[misc] Rocky Friday

Rocky has figured out a way to hippty-hop all the way up to the top of the cat tower:

The rabbit has found a way to climb all the way up the cat tower. Time to rearrange some furniture around the bottom. 🐰 #houserabbit

Things were moved around the base after this picture, so he's not able to do it again.

TGIF. Next week marks another busy BUSY week for me. I'm going to sew some buttons this weekend and work on some sleeves. And rip out those socks. I'll take the snowshoes out for a spin before the snow melts next week. And the Green Mountain Fiber Festival is happening in WRJ. I might have to check it out and pick up a few things ;)


[knitting] Two striped cardigans

Working on two little striped cardigans:

Striping all the things... #knitting

The bodies of both are nearly done. Then it's on to sleeves and button bands.


[knitting] The Newbury

After seeing a very famous person in a knit cowl/hood combo, I asked for help identifying the pattern on Ravelry and someone (of course) found it: The Newbury. I was so happy to see it offered as a knitting pattern. I found the project page on Rav and ordered some yarn. It was a quick knit- I made most of it during one movie.

Newbury cowl

I knit the pattern as written, except for the part that used US 17 needles. I don't have any US 17 and I didn't feel obligated to go out and get some since that was the first time in all my years knitting that I've ever done a pattern that called for that size.


The wrapped-stitch pattern around the edges is a little "hole-y", so when I have the cowl up around my mouth, wind still shoots through the gaps in the stitches. I would make this pattern again but not use a lace pattern for the borders.


The yarn is GGH Husky from Love Knitting. This was the first time I ordered from them and I definitely would again. Here's what I got:

Love Knitting delivery

The yarn was in a large drawstring organza bag (TOTALLY reusable as a project bag- awesome!) and a little catalog booklet with free patterns. One of the free patterns is for a lavender sachet doll. I grow lavender and just started collecting/drying it last year- you can see all my little lavender sachets on the right. So I think little lavender sachet dolls for drawers might be my go-to gift for the holidays this year.

Plus, this yarn is ~$4 per ball. I used 4 balls making this cowl/hood, which bring the cost of materials to $16. Just talking about it makes me want to order more yarn and make a couple more of these. This project is near instant gratification.


[cooking] Pi Day Quiche

3/14 was an epic snowday. Figures we get the blizzard of the year in mid-March. Since I was working from home, I was able to make a savory quiche for Pi(e) Day:

Pi Day ham and onion quiche. #piday #snowday

I recently used a 40% off coupon at Michael's to get a tin of alphabet cookie cutters. I adore jojoromancer's instagram (#piegoals) and all the words she includes in her designs. 

A lot of good the stupid alphabet does me when I want to put 3.141592653589793238462643... around the outside. Argh! I never have the things I need when I need them! Why don't I have numeral cookie cutters?! I had to make do with a pi symbol and PI PI PI PI PI PI PI PI around the outside. 

After baking:

Pi day quiche. 🐖 #piday

Just a simple cheese, ham and onion quiche. I make an all-butter double crust from King Arthur Flour's Baker's Companion cookbook. I roll half out and place it into the tart pan and refrigerate it. I layer the bottom with slices of Cabot sharp cheese. I get ham-ends from the Co-op (so cheap!) and chop it into chunks. Then thinly slice half of a small vidalia onion. I mix 4 medium eggs with 1 cup milk and pour over everything. Bake at 350 for 50 min.

The other half of the double-crust is still in the fridge. I think I'm going to make cute little blueberry tarts with that later in the week.


[misc] Murderface Monday

This is a busy time of year for me at my work, hence the silence all last week. Basically I leave the house before 6 am, get home after 6 pm. Then I just make supper and go to bed. And it didn't help that I had a cold all last week, so... it was not fun. I spent this past weekend relaxing and hanging out with Dollar and the cats. 

Murderface, finishing off a yawn after I woke him up for a picture:

Murderface, ending a yawn

Then I went to find Penny. Here she is... finishing off a yawn after I woke her up for a picture:

Penny, ending a yawn.

All right, fine. Maybe I'll leave these cats alone to nap in peace.

Actually, I had to move Penny:


So I could get that afghan back. I finally pulled out some yarn and figured out where I was in the pattern and added a new round. It's slow going but I'm ready to wrap it up. It's nice and dense and heavy- it's keeping me so warm while I work on it.

You know what I'm not working on? My Sock Madness socks:

First round Sock Madness. This is going sooooo slowwwww 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢 #sockmadness11 #sockmadness #twistedmadness

I was so excited to start this year's SM11 but I'm hating this pattern. It's very slow going and the stitch is completely tedious. I keep wanting to persevere. At this point, I'm to the ankle of one sock and halfway through the leg of the other... but I think I'm going to rip it all out. Which makes me feel like I've completely wasted about 20 hours of knitting time but I know I'll be happier. I'm really quite stressed out and anxious at work (which will ease in another month or so), I don't need to ALSO worry about a looming deadline for making a pair of socks that I hate. I have about 50 free socks patterns in my Ravelry queue that I know I DO want to make, so I'm just going to print off 5 of those patterns and have my own low-stress Sock Madness. In fact, I'll just call it Sock Sanity. 

I know this is the right decision because I've already abandoned these socks and went back to other, fun things that I actually want to knit and finish. I finished a baby sweater and started another:

Little Coffee Bean Cardigan.

I washed and blocked 4 little finished baby sweaters. I started digging through my button stash. Just have to sew buttons and then they'll be ready to be gifted to the niece.

Will prob be working from home tomorrow- winter isn't over yet. We've got 12 " - 18" of snow forecast! Looks like I'll be able to take the snowshoes and snowmobiles out for another spin this season.


[knitting] Vintage Tools

My grandmother has been giving me lots of her old knitting/crafts stuff- tools, old patterns, unfinished projects. It's all been interesting to go through. If I ever want to take up stenciling, I've got a ton of patterns to choose from now. I haven't taken the time to research some of the more unfamiliar tools. Right now, I'm just sorting and organizing.

Vintage Knitting Tools and Notions

Vintage Knitting Tools and Notions

Vintage Knitting Tools and Notions

This was tucked into one of the knitting books, as a bookmarker:

Found this tucked away in a knitting pamphlet.

Eeeee! When the state abbreviations were new! I looked it up- it's from 1963! My grandmother probably kept it for reference.

There are a couple unfinished sweaters that she gave me. One with a missing sleeve and no yarn to make another sleeve so... I don't know what I'm going to do about that.

Then there's this mask:

Among a bunch of unfinished projects that my grandmother gave me is this. I think I'll seam the back shut, add some embroidery and call it my #waqollo mask. To wear when I'm rioting.

Literally, WTF. It's quite nice and tidy work- all that remains is to sew the back shut (looks like my grandmother hated sewing as much as me!), it's just so... funny. 

My grandmother has given me lots of her oooold recipes as well, which I want to start trying. I would love to start posting all this vintage stuff. Maybe to a new blog or maybe here under a new tag. 

TGIF. Work is about to get crazy busy so I'm going to try to relaaaax this weekend. 


[knitting] No eyelet yoke cardigan

Using this colorful yarn to make a no eyelet yoke baby sweater:

Okay, one more baby sweater

I recently picked up a couple balls of this superwash DK yarn from Country Woolens before it closed. I thought, "Oh how fun, I'll use it for another eyelet yoke cardigan. But I'll omit the eyelet rows." But... I feel like it's turning out kind of... Ugly? Too colorful? Crazy? I don't know. Whatever, Imma just keep going. Baby's not gonna care that it's hideous- that'll come when she's in her teens.


[knitting] PussyHat3

Finished the third PussyHat:

PussyHat #3

It was in a state of "almost done" for weeks, I just ran out of yarn and back to rip back an old project to get more. And then skein and wash the yarn. But now I have lots of good-as-new pink superwash:

All that kinky pink yarn washed, dried, skeined. Good as new!!!

Sunday morning I got out the swift and ball winder to wind one smallish skein of pink yarn to finish the hat. I resisted the urge to pull out a bunch of random skeins from the stash to also wind into balls. (When I start winding, I want to wind everything.) I did find a 7-year-old project that has been monopolizing a 16" pair of US 7 circular needles- that green linen stitch cowl in the middle. 

Morning projects. That lime green, color pooling, linen stitch, neck warmer in the middle is going to the frog pond. It's been untouched, monopolizing a set of needles for... at least 7 years. #knitting #knittingufo

Ugh, the color pooling. I hated it from the get-go but rather than ripping it back, I just buried it away. Well, it's all gone now and I'll use the yarn for what it was originally intended- socks.

Speaking of socks- the specs for the first round of Sock Madness were released yesterday! Time to stash dive!


[knitting] Cotton Ease Socks #2

Finished the 2nd pair of Cotton Ease socks:

Socks done. Memoir '44 campaign books out. Ready to set up some tabletop battles. #knitting

I finally cleared off the kitchen table so we can set up Memoir '44 and start a new campaign. We haven't played in a while but I want to start regularly playing some two-player games again. We have so many boardgames that we haven't touched in years.

After these socks were done, I was down to two unfinished projects- my third pussyhat and the crocheted afghan. Then I finished the pussyhat. Then I cast on two new projects. Oops. That always happens whenever I clean my craft room- I organize yarn and patterns and then find yarn that works with patterns and then I stop tidying to sit on the floor and cast on. Having said all that, one project is another eyelet yoke baby cardigan (because I'm addicted) and the other is a super bulky cowl/hood that is already nearly complete. I'm just trying to fill the time until the Sock Madness round 1 pattern drops. Hopefully tomorrow. 


[misc] Murderface Monday

It was unseasonably warm last week. Like, "time to open the windows warm":


Some of the receding snow uncovered green catnip. I picked a little bit:

Receding snow uncovered some green catnip. The cats ate it and are tripping balls.

And brought it in for the cats to eat. First green stuff of the year! They loved it.

Was a good weekend. Dollar had band practice at the house on Saturday while I went through a lot of the craft stuff that my grandmother has been giving me. Saturday night we went down to have a birthday dinner for Dollar's mom and nephew. And I got to hang with this dude:

Jimbo. 🐱

Jim. He's super chill- doesn't mind when people come over. The complete opposite of Penny. Here's a pic of her from last week:


All the melting snow and rain has been wreaking havoc on our dirt road (hello, mud season) but the temps have dropped back down. The warm weather really got me yearning for spring and gardening. I put in two little forsythia shrubs last summer and I can't wait to see them bloom this spring. I also planted lots of bulbs (I can't even remember what now). I want to see if there are any crocuses that the squirrels didn't get to. Lily of the Valley! Pulmonaria and Primula! I'm ready to throw aside my knitting and get my hands and feet dirty.


[knitting] Cotton Ease Socks

My travel knitting for DC last week was a pair of worsted-weight socks for Dollar in Cotton Ease:

Boot socks

I started these in December, sure that I would be able to finish in time for the pair to be a Christmas gift. But these plain socks are just so boring, I can't help tossing them aside for a project more fun and interesting. Well what better place to force myself to finish them than an airport and airplane. I finished these socks in no time. And Dollar loves them, which is always a nice reward.

After finishing the shawl and baby sweater, in a fit of "I want to knit but I don't know what to knit", I started a new pair of socks:

Cotton socks

Oh no. This is usually the point where I go, "Bored now" and start scanning my stash for something else.

The yarn is Lion Brand Cotton Ease, now discontinued. I bought a bunch of  discounted balls from Craftsy for ~$3 each, so that brings each handknit pair of socks to ~$6 each. Less than that, actually, since I'll be able make another pair from the leftovers. This is good practice/training for Sock Madness!

TGIF. I cleaned/tidied like crazy yesterday. I need tons of new storage, though. 


[knitting] Handspun Eyelet Yoke Baby Cardigan

Another little sweater for the niece:

New eyelet yoke sweater, in handspun this time. Sleeves may be a little short- I used every inch of the yarn I had. Fiber is superwash merino and seacell. #knitting #handspun #babyknits

Pattern: Eyelet Yoke Baby Cardigan

Yarn: Handspun MerSea- superwash merino and seacell.

Needles: US 6

Notes: I remembered to add the eyelet pattern to the bottom hem this time. The sweater ended up kind of large. I worked both sleeves at the same time from either end of the yarn I had, to use up every. last. inch. Still, I think the sleeves ended up a smidge too short.

So I have a few little sweaters that need finishing in the form of wash/dry/buttons.

I'm down to only a few WIPs. I'm going to wrap up the last pussyhat and cotton ease socks before the first Sock Madness pattern drops next week.


[knitting] Funfetti Shawl - complete

Finished and blocked the Funfetti shawl this past weekend:

Glitz at the Ritz after blocking. This ended up being a nice little shawl. I don't even mind the "oops I ran out of yarn" blue border. #knitting #shawlknitting #glitzattheritz

Pattern: Gitz at the Ritz (free from Knitty)

Yarn: Uh, some unlabeled mystery tweed from some long-ago VT or NH Sheep and Wool Festival. Not helpful. Sorry.

Needles: US 6

As I start working on the open boarder, I realized I was going to run out of yarn. I dove into the stash to look for a similar-weight yarn in a contrasting yet complimentary color. I came back with some navy blue Harrisville Shetland (leftover from these mittens):

Well I don't have enough of the tweed to finish the shawl so I think the border is going to be knit with a contrast blue. I'm sure it will look fine. 😅😁😬😐😕☹️

Before blocking: 

Obligatory "before blocking" picture. This shawl is full of bees 🐝 🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝. I mean, beads. 💎💎💎💎💎💎💎.

During blocking:

Shawl blocking

Used blocking wires, which I hadn't used in a long time.

Overall I'm very happy with it. Love all different colored beads working with the different colored neps in the yarn:

Glitz at the Ritz

Glitz at the Ritz

After blocking it ended up being a nice-sized shawl. Was a quick knit and used up lots of stash beads. I think the blue boarder works well- it picks up the blue neps in the yarn.


[vermont] Holiday weekend

Was a nice, sunny three-day weekend. Did most everything I set out to and went snowshoeing Sunday through the back yard:


There are lots of nice trails through the back woods, leftover from when the loggers were here a few years ago. 

Nice day to snowshoe through the back yard.

Back at the house, I checked out the gourds hanging on the garden fence:

Birdhouse gourds have been hanging there all winter. They sound nice and hollow and dry with an outer layer peeling away. Will cut them down in the spring and make some bird houses.

They are nice and dry and sounded hollow when I knocked on them. In the spring, I will cut them down and make a bunch of nice birdhouses. Speaking of spring, mud season is right around the corner. I can't wait to start gardening again, enough though that is still months away :/

I did some goooooood cooking this weekend. A homemade Cubano:

Homemade  cubano for lunch. Couldn't resist after having one in DC.

Homemade pulled pork, swiss cheese, pickles, ham, dijon mustard, homemade bread. Got to take out my rarely-used panini press to heat up these sandwiches. I comes out so rarely, Dollar asked, "Is that new? When did we got that?" It's not new but I've only used it once or twice. It mostly stays hidden away in the pantry with a bunch of stuff piled on top of it.

Speaking of bread, I finally splurged on a dough bucket:

Dough bucket

I say splurged but it's only $15. For nearly a year, since I've started keeping a regular batch of no-knead dough in the fridge, I've been using a massive Amish bowl that my mom gave me. It's large, it's heavy, it takes up 25% of the available real estate in the fridge. Since I mix up a large amount of dough to keep for whenever we feel like bread or pizza, it felt like that gigantic bowl would be in there forever, taunting me to "hurry up and use this dough... don't you want all this fridge space back? do you like playing tetris with the bread and tupperware- and why did you buy the OJ with the weird-shaped bottle? you know it doesn't fit on the door."

Anyway, this dough bucket is better. Smaller by a long shot and it even has a fancy-pants cover, so I can rest stuff on top of it if I have to (which I wasn't able to do with the Amish bowl since it was always just covered with saran wrap).

While I was at King Arthur Flour to get the dough bucket, I received a free mix with my purchase. I whipped it up on Saturday:

Went into KAF last week and got a free mix. I love it when mine turn out just like the picture on the box. 💯😎

I think it's very good- although it had a distinct eggnog flavor for me. I asked Dollar what he thought but he couldn't answer around all the coffee cake he was eating. He LOOOOOVED this mix. 

Meh, sweets schmeets. Give me savory any day. Monday, I whipped up a brunch pizza for us with some of that no-knead dough:

Breakfast pizza: ham cheese egg scallion. Homemade no knead dough. 🍕

OMG this f'ing pizza. I pushed the dough out on some parchment paper, topped with ham (leftover from the cubanos) and mozz cheese, then baked on a pre-heated 500 degree pizza stone for 5 min, then added two eggs and baked another 6 min. Then topped thinly sliced scallions and a sprinkle of salt. This was heaven. 

For dinner, I recreated the Feb. 14 dinner I had in DC for my Valentine at home:

Recreating my Feb. 14 dinner in DC for my Valentine at home. Garlic-rosemary lamb chops, creamy polenta, snow peas, balsamic reduction.

Lamb chops, creamy polenta, snow peas, balsamic reduction. I seared a garlic-rosemary-balsamic marinated rack of lamb in a pan on the stove, then transferred to a 400 degree oven for 10 min. I let it rest then cut the chops. Made some coarse polenta on the stove and quickly sauteed snow peas. I plated everything and then drizzled a balsamic reduction. 

Back to the grind now and easy weekday meals (aka. ramen). I think my next challenge is going to be vegan King Cake to bring in to work before Mardis Gras next week. Which won't be too much of a challenge. I'll roll out some bread dough (flour, yeast, salt, water) and slather with a paste of vegan butter plus cinnamon. Then hide the baby, roll it up, make into a ring and bake. That's all vegan, right? Wait. What about the frosting and glitter. I guess I'll check the ingredients of the glitter tonight and I assume I can use some soymilk and powdered sugar for the glaze. If the glitter isn't vegan, the entire vegan plan is going to be scrapped and we're going full-on carnivore. You can't have King Cake without the purple, gold and green glitter.


[misc] Kitty Friday

Some recent pictures of the cats:



Bedtime buddy.


Santanner bananner. :tiger::banana:




Penny had her annual vet visit last weekend. Everything's fine, apart from tartar buildup. It looks like we're going to have to spend $$$ for a dental visit for her.

TGIF. Looking forward to a three day weekend. Got supplies to cook some nice stuff (rack of lamb! roast beef! homemade cubano sandwiches!). Going to take the snowshoes out for a spin in all this nice, new snow. Finish up the handspun baby sweater and maybe the funfetti shawl. And start something new? Or go back to the Sophie's Universe afghan like I keep saying I will? Clean the house? Make a King Cake to bring in to work on Tue? Hm. All this planning makes me want to take a nap.


[travel] Eating around DC

Was in DC for a few days early in the week. No pictures from the conference but it was good- the keynote speaker from the National Audubon Society was great and it was interesting to see how they're using GIS in their efforts toward the conservation of birds. There is a really cool Plants For Birds section to their website, where you can search for native plants based on your zip code and find trees/shrubs/flowers that benefit specific species. Even with all the wild land around me, I'm going to pick up a few new shrubs that I don't have (specifically witch-hazel, pussy willow, snowberry) and put them around for the birds.

Anyway, the rest of my time was spent drinking and eating around the city. One of the first places I visited was the DC Milk Bar:

My first Milk Bar visit. Cold brew coffee and cookie.

I was so looking forward to this and was kind of disappointed. The cold brew coffee was meh and I got one of the famous cookies to go: cornflake-chocolate chip-marshmallow cookie. I know, it's my own fault for ordering something with ingredients like that but it (a) hurt my teeth, and (b) was greasy. It was kind of gross, honestly. I'll chalk this up as a place that doesn't live up to the hype.

Went to Lauriol Plaza for dinner one night. My go-to order at any Mexican place is carne asada- if they do that well, then I know the place is good. This carne asada was the best I've ever had in my life, hands down, no joke. Even thinking about it now makes me angry that I won't be able to have it again until I go back down. It was a strip of skirt steak (not chunks of meat like carne asada usually comes as) perfectly med-rare on a skillet with peppers and onions. Guac and tomato salsa on the side. Warm tortillas. Bowls of rice and stew-y beans (not refried beans). It was excellent.

Got my Happy Hour DC oyster fix:


Mmm, briney oysters from MA and RI.

One morning, I went to Smoked & Stacked behind the convention center. I ordered the Cali Girl breakfast sandwich: cured salmon, over easy egg, avocado, tomato and sprouts. 

Breakfast. Salmon egg avocado tomato sprouts. Cold brew.

And their nitro draft cold brew coffee was ridiculously good. So good, in fact, that I came back in the afternoon for another.

Best Cubano yesterday at Busboys and Poets. And excellent bloody marys, as well.

Cubano sandwich. Again, this is another thing that if I see it on a menu, I'll order it. A touch heavy on the mayo but definitely one of the best I've ever head. The entire menu at this place looks excellent. Great baby kale side salad and bloody marys, too. Will come back here for sure when I'm in town again.

Last dinner was at Virtue Feed & Grain in Alexandria. I've been before before and their pork shank dinner is fantastic. This time I got one of their Valentine entrees: lamb chops, creamy polenta, snow peas and a balsamic reduction. Everything I love. I had to stop myself from licking the plate clean. This meal was so good and something I'm going to try to replicate at home asap. Like maybe this weekend to make up for being away during Valentine's Day this year.