autumn to-do list

Now it really is starting to feel like autumn up here in the mountains, and the cottonwoods have the barest tinge of yellow. Something about the change of seasons makes me want to get some things done. I made a list, and I’ve already started working on it:

  • Wash and re-block hand knits.
    I pulled out a couple scarves, and they’re not dirty, just a bit crumpled from being shoved in a drawer all summer. A good blocking will do them all some good.
  • Take a crochet class.
    I went on Saturday for a class, and it was so helpful! I’ve done a little crochet on my own, but was never sure if I was doing it right. I especially never felt very comfortable juggling the hook and the yarn. In my class I learned a good way to hold them both, and I can single and double crochet quite well now. I even found a pattern for a ripple blanket and started on the first stripe. I actually had tried to do a similar pattern years ago, but I was never happy with the way it looked. I thought it would be a great project to use up leftover bits of worsted weight yarns. I’ll be working on it for a long time, but it will be a nice break to do a stripe here and there. 


  • Make roast goose.
    So, I’ll be brief on this one. We had two mean geese. They were noisy and unpleasant and I found someone who was willing to “process” them for me. And now they are in the freezer. I’m still working myself up to it, but I found a good tutorial for when I am ready.
  • Get some more chickens.
    My girls aren’t laying much, and two of the six hens are now six years old, so it’s time for some fresh young hens. I’ll let my old ladies enjoy the rest of their days in our yard, though. They don’t try to nip at me when I feed them.
  • Finish website re-design/cleanup.
    I want to keep things clean and simple around here. I’ll probably do  a little here and there on this one, but I’m still not in a mood to spend my evenings in front of the computer.
  • Learn to use Lightroom

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    , and organize my photos.
    I’ve started doing this too. In fact, I’ve even switched to shooting in RAW. I’m not totally sure what that even means, but I’m doing it! 

  • Bake a cake (flourless, of course).
    Done, and it was good, but I’m still searching for a really good grain-free cake recipe. I used this recipe, and it was dense and moist, which I expected. It was just a little too sweet for me (which might have been the pears I used, they were very ripe and sweet), and a little heavy. But it was so fun to bake again. I won’t be making it a regular habit, just a now and then treat.  


  • Make a scarf from a piece of Liberty fabric I’ve been hoarding.
    This should take about ten minutes, I’ve got a yard, so I think I’ll just cut it in half and sew it end-to-end for length. 
  • Make a sweater for Pulley
    He doesn’t have fur like the other dogs, I think he’s going to need some warm clothes for the winter. 
  • Start making soup.
    I need to find some new soup recipes. Do you have any good ones? 
  • Knit the perfect cabled sweater.
    I want something cozy and slouchy. This might be just the thing. I have to decide what kind of yarn to use. 
  • Buy a lot of pumpkins and decorate the porch.
    I’ve got two so far, but I’m going to need some more.

Bonus items:

The Autumn pin board.
I also just needed to share the fact that you can follow an astronaut on pinterest.

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spring cleaning

I am finally getting over my stupid bout of strep throat. When I arrived home Saturday night after a very fun and relaxing week visiting family (despite the aforementioned strep), I found that the daffodils had gone crazy, and our normally wild, weedy yard was blanketed with scattered patches of yellow. I hope to get pictures this week, and pick bunches and bunches to share with friends. Anyway, the point of the daffodils was to say that I may be developing a minor case of spring fever, and have started doing a little spring cleaning. I kicked it off by washing the curtains in our little guest bedroom, which is also currently my sick room. I decided to perk things up a bit with this sweet little crocheted garland from Yvonne of Yvestown. When you are a not so good crocheter, like myself, it’s really necessary to have friends who are masters of the craft, don’t you think?

spring cleaning

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Since the last post was about starting something new, I thought maybe I should try finishing some things for a change. All finished:

The pattern is Embossed Leaves, and this is the third pair I’ve made. I love this pattern, not only are they pretty and easy to knit, but they fit my big feet perfectly. This time I used some old Blue Sky Alpaca yarn that I had in my stash, and the gauge is probably a little big, but they’re so very soft and cozy. I’ll enjoy them a lot this Winter. As you can see, getting a picture outside without a dog in it is nearly impossible. Here’s what most of my shots looked like:

Winston finally got tired of posing and went to lay on the doormat.

His fur is growing back quickly. I hope it cools down soon, for his sake.

Next project, nearly finished:

I’m not even going to link to the post where I described starting this sweater, it was so long ago that I’m completely embarrassed. The pieces have all been knit for ages, but I needed to seam it, and it turns out I don’t really like seaming. Especially with this bulky cotton yarn. And then there was the crocheted edging. I want to like crochet, and I want to be good at it, but I think it’s going to take awhile before that happens. My hands feel all claw-like tonight after working on this. It’s just two rows, one of single crochet, and then one of crab stitch, which I didn’t think I was ever going to get the hang of doing. It is nice though, so it was worth the struggle.

I just have to sew in a zipper, which I am going to attempt tonight. This pattern is Blue Sky Alpaca’s Zip Cardigan (free!), and the yarn is Blue Sky Cotton. It’s lovely and soft.

One last nearly finished project, another bluebird pillowcase:

The first one I made for my Christmas swap with Yvonne. I was really tempted to keep it for myself, but I resisted. I still have to stitch up the hem and seams. I may even make one more, so I have a pair.

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growing ripples

I keep spending all my free time outside, but I do have to come inside (reluctantly) when it gets dark. So I’ve done a little more rippling. I had to snap this picture quick, as my camera battery was dying, so I’m not thrilled with the picture, but you get the idea. Crochet uses such unique hand muscles, sometimes I feel like my left hand is a gnarled old claw. But I just ‘shake it off’ and keep going. I’m just adding colors as I go, nothing is planned out, and I’m okay with how it’s looking. It’s so interesting what the colors do as you add them. The first orange stripe looked so vibrant when the yarn was in a ball, but the stripe itself, I’m not crazy about. It’s sort of darker and browner than I expected. And I wasn’t liking the light grey at all, but now that I see this picture, it doesn’t bother me much, it sort of blends in and isn’t too noticible. I love the way the whole thing changes with each new stripe. Of course now I want to try some granny squares, but I’m determined to stay focused until this is done. Good luck to me!

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the rain in spain

I think I’ve got it! I’ve tried and tried to learn how to crochet, and it just never made sense. My biggest success was a tiny bit around the edge of my hot water bottle cover. Inspired by the fun ripple blankets all over the place out there, I thought I’d give it another shot. I got out my trusty Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, and once again studied the pictures, step by step. I don’t know why it clicked this time, but it did, and I’m just rippling along:

It was perfect timing, since we had to go to a funeral in L.A. this weekend, and I needed a good, portable project. We spent 24 hours straight with my mother in law, and the only way I can deal with that is to have something to keep my hands busy. I’m using this pattern which I think is a bit different than the other ripples I’ve seen, but it’s nice and easy, so I like it. So far I’m using whatever bits of wool yarn I’ve got laying around, but I may have to get a few more colors.

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