Friday, February 26, 2021

A room of one's own

I decided I wanted a tv in the knitting room, where we also have the guest bed/nap bed. Just a little tv to watch while I knit. So while I was at Walmart I looked for a small one and this 40" was the smallest. Seems to me that it is not very small. But the price was under $200, and I have been saving my knitting money, swearing to not buy any more yarn with it, so I figured why not? When I got it home I realised that it was too wide to fit any table or shelf in the house. Back to Walmart to find a solution. Why Walmart? Well, this was just supposed to be a quick little adjustment, and nothing important...heh heh, little did I know what this would lead to. 
As you can see it led to bookcases, two, which required assembly, something I am quite experienced at, having been a devotee of IKEA lo these many years. These are very similar to IKEA Billys and didn't require two hours there and back to buy them, since my closest IKEA is Atlanta. And of course I had to get a few of these nice fabric pop up boxes that were made to fill the cubbies. The assembly was aided by my purchase of a complete set of screwdrivers, which I have hidden in my knitting drawer so they are there when I look for them...and you can guess why. 
I put felt stick on pads on the bottom so I can move them around without scratching the floor, and you know they have been moved around already a couple of times, to find just the right place.

Since I have the tv, I moved my fave knitting chair out of the living room and into the knitting room, and now have the right lighting and a side table for my cuppa, and then I was happy. 

But wait, there's more...This room is adjacent to the bathroom, and just a few steps away from our master bedroom. Lately Dave has been having very weird nights. He talks out loud in his sleep, which then becomes a yelp or scream accompanied by lots of thrashing about. I tolerated it for a long while, but it really ruined me during the day because I would wake up and then try to go back to sleep only to be reawakened over and over again. He slept through it all and didn't know he was doing it. Crabby became my constant state and I would have to retreat to take a nap for hours almost every day. So as I looked at the nice room I had made for knitting and napping, I thought...why not clear it of everything that isn't mine, and call it my new bedroom. YES! So major closet and bookshelf, guitars and small chests of drawers moving took place over two days and now I have made it a perfectly Melody sanctuary. I slept so much better, even tho I still get up and dose him every two or three hours, but I can do that sorta without waking up. 
And I can't hear his vocalizing or yelling and that really makes a huge difference for my sleeping. And only one little dog sleeps with me here!

I am so much more my old self now and even Dave has noticed. Where is that short tempered complaining harridan? Gone!

And Dave now has the whole master bedroom for all his stuff, guitars, tools, etc. So we are both happy. Yay!!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowl #6

Keeping on with knitting these fun cowls. . . This one includes Rios, Silky Merino, Rastita, Chic Sheep, and Mochi Plus. I haven't lost interest, and thinkin' this may be my most fave thing I have knit in ages. It may be because I can use all the great yummy yarns in my stash, until the last little bits are left. 

A couple of variegated yarns make this look a bit more complex but the solids offer a clear look, and then the gradient yarns bring it all together. 

By the way, I got these rubber tiles to use for blocking. They make all the difference in the look of the final product.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Winter Fuel

It's been a while since I reminded you of the dish to get you through these terrible winters. Mom's Famous 3 Beans and Sausage Ragout. (the name changes everytime). This dish is so famous that it escaped notice of my little sister Brooke. By the time she was of age, Mom wasn't so poor and dishes like this rarely appeared. But THIS STILL WORKS. 

 Begin with a pound of Italian sausage, which you brown off, the darker the better. I like mine purchased as bulk so I don't have to take it out of the skins. I usually can't find Hot, but sweet works anyway because I add a liberal amount of crushed red pepper flakes. To the sausage, add large chunks of onion and bell pepper, a bay leaf and lots of chopped garlic. Top that off with an entire bottle of spaghetti sauce. We like Prego but anything will do, including chunky. 

Then add a can each of Northern Beans, Cannellini Beans and Garbanzo Beans, and just stir them into the mix. If you like, add a bit more oregano and if you're feeling gourmet, grind in some fennel seed. What an aroma!

Let simmer until you wake up from your nap. We escaped the bad wearhter here, and just had rain. Today the sun is blazing and it looks like Spring could arrive at any moment. Felicidades to y'all who are still shiverin' and shovelin'.
 To accompany this stickum to um-ribs meal bake up some crunchy bread and pour a tall glass of red. Forget Winter, and be glad your fat pants still fit.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowl #5

Who knew purple and green would be so popular? I have just finished #5 and taken an order for a similar version for #6. My enthusiasm has not diminished one bit. I love this combo too, and the knitting is wonderful since the yarns are sooooo soft. 

I am using Mochi Plus, Silky Merino, Rios, Boreal and Ice Merino. All yummy on the hands.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowl #4

Today's cowl uses one predominate yarn, Boreal by Premier yarns in the Tundra colorway. It is a gradient from purple to magenta to green, to gray green. I added some medium purple and some really deep dark purple to the mix to contrast. 

The camera doesn't show how truly deep these colors are. So here they have a pastel look which is not really the case. You just have to trust me. The darkest purple I used was almost black so the camera couldn't 'allow' that to register. I also added three ridges of garter between each set of dots and dashes and that added to the overall length of the cowl. 

I wish I had more of this kind of gradient yarn as it makes the whole thing so cohesive. I tried to get more from someone on Ravelry who was selling it, and then she changed her mind and decided to keep it. Of course it is a discontinued product. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowl #3

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a pink version of the Dots and Dashes Cowl. This one includes the following yarns:
Inca Gold merino in red
Great American Yarns Superfine merino and Silk  in pink
Zara DK merino in pink
Zauberball Crazy wool and nylon graduated pinks
Malabrigo Arroyo 
 Chic Sheep merino in Dragon Fruit (!)
My hand dyed speckled sock yarn, held double and Stunning and Single, also hand dyed in pinky white.

While knitting this cowl I watched Youtube knitting videos and got inspired to organize my yarn stash. Would you believe there are about 15 different knitters who have vlogged about getting their stash under control, and of course they had way less yarn than I have. So guilt set in and the time was right to do mine.
This was my yarn stash three houses ago, and was greatly reduced when I gave a huge amount to our church yarn collection. I got rid of a lot of acrylics, cottons, and scratchy wools. It seemed to have not made a dent when I was finished, so then I sold a bunch off from the blog, and what happened next...I bought more yarn. Geessh!
This time I began looking for more containers, but whoa! no, this wasn't gonna help. What I really needed was to redistribute it all into bins of like fibers, weights or brands and then using a whiteboard marker, I wrote the contents on the bins. The most important thing I learned from the videos was to consider using the under bed space to store these remaining bins. I had previously kept my yarn in the cold, really badly lit garage, and that is not conducive to finding just what I needed. I've done that now, and feel so satisfied. There are still a few bins in the garage, but so much easier to see what those hold. Looking at this photo, I really do have a much smaller stash and what is currently in use is a much better quality than the quantity version shown here. I am a certified yarn snob.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowl #2

Here's we go! I have had orders for seven of these, o my! This one is going to the first person on my list, as it should be. But first I must admit I made several errors in writing the pattern and caused a ton of trouble and I apologize profusely. It is so simple,  so not paying close attention, I blithely wrote all sorts of wrong directions which are now completely fixed...I hope. 

 The colors are teal, turquoise, royal blue, purple, lime and olive with a gradation from teal to pecan. The yarns are all merino or merino and silk, and several are my recently hand dyed. Had to try them out here.
I especially enjoy choosing beads to make the pin. 

 This is a detail of the seam line.

 The teal and the turquoise are the newly dyed silky merino by Malabrigo. 

My next colorway is PINK, with light to dark varieties. So appropo for Valentine's Day coming up. 
The cowl takes about an hour and a  half per section (five sets of dots and five sets of dashes) which helps pass the time as I wait for my sister to be done with physical therapy. I am her Uber, 😁

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Dots and Dashes Slip Stitch Cowl and Free Pattern

I'm often asked where I buy my yarn, especially now when all the yarn stores near me are simply GONE.  Of course, all is not lost, since there is the wonderful Ravelry feature of Trade or Sell and it is easy to find great yarn at 'reducing my stash' prices. Far be it from me to let a bargain slip through my fingers, and so here is a sample of the newest yarns I got from Ravelers willing to share. Mostly Malabrigo, in Rastita, Silky Merino, Arroyo and a few bits from my own stash. This light blue Silky Merino was dyed by moi last week. I gathered colors together that are a bit of a departure from my usual palette, as one must venture forward for the thrill of new ideas.

Using the slip stitch pattern again to test out how well colors combine, and to have the experience of using the new yarns in small amounts to see how they knit up. So yummy. If you are a new knitter or an old hand like me, it really pays to use really nice yarns as the knitting is so much more enjoyable and then the finished product is better too. Why did it take me this long to figure this out? 
I included a shawl pin which is totally unnecessary, but fun to make anyway. What I love about cowls is that they are a scarf that doesn't fall off into the puddle and then get walked on. Such a good solution. ... And in this case, because it is knit from multiple sets of yarns, placing the favored color where it is most pleasing is an easy choice.

So I encourage you to dig out a bunch of orphan balls and try this simple pattern to experiment with yarn and color. It works with pretty much any weight of yarn. Suggestions: Merino or merino and silk in Sport or Dk and size 5 needles, or Worsted/Aran with size 8 needles. Fingering with size 3 needles.  Only one color is used per round, making this a very relaxing knit. When slipping stitches, take care not to pull working yarn too tightly behind the slipped stitches. If you don't knit, you can purchase this one (including pin) from fibermania at g mail dot com for $40 including shipping. Email me. SOLD

Here's the pattern

Dots and Dashes Slip Stitch Cowl


MC main color

C1 color #1

K knit

P purl

Sl 1 slip one

WYIB with yarn in back...WYIF with yarn in front

The Slip Stitch Dot Pattern

Rows 1 With MC, K all sts.

Row 2 Purl

Row 3: Switch to C1, *K1, Sl1 WYIB; rep from * to end.

Row 4: *P1, Sl1 WYIF; rep from * to end. 

Rows 5 With MC, K all sts. 

Row 6 Purl

Row 7: Switch to C1, *Sl1 WYIB, K1; rep from * to end. 

Row 8: *Sl1 WYIF, P1; rep from * to end. Rep Rnds 1-8 for pattern.

The Slip Stitch Dash Pattern

Rows 1 With MC, K all sts.

Row 2 Purl

Row 3: Switch to C1, *K2, Sl2 WYIB; rep from * to end.

Row 4: *P2, Sl2 WYIF; rep from * to end. 

Rows 5 With MC, K all sts. 

Row 6 Purl

Row 7: Switch to C1, *Sl2 WYIB, K2; rep from * to end. 

Row 8: *Sl2 WYIF, P2; rep from * to end. Rep Rnds 1-8 for pattern.

Alternate your beginning stitch with sl2 so that the purl bumps are offset. It will be obvious which stitches to knit as they are the previously slipped stitches and appears longer.

This close-up shows the three garter stitches, with dots and dashes in alternation.
The main color is always knit in stockinette while the dots and dashes are in garter, or knit on the front and then again knit on the backside resulting in the purl bump appearing on the front side.


Cast on 56 stitches, and keep first three and last three stitches in garter to prevent rolling.

Knit five sets of Dots pattern and five sets of Dashes pattern, in two colors. Change yarns after two sets of Dots and Dashes. Knit until desired length, at least 24”-40" depending on yarn choice. Wet block flat before seaming. You will be glad you did. Sew ends together using Mattress Stitch.