Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone.  May you all have a new year blessed with health, wealth, and happiness.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shopping trip

On Friday I took vacation and got up early in the morning to go shopping at the mall.  Fox River Mall, to be exact.

Here's me waiting at the light on the exit ramp to turn onto College Avenue in Appleton:

While there were cars, there wasn't as much traffic at 9:45 AM as I expected.

Here it is, the Mall!

I always park near Younkers:

I was there for about 4 hours.  I got most of my shopping done, though.  I have just a few things left, but they are no big deal.  I love the sale racks and tables.

I also stopped at Barnes and Noble for Christmas cards.  On the way out of that parking lot, I saw an unusual vehicle:

How often does one go shopping and encounter the Weinermobile?

Here is "a little something extra" (lagniappe in New Orleans) picture of Churchill under the tree:

He's waiting for Santa Cat.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow day!

Yesterday we had a paid snow day.  I don't remember this EVER happening in the 24 years I have worked at the University. 

So, what did I do with my day?  You mean, besides the shoveling of our 105 foot driveway and the front sidewalk?

Well, sit back, get comfy and get some hot chocolate!

View from our living room window

Snow started to cake the windows

The birds found the new cardinal feeder.  Hmm, there are no cardinals in this picture.  I have seen them there.  Oh, and lots of squirrels, too!

I also was on Facebook.  A lot.

I baked these Pillsbury cookies, which almost got too dark because I was paying attention to Facebook and not my cookies.  They are gone now.

Churchill reaping the rewards.  Here he is drinking warm milk leftover from the hot chocolate I made.

The snowman snow measurer is happy.  The snow depth there is actually 1 foot--the stick broke off last year.

The beginnings of the snow luge run to the garage.

When we went out to shovel I made sure I brushed the snow from almost all the decorations outside.

Snow sliding off the siding (yes, it does kind of rhyme)

Our tree, all decorated

A special ornament for Jeffy

I made a special arrangement by the fence where some of Jeffy's ashes are

Churchill was tired from the day--and so are his mommies!

I did manage to fit some knitting in there.  Unfortunately, I seem to be taking things apart more than I am knitting them these days.  My Christmas present will get done, though!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Time to get the tree--and the shovels

Paulette and I went on our annual pilgrimage to Heritage Christmas Tree Farm last week Friday.  It was fun.  Robin, the lady who owns the farm, even had chili for us!

Here are pictures:

Paulette and the tree

Me and the tree

Paulette after cutting the tree down

Here's a picture of it with just the lights on:

Here's what Churchill did a lot of the time while we decorated the tree:

The tree farm is near Nordic Mountain Ski Hill. They were making snow (which they won't have to do soon--see below).

Snow making machines at Nordic Mountain

After three solid days of decorating both the tree and the house, I am tired.  But, it's all up, inside and out.  And not a moment too soon.  Here's what the Green Bay National Weather Service has to say about the upcoming weather:


Get your shovels ready!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pine tree shawl

Here it is--my Christmas/Holiday gift to all of you!  I finished my Pine tree shawl pattern, finally.

Pine tree lace shawl

by Sara L. Stichert


This small shawl features Shetland pine trees as a border, with a fir cone pattern for the rest of the shawl. Beads are an optional feature on the edging of the shawl.


Materials needed:

size 4 circular lace needles with a 32 inch cable

459 yds fingering weight yarn

stitch markers (to put between pattern repeats)

darning needle to weave in ends

size 6/0 seed beads (optional for edging)

size 11 steel crochet hook to put beads on edging

The sample shawl was knitted on size 4 circular lace needles with Trekking Hand Art fingering weight yarn in the Tundra colorway. It used about 459 yards of yarn and the shawl blocked out to 27 x 54 inches.

By varying the yarn weight and needle size, you can make this shawl larger or smaller. You can also make it larger by increasing the number of fir cone pattern repeats by two pattern repeats before you move on to the pine tree border pattern. Please note that you will need more yarn if you vary the pattern by increasing repeats.

A note on charts….

This pattern uses charted design. The odd rows of the charts are usually the right side of your knitting, the even rows the wrong side. Begin reading the charts on row 1 (and all odd rows) by starting at the right side of the chart, reading the pattern right to left. For row 2 (and all even rows), read the chart from left to right.

Abbreviations used in this pattern are:

K or k = knit

P or p = purl

k2tog = knit two stitches together

p2tog = purl two stitches together

M1 = make one stitch by picking up the thread between two stitches, twisting it and then knitting this stitch

yo = yarnover

psso = pass slipped stitch(es) over knitted or purled stitch

SSP = slip one stitch as if to knit, slip another stitch as if to knit, transfer these stitches back to left needle, then purl together through the back loops.

SSK = slip one stitch as if to knit, slip another as if to knit, knit stitches together through the back loops

Sl1 = slip one stitch as if to purl

WS = wrong side

RS = right side

Beading instructions for edging

This shawl also has optional beads in the edging. The placement of beads is indicated in the edging chart with a B. To place the bead on a stitch, first knit the stitch. You will then pick up one bead on the size 11 crochet hook. Slide the stitch you just knitted onto the crochet hook and slide the bead down over the stitch. Replace the stitch on the right needle.

Finishing instructions

Bind off using stretchy bind off: k1, *k1, transfer two stitches back to left needle, k2 tog through back loops*. Repeat between * across until all stitches are bound off. Weave in ends and block severely. Trim ends after blocking to avoid ends popping out during the blocking process.

Cast on instructions and first 9 rows

Begin the shawl by casting on 3 stitches. Knit 6 rows in garter stitch, slipping the first stitch of each row. Pick up 3 stitches along the garter stitch edge, and then pick up 3 stitches from the cast on edge. You will now have 9 stitches on your needle.

Setup rows for chart 1:

Row 1 (WS): Sl1, k2, p to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 2 (RS): Sl1, k2, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k3.

Row 3 (WS): Sl1, k2, p to last 3 st., k3

Row 4 (RS): Sl1, k2, yo, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3,yo, k3

Row 5 (WS): Sl1, k2, p to last 3 st., k3

Row 6 (RS): Sl1, k2, yo, k5, yo, k1, yo, k5,yo, k3

Row 7 (WS): Sl1, k2, p to last 3 st, k3

Row 8 (RS): Sl1, k2, yo, k7, yo, k1, yo, k7, yo, k3

Row 9 (WS): Sl1, k2, p to last 3 st., k3

You will now have 25 stitches on your needle.

You can now proceed to chart 1.

Click on the following images to make them bigger.  If you want a pretty copy of my pattern, email me at

Image of chart 1 (not very good, though):

Here's chart 2 for the fir cone pattern:

Here's chart 3 for the Shetland pine tree border:

And, here's the final chart for the edging. 

Happy knitting and Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, etc.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sometimes you pick the project, sometimes it picks you

I apologize that I haven't posted in a while.  I am still sick.  My cold morphed into a lovely ear infection.  I am hoping that it feels better by Thanksgiving.  I am tired of being sick.

A lot has happened since I posted last. 

I finished my Little Pumpkins socks and now I started a new shawl.  The shawl pattern is sort of a Franken-pattern.  I am using part of a shawl pattern for a fir cone section of the triangular shawl and a modified version of a Shetland pine trees pattern.  Haven't decided totally on the edging yet, but I am leaning towards the one that Evelyn Clark used on her Swallowtail Shawl because it sort of has a pine tree shape.  If I have the time I'll write it up and put it on my blog as a Christmas gift to you guys.

Here's what the beginning looks like:

The yarn is Trekking Handpaints.  Isn't it pretty?  I thought the yarn was far too pretty to be made into socks.  Perhaps I'll put some beads in the edging.

Our garage door broke on November 1.  One of the springs broke and lodged itself in the wall of the garage.  Thankfully, it wasn't me or my car that it landed on.  Unfortunately for us, the door and the springs were old (probably 1970's vintage) and it would have costed nearly as much to fix as replacing it.  So, we chose replacement.  The new door is lovely--$980 worth of loveliness.  Now we just need to work on the re-siding and roof.  It's always something.

Isn't it lovely?

This past Sunday evening the kids in the house next door had company.  Their friends backed right into our picket fence when they were leaving.  Of course, they didn't tell us about it and we didn't notice the damage.  Their mother owns the house and lives downstairs.  She told Paulette that she would pay for the fixing on Monday evening when she saw her.  The mom was upset about it because she noticed it on her birthday. 

Here's the damage:

Perhaps they need backing lessons?  I am annoyed for many reasons.  I had plans for Saturday.  Now I won't be doing that because we need to fix the fence then.  If this were summer, it would be fixed already.  Unfortunately it gets dark really early now.  I work until 4:30PM.  The fence is set into our lot by nearly 2 feet.  One has to wonder where they would have ended up if the fence wasn't there to stop them.  I suspect alcohol was involved.  The fence posts won't have to be replaced.  They are lucky because they would have been the ones doing the digging for that since it was so much fun the first time around. 

Well, time to go now.  Hope it isn't so long before I post next time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Now with more whine

First, let me apologize for not posting.  I have been sick since last week Tuesday with what I think is just a cold, but who knows.  I am exhausted.  I stayed home from work most of last week, and a few hours this week, but there is work to be done, since it is mid term exam time here.  My schedule beyond work is just plain crazy making.  Last week, besides being sick, I had a spinning class Tuesday evening in Neenah at Yarns by Design, Knit Night on Wednesday, and a hair appointment Thursday evening.  I could have gone to a dinner on Sunday evening, but didn't because I was too tired and I didn't think people would have appreciated me breathing on them.  This week I had the second of two spinning classes on Tuesday, Knit Night Wednesday, rehearsal for our church's Hallowed House this evening, the first night of the Hallowed House tomorrow evening and the last night of the Hallowed House Sunday evening.  All I want to do is stay home--no one wants me to. 

I'll start with my spinning class and work on from there. 

Here we see the Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel I am renting from the yarn store all ready for it's trip to my second class:

The class was fun and really helpful, even though I wanted nothing better than to be at home in my recliner while I was there.  Here's a picture of my first skein of yarn:

It ended up on the super bulky side--all 29 yards of it.  If I can reproduce the weight, I'll be making a hat with this.  It's really squooshy yarn, made with Northern Lights 100% wool pencil roving in the Forest Glade colorway.  I'm still working on the laceweight stuff on my spindle.  It's a long work in progress, but it is going to be really pretty yarn.  I did have a smackdown spindle spinning challenge from the woman who was teaching the spinning class which I declined.  I was too sick to enjoy it.

Moving right along, here are some scenes from last night's Knit Night:

Here's Vicki hiding behind a wheel of unspun roving that she is making a gorgeous sweater out of. (You can see it on her lap)

Here's a really good shot of Vicki's Lloie cardigan.  It's so pretty.

Margaret brought festive Halloween decorations with her!

Our discussion was interesting last night at Knit Night.  It included tales of a Hanukkah driedel drinking game. 

I finished my shawl last week:

I need to take a better picture of this.  It did turn out pretty.  I will admit that I was tired of it by the end.

I have moved on to socks now.

These are pumpkin socks.  The pattern is Little Pumpkins socks

The pattern is pretty cute.  Paulette and I are having an unintentional knit along on this pattern.  We didn't plan it, honest.

I leave you now with a pretty picture of our dogwood bush in the backyard in all it's fall finery:

Monday, October 12, 2009

How much can you cram into a weekend?

This weekend was a busy one.  The day dawned early on Saturday, with Churchill playing with a jingly toy in the living room.  I guess it was time for me to get up, at least in his eyes. 

Paulette and I went to be nosy at the TEA party that was being held at the courthouse at 10AM on Saturday in Oshkosh.  The Oshkosh Northwestern estimated the crowd at hundreds.  Our estimate was closer to 150-200.  They weren't very enthusiastic.  It was ironic that they were holding an anti-tax tally outside of the courthouse, which the last time I checked is a taxpayer-supported institution.  Whatever.  Mother Nature provided a nice touch by trying to freeze them out and snowing on them.  I saw Michelle Litjens, former Winnebago County Republican Party chair there.  She thought it was really funny that I was looking for our members (both union and Democratic Party) there.  I gotta do what I gotta do.  We could only stand the BS for about 10 minutes.  When we left, we had to walk past the generator that was providing the power for their microphones.  It was sputtering.  Paulette thought that was real funny.

Our next stop on Saturday was the Little Farmer Apple Orchard on Hwy 151 on the other side of Lake Winnebago outside of Fond du Lac.  When we were leaving Oshkosh on Hwy 45, it started to snow fairly hard.  Weird weather for October 10.  Paulette wondered out loud if there would be less crowds at the apple orchard because it was snowing.  Not a chance.  It was still a zoo there.  This place reminds me of the pumpkin farm on the TLC tv show, Little People, Big World.  It was still snowing when we got there.  Fortunately they have an indoor marketplace where you can buy already picked apples and all sorts of other fall-y stuff.  I bought:  apples for my sister Donna (I'll get them to you on Sunday!), a pumpkin cream cheese muffin that was to become my lunch, roasted pumpkin seeds and black popcorn.    The lines were still pretty long to both get baked goods and pay for your your purchases.  The lines kind of remind me of the lines to pay when you shop on Black Friday after Thanksgiving.  We ate our muffins in the car and then we were off to our next destination.  By the time we left, the sun was out.  It was still really cold.

We chose to drive up the Hwy 151 side of Lake Winnebago to see the fall colors on our way up to Neenah, where I had to pay the fee for the spinning class I am taking later this month.  It was a beautiful drive.  Yes, there's road construction, and they were working in some spots, but I could stay on 151 the whole time, until I had to take the fork in the road to Hwy 55.  I bought some lovely orange yarn to make a fall scarf at Yarns by Design:

We then proceeded onto our next destination, Fox River Mall, where I needed toner from the Clinique counter.  I also wanted to look around at the stuff at Bath and Body Works and Yankee Candle.  We looked at the clothing and stuff at Younkers to scope out what we wanted to buy on sale later in the week.   Woo hoo, shopping!

We had grocery store stuff to do when we got back home, and of course, Starbucks.

Our last destination for the day was a house warming party at fellow knit night knitter, Jodi's house.  Paulette works with her husband in Polk Library.  It was nice. 

I finally got to knit in the evening.

On Sunday, we went to church and then the pumpkin farm!  We bought many pumpkins and cornstalks.

Here is Churchill checking out the pumpkin bounty:

He was hard to take a picture of because he kept running around on the table.

We then had the cleaning inside the house to do and Paulette wanted to cut the grass.   I did manage to get a little knitting done in the evening.  Maybe more can be accomplished this evening. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Win some, lose some

Unfortunately, our Green Bay Packers lost to the Vikings last night. Sigh. It was a good game, though. And they didn't get wiped all over the field like some probably thought would happen. Take that, Brent Favre.

Here's a YouTube video on the subject:

On the knitting front, I got my socks all done:

I also sold three copies of the pattern to Phyllis at Iris Fine Yarns. Yay!

I now am knitting another shawl, the Diamond Fantasy shawl by Sivia Harding.

Here's how far I am:

I'm adding beads in the middle of each diamond, which is not really visible in the picture. It's really pretty in person.

I do feel sweater knitting coming on this winter, though.....stay tuned.