Who Wins?

At our house, we seem to be in a competition over which family member has the best immune system. In other words, I suspect all of us to be fighting the onset of a cold. But we are still at the point where we feel under the weather and very tired, and a little sore throat-ish, but not full on sick. I am wondering if any or all of us will escape it. In the meantime, we are eating early and easy dinners and all going to bed quite early to keep up on our sleep.

I started another project, one I think will be likely to capture my attention instead of annoy me like yesterday’s cowl.


The pattern is called Gothic Spires, and it’s out of this handspun:


There’s fun lace patterning which I think will pop a whole lot more when I have the opportunity to block it. It keeps me occupied pretty well, without a ton of thought, though I am tied to the pattern. I admit when I wasn’t feeling well last night I was wishing for something stockinette or garter, but if actual full on sickness happens, I am sure I can find something to throw on the needles for that.

I do want to talk about the yarn though. When I was a newer spinner, I was so anxious to spin super thin yarns. I worked so hard at it. And I didn’t realize that was only 1/3 of the battle. I mean, I fairly quickly got to the super thin yarn achievement point, and I was quite proud of myself. But, at that time I thought it was half the battle. The other half of the battle being the ability to spin thick again. Meaning, I felt that half the battle was being able to switch between thicker yarns and thinner yarns with intention. And that was certainly a battle.

BUT, the part I was still missing back then was the battle for softness. Meaning, spinning thin singles is one thing. Spinning thin singles with low enough twist for a nice soft yarn is quite another. For so long, my yarn was on the ropy high twist side. Soft enough to wear, but not luxury soft. But this yarn? This yarn is an example of a plain superwash merino that turned out luxury soft simply due to low twist thin singles then plied 3 ply.

As I sit here with my nahant recently knit out of 3 ring circus and fat cat knits batt, I realize that I have been achieving that super soft low twist goal for awhile now, and sometimes understanding that. But never has the point been driven home quite as well as knitting with this yarn. This yarn is one of those yarns that truly shows 10 years of spinning experience culminated.

I think this is one of the most important reasons for spinning knitters to use their yarn in handknits, rather than put it up on a shelf deciding it is too pretty to use. I learn more about my spinning when I knit with my handspun than I do while spinning.

Naturally, there are always wool breeds that you cannot make overly soft. There are other factors at play. But, I think from here on out, unless I find a way to do better, when it comes to soft wool fiber, this skein should be the handspun I look to in order to achieve “the best” handspun for me.

That Pattern

As I mentioned yesterday, I began a new pattern for a cowl. Now, when viewing the picture on the pattern, I really liked the look of it, kind of linen like. So I decided to go for it.

It’s SO RARE that I get frustrated with a pattern, and especially rare that I feel that maybe I shouldn’t even have paid for a pattern these days. But that’s where I am with this pattern, and I’ll tell you why.

It’s a pattern for a cowl, knit with thin yarn on larger than usual needles. It’s knit in the round, and then grafted at the end to make a continuous tube. All of that sounds great. Except for a couple things.

First of all, it asks for sport weight yarn and size 10 needles. Which would explain the lineny look. It’s extremely drapey. And, the next bit is partly my problem, which I’ll own. Rather than a sport weight yarn, I chose Noro Taiyo Sock yarn for this. So, thinner than even the pattern asks for. That’s my bad. And, in addition to that, as with all noro, it’s rather thick and thin so there are areas that are downright laceweight.

That being said, even with a sport weight yarn, the number of stitches required to cast on is too small to use a circular needle and work in the round. So, I decided that I’d magic loop, after restarting a couple of times, breaking my working yarn, and getting frustrated. Magic loop worked, sort of, after I got it started. Except that the very thin yarn on very large needles wants to pull on the circs, making it hard to move all the stitches from the cable to the needle portion of the circ. I did it for quite a few rounds, but realized that doing so for that long was probably going to create a crazy lady, which I didn’t want. I can only fight with my needles for so long before getting very angry. And, when I took an honest look at the tube I was creating, it was WAY too thin anyhow. Not cowl sized, but tiny scarf sized.

So, my next solution was to cast on double the amount of stitches and get a reasonable sized cowl, with still the lineny look of the large needles and thin yarn, and this also served the purpose of having enough stitches on the circ so that I could comfortably work in the round. Ok. Good. We are on a roll.


Except for my second complaint. Which is that the pattern states I should work “a few” rows of stockinette, and then get the rather small lace section knit, before continuing on the rest of the cowl in stockinette. So, now we have the place that I will graft stitches sitting right near the focal point of the entire cowl. I’d better be an expert grafter to get that to look perfect and unnoticeable! May I also add that grafting thin yarn on large needles will also create tension issues, so my expert grafter needs will be challenged further.

In any case, I think you can sense my current frustration with this project, despite wanting to actually continue the project. And I am too far along now, and have had too many issues with restarting to yank it to place the lace section further along in the cowl. It’s not happening. If it gets ripped out this time, it’s permanent, and then I’ve wasted money on a pattern. So, this is now a work project. I brought it to work this morning and that’s where it’s likely to stay. I can probably commit to an hour of stockinette a day for 4-5 days a week.

All I Have Today

I am back at it in the work department. It’s been quite busy, but easily handled if I keep my nose to it. It’s also been kind of…I dunno…full of potential change again? That seems to keep happening. Cycles of major changes which aren’t necessarily great but can be adjusted to, and then points where it feels like stagnancy and I long for some type of change. I guess that’s what happens if you have been working at the same place for 11 years. I just keep reminding myself that changes will be adjusted to over time, and they’ll quit feeling like such a nightmare eventually.

I did not grab a photo of knitting for today. Mr. Ink spent all afternoon working on the fishtank in our bedroom, since it was raining outside. He took a break so that we could all go out and see a movie, which we did. But, once home, he began again. After watching him do one of his indoor hobbies, I realized that it’s SO NICE to be interested in various fiber arts, because it’s quite contained. Once he got started on the fish tank project, there were various filter parts and hoses and towels all over the bedroom and bed. The small bathroom had buckets of…I don’t know what. The big bathroom had bleaching driftwood in the tub, causing Miss Butterfly to be unable to get her shower. The kitchen was chockablock full of driftwood and stones and buckets and water being tested. There was algae in my kitchen sink. I could do nothing at all in the sink. There was a trail of water between the bedroom all the way to the kitchen sink. And this morning I realized that I was happy I’d never gotten around to deep cleaning the kitchen, as it’s basically destroyed now, and I’d just have to do it again.

Fiber is clean, compact, and MOSTLY dry. It’s a good hobby! It was after 11 when I went back to the bedroom to see if I could go to sleep, but with filter parts and hoses still all over the bed, and Mr. Ink attempting to place driftwood in EXACTLY the way he wanted it, elbows deep in what looked like truly disgusting water, I realized sleeping in my bed wouldn’t happen any time soon. So off to the guest room I went. It was 2 am when he finished and came to let me know I could retire to my own bed, so I am glad I didn’t wait up!

While all this insanity was going on, what was I doing with Miss Butterfly? Watching Glee, listening to podcasts, chatting,  and having our own little knit night.


Because she won’t put that knitting down. And decided to make her own pattern, on her own, and write it down on that notebook. That notebook she’s using to also track the number of rows she needs for her pattern. And using stitch markers like a boss. And figuring it all out herself not even needing my help. All this after only ever knitting one small dishcloth 2 years ago.

Funniest moment was when she asked if she’d made some mistakes in the first couple rows. I inspected, and said “Eh, yeah, it’s a little mistakey, but we can add fringe!” trying to not make a big deal about it, frustrate her, and make her think she had to start over. Her response? “YOU’RE a little mistakey!” in that perfect 12 year old tone that told me she wanted to be a smart mouth but also wanted me to know it was a joke. So basically, now, every time she’s a little annoyed with me she says “Mistakey.”

It really was a lovely day. Not just with the knitting. We took a walk around a lake, getting caught in the pouring rain halfway through but still having a great time. We made more bread, and more cookie dough. We saw a movie that she LOVED. An all around good day after the frustration of the day before. (Which…well…I KNEW she needed sleep!)

I continued to have issues with my current and only knitting project, had to rip it out multiple times, finally decided to double the amount of stitches instructed to cast on, and got some knitting in. More on that tomorrow. However, every once in awhile there’s a moment where you get frustrated that you paid money for a pattern. It’s FAIRLY rare, but it’s definitely the case this time. But, seriously. More on that tomorrow. Welcome back to the work week everyone.

Knitting Panda!

Miss Butterfly came home yesterday, clearly amazingly tired. When she’s quite tired, she gets all the more desperate to go go go, spend time with friends, make plans, etc. And when they don’t go as expected, it’s all the harder for her not to fall apart. I could tell she was exhausted and it was one of those days where I’d be sitting at one side of the room saying the word “no” and she’d be sitting at the other side of the room somehow hearing the word “yes.” It was exhausting.

At some point, she was laying around doing nothing, not wanting to do anything, and I don’t allow her to just spend all day on electronics so she’d already used her allotted time with them. Well, laying around acting dramatic and bored doesn’t really work for me, so I asked a very simple question. “Where’s YOUR knitting?” And much to my surprise, she brought me a half cast off dish cloth she’d started a couple years ago and hasn’t touched in a year and a half. We cast the rest of it off, and then I asked if she’d like to do more, and she said yes. So, I set her up with some needles and yarn, and off she went.


Happily knitting away in her panda suit. At one point last night she was using her toes to tension the yarn, which was hilarious. This morning she’s back at it with the knitting. This is great, because I’d already decided that we, as a family, were going to listen to Dune this winter. But I was worried about how she’d tolerate sitting doing nothing while listening to an audio book. If the knitting takes, it won’t be a problem.

I finished my ear warmer.


It used up every last inch of yarn, so I’d call it a great success.

Here’s another project that used up every last inch, and unfortunately it wasn’t enough.


Yep, that’s a completed dragonfire scarf, if by completed you mean ended abruptly. Nevertheless, it’s quite long. And with all the hanging wedges, I don’t think it’ll be too noticeable that it’s not symmetrical.

I had already begun another scarf, but 8 rows in, Miss Bug claimed that as the yarn she’d like to use for her project. Which is fine, really. I did however leave those 8 rows on the needles in case she grows bored of her knitting.

So, I had to pick yet another project which is in its infancy, out of Noro Taiyo Sock. We’ll see how that goes! We’ll enjoy another quiet day today I think. I want to get another batch of bread baked, and a batch of cookies. And I have to clean the kitchen as we had company over for dinner last night. Other than that, and maybe a walk, it seems I’ll be able to work on my next project on my last day of vacation. *weeps*

Of Knitting and Socializing

It’s been a pretty good couple of days over here. Thanksgiving day we really didn’t cook any type of meal at all, but did go spend time with friends watching for the lights in our downtown area be lit for the season. It was good fun to view that from the warmth and height of a downtown condo. It’s a small space, but I was surprised at how many people we fit in there and still managed to make it feel comfortable. We stayed late, were of the last ones to leave. So most of Friday was spent catching up on rest.

I did some knitting, met up with a girlfriend for lunch (at a fancy ramen place, which I really thought I’d love, but as it turns out TRULY disliked. TOO SALTY! And if I say too salty, that’s saying something. I love salt.) took naps, knit, watched the first new Gilmore Girls episode. Then off to see Gogol Bordello with Mr. Ink last night. They came through town twice in fairly quick succession a couple years back, and I passed up both opportunities, saying “Seems they come through town often.” And then I’ve been waiting for them to come back ever since. It’s been years. FINALLY I had my opportunity. And it was quite a wonderful, extremely loud and enthusiastic crowd. Highly unusual for this area. The people attending that show truly wanted to be there, and it was sold out. And we got a solid 2.5 hours of Gogol Bordello. The pace they keep for those 2.5 hours is just insane, I was so tired toward the end and they just kept moving. Very theatrical, very enjoyable, well worth the wait.

It was a bit of a tough concert on another level. You see, Mr. Ink and Mike both love live music. But, Mr. Ink likes to get right down near the stage and dance his heart out. Mike liked to hang back with his cup of ice water. So, it became a habit for these wilder shows we’d attend that Mike would actually be the person that I’d spend time with, as I am typically uninterested in being close to stage as well. Mike would have loved the show, but I was by myself, and missing his company. I suppose there will be many moments like that coming up, but this one was the first, and thus, quite noticeable to me.

But, now on to some more uplifting subjects. I finished my honey cowl. It’s a medium size, so not all that long. I wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn for the long version. It’s not officially washed and blocked yet either, and I suspect I’ll gain a bit of length once I do that.


Looks pretty good! I’ll enjoy having a matching set. And I still had more yarn leftover. Not enough for a hat, but I figured it may be enough for an ear warmer headband. I cast one on, and it looks pretty nice as well! Though if I’d been smarter, I would have done one in the same pattern as the gloves. I guess it’ll have to be ok just to have the yarn match.


I am about halfway done with this one, worrying about yarn of course, but at least if I run out it’s not THAT big of a deal. Not a huge time investment in this project.

I am beginning to feel the effects of the month of knitting, though not in the way I would like. I’d LIKE to feel the effects by having a smaller stash all of a sudden. But, my reality is that my hands are sore. And I am not actually sure just how long I can make it with the exclusive knitting. On the other hand, I figure I won’t have vast amounts of time for it either when I head back to work next week. So it may just come out in the wash. However, I keep feeling a spin coming on. Hah!

A New Coat

The gloves caused me to want to purchase a new casual coat. And really, it was time. Meaning, my current casual coat is quite literally old enough to legally drink. That’s right, I purchased it some 21 years ago in order to go on a ski trip with some friends, and it’s held up ever since. It’s a good coat! But, out of date, and doesn’t look great on me anymore, and I am ready for a change.

I ended up picking a nice grey color coat, somewhat casual, but nice and long, fairly lightweight, yet still warm. I like it! And, the color of the coat does those gloves justice. So I decided to cast on a honey cowl to match the coat and gloves, giving myself an entirely new set.


Color is a little off again in this photo, the previous glove photo colors were better. This looks warm, but the colors are very cool. In any case, it’s moving right along!

Due to Mr. Ink getting home quite late from work, after having a very fantastic day at work (Which NEVER happens.) We were unable to attend the bike ride we had planned. I’d been out socializing and running errands all day so I didn’t really mind. Miss Butterfly headed to her dad’s house, so we decided to have a date night. We went out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, and then out to see the movie Arrival. While we could have waited for it to come out on DVD, we are both thoughtful sci fi LOVERS, and felt it important to support this one in the theater. As we’d like to make it clear we find this type of movie worth making. So we saw it in the theater, and we both enjoyed it quite a bit.

This morning has mainly been relaxing and enjoying a good breakfast. We are having a quiet day, and then we’ll be out socializing this evening, which we are both looking forward to. I am really hoping to find myself the motivation to clean the bathroom, but MAN, it’s tough!

On the list as well for today, my annual listen to Alice’s Restaurant Massacree. With my knitting. My own tradition I’ve cultivated for years.

Lovely Day

Miss Butterfly was so in need of down time yesterday that she got home from school and put on pajamas. This is the kid who rarely even puts on pajamas to sleep in. Pajamas and a large fleece robe. This was how she decided we’d decorate the tree. And that’s what we did, with Christmas music as well.


No snow on the ground to make it extra special, just dreary rain. But it was lovely nonetheless. After that, she had to put clothes back on so we could go out and care for the cat, but we made an adventure of that too, going out for lunch, and doing some pokemon playing before checking in on the cat.

This morning she’s catching up on sleep. She just kept getting more and more tired, I could tell. So I am not surprised that she’s sleeping in today. While she sleeps in, I drink coffee and finish my gloves.


A great, warm pair of gloves in only 3 days. I’d say that’s about perfect. And, I’ve a lot of yarn left over, and am trying to decide if gloves need a matching cowl or something.

It’s a busy day today, with a haircut for me, some necessary shopping, and then a late evening cold bike ride with a bunch of friends. It’ll be great, but I am basking in the quiet right now since it’ll be so busy later.

I hope everyone else in the states is feeling the warmth and anticipation of tomorrow’s holiday! We aren’t doing a big meal, but we will be gathering with friends in the evening for a social hour. What’s your holiday plan?

Warm Home & Warm Hands

I am behind on my cleaning schedule! I began as I meant to go on, I just didn’t go on. Or rather, I went on with a different plan. I had scheduled the dining room and bathroom for deep cleaning. The dining room got done. But, instead of deep cleaning the bathroom, yesterday found me baking molasses oatmeal bread and molasses spice cookies. And putting up our tree, making sure it was lit, and bringing up the decorations from the basement. It wasn’t how I meant to go on, but I believe that my family appreciated it quite a bit, and it was a wonderful way to enjoy a vacation in a warm house smelling of spices.

Yesterday also found me finishing the second mitten for my nephew, it’s as cute as the first!


I tend to not do a great job with assembly and tiny pieces, so I enjoyed the fact that this pattern was so well written as to make it all quite easy and comfortable a process.

I then started a glove for myself out of the handspun I made at the lakehouse. And finished it this morning.


It fits quite nicely and took up all the yarn I had wound up, which was the smaller skein, the stuff that didn’t fit on the jumbo bobbin. So, now I’ve gotta wind more yarn to start on glove 2. However, it knit up quite fast, and I have to say, the annoyance of making individual fingers is lessened quite a bit when working with a worsted weight yarn. The simple patterning over the back of the hand gave me something to think about as I was knitting, so that was nice. Also, I FINALLY spent the money on goodreader app to use with my downloaded patterns. It’s so much easier to keep track of where I am in a pattern now! I should have done that ages ago, it’s just I have this mental block about spending money on apps. It’s like cable TV. I’ve never done it and I don’t plan to start now. Except…I did. Once. Let’s hope it stays at that.

It’s been exceedingly rainy today, and I had to walk over to the school to see Miss Butterfly present her passion project.


She was so ridiculously nervous, like woah. I don’t think she slept much last night, and was in tears this morning. They had told the kids that high school teachers would be there viewing the passion projects, and this isn’t something that’s going to encourage my kid. It’s just going to make her ridiculously anxious. She probably isn’t going to feel like she did a good job, but at least she’ll be done and home in a few minutes, she’s got a half day. And *I* think she did great, I am proud of her, but she tells me that’s not the point.

After her presentation, I took a decent walk in the rain. I got a bit chilled, but it was quiet and lovely in the town, and it felt good to work off some of those cookies.

It’ll be tree decorating in the warm house once Miss Butterfly gets home, and bathroom cleaning. After today we’ve got a rather busy social schedule, so we’ll have to enjoy today as much as possible.

Now That’s Cute!

I finished my first mitten for my nephew’s christmas gift. I have always loved and admired Ummeyusuf’s Dino Mitt’s pattern, but never had a great excuse to knit them. Until now. I can’t imagine for an instant that a cute, sweet little boy wouldn’t love a pair of dino mitts.

I got the first mitt done this morning. I had everything knit yesterday but didn’t want to do the assembly, so I started on the knitting of the second mitt instead. This morning I did the assembly.


It really looked goofy to me and I wasn’t too pleased, until I put those eyes on him. Once he got eyes, he came to life and I just couldn’t stop smiling. He’s so cute!

The assembly really was the only tricky part, and that’s simply because it’s a small mitten and trying to work on the inside of it is a challenge. But, I think everything is very nicely secured and I am ready to knit the second one.

As I mentioned yesterday I finished the living room project in the morning. Now, one of the really annoying things I do in my house is leave socks all over the place. It’s a habit I just have never been able to break. My socks will come off and they’ll just lay on the floor where I took them off. And then at some point I have to round them all up to take to the laundry bin. One would think at almost 40 I could break the habit, but I have yet to be successful. So, as I was leaving the house yesterday to check on my friend’s cat, I turned around all eager to look at the beauty of a very clean living room again, and realized I’d left a pair of socks on the floor in there. Moment ruined. Ah well.

I did get the rest of my bulbs planted yesterday, as well as some mums. That was my big garden moment. I really should have stayed outdoors and cut back  more plants, but I’ll put that on the list for today. And also on the list for today is the dining room. It’s not a large room so it’s actually a pretty easy project EXCEPT for the fact that I keep putting stuff I am not sure what to do with on the dining room table to sort later. So, I guess I’ll have to actually, you know, DEAL with that stuff.

As for Mr. Ink’s den, we brought in the  dresser for him to put stuff in, and decided to also bring in the desk though that hasn’t happened yet. And then he decided that I should move my bookcase out of there and into the hall. So, major rearrangement is actually happening in that room.

In any case, the point being that vacation continues on. I’ve done a lot less knitting than I’d like, but I’ve also had time to take walks and enjoy the outdoors, despite the cooler weather. It’s been a good vacation thus far, and I am grateful.

Running Out

I’ve worked fairly studiously on my dragonfire scarf, but am now in serious danger of running out of yarn. There’s really nothing less inspiring to me than worrying about the possibility of running out. And while the only way to know is to keep knitting, I tend to put the project down, bury my head in the sand, and keep things in some sort of strange limbo rather than figure things out for certain.


In any case, here’s where I am now. I am into the solid brown, it’ll be this color until the end. Where ever that end may be.

My house deep cleaning project remains relatively on schedule. The craft room was cleaned, and Mr. Ink’s den got almost done, including the dusting of all the tiny models. Despite the fact it was on the saturday list, it remains unfinished because I came up with the idea to move some furniture that is currently in the garage into that room, thus doing away with the plastic storage bins of Mr. Ink’s stuff currently sitting against the wall. I wasn’t positive the idea would be well received, but it was not only well received but expanded upon, indicating that we might also move the desk from the garage in there as well. THIS would give me the opportunity to clean behind the desk, and that’s just wonderful news!

Today’s job was deep clean the living room and rearrange furniture in anticipation of putting up the tree in the near future. Maybe even tonight. That project is also complete, already, much to my amazement. Mostly I was trying to avoid mowing the lawn because I didn’t want to admit it needed mowing.

So, I suspect my next job is to get outdoors and spend some time in the sunshine working on outdoor projects. I got a bunch of outdoor work done yesterday, but then ended up taking an almost 2 hour nap much to everyone’s surprise. This, naturally, made it so that I was unable to complete the outdoor projects.

In final knitting news, I picked up yarn to begin a pair of mittens for my nephew. I got started on them last evening, and I am so excited about them! The yarn I chose, Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, is wonderful! It’s got a great elasticity to it, which I think will help it keep it’s shape nicely, and it’s superwash merino so it’ll hold up to the necessary washing of a pair of mittens for a little boy. And the colors were so bright and cheery! I’ll save what I have and show it off tomorrow, hopefully a bit further along. But, suffice it to say, I am glad I went out and got an appropriate yarn for the job rather than trying to make something from my stash work.

Tomorrow….dining room cleaning, maybe a load of stuff to donate, homemade bread, and maybe even cookies. Doesn’t all that just sound like a glorious vacation?

Begin As You Mean to Go On

Yesterday was my last day of work before vacation. It’s a stay home vacation, in which I do the deep cleaning of the house. Pretty much the most wonderful time of the year for me. However, I admit to being slightly worried that this year I would find myself uninspired about that deep cleaning, and “waste” my vacation just hanging about the house, feeling guilty once it was done.

I made a nice little list of daily jobs so that I could stay on target. That way, once I get those things done, I can reward myself with just messing around the house, which I love. Well, I got home from work last night and immediately started in on the list. I got the master bathroom, bedroom, and hallway done. This includes removing everything from closets and cleaning closets, moving the bed and cleaning under the bed, etc. The only thing I didn’t get done was the inside and outside of the windows in those rooms. Mostly because we were having incredible wind, it was the first very cold day of the season, and I saw snow flurries. I figured the windows could wait. I can hit them up again later.

That was, naturally, more than I had expected to get done after work on a Friday night, which put me in a great spot for today. However, today was our local spinners and weavers guild show, so I went to that, bought some fiber, then off to the local yarn shop to get some yarn for christmas gifts. Once home, I decided that organizing my fiber was on my list of things to do, after all, the fiber is stored in the den and I clean the den today, so mostly I’ve been…messing about. Rather than accomplishing things. Still, there’s time!

Mr. Ink works this morning, and I am hoping to have one room cleaned by the time he gets home. Then out to the garden which needs my attention. I really must dig up and cut down that which won’t grow anymore. And plant some bulbs. Seems there’s always more bulbs to plant.

I did get a photo of my final spinning project that I wanted to complete before my month of self imposed exclusive knitting. I have 390 yards of 2 ply yarn, about a dk weight, out of rolags I made on my blending board.


I dutifully put this in the stash I reorganized, but I admit, it’s going to be very difficult not to cast this one on immediately. MUST finish dragonfire first!

One more quick cleaning story. I am going to tackle Mr. Ink’s den today. For the record, that’s where I also store my yarn and fiber. I told him I intended to tackle that room today, and, quite frankly, it needs to be tackled. It’s in rough shape, mostly because it’s “his” space and I don’t spend time in there, nor do I do much other than vacuum the rug and a little dusting now and then. That being said, he’s got a bookshelf which has his miniature models he painted when he was a child. There are hundreds. And they are so tiny, so delicate, and so awesome. But, they have never been dusted since he set them up. I used to get annoyed about it, but now I mostly let it go. However, not on cleaning week! I told him last night “I love you SOOOO much that I am going to move each miniature and dust. That’s a whole lot of love, I’ll have you know!” And he said “Oh, I’ll do it!” In a cheerful manner. Now, I know full well he’d just leave them there dusty and it would never annoy him. So I said “OH! Thank you! And….that must mean you love ME a whooooole lot to be willing to do that job for me!”

The Month Starts Now

My current self imposed month of knitting exclusively begins today. Last night I finished a spinning project, and I am waiting for it to dry. I then dusted my wheel (those nooks and crannies tend to collect dust I don’t always get to!) and put it away. Next in line? The completion of my dragonfire scarf. Here’s where I was yesterday afternoon:


I really like it. I worked on it last night as well, got to a brighter peachy color that didn’t even last a full wedge, and then onto peach combined with brown. It’s getting quite long now, so I am hoping I am into a section where it begins to wind back down rather than grow in width, but I didn’t look too closely yet.

I pulled out yarn, brown sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky for a scarf. I’ve chosen the pattern Soda Water because the cables look interesting and fun to make, and it’s always great to knit a bulkier item when also knitting something on small needles.

I also have a pair of surprise socks on the needles. Surprise because I cast them on ages ago, left them at work “just in case” and then recently forgot to bring in knitting and ended up working on them far enough to actually want to complete them. I really haven’t knit socks in ages and ages, so this really was a surprise!

I am also hoping to get a pair of gloves done, and a Christmas gift for my nephew. I have a niece on the way as well, though she won’t arrive until the spring. But, she’ll need a Christmas stocking, but I’ve forgotten the colors of my brother’s family Christmas stockings. I am hoping that my sister in law posts photos of Christmas decorations, that way I can do a little investigating so I can choose an appropriate next color of stocking. It would be perfectly appropriate to get that done this season as well. And if, for some reason, we knew the gender of the child arriving in the spring, I could knit a sweater, but that might be hoping for too much, and the sweater could wait.

In gardening news, rather on a whim, Mr. Ink and I picked up a clearance flowering quince. We brought it home, and really weren’t sure what to do with it. It’s kind of a problem of ours, rescuing plants and then not being quite sure what to do with them. However, Mr. Ink was able to find a spot on the front bank with a dead creeping juniper, so he pulled that out and added the quince instead. We really weren’t initially sure about it. We hemmed and hawed over it, Mr. Ink regularly spoke of moving it or removing it. But with this mild fall? We’ve got this lovely flowering quince, and we both think it’s pretty fantastic. Please excuse the ongoing landscaping fabric removal project, it is an extremely extensive project we’ve been working on all year, but sometimes we can’t get to the entire section at once.


It’s so pretty and charming! And it absolutely goes with Mr. Ink’s project of adding colors other than pink to the front bank. There’s no other gardening news. I got out there one night and planted bulbs and dug up cannas. I planted bulbs in the areas I could, but could not bring myself to do away with the beautifully blooming petunias. Bulbs are to go in where they are, but they are too pretty to destroy right now. Maybe the weekend will freeze some of them out and then I’ll be able to plant the remainder of the bulbs. Until then, I am allowing this mild weather to prolong the beauty and color in the front yard.

A Rainbow of Fruit Colors

I finished up my rainbow batt spin this weekend.  No, this isn’t the spin I finish before a month of exclusive knitting. I’ve got one more spin to finish before that. But on this one, I got 742 yards total of rainbow colored yarn. Each skein is separate, so there are varying amounts and I now have NO CLUE what to do with it. But, it is also really pretty and bright and fun, which I love.


Yeah…not sure what more to say about it. It’s a 2 ply, it’s probably a DK weight. That’s the stats.

I am working on plying these now:


They are truly wild and crazy textured, and the resulting yarn is amazing. The type of thing I love to see in a skein. Nothing smooth or perfect about it. That’ll be my last spin before a month of knitting.

I am also still working on my dragonfire scarf which I adore. I don’t know what it is about that one, I’d typically reject out of hand the idea of knitting a row by row pattern these days. But I just have a hard time putting it down. It’s not difficult, it’s not fiddly, I just have to pay attention enough to make each wedge. I am now into yet another color which I’ll try to photograph this evening.

That’s about it for here! I didn’t get my gardening done, I am clearly very uninspired in that department. However, we might get snow this weekend, so I REALLY need to make it a priority THIS WEEK. Seriously, HOLD ME TO IT. Sheesh. I did get some indoor cleaning and reorganizing done though, which I think is an indication that while it sometimes feels like the seasons haven’t changed, my brain has decided that they have.


Monday Again

I just have to get through this week, and then I’ve got Thanksgiving week off. I always take that week off if possible, and I really enjoy the down time. Miss Butterfly is off a good portion of that time as well, so it’s nice to spend time with her. In addition, I like to take that time to do deep cleaning of the house. Not just cleaning, but the kind where you wash the inside and outside of all the windows/move the beds and clean under them. In addition, I’ve got it in my mind I MIGHT paint my hallway, depending on how inspired I am feeling. It’s kind of nice to be considering those tasks, I like the idea of the cool weather and the inside work.

However, I didn’t get any gardening done yesterday! We had other chores, and then Mr. Ink very much wanted to go see Dr. Strange. Which I also wanted to see, but not necessarily during daylight hours and 66F weather. However, I turn him down about movies so often I didn’t feel it was fair to say no, especially since he spent HIS weekend digging, and I spent mine goofing off.

I finished a cowl! I am wearing it today. And I am telling you, it’s lovely. The fabric is so bouncy due to the stitch used. It’s awesome.

I’ll be making another one of these very soon!

However, not until after my month of knitting is complete. I’ve decided, a month of knitting needs to happen JUST as soon as I finish my current on the wheel project. I need to work my way through my Rav queue and stash, there’s plenty already planned!

Happy Monday everyone, may we all get through the week unscathed.


We started our Saturday morning with a quick shopping trip, as Miss Butterfly needed a couple of warm pullovers for school. It seems they’ve stopped allowing anyone to wear zip front hoodies on account of how “easy” it would be to hide a gun in the pocket. I think this is COMPLETELY ridiculous, and they referenced Columbine, which while completely tragic, is also something those kids weren’t even born for, so it sounds even more ridiculous to them. Miss Butterfly is constantly cold at school, so this was something we had to get figured out immediately. We ended up with two pullovers, one fleece and one of sweatshirt material, neither of which have any pockets or hoods.

Then I briefly wandered by the pajama section, and she saw this which she HAD to try on:


In all honesty? We may have to go back and get it. I’ve been trying to allow anything at all she comes up with that seems like she’s holding on to her childhood, as that seems to be her theme this year. And panda pjs? Sorta seem fitting. Plus, how could I not giggle every single time I see them on her?

I needed to do gardening yesterday, but I just didn’t. I took a long walk with Miss Butterfly, which was lovely. I did some plying.


I did some spinning.


I did a bunch of knitting on my dragonfire scarf, and I baked a loaf of bread. All of these things were very good.

OH! And I organized my handspun stash. I am going to have to do another month of knitting exclusively again very soon.

Today is probably more of the same, but with gardening thrown in. SO NECESSARY despite the fact I haven’t been so inspired. I KNOW that if I just get out there and get started, it’ll get done and I’ll even enjoy it. I am having trouble with the starting part.


It’s the weekend, after a very tough week. And there’s frost on the ground, which somehow seems beautiful to me, despite the fact I have been enjoying the prolonged mild weather.


I’ve finished 4 out of my 8 rainbow colors. I didn’t try to figure out yardage yet, I’ll just worry about that when it’s all done. But I do love how bright and colorful these are!

I began the fifth and sixth batts too,


So, the project really is moving right along now. I suspect I can get this one done this weekend.

I’ve also made some more progress on my dragonfire scarf. This one is a bit slow going since the pattern needs to be read carefully. But, the yarn is ridiculously soft, and the pattern fairly entertaining, and I am well into another color now.


Today is a day full of chores. We’ve got to get Miss Butterfly some clothes, and she wants to take a walk with me for some pokemon, and I need to get some gardening done, and I suspect I’ll have a friend visit later. So, basically, a very full day. Which will also include bread baking and hopefully a nap since I was inexplicably up at 5 am.

And if I can fit more of my crafts in there, all the better!

My Job

My job this morning was reassuring a very politically minded little girl that this is not the apocalypse, all the while trying not to cry with her. I tried to explain to her that there are measures in place to keep a president from taking absolute power and that we have to trust the house and the senate to do their jobs in this case. I told her that as of right now, nothing for our little family changes, we just keep on. We will love each other the way we do, and we will continue to have our happy home, and we will continue to love others, and continue to help others, and that is how we go on.

I asked her what she was most concerned about, as she lay there in her bed crying. And she said “Minimum wage! I hate that people have to work two or three jobs, I want them to have easier lives!”  Ladies and gentlemen, that’s our future. This is news that terrifies many of us, but the reality is, many of the people this news terrifies are also raising their children to think of others and move forward with equality. So, I keep reminding myself that this is hopefully a temporary set back, and we’ll keep raising our children to think about equality and to be kind to people and have empathy and see what bits of our society are wrong and fight to change it.

If this news has terrified you, I think you know what to do. And the solution isn’t moving away. And you know it isn’t. The solution is working locally to make your world a better place. Then actually vote in two years, even though voter turn out is often so low for that. It may be a rough 4 years, but we’ll go on and the situation is temporary.

We are tired. We are ALL tired. But we don’t give up. Last night I watched my daughter work on her “passion project” for school, which is LGBT rights. I watched her use my computer to look up all sorts of terminology that she’s unfamiliar with so she could really understand the words she was using for her passion project. I listened to her ask me questions and answered them to the best of my ability. And then this morning we gave her many hugs while she cried about minimum wage. That’s just ONE child within our multitude of children, and she should give you hope for the future.

And in the meantime, there’s fiber. A calming resource for most of you who read this blog. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got enough of it to knit and spin for the next four years, most likely. In fact, I spun some more of it last night. Two shades of green. Seems appropriate to be working on my rainbow of fiber while Miss Butterfly is working on her passion project.


Tonight, I am going to take a walk after work, drop off the lakehouse keys, and then come home and ply these up. It’ll be a lovely day. And I am wishing you a lovely day as well.

Retreat Wrap Up

I got home fairly early on Sunday, surprising Mr. Ink. This was, of course, due to the time change. I mean, the entire idea was to get up on Sunday morning at the lake house, do the laundry, make the beds, pack, put the house back in order, and then take off. And with the time change, I woke up at 6:30. I got home while Mr. Ink was making lunch, and he was horrified because he didn’t expect me yet and hadn’t done the dishes. This concerned me not in the least, since he mowed the lawn and took care of Miss Butterfly, and was working on a to do list a mile long. I unpacked and worked on the dishes, and despite the fact that he’d made himself a chimichanga for lunch, he decided I needed to eat too, and magically there was a burger. (Well, not magic, just general kindness and care taking as I’ve come to expect from that guy, but still overwhelms me on the regular.)

After dishes and unpacking, I skeined the handspun I finished at the lake house and put it in to soak. I ended up with 520 yards of 3 ply worsted weight yarn, which I think is pretty darn good out of 8 ounces of fiber.


While spinning this yarn, I really wasn’t in love with the color combo. But, once washed and skeined, I realized that the overall pink to burgundy tone is absolutely something I can get behind.

I am thinking….gloves! Yes. I need to knit some gloves and get it OUT OF MY SYSTEM! Because every yarn I make looks like gloves right now.

I had a lovely evening with my family on Sunday. Despite not wanting my quiet retreat to be over quite yet, I also just really enjoy my family. At the end of the evening, Mr. Ink looked at me and said “You are glowing. You’ve been absolutely glowing all evening!”  Yes. Yes I DID need that quiet time. I really did come home renewed and refreshed. I also let Mr. Ink know I fully intended a repeat in the future, if he keeps not wanting to go with me. I love the lake, I love the house and the calm space that my friend has created there. I love the small town of it, and the easy access to trails and beauty. Life really does feel a little easier at the lake.

Once home, I began a new spinning project. I decided it was time to spin my rainbow batts.


I don’t know if you remember them, but they were a lot of fun to make. I am making these into separate skeins of 2 ply, and spinning a bit thicker than my usual. I had intended to spin the singles for two of them, take pictures of the singles, and then ply. However, between the time change and the rainy dreary weather yesterday, I couldn’t manage to get photos, nor could I manage to leave those singles alone. I plied them yesterday.


Here’s the yellow and the “red” which is more of a, I dunno, HOT hot pink? A hot pink that leans toward orange? I dunno. It’s lovely though. While I am spinning them separately, I figure putting them on one bobbin isn’t going to hurt, until the bobbin fills up. I can just separate out the colors when skeining.

One of the reasons I couldn’t get daytime photos was that I took Miss Butterfly with me to take care of our friend’s cat. This is the friend that’s been in the hospital for a month (But hopefully getting out this weekend, YAY!) I had intended to feed the cat, clean the cat box, and head out for a walk while it was still daylight. I didn’t account for the fact that Miss Butterfly would adore playing with the cat so much. We were well under the cover of darkness when we left the house.

So, tonight we are going for a walk FIRST, and I am bringing my knitting, and when we go to look in on the cat, she can just take all the time she needs.

Being 12 is hard, guys! She’s absolutely terrified of what’s to come, and expressing it regularly. And she’s clinging to childhood with everything she’s got. It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking. And if the care of a cat can ease her burden for an hour or two, who am I to say no? The poor cat probably appreciates it as well.

One More Day?

Last night, all I could think is that I need just one more day. Just one! But this morning, as I get laundry started and begin to pack and put the house back together, I realize I am also quite eager to get home and see my family. So, I’d say that’s a successful retreat. But next time, I might just take one more day.


Since I am leaving shortly, I figure I can tell you where I’ve been. I mean, I didn’t think it was overly wise to state publicly that I was going to be in a certain place all alone. Maybe that’s paranoia, but it helped me feel safe all by myself. I am at the Okoboji lakehouse again. Mr. Ink wasn’t so eager to come this time, he wanted to stay home and dig. So I came by myself and it was wonderful!


Despite the fact I believed, genuinely, that I would not get yarn finished while I was out here, I pushed through and finished 8 ounces of 3 ply. They’ll just stay on the bobbins until I get home.

And I worked pretty hard to make it into the color change of my dragonefire. In the end, I am allowing the gradient to do the work for me.


It’s been pretty wonderful out here all by myself. I’ve discovered lots of things, like how there’s a tunnel that can be used to cross under the highway nearby to get to the bike paths, rather than what Mr. Ink and I were doing this summer, standing for long amounts of time waiting for the slightest break in traffic. It wasn’t an easy to see tunnel, but I found it! And I found out how to get around the lake by myself, I found the fish hatchery by bike, and the trail that leads even father north into Minnesota. I didn’t have time to take it this trip, but that’s on my list.

But for now, time to stare at the lake a bit, and then get packed up to leave. A couple weeks of nose to the grindstone and then Thanksgiving, though it hardly seems possible since it’s been 70F both days I’ve been out here!


It’s day 2 of my retreat, my last full day. I haven’t done much today except enjoy the quiet and spin.

My goal for today was to get the second bobbin of my 8 ounces of CMF corriedale spun. I started it last evening, as a long afternoon nap had me able to stay up quite a bit later than usual. Then when I woke up this morning, I figured might as well finish right away! So I did.


The third bobbin has been started. I know I’ll be able to finish the third bobbin, but I don’t think I will want to start the plying project due to the fact it’s unlikely I’d be able to finish that before my departure. So, if I feel the need to continue to spin, I’ll put one of the other projects on the fourth bobbin I have.

I took a lovely bike ride yesterday. I just wandered out exploring and it was so lovely ! In town, the leaves are still on the trees and absolutely brilliantly colored. Out of town, they are mostly off the trees.


Once done with my bike ride, I settled in to start a new knitting project and watch The Crown on netflix. Which has been great so far!


The knitting pattern is Dragonfire and I am making it out of my recently completed handspun:


There are color changes written into the pattern, but my yarn is a gradient. So, either I don’t bother with the color changes at all, and allow the gradient to do the work, or I use the other end of the gradient for the color changes. I am having a terrible time deciding! Thankfully, I haven’t yet hit a color change section, so I still have time to make the decision.

The pattern is written out line by line, which can be a bit tedious, but I seriously don’t know how else one could accomplish this pattern. It’s certainly one where having a TV show and complete quiet is necessary, I know my frustration level with the pattern would get pretty high if I were at home. But here it’s really no problem at all.

I may keep my morning pretty slow, but I definitely want to head out and explore on the bike some more. There were paths I didn’t get to take! And I don’t want to miss them!


Day 1. I woke up quite early because I forgot to turn off my work alarm. Oops! No matter, as an early bird, I didn’t mind too much. It was still dark so I figured I’d make coffee and watch the light arrive while knitting. Quite lovely. I can nap later.

Then I grabbed a shower, headed to the local grocery store to get some provisions for dinner, and headed to a local diner. It was busy but not too crowded and so I found a 2 top table, settled in with my knitting, and waited for my food. After breakfast, I decided to take a nice long walk. I almost always get over 10K steps per day, any my goal for my retreat is to conitnue that and add a bike ride. So, I figured I’d get the steps in early, and grab the bike ride when the weather was warmer.


I am working on a cowl that has amazing texture! The handspun is mine, a 3 ply out of malabrigo nube fiber. The color changes are subtle and compliment the texture quite well. The added bonus? It’s a fun pattern to knit too! The pattern is Ghazal cowl.

Once I returned from my walk I figured I’d begin a spinning project. I brought along some crown mountain farms, 8 ounces, corriedale wool. I divided it out for a 3 ply and just got a bit started on the wheel.


As you can see, it’s awfully sunny here, and the weather is mild. That bike ride I take in a bit is going to be amazing!

Until tomorrow….

Made It!

I am at my little personal retreat. Before I left, I snapped a photo of my latest project, Drea’s Shawl out of one skein of koigu kpppm and one skein of sanguine gryphon bugga.


Turned out just fine! I really like how the colors work together. And it’s a nice large size. Not overwhelming, but not small either.

Hopefully there will be lots more interesting crafting photos coming up in the next few days. But, I figured I’d start with a finished object and work from there.

More Yarn

Well, I did what I hoped to last evening. I got two handspun yarns wound into cakes for upcoming knitting projects, pulled out needles for those projects, and got one project started. I also finished a knitting project, late though, so I’ll take photos this evening.

And I got photos of my latest handspun yarn.


I love how cheery it is! I ended up with 275 yards of 2 ply. Not an abundant amount, but paired with the other purple and yellow handspun, it’ll be great.

I keep imagining gloves right now. My desire is to knit gloves. Except that I haven’t cast any on yet. But really, I should because it’s what I keep thinking about and envisioning for my handspun. Clearly I believe winter is coming despite the unseasonably warm weather.

I’ve also been working on keeping Miss Butterfly in more often. She’s gotten so used to being able to spend massive amounts of time with friends. But, with the evenings getting darker and homework getting harder, I’ve decided that she can choose one after school thing, and then she needs to be in for chores, homework, and dinner. She generally has about 3 minutes of overly dramatic 12 year old statements like “WHY ARE YOU KEEPING ME FROM MY FRIENDS?!?!?!?! YOU DON’T LIKE THEM!!!!!”  And then? She’s completely content. Perfectly happy and lovely to spend an evening with. I grabbed this shot of her doing extra credit homework on the floor last night.


I love how she sets out everything so nicely before she gets to work. Pencil case, planner, computer for research, and instructions. I got her a planner like mine, at her request, for being such a great student this year. I figure if you are a very responsible 12 year old, you get to have fancy planners. She initially was annoyed with me because I got the planner made with her classes already written in it. But once she began using it, she fell in love.

It was a pretty good evening, a wind down after the Halloween excitement. I’d take another night like last night any day!

Maybe the Last?

Miss Butterfly dressed up as a unicorn this year.


Super cute and goofy! We headed back to our old neighborhood where the crowds are, hooked up with her old friends, and went trick or treating. She really did have a great time, as did we!

Unfortunately, this was also the year that she got the comments of “You are too old to trick or treat” from the candy givers. Now, in MY opinion, a 12 year old who does well in school, is dressed up, and isn’t egging your car is the PERFECT age to trick or treat. But what do I know? Mostly, I know that these scrooges somehow want my child to grow up faster than I want her to. And, I just do not understand that whatsoever. Probably the same people who say stuff like “Kids these days grow up too fast, I wish they dressed more appropriately, didn’t have phones, etc.”  While they could have some actual influence by allowing children to just be children.

ANYHOW, we also had an odd and scary experience.


See that clown wandering the streets? In his other hand, he has a chainsaw. A real one. And, as it turns out, he’s a local not quite right guy who wanders that area every day. Except last night he was wandering that area with a chainsaw. Now, that area gets an incredible amount of children. It can be wall to wall people there, and many of the homes go absolutely over the top in decorations and haunted houses with live actors scaring people. So, this guy wandering around was mostly thought, by people not local to the area, to be harmless. So they’d chase him, and he’d chase them back. We, however, knew better and kept the kids away. Later on in the evening, I saw on the local police scanner twitter page that he’d been called in and Miss Butterfly told me that after I left her with her father this guy had been arrested. It was….unnerving.

In any case, that was our evening. I also managed to get a photo of my latest 2 ply batt.


It’s quite lovely! It was a fatcatknits batt, and it’s got some decent texture, and spun up very nicely. I’ve got 340 yards of this one. I love the earth/sky tones on this one, very fun!

I finished up the plying on the other project as well, so I’ll be able to get photos of that tonight. And now? I’ve got a wheel free, only one active knitting project that’s almost complete, and I kind of don’t know what to do with myself! I need to get situated and inspired this evening. That’s the plan. Chores around the house that have been neglected, and then check the crafty situation.

Because….I am going on my own little knitting/spinning retreat this weekend. I can’t wait! We’ve decided that I really do need to regain that wind down time I was supposed to have right after the conference finished up. To be honest, after this past weekend where I got some serious sleep, I DO feel much better. I was blathering on about something to Mr. Ink last evening, getting a little het up about it, and then eventually checked myself and said “You know what? It’s just nice to have the brain space to be thinking about social issues rather than being stuck in the stressed at work loop where I can’t give any thought or time to any other issue!” So, obviously I AM seeing improvement. But, I still think a retreat will do me some good.