Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Albatross Around My Neck,

the thorn in my side, the burr under my saddle, the pea under my mattress.....whatever.

The Weekender sweater is finally finished.  I started it January 12th of this year, and now it's almost the end of November.  It's not that the pattern was a problem, but the yarn would not behave.  I bought it in 2014 and started other patterns a couple of times, then frogged them and put the yarn in time out.  The %^&*() swatches lied every time, and I was, as a result, always on the wrong size needles.  Finally I saw someone else using the same yarn, on size 8 needles, I liked the fabric, so that's what I've used and the sweater WILL FIT SOMEONE or else.

This is a horrible photo of it, but all photos of it all through the process have been horrible; the thing is cursed.  

Anyway, now my plan is to start on my first Fair Isle project.  I have almost no idea of what I'm doing but I figure between friends who are better knitters than I and frequent searches on YouTube, I can figure it out.  I hope.

However, I do have 6.7 oz of this yarn remaining.  Anyone want a hat?  The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, color Thistle.  The yarn is rustic and woolen spun, so that means it's light as air and pretty scratchy.

I should go into advertising.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


It's autumn and that means the deer have returned.

This year we have had as many as three multiple-horned bucks in our yard at the same time.  Odd that they are traveling together, I think, but I'm not an expert on deer.  For years, we haven't seen any deer, but now we see lots of them, including one year, a mother and THREE fawns.  They were so cuuuute...

There were three bucks in our back yard one afternoon:  a four-point, a ten-point and a twelve point.  They seemed to be peacefully co-existing until the ten-point walked TOO close to the larger buck.  Suddenly he stopped moving and the two of them stared at each other from about four feet apart.

I did not want a fight in my back yard which could result in an injured deer to deal with, and I was about to walk out on the deck to distract them, but suddenly the smaller deer blinked and backed off.  And then turned around to walk into my perennial garden and started munching.  


It's hopeless.  What the deer don't eat, the rabbits and squirrels do.

I do wonder if deer hunters get to see these large bucks as often as I do.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

For Knitters Only

Unless you are a non-knitter who is bored or someone who has a little free time to fill.

I am finally making progress on the sweater I bought yarn for in 2014.  I think it might even fit, miracle of miracles.

 However, when I got to the sleeve cuffs, the instructions said to use the Kitchener bind off.

Oh sure.  I'm on three needles, y'all.  How the $%^&* does that work? Do I need six needles???  Why not just tell me to fly a plane while I'm at it?  I don't know how to do that either. 

Google to the rescue.  I found a video on using the Kitchener bind off in the round, which is what knitting on three needles actually is.  

For those knitters out there, here it is:

It is genius!  And easy, as long as you pay absolute attention to what you are doing.  I had a couple of spots where I couldn't tell what I had just done, because I looked away AT THE VIDEO while I was knitting.  Don't do that.  Watch it, bind off a few stitches, and watch again if you need to.

I don't understand the technical part of knitting, so I could never have created the Kitchener stitch in the first place, and whoever figured how to do it in the round must have, as my grandson claims about himself, a very big brain.  (He's right about that, says doting grandmother.)

My finished result.  Not as smooth and perfect as the bind off in the video, but this is only my first attempt.  I have one sleeve to go.  Which I now must knit.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

I Baked!

I made oatmeal raisin cookies yesterday.  I almost never bake,  even when my grandchildren are here.  Youngest granddaughter loves to bake (she's 10) so I stand back and let her do it all.  She made cupcakes the last time she was here, using flat-bottomed ice cream cones for the baking cups.  

I buy cookies ready-made from the store.  I figure if I bake them, I'll eat them, so I buy them. And then eat them.  I might as well make my own.

Aren't they pretty? I used the recipe on the inside lid of the Quaker Oats container.

I had hoped that they wouldn't be as sweet as the store-bought cookies, but they are.  They are too sweet for me, so my husband will have to eat them all.

He won't mind.

On another topic, does anyone else love Abbott and Costello?  I came across video clips of them on You Tube where I was watching a cat video, as one does.  I remember them from when I was a kid. They were funny then, and they are funny now, in the old videos I mean, since they are dead now.  Poor Costello died in his fifties, and Abbott in his seventies.

This is their most famous bit:  Who's On First?

There are many, many more.  

Sunday, October 14, 2018


I might be making an ugly sweater.  

I bought the yarn in 2014, started another pattern twice, and am this far on my first attempt on the second pattern.  

It's supposed to look like this when it's finished:

It's The Weekender by Andrea Mowry, and I'm making it from Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter, which, I tell you, I will never knit with again.  It is beautiful, I love the rustic feel and look of it, and it's woolen spun so it's light as air, but it BREAKS.  Tug a little to pull the yarn through a stitch, and it BREAKS.  Pain in the you know where.

Anyway...mine looks like a big square with small holes for the sleeves.  I'm to pick up and knit 60 stitches around each armhole, but it's going to be a tight squeeze.

AND, do you see the line running up the middle of the front?  There is one in the middle of the back too.  A design element.  

This is mine:

It's all wobbly and the stitches to the left of the line are stretched out.

I always believe in the magic of blocking.

Sweet Mother of Purl, let it be so.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Hope Springs Eternal

so they say, and I'm back to working on the sweater I started years ago.  MANY years ago.  I bought the yarn while I was in Austin visiting Heather and her family.  I broke my ankle, and before I could get to a doctor to have my ankle put in a cast, I hobbled, using borrowed crutches, up the ramp to Hill Country Weavers to buy the hard-to-find Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn for a sweater.  I thought that if I waited until after getting the cast, the doctor would forbid me to walk any farther than into the airport to go home.  So I defied him in advance.

However, the yarn has gotten the best of me several times.  The first pattern I tried it for didn't work out, so I frogged all but the difficult twisted rib stitch bottom border and tried again using the same pattern.

Didn't work.  Frogged the whole thing and put all the yarn into a very extended, multi-year, time out.  Then I found another pattern, Weekender, by Andrea Mowry.  THEN I got to the short row section (shudder) and put the project into time out again.  

But now it's back and I'm ready for battle. I don't like short rows because I can't find the wrapped-and-turned stitch when I need to count from that stitch.  And on dark purple yarn it's even more difficult to find. But, clever me, I came up with a fix:  I put a removable marker at the w/t stitch, remove it when I get to it, and put the marker at the new w/t stitch.

Brilliant!  I bet no one has ever thought of this before.  (I'm told that yes, they have. But no one told me, so I still proclaim brilliance.)

Now I am knitting away, making progress thanks to Knit Companion.

I can keep track of multiple counts at once, and mark where I am so that if I put it in time out again (which I am determined not to do) I'll know where I am.  

So there's hope.  There's a light at the end of the tunnel.  And there's luck---the light isn't a train coming at me.  

Time will tell.  Any more clichés?

Future Sweater
The only problem now is that I have no idea if it will fit me or not.  I made, for the first time ever, multiple gauge swatches, washed them, dried them, counted stitches and picked the correct size needle to get the size sweater I wanted.  Then I started knitting.  The gauge swatch results did not match what was happening with the sweater fabric. Swatches lie, y'all! 

I saw what another knitter was using Shelter for, and I liked the fabric she was getting, so I switched to the size needles she was using.  I am throwing caution to the wind and not measuring gauge at all.  I have two daughters and three granddaughters, so my theory is that it will fit SOMEONE.

I will finish knitting the sweater, soak it, block it, and lovingly wrap it in tissue paper and put a yarn bow on it and tell the recipient that I made it for her. 

I'm a saint, I tell ya.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


Younger daughter recently returned from a trip to Scotland (where I am supposed to be RIGHT NOW by the way) and told us that Haggis was on most of the menus in places she ate.  I had thought that no one in the 21st century would still be eating it because 1. Yuck and 2. The Scots aren't down to the bare bones of the animals they eat and therefore didn't have to resort to eating sheep's lungs.  

However, Sarah said that judging from the accents of the diners eating Haggis, it was the locals, not curious tourists, who ordered it.

From A Classic Scottish Cookbook, originally published in 1907 as a fundraiser for the Highland Association, comes the recipe for Haggis:

What is "pluck" I asked myself.  Myself didn't know, so I asked the Googles:

So, it's the stuff "plucked" out of the poor sheep?  I guess so.

I don't know what the "lights" are and I don't want to know.  Eyeballs come to mind.

You don't see Haggis on menus here because  1. Yuck and 2.

Considering the pluck is legal, I don't understand why the sheep lung isn't, but that's ok, I'm not interested in eating any of the ingredients.

At least one Scott I came across on an internet discussion of Haggis is not a fan:

Friday, September 14, 2018

I Have the Best Friends!

As some of you know, I was supposed to be, AT THIS VERY MINUTE, in Scotland.  I was supposed to arrive there a week ago today, but due to confusing travel mishaps, I am home. 

So, no souvenirs you say?  

Hah! I do have souvenirs thanks to my knitting friends who gave me:

The shirt says:  Whatever is meant to happen to you will happen to you.  

Aha! That explains why I didn't end up in Scotland.  I must not have been meant to go there.

I wish I knew WHY!!!

My daughter just came back from a trip to Scotland, where for breakfast on an overnight train trip, she was served Black Pudding.  And she tried it, ick.

My new Scottish cookbook has the recipe for Black Pudding, and as I've mentioned in the past, I'm nothing if not generous, so here it is (you're welcome):

Two questions---where do I buy sheep's blood, and doesn't this get cooked at some point?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Before I didn't go to Scotland, I had decided to clean out our closets. 

So today, now that we are home from our not-Scotland trip, I started with the closet in the bedroom over the garage, the one that gets HOT in the summer. We have a closet in the basement that is almost empty, and is climate controlled like the rest of the house.  

My husband and I went through the clothes, put some in the car for Goodwill, and the rest went to the basement closet.  But when I finished cleaning the closet out, I realized that I had found multiple zippered plastic storage bags, the kind you get when you buy sheets and comforters.  I had put them in another plastic zippered storage container:

They were empty when I found them, and they still are, and I'm storing them?  

I think I've missed the point of cleaning a closet out.  

Does anyone need these?

Saturday, September 8, 2018

This is Me Today

Don't judge.

Have YOU ever flown to Newark and back in 24 hours for absolutely no good reason?

I have.  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Home Again. Home Again.

Wow. It feels as if it was just yesterday that we left home go on vacation in Scotland.

Wait! It was just yesterday.

Our luggage isn't here. But that fits in with the rest of the trip.

We shall not speak of this again.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Note to Self

If, in the future, you decide to knit any pattern that has the word "fade" in it, just buy the kit from Kitterly  You do not have the color skills that you think you do.

Notice the SUBTLE fade in this example.  

Free Your Fade by Andrea Mowry

But yours?

No subtlety.  

Just buy the kit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Made It! Sort of...

The hat is finished and is almost dry.  I made it with .3 oz to spare!

However, the hat seems very skimpy to me; it's only 7" tall. I've already ordered more yarn, two skeins this time, and I'll make the second hat with 4" of brim, and I'll make the large size, or the s/m size with one size larger needles.  Haven't decided yet.

Knitting, at least mine, is not a precise science.  That's why I tend to make sweaters that don't fit the original intended recipient. But maybe I should have taken a hint from the name of the pattern:  Ribs 'n Cables BEANIE.  Not Ribs 'n Cables HAT.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Stereotype, that's my blog!


Because it's mostly about knitting i.e. "Stories about crap somebody cooked, knitted, or sewed."  

Well, sorry about that. That's all I got.


I am currently playing yarn chicken with this hat:

Absolutely everything I have read on Ravelry about this hat assures me that I will not run out of yarn, and my digital scale tells me that I have enough, but I am really, really not so sure.  

This is the designer's photo of the finished hat:

I love it and I hope I have enough yarn because if I don't, I have to mail order more yarn, and WAIT for it to arrive, and as my family can tell you, I am an immediate gratification kind of gal.  If I do have enough yarn, the hat will be finished TODAY and that's my kind of timing.  However, this .8 oz of yarn is all I have left.

So if I've run out of yarn, maybe my next post will be about crap I've cooked because my poor Instant Pot is feeling neglected.  


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

How Could I Resist?

Look at this beautiful bottle of wine—-in my signature color! Is the wine any good? No idea. Loved the bottle.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Playing Detective

What I have been doing while I’m doing virtually nothing else, waiting for my sciatica to GO AWAY, is trying to find the documents I need in order to apply for Irish citizenship.  My father’s parents were born in Ireland and so I qualify for citizenship. I think. Americans are currently allowed to have dual citizenship with Ireland. I don't know of any logical or practical reason to get Irish citizenship; I just want to.

I met these grandparents only once when I was in early grade school, and my father didn’t talk about his family at all, so it’s been difficult to track people down. I have my grandparents’ marriage certificate, their death certificates; I just need their birth certificates. And there’s the problem. I cannot find the records online anyplace and I have read that they might have been burned in a fire in the building where records were stored in Dublin in the 1940s. I can’t find them in the records that survived, so—-dead end there.

While I was reading about the town my grandmother was born in, I came across a website for the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) in that town. I found their page on Facebook, sent a message to the organization, hoping that someone would answer, and someone named Monica did!  I explained what I was looking for and why, and she asked a friend about records at the church where the record would have been. The friend found the baptismal certificate and that cleared up my grandmother’s birth date. Monica then called the Vicar (I felt as if I were in a British mystery show—-a Vicar! in the cast) to fill out a birth certificate for me. The Vicar replied, “I don’t do that.”  

Alrighty then. While I was trying to figure out what to do next, I read on one of the many sites that discuss citizenship that the Irish government only accepts civil certificates, so the Vicar can stand down. I won’t pester her.

Now, on to my father’s father, who was from Northern Ireland. And that’s where I am now in my research, but I've also become curious about his brother, who moved with him from Ireland to New Zealand in 1905.  My father never talked about him except to say that he had moved to New Zealand and as far as he knew, had stayed there. My grandfather left NZ and came to the US, where he met my grandmother. She was from the Republic of Ireland and I bet they would never have met had they both stayed in Ireland, and the world would not have ME in it.  

I looked through military records in NZ and found my father’s uncle! He registered for service in 1917 and I now have his regiment number and access to the paperwork he signed when he joined the military. How about that!  

But that’s as far as I have gotten with him. His name was William Moody, no middle name, and there were dozens of William Moodys in New Zealand in the early 1900s. Dead end. For now. I am stubborn.

So back to searching for my grandfather’s birth certificate. He was either born in Ireland or Scotland, so this may not be a successful search.  

While I was working on all of this, my sister sent me a letter written in 1936 by my grandfather's sister in Ireland to my grandparents, then living in Pennsylvania. Most of it is just the usual--- weather, illnesses, family news, but one section deals with royal gossip:

The Free State (the part now known as the Republic of Ireland, where my grandmother's family lived) was delighted about the (King, ex) affair. It showed him up well. N. Ireland and England were disgusted at the course he took. Yes, you would think that the Ex King would have been an example to his Empire in his love affairs. There was terrible talk about him for a long while now. He had spent his last two Summer holidays with Mrs. Simpson. However he is off now, never to enter England again. Can you tell me if she is a Roman Catholic, we hear she is? (She was Episcopalian) 

Reading contemporaneous reaction to what I watched on The Crown and of course, learned about in school, was fun.  

But I wonder, when we write letters, if we still do, do we expect that they will turn up a century or more later in the hands of great-great-great whoevers?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Where Have I Been?

Many, many people (none) have been asking where has Knittergran been?  What has she been doing?

So here is the answer.

Nothing, nowhere, nada.

I have been fighting sciatica for going on six weeks now. What a PAIN, literally. I have of course heard of sciatica, and I had thought that it was something to treat with some Advil and heat or ice and stretching, and the next day, BOOM, all better. Uh, no.

I have been examined, x-rayed, MRIed, injected, drugged, and physical therapied. And I'm still in PT. So I haven't been doing much at all. Not even knitting.  

I KNOW! How can that be?  

Anyway, enough whining. The weekend before the sciatica kicked into high gear, I bought an electric bike. The hills in this neighborhood preclude my riding out of here to get anyplace I want to go (i.e. my ultimate goal: the post office). I have to put my bike on the rack or whatever it's called on the Miata and drive to someplace to ride. Seems to defeat the purpose of riding a bike, right?

I don't know how this will work out because I HAVEN'T RIDDEN THE BIKE YET. My husband, older daughter and grandson have. They like it. I hope I do, but I am a bit suspicious that really, an electric bike is just an electric wheelchair in the shape of a bike.  I'm told that I will still have to pedal, but I don't know that because I HAVEN'T RIDDEN THE BIKE YET. (Still whining, sorry)

Generic e-bike.  Is it a bike or is it a wheelchair?

On the knitting front, I was still working on the Free Your Fade, but I haven't touched it until today when I took a photo of it. So it's a work in progress. Maybe this week....

Meanwhile, younger daughter has suggested that I knit her a Fair Isle sweater and when I protested that it would take me forever, she said that it was better that I knit her a Fair Isle sweater than that I knit all of the scarves and small projects that I make.  She is right, I suppose, but I am really bad at stranded knitting, and I hardly ever make sweaters that actually fit correctly, so it seems like a bad idea all around.

She wants one of these.  She too could have an ugly sweater:

Even Paul McCartney wears Fair Isle, or at least, he did once upon a time in black-and-white land.

My daughter is going to Scotland in August, and she says if I won't make her one, she'll buy a Fair Isle sweater there. Well, THAT'S a threat. hahaha

I say Go For It!