Saturday, July 31, 2010

On The Fritz

Sorry to report my whole internet/TV/phone connection has hit the skids.  So sketchy you can't watch a ball game without swearing because the screen keeps freezing up.  I tried to resolve it online with AT&T's online chat but kept losing my connection.  No use trying the telephone so I gave up and used my cell phone.  They're sending someone out to replace the lines between 8 AM and Noon tomorrow.  Care to guess what time they'll actually show up?  Doesn't really matter to me -- I NEED this fixed ASAP!  I'm such an addict.

Another Great Website

I've discovered another super website thanks to the great people at  It's called Portable  and it's loaded with free applications that you can put on a flash drive and take with you wherever you go.  Today I downloaded  Task Coach Portable to help me keep track of my projects for my Fall shows.  There are all sorts of applications available including games, office, utilities, and more.  The key is to have your flash drive plugged into your computer and then download the app to the drive, not your computer.

I recommended the Task Coach Portable app to Kevin so he can hopefully keep track of things for his new job, which I think he's starting next week -- woohoo!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Startling Awakening

This morning, very, very early, I awoke to a police car flying down the road.  They were travelling about as fast as I've ever heard them.  It's part of the problem of sleeping in the front bedroom.  I fell back asleep and wondered about it during the day.  Tonight I found out from the police report email that two people were walking up my street and were attacked -- just two blocks up the road.  The man was left unconscious in the road and the woman was hysterical.  I didn't hear an ambulance so I wonder if what I heard was the police transporting the injured man away.  It was 2:40 AM.  This is just one more in a series of serious crimes taking place within a two mile radius of my home.  Very unsettling.

Kevin will be unnerved when I tell him.  Much the way my neighbors reacted when I brought them up to speed tonight.  Crime happens everywhere but when it's your very own neighborhood it feels so different.

With that said, I'm leaving you tonight with the peaceful sunset I witnessed at my sister's last Saturday.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Charlevoix Fiber Festival

One of my main reasons for trekking north last weekend was to attend the Charlevoix Fiber Festival.  I think this is the fourth one I've been to and I look forward to the event each year.  This year there were more than 50 vendors from all across Michigan and several other states.  I used extreme self-control seldom exhibited before and only came away with 6 skeins of yarn, some roving and buttons.  Amazing!  There were wonderful Alpaca for you to get up nice and close to -- check out the one with the blue eyes!  There also was a nice petting zoo for kids to touch & feel, too.  The shots in the middle of the bottom row are the view from my sister Denise's upper deck -- lovely!

Click on the collage to get a better look.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Charlevoix Circle of Arts

One of the interesting things I did while I was visiting Charlevoix last weekend was view the fiber and furniture exhibit at the Charlevoix Circle of Arts.  There were a lot of beautiful quilts on display and most were for sale.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces -- be sure to click on the pictures to see the detail:

My Chicken friends will recognize a couple of Kat Campau's pieces (notice there's no netting???) and the tree quilt used Kat's technique of placing netting over the loose pieces before quilting it down.  I loved the quilt with the glass leaves attached to the branches.  Since I visited Scotland a few years ago, I'm partial to the Thistle quilt too.

If you have a chance to visit northern Michigan (or live up there Jackie/Diane/Joyce) make sure you get over to see the exhibit.  It's free and runs until September 18th.  Kathie Briggs is the featured artist and has many beautiful pieces, including the crane heron at the top of the post, on display.

If you read the blogs in my list on the left you may recognize the last quilt above which was made by Frieda Anderson.  Frieda showed the techniques used to make the barn, rows of crops, and the trees, on a fairly recent blog post.

The Circle of Arts is a budding center and this exhibit definitely showcased the local talent.  I hope the community continues to support their efforts so visitors like me can enjoy the area's wonderful talents.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back Home

After a fabulous long weekend away I'm home again, getting back into the daily grind.  My wash and mail are all caught up and I took over 130 pictures so there's plenty of editing to do.  I'll be posting about my trip over the next few days.  Here's a little tease:

But for now I better get to bed.  I'm sure I'll be busy at work tomorrow.  Oh boy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On the road again...

I'm taking a few days off work, off worrying about work, off blogging.  I know -- how can I possibly do all of that?  Oh mon amie-- very easily.  I'm heading up to Charlevoix to:

  1. Visit my sister and her family
  2. Attend the (nearly) world famous Venetian Festival
  3. Shop till I drop at the Charlevoix Fiber Festival
  4. Knit on the deck watching the sailboats drift by on the lake
I'll eat delicious food and drink delectable wine and just relax for 5 days.  Oh, I forgot to mention I'm taking my Mom up there with me.  Might cut into the relaxation factor.  I'll check back in with all of you on Monday, unless I get a chance to sneak online and post a blip here and there.  Don't hold your breath.

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Blog and a Hat

While bouncing around the blogging forums on Ravelry today I came across a blog unlike any other in my blog roll.  Please take a look at Wholesome Fun at Home and Abroad.  It's all about a gal from England who is a scientist working in Antarctica and knitting to fill the spare moments.  I don't know about you, but I know very little about that continent so I'm hoping to be educated and entertained.

In the meantime, I finished another hat tonight:

I used Cascade 128 Tweed in a nice forest green shade.  I have to say it gave off a pea green shade when I blocked it in my bathroom sink (Head N Shoulders again) -- thank goodness this won't happen the first time the recipient wears it!  The button is one I purchased at My Craft Room a few weeks ago.  I'm just auditioning it.  I think the button is a bit big for this hat and would be better suited to a larger version.  It's been several months since I have knit this pattern up and I had forgotten to make it taller than the pattern calls for.  I did remember to increase the number of cast on stitches and this time I used the double D decrease (are you tired of that decrease yet?  Not me!).

A while ago I made the bold statement that from now on I'm going to keep better track of the changes I make to patterns.  So I'm marching off to the living room to dig the pattern out of my knitting bag and write this info down.  Before I forget.  Again.

Monday, July 19, 2010

One of those days

Today was such a frustrating day for me.  Things were off at work.  Looks like we may be transitioned out of a job even sooner than 1/1/11.  I forgot my lunch.  Can't find my credit card -- anywhere.  I even stuck my hands down the sides of the recliner - ewwwwwwwwwwww.  I looked around the T&C -- didn't find the card but I did find a raffle prize that someone had donated for guild that had scooted  under the front passenger seat.  Still no card.  Would be nice to have it for my trip up north on Thursday but oh well.  I had to take back some chicken burgers to Costco -- the little packages they were in were bulging -- blowing up like balloons.  I picked up some composition books for the backpacks we're putting together and donating to local kids.

Even though I was still a bit 'Tasmanian' I got back to knitting when I returned home from Costco.  I didn't enjoy it, even for a minute, but I did finish knitting the bubblegum pink child's hat:

You didn't believe me when I said bubblegum pink, did you?!  Eddie -- the leftover yarn is all yours -- I don't want to see any more of it!

Here's my favorite part:

Now the yarn felt like burlap to knit with (sorry Eddie) and I didn't have high hopes for it but I've given it a bath in Head N Shoulders and  it's showing some improvement.  Once it has a chance to dry it may actually switch from helmet to hat!  Part of that is my fault because I used a size 5 needle when it probably would have been better on a size 6.  I don't like to make those kind of mistakes but I kept knitting along thinking it would work out.  Usually it does but this time it didn't.  Argghh!

I think I'm just going to go work on a few Sudoku puzzles and go to sleep.  Tomorrow has to be a better day.

ETA  -- Found the credit card upside down on the coffee table, under some junk mail.  Ugh.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just Because

Do you ever do things that you don't like to do just because it's the right thing to do?  Do you ever sew with ugly fabric just to use it up or knit up yarn you bought so long ago you've since decided you'd rather not use?

Today I got out some old bubblegum pink wool that I had inherited from someone.  Back when I first started knitting for shows I would take wool donations of any kind, as long as the wool would felt.  I've already made a bag out of this crazy pink stuff but the remaining two cakes were staring at me today from my cubicles.  I had decided I would knit everything in the cubicles, one cube at a time, and the pink wool was residing there.

I worked up a gauge swatch, getting 5 stitches to the inch, and cast on 92 to make an 18" hat for a young girl.  What little girl doesn't like pink, right?  I worked on it this afternoon and am now down to the double D decreases.  I'll finish it tomorrow and post pictures.  It really is bubblegum pink!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mock Cable Neck Warmer

Today I finished knitting the Mock Cable Neckwarmer that matches Hat #40, the purple knit hat, that I finished on Wednesday.

Here's a close up of the pattern:

It's another free pattern from Ravelry -- have I mentioned lately how much I L-O-V-E Ravelry???  I used another skein of handspun but again, just like the hat, I'm not in love with it.  I've got about 40 yards left and I'm not sure what I'll do with it.  I still need to block the neck warmer and find four 5/8" buttons for the closure.

Now I'm off to make another hat.  Tonight's adult beverage of choice is:

What's your point about my choice of drinking glass?  Not exactly a traditional Margarita glass but it definitely suits me, especially while I'm watching:

I'm hoping the Tigers can get back on the winning track.  They definitely play better at home than away.  I think we all function better at home, in our own beds, with our home cooking.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Warm temps and lots of rain....

......will make your garden grow!  I know I kept it inside far too long (kind of like a parent leery of letting their 16 year old drive) but my Mother's Day tomato plant has been outside for a few weeks now and I noticed some flowers today:
Maybe I'll have tomatoes by the time we get our first frost :*)

I realized it had been knocked about by the storm so I broke a dead branch off of my lilac to prop it up a bit:
Pay no attention to my neighbor's huge tomato plants in the background.  As a matter of fact, yes, those are tomatoes growing on his plants.

Then I wandered around my yard, spotting the blooming balloon flowers.  This one looks like the storm got the best of it:

But the other bloom, with more to come soon, looks pretty darned good.  Here are several shots of the same bloom -- I couldn't decide which one I liked best so you're getting them all!

I can't wait to see more of them bloom.  Since it's supposed to be hot with a few storms over the next several days, it won't be long before my garden is full of blooms.


I didn't blog last night for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was a really fierce thunderstorm.  It was the kind where the rain blew sideways and trees were bending like willows.

You needn't worry about me though.  After work yesterday I headed to Northville to pick up a yarn rack (pictures coming this weekend, maybe) from a rather eclectic, eccentric senior citizen who was obviously wildly artistic.  Since I was so close I went to Rebecca's for dinner, a place I would meet Holly when she was going to Eastern Michigan University.  I love, love, love their sweet potato fries -- absolutely worth the trip.  

The storm hit while I was eating so I dilly-dallied until it was mostly over and made a mad dash for my car, parked conveniently two spots down.  It was agonizing though, because I didn't want to risk a soaking by visiting the Center Street Knits shop -- directly across from where I had parked.  Oh, the angst I felt driving away......

The roads were definitely precarious, stop lights out at major intersections, a downed tree across the highway ramp, a car turned around and pointing in the opposite direction.  I was so glad to pull into my driveway.  That is until I saw my gate was OPEN and I could hear Maggie barking!!  Thank goodness she was at the back door, barking to come in and hadn't figured out the gate was open.  Now I'm not sure if the water meter reader left it open (naughty man) or if the storm blew it open.  Either way, I was very relieved I didn't have to chase Maggie down in the pouring rain.

I must have been tired because I fell asleep in my chair, knitting in my hands.  It was just time for bed I decided and off I went.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Danger, Danger Will Robinson

I found something through tonight that could be as big a time sucker as Ravelry.  It's called Livewire Puzzles and I just played a game of online Sudoku.  I could get addicted to this site!  Don't say I didn't warn you!!

Another Purple Hat

This hat that I finished knitting today makes 40, FORTY, 4-0 knit by me so far this year for my Fall shows.  The yarn was hand dyed and hand spun by a woman I know from my old guild.  It's a bit tangly and twisty so it made me a bit cranky when I knit with it, a little bit like the cranky woman who spun it.
It's a combination of Corriedale wool, mohair, and silk.  I used a double D decrease again:

While I used up all of the skein, I have another one with even more yardage.  I'm bound and determined to knit it up and be done with it.  I washed the first hat with the usual Head n Shoulders w/Conditioner in the bathroom sink.  It did release some extra dye and now it's drying outside over the top of a large peanut butter jar.

It's nice to be home for the night and not have to rush off somewhere.  Now I'm off to find a project to use up 139 yards of crankiness.  

P.S.  Happy Birthday Joyce!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


When I'm preparing for my Fall shows I hear my sister Denise's voice in my head -- 'Suzanne, you need MORE inventory!'  Every year I run low on products at the end of the three-day Charlevoix Apple Festival and my booth looks paltry.  I'm crankin' 'em out as fast as I can!

The other day I showed you the Slouchy Hat and wondered if it was slouchy enough.  I blocked it by washing it in the sink with Head n Shoulders w/conditioner and then placed it over a plate to make the crown spread out flat.  It looks much better now and is slightly slouchy, not hugely slouchy.  Some young lady will love it.

I also knit up this Scrunchable Hat yesterday:

It's another free pattern off of Ravelry.  I used the purple shade of Universal Yarns Chunky Wool, although I have to say, I didn't find it to be 'chunky'.  I used size 7 needles and knit a 1x1 rib for 1" before switching to the pattern:  Row 1 K2, P1, Row 2 K1, P2.  I think some other knitters crabbed about the decrease instructions but my guess is they didn't follow them carefully enough to get a good result.  Here's a close up of the stitch pattern:

I did some fulling at the stinkin' hot laundromat on Sunday, watching the World Cup Finals as everything swished around in the washing machine.  I finished this hat:

I knit that one using Cascade Pastaza, a 50% wool/50% llama fiber that felted kind of nobby, in a good way.  I think I'll embellish it with some leaves and a flower since it's a bit plain.

And finally for tonight, I also fulled the entrelac bag, now and forever known as Josephine, the bag of many colors:

and here's the reverse side (really, it IS different):
I like how the top of the bag has a scalloped edge.

 Here's a close up of the squares: 

and the bottom:

See last Friday's post for the bag pictures before I fulled it.  I think Josephine is one of my favorite felted bags -- I'm keeping her for my own use!

And lastly, I sure do wish I had taken my camera to work with me.  Out in front of my building they're doing major road reconstruction.  Just before the turn around light I saw a Lincoln MKS sitting in freshly poured cement.  Yep, right in the middle of a fresh spot.  He must have been impatient and didn't see exactly where to turn and bam!  Landed right in the middle of wet cement.  That car has to be totaled!  I know I would never want to drive it after that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ask me....

....why I should never leave the house without my readers.  OK, I'll tell you.  Bad things can happen, that's why.  Like going to the drug store and choosing a box of hair color that's just plain wrong.  Had to live with that one for about 6 weeks.  Or more recently, picking up a toothbrush that just plain doesn't fit.  It doesn't fit my mouth -- I need a compact head.  Now I did make out that it was 'Soft' so it's easy on my teeth and gums but it's just too darn big.  To make things worse, it won't fit in my toothbrush holder.  I don't know who got the crazy idea that we need all sorts of rubber grips and tongue scrapers on our toothbrushes.  We've lived decades without 'em.  Now they make them so big they won't fit in old fashioned toothbrush holders on the wall.

I think when you turn 40 your arms should grow.  How else are you supposed to read if you can't hold things far enough out???

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Threads for Quilting

Many of my Chicken friends have fallen in love with Aurifil Threads from Italy.  Each time we have a big Chicken gathering there's an order placed for more fabulous thread.  If you're a quilter and you're unfamiliar with this thread check out the video from the Houston Quilt Market.  Now don't get wigged out by the price -- these spools have 1300 yards of thread on 'em so you'll never run out!

Toward the end of the video Jodie Davis, who hosts the video, interviews Edyta Sitar, who will be speaking to our guild in October.  I'll be able to actually attend the October meeting for the first time in several years.  Normally the Charlevoix Apple Festival, where I vend, is the same weekend as the meeting so I have to miss guild.


I used to be pretty good at naming off US State Capitals but I've lost my edge.  Too much time has lapsed I guess.  I found this quiz from a blog written by a gal from Britain.  I'm sorry to report that she did better than I did.

If you take the quiz, let me know how you do.  I only got 25.  time to get my map out and start studying.....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Slouchy Hat?

This afternoon I looked for a pattern on Ravelry to use the Marr Haven yarn I got the other day.  The skein has 210 yards to it so I could choose just about any adult hat pattern.  I decided on the Slouchy Copy Cat Hat (click on the link if you're a member of Ravelry -- if you don't know what Ravelry is leave me a comment!) because it called for 18 stitches to 4" -- the same as the yarn band.

As usual I knit up a gauge swatch -- stop groaning -- and discovered I needed to go down a needle size to get gauge.  I set up my chair out on the porch, brought out the radio for the Tigers game, and an iced cold Peach Tea, and got to work.  The pattern was easy enough, just a four row repeat once the 2x2 ribbing was done.  I think the decreases are too severe at the top but after looking at some of the other hat patterns on Ravelry it looks to be right.  The yarn knits up nicely with plenty of lanolin left in it so my hands are definitely softer tonight. I wouldn't say I'm in love with the yarn but it is nice.

Here's a close up of the stitch pattern:

I'm going to wash it tonight and see if it softens up and becomes more 'slouchy'.  Tomorrow I think I'll cast on the wool I found last Saturday at My Craft Room.  It will be a whole lot softer to knit with -- now I just have to decide on a pattern....

Just Can't Go Wrong

How can you possibly go wrong with a day like today??
Not a cloud in the sky -- the kind of day I long for in the middle of a dreary winter day.

I started the morning by watering everything in my gardens, even the weeds.  I'm hoping that will help me yank them out with a little less effort, either later today or tomorrow morning.  It's going to be warm all weekend so yard work will have to be done early.

My Rose of Sharon has been in full bloom for about 2 weeks -- very early for them around here.

They're a really nice addition of color to the front of my house but those seedlings -- ARRGGHH!  Plus the bees really do love them.  Seems like everything I like to plant -- Speedwell, Coneflowers, Malva -- are also loved by bees!

Well, I'm off to knit on the front porch before it gets too warm for me.  Have a super Saturday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Knitting Update

There are very few times when I leave the house without my knitting.  Some kind of knitting goes with me everywhere, even if it's just I-cord.  I take it with me to work and spend my two 10 minute breaks knitting -- relaxing and decompressing.  There are days, though, when I'm so busy I don't get to take my breaks and I always feel cheated.

Today I finished what I think is a man-ly looking hat:

I used the Sirdar Highlander Chunky yarn that I scored at the Skeins on Main sale bin for $8 last Saturday.  It's 70% wool, 30% acrylic so it should be warm and soft.  I cast on 76 stitches on a size 9 needle, used a 3x1 rib pattern, and knit in pattern for 7" before decreasing for the crown.  Here's a close up of the flecks of color in the hat:

Earlier this week I finished my first ever entrelac project, this bag:

At first I was confused about the whole process but as usual, found that once I got started, the instructions really did make sense.  I can't wait to felt it -- might do it this weekend since the weather is improving -- mid 80ºs expected instead of low 90ºs.  It will have I-cord handles.  I don't have quite enough yarn left to make a cell pocket so I think I'll have to pony up and get at least one more skein of the yarn, Universal Yarns' Poems.  This yarn has the same kind of color changes as Noro Kureyon but it is so much softer and easier to knit with.  Stay tuned for the 'after' pictures.

I've got plenty of knitting lined up for the weekend.  I'm hoping to use the skeins I got the other day from Marr Haven, which accompanied the 'Sam the Ram' pattern I was happy to find.  Barbara also sent me a color card so I know what else awaits me.....

Notice this little symbol printed on the label:
Oh, how I love it ! !  I need this for my hang tags....

Berry Lovers

If you're like me you can't get enough berries, especially during the Summer.  I was polishing off some blueberries today when I noticed the producer, Naturipe Farms, has an interesting website listed on their packaging.  It's full of great ways to use your fresh berries.  Stop by their website and try some of their recipes.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lucky Day

Remember back in May I took my T&C into the dealer for my 'free' oil change and wound up spending $193?  Waiting at home for me in today's mail was a notice from Chrysler saying they'll pick up the cost of replacing brake pads, minus a $50 deductible.  That means I'll be getting a little over $80 back -- woohoo!

My second bit of luck today was in keeping my shoes on when I got home.  I know what you're thinking -- it's 93º -- why wouldn't you kick off your shoes and cool down?  Well, as it turned out, the piece of fried fish that Kevin gave Maggie did not sit well in her stomach.  While I was filling up her water bowl, she up-chucked right beside me and I nearly slipped, not realizing she had left such a ginormous pile.

Such a lucky day!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Done, Done, Diddley Done

It took a few hours to complete but my mid year review at work is done.  Such a weight lifted off my shoulders.  Since our jobs are going away in January, it's hard to justify the sweat that went into the task but hopefully it will make a difference if there are jobs in another department to compete for.  I'm amazingly bad at tooting my own horn, as my boss suggested I do, but I try to keep track of anything meaningful that I manage to contribute.

I know I've had enough of this heat wave.  It was 94º today and so darn humid.  I took Maggie for a walk, since the neighbors were in their backyard, and she did her usual pulling and sniffing for the first part of the walk and then decided it was far too uncomfortable for that foolishness and settled down for a civil walk.  Once home she plopped herself in front of the fan and I cracked open a nice cold beer.  I'm looking forward to a cooler weekend but hoping all of the things I've recently planted survive.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Imperial Sighting

I could crab about my challenging, over-the-top, swamped day at work and how I didn't think I'd ever get everything done I had planned to do, much less the 'surprises' I had.  But I won't.

Instead, when I got home from knit group tonight (definitely dusk) I spotted this in the parking lot next to my house:

Sooooooo sweet -- absolutely pristine condition.
Look closely at the license plate -- it's the same age as me and sure looks a whole lot better!

Check out the sidewalls and hubcap:

What are those buttons on the left side of the dashboard???

No doubt about which model it is:

This picture is a truer color than the first few.  The owner is no doubt getting ready for the Woodward Dream Cruise coming up next month.  That's when everyone who owns or loves classic cars comes out to take in all the chrome and smell all the fumes.

Most of us growing up in the Motor City relate closely to automobiles.  We remember the cars our parents had when we were kids or the cars our grandparents would drive to visit us.  Everyone remembers the car they learned to drive on and most assuredly recalls their very first car.

My Dad worked for Chrysler so we had plenty of their products.  Dad drove a 1968 purple Charger, Mom had a 1971 orange Challenger -- say aren't those cars in production again??!  The first car I owned was my grandfather's 1966 Dodge Coronet.  I had no misgivings about it -- it was darn ugly.  But it got me where I needed to go.  It was also my first accident when I got sandwiched on the way home from school listening to Beach Boys on my 8-track player.  The guy behind me pushed me into the rear end of a giant white Pontiac Catalina convertible driven by a girl from school that I loathed.  I broke my front tooth and split my lip, bleeding all over my new powder blue raincoat that I had just gotten for my birthday.  Waaaah.

I bet you have some fond memories of the cars from your past, too.