Make Do, Reuse, Recycle

For years, we’ve had this old lounge chair sitting in the back of the garage. It came with the house, so it’s at least 20 years old. The metal frame is in good condition, but the vinyl straps are broken. I kept it around with the vague idea of restrapping it – but when I finally got around to looking into it, I discovered that it’s a really difficult job, especially with the type of frame we have. And it certainly wouldn’t be cost-effective to take it anywhere to have it done. But I hated the idea of throwing it out, since the frame is much better than most of what you can buy today.


Then I had the bright idea to put wood slats on it. (Well, to have DH do it.) I have a cushion for it, so it wouldn’t really matter if it looked a little odd, as long as it was functional. And if it was a failure, it could just go out with the annual neighborhood cleanup next month. He had some scrap cedar fencing in the garage, so tried attaching a couple of pieces to see how it worked.


Not bad! So he picked up a couple more pieces of wood, and ta-da!


We have a fully functional lounge chair! And it’s already gotten a good bit of use in the past few days. Quirky, yes, but it goes with the house.

The other yard project I worked on today was the periodic painting of the metal chairs. These chairs are even older than the lounge chair – close to 30 years old. Every 2 or 3 years when they start showing some rust spots, I spray them with a new coat of paint and they’re good to go.


I’d hate to think how many coats of paint these chairs have on them after all these years, but they’ve certainly earned their keep.

Now we’re all set to enjoy the beautiful warm days.



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Orchids Ahoy

Life has been hectic and, uh, “interesting” lately. I feel like I’m running on empty, but my windowsill orchids are doing their best to add a bit of brightness. I was watering them today, and it gave me a moment to stop and enjoy a little bit of pretty.


They’re mostly grocery-store orchids that I’ve had for several years, and they re-bloom pretty reliably, without much fuss or attention.


Outdoors, the daffodils, early tulips, and other early spring bulbs are putting on a good show, so there’s some brightness to be found both indoors and out.




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February is for…

Inversion. Blech.

It’s been gray and dismal outside with our inversion and smog, but at least I’ve had more bright colors to play with.

crocheted birds

I had a burning desire to work up some of these colorful little birdies. They keep making me smile when I look at them. Especially with their little button eyes.

crocheted birds closeup




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Chasing Away the Winter Doldrums

I needed something bright and cheery to chase away the Winter blues, especially when my main knitting projects are not exactly colorful.

Some quick and colorful coasters to the rescue!

Grandma’s Knickknacks Coasters

They even make the snow seem cheery! I used mostly Lily Sugar n Cream cotton, but also some Lion Brand cotton. It’s a great way to use up assorted scraps of yarn.

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Stash busting and organizing

A couple of years ago, I decided that I really needed to rein in my stash and pare it down. Since then, I’ve tried to knit mostly from my stash. Lately I’ve been choosing a yarn, and then figuring out what I can do with it.

Occasionally there’s a particular pattern I want to make, and have to see if there’s something in my stash to suit it – which worked well for me when I made the “Bird and Vine” mitts, since the Jamieson & Smith I had was perfect for it.

I do occasionally buy yarn, but I’ve been trying not to do that unless there’s a specific pattern I really want to make right away and I don’t have suitable yarn for it. (Then it doesn’t actually go into my stash, so I figure it doesn’t count, right?) I was recently on the verge of buying some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter for a sweater, but decided to hold off – I don’t really have the right pattern in mind for it yet.

Between knitting from my stash and giving away a bunch of yarn that I would probably never use, I’m definitely making headway!

I keep my yarn in large plastic stacking drawer-type bins. I went through the bins the other day to reorganize and consolidate them – managing to go down from 10 bins to 7. Although that doesn’t include the boxes of remnants I have stored in the basement, it does include a lot of worsted- and fingering-weight wool yarns that aren’t really enough to do much with individually – but will be great for stranded knitting projects. Those take up a bin by themselves. So that means it’s really only 6 bins of stash yarn, right? My goal is to get down to 5 (not including leftovers/remnants/samples), and keep it at no more than that.

I have a nice little cubby space that is perfect for 4 bins. (I have no idea what it was originally used for – maybe a TV and/or stereo equipment?) I was sad that it’s about 2″ too short to allow for 6 bins, but it occurred to me that I had a large unused under-bed storage bag that could go on top of it, and should hold a bin’s worth of yarn:

Storage Bins

The cubby is off the floor, and gets some light, but no direct sunlight, and it’s in an area that could become a nice craft space. I think this will be much better than the guest room closet that they were in before – less likely to be attractive to any beetles or moths than a dark, undisturbed area. Now my goal is to get my stash down to only what fits in this space, and keep it at no more than that.

While going through the yarn, I ran across a few things that I didn’t know/remember that I had, including this cone of laceweight linen, that’s sort of a silver-gray-green:

Linen yarn

I don’t remember buying it at all, when I bought it, or what I had in mind. The only thing I can think of is that I might have wanted to use it for the Holey Square Shawl, which I’m currently making in silk. Oops.

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On the needles

So after all of the finished work, what’s on the needles now?

Some very unflattering pictures of my work in progress:

Holey Square, in gold-colored silk, which looks a bit ragged now, but hopefully will look MUCH better when finished and blocked.

Holey Square

And a top-down raglan sweater, Mailin. Although top-down raglans aren’t generally my favorite, I do like the way Isabell Kraemer adds back neck shaping and modified raglan increases. And there’s something to be said for being able to bang out a sweater quickly. This pattern has an option for either a scoop neck or a cowl neck. I’m leaning towards the cowl neck, but I’ll decide when I get there (the neckline is worked last).


Well, that was a pretty beige-looking post, wasn’t it? I think we need more color next time. I have something in mind.

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Knitting Update

In which there is a flurry of five fibery finished objects.

I haven’t been motivated to blog, but I haven’t stopped knitting. In fact, I have FIVE finished objects to show off. And bonus – they all used yarn that has been sitting in my stash for a long time, so three cheers for stash busting!

First is the shawl I call the Woolly Mammoth. The pattern is the Textured Shawl Recipe, but I increased 6 stitches every 2 rows instead of 4, so that it would be wider and not as deep. I used most of two skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool.

Wooly Mammoth

Woolly Mammoth Shawl

Next up is the Kittiwake Cardigan. I modified the pattern to omit the large collar and to add pockets and a zipper.


Kittiwake Cardigan

Next is Pop Block, a big squishy garter stitch shawl. I used Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co. Sportweight yarn – thinner than the yarn called for in the pattern, but it worked OK. I’d really like to make one out of madelinetosh DK like Anna’s, since I fell in love with hers and it’s what inspired me to make this one. I didn’t know what else to use this yarn for, because I really only liked it when knit up in garter stitch, but I love the color.

Pop Block

Pop Block Shawl

Then there’s Vernal Equinox Shawl Surprise, which was a mystery shawl KAL in 2009. I had to omit one repeat of one of the clues since I was slightly short of yarn, but I’m happy with the final size. This is a lovely pattern that is much easier to knit than it appears – the lace patterns are pretty simple.

Vernal Equinox

Vernal Equinox shawl

And finally, there are the Bird & Vine mitts, which are a variation of Endpaper Mitts. I used the bird and vine chart by EvaKatharina, but further modified it to continue the vine pattern around the palm. (I don’t have two left hands – the photo below shows the back of one mitt (with the bird) and the palm side of the other (with the heart).

Bird and Vine Endpaper Mitts

Bird & Vine mitts

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Free Pattern Generator

This morning I ran across a website where you can design your own circular-yoke sweater. It’s intended to create an Icelandic sweater from Lopi yarn, and allows you to enter sizes and measurements for the sweater, and then design the colorwork patterns for it. Apparently you can then order the appropriate yarn if desired.

It will create a PDF with the schematic, color charts, and knitting instructions.

I see no reason why you couldn’t use it to design a generic sweater with no colorwork if you wanted. There are a bunch of video tutorials to help understand how the software works.

I love Icelandic sweaters, so may definitely give this a try in the future!

The website is:

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I have narcissus blooming. In November.

Narcissus blooming 11/4/15

Although they would normally bloom (in the spring) at the same time as the iris which is also blooming right now, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever had it blooming at the same time as the snapdragons.

Iris and snapdragons

And roses.


And I definitely have never had them blooming while I had tomatoes on the vine,


And basil in the herb garden.


I’m afraid this weird weather is going to cause lots of problems with the spring bulbs next year. Hope they survive!

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This morning I awoke to…

Snow on the mountains (no photo… by the time I got around to it, the sun was causing too much glare)

Clematis blooming on the fence


Lemons growing on my indoor lemon tree


And a beautiful sunny day.

Last year we had a record number of trick-or-treaters. Fourteen. Usually it’s only two or three. Wonder how many we’ll get this year.

Happy Halloween!

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