About a year and a half ago, I started my part time work journey. A couple years ago, I transitioned from doing hospitalist work to being “just” in the clinic. That meant more work days (since those hospital days were often 12 hours or more, I “got” to do fewer of them to equal full time), but no nights, weekends, or holidays at work. I’ve missed more family Christmases and such over the years than I can remember.

In June of 2015, I went from 5 days a week to 4. As everyone predicted, I quickly filled up that time with lots of things to do.

As of January 1st, I’m dropping another day, so I’ll only work 3 days a week. Which means that EVERY week, I’ll have Thursday through Sunday off.

Today marks the start of my first four day weekend!

Maybe I’ll get some of that yarn stash knitted up before I die after all. By the way, I’m doing the “no yarn buying” this year again. I last bought yarn on December 3rd, I’m hoping to make it through 2017 without buying any new yarn.

Douglas Fir


A Hap* For Lorette

Project Details:

Pattern: A Hap For Harriet, by Kate Davies

Yarn: Elemental Effects Shetland Rustic Lace, 1100 yards

Needles: 2.75 mm

Started: 4/11/15

Finished: 12/7/16

For: Me

Modifications: none, except for miscalculating the amount of yarn I would need for the second half, and having to decrease that end at a faster rate.

What I Learned: Despite all my careful weighing and calculating, I can still screw up and run out of yarn.

This is a well written pattern, knit end to end so the miles of garter stitch aren't so boring. You get to do a bit of simple lace every other row.

*For you non-knitters, a hap is a shawl or wrap to keep you warm. It is a Shetland Islands term, and usually refers to a square shawl with a lace border, but they come in all shapes and sizes.


Happy New Year!

We had a relaxing evening last night at home. We had Dungeness crab, steamed artichokes, and a salad, along with enough champagne that neither of us made it awake to midnight. Oh well. We woke up when the neighborhood fireworks started.

Today is football watching day, and then black eyed peas for dinner. Don't forget yours!

Here's my recipe:

Lorette's BEP's

1 biggish onion, chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped

Celery, about 3/4 cup chopped

1-2 large carrots, chopped

1 Bell pepper, any color will do, chopped

Olive oil

Blackeyed peas, 1 pound bag, picked over and rinsed

1-14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained (use the juice if you like it more tomato-ey)

Chicken stock, canned

1 bottle of beer

Splash of worcestershire sauce

Ham hock or ham shank (shank is meatier)

Thyme & oregano, a couple of teaspoons each

Bay leaf

Dijon mustard, a teaspoon or two

Salt and pepper

Cayenne, to taste. I start with about 1/4 teaspoon, and generally add more.

Saute the onion, celery, carrot, and pepper in oil in a big pot. Add the garlic when the other veggies are soft, cook for a minute. Add the rinsed peas, the can of tomatoes, the beer, and enough water or chicken stock to cover by about an inch. I usually use the tomato liquid, too. Throw in the seasonings, except for the salt. Add the ham hock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the peas are done, about 45-60 minutes or so. Add salt to taste towards the end of the cooking time. Keep an eye on it, and add more liquid if needed as the peas cook.

Pick the meat off the ham bone, if there is any, and add it to the peas. Serve with cooked rice.

Here's to 2017!



We had our big Solstice dinner last night. I had 10 people around my dining room table for a 5 course dinner, capped off with a huge roast prime rib and trifle for dessert.

We were about to take the extra leaves out of the table while cleaning up this morning. Instead, I had the bright idea to soak my Douglas Fir shawl and use the table to block it. I've always blocked stuff on mats on the floor in the past, and the pets mostly left things alone.*

Zany Zoe the lunatic cat is a different story. I suspect the shawl would be shredded if I tried that. So I put the mats on the table and blocked it there. It's a lot easier that way as well, much less bending and contorting to get things pinned down.

And a close up of the lace:
Lace is just magic. It looks like a pile of crap** while you are knitting it. Then you soak it and pin it out, and it turns into something lovely.
More photos when it's dry!
*Except for that time when Curtis, the visiting dumb-as-a-post yellow lab was staying here. I had blocked a lace shawl upstairs on the floor. I went up some time later to find that he had taken a big dump on the shawl. I guess he didn't think much of my knitting.
**It looks like I need to straighten that lace point up there.


Oh Holy Hell

Owning a house sometimes isn't all it's cracked up to be. Those of you who've been around Chez Knitting Doctor for awhile might remember the Great Circus Tent escapade from several years back, where we basically had to remodel one whole side of the house.The saga starts here, if you are interested in revisiting it. It makes me too queasy, but it might discourage you from buying a Halloween Fun House if you look through the whole thing.

A couple of weeks ago John noticed water dripping from the ceiling in our lower level. That is never a good thing. Plumber came out, tore some holes in the ceiling and walls in a few places, and found the culprit. the water line to our kitchen refrigerator ice maker had been chewed through and was leaking. And there was a rat's nest behind the refrigerator.

So the water line got replaced, but there is significant water damage especially to our wood floor in the kitchen.

We had a restoration guy out, who tore some more stuff out, including the wood floor under the refrigerator. We have fans and dehumidifiers going both in the kitchen and downstairs. The fucking noise is about to drive me insane, which is not a long drive this particular winter.

The wall guys came yesterday, once the mess is dried out, the dry wall will be replaced, and they will paint, of course they'll have to paint both whole walls in the living room where it got torn up. The floor guys come next week. The real fun is that we have continuous wood floors in the whole main level, so the WHOLE thing will need to be sanded, stained and then sealed. Meaning that at some point all the furniture will be in a pod in the driveway, the pets will be kenneled, and we'll be moved out of here.

The good news, Part One, is that our insurance covers this. We have USAA, the adjuster has already been out. It will cover ALL of it, including the kennel, our moving expenses, and even the cost of the electricity to run the blowers for the past week or however damned long it takes.

Good news Part Two? I caught the damned rat. I came downstairs to make coffee last Saturday and heard a rustle under the kitchen counter. He was in the garbage. I slammed the door, yelled for John, then grabbed a cookie sheet pan and slapped it over the trash can to trap him. I really didn't have the will to bash him over the head, and John didn't offer, so he was carried to an uninhabited section of our neighborhood and released.

We haven't seen any further rat evidence, so I think he was a loner. I suspect one of our worthless cats might have brought him in to play with and then let him go without finishing the job. They are on notice.


Snow Day

We had a bit of snow last night, and since I'm off work today, I get to enjoy Snowmaggedon from the comfort of my own home.

In other news, I finished the Douglas Fir Hap shawl the day before yesterday. I'll get it blocked this weekend and do a photo shoot when it's dry.
Here's how the yarn chicken played out.
Less than a gram left. I ended up just doing the decreases on the tail end a bit faster. It won't show in the finished project, and was the easiest fix I could come up with, without ripping all the way back to before the decrease section and taking out a few repeats.
Happy Snow Day!



This makes me happy.

I'm sitting here early Saturday morning knitting away on my new Rogue sweater, while wearing my old bedraggled Rogue sweater.

Life is good.

The word is still out on the yarn for Douglas Fir. I'm still working away at it, it's been one of THOSE weeks.


Yarn Chicken!

I've been very slowly working away on my Douglas Fir hap shawl.

The pattern is knit end to end. You cast on a small number of stitches (30 in this case), then increase a few stitches each repeat for awhile, then knit the center part for awhile, then decrease a few stitches each 12 row repeat until it's back to 30 stitches, then bind off.
This is one of those patterns that you can use any amount of yarn, you just have to calculate how much you'll need to do the decrease part.
You can see where this might be going, right?
I weighed, calculated, weighed and calculated some more, and waded in. I'm now well into the decrease section, and playing the REALLY fun game of Yarn Chicken.
I have 16 repeats left. The repeat before last took 2.6 grams of yarn. The last one took 2.4 grams of yarn.
I have 18.5 grams left.
Now I know the repeats are taking less yarn each time around, but I'm not seeing any way here that I'm not screwed. If I'm not screwed, it's going to be very close.
Four options:
1. Buy more yarn. I've had this in the works for so long that there isn't a prayer of finding the same dye lot. There are a lot of variations in dye lots in this particular yarn.
2. Rip back to before I started the increases.
3. Decrease at a little faster pace.
4. Just throw caution to the wind and knit faster, because we know THAT always works out.
1 and 2 really aren't options. I'll never find an exact match, and there isn't enough whisky on earth to make me rip out that much. 4 is probably delusional, though I'm going to stick in a life line where I am right now and forge ahead for a few more repeats.
Stay tuned.

Deep Stash, and the Joys of Rejects

I did a little stash reorganization last month. My entire stash is photographed and recorded in a database by numbered box, but it’s gotten pretty haphazard over the years. The boxes were mostly filled by vintage rather than type of yarn or project, and that had really started to bother me. So I dragged it all out and reorganized the whole mess. I found some real gems that I’d forgotten. I also culled out a small box full of stuff that I wanted to send off to Goodwill or somewhere else besides this house.

Predictably, I’ve already dragged two lots of yarn out of that reject box and started new projects. Here’s the first one.


The yarn is Sirdar Balmoral, it’s a lovely wool/alpaca/silk blend. I bought enough of it for a sweater. The first problem is that I don’t really need sweaters with alpaca in them, it’s too warm. The second problem is that color. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Actually I do, the color name is Corgi. There you go. Lewey says it doesn’t look anything like him.

But it’s nice yarn, despite the color. And it’s been discontinued. And it wasn’t all that cheap. So I pulled it off the top of the reject pile and started a shawl. I figure I can overdye it when it’s knit up. It’s way more than a shawl’s worth, but I’ll either put the leftovers back in the reject box, or make mittens or something out of it. This is Cheryl Oberle’s Wool Peddler shawl.

The second “reject” is for John. He saw this and thought it was ridiculous to get rid of perfectly good “guy” sock yarn. This is Lang Jawoll superwash sock yarn, the color looks like a black tartan plaid.


That one is really deep stash, I don’t have a purchase date, but I probably got that not too long after I learned to knit (1999). I guess it’s probably time I used it. And John has been hinting around for a pair of socks for him. I’m not sure why it went into the discard box, it’s actually quite nice to knit with. It’s a nice, basic sock yarn, and has a bonus spool of reinforcing thread in the middle of the skein for the heels and toes.

I’ll let you know if any of the other reject yarn turns into projects in the future. It’s pretty tough to actually toss out useable yarn, even if I have enough to last well into my next lifetime.

I’ll leave you with a cat photo. Will and Zoe are getting along pretty well.


Fritz’s Baby Blanket

As promised, I’m finally getting around to posting a “Finished Project” update. I finished this right before we left on vacation in September, and then just forgot about posting.

Project Details:

Pattern: Quill, by Jared Flood

Yarn:  Frolicking Feet sock yarn, Sapphire Blue

Needles: 3.75mm

Started: 4/29/16

Finished: 9/6/16

For: my grandnephew Fritz

Modifications: none

What I Learned: Babies sometimes get born early. Starting knitting now.

This was a well done pattern, instructions clear and straightforward. This would be pretty in a lace weight yarn as well.

And more photos.



In other news, for some reason I’ve started to get blog comments emailed to me, at least sometimes. We’ll see.

A Real Update

I have been knitting, just very slowly. Nothing new finished, nothing new on the needles. Oh wait, I never did do a Finished Project post for the Fritz baby blanket. Sheesh. I’m probably the lamest knit blogger on earth.

I’ll do that next time. I have to find the photos.

I’ve been doing a little spinning and dyeing lately.

Here’s the spinning. This was spun on my wheel. It’s about a DK weight, will make a nice scarf. Or maybe mitts. Winter is coming.


And last weekend I hauled out the dye pots. This was prompted by John harvesting a big ass mushroom in the neighborhood. Here’s the shroom.

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Unfortunately it only yielded a very pale nondescript beige color, despite a couple of manipulations. Not worth wasting yarn for. So I went to the backyard and cut the rest of the fading rudbeckia flowers.


I added a little envelope of mystery dried blossoms, not sure what they were but they were small white flowers, smelled like fresh cut hay and made me sneeze. I expected the combo to yield a yellowish gold color on yarn. Here’s what I got.


Once again, the October skies make it tough to get a good photo. The real color is a very deep khaki, very unexpected. The yarn was mordanted with alum and a bit of cream of tartar, nothing else. This is superwash merino/nylon fingering weight, about 800 yards total. (This is commercial undyed yarn, not handspan.)

That’s it for today.


I know, I know. Catchy title. I’ve gotten behind a bit here.

A bit of housekeeping first. For some reason my blog software has stopped emailing me almost all of the comments you leave here. Once in a while one comes through, but mostly not. This is a royal pain in the butt, since it means I have to check back here to see if anybody has commented, and if I use the WP dashboard to reply, it puts it in the comments after the post instead of emailing you directly.

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted in the past few months trying to fix it. It is WAY too much trouble to think about switching to a different blog platform. So if I don’t respond, it’s because I didn’t see your comment until it was enough later to make it seem silly to respond. If you have a specific question, please email me directly at loretteirene at comcast dot net.


Those of you who follow me on FB know that our little Lucy died a few weeks ago. She had gradually been fading, and when we had a long out of town trip planned, we knew she wasn’t going to last until we got back. I just haven’t had the heart to post about it here until now. Here are a couple of the last photos I took of her.



We had a vet who does house calls come and take care of her at home. We got her ashes back this past week, along with some little nose and paw prints. Those made me just sit right down and cry.

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I guess after that, I’m sort of done updating today. I’ll tell you about the latest dyeing and spinning projects next time.


Yesterday was our 4th day in Newfoundland. We flew in Friday to St. John's, which was an all day project from the west coast. We spent Saturday and Sunday playing in St. John's, which is a surprisingly sophisticated city. It even had a yarn shop.

We wandered around downtown St. John's Saturday morning, had lunch, then spent the whole afternoon at the Geo Centre, a geologic museum. It's more exciting than it sounds. It really was a fabulous place.

This is my birthday trip for this year. My big day isn't for another couple of weeks, but I'm hitting one of those big milestones. Just as a hint, I'm getting the senior discount at museums at this point.

Sunday was lighthouse day. We went to the Ferryland lighthouse, south of St. John's, for a picnic and some spectacular views.

The next stop was the lighthouse at Cape Spear. This is the most eastern point in North America. There are two lighthouses, the old one that the lighthouse keeper and family lived in, and the newer one. The whole process is automated at this point, so no keeper has to live in the actual lighthouse.

Monday we drove to Trinity in Trinity Bay (there are two Trinitys in Newfoundland!). We're staying at a lovely Inn right on the water. This is the little town where Shipping News was filmed.
That dark red building in the foreground is the main Inn building. Yesterday we poked around town a bit, then headed north for some sightseeing.
The local craft and gift shop.
No, I didn't buy any. It was Briggs and Little and Paton's, both of which I can get easily. The Briggs & Little is a great basic sweater yarn, and I don't have room in my suitcase for a sweater's worth. I did buy this.
These are hand knit by locals. I managed to get here without a warm sweater. It's been moderate so far, though the wind yesterday was gale force at times. You'd have to be hardy to live around here. So I bought a sweater in case I get cold later on. I know, I could knit this, but not by the end of the week.
We had lunch by the sea in Bonavista.
After lunch we headed to Elliston and Maberly. These are the root cellar capitals of the world. Who knew?
And some spectacular ocean scenery.
On to the Bonavista Lighthouse.

This one was pretty luxurious inside. One family that lived here had 11 children. Usually the whole family lived here. If the lighthouse keeper didn't have an older son to help, he would hire an assistant. These were prestigious jobs, highly paid, and often passed down from generation to generation from father to son.

Another crappy view.

Inside the lighthouse.

Another senior discount.


John Cabot landed here in 1497.

Last but not least, another lousy water view.

We've had people asking us for weeks “Why Newfoundland??” I hope some of these photos show why.

Off to breakfast, and a boat tour of the area this morning.


Knitting Done!

I finished the edging on the Blue Blue Blue Baby Blanket late last night. I decided to save the grafting bit until daylight when I was rested (I know, an uncharacteristic decision for me).

Grafting went quickly and here it is.

Not blocked, but done, done, done!

I have to get it in the mail on Thursday if it's getting out of here before our vacation, so I'm off to soak the thing. We'll see if it dries in time.