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.



Willie thinks he's helping.

The knitting marathon continues for Baby Fritz's Blisteringly Blue Baby Blanket. It's a big square, with a knitted on edging that consists of eleventy billion repeats of the same 12 row pattern. I have finished 2 sides of the square as of this morning. I started the edging just a few days ago, so I should be on track to finish this hopefully later this week, barring some major knitting screw up, like cats “helping”.

Here's another photo of Fritz.

Awwww. I think he looks a lot like his daddy in that photo.

And like all good knitting marathons, this one is involving major television watching. I started rewatching Game of Thrones earlier this week, I'm one episode short of finishing the first season.

It's too bad Will and Zoe can't knit, that would really be a big help.




Knit Faster, Lorette!

He's here! My grand nephew was born a few weeks early. Parents and baby are all fine.

His name is Fritz Samuel Meske. His grandpa, my brother, was named Samuel Fritz, after HIS grandfather. My baby brother Sam died in a house fire in 2001, but he is no doubt up in heaven beaming on this little boy and his parents.

He's adorable, right? He deserves a baby blanket!

I was right on track to finish this about 2 weeks from now. So we're now into marathon TV knitting. I have the body and border done, and “just” have the edging left to knit. I'm not quite half way done, I did one whole side of the edging yesterday. I think I can finish the rest this coming week. We're headed out of town for a few weeks in September, so the drop dead finish date has to be enough before that so I can get it blocked and mailed.

Back to knitting!


More Time For Knitting

John and I bought an Instant Pot a month or so ago, and LOVE it. We had a traditional stove top pressure cooker that we've used for years, and have upgraded that once or twice over time to better technology. We eat a lot of beans and lentil-y kinds of things, so a pressure cooker really comes in handy.

We finally decided to cave and replace the one-pony-show stovetop thing with this. You can sauté in it, pressure cook, and slow cook, though we haven't used it for that yet. It makes hard boiled eggs like nobody's business. Once you set it, you can walk away and not worry about leaving a pressure cooker on an open flame.

Today's feature is bean soup. The place I buy most of my dried beans and legumes from is Purcell Mountain Farms. They have a huge variety, they are fresh, and the beans are impeccably clean. We eat a lot of beans, so it matters to me where they come from.

This started with a pound of their Paris Bistro Mix.


Lorette's Paris Inspired Bean Soup

1 Pound mixed beans/legumes/grains

Chopped yellow onion, about a cup, but whatever. If you have half of a big onion use it, or all of a smaller onion. Leeks would be good, too.

Olive oil, for sautéing (or your favorite substitute, we often use avocado oil for this)

Some Garlic. I used 2 big cloves. Your mileage may vary. This was for me to freeze for work lunches, so I didn't want to overdo it.

Sliced celery. Again, I used about a cup. As you might notice, I'm not big on specifics.

Carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced. About the same amount. You can vary all of these by what you have. ***

A small bell pepper, diced, this was a purple one I had in the fridge from last week's farmers market foray.

A handful of fresh herbs, chopped. This had parsley, marjoram, thyme, and oregano from our patio herb garden. And a bay leaf.

Pepper, fresh ground. To taste. I like pepper, so a big hearty couple teaspoons, sometimes I use more.

A half a can of diced tomatoes, more or less, partly drained. Freeze the other half of the can for the next batch of beans.

1 32 ounce box of chicken stock

1/2-3/4 cup of white wine, or vermouth

1/2 lemon, juiced

Salt, again, to taste. See below for comments on salt.

Water. You want enough to cover the beans by at least 2-3 inches, but don't overfill the pot. The pot should not be more than 2/3 full.

You could use all stock, or all water. I tend to use a mix of both, since canned and boxed chicken stock is pretty salty.

Sauté the onion, celery, and pepper in some oil. Add the other ingredients, bring to a simmer. Change your settings to the pressure setting, and put your lid on etc based on your cooker's instructions.

Bring up to pressure, cook for 20-25 minutes. This will vary depending on the bean varieties you pick. The Purcell Paris Bistro blend took 23 minutes at pressure to all get soft. If you're not sure, go a few minutes low and do a quick release to check. I hate mushy beans, especially if they are going into the freezer.

Quick release, taste, add more time if you need to.

I'm not going to get into whether you should salt beans before you start cooking, at the end, or somewhere in between. When I cook them on the stove top, I tend to add the salt about 3/4 of the way through the cooking time. It's more fidgety to do that with a pressure cooker. I'm not 100% convinced that adding salt at the beginning is a bad thing, especially if your beans aren't from five years ago. And it changes the flavor when you add it just at the end, like a lot of seasoning. Since this was the first time I did this mix in the IP, I started at 18 minutes, it wasn't quite done, so added the salt and did another 5 minutes. The canned tomatoes and chicken stock add some salt, so take that into account.

I didn't soak these beans, since most of these were pretty small so I didn't bother. If you are using bean varieties that are larger, I'd probably soak.

And there you have it. Bean soup! I'll portion this out into serving size containers, and freeze for my lunches****.

Four for the freezer, and a larger one for me to eat this week!

***Other veggies work too, and you could do potatoes, or add some rice or pasta at the end. If you are using softer veggies, I'd cook the beans, release, add the stuff that doesn't take much cooking, then cook on the sauté setting until those were done. Since I'm freezing this for lunch food, I don't usually add stuff that turns to mush in the freezer.

****Of course, there won't be wine with my work lunches. Drat.


September 7th


Blazing Blue Behemoth


The pressure is on. This is for my soon-to-be-born great nephew, who is due to make his debut on September 7th.

I have 20 rows (lonnnng rows-there will be 600 stitches on the needle at that point) of the center square knit in the round, then 600 edging rows, averaging about 14 stitches per row.

Knit faster, Lorette!

Send whisky, I might need it.


Knitting Helper


And she's ditched another collar and blingy tag. That's the second one, which is our limit for cat collars. Will lost about six of them before we gave up. The cats are all chipped, so the lack of collar won't make a lot of difference.

Still working on that Blindingly Blue Baby thing.


Well, This is Going To Be Fun


Please Send Whisky

I was moving right along on the Eerily Electrifyingly Blue Baby Project. We took a trip to the Olympia Farmers’ Market today to stock up. I shoved it in my bag to knit on the way.

Then this happened.


Well, just screw this, I say. I’m close to the end of the first skein of this, I’m tempted to just cut it off and try to unravel it later if I need it. But if I NEED it, it will end up being on the knitted on edging. This thing is one of those (secret until the baby is born) three part projects: big center thing knit flat, then pick up stitches and knit a bunch in the round until I have a million stitches, then an endless lace knitted on edge. I really wouldn’t want to have to splice in more yarn at that point. So I’ll pour some whisky and get it unraveled.

Here’s another photo with the famous Batdorf and Bronson* goats.


I was hoping they’d help, but no such luck. And after all, this just wouldn’t be The Knitting Doctor without knitting screw-ups and whisky, would it?

*For the longest time, I couldn’t remember the company name, even though we buy their coffee all the time. So we started calling it Batman and Robin, which it has remained.

Project Spotlight, and An Unappreciated Finished Project

Oh dear, it's been a month again since posting. Oh well. Summer's here, work's been busy, and I haven't gotten a lot of knitting done.

Let's turn a new leaf, shall we? Here's the Unappreciated Finished Project.

Sedona Sunset socks, finished a month ago. Sheesh. I love them, but apparently not enough to post about them. Here's the Ravelry link.

Then there are the new socks, started the same day those were finished.

The yarn is Abi Grasso Self Striping sock yarn. It is Rainbow and Clouds, I'm calling it Rainbow Bright.

Here's a list of my other projects, I'll post some photos another time.

Rogue, in Peace Fleece. I'm still working on it, but it's a big ass wool sweater, not a lot of fun to have sitting in my lap when it's warm out.

Hitchhiker, I haven't really worked on this since Wintergrass, it will get back in the rotation when the mystery baby project is finished.

Mystery Electrifyingly Blue Baby Project. I'm working away at it. Baby's due in September, I should be on track to finish it about the time he gets to kindergarten.

Cathedral Stole, this one's on the back burner too until I finish my other lace project

And one that got frogged. Find a Penny. I started this for Wintergrass, worked on it a while. I pulled it out a few weeks ago, wasn't loving the pattern at all. I couldn't decide, but then discovered that somewhere in my travels I've lost the second hank of yarn. That nailed the coffin on Miss Penny. She took the one way trip to the frog pond.

Last but not least, my Project Spotlight.

This is Douglas Fir, or a Hap for Harriet. This is getting closer to getting finished. Here are a couple more photos.

That's Zoe, of course, helping out. As soon as I put the shawl on the floor, she raced over to check it out. The color of those photos sucks. It's a typical lovely summer day here, overcast and grey, so photography suffers accordingly. At least it's not pouring rain. Yet.

Zoe has decided she is an indoor-outdoor cat. After her little adventure a few weeks ago with spending the night outside, she has been bolting for the door a lot. So we just decided to go with it. Will is out a lot in the summer, he generally goes in and out a few times during the day, comes in for supper, goes out for a bit, then is back in for bedtime. She has pretty much been following the same pattern. She hangs pretty close to the house, mostly messing around in the bushes in the back yard. Unlike most cats, she comes when she is called, and is very sociable, so I don't think she'll go far. She also loves her food enough that I think she'll hang around. And we really didn't have much choice if they both wanted to keep from getting murdered by us. When we were out of town last weekend, one or both of them shredded our patio screen doors, just because they were pissed off about being locked in the house. So the cat door is back open.

I'll try to be back before another month goes by!


Officially Summer Patio Season!

We did a little planting this weekend. We have a nice sheltered patio in the front of our house, with space for lots of potted plants.


We spent a little time yesterday and today getting things sorted, old pots cleaned out, and finished planting most of the herbs, along with tomatoes, a few bell peppers, and one little cucumber plant. And some flowers.

We still have several pots to get done, but it was a good way to spend a couple of sunny afternoons outside. And now time for the reward!

Happy Memorial Day!


Can You Guess?

There is a new baby addition to my extended family anticipated this fall. My nephew and his wife are “expecting”. In uncharacteristic fashion for me, I cast on as soon as they announced the sex of the baby. I am apparently trainable. Can you guess which variety of human it will be? The yarn is from Frolicking Fibers, the color is Sapphire. It can't get any bluer than that. The ultrasound better be accurate, is all I have to say. I'm NOT saying what this will be, but right now it's eleventy billion rows of garter stitch in fingering weight sock yarn. Please send whisky.

In other news, I'm still rocking the Peloton bike. I'm coming up on my 50th ride next week, probably Friday. It is not overstating things to say that this is changing my life. For the first time in decades I've found an exercise that I love enough to drag my sorry butt out of bed at 4:45 AM to ride before work. I did my first 60 minute ride yesterday, then got up at 5:15 today, yes on a Saturday not-work day, to ride along with the crazy friend who talked me into this. It was her 500th ride today. I lost some weight initially, it's since leveled off, but I've lost inches, and I'm much stronger already in only 2 months of riding most days of the week. I could not have done a 60 minute endurance ride two months ago.

Last but not least, I'll leave you with a Zoe photo. She has settled in well here, and surprisingly she and Will have become best buddies. She is still growing and gaining weight, I think she is going to be a big cat.