Begin again when you End

If you give a mouse a cookie and all, then if you finish a shawl, you will probably begin a shawl. At least that is what I did. 

I just finished the Maighdeann-ròin, the Seal Maiden, by Nat Raewulf.  I made my with three colors, one was a lovely salmon pink tonal and the other two both had this color but one was mostly grey with speckles and the other pink, white and black. I typically am a matchy-match girl when it comes to colors so throwing in the mostly grey skein was a bit out of my comfort zone. I should clarify it’s not that it doesn’t match exactly……More that it evokes a different feeling. I’m not really explaining it right. I typically would have chosen a tonal in another solid color. Perhaps it that I would never have put the grey with the black together. I was really drawn into that grey one with how the yellow pops against the pink.

And here’s the thing. Now that the shawl is finished I actually really like the grey one better than the black, pink and white skein. So now the odd one out feels like its no longer the  grey but instead the black. Funny how that happens.  

Overall, I really like the finished shawl. I like the way the long tails curly-cue. I so wish I add made the picot edge more pronounced, it seems to need a more substantial defining edge. I used the backwards edge cast on and it wasn’t a good choice. I may go back and remove this and redo it but in reality of taking time to do this I probably will not.  

I said you finished a shawl, and this was the one, you also will start a shawl. 

That is this one. It is The River of Dreams by Lauren Rene. This shawl was specially designed for the LYS store, The Flying Needles, anniversary. I also got a special color way dyed yarn made just for this shop. The shawl uses 5 colors. Mine starts with a darker blue-turquoise working through to lighter and lighter turquoise to mostly white. I thought the blues was a nice choice for a shawl with river in the name.

The shawl is a big rectangle with a panel of lace and faux cables. I haven’t made a rectangle shawl in awhile so it will be nice for tv watching as there wont’t be any changes in stitch count. 

I haven’t shown you a competed picture go my Magic Stripes scarf finished so I’m popping one here.

I’m off to knit while we watch some Netflix.

Happy knitting. 

Advertisements

Trunk-or-Treat

We live in a very social neighborhood. There’s always something going on. This month was the Trunk-or-Treat and we decided to give it ago as I mentioned earlier. I did the Witch’s Apothecary. I’ve set up my this before as part of our Halloween decorations.

a snippet of last years Apothecary

For Apothecary supplies I use a lot of things we already have in the house. Such as my collection of fossils and Max’s shark jaw he was given when he was a kid from my uncle Jim. I also use the cotton bolls we grew and harvested one year as “Bunny Tails” and assorted other things like this. 

This is the one I set up at Trunk-or-Treat

I was surprised how interested the kids were. I guess because it was rather interactive and some of the things were real, and I let them touch whatever they wanted. The bird’s nest was from the Robin that built it and raised a brood in one of the hanging baskets on the front porch. The nest was popular as was the shark jaw. The kids also really liked the Spell Book I made last year or the year before. I had a young girl, maybe ten years old that was also dressed as a witch, spend much of the time at our car. She was extremely interested my book, she must have looked through it 6 times.  

Chuck made Carrot Cake Cookies that went over really well, too. And my candy packages were well received I think. I was really glad the kids and adults alike were interested in hearing about the Devil’s Claw seed pods collected in the desert in New Mexico and the  Petoskey Stones I had, which were collected in Michigan. 

I was surprised there were only about twenty cars participating. I guess with all the kids in the neighborhood I thought there would be more. I gave out maybe 50 packs of candy, but I know a few kids came by for an extra one. But in general all the kids were great and most were honest and said that I’d already given them one when they came around again. And many did come around again as their friends arrived. 

It was a fun night and to my surprise there was a contest for Best Trunk. The kids vote for their favorite. And even more surprising- We WON! I call that a bonus. They gave me a cute trophy that now I can add to our Halloween decorations. 

I’m not sure if we were to go again next year what I would do. It seems people change their themes each year and I’ve only done the witch theme for so long. I have about 11 months to decide.

Until then I’ll have our house lights on Wednesday and see how many trick-or-treaters we get at our actual house. 

And I’ll be the one dressed as a witch. 

Happy Halloween. 

Witch Hat Redo and a Flat Cat

Several years ago I knit a witch hat.  Actually, I knit two witch hats. The first I knit one for myself and one for my son in-law, Matt. Matt’s hat is more Gandolf and mine is more Elphaba. 

This is Matt’s hat drying-my knitted things picture taking at least has improved over the years

This year I decided mine needed some sprucing up. Over the years it had become….well…limp. It was always more floppy than I had wanted and I never really liked that that brim was unstructured. 

To address the unstructured brim I spent the better part of two days sewing bias tape to the underside by hand. I inserted a 12 gauge black florist wire as I went. Sewing black bias tape onto black fabric with black thread while inserting black wire is not for the faint of heart.  

It was worth it though. Having been felted again it has shrunk a bit, becoming more comfortable to wear and now that the brim is wired I can shape it to suit my preference. Which I really like. 

I added a spider pin for a little glamorous panache. To go along with my revamped hat I also knit a flat cat. Yes, A Flat Cat, or Professor Meow-Gona-Cowl pattern by Tiny Owl Knits. I am pretty happy with the results on both the hat and the cat.

I’ve upgraded the hat and made the cat for my “Witch Costume.” I’ll wear these with all black, don my wand and Sheath at my waist and set up a Witch’s Apothecary Storefront at tonight’s neighborhood Trunk-or-Treat. I’m looking forward to this and have made goody packs for the kids. 

I made about 100 of these, give or take a few, and they took about 30-35 hours to put together 

The packs have a 4-5 pieces of candy each and are ‘simply” wrapped in brown paper and raffia. I collecting feathers mostly from our neighbors chickens (as they were molting and mine were not) and washed them. I used a wax seal and then silver Sharpie on the raised bits. The labels have our address incase people want to know which Apothecary they came from. I suppose my vision for these are that if you purchased some things from my apothecary it would arrive via Owl Mail, well at the very least, Chicken Mail. 

To round out my outfit I’ll wear my black and green striped socks and yarn danskos. I also have a Chatelaine necklace of sorts, made out of assorted things. I will carry the Book of Spells I made a few years ago. I did upgrade of few things in this book this week. too. 

Are you dressing up for Halloween? I think I only dress up as a Witch. I’m going to print some social media icons and those along with butterfly wings will be either Tim or Chuck’s costume. Although it suits Chuck the best, you know he is the social butterfly in this marriage after all. 

Happy Knitting, Happy haunting. 

It’s fall Y’All

I haven’t had a true Fall for several years having been lost in a desert oasis. There aren’t many trees in a desert and it’s still rather warm this time of year. So, it’s basically just like the summer only a slight bit cooler, like in the 80’s instead of 90’s. This year it’s different. We live in a beautiful neighborhood with trees galore. Our neighborhood is named Queen’s Lake and we are in Williamsburg, Virginia with the leaves beginning to fall and the nights getting pretty cool now.

I’ve always decorated pretty enthusiastically for Halloween. This is year was a little slower in that regard. I only just yesterday would say I finished decorating. Stevie and Hanna are both big fans of the Halloween time. Stevie got married on Halloween and her rehearsal dinner was a costume party. Which was really neat.

I think I had a harder time getting in the spirit of the season since Hanna is in Oklahoma and Stevie is up in Alexandria. These girls always go big on costumes along with their respective men. And I really enjoy seeing their creativity.

For me this year was a little sad, and anticlimactic, particularly because I don’t have my friends coming over every Monday to knit and share in the joy of a holiday theme.

Moving on.

I try to invoke a witch atheistic. But, basically, a lot of my decorating consists of covering everyday stuff with spider web table cloths. Then I might throw in a pumpkin or two.

This is a very simple thing with a big impact. I’ve been collecting the table cloths, table runners and such for a few years. I find them mostly at Target and Michael’s and I try to pick up a couple new ones each year.

I always set up my “The Witch is in” spot. This is my favorite thing. It’s different each year but always includes this broom that I’ve had for probably 15 years.

I really need to upgrade my rug, but overall, I like the way this turned out. I even had some help from Mother Earth with making this feel authentic. Notice the spider just above the witch hat? It’s the perfect touch. [As a side note, I used a heavy duty magnet to attach the hat to the suitcase so it can’t blow away.]

A nice big Daddy Long Legs, or whatever they’re really named. This year I added the old suitcase I found for a couple bucks at an estate sale a few years ago. The suitcase was living in my fireplace in the living room. My sister-in-law, Ruth, asked why I had a suitcase in the fireplace. I say, why not?

Here’s the first level of Fireplace decorating I did when we moved into this house which included said suitcase. I thought it was charming. I really don’t like having and empty hole in the fire box.

For the fall I changed this fireplace up a bit. We probably will have fires in this fireplace and not in the other one in the family room. I will change this again to allow for that when I decorate for the Christmas season.

The bit of change was adding a old toolbox, cedar shavings and a few pumpkins to “Fall” it up. The big Pewabic tiles hanging over the fireplace have a fun story. You may know of my love of reading and of all things books. I also have a great big spot in my heart just for libraries, and specifically, the Detroit Public Library main branch building.

The Friend’s of the DPL did a fundraiser a few years ago, coordinated with Pewabic Tile, to replicate the story themed tiles that are on the fireplace surround in the children’s room in the DPL’s main branch library.

This is the library fireplace, These are original, one of a kind tiles, that were made for this fireplace.

Following is are the two tiles above my fireplace up close. They are replicas with more contemporary colors that happen to suit my decor style perfectly. These are the “Steadfast Tin Soldier” by Hans Christian Anderson and” Midsummer’s Night Dream” by William Shakespeare. They measure approximately 11×14 but as they are individually handmade they vary slightly, adding to their charm. My brother made these frames using our wet bar counter.

I have two other tiles from this fundraiser. but they currently are living with my brother. I think I should do a full blog post just on Pewabic and these tiles.

But today I’m talking about Halloween decor. The last bit I’m sharing today is the dining room table. I added some table runners to the chandelier and hung my ghosts, too. A simple table cloth and runner I’ve had for a while and some red candles with ghosts from Party lite that I’ve also had forever. Then I added more table cloths to cover up the everyday things, including the chairs that forever are living stacked in the corner……

It’s a pretty low key style with my Witch aethtic going strong. I left the burned out lightbulb to add to the effect, or maybe I just don’t have one to replace it with, whatever.

These are some of the favorite bits. There’s more. Come on over and see. And you can grab a dozen eggs while your here. We have a few. A few dozen or so.

I’ve also finished some knitting projects that need photographing and I’ll update those soon.

Happy Halloween and happy knitting.

Scarves and the Long and Short of Things

I’ve worked rather diligently on my knitting. trying to get in at least 3-4 hours of knitting a day. Which has produced a lot of yardage  of yarn turned into stitches.

Here’s where I’m at-

  1. Entralac Scraf –did not work on this at all
  2. Magic Stripe Scarf –I could be done I think the length is good
  3. Jaywalker socks –decided to change these to wrist warmers
  4. Find Your fade, my third one –on the last lace section
  5. Nuvem Shawl –only knit a couple rows
  6. Advent Mittens, I have 2 of 25 done and I haven’t knit any since 2017!-no work, I did look at the basket though
  7. Maighdeann-roin-The Seal Maiden Shawl, I just started yesterday -finished all the lace sections

The actual updates. First off, I changed the Jaywalker Socks into Wrist warmers. I liked the striping so much.  I kept envisioning these under some long sleeves, just peeking out. I love a good I-cord bind off so I decided to finish with that. These are so good. I really want to make a few more pairs. I think the youngest daughter will nee some as she’s always cold.

The I-cord bind off required some extra thinking and details. I cast on 3 stitches using the Backwards E-Cast On, the K2, k2togTBL and slid stitches back to left hand needle. continuing in this way until I came to the increases of the Jaywalker pattern. Where the points are I needed to ensure they had enough give so that the point would stay pronounced. At the point -between the double decreases- I added a single I-cord row with a K3 instead of the K2, K2togTBL. I then continued the K2, K2togTBL to the last row. Here was tricky bit, and I don’t know how to properly explain what I did, so bear with me. I worked a Kitchener Stitch on the live stitches and on the cast on stitches I wove the needle around the legs of each cast on. Clear as mud, right? Well, anyway. This finishing did two things. 1-It gave me a clean I-cord that looked continuous 2- Added the one extra row that the other double decreases have.  I think you legitimately cannot see where the beginning and end meet.  I’m so in love. Did I already mention that?

As knitter’s oft do. I cast on a new project, because I had a finished one. And I blame my dear friend Peggy. She told me about the pattern you see. It’s one of four patterns in a socks series based on Willy Wonka. I know, right? You see why I had to. The pattern I’m working on is the first release in this set. It’s called Candyman and I’m using the left over yarn from the Jaywalker Wristwarmers and some black yarn, both of these are Wollmeise.

This pattern uses Judy’s Magic Cast On, which will forever remind my of Carol. We spent so many hours working on this cast on together. She is very dear to me. Carol moved from New Mexico to Colorado not long after I moved to Virginia. I will be able to see here next summer when we go to Colorado for Chuck’s niece Beth’s wedding. Luckily for me she is getting married very near to where Carol now lives.

 

 

I think I’m ready to cast off the Magic Stripes Scarf. It’s a good length for a tuck just inside you coat scarf. I probably have enough yarn to knit a second one or I could double the length. I’m thinking it’s the right length right now but I’ve put it on hold to give some time to confirm my thoughts.

On the Find Your Fade I have to finish the lace section on color 6 and then there like 32 rows or so of the 7th color and then the bind off. Pretty close to the end on that.

All in all, I’ve made pretty satisfactory progress. Now to not get distracted my those new socks.

I haven’t said anything about the wand sheaths I made. Yes, I did say “wand sheath.” Yes, I and most of my family have magic wands. Doesn’t everyone. These are very special magic wands that my brother, Andy, makes.  I made the sheaths based on an item by Alice Starmore from her book Glamourie. It was designed as a needle case but it is everything a wand sheath should be.

I ran some experiments. and realized quickly the 133 stitches she starts with are way too many.  After my experiments I found 65 stitches is correct for the wands. I used yarn I spun myself. I also added a flap to the back (that I had sewn down after felting) to create a loop for a belt to go through. I’m quite pleased with these.

I made mine from undyed, natural colored wool and used some of my precious  Wensleydale Lockes, also undyed.   I made a talisman pouch as well. These should suit the Witch aesthetic I’m going for in my forever Halloween costume.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made one for both my nephew and niece. I made theirs with them specifically in mind. Thinking My nephew’s would have caterpillars as he enjoys making friends with the real thing. And my niece’s would have unicorn hair, be cause it’s unicorn hair.

If I do say so, and I do, they turned out quite magical. They were gifted with some rather fun gift wrapping as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wand sheaths were very fun to create. I should’ve taken notes, but was rather lazy about it and my memory isn’t as good as I would like, especially since I made these in July. But…They were happy.  I was happy. We all are happy.

Now, if I can just find where I put that darn witch hat!

l’ll leave you with a cute pic of some chickens.  Happy knitting!

Knitting all the things

I try really hard to be diligent about finishing the projects I start. I do, really. But for some reason right now I have so many WIPs I don’t think I’ll ever finish. Let’s just never mind I just started a new shawl yesterday!

As of today I have the following WIPs.

  1. Entralac Scraf
  2. Magic Stripe Scarf
  3. Jaywalker socks
  4. Find Your fade, my third one
  5. Nuvem Shawl
  6. Advent Mittens, I have 2 of 25 done and I haven’t knit any since 2017!
  7. Maighdeann-roin-The Seal Maiden Shawl, I just started yesterday

Typically I have 3 projects. A fussy- I need to concentrate one. A mid level challenge I can work on sitting in the car or watching something interesting on TV, such as socks. And an easy- I don’t need to think project. My goal is to get to 3 projects in the next couple weeks. [I probably won’t work at all on the mittens this year so I won’t include that in the 3]

I do have TWO finished projects to share since I last blogged. That’s something. I finished the pair of No Purl Monkey Socks which I gave to my mom when we went home in August. I try to give her a pair for Mother’s Day, her birthday and Christmas. She drives a school bus and walks her St. Bernard, so ends up in the snow quite a bit. Did you know wool will keep you warm whether it’s wet or dry?

 

 

 

 

 

And, also, I finished my socks,  the pattern is Hermione socks. I affectionately think of them as my Witches’ socks. Mostly because I’ll probably wear them with my Witch Halloween outfit. I’m thinking we will have a nice amount of Trick-or-Treaters as this neighborhood has lots of kids. Now if only I could find the Witch Hat I knit myself I’d be all set. Moving across the country misplaces lots of odd things, like muffin pans.

I used the Susan B Anderson Smooth Operator Heel so I could maintain the stripes.  My gauge was slightly off between the two socks. I just couldn’t match it for whatever reason.

 

The Chickens are laying eggs everyday. Right now we are averaging 3 eggs a day with 5 hens-a-laying. We have 5 hens not-a-laying as of today. There have been a couple of the hens that have not yet laid checking out the nesting boxes and fussing with them. That is always exciting. I watch them through the video camera, maybe far too much, but I like to see who laid what egg. And It’s interesting to watch their behavior.

Because I’m Nerdy I am tracking who lays when

I’ve been stamping them with the dates with a food safe ink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a side note, as I’m rereading this before I publish, I have an excellent example of entertaining chicken behavior. I have my iPad open with the chicken coop camera running. It’s currently facing where you can see the nesting boxes.  The White Leghorn, Dottie, will only lay her eggs in the top row, second from the left box. Currently, Louise, a Whiting True Blue, is sitting in the box. Dottie will stand there until she leaves. She did the exact thing just yesterday. Dottie will go in to lay her egg the second Louise is out. The other hens just choose a different box when this happens. Now you know why I watch. It can be better than TV!

We have decided to follow the way of the rest of the non-USA world and leave the surplus eggs unwashed on the counter. It’s very safe- and probably safer- since you don’t wash off the natural protective layer on the egg. When using the eggs you simple wash them under warm water and use as you would any egg. About once a week I wash them all and add them to the fridge caddy since I don’t think Tim will remember to wash them before using them. Tim and Chuck eat most the eggs in our house. If Rick or Hanna were here I’d say they would be the ones eating the most eggs. I just washed 27 eggs from last week to go in the fridge. I’m going to have to start giving them to neighbors. Let me know if you want some.

Since you had a sneak peek at our new counter in the egg picture I’ll tell you about that. When we bought this house I new the island in the kitchen had room to grow. Literally. It was one cabinet deep and 3 cabinets wide. There was an original butcher block counter that still had the motor for a mixer/blender from the 60’s!

We wanted to replace the butcher block with granite. This would be better for Chuck to knead bread and roll out doughs. I asked my brother to build me a bookcase to go on the backside, I have many treasured cookbooks that don’t really have a proper home so I knew a bookcase would be better than more cabinets. As my brother is magical with wood things he created the perfect bookcase that fits exactly behind the existing cabinets. This gives us approximately 18 extra inches of counter!

We were lucky enough to find the perfect complimentary granite to what is alreadyin the rest of the kitchen. Extra lucky because it was a remnant! Installed at $50 a square foot. Normally this specific granite would have been $150 a square foot.

River Rock Granite, theres so many interesting rocks in it

Chuck used the electric components from the mixer motor to add 4 electric outlets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND…this is the same type of granite we had chosen to install in our beloved Michigan house. It was kismet.

island in Michigan

We also had enough of the remnant to do the counter in our laundry room/back door entryway. This really elevates this space. It now has a presence of all of its own that isn’t lost in the cabinetry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enough distraction. I’m going to need to be very stern with myself this week.  Knuckle down and finish at least a few of these WIPs. Maybe the scarves are the most realistic to finish. I really don’t want to work on them, I want to work on the newly started shawl of course.

We are expecting some high winds and flooding from Hurricane Florence. So we need to batten down the hatches today.  And maybe stock up on some supplies, like a generator.  Keep your fingers crossed thing slow down. or miss us completely. It looks like Stevie had more rain and flooding close to her than we have so far. luckily her house is high on a hill.

Happy knitting.

Family Time

When Chuck was looking for work one of the criteria was being closer to family. Right now I’m feeling we won the jackpot in Virgina. We have seen Stevie and Matt more this year than I ever could have hoped. They live less than 3 hours from us and that has afforded trips, for us there and them here, many times already this year. Not to mention it’s doable to co-vacation, such as Myrtle Beach and our upcoming trip to Michigan.

When Hanna decided to come here from Oklahoma and Charlie with Rick from Michigan, Stevie and Matt quickly made time to come, too. Which meant we had all of our kids together for the second time in the last year! Considering this had happened only 3 times in the previous 7 years it is pretty amazing! And I feel very blessed indeed.

We didn’t do tourist things while the kids were here. The only event we attended was the neighborhood Queen’s Lake Day. Instead we hung out, talking by the fire pit (which Chuck and my brother made this spring) doing basic -I wish I could everyday- relaxing and ate lots of really good home cooked food. There was plenty of bacon and we were treated to an assortment of different biscuits made by Chuck and Matt to go with eggs and sausage gravy, all the biscuits were delicious.

 

My fantastic son-in-law, Matt, chopped a ton logs into manageable fire wood. He said he loves to chop wood, which I am eternally thankful for. It was quite impressive to watch. And watched he was, by Charlie from the hammock and myself from the comfort of a chair. I feel a little guilty about that, but he insisted, being the gentleman he is.

 

Charlie and Rick moved a “bigly” railroad tie that was far too heavy for just Chuck and Tim to move. Then they replaced it with the top step at the cottage that had rotted out, giving me and my broken foot much safer passage to and from the chicken coop.

The siblings will never be together enough in my lifetime, or theirs for that matter, but I will always treasure these times and I look forward to many more now that we are relatively closer. Who knows, perhaps we can do this every 6 months or so now. Christmas in Virgina has a nice ring to it. What do you guys think? Are you in? We have plenty of firewood for a Christmas morning fire in either or both of our fireplaces! As a side note; I need to take more pictures. I always forget to. I need to work on that.

 

We were treated to an impromptu concert by Rick and his ukulele and Tim and his guitar. Rick has a lovely voice and a passion for playing and encouraged Tim to work as a team, which isn’t always easy for either of them.

 

We also are very lucky to have had my mom join us the last day the boys were here. We played cards, Hands and Feet, which I haven’t played in forever. I needed the practice as we no doubt will play with my cousins Bill and Linda when we go home tp Michigan in a few weeks. I’m looking forward to that very much.

I’m working on finishing up some knitting projects that have been on the needles far too long so I can start a new longterm project and a new pair of socks. As I have a long car ride to Michigan coming up and I plan to make the most of that time knitting!

 

Enjoy your family. I know I do.

 

Queen’s Lake Day

We live in a neighborhood called Queen’s Lake. It’s a lovely community with different style homes all on large lots. The neighborhood is around a private lake named Queen’s Lake, and bordered by Quaterpath Park, the Colonial Parkway and Queen’s Creek (which isn’t really a creek it’s more of a river.) There are lots of great amenities and activities to be enjoyed daily, but the big event each year is Queen’s Lake Day.

The event is actually kicked off on Friday night with a lighted boat parade on the lake at 9pm Friday. Saturday is filled with a large variety of events. A few are the Triathlon, Water Polo, and scavenger hunt. The morning also has a bicycle parade. Kids and adults decorate their bikes in the them for the event. This year’s theme was West Side Story and was called East/ West Side Story in honor of our two sides of the lake, the streets are E Queens and W Queens.

He Is “Jets” fuel lol

“Sharks” were well represented

Being new to neighborhood we didn’t know what tp expect. Most the activities took place in the common area where the pools, marina, playgrounds and tennis courts are. I have to say I had no idea how well attended the events would be.  The place was packed! And I love that everyone wished each other a “Happy Queen’s Lake Day.”

There are 3 meals catered and at $10 bucks each it seemed like quite the deal. They also had a beer truck and soda tent all day.  We didn’t take part in all the events but we definitely enjoyed the drinks and the corn-hole tournament the most. Chuck and Charlie made it all the way to the final round, finishing up in second place! Go team. Rick and Matt lowered the levels in the beer supply happily.

Charlie and Tim in the foreground

Chuck and Rick here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim really enjoyed the pool more than cron hole. I think my favorite thing was the greased pole. Yes, the greased pole. There is a pole, maybe 25-30 feet high, that has been greased and a token placed at the top. As the day progresses and no-one makes it to the top there is more prize money added, at one point I heard it was $150.  I didn’t take part personally,  but it was entertaining watching all the teenagers problem solve and work as a team to get to the top.  After 3 or 4 hours of watching them they finally made to the top to claim their prize just before I headed home. I was lucky to have seen them make it to the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all it was a pretty good day and I think my kids enjoyed themselves, too. I’m looking forward to next year!

 

Happy Queen’s Lake Day!

 

 

Hydrengea Shawl

It’s finished! I finished the shawl in what feels like super fast amount of time. This was a really fun knit, Chevron Shenanigans by Stephen West. I love chevrons as a rule and this one with short rows was rather interesting. I also am still crushing on the whole fading of colors still. Did I mention I’m knitting my 3rd Find Your Fade?

This shawl has an I-cord edging and an I-cord bind off which I also really enjoy working.  I-cords give very nice clean edges. I worked the cast off with a size 7 needle which is 2 times larger than what I worked the shawl in. I wanted to be sure there was plenty of length so it wouldn’t pull awkwardly.  Even with this larger needle it is just slightly not loose enough. It’s going to pass but I would’ve liked to create a larger curve than I was able to when I blocked it.

 

I’m very pleased with the way the colors worked out. I generally don’t like purple but this is a bit on the grey side so it works for me. My favorite of the 5 colors is the dark blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll touch on my Hydrangea plants a moment. And they are just plants….All the flowers have been eaten! We have many deer frequenting our front yard and gardens. I don’t really mind as I like to watch them, there’s a bit of a thrill every time I see one. I have moved a few of the more desired plants to the back yard, such as Day-lilies, but I hadn’t realized they would like the Hydrangeas. These were planted by the previous owners so I assumed they were of little interest to the deer. Apparently that is not the case.  I’m pondering whether these should be relocated or not. Maybe the pink blooms aren’t tasty but with the addition of the fertilizer and coffee grounds the blue ones become delicious?  I’ll have to see what my mom thinks about that. She’s coming next Tuesday, which is pretty exciting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend all 6 of our kids and the son in-law will be here visiting. This is very special as we don’t often all get to be together at the same time.

 

It also happens to be Queens Lake Neighborhood’s big weekend. There are so many events and activities going on. I hope to get to see some of them. There will be a Corn Hole Tournament which we do enjoy. Perhaps we will have time to at least watch a bit if not actually participate. Plus there is a Bike Parade and Dinner at the pool with a live band. We probably will have no problem seeing the parade or hearing the band as we aren’t very far off the event location.

So looking forward to this weekend.

Happy knitting.

Yikes!

This past weekend we drove down to Myrtle Beach to spend the weekend with Chuck’s brother, Pete, and his family. Stevie and Matt drove down with us making the weekend even better.

We spent most of Saturday at the beach. Tim absolutely loved being out in the waves. It was a red flag day at the beach so there were plenty of big waves. Stevie was in need of the extra vitamin C and spent the day with Chuck laying in the sun. Unlike Stevie, Chuck did not apply plenty of sunscreen and as a result was very sunburned.

I, having a broken foot, spent the day hanging out in comfy chairs under an umbrella. Matt and I did a good job of distracting each other from our second choice books. He was reading something important and educational, I was reading a book loosely based on a series of real murders that happened many years ago on the Colonial Parkway right where I live. It’s not that the book isn’t good rather I’m way into the 5th book of the Outlander series and that is what I need to be reading. It’s on my Kindle and I didn’t want to risk sand exposure.

 

The drive to Myrtle Beach is about six hours and with Chuck driving I was able to power right through the dark blue on My Hydrangea Shawl. I am officially on the last color. Two more sections to go then the arduous task of an I-cord bind off.  The bind off will be more than 1500 stitches. It will take awhile. As incentive last week I picked out two more skeins of yarn to go with the 3rd find your fade shawl I started many months ago. I will start working earnestly on that once this shawl is done.

 

Let’s talk about Bird Watch 2018. I’m down to two nests. The 3rd hanging basket nest, that has House finches in it, is coming to a close. Yesterday I noticed all the little birds fluttering around but not completely moved out of the nest. There have been 4 babies testing their wings and at least one adult, maybe two, feeding the babies.  Today when I watered the plant all but one baby flew up into the tree.

 

 

The next bit is sad. I hesitate to even mention this one [because I don’t like it] but I think I need to say it so I can find peace.  Be advised it’s ugly.

Yesterday I saw the 4 House Finch babies looking for mom with food. They were mostly feathered and getting bigger by the day. A couple weeks behind the other babies in the hanging pot. I meant to go out and take a picture but got distracted and never did. This picture is from Friday before we headed to the beach.

 

 

With my foot being broken Chuck is doing a lot of the chores I usually do. This includes watering. We have beautiful pots full of petunias and marigolds and snapdragons. But they require lots of hand watering. Anyway……Last night after dinner Chuck was out watering, he watered the front pots, grabbed the box on the porch from Amazon and reached for the door handle. YIKES! There was a snake climbing up the door’s side windows! CLIMBING UP THE FRONT DOOR!!!! He regrouped his thoughts, took a picture and sent it to me. I’m not proud and therefore will tell you my reaction was probably too dramatic! As I called for “OFF with it’s HEAD!” Max calmly inspected it from inside the house while Chuck did the same from outside. Their goal was not to kill it, regardless of my opinion, but to identify it. They googled, looked it up in my Reptile Book and talked to others.

 

Chuck, Max, Stevie and Alvin (Chuck’s BBF) all agreed it was a Rat Snake and “They are a good snake to have around.” Max relocated the snake from the door to the yard. Knowing the snake would have a one track mind and a guaranteed meal waiting in plain sight this probably wouldn’t be enough to save my baby birds. Chuck did offer to move the wreath to a hanging hook. I didn’t think the nest wouldn’t withstand the move as most of its architecture was supported by the door so I said to leave it.

This morning I went out and checked. All the little babies are gone. No proof of what caused their disappearance. Maybe it was fairies that took the birds to go live in a charming glen somewhere. But most likely it was a Rat Snake. Should I have let Chuck risk the nest falling apart to move it? Perhaps. Should I have put the babies into a box and fed them myself with smashed chicken feed until they were strong enough to fly off? Perhaps. But neither of things things happened. And I’m sure the Rat Snake is very satisfied with his evenings result.

Mean while I am contemplating why I moved to a place that not only has Rattle snakes but also Cotton Mouth snakes just to name a few.  We’ve already had ticks on the dogs and myself and Chuck seems to be popular with the Chiggers. I never felt as in danger living in the desert as I do now in Virginia……..

I think I’ll stay inside and knit.

Happy Knitting.