Reward Challenge

All done except for the seams and buttons.

I've been getting myself through the last bit of this with little rewards*. On Friday, John and I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer AKA Major Knitter for dinner. We had a fine time, and she brought me a yarn** gift as a party favor.

Here's the yarn:

That is 1600 meters of stunning lace weight yarn, enough for a huge shawl. And I have just the pattern for it.

I've had that shawl in my pattern library for years, waiting for the right moment and the right yarn. It is Longest Night, by Lori Law.

I've been rewarding myself for each little step of that baby sweater with a little teaser. I now have the pattern all set up in Knit Companion, ready to go when I sew on the last button. I don't really “need” a new lace shawl on the needles right now, but I'm doing it anyway.

Jennifer and I did wear our Faery Ring sweaters to the restaurant. Here we are.


I'm off to sew seams!

*Sort of like “Survivor”. “Wanna know what you're playing for?”

**No, that doesn't mean I fall off the Cold Sheep. Unsolicited yarn gifts don't count. Now, if I gave my husband a list and said “why don't you buy me a yarn gift”, THAT would end the no-buying streak.


Baby Sweaters


Why I'm Such A Slow Knitter

I'm still knitting those baby sweaters. I've finished the first one, and just have sleeves and a hood to finish for the second one.

You wouldn't think that two worsted weight garter stitch baby sweaters would take this long to make.

I've been having some upper back problems for the past couple of months that are really getting on my last nerve. I don't make a very good patient, since I'm not very “patient” with not feeling well. It finally got bad enough that I started getting regular massages, which are helping, but it's been a slow recovery. My massage therapist isn't one of those that gives you a feel-good spa massage. It's deep tissue/muscle work, and I'm wiped out for a whole day afterwards. It is releasing the knotted (knitted?) up muscles though. I haven't been able to be on my Peloton bike as often as I'd like either since it hurts. You have no idea how much THAT pisses me off.

I've been trying to be careful with how long I sit hunched over my knitting, so that's my excuse for how long these sweaters are taking to finish.

Also, for those of you doubters out there, I made it to 90 days without yarn shopping a week ago. It's actually been a little easier this time around. It helps that I dropped my work hours from 0.8 FTE to 0.6 FTE the first of the year. That obviously* correlates to a 20% salary drop, so I do have an incentive to shop from my very deep stash instead of the internet.

And in other news, I get to have dinner tonight with Jennifer AKA Major Knitter! She is flying in later today, and we're picking her up and heading up to Seattle for dinner. We're both planning on wearing our Faery Ring sweaters!

*That first paycheck after cutting back my hours was a bit of a reality check!



I do love knitting, including sewing seams. I'd rather sew pieces together than go through all the crazy contortions that some patterns have you do to avoid them.
This is the first of two baby sweaters. Our neighbors have new twin granddaughters, and I dug through the Cotton Ease box* and found two bright colors to make sweaters for them. The first one is done, other than the seams, and I'm putting a little hood on it.

In the category of knitting screw ups, can anyone spot the mistake here?

How about now?
Yup, I forgot to put in the buttonholes. I discovered this after I had the shoulders seamed and started putting in the first sleeve. I am NOT reknitting to fix it. I'll sew the buttons on as decoration, and put snaps in.

That's the second color.

We're at Wintergrass again this weekend. So far it's been a blast, although we are really happy that our room at the Hyatt is on a “quiet floor”. I love the banjos, but not so much at 2 AM.

*Why yes, I have a whole box of Cotton Ease, in the original bright colors. They don't make this stuff anymore, so my grand stash plan is working!


Eleventy Billion And One

Conversation in my kitchen this morning:

John: “Are you on your way to your Iconoclast infusion?”

Me: “It's Reclast*, not Iconoclast, but yes.” (He also calls Tessalon cough pills “Teflon pills”.)

John: “Were you intending to wear your slippers?”


Me: “Why yes, apparently I was.”

That my friends, is the eleventy billionth and eleventy billionth and one reasons why we have to stay married to each other. He makes sure that I don't go out in public in my jammies and slippers, and I make sure he knows the right names for prescription drugs.

*Reclast is the infusion I get once a year to treat osteoporosis.


60 Days!

Just a quick blog update. As of yesterday, I've gone 60 days without any yarn purchases.

The last time I did this “cold sheep” thing, I made it a little over a year without buying any yarn. That was in April of 2015. Since then, there has been way too much added to the yarn bins. My goal is go at least another year. Let's see how that goes, shall we?


Rainbow Bright Socks!

New socks done!

Project Details:

Pattern: My own jerry-rigged sock pattern. 72 stitches, flap heel and gusset construction.

Yarn: Abi Grasso Self striping sock yarn

Needles: 2.00 mm

Started: 5/30/16

Finished: 1/22/17

For: Me

Modifications: none

What I Learned: Sometimes matching socks just happen.

We're in Guayabitos, Mexico again this year for a week. This is the same lovely place that we've stayed for the past 3 years. Here are a few photos.

And one last sock photo:



We may have taken that “magic of tidying up” a little too far.

IMG_4153 IMG_4154 IMG_4155

The furniture all got sent to storage yesterday. The cats and Lewey went to Bark Central this morning. And the rugs go today.

The guy is here today replacing the wood in the kitchen that was damaged. And next week the sanding and finishing happens.

Most importantly, WE’RE going today as well. We head to the airport tonight, and leave early in the morning for Mexico. When we get back, this mess will all be done.

Don’t even think about that yarn stash. The house, including my stash, is well guarded by our house sitter (AKA vigilant neighbor) while we’re gone.

There likely will be updates while I’m away, though the photos will be the same as the last two January trips, since we’re going to exactly the same place.

Excuse me, I need to go pack. The only thing I’ve done so far is get the knitting projects ready.

Rainbow Socks!

There are few things that amuse me as much as when striped sock yarn turns out to match perfectly.


I didn't even have to try very hard to make that happen. Mostly I don't try at all, and just have mismatched socks. These are going to be very cheerful when done.


Now For The Floor Repair

We’re in the middle of fixing the warped wood floor mess caused by the rat escapade from late December. The torn out walls have been patched and everything repainted.

The floor guys are here today tearing out the damaged wood that was warped enough to need replacing. It will need to be open to the subfloor for about a week before they get the new floor in. Then sanding, staining and finishing. The whole main level needs to be refinished since it’s one continuous wood floor. So all of our furniture will need to be warehoused for the duration starting a week from today.





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.