Sunday, March 8, 2020


It has been a long time since I have been here, but I have made some progress on my sweater:

It's sort of weird looking, but it hasn't been blocked and that won't happen until I have finished knitting the whole thing. I did start a sleeve, picking up live stitches and casting on about eight more for the required total of 62 stitches.

Then I started knitting, and according to the pattern, I should be decreasing two stitches every 8 rows. I did that and then tried on the sweater. The sleeve was very form fitting, skinny, narrow, tight, all of those things.  

So I performed what I call a "Sally™,"which involves yanking the needles out of live stitches and pulling out row after row after row. I’ve seen Sally do this over and over, and each time, any knitters present, including yours truly, gasp. It will all unravel. She will lose stitches and NEVER get them back, we all fear.

She has never had anything unravel that she didn’t want to unravel, and she doesn't lose stitches, at least not in the presence of other knitters. ( We don’t know what happens at home.)

I pulled back row after row, and then stitch by stitch, took back the first row that I had made decreases in. I came out with the right number of stitches, and, my theory is, that I can just work with that number of stitches, no decreases, and keep trying the sweater on.  If it looks as if I can make some decreases further down the sleeve, in order to have the right number of stitches for the ribbing section, then that’s what I will do.

I probably ought to write down what I do so that I end up with two identical sleeves, right?

Monday, January 27, 2020

I am struggling along on the Throwback sweater, sweating and swearing (quietly) as I knit the rows that use three colors. True fair isle, I am told, does not ever use more than two colors, and I swear, as doG is my witness, that I will never do three-color stranding again.  The yarn gets more twisted than you can imagine, and I can't find a way around it.

This is nothing like the worst of the tangling.  

People who have seen me work on this have noted that I take more time untwisting yarn as I knit a row than I do actually knitting.  I'm sure it's true.

However, I have no problem purling the wrong side of the sweater while I am stranding two colors, and people on Ravelry and in person have said that purling stranded knitting is really difficult.  I find it pretty easy, which probably means I'm doing it wrong, but it's turning out ok.

Yesterday I had only two rows of three-color knitting to do, but after I finished the second row, I found a mistake halfway across the first row.  I had to take a row and a half out, just when I thought I had finished with the most difficult of the knitting.  The rest would be a breeze.  

So I start over with three colors today, sweating and swearing (maybe not so quietly), hoping for the best.  

In other news, I bought this good-looking cat tree.  It's so much nicer than the one we've been using.  No thick carpeting to hold onto hair and barf.  Easier to take care of.  All wood, so sturdy.  The last cat tree we will ever need, I told my husband.  He spent an hour and a half putting it together. The cats don't like it.  

I'm hoping they will eventually learn to love it, but so far, nope.  I even squished Baxter's old cat bed into the bottom to replace the white fluffy faux fur pillow.  (White?  What were they thinking?)

ODC cats, right?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Look at Me!

I am fair-isle-ing!!!  (not a word, until today)

I didn't think I could do it, but apparently I can!  Knitter/needlepointer Elizabeth told me to keep the old yarn on top as I went from color to color, and that's what I did.

Yay me!

Saturday, January 18, 2020


One of these things is exactly like the other.

Do you see the two identical halves of a snap?  Yes, yes you do.

I carefully cut off the hand-sewn half on the knitting, flipped it and re-sewed it.

Now I have this.

The snap is a clever way to attach the pom-pom to the hat, but I think I prefer the elastic loop method, where the elastic is pulled through the top of the hat and then buttoned around a, well, a button.  Less sewing.

I played yarn chicken with this project because I was using left-over yarn from the second Cowboys and Angels wrap.  I both won and lost.

I still had rows to go before I could start the decreases and I gambled that I could make it because I had made the ribbing section shorter in order to save yarn.  

As it turned out, I bet I could have knit several more rows of ribbing and still made it, so I sort of lost, even though I won and didn't run out of yarn, because now I have so little yarn left over that there's nothing to do with it.  I should have knit on.

And because it's raining and cold today, I finished my socks as well.

It's a good day for hand knit wool socks.

Now, unless I can come up with another knitting distraction, it's on to the sweater.  I've only had the yarn for a year and a half.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

So It's Been Awhile

So here's an update.  Yes, the bathroom project in the previous post is finished.


I am back to knitting, working on some socks

String Theory Colorworks, colorway Inertia

and a hat (that I am probably going to run out of yarn for) in order to continue avoiding the sweater project I'm intimidated by. The Throwback by Andrea Mowry.  

With these colors:

As I was shopping on wandering around the internet today, I found these bobbins:

Photo by Crafty Flutterby Creations

Aren't they cute?!

And I NEED them, right, for the areas where I don't have to carry a lot of yarn.

I suppose I could have gotten by without them, but why do that?  They will be on their way on Monday.

I do hope they are coming on a slow boat  from China.  

Sunday, December 8, 2019

So, is the Bathroom Project Finished Yet?

No.  No it is not.

On the good news front, it didn't require cutting away drywall to put in more backer board. The board that was there was large enough to provide support for the new sink.


painting, which began over three weeks ago, is not yet finished.

New sink, new outline.  And yes, there is wall paper under all the layers of paint.


Friday, December 6, 2019


Returning to the mission creep episode, nope, the project will not be finished today.

It seems that the new sink is just enough taller than the old one that it requires installation of new backer board, which means cutting away some of the freshly painted drywall and then patching the drywall and re-painting the drywall and then installing the sink.


Mission Creep

Because there were just the two of us for Thanksgiving, we (meaning I) decided that the half bath on the first floor needed re-painting.  We (meaning my husband) had previously painted it in a semi-gloss paint.  It was too shiny, reminding me of what might be used in a run-down gas station bathroom, a bathroom that might need scrubbing down.  I'm not imagining why that might be necessary.

Anyway, when we were re-doing the bathroom upstairs, a salesperson at Sherwin-Williams told me about the matte finish they sell.  Not quite flat, not quite semi-gloss.  It was just right. So I took everything off the walls, bought the paint and off we (meaning my husband) go.

Painting is finished.  Hmmm... maybe we should get a more modern, low-flow toilet.  Off to Lowes and Home Depot.  Found one, bought it, installed it, and done.

But we needed new faucets to "update" the sink.  Off to the Lowes and Home Depot, bought new stuff, and when my husband tried to un-install the old plumbing stuff (I don't know what that entails) he discovered that the sink had a couple of cracks in it, all the way through.  Apparently that happened because the plumbers, 30 years ago, used something resembling concrete to install the plumbing, and hammering that away broke the sink.

By the way, we are three weeks out from when we started this project.  

Off to Lowe's and Home Depot. Again. Buy a new sink, and maybe later today, everything will be finished.

Cross your fingers, ok?

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Come On Over for Dinner!

Tonight, for the first time ever that I can remember, I decided to make a standing rib roast for dinner. There are only two of us, so I bought a two-pound roast.  How difficult could this be with the help of the internet?

Recipe:  Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees/20 minutes per pound.  EASY!!!

1st step:  450 deg:  15 minutes

2nd step:  350 deg:  20 minutes.  Instant read thermometer reads 55 degrees.  OK, maybe that's ok.

3rd step:  350 deg:  20 minutes.  Instant-read thermometer reads 71 degrees.  OK?  Seems odd.

4th step:  350 deg:  20 minutes.  Instant-read thermometer reads 79 degrees.  WTH? (Not quite what I said)

5th step:  350 deg:  25 minutes.  Husband is closer to the oven, he checks the thermometer, thinks that this doesn't make any sense because it's still not over 100 degrees.

He flips the thermometer over.  It's set for Centigrade.  I didn't even know that was an option and I've had the thing for a couple of decades.  AND I have no idea how it got set to centigrade.

The temperature in Fahrenheit:  190 degrees.

It wasn't charred, but it sure was well, well done. 


Monday, November 4, 2019


I'm just wandering around in my mind because I don't feel like getting organized, so here are my rambles:

My two daughters and I went to Ireland, had a great time, saw the usual places and some new ones.  

I learned the value of really good car rental insurance.  I have no problem driving on the left side of the road while seated on the right side of the car, and oddly enough, I am a champ at parallel parking.  I DO have a problem with tiny parking spaces in parking garages, and I scrubbed the left front of the rental car on a concrete post in a garage in Galway.  There were two narrow spaces between two large posts and that's where I had the problem; when I returned the car, no problem.  Phew.  Also, the car was a Toyota hybrid, which I think means a Prius, and I loved it.  Used not a lot of gas for a lot of driving.

We found the church in Garvagh where my paternal grandmother was baptized in 1881. She moved to the US in 1905 and died here in 1953.  I only met her once and I was not even five yet so I only vaguely remember her.  I have tried without success to get her birth certificate but I just found my grandfather's bc and it is on its way to me.  If I can get his death certificate, I can apply for Irish citizenship.  

Isn't it pretty!

I need my grandfather's social security number to apply for his death certificate, and I have no idea if he even had one, and if he did, how to find it.  More research ahead.  I have no idea why I would want an Irish passport, or what I would do with it.  But I'm stubborn enough to think that if I CAN have one, I SHOULD have one.  

We had fish and chips, of course, several times. And, of course, Irish stew, and of course, Guinness.  Or at least, I did.  

Because one of my daughters had been to Ireland before, and I had been there twice before, some destinations were a repeat for one or both of us, but everything was a first for older daughter.  A special treat for all of us was Newgrange.  

It was built in about 3200 BC and is an example of very early genius engineering.  It's quite small inside and the ceiling is amazing---slabs of rocks arranged and stacked to form a dome, and the builders knew to slightly tilt the rock towards the outside of the structure so that rain would not get inside---and it hasn't in all these centuries.  Soil is mounded up over the rock portion so it looks much larger than the inside actually is.  Archaeologists aren't sure what the structure was used for, but during winter solstice, at sunrise, light comes inside through the window above the doorway and lights up the path to the center of the round space where we gathered, only fifteen of us at a time.  

In Galway I bought another cabled sweater.  What Georgia resident doesn't need even more wool clothing?

And speaking of knitting, since I returned home, I have finished two more projects:

A second Cowboys and Angels

And another pair of socks.  (Magpie yarn)

And now, for something completely different, this explains where ghosts come from, but now that Halloween is over and the ghosts are gone, we are still left with the struggle to put duvets inside their covers.  I've gotten smart and let my husband do it.  He has come up with a technique that involves turning the cover inside out and then doing something that involves hanging the whole thing over the stairway railing.  I have not bothered to learn this technique.  

And speaking of Halloween, sort of, this is what is left of a bag of 90 assorted candies.  I had never heard of Starburst so I tried one.  The pieces look like bubble gum, but, SURPRISE, they aren't.  I'm not sure what they are; they aren't particularly sweet and I couldn't discern a flavor.  Sorry kids, but I'm sure you got some M&Ms, Twix and Three Musketeers I gave out in each handful of candy.

And, that's probably enough rambling for now. 

Thanks for reading, especially if you made it to the end.  


Sunday, August 11, 2019

My Very Own Pool.

Monday starts my favorite season---kids go to school and I pretty much have the pool to myself.  Here is a re-run of the post I originally put up celebrating my very own pool.

Paradise is what our neighborhood pool felt like today. For some reason, once the end of summer vacation comes and the kids are all back in school, no one comes to the pool, and so I have it to myself. It was lovely this morning: the bluest, cloudless skies; no noise except for the birds and whatever the noisy insects in the trees are; perfect temperature and humidity; and the occasional, silvery corporate jet gliding noiselessly overhead, very high in the cloudless blue sky. I have said for decades that the only thing I would trade my soul for is my very own swimming pool. Natas, are you listening?

When I lived in Florida, I was a regular long-term substitute teacher in a school for the gifted. It was a separate facility, on its own campus, and the students had to meet IQ and other ability requirements to qualify for the school. The kids were amazingly bright, smarter than most of the teachers probably, and teaching there required that the teacher’s ego could stand knowing that if a student questioned something, it was OK to say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out.” We couldn’t fool these kids. Since it was a separate school, the kids weren’t bullied by the types of people who would call them “geeks” or “nerds.” They may have called each other that at times, but all in teasing fun. They tended to spark off each other so classes were never dull and it was a blast to teach there.

One student has stayed in my memory. His name was Pete, but when I took over the class for the remainder of the year at the start of second semester, I couldn’t figure out who he was; he signed his papers “Natas.” I asked Natas to let me know what his real name was so that I could record his grades correctly in the grade book. Turns out, he was signing "Natas" because that is "Satan" spelled backwards. It was meant to shock, I’m sure, but I just said “OK.” Let’s just say that Pete was dancing to his own music. He was sort of Goth before Goth was even in existence and occasionally got in trouble for his behavior and his appearance, but all in all, he seemed like a nice kid. His poor father was called in once for a conference after Pete had done something wrong, and he certainly was rattled by his son’s behavior. He said to me, “Do you know he signs ‘Natas’ on his papers?”

Well, yes I did, and I told him it didn’t worry me, that it was just meant to shock and it wasn’t working. He finally bought his son a computer (before the days when every home had one, let alone multiple, computers), hoping that using it would inspire better work. Oddly enough, Pete started signing his papers “Pete *anonymous*, 3rd.” I guess he liked how his actual name looked in print.

We teachers wondered what would happen to Pete. Would he end up a bored office worker? I hope not. I hope he’s found a creative and fun way to make a living, and is able to use his sort of odd outlook on life in a way that he and those around him can appreciate. It’s just one of those things I will probably never know….


What? Who’s there?

It's me, Natas. 
Huh? Wha…?

Quitcher bitchin. 

Didn’t you just go on and on about how no one is at the pool and the weather is perfect and blah, blah, blah? 
Well, yes.

So you already have your own pool. Stop bugging me. I don’t want your soul. Geeze, you’re practically circling the drain aren't you?
Uh, well, I hope not, but...
Well, you're old. So there's not much soul there for me to work with, right?
Well, Ohh...kay . I see your point.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

I'm So Smart!

I have this print hanging over our bed.

Isn't he a pretty peacock?  

He is ever so slightly off center.  I tried, but in spite of the several sets of nail holes behind the print, it is still slightly off center.  I was too lazy to measure, y'all, and I didn't.  I just kept making holes for the nails and n.e.v.e.r getting it quite right.

We are getting a new bed on Tuesday.

What does that have to do with anything? you ask.

Well, here's where I tap my head, acknowledging my stroke of genius.

Mattresses are heavy and I can't push the bed over to get it centered under the print, so when the mattress is OFF of the bed, before the new one is put ON the bed, I will, tah-dahmove the bed ever so slightly to get the bed and the print correctly centered.

Work smarter, not harder, says I.

My mama didn't raise many dumb children.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Dear Diary,

Dance as if no one is watching. check

Sing as if no one is listening. check

Write as if no one is reading. check!

That I can now do because I announced to the world in general that I was not writing any more posts, and so I imagine that no one gets notices that there is a new post, and yet here I am again. Talking to myself, as it were.

But I have knitting news and it has to go somewhere:

I'm working on my second Cowboys and Angels.  The first one came out really well and it was fun to make so why not make a second in a more neutral color?  So I am.  Also it serves to put off starting work on theThrowback Sweater.  It is going to be such a difficult knit because it involves stranding ON THE BACK SIDE, which I hear is torture.

I am also working on a pair of socks because having two WIPs definitely stops me from working on the sweater.

I'm using Knitjan's basic pattern, the only one I've ever used. (Magpie Yarns Swanky Sock, color Très Bien)

Swanky indeed; it has cashmere in it!  

So the yarn for the Throwback Sweater lies dormant, waiting for me to work up the desire to knit it.

Someday it might look like this:

A girl can dream.

Sunday, July 21, 2019


So I said that I wasn't going to post any longer, but then I finished this hat:

and realized that I had no place to brag about it put it to show it off.  It's about the millionth Lost Banner Hat by Susan B. Anderson that I've made. They are, as the Yarn Harlot would say, dead easy, so actually no bragging is legitimate.

The yarn is Malabrigo Washted in color Indonesia, and it's the softest hat I've made.

Yes, I could have posted this on good old FB, but I've read on Ravelry that people who do that sometimes get lots of gimmie replies---Can you make me a dozen or so of these hats for my cousin's ex-husband's daughter's ski team?  How do you say NO to that? 

Oh, yes. Nancy Reagan said: Just say "no."

I don't know if it works for drugs, but it should for crafts. 

Anyway, this is my hat for my Ireland trip with my daughters in the fall. They will be so jealous.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Nine hundred and ninety-three

993 is the number of posts I have put up. This makes 994. And I think it will be the last.

I got nuthin!

However, before I go, Thanks for reading!!!!!

I leave you with this:

My latest knit:

Cowboys and Angels by Isabell Kraemer

Photo from Isabell Kraemer 

It's knit from Malabrigo Rios yarn (color Frank Ochre) and I love knitting with it so much that I just ordered more to make another. The pattern is just slightly more difficult than easy, so it doesn't get boring.

AND---we have a bird maternity ward on a window ledge at our house. 

There is a fourth hatchling, but it's hiding.

The nest is on a ledge between a window and what had been the screen.  We don't have these blinds open often, so it wasn't until Molly kept sitting staring at the window that we looked and saw that birds had ripped out the screen all the way across the window and up to about 4 inches. Then came the nest. Then one blue egg. Then that egg disappeared, which was a mystery because the window is three stories up.  

Then four blue eggs and one speckled tan egg appeared.


$%^&*Cowbird!!!  Apparently the cowbird had checked out the nest and decided it was for HER egg. 

Cowbirds, parasites sort of, adapted to following buffalo across the plains in order to eat the insects the buffalo kicked up from the ground by laying eggs in other birds' nests; they couldn't stick around long enough to hatch their own. These eggs hatch sooner than most birds' eggs do, and so the nest-building parents, who apparently can't tell one egg from another, take care of the cowbird egg and hatchling as one of their own. The cowbird hatches first, grows faster, and probably gets most of the nutrition.

It is illegal to toss out the cowbird egg, and my husband read somewhere on the interwebs that tossing out the egg annoys the cowbird who laid it, and about 50% of the time, she comes back and destroys the remaining eggs. I have no idea if it's true, but I didn't want to risk it. 

So our cowbird was the first to hatch, the first to open his mouth to squawk for food, and the first to spread his wings and open his eyes. As the hatchlings get bigger, they take up more and more space, and I have no idea how the nest hasn't fallen out of the window.  

We'll enjoy watching the birds grow, and then fledge...

And then get the screen repaired.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Yay Me!

I rode my bike this morning all bah mahself!  I know what you're thinking---big deal. But it's the first time in years that I've ridden alone because of the time I fell and broke my wrist.

I always ride with my husband so that he can call 911 when I fall. He is in SC today, so I rode with my trusty "Help I've fallen and I can't get up watch," and the phone it calls 911 from. So in that regard, I was prepared and ready to go.

However at about the 3/4 point of my ride, I had to stop and walk the bike over some curbs between neighborhoods, and I discovered that my kickstand was down.  Ooops.

It's a good thing I hadn't needed to make any sharp left turns, although, when I told my husband what I had done, he said that the kickstand would have gone up if it had hit anything.  I'm just glad I didn't have to learn that firsthand.

In other totally unrelated news, I am making this wrap out of exactly this yarn in exactly this color.  

Cowboys and Angels by Isabell Kraemer

It appears that I will do anything to avoid starting work on the Throwback fair isle sweater.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

What I Believe

 We can always learn something new if we just pay attention.

I've just finished reading Trinity by Leon Uris, about the history of Ireland from the 1840s (the famine years) through 1916 (the Easter uprising).  It's a horrible history, full of violence. I am still almost as confused by all of the various factions as I was before I read the book, and I learned that apparently people in Ireland believe, "In Ireland there is no future, only the past happening over and over."

Currently Ireland seems to be a happy, prosperous country, but the undercurrent of grievances still exists:
A sign in the lot we parked in outside the wall around Londonderry.  

Vandals from Republic of Ireland paint over the "London" portion of road signs.

Who knows what Brexit will bring, but I'm going back in the fall and I hope the British don't have a hard Brexit with hard borders.

Now for something completely different.

I listened to a podcast about auctioneering. One school for auctioneering takes twelve weeks, and students learn how to speak really, really quickly, how to make their tongue bounce off the roof of their mouth, how to say "got a bid" and "need a bid" so fast that the audience probably can't understand it. They learn how to read the audience so the auctioneer knows who among those signaling a bid is the most likely to make a higher bid. They are taught to somehow make a humming sound that runs through their whole routine, sort of mesmerizing the audience to continue to listen.  

Who knew?  Now you do.

And now something else completely different.

Jeff Bezos, the RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD, owner of Amazon and the Washington Post, was recently the victim of an attempted blackmail plot. Dick pics, no less.  No one wants to see those pics, thank you very much.

News stories say either his mistresses' brother or the Saudis hacked his phone to get the photos.  

Whatever.  But the stories also say that he and his traumatized girlfriend/mistress/future wife are now consulting with a psychic in Las Vegas to help them cope. A friend says that the psychic is very well known as a very good psychic and that she is quite expensive (so that proves she's good.)

Again, he is THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD and he's going to a psychic.