Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The prize at the end of the sweater

I promised myself that when I was finished with the sweater that I would buy the Deephaven Cowl pattern I so coveted on Ravelry. With the sweater all sewn up, the ends woven in, I purchased the pattern.  Then came the scavenging for anything worsted in my stash.  My only option was about 3/4 of a skein of Cascade 220 in blue:
Knitted on size 7 circs, I have learned how to knit cables without a cable needle.  It's actually very easy once you learn the concept. I watched a video on youtube; the one with lots of 'splaining that was unnecessary because I can actually visualize something without a tedious play-by-play.

 The look of the cowl is good. I like the cables.  I don't like the curling. It's probably going to take quite a bit of blocking to train that out of the cowl.  Since the pattern calls for something like 500 yards, this is more like a close-fitting cowl than it's original concept.  No matter, I will give it away.  I also think that dark yarns detract from the definition of the pattern.

While knitting up the last of the yarn today, I was watching the Firefly DVD set that my honey gifted me for Christmas.  We cancelled our Netflix and I've been missing my streaming Firefly.. That's River looking at what her brain says is a twig, but in real life is a gun.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Random Monday

Randomly chosen from my family file folder, I give you: My Kayak.  

And my sandals, and a plastic bag and my paddle.  Beached at some small island off the Chippewa River last summer. Dave and I selected a week alone as our 'honeymoon' and we camped out at Brunet Island State park.  We were fortunate to get a campsite with water access, so we put our kayak and canoe in on Monday and took them out on Saturday.  Each morning we'd get up, get coffee and breakfast and head on out. Dave would fish in the canoe and I would explore on my Kayak.

It was like 102 degrees Fahrenheit that week; never got below 80 at night and the only time it was cooler was when it poured on Wednesday. It was best to get out on the water early, beach them at 1 through 5 and go back out after the sun starting going down.

Dave has bad luck with Brunet Island. Both times he's been there they have experienced tornadoes.  The first time with his ex-wife.  They ended up spending hours huddled in the DNR garage waiting out the storm. This time was no exception. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Holidays are Upon Us

We're doing a bit of adjusting to our usual holiday routine.  I'm pretty sure Dave is just as tired of all the driving as I am of all the riding.  We'll be making the trip to the In-Laws' and Daughter in Law next weekend.  So we got to spend Christmas here! YAY!!!!

I did remember a few moments ago that this is supposed to be primarily a knitting blog.  So how about some knitting, right?! Get over the holidays and get to knitting girl!

So let me introduce my Husband Dave in his Christmas Sweater:
A nice wool sweater that can be worn around the house or at work.  The book I knitted it from is the Knitter's Book of Handy Sweater Patterns:
The whole sweater took me about 3 weeks of nightly knitting to complete on size 10 1/2 needles. It's knitted from the bottom up raglan style. The yarn is Paton's Classic Wool in a deep olive color.  Actually it's leftover  yarn from my Gloucester Coat. I'm never going to finish that stupid thing, so I might as well repurpose the yarn. 
The pattern is a drifting rib pattern that is also in the book.  It goes a little like this:

Row 1. Knit
Row 2. K3, p1 - repeat
Row 3. Knit
Row 4. K1, p1 - repeat

After a few dozen rows you can tell what row you're working on.  The trick was to keep the pattern going after attaching the arms, doing decreases and shifting the row start to the center front.  Knitting it went swiftly, and I swear was inspired by God.  I NEVER can bring myself to knit a sweater; I've got 2 of them that are marinating in my stash for years. This one was knocked out in less than a month. 

Well, a Merry Christmas to All, Happy Holidays to my Non-Christian Friends (Yes, I do have a few) and to all others: Keep Warm, Keep Safe, and Keep Knitting! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bah Humbug! - Nah, more like Eh, Whatever...

I'm a confessed hater of Christmas.  No, not the whole gist of the thing: The birth of Jesus.  More like all that this entails in today's world. Christmas takes a tough season for me-winter- and makes it worse squared.

I also love lists so here's my reasons why I don't like Christmas:

  1.  Some dumass 2,000 years ago plopped this holiday in winter to make sure pagans would convert. Yeah, now that they've converted, can we put it back where it's supposed to be?  A friend and I spent a few hours discussing the true date of Jesus' birth.  From the part of the bible that states that 'Shepherds were watching their flocks by night.' makes us believe that it was in early spring. Shepherds usually sleep at night because flocks are good at tending to themselves, but Shepherds need to be constantly vigilant during lambing. That happens in early spring.
  2.  Driving in Wisconsin winters.  Oh yes, we must brave 3' snowdrifts to see family...it's soooo magical being in a van going sideways down the road. Not one of them wants you to miss that! 
  3.  People who are normally just mildly annoying become monsters during this time. They are rude, super-aggressive and mean. It's a ME ME ME ME ME attitude that just wants me to commit homicide. 
  4. And all that aggro is for what? STUFF. People are being mean to each other for CRAP. The other day I saw one of those Kindle Fires. I wanted to see what all the hubbub was. The instant I picked it up, I get this "CAN YOU MOVE YOUR CART?!?!" from some other lady.  Yeah, I said out loud, "Oh fuck it. It's not like I was doing anything anyways." and walked away.  
  5. I take pride in giving my recipients things that would either fill a need or that they would enjoy. People in turn give me crap that I don't either want or need.  I don't wear earrings, nor pajama sets, nor pastel anything. Yet, that's what I get. I'm guessing that no one has really noticed  me sitting on their couches knitting something over the last 10 years. Oh hey, she knits! GIVE HER SOMETHING TO DO WITH KNITTING!!!!  This is a hobby that does not require anyone to go secretly into some deviant shop for supplies, WAL-MART sells yarn. 
  6. And all of you who have raised your nose and sniffed at any hand-knitted gift I've given you over the years? Well you can kiss my ass. Like those stupid gift cards are so thoughtful.  Don't try to placate me now by asking for anything more to be knitted, I'm NOT doing it.  Only my immediate family receive those gifts now. 
  7. If I have to hear one more Christmas Song, I am going to barf. They started playing them before Thanksgiving. STOP PLAYING THEM!
  8. The Christmas tree is now sitting in the front room where I normally sit with my laptop.  My nomadic life gets more nomadic and for what? A Tree? I have to find another place to station my laptop for 3 weeks while some tree drops needles in my spot. This morning when I brought in my laptop table to work on, I banged my thigh into the door jamb. That's going to be a nice bruise.  Do I get points for saying "OH Holy Night!" when I banged my leg?
  9. My Sister had 5 kids, I have one.  There was over 20 years of having to give. every. one. of. those. kids. a. present.  Even at the  minimum of 20 bucks that's 100 bucks a year to her 20.  I'm not a rich person, but sometimes people act like I'm rich.  Now they expect me to give their kids' kids a present? I'm sorry, not going to happen. 
  10. Every year for about 10 years we'd do the 'pick names out of the hat' at Thanksgiving to reduce the pressure on each of the kids. We'd add spouses/boyfriends too.  Invariably, my name would be selected by one of my Sister's boyfriends and by the time Christmas rolled around, they would be gone. So...I got no present for like 4 years.  Sure, I had to give someone one, but I never got one back. My mother took pity on me the last year and bought me a portable grill.  I liked that grill. 
After listing these issues, I'm surprised I don't just leave the area for a month and come back after New Years' - which brings up another set of issues...just don't get me started!

People expect others to be just this brimming font of happiness this time of year. I feel for my Hubby, who has a better outlook on this holiday. He has to put up with me.  Most years I can fake a decent holiday cheer to make everyone else happy, but this year...screw it. I know how little people think of me and it's about time I give that feeling back...That's my gift to the world this year. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to succeed in getting off welfare 101

I've been told that I've lost my compassion more than once.  I've no sympathy for those who have struggled, they say. HA! Compassion is something I save for those who actually show some sort of effort in bettering their life.  It's something that has been on my mind for a while now, to let in some light to the darkest part of my adult-hood.  From the time I became pregnant with my son Alex (now 19) to the time he was 4, I was a single Mom on welfare.

In fact, I was homeless when I was pregnant; bunking at my sister's house or my parent's until my Section 8 application was approved. I moved into my apartment the day I came home with Alex. Four years later, I was a graduate with an Associate's Degree in Electro-Mechanical Technology with a $15/hour job.  How did I do it? I had a plan.  Here's the outline:

1. NO drugs or alcohol.  I did not take nor sell drugs.  Very little alcohol passed my lips.  Why? Alcohol and drugs are bad. No getting around it.  Also, drugs or alcohol lead to crime often. I did not need that. I also did not go out and 'party' at all.  It's a distraction and I needed to be focused.

2. NO Men.  Sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, but for that 5 years...I was 'responsible for my own orgasms.'  I did not have the time, nor willingness to try to vet a new boyfriend. They demand time and my previous experience led me to believe they could not be trusted to have my best interests in hand.

3. NO MORE KIDS.  One is easy enough to handle when in school, but each additional kid would make it exponentially harder to get off welfare.  Which is another reason why #2 was so important.  With no boyfriend to have to deal with, no birth control issues to deal with. I had an adverse reaction to birth control pills and could not take them.  Therefore, my family planning method was abstinence + basal-muco-thermal method of natural family planning.  Hey, it worked!

4. Pick a Career path that has the best payout for study.  My Tech School had a leaflet they gave prospective students.  It had their courses of study listed, with the % of students who were employed after graduation, % of those who entered program who graduated, and how much $$ they made.  The first course was Electrical Distribution - which is linemen.  I can't do that due to my asthma.  So I picked the 2nd most-successful program.  If you're going to put out the $$ for a future job, it should pay, right? Why spend $20,000 to become a child care worker who makes $7/hour?

5. I gave myself 30 days to find a job after graduation to get my 'dream' job. After that, I took what job was available.  I spent a month soldering anti-personnel land-mines for $7.50 an hour.  A month after that, I got the call to that job where I made $15/hour.

The plan worked.  I know it looks pretty organized here on the blog, but I really didn't have a 'set' plan.  I knew what were the barriers to success in my plan and I just avoided those barriers. It was not easy, and I remember staring up at my ceiling in the bedroom one day thinking, "I'm wasting the best sexual years of my life." but it was worth it in the end.

I've been married to a wonderful guy for the last 12 years who loves me and my son.  My studies have helped me gain jobs in the electrical field for over 10 years and I made some tall cash. Self-sacrifice is not bad, but it is hard.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers....

 It's getting more and more difficult to visit with my In-Laws' mostly due to their unwillingness enforce the rules we all agreed upon. Apparently my Brother-In-Law feels that he is above such a rule.  He needs to abide by the same rules that the rest of the family abides by: The one that states that NO POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS ALLOWED!
He took a very decent visit with my Mom and Dad-In-Law and turned it ugly by opening his big, fat,  mouth. When my Husband responded to his instigations, he just sat there with that self-depreciating smugness that I wanted to punch off.

Yeah, I'm still ticked off about that and it's been 2 days.  I'm sick of rightfully holding my tongue but having to put up with someone elses' incoherent ramblings. I don't care which side of the political spectrum you're on. When the rule was made, it was for a very good reason.

What makes the situation all that more telling is that we were in church at the time, enjoying a potluck luncheon. That luncheon was after the service where the following verses were said-out loud:

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
   41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
- Matthew 25: 40-41

It seems as though my Brother In Law did not follow the words spoken to him not even 30 minutes before. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Random Monday

Randomly selected photos from my collection.  Actually, this one is from my FB stash.  My computer had a nervous breakdown and we had to wipe Windows and re load.  All my family pictures are on a separate hard drive way over on the other side of the room.

Winter driving in Wisconsin.....hmmm what can you say? Notice the backup of cars in the top one? This happens more than you think. One stupid move by a semi-truck driver and the rig jackknifes' into both lanes. On a wintry day like that one, it's just best to say 'screw it' and stay home.  Not much is that important to risk your life for. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving in a new perspective

Thanksgiving for a lot of people this year is going to be more of a challenge than years past.  Not a lot to be thankful for when you've lost those things that make you feel secure in your life like health insurance and your retirement savings. Yes, I've lost both this year, BUT it allows me to focus on other issues to be thankful for.  I must remember that having the ability to use my intelligence to gather the needed information to get things I need is much more important than having those things given to me.

(Pic: Dave saluting me at Leinenkugel's this summer)

 I know that keeping healthy, exercising and eating proper foods will keep me pretty darned healthy.  We've joined the Y and are participating in group exercise sessions to gain strength, maintain flexibility and keep the immune system high. Our family grows their own vegetables and consumes a large amount of locally harvested venison.  Venison is much leaner than beef - which helps the waistline as much as the exercise does.  That will suffice for health insurance for now.

I have the ability to learn new skills.  To prepare for a retirement that might be delayed by about 10 years, I will be going back to Tech School to gain certification in metal fab and welding. Apparently you cannot get a job in that skill without one- which sucks.  To start a new good career, I have to spend $5,000. BUT I am hoping to make at least $15/hour after I get my certificate.  I can save more for both retirement and emergency needs with that kind of pay.
(Pic: Dave with his method of cutting sweet corn to prepare for freezing. It takes a bundt pan, and a sharp knife)

I use my skills, my intelligence to keep this family in the things they need as cheaply as possible. I cannot remember the last time I purchased a clothing item at full price.  Hey, who needs that when I can get things slightly used at Goodwill? I'm wearing a pair of tennis shoes that are like $80 full price that I snagged for $9 and they look like they weren't worn at all. My sewing, knitting and spinning skills work well to keep us warm for the winter as well.
(Pic: Alex -albeit a much younger Alex- showing off a baked item he made from scratch)

 My son is learning to make some amazing food from scratch using recipes found on the internet.  He made a delish dish of Thai peanut chicken from scratch. Now that's a dish that would be ...what? $15 at the restaurant? He made it for less than $15 for all three of us. He is also learning the skills to make do for himself than relying on someone to make it for him.  That's a skill that he will need for the rest of his life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Random Monday

Random Monday: The day I close my eyes and click on a picture from my 'Family' album.

Do you realize how hard it is to actually take a picture of the moon with a digital camera? It's crazy hard, especially if you don't stabilize your arms on something. According to the pic, this was taken 7/20/2010 at 8:34 pm. It's a nice juxtaposition of the light on the clouds with the light on the moon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gift Giving in the new age

As Christmas time is approaching, my mind sets on all kinds of knit objects that I could give to my family and friends.  The problem is, very few of those people actually want any gift that is not purchased from a store.  A few years ago, I spent 6 months spinning and knitting countless hats, scarves, shawls and mittens only to get some really nasty feedback.  Oh sure, to my face on Christmas day it was all "Thanks!" only to be told later on how they hated what I had made.  Not all hated them, some just put them away and never use them. It's a real downer to see something you've spent 6 months on laying on a top of a of pile mending in a dusty corner of a sewing room.

This cowl is a pattern called, 'Pretty thing'. I knitted it in a hand spun alpaca. That's when the intended recipient whom shall remain nameless (it's family) stated that she's allergic to alpaca. That was after she pronounced an allergy to pretty much every fiber out there. Oh I get it: she doesn't want anything I make, she wanted a gift card.  She got neither.  I sent the cowl to the first person that expressed interest in it on Facebook.  My high school buddy in Greece got it.

I'm going to tell you something that you don't want to hear: It is emotionally devastating to a person who creates a gift for you to have you either snub your nose at that gift, or throw it out. Yeah? You don't like hearing that? TOUGH! You want that stupid gift card from Wal-Mart Instead? Yeah, you're not getting that either! It's time to stop thinking that anything home-made is crap that is beneath you.  The true crap is that junk you covet so much at Wal-Mart.

I've got more than a chip on my shoulder, it's a flipping BRICK.

The best present I've received in recent years was created by my Father In Law.  It is a home made wooden headboard for our bed.  He took wood from his own land, made the lumber, constructed the headboard, stained and varnished it.  I will treasure it for years to come. Heck, I treasure it now.  His monetary outlay for this gift was for the electricity to run the router, and his time.

One of about a zillion reasons that I am grouchy at this time of year.  God Bless my poor husband, who has to deal with my Christmas grouchiness.  At least he will wear and appreciate what I make for him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hey, at least my family tree branches!

I've been working on the family genealogy for about a decade now.  It's something that I was full-bore onto about 5 years ago, but now that I've hit a few roadblocks, I've slowed down.  A few tips for the new genealogist:

1. Obits are still the best thing for finding out things.  Fortunately for me, my family has stuck around this area of South-Central WI for about 3 generations now. My local library has the Janesville Gazette on microfilm all the way back to the 1890's. I get cranky at the fact that a female ancestor was called, "Mrs. So&So" instead of her maiden name, but that's the thing that can frustrate you fast.

2. If you have the $, sign up for a year of Ancestry.com but remember to USE it. I used to set up Sunday's as my ancestor day and troll the databases looking for info.

3. Talk to your older relatives about their memories before their mind slips.  My Grandma on my Mother's side used to drop little tidbits that would tick the heck out of me like, "Oh your Aunt Mabel? You mean the one that died in the Asylum?" ARRRGGHHHH! WHY was Aunt Mabel in an asylum? WHY did she die there?
  - It turns out Aunt Mabel -my Great-Aunt Mabel died in an asylum after suffering old-age dementia.  She used to be a school mistress at a boy's school in IL before her passing.  Never married, she had like...6 brothers.

Keep working on it. I've discovered a few fun facts of my family that just crack me up.  For instance, I am distantly related to Rebecca Nurse, killed as a witch in Salem.  It was my much-great Grandfather who turned her in.  I'm also related to King Edward I of Scotland, but I don't think I'll be heading to the throne anytime soon.  I think the entire native population of the UK gets there before I do.

The Rudi side of the family.  From the back, Arnold, my Father, and his wife Bobbie,  Uncle LaVerne, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Leonard Jr. and Aunt Kayla, his wife.  Seated are my Cousin Brian and Aunt Marti. The Rudi's hail from Norway, where I still have many cousins.  My Husband always jokes that you can tell a Norwegian, you just can't tell him much.  ~Gets funnier every time I hear it..................

Sunday, November 13, 2011

That month of blogging is like over, right?

I did reasonably well for a person who ignores her blog for months at a time.
So I'm going to go random for today's effort:

1. Saw the remake of True Grit.  My Dad's a huge John Wayne fan and I've sat through the original dozens of times.  I don't like Glen Cambell's take on Le Boeuf.  It's 'dandified' as I say.  Matt Damon played the role better. The remake was excellent. It's a talent of the director to set out the story without allowing emotion. He just sets the scenes and lets the audience emote. Jeff Bridges played an excellent Rooster Cogburn, but Hailee Steinfeld, who played Mattie was excellent in her role.

2. We missed the last part of Harry Potter in the theatres again. No spoilers please. I'm thinking I've got to go buy it so I can sob piteously in the privacy of my own home.

3. River Tam, the scarf is done and as a present to the world it is free.   If you are on Ravelry, the link is HERE. My friend Kerri dyed it in colors of a river for me.  She was really nervous about it for some reason.  I told her to stop, relax and realize that I'm just not that picky. Pic:
That's the scarf around my neck. That is me trying to pretend to be a professional model, that's Tyler just looking to be petted on the back of the couch.

4. Last week was our Anniversary, Our Sons' Birthday and My Birthday all rolled into one week. It's a busy week every year.  My husband made me Baklava for my birthday. It was really, really good.

5. Alex and I have joined the Y to see if that would work better than the gym in Brodhead.  I'm thinking that a more structured form of physical training would get Alex on the way to the military.  Cross your fingers, say more prayers...this boy needs direction in his life. It frustrates me that he has none.  At his age, I was going to college full time and working 2 part time jobs. Why is it that the kids these days just lack any ambition? ~sigh~

6.  The new furnace is working well.  Dave did his annual plastic window covering day yesterday and it seems as though the furnace is not kicking in as much as it did last year. I am hoping for a reduction in our heating bills.

7. My Niece has been over many time in the last few weeks attempting to shoot a deer. It's bow season here.  A few shots have been taken, but no real hits.  If you're still in a praying mood, send one up so that she gets a deer.  I feel that it would do wonders for her self-confidence if she was successful. Besides, her family could use the venison.

8. Now that it's colder out, I've been doing more spinning on my wheel.  Right now, white alpaca.

Ok, Dave just gave me a bowl with chocolate mousse.. Gotta go~ !

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

There are Days...

I quit smoking in 2008.  Many smokers are still jealous of that fact, more because I just stopped than anything else.  No pills, no gum, no anything. I just quit.  BUT there are days like yesterday that I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a smoke.  Stressful days, frustrating days. Yes, to grab a Marb menthol lights 100 and just inhale.........

*On a off-topic note: While trolling for this pic, I weeded through a lot of pics from a lot websites.  Man, are there some militaristic, vehemently anti-smoking web sites!  Dudes, WE GET IT.  All of the smokers I know struggle with their addiction EVERY. DAY. Just effing stop with the overwhelming guilt trip, K? You're not helping. One anti-smoking group came to the public schools and  had my Granddaughter CONVINCED that her mom would blow up from smoking.  She was crying, begging for Mom to stop in absolute fear that Mom's head would blow off.  Just EFFING STOP scaring kids too.**

I've got orders, and my sewing machine was so bad that I've been sewing only on demand. If I get an order, I'd go upstairs, put my earplugs in and sew the bag.  Yes. Earplugs.  That Brother sewing machine had gotten so loud that it was the only way I could suppress my urge to 'fix' the machine and just sew.  I trot on upstairs to the sewing/spare room and get to it.  Except yesterday that stupid flipping machine could not even eke out 12" without one thread or the other breaking.

Cursing ensued. My usual threat to throw it out the window did not even work. Oh yes, I knew this day was coming and I had kinda prepared for it.  I've scanned reviews of other machines, watched for sales etc.  I had to drop everything, drive 1/2 an hour to the nearest sewing store, get another one, drive another 20 minutes to get my Son's birthday present, then drive 40 minutes back home.   This is a drive I would have much rather taken on my day off.

It's replacement is this one:
A Singer Talent.  I'm never, ever buying another Brother Sewing Machine again. I'm sticking with Singers. It works well so far, but I've only had one day with it.  $100 at JoAnn's.  I also stopped buying the big buck sewing machines too, as they really weren't better. 

I forgot Random Monday!

I remembered it actually, but there were many things on my mind:

Ok, not so random as I had to go to the 'Alex" specific area. Alex is on the left, his buddy Joe is on the right.  Dressed up as Organization 13 from Kingdom Hearts game.  BTW - if you want to make this for yourself - use the "Neo" coat pattern.

My dear son Alex was 19 yesterday! He seems a bit contemplative about it, more than I was at that time. Happy Birthday Son!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

I had a topic already in my mind but forgot it. Um. Oh well. Yesterday I was parked permanently on the recliner sleeping, shivering or aching.  The dreaded Flu found me.  Today I am much better, but taking it easy just to be sure.
Random Monday instead:

Hmmm interesting choice.  This is a picture of the display down at the library about a year ago.  Made by one talented knitter, it was great to see.  I remember now that she was standing beside me as I took the photo and invited me to Monday morning Knitting Group.  Unfortunately, I don't have a car to drive into town for that. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Furnace Finished!

Well, the furnace is replaced.  The old one is gone and we're basking in 68 degree warmth.  The fuel oil tank will be replaced tomorrow.  That one will be a challenge, but I am sure that the fuel oil dude will get it done.

I was taking pictures outside this morning when the fire truck went by.  The town nearby is 2 miles to the left of this picture, and highway 81 is about 2 miles to the right of this picture.  So my road is a shortcut.  Oh and this road takes a 90 degree turn about 1/4 miles down the road. Many people don't negotiate it very well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If I try to snuggle up close to you in the next few days, it's because the furnace is broken and they're going to have to replace it. Apparently furnaces just don't last 70 years.  This is another time when I am very grateful that I rent this farmhouse and don't own it.

Also a good thing I knit a lot of warm things, right? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Random Pic Monday

Let's just make this a weekly thing; random picture from my 'family' picture folder.  Don't worry, nothing in there is inappropriate for children/adults/goats.

So I closed my eyes and selected this one.  It's a nice picture from my front porch taken in late spring.  There's the marigold bed in front, and the wagon wheel with the bird feeder attached to the fence in back.  The County Road going through the picture is nicknamed "Roller Coaster road" for the large hills that make it a lot of fun to drive down. The field across the road was a hay field, turned to soy this year.

Somewhere in my picture files I have a photo of a fox jumping in that hay field. It was just fascinating to watch the fox hunting whatever rodent was in the field.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's a dark and stormy night.

Ok, so we are back from the In-Laws'.  It was 2 1/2 days of relaxing and celebrating.  My husband's uncle Chuck and Aunt Carrie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  It was great to see them and their family; a more easy-going portion of the Brauners.

Back at home there is the same 'ol same 'ol.  Sewing to do, food to cook, knitting to get finished.  Preparations are underway for winter, and I fear it will be a downright cold one.  More knitted socks will be in order, I guess.

And, I'm guessing that my next real design will be for me:
It's a Red Angry Bird Earflap hat.  I saw one at Kwick Trip for sale.  I just could not justify the $17 for it.  That's when Dave said, "I know someone who could probably knit that."  Yeah...............

Thursday, October 20, 2011

River Tam is finished.  There is a test-knitter copy of the pattern for those who want to test-knit the pattern. If you wish to test knit, please let me know of any errors.  And, PLEASE let me know of any issues with the directions BEFORE you attempt to knit further.  It just causes less grief that way.

CLICK on this link to go to Google Docs for the pattern.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Just a quick quote

"It's my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sommbitch or another. Ain't about you, Jayne. It's about what they need." - Capt. Malcolm Reynolds 'Firefly' 
Episode: Jaynestown.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I closed my eyes and randomly selected a photo from my "Family" photo file.  This one is of my Husband, Dave and my Sister, Tami watching a bonfire at our house.  Taken about a year ago, since it was one with a bunch of other pictures that had Alex and his Girlfriend (now EX-GF) in them.

How time has flown since then.  Oh my Sister is fine. So is Dave.  There's another big pile of branches and leaves to burn soon as the wind dies down. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Going on a Project Diet

Well, actually I've been on the project diet now for about a week.  What's a project diet? No new knitting projects will be started until the 10 or so are done. So two are finished, but they were pretty close to being done.  The next ones to be done are going to be more of slog.

That stupid Featherweight in Hunter's Orange needs a collar and arms

The Gloucester Coat is miles of endless stockinette to finish off the back, THEN onto sleeves and collar

The Dockside sweater: 7" of k1p1 ribbing....endless ribbing.  I've got like an 1" done.

Bee Fields Shawl: 2nd motif 3/4 done.  Need to count repeats then start the last one.

Aoelian: Like on the 2nd part, need to finish + get more beads.  NEVER try to bead this whole flipping. You'll regret it.

Silk Shawl: frog or finish? If I try to finish I will need to spin more silk.

Well that's about it for knitting.  The family went to the apple orchard last week so I've been baking pies and apple crisp all week long.  MMM apple pie..............

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The trials of living in the country

So for most people, taking a shower is a quick and easy thing to do.  Here in the country, it's a bit more of a chore:
1. Sweep floor clean of bugs, leaves and litter (the litter box is in the bathroom)
2. Divest yourself of clothing and head on over to the shower.
3. Open shower curtain, fluff it a bit.
4. Walk over to toilet, grab a few squares of tp and head on back to shower.
5. Use tp to grab whatever creepy-crawly thing is in the shower stall. Today it was a worm-like creature but could have been in the centipede family as it had many legs.
6. Flush creepy crawly down toilet.
7. Take shower.

Which creepily reminds me of the time I inadvertently took a shower with one of those icky long legged centipedes. Good thing I am legally blind without my glasses on, or I would have seen the 3" thing crawling up my thigh.  That would have led to screaming, hysterics and probably a destroyed shower curtain.

Out in the country, humans are the minority.  You learn not to get all freaked out at every single insect that crawls into your house. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

kitty pile

kitty pile
Originally uploaded by ruddawg
Ah the good old days when all 3 cats would stick together. Now they are grumpy, old and Tigger looks like he has mange.

I'll be glad when the fleas are all dead. Every. last. one.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Warning: This might piss you off - but I'm already there

 When I was in High School, many years ago, MTV WAS music videos.  And one of them was Bruce Springsteen's War. Before the music starts, Bruce says, "In 1985, blind faith in your leaders or in anything, will get you killed."  

Let me repeat that quote:  "In 1985, blind faith in your leaders or in anything, will get you killed."

Here it is, 2011 and it is still true. Still there are those who will just do whatever someone on TV, Newspaper or Radio tells them to. Those media people do not know anyone whom they are attacking personally, and they've got their own agenda. Their agenda is to divide this country into 'us' and 'them'. Why? Well, it's easier to kill the 'them' when you can convince a group of people they are less-than-human.

I miss my friends. I miss those friends that I found funny, intelligent, and great to hang around with.  I can't hang around them anymore because they chose to believe some nameless, faceless entity who told them that I was lower than a piece of shit simply because I did not embrace their political ideology. Instead of questioning that entity, they simply nodded their heads and did what they were told: useful idiots. And yet, I still believe they are intelligent. I cannot divine why they would handily accept the opinion of someone they've never met over their own, but they do.

Not one of them has stopped and said, "But I KNOW Brenda! She's not evil! She's not racist, homophobic, moron bent on stealing all my money!"

I miss family. I miss those family members for the same reason I miss my friends. That nameless, faceless entity told them that we are then enemy; evil and not to be tolerated.  That entity whispered in their ear that we were out to steal everything from them and to hold closer to their beloved belongings.

Not one of them has stopped and said, "But, Brenda does not steal! She's helped me out a lot of times! She's not evil!"

Each of these family and friends have been lost to me because they could not refrain from calling me names that I would never dream of calling them. I feel frustrated, angry and bereft.  I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK!! and I want these people to stop listening to someone tell them how to think and how to view others.

And if you've gotten this far: learn a lesson.  The experiences you have of another trump what 'someone' says about them. STOP BEING A USEFUL IDIOT and THINK  for yourself.  Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything will get you killed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My lap robe moves and meows

This is Tyler 'Spud', our youngest kitty.  He's a spud all right.  Today he's been hanging out on my lap while I spend the day resting.  My asthma started up last night and would. not. stop.  At 3 am I found myself on that same recliner struggling to breathe while I coughed up a lung.

So any effort to do something well, productive went out the window at 3 am. I've decided on a project diet when it comes to knitting: no more projects started until the ones I've got on the needles are finished.  Two out of 9 are finished but there are three sweaters in that queue. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Movie Review? Let's try that

So Dave and I watched the third movie in the Transformers line last night. If I were to give it a star rating, it would be 2 stars out of 5.  Why? Well, let's go through those:

  1. Megan Fox IS the chick in the Transformers. This other lady? Well first of all, you look like you could break her in 1/2 with a strong wind. OK, so I didn't even know who Megan Fox was until like last year, but she made the Transformers movie.
  2. And who runs through an entire battle scene in high heels? So lame
  3. The battle scene was like, 9 times longer than it really needed to be.  So much so that 1/2 an hour into it, I was like, "Are they going to be done now?"
  4. Having a good guy AND a bad guy (this time in 2 different machines: the Primes) with the same color scheme really confuses you when you're watching the battle scenes.
  5. Okay *** Spoiler ALERT ***  This pylon/column thing glowing red is the key to destroying the bad guys. So ah...why is every GOOD guy NOT EVEN SHOOTING AT IT?!?!  They're fighting the bad guys. EFF THAT, GO FOR THE RED THING!! That would've saved like 45 minutes of the battle scene.
  6. ** Another SPOILER ALERT ** Physics Law: To things with mass cannot occupy the same space.  How in the heck are 2 planets going to occupy the same space?
Not much I liked about the movie.  Visually, very quick action -good but very quick.  Slow the heck down. The characters that were from the first 2 movies are still great. Some cameos in this one were very nice: Wash from Firefly, The crazy Asian guy from The Hangover, Spock as the voice of the bad Prime.  Wash -ah Alan Tudyk - is a seriously underrated comedic actor. 

I'd recommend seeing it once, just to continue the Transformer series. I wouldn't buy it though. I'd re-watch the   first two. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Life in the not-so fast lane

My Friend, Vicki started this - made me aware of   nablopomo which is National Blog Posting Month. The challenge is to blog once a day.  Yeah, I am aware that I missed like....4 days.  Is my life that interesting to blog once a day? I'm pretty sure some of it might be, but mostly no. 

Yesterday's work was done quickly, so I decided to clean up my spot in the living room.  The recliner won't retract and I am sure Dave will need to take a look at it.  I'm a nester. My end of the couch has everything needed for a decent 4 hours of life without having to get up. 

So it needed cleaning.  What led to me organizing yarn, what led to me cleaning out the whole yarn stash. I found many skeins of yarn I did not know I had, including lots of bits for the hexipuffs. 

I feel obligated to add pictures to my posts, you know.  This was a sunrise a few weeks ago taken from my front porch. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hexipuff madness

Hexipuffs are the new thing going in the knitting world.  Why? Well everyone who has knitted a sock has bits of sock yarn left over from them.  What do you do with them?  My first effort to get rid of them is the sock yarn blankie which I started on a very late night a few years ago.  I blame the late hour for the fact that I'm knitting it wrong: Instead of a garter stitch blanket, mine is stockinette. That makes it look like fish scales.  Well, take a look:
It gets the job done at using up scraps too small in yardage for anything else. Right now it's big enough to use as a throw on the couch. But now we've got the bee keepers quilt:  This blanket is made from little separate puffs stuffed with stuffing.  I'm using wool to stuff mine, since I've got like..tons of it around (read the last post)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fleece to yarn

The weekend before last was the WI Sheep and Wool festival. This is the one day a year where I go just absolute bonkers for anything fibery. This year, I snagged a fleece from WhataviewFarm in Phelps, WI that is a Polypay/East Friesian/Dorset cross. It's got a great crimp with about a 3" staple.

I confess to enjoying the process of turning fleece to yarn, so this was a great thing to find such a nice fleece to work with. For the last few weeks I've been washing, carding and spinning up yarn in the hopes to get enough to knit a sweater.

So on to pictures!

This is the fleece drying after a wash in hot soapy water with a hot water rinse.

The washed and dry fleece in a paper bag waiting to be carded.

Now I usually just use that pet brush to open up locks to spin with my most beloved spindle; the mini-Bosworth. This is the spindle that I want with me at all times. I estimate that I can get about 125 yards on a spindle before taking it off.

After about a week, what I have are these balls of singles waiting to be plied into 2-ply yarn. I'm expecting to do that during the Packer game on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Dogbone Pillow

You ever have the problem when you flip back in the recliner that it's just too far back for your head? I get that all the time. After too many large pillows that just make my head too hot in these summer months, I've devised the dogbone pillow.

The design is pretty simple: Take a tube and make the ends puffier than the middle. I took some yarn that I spun up in a wool/cashmere blend from WoolyRhinoceros and spun it to a fingering-type yarn (also could be called sock-weight)

Want the pattern? Here it is:

Dogbone Pillow
by Ruddawg Designs

Yarn: Handspun wool/cashmere blend in yellow : fingering weight
Needles: Size 4 double-pointed needles
Other items needed; Stitch markers (10), yarn needle, scissors.
Gauge: We don't need no stinkin' gauge. It's a pillow for crying out loud!

The wider ends keeps the pillow in place and keeps your shoulders from shrugging and getting sore. The pillow can be stuffed with whatever is good for the knitter: The original was stuffed with excess wool fiber, but bamboo, cotton, polyester or anything else can be used. While knitting the long middle part, I stuffed the one end and continued stuffing the bone while knitting. At the end, I used a knitting needle to stuff more fiber into the little hole. Once done with stuffing the pillow, use a bit of yarn and a yarn needle to sew up the holes on either end of the pillow.

CO 9 sts.: JOIN, place stitch marker at beginning of row.
Row 1: knit
row 2: kfb; 9 times (18 Stitches)
row 3: knit
row 4: kfb, k1 : 9 times (27 stitches)
row 5: knit
row 6: kfb, k1, kfb : 9 times (45 stitches) [at this point, I put stitch markers in between the 9 repeats so that I could keep my place]
row 7: knit
row 8: k4, kfb :9 times (54 stitches)
row 9: k5, p1: 9 times [I took off the stitch markers between the repeats here, as I could see the knits and purls pretty well.]
row 10: k5, pfb : 9 times (63 stitches)
row 11: k5, p2 : 9 times.
Row 12: k5, pfb, p1 : 9 times (72 stitches)
Row 13: k5, p3 : 9 times
Row 14: k5, pfb, p1, pfb : 9 times (90 stitches)
Row 15: k5, p5 : 9 times
Row 16: k5, pfb, p3, pfb : 9 times (108 stitches)
Row 17: k5, p7: 9 times
Row 18: k5 p7 : 9 times
Row 19: k5, ssp, p3, p2 together: 9 times (90 Stitches)
Row 20: k5, p5: 9 times
Row 21: k5, ssp, p1, p2 together: 9 times (81 Stitches)
Row 22: k5, p3: 9 times
Row 23: k5, p2 tog, p1 : 9 times (63 stitches)
Row 24: k5, p2: 9 times
Row 25: k5, ssp: 9 times (54 stitches)
Row 26: k5, p1 : 9 times

Continue knitting the k5, p1 rib for another 7” (approximately 65 rows) then start with the other end of the dog bone:

row 1: k5, pfb : 9 times (63 stitches)
row 2: k5, p2 : 9 times.
Row 3: k5, pfb, p1 : 9 times (72 stitches)
Row 4 k5, p3 : 9 times
Row 5 k5, pfb, p1, pfb : 9 times (90 stitches)
Row 6: k5, p7: 9 times
Row 7 k5, pfb, p3, pfb : 9 times (108 stitches)
Row 8: k5, p7: 9 times
Row 9 k5 p7 : 9 times
Row 10 k5, ssp, p3, p2 together: 9 times (90 Stitches)
Row 11: k5, p5: 9 times
Row 12: ssk, k1, k2 tog, ssp, p1, p2 together: 9 times (54 stitches)
Row 13: k3, p3: 9 times
Row 14: k1, k2 tog, p2 tog, p1 (36 stitches)
Row 15: k2, p2: 9 times
Row 16: k2 tog, p2 tog: 9 times (18 stitches)
Row 17: k1, p1 : 9 times
Row 18: k2 : 9 times (9 stitches
BO 9 stitches.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

River Tam

The third installment of the Ladies of Firefly series actually was not intended to be River Tam. I woke up from a nap on Easter to think to myself what if I knitted cables with a laceweight mohair in the shape of the Clapotis? What would it look like? So I made some notes and started knitting. I had purchased this skein of Cascade Kid Seta just because it was soft and pretty.

Knitters will tell you, sometimes you get yarn and it sits in your stash until it speaks to you. Well that Kid Seta was screaming to me I guess! After the first skein was finished, there was some question as to whether or not to extend it for 2 skeins. It actually needed it, but I just didn't feel like knitting on it any more.

Now I've gotten into a 'I should finish stuff' mode. There are about 4 projects that have been hibernating in project bags waiting for me to finish them: The featherweight sweater, the Gloucester coat, the River Tam and another Strawberry Hat. I frogged the hat. Screw that stupid thing. The other stuff will be finished though.

River Tam looks like this:

Once I am done with the knitting of the stole, I will be sending it off with a friend of mine so that she can dye it a more water-y color.

Monday, June 27, 2011

How hard is it to break a treadmill anyways?

The family has been experiencing a lot of changes lately, and I've not been knitting nearly enough! Our son Alex has graduated from High School and was preparing to enter Tech School for a welding degree. Everything was all purty and quiet here and then he got a text - from his girlfriend - who broke up with him - in a text. So 2 years of relationship ends in a text (can you tell that's a real annoying point for me, the text?) and my son is left bereft, hurt and without a real need to stay in this podunk little town.

Two weeks ago, he announces, "I want to go into the Navy."

Okay! This option was floated about in the last few years for many reasons: 1. We've got no real $$ saved up for college. 2. His grades are not really indicative of ambition towards a college goal. 3. This kid can code computer programs IN HIS SLEEP, and needs a place where he can expand on that knowledge is a more structured environment than college. College has too many distractions (girlz and booz)

So now Navy is on the table again. We go to the recruiter and discuss his options. His only downside right now into joining is his need to get into shape. Mom decides this is the perfect time to join a gym and get into shape herself. The Brodhead Health Club has a 3 month membership that is perfect for our needs. Each day Alex and I get up, and get to the gym for an hour to 1 1/2 hours of real workout with weights and cardio.

This ol body is not liking it one. single. bit. I'm sore, I'm tired and I keep falling asleep in the afternoon. Of course, that might just be the lack of Pepsi going through my veins. Our goals are modest and attainable as long as we keep on them. If I get to my goal, I thought another Tat might be the reward. Alex gets a snappy new wardrobe and a new career.

Prayers are needed to keep us focused. I'm going to try something I've never tried before: Jogging. My ~ahem~ chest rack has precluded much running as I don't want a bruised eye, but with new spandex technologies, I think I can tame them enough to jog. I used to say I only ran when chased. I guess I better find someone to chase my treadmill at the gym then!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Updates galore

Let's start with Mango. Mango's taken on the personality of a cranky wild-child. He wanted to go planking, so sure...we went planking. Ok, he planked, I took pictures. He then noticed my frustration at a certain child who is on the cusp of graduating High School. That child has become so unfocused that he's almost useless. If you tell him something, you might as well staple a post-it note to his forehead.

NO, I won't staple it...maybe some duct tape?

Mango insisted on head butting him to remind him for the 4th time to take the compost bucket down to the heap. That's when Mango lost his button eyes. So I sewed them back on. Mango then announced that he needed a friend. Stuffed animal creation is actually ideal for stressful situations. Great for ADD:

Mango and Papaya aren't really that chummy yet. Mango's ticked because I haven't given him a tail yet. Papaya's eyes are embroidered so they won't fly off in a fit of anger.

Graduation: Yeah. It's a big step that has long been a distant goal. Now that it's almost here, well it's been less organized that I had hoped. That's mostly because the cost. A hundred bucks for announcements? Who has that kind of cash. And that's without the cute little name cards. UH! Forty bucks for a graduation gown? He's wearing it one day! UH. With my sales being 1/2 of what they used to be, and Dave's hours being cut....well there's just not a lot of disposable cash for this.

Did I mention that his girlfriend persuaded him to get his hair cut? It might have been mean to laugh, but Dad and I did anyways.

Good thing I have skills. His announcements are printed at home. We got the gown and I'm less than happy about the fit. I could've sewn a better gown! Grad party? We'll be having ours in August to let Alex go to as many of his friends' parties as he wishes. That also gives us time to do some outside sprucing-up.

In the design aspect of life, I was presented with a challenge by a Ravelry user. She showed me a bag created to hold 2 skeins of yarn and allow a knitter to knit 2 socks at once. Sounds fine right? The trick is that the bag holds the skeins in such a way that a person can run the yarn right off the top and keep the skeins from rolling around. Now that's the hard part!

The design is much like compartments sewn from quilted fabrics.

See the two diagonal lines? What is not seen is the compartments under those lines. Each separate from the other. The slit is to allow the yarn to come out while the yarn is snug in their own little apartments.

Oh, and I've met the most talented weaver who is weaving shoulder straps for the KIP Bags. She has an inkle loom, which is used pretty much exclusively for weaving very sturdy straps.

The straps come with installation hardware and instruction and can be woven in two primary colors. I chose black and red so I can show the design simply. They are great! Sally gets all the $ for them, so grab one for your bag today.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I whipped up Mango in about a week. Yes, making a stuff animal is fiddly and involves a lot of attaching. That part would've gone better with a yarn needle, but I couldn't find it. I used a crochet hook.

Mango and Dave.

My relationship with Mango has caused a bit of concern with Dave and Alex who think I've totally lost it. Maybe I have, but not without good reason: The wrist is inflamed and that means doctor visits. I can't knit, sew or do anything else with a bum wrist. I can however, play with Mango:

Mango is planking on the roof of the car.

On the bird feeder.

Sitting for his glamour shot.

I talk to Mango, and I tote him everywhere. At least I'm not sleeping with him....