Monday, February 25, 2013

Vested Interest


What's the old axiom? Everything always takes long than you think—yes, that's the one.

The black vest has taken shape—it's still not finished. Lots, and lots of work has been done. Every little detail has taken longer than planned, and the result is lots of progress, but not there yet.

Gold rick rack got added—and removed. I thought I wanted gold trim, but—after just a little had been sewn on, I had a change of heart. I like the plain black better. It's more tailored and elegant plain. The gold looked tawdry, tacky. I'll keep it for something more casual—where it can look campy, and fun—maybe a denim skirt—that I can tart up with some gold rick rack, and golden zipper, and other gold trim. 

But I like this vest as it is. Plain, simple, but at the same time elegant, tailored and  detailed. Paired with a plain black skirts—it will be at once casual, with a T-shirt top under the vest, or dressy with a lace or ruffled top peaking over the neckline. Even just a plain simple silk shirt would create a dressy look--as will the addition of pretty pin.

There are still side seams to sew, and button holes to make, and buttons to be sewn on, too. But lots of work has gone into the vest.

I am particularly vain about the pockets. So simple and just so. Not big, but easily big enough for a smart phone (I don't own a smart phone—but..) A simple little welt, just the perfect touch on the plain black. Vanity in the guise of a pocket.

I will continue to work on it today—and get the skirt finished, too. Then will thread the machine with red thread and fill a red bobbin, so that I am ready to start the next vest first thing tomorrow morning—only I like won't have much chance to sew tomorrow or Wednesday, for that matter. One doctor appointment for me, and one for B—He needs to get to Manhattan, and a car service (one way) is easily the same as 4 hours in a garage. So I can drive him there, then park the car, and then pickup up. Waiting time can be knitting time—which is a good thing. I haven't knit a stitch in over a week now! (and while I have been sewing --it's just been a bit!)

I love the idea of the red vest.. so bright and cheerful—and as always, I love bright clean colors. I have red socks and shoes, too--So it will be a nice addition to my wardrobe--clothes to match already knit socks!

The delays won't really interfere much with it's construction. There are always small detail that can be worked on—interfacing to cut and iron on—or I can cut the denim version of the vest out.. and have it in the ready.  Then, when I have the time, I can get all the little pieces put together.. (Yeah, right.. see the opening paragraph again, Helen!) 

I love having new clothes—It's something I have been talking about again and again, a few years. I did buy some tailored shirts 3 years ago, and make some quick skirts then, too, but now I am really going to town. Sometimes I feel like such a clothes horse—but I likely have few clothes than many—and many of my old clothes were worn out, or too big or both--Last summer I had a major clean out of of my closets--and got rid of all my old VERY FAT clothes. So these new clothes are just filling in the gaps.

I especially like have such well made clothes. I like a bit a luxury, and hand made, detailed clothes can be a luxury. Some (non sewers!) still harbor the notions formed in their childhood, or from their grandparents generation—that making clothes at home is cheaper—thought slightly inferior to store bought ones. But they are the same that are astounded by how well finished and “REAL” my clothes look—and shocked that I haven't saved huge amounts of money.

Sewing is hardly a savings—well,  that is in general. It is slightly for me, because I have a stash of fabric and notions, (as well as of yarn)--but if you start out buying patterns, and fabric, and thread and notions—most of the time you'll end spending as much or more than similar items in clothing store—especially if you shop for bargains.

But those bargains will have serger seams, and other quick and dirty construction methods. What more—you'll be stuck with what ever the fashion of the day is. I like some details that are hard to find—inset, side seam pockets in my skirts, and little pockets in vests, and full linings, too. I like co-ordinated pieces, too, a well as mix and match. I like that I can make clothes that fit me—Long waisted vest, and narrow shoulders, and all the other little quirks that my body has. But I have said all of this before, haven't I?

If I get around to posting tomorrow, it will be late in the day—but maybe I'll have something to show!



Friday, February 22, 2013

A Full Bobbin of Thread Later


All the edges of the pieces have been finished. And 4 (of 6) skirts seams have been sewn.

It hardly seems like progress at all—it's still just prep work. And there is still more prep work to do!

I haven't yet cut center front interfacing for the vest, or waistband interfacing for skirt—and once cut,  these still need to be ironed on.

But they won't take long, nor will the pressing, and the work today should be all visible progress—First the skirt will come together, and followed by the vest out side, then the vest lining. I might even progress to getting the two vest parts assembled. (I might not—I never got out yesterday—and I need breakfast food.)

I might even get the scrabble bag done too.

I didn't finish the turquoise shirt—It's on a hanger, with the sleeves pinned in place. I just didn't want to spend any more time on it. After the black set, I will sew up the red vest, and then? I dunno!

I am thinking to first alter the jumper/pull over dress pattern—and make a version in the putty twill, and maybe, at the same time cut out a skirt in the pretty blue print, and an other version of the skirt and vest in the solid navy.

Pairs of skirts and vests, some in solids, some in prints, some very color coordinated, some not so much, along with a few jumper dresses have become my uniform.

But that is pretty standard for me. The basic uniform has changed over the years—and on and off, pants get added to the mix—denim and cord jeans when I was a teen, and then off and on again over the years, I have had times when pants were preferred, and predominated. I still own a few pairs of dressy pants—pleated fronts, inset pockets—one pair in a machine washable wool blend, another few in summery (light weight) linens. But I have always liked skirts. I think they are freer—easier to wear, easier to function in.

Just like my clothing—my meals tend to have a uniform quality to them. Rice cakes with almond butter, a small scoop of cottage cheese, a small orange and coffee. Come the warm weather, and berries or melon are substituted for the orange, and the coffee is iced (black).

Though this week, I have been changing up. I ran out of rice cakes on Monday, and the last scoop of cottage cheese on Tuesday. By tomorrow, I won't have any oranges.

Yesterday, I had a different, but healthy breakfast of eggs Florentine. LOTS of spinach—and a goodly amount of onion, too. When the spinach was just warm, I shaped the mass into a figure 8 and then nestled an egg each half. The spinach was cooked before the whites of the egg (on top) were set, so I just buried the eggs in warm spinach, to finish them cooking. (The yolks remained soft and liquid) A goodly grind of sea salt and pepper were the final touches. It's a very filling breakfast—and a good way to get more green vegetables in my diet. (Well in theory—but truth is, I had a very small salad at dinner—so my daily average really didn't increase.)

My other alternate breakfast is oatmeal.. (I had that Tuesday and Wednesday!) I am low on oat meal too, so I really must head out and get rice cakes, and cottage cheese, coffee, and oranges, steel cut out meal (if they have it), (and maybe even some eggs!) While I am at it, some more salad greens, and sweet potatoes.

After shopping,  a few hours of sewing—and after sewing, more sewing!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Jersey-


In New York, just about anything said about NJ is dismissive. Encounter a bad driver? Ask-Where'da you learn how to drive, NJ?--Sure bridge and tunnel girls (and woman are dismissed,), but for Jersey girl—there is question—What do NJ girls and NY garbage have in common? (They both get picked up by 3AM.) Jersey Shore? To hear NY'ers tell it, the TVshow is about some of the classy people—not the usual crowd. New Jersey state bird? The Mosquito--(they grow them big in New Jersey!) And for everyone of these, there are dozen more insults.

Yeah, I can sling the insults as good as any other NY. But... I know—there is more to the state. Sure it has its industrial waste lands, but the appellation of the garden state isn't all wrong. And while the show Jersey Shore focuses on the worst, the fact is, the entire east coast of US—from Carolina's to NY's Long Island, are blessed with beautiful beaches—and NJ has a long coastline. 

I particularly like Cape May—in the south—but then every one has a favorite—and there are a lot to chose from. Atlantic City for many years via'd with Niagara Falls as the honeymoon capital, and its beaches are still famed (even if it is now better know for its gambling casinos), and still a bit under the weather from tropical storm Sandy.

So—a bit of seriousness now—and a bit of focus on some of the good thing. Like this program—AGFAF--Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund.

I just recently learned about this organization, and I wanted to give them some more publicity. I know there are thousand of organizations that want your money—but every once in a while, an organization like this comes along—one that is so easy to get behind and support. Meanwhile,no knitting, no sewing. But the good news is, B is home from hospital/rehab unit. He's walking (not quite normally but so much better) with a rolling walker—And is clearly on the mend.

I worked with his cousin—to help get things ready on Monday, and followed up by doing some grocery shopping on Tuesday, then  met B when he got home on Wednesday. A college friend of his came in from out of town to stay with him—last night—and won't be leaving to late tomorrow. So he is settling in, and re- aclimating himself. By next week, auxililary sevices will kick in.... Out patient PT, and a few hours each day of home health care—With someone to shop, and clean and do laundry—B will be left to just getting himself better. The auxililary care will only last a few weeks—but it should be enough.

Today, I am hitting my sewing machine. I want to get something done!




Monday, February 18, 2013

Cut Up


So I've cut some cloth—First a length of black twill is now cut into pieces for a skirt and vest (but the vest lining hasn't been cut yet). I was actually a bit short on fabric, and the vest will not have a front facing of the same fabric, but will be fully lined in a black poly/cotton. The lining wasn't cut, because I started yesterday with out any fabric for the lining. I chose plain black, because I didn't want to make it obvious—especially in the front, that the front facing wasn't the same fabric as the front.

A short length of red twill is now on its way to being a vest (a new variation, one with a V neck (vs a scoop one) and with a notched hem, too. Same basic pattern—just with a small change up!. This version is the longest yet—a full 3 inches longer than the original pattern. It will have welted, inset pockets, too, because I always want pockets—and I like hidden (in a side seam, in a welt) pockets better than patch pockets. (But patch pockets are better than none!)

An even shorter length of a polished cotton print was plenty for the lining. The front facing of the vest is not (generally) cut from lining fabric, but from the main fabric, so less fabric is needed for the lining. (see note about black vest above!) I like the idea of the red vest. It will be good with denim skirts, or the khaki, or black one for that matter. It will also work well with the dotty set—for a change up. I like vests, too, (could you guess?)--but this is the first time in my life I have had so many!  I like how they change a plain skirt and top outfit into something more like a dress.

A short length of denim has the vest pieces laid out and pinned in place. I might have some fabric for lining this—but I am considering making it reversible. I might have something that will work... Or if I don't, well there are lots of idea for denim “go with's ! The denim version is also going to be V necked and notched hem. Likely it will have pearl snaps (I have more of them) or else I will splurge and get the copper rivet type buttons. Small detail like that make a simple vest. The denim vest will have pockets too, but patch ones—more in keeping, I think.

So, while I didn't really get any sewing done—I have a good start to a sew fest! I needed a few things to proceed--Like lining fabric for the black vest—and at the same time bought some gold rick rack as a trim around the edge of the black vest. I already have buttons for the red vest—but I need something for the black (gold buttons, to match the rick rack might be nice—but I didn't find any I like.) I have plain black ones as a fall back. I have plenty of spools—and plenty of interfacing. I tend to buy interfacing in 3 to 5 yard lengths. I need it all the time, for everything—even if just to re-enforce a welted pocket opening. Buying it quantity is a trick I learned from my mother.

And I still have so much more fabric to cut! I should dig out the rich emerald green wool I have—enough for a suit--(or easily enough for skirt and vest!) --and there is a chunk of linen I have been saving for a few years--(a few years? Make that a few decades!) Maybe a new summer set. But I also have a brown and blue print, and a beautiful blue toned print (just enough for a skirt—which I hate, because it so beautiful! I wish I had yards and yards of this print!)

But that didn't stop me from picking up a slightly damaged length of a brushed twill. It's a putty color— nor quite grey, lighter than khaki. There is more than enough for me to work around the damage—which is all on the selvage—and still ending up with a jumper dress. Naturally--the price was right! I have a few versions of the jumper dress—most of them in prints. A nice neutral solid will be a good addition. Plus—I am going to alter the basic pattern a bit—moving the darts, and lengthening the bodice so the waist seam is closer to my natural waist (and not in the midrift.)--all the craft paper I have will be put to good use!

Another few rounds were worked on the socks, too, bringing them closer to the more detailed fancy work that will be needed.

Finally, I have to do some extra sewing—I need to make up a project bag—and to gather some things together for a blog contest-- My most popular video on my YouTube channel   is at 95,000+ hits and growing fast. I want to celebrate when it hits 100,000 hits. (100,000 hits—it's almost viral!) There are more videos, some exclusive—on my Golden Apples Face book page—Have you Like'd me there yet? It will be a while yet--but keep watching (here and on You Tube!) it won't be long. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Heads Up


I sometimes feel like a modern day Dr. Frankenstein—I want body parts! I have I pair of LEGS, and now a new better (bigger, prettier, and more stable (because its a few ounces heavier) head. The new head has a smaller face, but is almost 2 inches bigger in the head (almost 21 inches round vs a scant, 19 inches.) So hats will fit better on her--Miss Blue Eyes--as she has been named. Not to mention, she looks vaguely human (and the old white head? It looks like an alien!)

But while two heads are better than one, I am not content.  I want more body parts; more legs, and a set of hands and arms—to show off fingerless gloves.

I have one dress form--(but it is a very small one) one of these days, I want another torso—It doesn't have to be my size—but since the dress form I have is perhaps a girls size 12—with just a hint of a bust and waist—I would really like a misses one—perhaps a misses size 12. Still it make a good prop for scarves and shawls, (and even my clothes!) 

My new head came to me from my daughter—I spent yesterday's(well a good part of yesterday) visiting her. She been laid off, and between interviews, and classes (She always sees time off as an opportunity to go back to school)--she has been sewing. New curtains to be hemmed, and some hems and other mending, too.  She sometimes makes her own clothes--and these might be on the agenda, too.  She started  with hemming, and then was brought to a stand still by a non functioning machine.

A dull needle and thread caught in the bobbin case where the start of the problem.. Momma to the rescue.
The was a bit more to the problem—and to some degree, I don't know what I did to resolve the problem, I fiddle with this and than, and when I left, the machine was working. I left her with the instructions to replace her dull sewing machine needle.

So what else? Sadly not much to report. I got the collar sewn on the shirt, (it still needs a good pressing) and the cuffs on the sleeves. Next, the sleeves get set in, to the shirt.  Then the finishing details: buttons, buttonholes, and hem.

But I don't like the way this shirt fits. So it will not be worn very often. I need to go back to the drawing board, and find a better pattern.

But I have done a lot of cleaning up in my sewing room, and have a ton of plans for sewing in these dying days of winter.

Any minute now, I will get back to knitting in earnest, too. The lackadaisical round or two is doing much for my sock, and nothing else has had anything done. I see each day is getting longer and spring is on its way, but the weeks on end of nights longer than days is taking its toll. I wake up at 6, and its still dark (sunrise isn't till 6:45 or so)--not full dark, but not light either. I don't like starting the day in the dark (even if all I do is get up for a moment, and then head back to bed for another hour.)

I plan to sew some today—to finish the blouse, and cut some more items... Cutting is the biggest effort, once cut, I fell like I can whip a skirt of vest in a morning! (Almost can, too!)

One quick and easy project will be a drawstring bag--I rescued a Scrabble game from the recycle room (alas, the house hold board was taken by one of my kids several years ago, and I never got around to replacing it) It's short some letters--but I have found replacements--already!  It needs a letter bag, too.  That's a quick and easy project (I will recylce a heavy canvas bag (from gift packed pistachio nuts)--a patch that has Scrabble (vs Pistachios!) on the front of the bag is about all that is needed.

I play on line Scrabble --no make that Words with Friends, (on FaceBook).    Real Scrabble is one of the pool side activities.  Having a board of my own will let me pick and chose who I play with--and means I can plan other places, besides the pool, too.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Roses are Red,


Violets are blue—Happy Valentine's Day to you.
.........................................................................................................

In addition to violets being blue, me, too. A bit in the dumps—not feeling great—not really sick—but a host of little problems. A minor infection in my eye--(being treated), lots of little pains, in hips, knees and finger joints-not enough to stop—just enough to keep me reminded all the time.

Emotional spend, too. But feeling better. Tuesday knit night I intentionally sat next to Kimberly—who kindness and generosity I admire. I too can be generous—but I confess—I want acknowledgment. I want the  thank you. But I should know better. Some people are takers, and expect things, and never acknowledge. Some are unappreciative. That's their problem, and I am never going to be able to change them—all I can do is change me. (and I DON'T WANT to change!) I resist being generous, without desiring thank you's and appreciation. That's MY PROBLEM.

So I am spent and exhausted fighting with my self--and no doubt, some of this internal conflict is feeding the fires of inflammation that is making me feel so bad—I am, literally—making myself sick over it.

But the worst has past-- I am getting there—I can at least acknowledge my desires—and recognize how my own desires are messing up my life. That's always the first step, isn't it? Shedding the desire is the next step.

But I am keeping some desires—I want to finish my socks, and finish the mohair cowl, and finish the cast on for my shawl--

Gayle—yes, I have talked about the idea of a bottom up shawl—with each row decreasing and getting easier.. And yes, I am documenting the details—so that I can make a pattern from it. And to be honest, the bit of edging I showed the other day was 5 rows—though I will admit—the cast on row to start this edging is a bit unusual--(it's a version of a crochet cast on.. so its not hard –and it could work even with a knit cast on (I don't like it with a knit cast on.. but it could work with one)

I still haven't fully decided on the lace pattern once the cast is done, and then the edging is done too, but I have some ideas. LOTS of ideas!

And today, I will get back to work on making some of these ideas tangible. I will focus on the beauty, and change I can make when I handle yarn. I am good at making these changes!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Still No Knitting


to report on—but laundry (done on Tuesday) is all washed, dried, fold, and hung up.--Even the stuff that needed touch up ironing.

Some ironing was done for sewing too, cuffs and collars got pressed (as they must be, before being sewn in) and some wrinkles craft paper got ironed, too. The craft paper is re-cycled. It was used in one the holiday packages I received. It was crumpled up as packing material.

Now its flat once again, and will be recycled to make sturdier copies of some of the patterns I come back to again and again—and to add some variety to some of those patterns.

I like the round neck vest (I have made it 3 times already!) but when I bought it, I was looking for a V neck vest with a shaped hem. I never did find a pattern for a vest like that. But now, I can use craft paper to reshape the pattern I have. I can make it longer , and with a V neck, and add a shaped hem to the basic vest. Then when I make 3 or 4 more vest, they won't all be identical (not that the 3 I have already made are identical—I have added pockets (different styles of pockets) and changed the closures, (One vest has snaps, the others buttons, and one (cut but not yet sewn) will be closed with a separating zipper) and I have changed the length --but now that I know how long to make the vest (a full 2 inches longer than the pattern suggest) all future versions are going to be the longer, more comfortable length!

I plan on doing some more sewing today and tomorrow. I know it seems like I have a ton of clothes when laundry time rolls around—but I want to make some of the matching pieces—and I still need some basics --like a plain black skirt!

For now, I want to focus on darker colors (and heavy weights) for the last few days of the winter months. Then, I want to add some brighter colors, for spring and summer.

I need (NEED? Well I want!) to make some throw pillows, too. I have a bolster pillow that needs a cover, and I have some friends than need some throw pillows (None is not enough!) I have fabric, and I have polyfill (I don't actually have enough pillow forms right now to give away throw pillows)

The coming storms means I will likely be housebound tomorrow (I will get out today- rain won't stop me) but if I have no pressing reason for venturing out of doors—I won't be out much tomorrow. 

Of course we could be luck—as it is, the weather forecaster have been pointing out—there is a narrow band where there is more rain than snow expected.. but the band is so narrow—a small change in one directions or another can mean a huge difference. (the range of forecast snow goes from 18 inches to 2 inches—with most of the forecasters coming in in the middle range—8 inches to 14.

It's just snow—and the worst of it won't start till late in the day—and worst will be tomorrow morning—not too bad for those who have a 9 to 5/Monday to Friday schedule. And it's already February-- Spring is around the corner, It's not like a November storm when you know there will be plenty more months of this to come. Next month is March, and soon the chances of snow fall be over.


Thursday, February 07, 2013

Life




has been cutting into my knitting time. It's good. Its good to have friends, and spend time with them. (that is local, everyday friends—vs old friends who have moved away and are far flung!)

It's good to feel useful, and to make a point of visiting the B—its good too, to see visible progress every day. He is still not walking, but he is clearly getting better each time I see him—Not that he hasn't been his old self in some respects—he has managed to work his way through 3 phones in the past 2 weeks!
His fine motor skills (lacking before the stoke) are shot—but he insist he can muscle his way through—and has broken not 1, not 2, but 3 chargers breaking wires, or pulling them apart! It is infuriating--and typical of him.  

Where are pictures of the Lacy Mohair cowl, you might ask? Is it done?
So I went and finished up skein 5, and all of the partial skein, and only had the grafting to do. I plowed ahead, even though I was tired, and it was late. I wanted this project finished, I wanted to move on to something new.

I messed up royally! At this point the graft is clearly biased—and it's no wonder. I came to the end, and found the needle held 8 stitches, but there were clearly 16 stitches to undo from from the provisional cast cast on. Undoing a graft is always a PITA, but mohair makes it worse. I will undo, and fix—but I just didn't have the energy or inclination. (Besides, I had to tuck the work into the freezer—I don't KNOW why (I can speculate) but I do know, it is easier to undo mohair (frog, or tink or unweave a graft) when it is cold.

In the meanwhile, I have been working on my secret sock, and I started my massive bottom up shawl cast on. 4 repeats cast on (I need 90!) Each repeat is 13 stitches, and counting repeats, not stitches.

The cast on has a bit of pattern—so this makes sense. It is a bit tedious (cast on x, bind off Y, cast on again, bind off again, and again, and then repeat the whole deal.  And counting the repeats to the design are the way to go.  The tedious part comes NOW, when I am fresh and enthusiastic, not at the end when I am tired and slightly bored with the project (see paragraphs above where I mention how I screwed up the end of the cowl!)

I know lots of cast on's—but as a general rule, cast on's are straight edges. Which is why shawls are so often knit top down. Its easier to to make a pretty bind off edge.  But this cast on edge is the exception.    Here is a sample of the edge for the sparkly blue shawl. Pretty, isn't it? It's a bear to cast on—90 repeats of 13 stitches—that's 1170 stitches! But by row 7, a manageable 350 or so! But look what you get! Deep lacey points on the edge. As good or better than a lacy bind off. And it's what you start with. As time goes on, the shawl will have fewer and fewer stitches. Easier ever row. Oh joy.


Monday, February 04, 2013

There Comes A Time


In every project, but especially in mindless projects like scarves, when I just can't stand them.

It's the reason I always swear after I finish a scarf, that I am never going to knit another one. Last week the lacy mohair cowl (Whats a cowl but a scarf sewn into a circle?) reached that point.

I started on skein 5, and OH, the dreariness of it. The Yarn is OK—its soft, but not too soft, not to scratchy (even the softest mohair can be a little scratchy some time)  but its really nothing very special. Same goes for the colors. I like peach, and green and purple--but I am not a big fan of very light pastels. I like bright, clear colors best. Skeins and skeins of washed out pastels?  Not so much.

Even the pattern is boring at this point.

OK there are some details I like. I like the edge—Nancy--a newish knitter (who just competed her first ever hat (knit in the round) yesterday) was wow'd by the edge. So look here and see –a double chain –almost a triple chain—One chain stitch on front, one on back and a third where the two meet.(that last one is a pseudo chain.)

So finally I finished skein 5, (it's only taken a week!) and much as I would like to say its done but for the finishing—It's not. It still needs an inch or two. So the partial skein is going into finishing up the last bit of knitting. I am not sure exactly how many more inches—but 8 rows should do it (or in the worst case 16 rows) I want to graft the last row to the first—and I want the diagonal lace patterns to match up. I'll still have two full skeins left--I am not going to continue and make this a long scarf--but I still have no idea what to do with the remaining skeins of yarn. Something will suggest it self, eventually. 

The seam will be slightly visible—I cast on (plain knit) using a provisional cast on. The pattern is 1 row pattern work, 1 row plain knitting. I will end after a pattern row, and graft the live stitches to the provisional ones. I will not try to end with a plain row, and to graft in pattern.  

Once its long enough,  I will  graft a pattern row to the provisional edge. The graft will be an extra row of plain knitting. NOT as noticeable as a seam, but still not quite invisible.

I have been working a bit on my secret socks, too... an inch or two done—not much at all.

I went to visit B again on Friday—and that is mentally exhausting—but he is doing well—and there is visible progresses every time I see him—so there is that. But personality quirks that are interesting get old quickly when some one is ill.  He can be so annoying--But I am really happy to see him making real progress. 

Then on Saturday, I took a power hose and shovel to the kitchen—cleaned and re-organized. Well, still re-organizing. There are things that tend to collect (plastic containers) that eventually overwhelm—and a bunch got thrown out. My old toaster over that was intermittently working? It got trashed too. (Its about 20 years old—it was time) The new replacement convection toaster over has more bells and whistles—and a bigger foot print too. Not a good thing in a small kitchen. So I had to decide (again and again) what else gets to live on the counter-top—now that there is a huge chunk less of it. What do I need handy and conveniently on the lower shelves, and what get bumped up to the second or third shelf of the cabinet? What do I keep and what do I get rid of? Culling un needed stuff is the biggest chore for me!

Eating habits have changed, too. Rice has been replaced by quinoa, simple pasta with high protean pasta. Less baking (bread and quick breads, means maybe the flour shouldn't be front and center on the shelf—and maybe some of the new spices in my diet (turmeric, for one) do need to be front and center.

I also made a half hearted start at sewing—there is another thing that kept me from knitting. And in cleaning up and reorganizing, I found a lovely little single skein of long color change yarn. This,  too will become a cowl—no--not a cowl –a neck ring--(50 g is just about enough!)--It's a pastel too—Lilac and lavender, and pink and lime green—but mostly purple—and I like purple.

I have been itching to dye some wools, too--sock yarns mostly.  But then, I always want to dye yarn when I am at rut in my knitting.   Something with some bright blues, and hot pink and teal green—and maybe something with some red—Mostly red, with some bits of coral or orange and a splash of yellow—a really hot wild color way.

And lastly—some eye candy. A half dozen long stemmed red roses. Aren't they just the most beautiful thing?
(I usually post small size photos--but this time, I made an exception!)  They are just beginning to open and the fragrance is a wonder spring tonic.