will do its thing, which means the parts I want to have body will go limp and the parts I straighten every morning will friz and curl and flip. 

How come when you’re old enough to appreciate an afternoon nap you can’t have one?

For those of you young at heart with canines to keep you feeling that way, check out Dogs N More for some fun toy ideas.

Birth-month winding down

I’d just like to thank my dear friends and family for humoring me with my efforts to celebrate my birthday all month long.  I’m quite lucky to have such generous, thoughtful friends!

Ann gave me all kinds of beautiful goodies, including another bag.  It’s from Longaberger.  Isn’t it pretty?!

She also gave me a cute keyring a friend of hers made.  I love the colors, and the bags.  It’s going to be pressed into duty tonight with my office keys for the League office.

She also gave me another pair of her earrings.  I love the color; in real life (as opposed to whatever your monitor is showing), it’s a beautiful not true red, hot pink that can be worn with everything.   You too can have your own earrings in the colors of your choice.  Just contact Ann via her blog and let her know you need a pair.

There was more too, but I’m way behind today, so there are the highlights.  Thank you Ann!  MJ also wants to know when HRH is coming back for another visit.

We’ve pretty much made a decision on the car search, but we still need to test drive one equipped at least similarly to what we want.  Then, we’ll need to decide if we want to order one or just try to find one that’s “close enough” to what we want.  However, after the Acura fiasco, I think I’ll sit on this option until we’ve nailed something down for sure.


What?  I didn’t tell you about the Acura mess, did I?  We were so sure it was going to be a perfect fit, but it wasn’t.  The seats weren’t comfortable, the trip computer was showing 9.6 MPG, and with a premium fuel requirement, that just isn’t good enough.   Add in that the salesman who waited on me earlier in the week wasn’t around, the one who was waiting on us Saturday couldn’t find the keys, and then there was no one to wait on us when we returned from the very upsetting test drive, and there’s no way I’ll do business with that dealership.  Luckily for them, I’m an honest sort, and I just dumped the key and the paperwork on a desk and walked away.

And WHY do all the American (including Toyota) car companies think that just because I want leather and cargo room, I want second row bucket seats?  That’s my serious grump, because it eliminates almost everything.

How goes your Monday?

Pretty Paws!

They do have pretty paws, but that’s not what I’m talking about!  I’m talking about Jessi‘s awesome pattern.  I was lucky enough to be a test knitter, and she was kind enough to humor the Knight (begrudgingly referred to as Chief for this post, and this post only), because he happens to believe every cloth knitted or crocheted in this house MUST be for him. 

Pattern:  This first version is the original size of Jessi’s Pretty Paws Cotton Dishcloth.   No changes. 

Yarn:  My go-to cloth favorite (not available locally, of course), Lion Cotton.

Needles:  US #5.  Bought a pair of Clover bamboos, just because I had planned to cast on while waiting for my chiropractor, but he was on time (as usual).  Obviously, the cloth would be a bit bigger with larger needles.

Verdict:  Great quick, cute pattern, just the right size for bathing a baby, human or canine, but the CHIEF pouted and declared it too small.  (Never mind that a friend gave birth while I was knitting on said cloth.  Men!)

So, I present the Chief-sized version, as Jessi so named it.  I did add an extra repeat of rows 7-12 to square it up a bit.

Yarn:  Sugar & Cream Twist, in “Summer”.  Love everything about this yarn, and might have to order a cone of it if I can find it.

Needles:  US size #7 wood, just to be sure it was big enough for the whiner  spoiled man Chief. 

Verdict:  I’ll be cranking these out regularly.  I think I mentioned that my aunt requested some cloths to gift friends, and I have a few regulars in my life with similar desires, so in the spirit of pretending I’m preparing for holiday knitting ahead of time, watch for more cloths in the future.

I still have more birth-month loot to share, and we had a great time at both birthday parties earlier in the weekend.   We’ve also made serious progress on the car search, so there should be plenty to blog about soon!

Frazzled Friday

This isn’t a TGIF week.  Frankly, car shopping is sucking up knitting time, whether I leave the house or not.  Remember, I must research any and all options until my eyes blur, and I cannot read and knit so well.

But before I get all bitter and cranky, look!


Better hurry before they’re gone.  I left mine in the cart for you…  The mug is really what I like best, so I’m just hoping she offers it independently later. 

We do have some fun on the radar for the weekend.   We have two birthday parties, although both required that I miss something else I’d like to do too.  That’s okay.  The “kids” celebrating are special, and we wouldn’t miss honoring them for anything.  Besides, isn’t it nice to have friends AND family you want to be with?

And while I hesitate to toot my own horn, the Heel Hugger pattern is now available as a free Ravelry download!   Thanks again to my test knitters, those who shared photos and especially to Anita for pulling it all together for me.

I’ll have another couple of FOs for you soon, but while you wait, those of you on Ravelry can go check out Jessi’s new pattern too.

So, what does your weekend hold?

Tardy Dogs

It’s still Thursday in most of the world, so happy Dogs on Thursday to you!

Last Friday, the girls came to work with us.   This is my favorite shot of the bunch; napping with the Knight.  Gretchen had played hard, so she didn’t care about wearing her Dadaw’s visor.  Sissy couldn’t get settled until I found Mugsy’s old piece of poly-fleece, and spread it out beneath the sofa.

All three of them piled up for a while, but there just wasn’t enough room.  

There was also plenty of fur-girl snuggling when the Knight was out of the office.

I wasn’t able to get any photo of them playing indoor fetch with Neighbor Guy and the Knight, but here they are screening calls for their Dadaw.

I think everyone has a good day when the girls come to work.  I was impressed at how well they behaved.  Sissy didn’t leap onto my desk even once, and Gretchen only played when a human – or three – engaged her in some sort of activity. 

I dont look mean, do I?

I don't look mean, do I?

No, they won’t be working girls on a regular basis.  Shadow rules the roost, and he is territorial with both girls, so they’ll only visit when he and the inlaws are on vacation.

Don’t forget to visit the other Dogs on Thursday blogs!

Happy little friday!

Peeking through windows

That’s actually our favorite way to car shop.  Neither the Knight nor I like pushy salespeople, so around here, the best way to shop unmolested is on Sundays or any other time the dealerships are closed.  (No offense to any sales people or their kin…)

We spent a lot of time over the weekend peering into windows and driving through lots.   Interestingly, there’s not much we agree upon, and to refresh memories, yes the Knight has a big stake in this purchase, because he’ll drive it as much as I do, since it will be our road trip mobile as well.

Chevy HHR

Chevy HHR

THAT was my “Are you kidding me!?” moment.  The Knight seriously thought perhaps I would at least give it a test drive.  Hello?   It’s too low to the ground for starters, it’s too narrow, and it lacks cargo room, much less the ADDITIONAL cargo room I thought WE were seeking.   Now, the color’s great, but clearly the man got carried away with his  the idea that we’d prefer better fuel economy in the next ride.

2010 Chevy Equinox

2010 Chevy Equinox

THIS was seriously considered, despite its narrow size and the slight loss in cargo space (as compared to the Beastie.)  The seats are comfortable and that greatly improved MPG is hard to resist, but I just don’t think we can do narrower and a loss of cargo. 

Hyundai Veracruz

Hyundai Veracruz

I was VERY impressed with the Hyundai Veracruz, but with a touch of irony, there were none available to test drive in my area.  The local dealership has two 2008 demos, but one was on the showroom floor and the other was in the shop, having just been surrendered from its life as a demonstrator.  The salesman was also way too coy when I tried to get a better idea of just HOW much they were willing to deal since it was a demonstrator and lacked a couple of features we really wanted, but could probably live without, if our palms were properly greased.   (He’s lucky the Knight wasn’t along at that point; the Knight doesn’t do well with smart answers and slick salesmanship.)  There ends the Veracruz’s chance of coming to live at Haddon Woods.

Subaru Tribeca

Subaru Tribeca

The Subaru Tribeca remains high on my list, but the Knight wouldn’t even get out at look at it, so I’m not sure what that means.

Infiiniti FX45

Infiiniti FX45

I truly had a few minutes  hours of car lust, after we parked next to an Infiniti FX45 at dinner.  It eliminated itself via my trusty Blackberry’s happy search while we tromped through Home Depot, the Knight shopping and me whispering longingly about the beautiful java-colored leather interior I’d spied.  I didn’t really care that its fuel mileage is worse than that of most of the Knight’s big ol’ trucks, nor did I care that it wouldn’t even hold all of the loot from a big run to the grocery store.  Luckily, the Knight is immune to my whims and held firm.

Lexux RX350

Lexux RX350

Sunday evening, we also checked out several other vehicles and went home thinking that perhaps we should just suck it up and look at a newer version of Beastie.   That’s still definitely an option, but *I* still want more cargo room, and the newer models only add very small bit of cargo room and about one MPG of improved fuel economy.

Still with me?  Let me backtrack and note I eliminated the VW Touareg on sight.  It was my favorite in photos, but in person, we didn’t hit it off, and we can’t afford the TDI (diesel) option to provide even decent fuel mileage.  The Knight ditched the Honda Pilot as too wide, since I keep insisting we don’t need another full sized vehicle.

Two more hurdles, and this car update will be done.

Mazda CX-9

Mazda CX-9

We wanted to check out the Mazda crossovers,  but they didn’t have a CX-9 in stock, and the CX-7 is way too small.  I’m still not sure this is off the table, but as with many of these manufacturers, the features we want require a fully-loaded vehicle, which often includes features we don’t need or want.  Used is ALWAYS an option;  I like letting someone else take the depreciation hit when they drive off the lot.

Acura MDX

Acura MDX

While there, we also saw a used Acura MDX, which interestingly enough, is the vehicle that lead us to the lot where we ended up buying Beastie.   I need to wrap up this post and call and see which model it is, and whether or not it has the features we want.  Of course, I’m also going to ask about the CX-9… 

Interestingly, the Knight has decided the Ford Edge offers no extra room with extra exterior width.  I can’t decide whether I like the nose on it or not, so I think the current list looks like this (in no particular order):

  1. Subaru Tribeca, whether the Knight likes it or not.  (Of course, if he’d just SAY he doesn’t like it, that would end it, but silence means I can still consider it, right?)
  2. Another Lexus, most likely a used 330.
  3. Acura MDX
  4. Mazda CX-9

I don’t like that there are no American companies on there  (or does Mazda count?), but I haven’t checked to see where these vehicles are assembled.  It won’t be a deal-maker or breaker, but I do feel a bit guilty.

As always, I appreciate your comments and input.   I do have to note that the VW/Audi salesman was willing to check with his manager when I joked about the strange, recessed bottom cushion in the center of their Q7’s back seat, to see if I could test drive with the dogs.  (Now YOU and I know that’s out of my price range, but still…  Brownie points for not just laughing at me when I gasped over the design.)

I also have to point out that I expect this vehicle to last close to 10 years, so once you schlep through this painful process with me, hopefully we won’t do it again ANY time soon!