[knitting] Lilac Wide Stripe Pullover

Working on a 2T sweater for my niece:

I should be working on something else but a little striped pullover is too tempting... RIP my 4mm bamboo 16” circulars. It was very exciting when the join came apart in the middle of a row. #knitting

Notice the bamboo 16" fixed circular on the lower right. The join came apart in the middle of a row, which was very exciting. I was able to get the project onto a 16" Addi (from a interchangable set) with only one dropped stitch. But RIP my Clover bamboo. I could glue it back together but I would never trust it again.

Nearly all my 16" fixed circulars are from when I from when I first started knitting and they're all Clover bamboo. I'm tempted to replace this one with the exact same kind- I've heard the tips are pointer now and I wonder if the cables have improved. Plus, I always have coupons to Joanns or Michaels.

The sweater is going well- it's good practice for a wide stripe sweater that I want to do for myself. But it has taken a back seat to my secret crochet project- which has to be done by tomorrow night! 


[books] 5 College Book Sale

I waffled a bit about it Saturday morning but I made the trip down to Lebanon, NH for the 5 College Book Sale. I arrived right at 9am and got in line...


It actually didn't feel as crowded as other years. I spent 1.5 hours browsing books and really only checked out the sections I was interested in: crafts, cooking, gardening. I did swing by the fiction area to pick up some kids books for my niece. Then I got into the wrong checkout area- high volume. By the time I realized my mistake, I decided to stay.

I'm quite pleased with my books:


Good reference books all around. Herb books that cover lots of medicinals and not just culinary herbs. Craft books with lots of charted designs for cross-stitch:




Some of these border patterns would be good for cross-stitched bookmarks!

I'm in love with this Out of Vermont Kitchens spiral-bound cookbook (first published in 1939!) with all handwritten recipes:




This is really going to test my cursive reading skills. I wonder if a book like this would be fun to look at for a person who analyzes handwriting. "Here, see they way Ester Barnaby crosses her T's and how her words slant? She clearly must have been a psycho." 

I picked up a cookbook called "Just Pumpkins" and all the recipes focus on- you guessed it- potatoes. No, it's all pumpkins. Which I plant to utilize soon- I still have lots of pumpkin puree in the freezer from last fall.

And lastly I got a novelty cookbook on bread sculptures published in the 1970s. They're total hippie sculptures- a loaf shaped like mother goddess holding a bread baby; anatomically correct male and female bread shapes wrapped in a loving embrace. I mean... it's very funny. But there are also some cool tips and tricks for making and shaping bread dragons and alligators. I might have to give some a try.

I like to go to the 5 College Book Sale for the out-of-print books but they do have plenty of current publications. They have everything! I've gotten so many great books over the years. 


[vermont] Spring!

Spring is finally here! I have the crocuses to prove it:

A sign of spring! Finally!

It’s so nice out today!

Yesterday was nice enough to take Penny for a "walk":

🐈 walkies

There's still snow behind the house, in the woods, piled up from the plow, in shady areas- BUT... Look at all that ugly brown lawn newly uncovered. Nice, eh? I was able to walk around without and jacket on and check out the flower beds. I even saw this:

Red things starting to emerge... it’s rhubarb!

I'm always a little grossed out by how this plant starts every year- but it will be nice and tasty soon... it's rhubarb! 

Will be running errands as fast as possible after work to get home and enjoy the late afternoon sun at home... it's another beautiful day today!

It was a pretty productive weekend- I started my secret crochet project (which has to be done by this Friday... for a particular movie premier...), worked a bit on fox paws and a striped toddler sweater, dyed some yarn (that didn't turn out too great- which is probably why I'm not a profession dyer), went to the book sale, Dollar and I played several games of 7 Wonders Duel. Cooking was meh- I'm trying to make stuff from what we have in the pantry (and use up old stuff) so the meals have been... weird. Grocery shopping is one of the errands I have to do after work.


[misc] Murderface Friday

It's 4/20, maaaan. Murderface is sure to be hitting the 'nip all day...

Murderface and his big ol' catnip sack

Just like every day. 

This is what it looks outside:

April 20. Dusting of snow overnight. #vermont

Still lots of snow... But something is blooming inside:

At least it feels like Spring indoors... πŸ’

TGIF. I've got all kinds of crafty plans for the weekend- Fox Paws, a secret crochet project, a toddler sweater (for my niece- but really it's just a mini version of the sweater I want to do for myself, so good practice!), maybe some yarn dying with food coloring... bread baking, book sale, quilt block cutting... oooooooo eeeeeeee, I can't wait.


[quilting] Retro Drums Block

This is the last of my finished quilt blocks:


Some drum and blue deco fabric. Quick and simple.

One of my tasks this coming weekend will be to find more block patterns, pre-cut all the necessary pieces, label them and set aside for quick weeknight sewing.

I went on a yarn-winding spree last night and wound some skeins for socks, baby sweater, shawl, adult sweater (for me! omg I haven't made a sweater for myself in years!) and mitered cowl. That's the plan for the yarn, anyway...


[knitting] Fox Paws... nearing the end

Yarn is dwindling and I think I have enough for two, maybe three more repeats.

Still working on  🐾 #foxpaws #knitting

As it happens, I have another ball of both blues and the white but not any more of the twig and fawn. So I'm just going to get as much as I can out of what's left and cast off. I'm ready for different projects. I've started digging through the yarn stash and have some skeins ready to be wound into balls. 


Know what my back yard looked like yesterday?

April 17. At least it’s not sleeting anymore? #vermont

But... we have no new snow, sleet, ice or daytime-highs-below-freezing forecast for the foreseeable future. Seems too good to be true (I've been tricked into thinking it was Spring several times already). 

We've purchased a CSA share with a different local farm this year, so I'm excited to start getting weekly deliveries again. Starting in t-minus... 5 weeks from now.


[quilting] Castle Block

Some time ago, I sketched out a design for a castle quilt block and figured out all the proper sizes for the pieces:

Turning a crude drawing into a quilt block schematic. This is going to be a big one. #quilting

I looked at the fabric I had and decided to used an as-yet untouched fat quarter that looked like birch trees for the castle itself...after doing all the math to figure out total area needed and the most efficient way to cut the fabric without generating a lot of waste.

Chop up the fabric (it does look like birch trees!):

Just cutting some birch trees for a castle... #quilting

Cut all the pieces and put them into place to make sure I have everything: 

All the cut pieces. Oh my aching back. #quilting #castle

Blue stripes/dots for the background. Black for the windows. Ruler fabric for the drawbridge.

Two days of sewing later:

Well that was intense. Corps castle complete. And it’s very large at 18 x 24 inches. #quilting #castle #whitecastle #notthatwhitecastle

It came out just as I envisioned and I'm so happy. The back looks like a nightmare but it's a recognizable Corps of Engineers castle. It is 18" x 24", so rather large but I've gotten lots of helpful advice in one my Ravelry groups about how best to layout all the disparate blocks I've made so far and fill in gaps. Someday I'll reach that point but right now I'm just making blocks whenever the mood hits me.


After this, I'm filled with quilting ennui. Last night I started organizing/sorting my loose knitting patterns. I put away patterns that I've made (a pile that had been stacking up since before Christmas) and slimmed down what was in the TO DO binder.

I feel like making socks. And doilies.


[misc] Penny Monday

Penny, on my side of the bed...

It’s 8:30 and I’m going to bed. Just have to get this little turd muncher to move.

She knows I'm going to shoo her to the other side of the bed so I can get in and steal her warm spot. Hah hah hah. 80% of my relationship with Penny is shooing her- out of my seat on the couch (which she steals as soon as I stand up, even if I call fivesies), away from the garage door, away from the other cats... 

This weekend was over too quick. I didn't leave the house because of the sleet and rain and sleety-rain. It was a baking/cooking weekend with not much crafting (and lots of house chores). I'm still knitting away on Fox Paws. I'm nearing the end of the yarn balls and need to start making a decision about (a) ending the project or (b) ordering more yarn. I'm not sure how I feel about the length so far.

Looking forward to the Five Colleges Book Sale this coming weekend! Hunting for the usual: cookbooks, craft books, gardening books. Will swing by the kids section to look for books for my niece.


[cooking] DBLT

I splurged last weekend on some duck bacon:

Duck bacon!

My goal was to have the ultimate DBLT: duck bacon, lettuce, tomato. I even went so far as to make a homemade loaf of white bread.

Duck BLT

Perfection. The only downside is that were was no duck fat to collect- it was actually rather lean.


TGIF. Another long week of teaching done. I haven't given any thought to what my weekend projects will be- food or craft. (Hopefully it won't be just 100% sleeping.) I think I'll hit the stores on the way home and run all my errands- I'm not planning on leaving the house again until Monday morning. I received a winter weather advisory to my phone that we'll be getting two inches of sleet accumulation and ice and I don't even know what else. This is what it looked like at my house yesterday morning:

Morning. April 12.

C'mon, man. This stopped being funny about two weeks ago.

While I don't know what the plan is for this weekend, I am compiling a to-do list for my staycation at the end of May: get the vegetable garden going, do flower divisions, get the firepit in order so I can do outdoor cooking this summer, make a ton of homemade pasta to freeze, maybe do some weaving on the loom? And figure out how that works?


[cross-stitching] Spring Biscornu Done

Finished the little biscornu pincushion this past weekend.


Small, quick, easy (although sewing the two halves together is a little bit of a pain- especially when you are doing the corners). Uses up few random buttons and beads from the stash.


This is the underside. Slightly different pattern and I used a flat button:


There are lots of free charts online that you can print if you a Google image search for "biscornu chart". Here is the chart I used for this one.


Because they're small, it's a good project for irregular areas of aida cloth that you may have trimmed away from a larger project. With my longer narrow strips, I'll do some bookmarks.


[knitting] Strawberry Cat Hat

Make (yet another) hat for the cats Sunday morning to wear and enjoy. 

New hat for the cats

The pattern is from Cats in Hats. Make the red base:

New hat for the cats

Then sew some random seeds with white yarn. Make a stem and a few leaves. Attach. Voila:

Strawberry hat

Murderface, so happy to model it:

Murderface Strawberry

Penny, even more thrilled:


Actually, she's freaking out because we're by the front door and she thinks she gets to go out for walkies. Sorry, Penny, winter is still here and it will be here forever and we'll never be able to go outside again. (We got another two inches of snow over the weekend.)

Penny's actually quite amenable to hats. Here she is when she first tried it on:



Good thing I made this hat to keep the cats warm. This was my view yesterday morning in my driveway:


Winter forever.


[quilting] Spooky Block

A large 15-inch block:

Didn’t realize until after cutting all the pieces that this block would require sewing partial seams. Not too bad. #quilting

I'm still at an "I don't know what I'm doing" level of quilting. I pre-cut all these pieces and sewed them together, but... you can see the apex of the black squares touches the edge. Really, there should be a quarter inch of the printed fabric above it. Now, when I sew this block into final place, the tips will be truncated a bit. (Oops.)

I'm not too bothered (definitely not bothered enough to do it over) but at least it's something I'll be aware of in the future now. I was wondering why the long edges of the printed fabric triangles were so much longer than the short sides of the black triangles. I'm learning...

Going to do more cutting this weekend. It is nice having a pile of pieces for blocks ready to sew during the week. Then sewing a block really only takes 30 min or less to do.

Maybe I'll finally tackle cutting the pieces for the Corps castle...


So ready for the weekend. It still looks and feels like winter at home:

April 5. Still looks and feel like winter.

And we've got about an inch forecast for tonight. Le siiiiiiiigh.

My cooking goal this weekend: Kimchi Pork Buns. Dollar doesn't do kimchi, so I'm going to try a different meat-filled-bread for him: bierock. Because who doesn't like a savory stuffed bun? I think there's a version from every culture. 

What else? Finish sewing my biscornu. Knit a little hat for Penny. Read rules and play new boardgames. Then it's a long week teaching next week but it will be the last for me until JUNE.


[gaming] Patchwork

Look, I'm quilting even when I'm not quilting:

Still making quilts, even when I’m #gaming. #patchworkgame

Dollar and I are making an effort to get back to playing our boardgames. We have a pretty good selection of 2-player games, many that we've only played once or never. Last night was the first time we tried Patchwork. You use buttons to pay for tetris-like blocks and try to build a quilt. The person with the most buttons at the end wins. So cute. 

We're going to take turns picking games. Because if I get to pick all the time, we'll just be playing games where we sew quilts, hunt mushrooms or collect cats.


Things were super windy last night and we lost power around 10pm. The generator didn't kick on (fantastic- gotta call someone to come out and look at it) so we were without power until about 5am. No big deal, them's sleeping hours... but what if you can't get any sleep because of incessant and shrill smoke and carbon monoxide detectors chirping to signal a low battery? 

We must have a couple dozen detectors in the house and garage. They're normally on house power but when we lose power, they use their 12 volt batteries. But we don't change batteries on any kind of annual schedule like responsible people. So we lost power last night and random detectors start chirping as a low battery warning. CHIRP. Every 30 seconds. CHIRP. Dollar and I get out of bed and wander around the house in the dark, sleepily trying to triangulate where the awful CHIRP is coming from. Go stand under one... wait... It's like a treasure hunt you don't want to do but have to if you want to go back to sleep.

Best case scenario: You find the detector, take it down, take the battery out. Worst case scenario: You wander around the house, waiting for the next chirp... that never comes. It was just goddamn chirping- why... why did it stop? Just to torture us? Let's go back to bed. Fall back asleep. CHIRP. Mother... fuhhhhhhh... Get up, shuffle around the dark house... try to find the chirp. At one point, we were huddled together in the basement, shivering, staring up at a smoke and CO detectors, waiting for a chirp... waiting... which is it? It's one of these two... I broke. "Just take them down! Take them both down! I can't take it anymore!"

You don't know real, spine-chilling fear until you grab a smoke detector, take out the battery... and it still chirps in your hand. Then you know you're in hell and the chirps will never stop.


[cross-stitching] Spring Biscornu

Working on a little biscornu pincushion:

Time for a different craft. #crosstitch #biscornu

This has been a quick little project. I might even make another...


[quilting] Map Block

Worked on a bit of quilting this weekend:


Still have to tidy up the edges but the pile of blocks is growing. Still trying to use up large areas of the bigger pieces of fabric- and I'm amassing a pile of small cuts for crumb squares. Must use every. last. scrap.


Tried taking Penny for a walk yesterday:


Sensory overload. She didn't make it more than a few steps from the door before she started screaming to go back in (and then started crying to go back out the minute she was in. I mean, cats. Amirite?). 

I found a few green catnip leaves and picked some. I don't know if I thought this was going to calm her down but it obviously didn't. She crashed a little while later. The good news is that the catnip is spreading like the weed it is and I'll have lots of new plants this year.


[cooking] English Muffin Toasting Bread

I did a little baking this weekend:

English Muffin Toasting Bread. Perfect for homemade raspberry jam. 🍞 #englishmuffintoastingbread #kingarthurflour

The bread didn't rise a lot. I seem to have trouble with bread recipes that call for heating up the milk prior to adding it (I'm looking at you Sally Lunn). But it baked well and slices nicely. And they're not lying when they say it makes the best toast. This is bread made for toasting (and not so much making sandwiches with... it's dense). And with homemade raspberry jam... so nice.


The weather this weekend was nice and sunny- but a bit cold and windy on Sunday. It's still quite snowy:

#spring #gardening

But look at this:


The snow only just receded from this flowerbed in front of the house last week- and already things are popping up. These daffodils (I assume... I don't remember planting these, heh), hyacinths (regular and grape), delphinium, iris... I can't believe it. I can't wait to start posting gardening and flower pictures. In fact- I just did. That's my first of the year!


[quilting] Castle design

Turned a crude sketch into a schematic for a Corps of Engineers Castle quilt block:

Turning a crude drawing into a quilt block schematic. This is going to be a big one. #quilting

Still trying to find enough of the right fabric based on what I have. It won't be the traditional white/red. Or even gold. And it will be a big block (18 in x 23 in). 


TGIF. I'm going to Netflix and chillllllll this weekend. Do a little quilting. Do a little knitting. Do a little cooking. I got a very special delivery from Penzeys last Friday:

Long work week made better by a Penzeys delivery. Lots of little freebies and for some reason a bunch of paper clips. πŸ“ŽπŸ“ŽThat’s cool, I need paper clips. @barbjstender I have your peppercorns. #penzeysspices

I ordered the guajillo peppers specifically for pozole (which I made on Monday and we've been eating all week) but I think I'll use a good portion this weekend to make some guajillo chili sauce... for enchiladas and burritos. I'm not sure why we've been on such a Mexican kick but I made tacos last Friday night (I knew the taco seasoning was coming so I got all the stuff ahead of time) and quesadillas the next night...

I'll start some no-knead dough to keep in the fridge. I'm interested in trying this English Muffin Toasting Bread. I still have a bit of clotted cream from last weekend left- Dollar had band practice at the house Monday night and I made sure they came up for a scone, clotted cream, raspberry jam break. They thankfully took care of most of it.