Dear Sis

A Sleepy Kind of Year’s Start

Dear Sis,

It’s been a very sleepy sort of start to the year here.  I’ve been under a bit of a haze of appointments, crafting, and a really awful cold that’s been going around.  I, of course, caught the cold; and it went straight to my lungs and set up camp.  I’m much better, now, though so not to worry!  I went straight to the doctor and he gave me medicine to cure the infection.  I cannot believe it’s March already, though.  It feels like forever since I’ve written to you, and I wonder how the time got past me so easily.

First things, first, I suppose!  Tea:

It’s a new tea that I was gifted in a recent swap package, and it’s really yummy!  Even ArmyC will drink it with me when I make a pot.

Now,onto the crafting…

January, I made these dishcloths for the winner of a charity auction:

She was kind enough to gift me the pattern to make them, even!  And was so thrilled with them that she stated “these will never see the inside of a sink!” in response to my telling her not to be afraid to use them b/c they will be very hard wearing.  (You know how I crochet, haha.)

I also finished both my pink and turquoise prayer shawls that have been flying about my UFO (UnFinished Object) files for almost a year now!  They’ve already been sent off back home to Gram(ma), and taken to the church.

I was less than pleased with the turquoise one.  It’s just a plain simple stole shaped shawl, but as it was one of my first projects I failed to properly guess the center.  The seam actually runs a bit down one side, but there was nothing I could do to fix it other than unravel quite a bit of it.  Between you and me I was a bit tired of looking at the blue at this point, and found the Q sized crochet hook more cumbersome than I used to.  It’s been a long time since I picked up that large hook!

At the very end of January, my knitting group had a day where we made baby hats for charity.  You could also choose to make something for the seafarers, but those items would have taken me weeks!  They were things like sweaters (for grown men, no less!) and scarves in dk weight yarn.  I simply knew I’d never make it through one of those projects so I settled on making about 5 hats for babies of all sizes.

 

In February, I finished my teapot cozy:

I know, that’s not the camel teapot you gave me!  And it’s not the clear glass teapot I received in the Tea swap we took part in!  This seems to be the year of the teapot for me.  I’d seen the cozy pattern before, and it was one of my favorites, but I was not ready for the colorwork or the steeking or any number of other scary new knitting techniques that this project encompassed!  So I left it in my queue to make “someday”.  Besides, I reasoned, it will not fit either of my current teapots.  But a friend gifted me the pattern and asked me to knit it along with her for moral support.  How could I say no to that?!  It was great fun, and while it’s not perfect, I find it absolutely lovely.  And it turns out that having 3 teapots is a blessing.  I use the glass one for the especially pretty brews when I know I can sit and watch and refill it with hot water as needed.  (It’s a bit smaller than these other two.)  And the other two take turns being clean.  Since I have my pot of tea almost every day, there is always one that needs cleaning.

The theme of February seems to have been to learn new knitting things!  I made these blocks, and for them I had to learn to duplicate stitch.  It took quite a bit longer than I expected, but the results were very pretty for the most part.  And where the prettiness runs thin, I still like that they look a bit like worn wooden blocks with the paint coming off where they’ve been loved a bit too much.

These were for a swap where my partner has one little girl and one on the way.  Please ignore the poorly thought out photo that has the elements P, O, and S in that order.  I was taking these photos hurriedly, as the shipping deadline was the next day.

 

And lastly, March has been a month of finishing what I’ve started earlier, but have put off for one reason or another.  My knitting club is working on some Frankensocks where we each make a bit of a pair, and then swap every two weeks.  We started back in February, and I’m on the heels this week.  I’m currently working on a sweater, a doily, and a bag, each that I started back in December.  The only exceptions to this “finishing” of previous UFOs are some charity projects I’ve been whipping up (because I’ve been remiss about hooking up charity projects; I really have been), and this hedgehog that ArmyC requested especially:

Isn’t he just the cutest?  He now lives on ArmyC’s desk, in a nice pile of unfiled paperwork.  Hedgehog loves it.  And bonus, I’m getting much better at picking up stitches because of him.

 

Well, that’s pretty much all the news from out here in rainy Washington.

 

For now, I think I’m going to toss some laundry in to wash, make an early lunch, and see if I can’t settle in to watch my very favorite version of Little Women.

(I just received the DVD version in the mail from a friend!  My VHS version was on it’s last leg, and I’ve never found this version on DVD myself so I am eternally grateful to her.  I’ve already watched it once since receiving it just this past weekend!)

Then it should be about time to drive over, and pick ArmyC up from work.  (I have the car today since because I had an appointment this morning.  I have to go once every week now for my allergy immune boosting shots.  It chops up my day a bit to drive him to and from work so it’s hard to remember to get laundry in sometimes to be done before I need to leave again or I’ll get right into the middle of a chore and I’ll have to stop, but as it’s necessary and only one day per week I really cannot complain too much!)

 

I miss you so much!  And I really do hope you can get away to visit.  Tell Buffalo and Zeus and everyone that I say “hello”.  =)

All our love from ArmyC and me,

❤ K

PS – Talk to you soon, I hope! 🙂

 

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A Season’s Change… part 2

Tea brewing: Peppermint/Women’s Herbal combo (Ahhhh… )

Hello dear Sis.  It’s been far too long since I’ve talked with you last.  As I look sit and ponder the changing of the seasons, I’ve realized that so much has happened.  So many things I must tell you about.  But first, I am very happy to see that my suggestions for your weekday blues made you feel much better!  I’d like to think that sitting by a window recharges one’s batteries, providing enough power to make it out of the horrible “rut of blues.”    I think your day ended up being wonderfully productive, as well.  And a big MMMMMMmmmmm….. on the delicious apple bread!  Those pictures make me want to head for the kitchen and start cooking, even if it is late.

On that note I suppose I could start to catch you up with all the happenings out my way.  My mom, nieces, and I went for our yearly apple orchard outing this past weekend.  Although, it was a lot of fun, sadly the orchard lost over 70% of its crop this year.  The orchard did an amazing job of recovering from the devastation.  By joining together with several other orchards, our go-to apple picking spot was able to stay open!  There were signs all over saying, “It’s raining apples!” For most of the day we were all confused.  “What are they talking about?”  It was only when we went out for a tractor ride among the trees, that we finally got the slogan.  Throughout the entire orchard, in every tree, was a “gutter” full of apples!  The owners of CL wanted to make sure that they didn’t just stay open, but were still able to provide a traditional family experience.  Over 3 miles of gutters were put in just for this cute little idea, too!  On the good side, it did make things a bit easier, for example no more apples out of reach at the tops of trees.  The workers had already picked them for everyone.  All the little children still got to go on the tractor ride, “pick” apples, and muck around in the raining weather wearing their cute galoshes!  Squee!  As always, we wait all year for the wonderful, hot, delicious apple cinnamon donuts that the orchard makes.  We came prepared, too, this year, with milk in hand.  I wish you could have seen the girls all bundled up, goofing around, and having fun!  I thought about getting you some apples while we were there, but given where you live, I think you have plenty 😉

Oh, and our little C got to come over and spend the night with the girls, too!  All of us, my mom included mind you, played Rock Band!  It was hilarious and fun and all around amazing.  We all took a field trip to 3 Game Stops that day getting an instrument and used games that were severely cheap!  I mean a game or .89, cheap!  After I don’t know how many updates, passwords, usernames, and Lord knows what else, we got back up online and had fun “rocking out.”  Did I mention the new instrument was a keyboard?  Now that was funny to see!!

I thought of you and ArmyC the other day, as well!  Why?  Well, I made my favorite soup to make in the Autumn and I thought of you.  But before that, I tried a new sushi and thought of Chris.  Hehe  I forgot to take a picture of the sushi right away, so I hope you won’t mind that a couple of pieces are missing 😀

The soup is called “Autumn Greens Soup”, and is basically all the in season greens with a potato and chicken stock.  However, there’s some chili flakes for unexpected, but not overwhelming, heat.  Little C came over a week later and really wanted to learn to cook.  So, she learned how to make this soup and had quite a time doing so!  Here’s a photo for you (don’t forget to scratch and sniff!).

On my way home today, I ran into MamaB and Babymama at the store.  Our sis cut off all her hair, and I barely recognized her!  I got to see pictures of our little nephew, and he is so adorable.  Definitely looks like his mommy, and eats Oreos like his mommy!

As always, I’ve been yarning away.  Just last week I sent out four packages for birthdays and a swap!  Whooo!  Now, I’m on to a shawl, a neck warmer, and who knows what else.  With the holidays right around the corner, I am desperately trying to keep my head down and focused on what needs to get made.  For the most part I believe I have 90% of the brainstorming and supplies gathering complete, it is the last 10% that is proving to be a bit buggy.  I’m either over inspired or not nearly enough so.  On a happier note, I am very excited, though, for our tea swap!  Too excited probably!  Naw… one can never be too excited for tea or a swap!!!

Oh, dear!  It’s gotten rather late on me tonight!  I best be off soon, for I have an early day tomorrow!  But before I go, I must tell you two things:

First, we have a new family member here at the green cottage, a four-legged one.  We affectionately call him Zeus, and he is the cutest little rolley-polley of a bulldog I’ve seen in some time!  Say hi Auntie M!

The second is that Buffalo says “Hi!”  and that he misses you!

Well, I lied.  There’s a third thing.  I love you and miss you terribly, Sis!

All the love in the world and speak with you soon, Li’l M <3.

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Mid-week Blues

Dear Sis,

We’ve been absent so long from our letters!  But now I feel I’ve settled in enough in our new place to start writing to you again.  We’ve moved, and our new place is nice.  It’s certainly roomy, but still cozy.  It’s especially cozy with all the yet-to-be-unpacked boxes littering the place and clogging up the closets, haha.  Oh well.  It’ll get there… or it won’t, and we’ll just move again.  Either way.

I’ve been feeling kind of slumpy lately so I took your advice and brewed some tea, had a snack (more like a late lunch), and relaxed for a few minutes with some real sunshine.  It really did the trick!  I felt so good, I finished up some random house errands I’d been putting off.  And now I feel so much better, I felt like I could write you a letter, and maybe some other people could get letters of the paper and pencil variety!  We’ll see.  I can’t be neglecting my yarn, which you also instructed me to use!

I have a new knitting group here that is really pretty fun.  I don’t go every week, but I definitely enjoy when I do go.  It’s really the only time besides church that I leave the house.  Not that I’m complaining.  I love staying at home, being cozy, and doing my housechores.  But being forced out every once in a while, I know, is good for me.  Speaking of housechores, I finished with them all early the other day so I baked Apple Bread.

I got the recipe off a card I found once when we went to Penzey’s Spices.  I changed a few things, but it turned out really good.  I’ll post my modifications later.  🙂  I’ll also write more later about my yarny endeavors.  They have been many (although not as many as I’d like…), and one at least needs to have a pattern posted up here.

Much Love,

Kia

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Letters to My Knitting & You

Dear Circs,

I really hate you.  I moved my shawl over to you because Sis told me I would need you.  533 stitches is too many for straight needles, she said.  I dutifully followed instructions, but as I was moving my shawl over to you, I realized I could no longer use my knee to brace my needle.  You’re simply not shaped correctly for that sort of thing, are you?  And oh my goodness!  Is it necessary to constantly throw your plastic bit in my face?  It really gets in the way!  You’re so very unwieldy!!!!  I had to put my project back onto my straight needles until we can get this worked out, you and me.

Signed,

K

Dear Sis,

Thank you for letting me borrow your Circs.  We haven’t gotten off on the right foot.  I won’t lie.  It got a little dicey there for a while.  Things were said neither of us can take back.  Names were called… I said Circ was unwieldy.  Circ retorted that I was a newb.  It got ugly.  But we’re passed it.  Maybe in the future we can work things out, be friends.  But for now we just need some distance.  He’s currently hanging out in my new knitting bag in the zipper pocket.  He’s got plenty of room in there, and his plastic bit is learning to tame down.  I hope.

❤ K

Dear Shawl,

I’m very sorry I thought I could knit you during the day when everyone interrupts me.  I should know better than this.  I didn’t want to have to frog you all out, either.  And I’m just as hurt as you that the last bit felted and the yarn broke.  That little bit of darker green was my favorite bit so far 😦

To make up for my failings in knitting, I have sewn you a beautiful home.  Sit, enjoy.  I made this just for you.  I know I messed you up, but I’ll be more careful next time.  I promise not to take you out when I’ll be interrupted until I’m a better knitter.  Rest up!  I’ll need you soon!

❤ Me

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Parking Only!

Dear Sis,

I had a wonderful time on vacation, but am very glad to be back as well.  I only wish ArmyC could have stayed.  I can’t complain too much, though.  It’s the longest he’s been allowed to stay since even before our wedding.

We really had an awesome time in CA with the MIL and FIL, but we were so into the moment we took absolutely no photos.  That’s right, none.  Can you believe it??  I don’t even think the MIL & FIL took any!

Okay, wait, that’s not strictly true.  I took a few photos, but all one the one day we went to hang out with our mutual friend, we’ll call him LawSchoolC.  LawSchoolC asked us to pick an ethnicity and he’d pick a restaurant for lunch.  At first I picked Polish just to throw him off, but when he seriously wanted to drive an hour away to get lunch, I had to come up with a better option.  I offered up “What about the Pho restaurant?”  I think it’s Indian?  He agreed and LawSchoolC, ArmyC, & I drove off toward the Pho place we know.  It was closed.  So we decided to try Vietnamese.  And this place was open!  But before we could go in, we had to park… and there was a very umm… interesting sign in the parking lot.

We were confused.

We ended up parking elsewhere in the parking lot… but seriously?   What does this even mean?  What else would one do in a parking space besides park?  We didn’t want the fine, though, so we stayed clear of this spot.

They had really great lamb curry, which I did not photograph, and coconut juice served straight from the coconut.  I very much dislike coconut, but both LawSchoolC and ArmyC were quite thrilled with this idea and ordered some.

Afterwards, we drove to a nearby coffee shop which I cannot remember, ordered some coffee and took a walk along the ocean.

I would make a terrible news reporter, no?  I can’t remember where we went or to take photos lol.  Oh well!  I really had a great time w/ArmyC.  I miss him terribly & it was so nice to see him for longer than 10 days where I had to share him some of those days and spend 2 in the airport.

We must get together for some tea and yarnning soon.  Must! 🙂

❤ K

___

PS – We keep referring to my husband as C, Big C, & I think maybe something else.  I think we need to streamline this!  At first I thought C was good enough, but we know SO MANY C’s!  And I don’t know about “Big C”… makes me think of a bouncer for a club or something.  HusbandC only works for me… What about we use ArmyC?  It will work for both of us.

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A Season’s Change…part 1

Dear Sis,

It has been such a long time since I wrote you a letter, and for that I apologize.  I have been much under the weather lately, and because of that much time has been spent under my covers with hot tea.  The season’s unexpectedly early change has helped to liven me a bit though, and for that I am very grateful.

The other day, I went out and bought some yarn at that darling little yarn store we love so much, Sheep’s clothing!  The sun was shining so bright and it was 68′ outside.   My oh my how that was a splendid day.  I took a little time to truly revel in the peacefulness of it all.  I sat at a cafe with a wonderful cup of tea and a goat cheese and portobello sandwich (yummy!) just watching  the passers-by.  I realized this was such a neglected treat!  Too far neglected, since it has been a few years since I’ve partaken in such a wonderfully slow-paced meandering.  I truly loved it!

The cafe I visited was almost forgotten about, until a strange feeling told me to walk east down the street instead my intended west.  Aha!  Blackbird Cafe… so so long since I visited you!  As I walked through the doors, the aroma of gracefully gooey paninis and luxurious leaf tea instantly struck my soul and made my heart jump!

I couldn’t help myself to ask if they sold the tea they brewed, and to my happy surprise, they did!  I talked with the barista who said they actually get their tea from right next door to our favorite restaurant in the city!  I knew The Coffee and Tea Exchange had wonderfully tasty tea, but this cafe’s 3 hour trip to obtain it, confirms my opinion!  Oh, and the tea!  I almost forgot to explain it!  The name, Madame Butterfly, intrigued me at once, sis.  It was a perky, fresh green tea with hints of mango, cornflower, and hibiscus.  I loved it!  The clouds I had been under instantly started to part  when I drank the magical goodness from my cup.  Ahhh tea… a magnificent mirth of all things balanced and blissful, magical and medicinal, simple and sensational!  It is so hard to remember the days when grimacing was my only reaction to these master-crafted cups of joy.  However, I am glad those days are far behind me, FAR behind….

All my love to you, Sis, and miss you bunches,

-love Lil’ M

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Sunshiney Winter Days

Dear Sis,

It’s been a while since I wrote you a letter.  It’s a beautiful day today!  And the pups are enjoying it tremendously. They love to soak up the sun.  The other day (also a sunshiney wintery day), Rocket decided his nap place of choice was my desk chair.

Today, both he and Jade are enjoying a large spot of sun on the bed!

So much has happened lately with the accident, it’s nice to resume “regular” days.  Today is my regular Monday… a free day for me.  No volunteering… time to catch up on things of the hooky nature, as well as do my bible study and plan my lesson for Tuesday evening classes… and time to catch up here.

Yesterday our little sister visited here with our new nephew.  He’s adorable at 3 weeks old!  But you know that… Here I am holding a puppy:

Just kidding!  That’s the little guy 🙂  I didn’t realize that’s what it looked like over my shoulder.  Everyone was chasing me down laughing as I carried him out of the room, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with them!  Haha.  Mom snapped the pic and showed me.  Okay, I’ll admit… that’s pretty funny.

I also received a thank you note for our Angry Birds work.  Totally did not expect that!  I’m so glad we could use our gifts to help 🙂

Isn’t that the most beautiful stationary?  I might be biased… my love of pink & simple clouds my vision…

Anyway, I hope you’re recovering well.  I’ve been up to lots of good hooky while recovering… I’ll share with you soon 🙂

❤ K

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Car Accident

Please excuse our (small) absence as we recover from a car accident.

We were hit from behind while stopped for a train on our way home from what else?  A yarn shop…

Don’t worry, the yarn is O.K.!  /silly grin

❤ K

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Voila! Wrist-Warmers

Dear Sis,

I was rooting around the internet a few weeks ago looking for inspiration for some wrist-warmers.  You know I have some chronic wrist problems from a couple car accidents in my teens, and I recently had bilateral carpel tunnel surgery.  Not a picnic… For anyone of my fellow hookers with carpel tunnel syndrome, I do not recommend doing both wrists at the same time!  Of course, neither did my doctor… but I had to get them done and get myself healed for when my husband visited… so I won that discussion!  If you can call being completely unable to feed oneself for a week or so winning… haha.

Anyway, I had read that it is important to keep one’s wrists warm while crocheting or kitting in order to lesson damage and make it more comfortable.  Not wanting to go through more pain, I opted to make these wrist-warmers a priority!

I knew I wanted something simple.  No fancy or frilly stuff.  I wanted them to fit easily and comfortably under my hoodies.  I also wanted something that covered my wrist, but not much else.  These mitts fit the bill, but the pattern was in a language I do not read.

It was translated into English, but it referred extensively to the “back fillet” and I could not for the life of me figure out if it meant the back loop or the back bump… so after a bit of trial and error, I kept looking.  (I apologize for not having the website information… I would love if anyone knows where these mitts can be found!  For some reason I did not save the information, only took a photo of my screen… so strange.  And if I find it, I”ll put the link up here.)

I was not finding much of what I wanted online, so I started my own pattern… I finished the left mitt and decided it was not going the way I wanted… It was yellow cotton and much too fitted.  The color was beautiful (and I regret not having taken photos… it was Peaches & Cream), but the fit required me to use a button close… not very hoodie friendly, now is it?  Nope!!

So I went back to the internet with my new found information.  Looking for a pattern again, this time with more purpose, and an even better sense of what I wanted.  I finally stumbled upon exactly what I wanted!  There it was in beautiful simplicity.

Having used several free patterns from the internet, I was, of course, weary.  I waited to frog my yellow wrist warmer until I was sure this pattern worked.  I found a skein of yarn my mother talked me into buying because of the colors.  I had no idea what I was going to do with this strongly variegated cotton.  Here was the pattern for it, I suppose.  I zipped through the left mitt.  Beautiful!  Perfect!  I was impressed.  Still not tearing out my original yet…

The right mitt proved equally fast… I eagerly put them on!  I put my hands together… and what is this?  Is the right mitt longer than the left? Yes 😦 Yes, it is.

I checked the original pattern… Yes, I followed it correctly.  I studied the photo of the completed project by the author.  Oh my goodness, her right mitt is longer than her left as well!  I hadn’t noticed it before because I just thought one was bunched up a bit.  Okay, how can I fix this??? Well, I will spare you the ugly details of me tearing my mitt out 4 times.  But I will attach the pattern that I finally used to fix the length issue as well as the issue where the thumb hole was too large and the main hand hole was too small which occurred when joining rows straight from the open chain.

In the end, all the puttering and redoing and fixing was worth it:

Yay!  Beautiful mitts!!! I plan to make a wooly set of these as well when I get done with some stash busting so I can purchase some wool!  And thank you to haikugirloz for the original pattern.

Of course, I wrote all my modifications down into my own pattern (based heavily on the original), and of course I’m sharing!  I’ll upload it very soon ❤

Enjoy,

K

****************************************************************************

Edit to add:

The pattern for the wrist-warmers is now up! 😀

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Hooky Ladies Using a Knit Check??

This is Omacella, knitting queen, checking a crochet hook that we both own with her knit-check. This hook came in a package of three hooks by a brand Crochet Dude. The package is clearly labeled as containing American sizes “Sizes L, P, Q” or “8mm, 10mm, 15.75mm” for our friends across the pond. L is the smallest of the trio. It’s dark blue and the only metal of the group. Q is the lightest blue and the largest. So what is this middle blue, middle sized one? Well, the package says P… but we had our doubts.

Omacella had about 4 hooks all labeled P with this being the smallest:

And I had hooks from Susan Bates that were sized smaller letters, but were physically larger than this hook:

Finally, Omacella broke out her knit-check as only a knitter would (since us hookers have all our info printed on our hooks almost always). And guess what size it was? Well, maybe you don’t need to guess as her photo shows it is clearly no P.

IT’S A SIZE “N”!!!!!!!!!!!

Ta-dah!

Apparently all us hooky ladies should head right down and get one of these knit-fangled thingies…. Just for these odd cases where the package lies.

On a semi-related note, I am very sad. You remember the beautiful home I have for my hooks? Yes, well the slot for the N-hook-marauding-as-a-P-hook will now be too narrow for a real P hook.

************************************************************************************

Edit to add:

Upon further research, Omacella did in fact figure out why all the P hooks are different sizes.  Apparently the head of the hook (just the very part where the hook is the largest) is a P size.  Now, this doesn’t help with actual gauge since the shaft is so extremely tiny, but that’s how the companies can call the hooks size P.

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