Take a hike

Tim nearly dragged me out of the house today to take a hike. I’ve been down with a cold and my exercise plan has gone to pot – for now at least. 

All’s good though. I finished last minute Christmas gifts and shipped a wedding gift. It’s a tartan throw I wove. The plaid was from a wedding dress from 1766 in Scotland. 


 I’m pleased with it. I hope the bride to be is too. 

We snowshoed next door and saw evidence of a piliated woodpecker


Some little critters that live in a hole in the snow

And people who build rock cairns


Except for a small meltdown by me, a good time was had by all (Tim).

Oh shoot

Days are short. The sun set at 4:16 today. Somehow my mind turns to gardening. Not in a big way, mind you. 

The author of Year Round Indoor Gardening discussed his book on NPR a few weeks ago. What a concept!  Fresh greens all year. Shoots  grown in soil indoors.

After sprinkling a tablespoon of seeds on soil, The first 4 days you basically do nothing while the seedlings develop roots. 
Then you move them to a window that merely sees daylight and you end up with a salad a week from when you started. 

Here’s my sunflower, buckwheat, peas, and radish salad. And that’s just the half of it. 

As they say, Winter is Coming

We had our first snow flurries this weekend. We’ve (mostly Tim) tucked in the house and winterized the tools and watch the sun set at 4:30. 

The mountains had some brief beautiful fall colors.  

I forgot to take pictures though.  The deer and turkey were plentiful before hunting season. Now I have to remember to grab an orange vest before I run and their numbers have dwindled. 

We picked the perfect day to explore the old fort at Crown Point. 

But a new kitten and knitting and weaving projects occupy most of my time. And sometimes it becomes a tangled mess. 



Just like world affairs.


Holy mackerel, look what I found

I looked up from the newspaper this morning and saw this beautiful rainbow.  A double rainbow tried to emerge but this one one arced from peak to peak. I went up the hill to the cabin to look for the pot of gold but only found two mice. 

We are lucky to be home during the peak leaf colors for a change.  Last week we hiked a new trail up to a fire tower which provided 360 degree views of striking colors. Somehow I forgot my camera.


 I finished a bunch of hunting hats just in time.

The orange one is hand knit. The three deer hats were made on a Passap knitting machine.  Learning to use the knitting machine has sapped days of my time, to the point where I had to vow to exercise before I got caught up in it.  And sometimes it works like a charm.  Unfortunately, a few are too small and they’re not really appropriate for a child’s head so if you know of small headed adults, let me know.

The orange seemed appropriate for hunting season because the cable pattern is antlers.  The pattern is free on Ravelry called Antler Hat, worked up with worsted yarn, makes a quick knit.

Lots of projects under way. A homespun quilt, 8-shaft woven scarf, cobweb lace shawl, child’s sweater. I bounce around the house like a pinball.  Stay tuned. 

Taco cups

We used to get hominy from our CSA. I tried, unsuccessfully, to make masa from it, which is the ground corn in tortillas. It was a process. Soak the corn in a lime solution for a day or so to soften it and loosen the hulls, which had to be rubbed off, then cook (? I think) and grind. I used a blender food processor and it never was fine enough. The best thing about it was I invested in a tortilla press. Now I just buy the masa, add a little salt and water and flatten the tortillas in the press.


Tonight we had taco cups. I don’t remember where I first saw this idea, but I took the cooked tortillas and squished them into the bottom of a muffin tin between the cups. Not IN the cups, but underneath them. A 12 muffin pan held 6 tacos. Then I baked them at 375 until they were crisp.

Next it was time to make our own tacos.



They were a so colorful, they reminded me of summer. hard to do since we had another 4-6 inches of wet, heavy snow yesterday. I wrestled the snow blower to clear the driveway and ran into rocks and deep slush along the way.

The down time indoors gave me the chance to make some headway on my fair isle vest. It’s knit in the round and when I’m finished I’ll steek (slash) the v-neck and two armholes. I love the colorwork.


A tribute to my feline friend, Shirley

Or as Tim likes to say, you can call me Shirley, just don’t call me chubsy-ubsy.  She was a member of the family for 18 years, really a lifetime, as evidenced by how my kids have grown since she arrived.

Chelsea and Shirley, 1996

Chelsea and Shirley, 1996

She outlived many companions.  Her sister, Oreo, was lost in the woods years ago.

Shirley and Oreo

Shirley and Oreo

She survived an encounter with a moving car,in the 1990’s, with perhaps a little loss of mental capacity but as the vet said, “It’s not like she has to go to work. She just has to find her food and litter box”.  And she did.

She (and her adopted brother, Loki) lived aboard our catamaran and held up in all weather conditions. When the weather was bad, they crawled into their bunk and slept.  At night, we would hear them scurrying along the deck and waited for the dreaded splash.  It never happened.

Shirley on watch on Water Lily

Shirley on watch on Water Lily

Both cats traveled with us to several lighthouse caretaking gigs, until Loki resisted travel.

Shirley and Loki on Seguin

Shirley and Loki on Seguin

Shirley, Seguin

Shirley, Seguin

Shirley, Baker's Island

Shirley, Baker’s Island

Shirley, whiffle ball catcher

Shirley, whiffle ball outfielder

She loved all sorts of knitwear and projects and was a frequent model.



She enjoyed a drink now and then, bird watching and squirrel hunting.









And relaxing in front of the fireplace.







She purred until the end,  lying on one of her favorite scarves.  She’s been my companion, child surrogate,  travel buddy, knitwear tester and will be sorely missed.


Someone boil water

We got a call Friday night that our first grandchild was on the way. By Saturday morning he was here. Everyone is doing fine.
He’s cute as a button.


In old movies, labor was a time to boil water and cut up sheets. In modern times, I thought about feeding the new family when they returned home from the hospital. I whipped up lasagna (sort of; homemade noodles, however, chile comprised the meat sauce), two small pans of Mac and cheese (Barefoot Contessa version), curried apple-butternut squash soup and brownies. And off we went.

I had already finished the rainbow plaid baby blanket but didn’t get the elastic for the wool soaker until the day of labor, which was almost three weeks before the due date. My baby bunting still has a couple of days before completion.




I managed to soak the soaker in a lanolin waterproofing solution before we left and delivered it, slightly damp. We spent the weekend visiting the new family, holding the precious bundle and dressing greyhounds for walks in the North Country, with 8 booties in total and two jackets. And smiling from ear to ear.

Making lemonade

Thinking of what to do with that truncated blanket. I thought about a sleeping bag but don’t think it’s PC any more.


Instead, I may make a “sleep sack”. Sort of like a sleeping bag and a jumper combined. I guess that way the material is guaranteed to stay away from the face. I’m thinking of something like this but in wool. I have some blue wool material and thinsulate for the upper body and could attach it to the blanket bottom. We’ll see.


I got my vintage Viking sewing machine today and almost burnt the house down. Not really but the pedal definitely overheated and the machine was revving like a race car. It looks like part of a ceramic (I hope) resistor(?) broke off and heat was being dissipated. I fixed it with some electrical tape and it’s back to normal. Just a reminder to watch these vintage electrical items. I never leave them plugged in when I am not using them. I’ll also treat the pedal very gingerly.

I also learned that just because I can quilt, doesn’t mean I can sew. I made the simplest and cutest baby sundress today, reversible with snaps! But I had to cut it out twice, because although I lined up with the fabric grain correctly, the little pattern was upside down. Not something you really think about when quilting


I flipped everything around to get the flowers right side up, but still made the little bloomers upside down.


Since I anticipate making lots of baby items I the upcoming years, I invested in a snap installer. Easy peasy and it allowed the little sundress to be completely reversible.




I cut apart the rainbow blankets and tied fringe for the larger one. Looks like it’s time to hit the loom again.


Winter wrap

Christmas brought an ice storm to our region.  Then it warmed.  The sparkly, ice laden branches dripped ice and it sounded like it was raining.  My neighbor’s birches haven’t straightened up yet and I hope they survive. I’m conflicted because they look so pretty  as bowers.

 2013-12-28 Ice storm winter 2013 011

Now the temperature is plummeting again.  Our roof has been making some sort of explosive noise now and then.  Not to worry?  I didn’t see any big snow heaves on the ground and am not sure what causes it.

The cold weather, of course, gives me the opportunity to stay inside and play.  I was on my own for a few days last week and confess I stayed in long johns and slippers for most of (more like all of two) the day.  I managed to put winter garb over my warm clothes and ventured out with microspikes on to take some photos.  The base surface is a sheet of ice.  These thaws and freezes have acted like a Zamboni to make a smooth treacherous surface.  Microspikes are little crampons which slip over your boots (or crocs to the hot tub) like galoshes.  They allow me to walk the ice almost fearlessly.


2013-12-28 Ice storm winter 2013 091

2013-12-28 Ice storm winter 2013 054

2013-12-28 Ice storm winter 2013 050

I had a few requests for knitted gifts and tried my hand at slip stitch knitting.  Both hats have a twisted braid brim and I think I’ll use this instead of turned hems (my second favorite hat brim) whenever I can.


Then I’m back to the loom where I have a few towels to finish weaving.  I was dismayed to find my warp was crooked because the warp stick got caught on something.  So I get another wonky towel.  I give away the good ones and keep the “seconds”.  If you saw my linens, you’d think I had no idea what I was doing. Do I?


At least I’m not getting blisters on my keister anymore thanks to a little cushioning on the weaving bench.  Now I look forward to a new year filled with unions, reunions, births and PROJECTS!


This morning two blue boats went by the island in opposite directions, except one wasn’t a boat, it was an iceberg heading south. A flock of gulls was perched on top of it for the ride.

At the same time, the 9th largest luxury yacht in the world, the Serene, sailed north. It’s owned by a Russian vodka tycoon and sports 15,000 square feet of space, two helipads, a saltwater pool and an underwater Nemo room. And all the icebergs you need.

Here’s an article link: