[vermont] Whetstone Station

Went down to Brattleboro on Sunday with my sister to visit a yarn shop. We made a pit stop at the Whetstone Station for lunch.

Any time is beer time. #brattleboro #citizencider

I tried some Dry-Hopped Citizen Cider draft the Worthy Burger last week. I saw another Citizen Cider offering, Unified Press, on the list at Whetstone. I love these ciders. The Dry-Hopped would be an excellent, refreshing summertime drink. The Unified Press is like biting into a granny smith apple. They are so good. The best ciders I've ever had. 

I got the bratwurst for lunch:

#weiner at #whetstone. Love #citizencider on tap.

The Whetstone is definitely worth a stop of you're in Brattleboro.


[gardening] Winter Sowing Seeds

Dreaming of flowers and sun and bees and butterflies...

I hope all these seeds bloom exactly like their pictures. #gardenofdisappointment #wintersow  ☀️❄️☀️❄️

Planting perennial flower seeds. I just acquired 5 more containers that I'll plant this afternoon. Then I'll take a picture of my winter-sown containers outside.


[crochet] Little Miss Sunshine Blanket

This past summer I knit a baby blanket for Dollar's niece. Penny really wanted it. She would get into my lap as I worked on it, declaring "mine mine mine" as she kneaded it. Despite her best efforts, it was given away. I promised that I would make her one and finally got around to it now that the holiday knitting frenzy is over.

Penny's blanket

Pattern: Little Miss Sunshine (Ravelry)

Yarn: Mystery dk-weight acrylic. Given to me by Dollar's mom, no labels. Nice and soft; most definitely machine washable.

Penny's blanket

Modification: For the scalloped border, you're meant to skip a stitch and work the scallops. It was coming out too ruffly, so I skipped 2 stitches instead as I worked the border around. 

All three cats like the blanket. I'll have to make a couple more. And Dollar said he wants one, too. His is going to be The Great American Aran Afghan. I need to get back into making blocks for this. I have 6 done- just need to make another 6.


[knitting] Pescovegetarian Mittens

Pescovegetarian Mittens

Yarn: Ironstone Harmony, 2 balls. Didn't use it all- have enough leftover for a matching beanie.

Needles: US 9 and 10. 

Modifications: Only change was to take the tip of the mitten down to 6 stitches before I cut the yarn and cinched the loops closed. 

Pescovegetarian Mittens

Good pattern- very quick to make with bulky yarn. I plan to do this pattern again in a light color so that the fishbone design stands out more.


[knitting] Denim Socks

A pair of socks for me:

Blue Socks

Love these. I only have about 6 pairs that I've knit for myself and they are all in excellent condition because I really only wear them to bed when it's freezing out. 

The yarn is a superwash merino base that I dyed during a class at the first (or second?) Green Mountain Fiber Festival in WRJ.

Dyed by me

I still have the skein on the right. I'm a little apprehensive to use it; the color combo is... interesting.


[knitting] DyakCraft Needles

Received a lovely set of interchangable knitting needles in the mail last week:

Dyak Craft Needles

The needles are handmade in Vermont by DyakCraft. I placed the order 11 months ago. I know that seems like a wicked long time to wait but this was a completely customized set- I picked every single color of wood I wanted for every single size. Unfortunately, you can't do that any more. You can only certain sets of colors. 
I ordered the 5" lace-tipped needles. Currently I'm trying to narrow down yarn/pattern/needle decisions for my next project.

This set it very comparably priced to other sets that you can buy online if you factor in that all the DyakCraft products are handmade. The only hard part is the waiting ;) Do what I do- place and order and forget about it. Then you'll want to do backflips once you're notified that the needles are ready to ship.


[misc] Penny Friday

Picked up a little container of cat grass:

Cat grass

In the past, Murderface was only sort-of interested in it. Santana doesn't care. Penny loves the stuff- she will eat it all at once if I let her. I try to ration it by keeping it up on the counter, but she just jumps up onto the counter to eat it.

* * * * *

I have a plan to winter sow perennial flower seeds. Seed packets just arrived in some of the garden stores around here; I've picked up lavender, shasta daisies, black-eyed susan, hollyhock, blue sage, butterfly weed, delphinium... a dozen different kinds. All for around $15. 

Now I need to find containers. I didn't save up any clear jugs or salad containers (oops). And I don't want to buy anything. I wonder if I go to a recycling center, whether or not they'll let me take stuff. Probably not.

The only disappointing aspect so far is that most sources say that you won't get blooms from the perennials until the 2nd year. I'm like, 2015?!?! So, I might winter sow the perennials this weekend and then wait until March to winter sow some annuals. I need to have some blooms this summer.

It's still too early to think about what's going to come up this spring, but I transplanted a lot of purple irises that I hope to see come up. I got quite a few daffodil and crocus bulbs into the ground. I planted a shade garden behind the house with ferns, hostas and old-fashioned bleeding hearts. 


[cross-stitching] Bookmark

For Christmas I received a gallon zip-lock bag of embroidery floss. It was a jumble of colors but all already neatly wound onto bobbins. I selected tonal pairs of colors for a bookmark:

Cross-stitch bookmark
Using a Shakespeare book to display it, to make me appear smarter than I am.

No pattern, per se. I used a small motif from an out-of-print cross-stitch book that I picked up last summer at the Five-Colleges Book Sale.

To make the bookmark less floppy (and hide the messy wrong side!), I added a felt back:

Cross-stitch bookmark

To do this, once I was all done with the colored design, I simply put both the felt fabric and Aida cloth onto my Q-snap frame and stitched the thin dark brown border through both pieces, to tack them both together. 

Cross-stitch bookmark

Then I cut a rather generous border around and pulled away one row of the Aida cloth around to make a frilly edge. I imagine more will fall away over time, as it's used more. This was a good project to use some of the long, skinny strips of leftover Aida that I cut away from larger cross-stitch projects.


[embroidering] Dragon Hankie

Finished a new handkerchief for Dollar:

Dragon Hankie

Was able to try out new stitches here and there around the dragon. It's a fairly big design- I think I'll go back to smaller, more discreet designs to add to hankies. They're faster to make, anyway ;)

Pattern is from Sublime Stitching.


[knitting] Totally Biased

My handmade Christmas gift for my sister:

Handspun cowl

Patten: Totally Biased (rav link)

I love my sequined Tiara-lly Biased so much, I wanted to make another. 

Yarn: DyakCraft (formerly Grafton Fibers) batts:

Grafton Fibers Batts

Handspun yarn:

DyakCraft (formerly Grafton Fibers) Batts

I really like this mix of colors- brick red, autumn orange, teal. 

Here's my sister modeling the cowl:

Handspun cowl

And doubled-up:

Handspun cowl

Good pattern for handspun yarn. I think I'll need to made another. For me.


[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface warming his toes in the weekend sun:


Penny is tired from her nap. Probably needs another nap.


Santana is smiling.

Smiling Santana


[crochet] Rising Sun Doily

A Christmas gift that I didn't finish on time but will given next year:


Pattern: Doily Number 7274. Not sure when it was renamed but it's called "Rising Sun Doily #7274" on Ravelry. Pattern is originally from 1944!

Yarn: Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet (Size 3), 1.5 balls

Ended up quite large because of the heavier crochet cotton that I used.

Too big for the round nightstand that I currently have it on.


[cross-stitching] Li'l Loki

Made this for a swap partner on Ravelry:

Loki Cross-stitch

She likes Loki from the Thor series, so I Googled a bit for a small cross-stitch project. I had the cloth, thread and frame already, so this was a no-cost project. Apart from the pattern, which I think was only $1.99.

Was easy and fun to make but the gold thread was terrible to work with. Terrible. The payoff is that it is quite glittery and reflective in direct sunlight. It was worth it.

Loki close-up

Working on a cross-stitched biscornu at the moment but not really feeling any love for it. I'd rather make a little rug for my iPhone. I hate the rattling/buzzing noise when I have it on a desk or coffee table and I get a text message. I want to make a soft coaster for the phone to rest on to muffle the noise.


[music] Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The weekend before Christmas, Dollar's father took us to see a show in Boston. I heard about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra only a couple years ago and missed getting tickets in time to see them this year. When Dollar's dad called us to say that he had tickets, I was like, "No. Way."

It was the best live music show I've ever seen. Every singer and every musician was amazing. The light show and projected images were precision perfect. This is the type of show that will blow your mind- and it's good for any age. The TD Garden in Boston was packed but every single person was captivated for the entire 2.5 hour show.

Some pictures from the colorful show:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Oh yeah, there was fire, too.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

A platform at the other end of the arena that raised up:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Pyrotechnics and arms that swung the musician out over the crowd:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

It was awesome. Highly, highly recommend. Borderline insist. It was a great, entertaining show.


[misc] Murderface Monday


Back to work, back to work. Weather is currently rainy, slushy, icy, crashy. I subscribe to the VT State Police blog and it's just report after report of crashes. High temperature today is going to be 45. Low this past weekend was -25. High tomorrow is going to be 10. What's up with that? My car slid sideways down my ice luge driveway this morning bit I was able crawl to work safely.

Had to get a new car battery installed this weekend. It's been so cold that my car was almost not turning over. I don't believe the battery had ever been replaced, so it was definitely time. Also got a (drastic) haircut. Had a nice dinner out.

Now I can start daydreaming about my next vacation.


[misc] Post-holiday fugue state

I hope everyone had a Happy Christmas and Merry New Year. I'm only just coming out of my vacation  stupor and still trying to figure out what day it is. My stay-cataion at home was awesome. It's all kind of a blur now but totally relaxing.

The last of the Christmas pictures:


I think we put the tree up the first weekend in December and by the time we had family over on Christmas eve, so many needles were falling off. Two days after Christmas I decided to take it down- taking off all the ornaments and lights left half of the needles on the floor. This was my first year getting balsam fir and while it made the house smell really nice the first few days, I think I'll go back to Frasier firs- they just hold their needles on better. 

Murderface admiring the tree

My days mainly consisted of getting up whenever Santana decides she can't wait any longer for breakfast and begins howling in earnest. Then I'd do crafty stuff. Then give the cats some catnip and arrange cage-fighting matches between them. Bakes some bread. Watched a ton of movies. 

The cats were happy to have us home so much (if only for all the extra snacks and treats they were given throughout the days). Here's Dollar with two on him:

Penny, napping

Now that I'm done with all my frantic holiday gift-making, it's nice to work on whatever I feel like. I just need to figure out what it is that I feel like making...