Thursday, December 29, 2011

almost forgot!

I almost forgot that I haven't shown you a few finished knitted objects. Now that all the presents have been opened, I can share these with you!

They're the gifts I knitted this year. They were a little last minute. I wasn't really planning on knitting any gifts this year, other than one I had made over the summer for my mom to give to a friend of hers. Honestly, I wasn't sure anyone would want anything I would/could make. Not everyone appreciates hand knit things, you know? Not when there are so many awesome things out there in stores, available for so inexpensive, in any color you'd ever be able to imagine.

But it was brought to my attention there were a few things I could make that would be good gifts. Here they are.

cabled legwarmers (pattern here on Ravelry)

These were made for Mom. She wanted something to keep her ankles warm when she's sitting watching tv at night. The yarn is Schachenmayr SMC Bravo Rainbow Color, in blues and grays. I think it's acrylic (can't find the label at the moment). They are so soft, and hopefully cozy!

constellation fingerless mittens (no pattern)

These were made for my sister. She loved my constellation hexipuff, so I thought I'd make her some fingerless mittens with the summer sky on them! They turned out pretty well, I think. I used SMC Select Highland Alpaca Fino, in dark blue. Soft and hopefully warm for those cool evenings that she helps out at the Dark Sky Park at Cherry Springs!

I had fun knitting things to give away. I should do it more often! But maybe think about it ahead of time, rather than two weeks before the package has to be sent! I'm not a very fast knitter, so it was a push to get these done. 

Live and learn, huh?

Start Christmas knitting in January!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And so it begins again

The countdown, that is.

Starting back at the beginning.

363 days until Christmas.

(It's leap year this year.)

Did everyone have a nice holiday? Was it a white one for you? We didn't have snow, but that's not unusual for here. It was warmer than normal, too. I think most people were alright with that, but I miss having a white Christmas.

Here are some pictures of my decorations this year.

 pine boughs, holly, mistletoe and hand made yarny snowflake

 same ingredients, but mittens instead of a snowflake

 oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

I meant to post these much earlier, but hey... life happens.

I had a little fun with my camera and made these shots too.

sweeping lights

whirly wheeeee!!!

Remember Spirographs? Doesn't this remind you of those? I was quite pleased with that one!

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Gosh, I can't believe how busy it's been around here! I have had so many posts planned, but I haven't had time for any of them! And just 3 days 'till Christmas! whoa.

But I had to take a minute to post this little holiday treat. I read about it on Ravelry.

Go to Google, and then type in the search bar "let it snow" (minus the quotes), and then let it search.

Sit back and enjoy!

I hope you're having a great pre-Christmas week. I know I am! Ludi is off this week, so we're doing all sorts of Christmassy things. Maybe next week I'll be able to catch up here!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 days??!!

Seriously? It's only 12 days until Christmas? Whew, this month is just FLYING isn't it?

What with all the decorating and card writing and Christmas shopping and cookie planning and still trying to do normal every day stuff (cook and clean??), I just don't know where the days are going.

Last Saturday we went on a bus trip to Bonn, Germany for their Christmas market. It was a really great day, and I'll make a post in the next day or two with the photos!

That same day, this was delivered:

a package from Sandy Claus!!!

It's a package from Mom! Unfortunately we weren't home to accept delivery. BUT one of our nice neighbors accepted it, and then brought it to us on Sunday when we were home.

The tree is up and decorated now, and the contents of the package are arranged underneath. I can't wait to open them on Christmas morning! I may be old now, but I still get all kid-like on Christmas morning. Wanting to get up before dawn and everything.

Fun times.

I hope everyone is getting their holidays on!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Sinterklaas Kapoentje,
Leg wat in mijn schoentje,
Leg wat in mijn laarsje,
Dank je Sinterklaasje!

Sinterklaas visited yesterday! He left us chocolate letters in our shoes (sorta!).

 who doesn't love chocolate?

A milk chocolate for Ludi, and a milk chocolate with hazelnuts for me. How does Sint know? How does he know our favorites? It's magic, isn't it?

Sint (aka Ludi) also left these in my shoe

left it small - too extreme close up - yikes

Magnifying glasses. So I can crochet little tiny snowflakes. Yay! It's my dream to make this:

photo courtesy Martha

a garland of crocheted snowflakes. I want it to be in that tiny fine thread, but it was so hard to make them, with my aging eyes. These glasses will help immensely with that! So I love them, even if they do make me feel/look like Granny.

Did Sint leave anything in your schoentje?


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where did November go?

Hello everyone! So nice to see you all! Won't you come in and have a cuppa?

 chai tea latte... favorite

I got out my Christmas mugs last week. It's so fun to drink from these. My tea of choice is chai latte. Such creamy deliciousness. Crazy good!

It's hard to believe that November is over already. I knew it would happen. I knew it would fly by like ... like... well, like something really fast. But as usual I am shocked that it's December 1st. Now that it is, though, we can really get down to Christmas Business.

I've been busy doing some Christmas knitting (pics after Christmas!), making cards to send my Ravelry friends and trying to get more into the mood. The weather here has been so mild it's hard to find Christmas spirit! I heard on the news yesterday that November was the dryest ever this year. Normally we get 82mm of rain, and this year we got 9. NINE. Less than half an inch. And it was sunnier, and warmer than normal too. I'm all for a little warmth in fall and winter, but come on.


How's about a little snow for the holidays?


In the meantime, while you're working on getting some winter weather for us here in The Netherlands, I'll listen to more Christmas music, put up some twinkle lights, light the pine-scented candle and enjoy the season.

Oh, and drink my fantabulous tea.




Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving!

 image courtesy American Greetings (I think? It's old, I'm old, I can't remember!)

Bring on the turkey-mashed potatoes-stuffing-gravy stupor!

gobble gobble!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

House Plant Help?

I need a little help today. To be accurate, my plant needs help.

I only have one house plant. I don't have much of a green thumb, so I tend to steer clear of living plants. But this one I've had for a while now. It was doing so well over the summer too. Growing like a weed. Ha! Some people might consider it a weed. It's an ivy plant (no, I don't know which one specifically), so when left on it's own outside, I've noticed it certainly can take over (makes a great ground cover, though).

But my little plant has recently started getting some yellow leaves.

yellowing leaves at the bottom

The rest of the plant is still perfectly green, but The Yellow is slowly creeping up. It started with just the one big leaf to the left, and then it traveled. And I've also noticed the stripes on the ... uhh... stem? Stalk? Whatever that main trunk thing is called. That's also new.

So what's going on with my poor little ivy? This only started happening recently, like a week and a half ago. Am I watering too much? Not enough? Is it too cold on the windowsill (it sat there all last winter though too, and this didn't happen)?

Just before The Yellow first started, I did do a heavy watering. Maybe it was too cold then? Maybe it was too much for it, for winter time? I'm assuming there is a growing season and a dormant season for this kind of plant, even if it is indoors?

What did I do wrong? And how can I fix it? Do I need to replant it? Is it dying? Is it a lost cause? Should I take clippings and try to root them, and give up on the main plant?

If I do try to root some clippings, can I just stick them in water? Do I have to have special water?

Help me, Obi Wan Gardener. You're my only hope.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Day with many hats

Today is a special day in a lot of places. In America it’s Veterans Day. In the UK it’s Remembrance Day. In Belgium it’s Wapenstilstandsdag (celebrating the end of WWI). And in The Netherlands (mostly just in Limburg, I think?), it’s 11de van de 11de (11th day of the 11th month). The official start of the Carnival Season.

This year it’s the 11de van de 11de van de 11de (11th day of the 11th month of 2011)! So they’ll probably be even more crazy this year. Those Dutch really know how to get their drink on.

How do you celebrate this day?


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

'Tis the Season

Ok, folks. Halloween is over. That means we can finally officially begin

I am sure that stores have already begun without me, but I try to wait until November to start my holiday frenzy.

TRY, that is. Doesn’t always work, but I try.

It's also hard to get in the Christmas mood when the weather has been so nice here.

the trees are losing their leaves

We've had temps in the mid-60s (mid-teens Celsius), and tons of sun. Very nice weather for this time of year! And blue blue BLUE skies. Just gorgeous.

Anyways, now begins the preparations for Christmas. Time for list making! I’m a list kind of person. I make lists for everything. The Card List. The Gift (Giving) List. The Wish List (aka The Gift Receiving List). The Christmas Movies To Watch List. The Decorations List (what decorations I’ll put up this year, and where).  The Baking List (a very important list! The list of cookies that I’m going to make!).

All knds of lists. It keeps me organized, and let’s me know what still needs to be done. Because the holidays can get a little overwhelming, can’t they? Lists save my sanity the whole year round, but they are especially helpful at Christmas.

And frankly, my sanity can use all the help it can get!

What’s on your lists?


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

 Trick or Treat!

Have a spooky night, everyone!!! Enjoy all the tricks and treats that come your way.

Tonight we'll be having birthday dinner. Because not only is today Halloween, but it's Ludi's birthday! wheeeeeee!!!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!

Actually...this is how it really sounds.

Habby Burdday to you!
Habby Burdday to you!
Habby BURDday dear Ludi...

HABBY BURDday to you!!!!!

(I have a cold. bleh)


Friday, October 21, 2011


TGIF, huh?

Ludi started a new (earlier) schedule at work this week, and we're feeling the effects. I like to get up with him so I don't waste half a day sleeping late (and then have trouble falling to sleep that night), but getting up at 6am is pushing it. It's still dark! Bah. We'll get used to it, but this week has been tough. Very glad that it's Friday and it's the weekend! With his new earlier shift, he also now has Saturday and Sunday off instead of Sunday and Monday. Yay! I think I'll like that part.

I've been working on more puffs. Gosh, I just love these. I can't get enough of them. I wish I could go and buy a whole bunch of new yarn just for these. LOOOOVing them.

Here are the two that weren't in the other photo, that I said I would show you, once the sun came out and I could take a decent photo. It's sunny today, so here you are!

too close?

It's hard to see, isn't it? It's a snowflake. I shouldn't have been right on top if it with my camera, I guess. That and this close up really shows how terrible my duplicate stitching skills are. whoa. Just squint at it.


Ursa Minor

This one's a little better, easier to see. A very clever person made up some constellation patterns for us to put on our squishy lovey little puffs. Here's the Ravelry link if you'd like it. I just love that too. It reminds me of Cherry Springs, stargazing with friends.

I heart stargazing.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend! It's supposed to be nice and sunny here, so we will be enjoying it.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Hump Day!

Happy Hump Day all!

How's everyone doing? Getting ready for Halloween? Got those pumpkins carved? Perhaps it's a little early for that. They'd rot by Halloween, wouldn't they. Unless that was the look you were going for. For instance, if you carved an old lady face on your pumpkin. The sagging and wrinkling would be totally appropriate!

Have all the leaves changed where you are? We have seen some here, but it's not at it's peak yet. Probably another week or two? Unless it rains and storms the entire time, and then the peak will be all over the ground. tee hee!

I've been trying to keep myself busy. Making dvds of the home movies from our trip to Germany last April. Yep, I'm just getting to it now. I'm totally lazy. And I've stepped up my search for a job. I had an appointment last week with the social services people here who help with people who've been unemployed for so long that they need help re-integrating into working society. Maybe they'll be that extra push that I need to get me networking and find something. Because FUNemployment blows.

Though I wouldn't mind waiting until after Christmas to find something. Shame on me, huh? Waiting even longer to find a job.'s Christmas. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. 'Tis the Season to be Jolly. I can't be jolly if I'm stressin' over work, now can I?

Well, alright, I'll keep looking for work. But if it doesn't happen, I'll try not to be all depressed about it. ;)

I've also been knitting, as I'm SURE you guessed. I have done some more hexipuffs. I am so addicted.

squeeeeee!!! squishy and lovely puffs!

I had 26 made when I took this picture a few days ago. Now I have at least two more. I am really loving the duplicate stitching ones. (The ones with the pictures on them.) They're so much fun! And add just a little something special. I love that you can personalize it, making whatever your mind can imagine on the puffs. My favorite puff is not pictured in this pile, because I made it after I took this photo. I'll be sure to show you, though, when the sun comes back out and I can get a decent picture.

I finished something else a week or so ago too. A scarf/shawl.

close up

 full view

It is a little smaller than I intended. But perhaps that's good, because then it won't be too heavy (and too warm). I'm sorry to say I don't have any measurements on this for you. The original pattern called for a lighter weight yarn, and called for it to be longer, but I was afraid I would run out of yarn, so I made it shorter. It still fits, so that's good! I just love the shape too, the crescent. I think I'm going to find more patterns in this shape to make. They're lovely! Maybe I'll try something lacy too. I will have to practice on that though. So far I haven't liked what I've tried. Maybe I just need to keep slogging through it, and when it's done and blocked, then I'll be more satisfied with the looks of it.

ooh, maybe that means I'll have to buy more yarn.

Oh darn.

tee hee!!!!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ta-Dah Tuesday

Today the heat wave that we've been having here finally ended. It's cloudy, and much cooler. Much more seasonal. It was nice to have a few warm days, but... yeah, let's get on with autumn! Hopefully I'll get to buy some pumpkins and gourds again this year, and do some decorating. No one here carves jack-o-lanterns, but I have seen plenty of people decorating with mums and pumpkins. Perhaps it's just all the other Americans who live in the area?

I have another ta-da to show off today. Yay!!! I love having finished projects! So here we are.

new socks!

They're my Burning Stripes socks. (Pattern available here on Ravelry.) Yay! I'm so glad I finally finished them. And I love this pattern. I love the striping detail. So neat and genius, because it helps "carry" the contrast color through the next stripe. Awesome, no?

Since this is my first pair of finished socks, they are not without errors. For one thing, they're a little too big. I'd read about "negative ease" and all (making the clothing item smaller in measurement than actually needed, so that the garment stretches to fit). I thought I was doing it alright, but overall, they're too big. And since I didn't do them two-at-a-time, the second sock is even bigger. My tension loosened up a lot, some how. Second mistake there. (Next time I'll do them both at the same time!). Third thing is that I never tried the second one on. Not until I was doing the cuff (almost finished). If I had KNOWN that my tension was so loose on the second one, I could have easily adjusted or just stopped and started over. But that heel is such a pain to do, and the second sock was so close to being done, I didn't have the heart to unravel it all and start over. So I'll live with my mistakes, and learn from them for the next pair.

I also didn't do a very good job with the heel on the second sock.

my holey heel

I'm not sure what happened. I tried picking up extra stitches to close up the holes, but I guess I didn't pick up enough or did it wrong. Oh well. The holes aren't THAT big. I can live with it.

Now that the socks are done, I've moved on to other projects. I'll be showing you more puffs and a scarf in the near future (and probably much more!).  Hopefully you like them all!


Thursday, September 29, 2011


Beef stew is a cool weather meal.  Good for when the wind is howling, and maybe even a chilly rain! I love beef stew.

temperature today and upcoming days

I picked the wrong day to make beef stew for dinner, didn't I? 

All "summer", we had cool weather, clouds, rain... we basically had autumn all summer long! And now, now that autumn is actually here? Look what that funny trickster Mother Nature does! Mid- to high-70s all week long! It's already been this warm since last Saturday or something.

ain't she a hoot?!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Autumn!!!

Reason #264 that I love fall:

tiny cabbages

Brussels Sprouts! They are delish!

The first time I tried them was three years ago (about). And now I cannot get enough of them. I would eat them every day if I could!

Well, maybe not every day, cuz...well, that's a lot of sprouts. But every week for sure!

Do you like sprouts too?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Counting down

Hey! Did you know that today it's

days left until Christmas??!!

Is that all?! I tell ya, it's going to be here before we know it! I'm making my list.

Checking it twice.

Gonna find out who's naughty and who's nice.

Which list are you on?


Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, KNITFreedom!

KNITFreedom is the website (company? person?) who helped me to learn how to knit. It’s run by Liat Gat, and she makes fanTAStic videos to help people become knitting superstars. Every. single. thing. that I know about knitting, I learned from watching her videos.

When I first started knitting, I tried to knit using straight needles. For some reason, I never really got the hang of them. I SO wanted to learn how to knit, but I was getting discouraged! I wanted to make mittens and socks and things too, so if I couldn’t master flat knitting, how was I going to ever succeed knitting round things?

And let’s not even discuss dpn’s (double pointed needles). Fuggedaboudit.

Then I found Liat’s videos on YouTube. And her website. And my personal epiphany video, the one showing magic loop, using circular needles. THAT is when how-to-knit really clicked home for me. I ordered some circular needles, and have not. stopped. knitting. since.

As you can tell from my previous bazillion posts.

So everyone help me wishing Liat and KNITFreedom a HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!

make a wish and blow out your candle

One year ago today she started her company and I, for one, couldn’t be more thankful. If you're on Ravelry, go wish her a happy birthday here, and on Facebook here.

Happy Birthday, KNITFreedom! Here’s to many many more years of success, and millions of Knitting Superstars everywhere!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Still addicted

Man, addiction is hard to kick, isn't it?

I should be cleaning, but I knit. I need to make dinner, but all I want to do is knit!

I eat, breathe and sleep knitting! It's an illness. Is there a 12-step program for knitters? Knitter Anonymous or something? I pretty sure I need it!

This is what I've been obsessed with working on lately.

red and white mittens

They are Smittens, by Knit Picks (linky). They're so cute, and so quick to make. Though, perhaps they're quick to make since I've made like 20 of them by now? I just might make enough of them to cover a whole tree! But the plan is to make enough to cover a wreath, an average sized wreath. The mittens in the picture above are for my mom, so I'd better get working on my own if I want to have them for this Christmas!

But I have another distraction, that keeps me from making tons of mittens.

squishy yarny fun!

The Hexipuff. I found the pattern on Ravelry just last week, and already I am obSESsed. The designer, Tiny Owl Knits actually made a whole blanket/quilt out of them, The BeeKeeper's Quilt. Go ahead and take a look.

I'll wait.

Isn't it great?! I just love it. I don't know that I'll be able to make that many, but who knows what I can accomplish in a year? These are just as easy to fit in between projects as the mittens! Now I NEVER have to be without SOMEthing to knit!!!


There are a few other things in my brain wanting to be knitted too. A scarf/shawl thing, the socks I'm finishing up now, popcorn garland, a new baby blanket (for my cousin)...

so many projects.

So little yarn.


Sunday, September 11, 2011


I remember.

I remember where I was. What I was doing when I found out. What time it was. I remember the people I talked to about it. I remember the weather. The blue of the sky. The bluest sky I have ever seen. A perfect fall day.

I remember not hearing airplanes for days after. That was strange, since I worked near the airport in Pittsburgh. On a landing path, even (or whatever it’s called). Very odd.

I remember my aunt calling me to let me know that my cousin, who was flying commercial planes at that time, was alright. He wasn’t on one of THOSE planes.

I remember standing in front of the TV, watching the footage. Because sitting on the couch was too far away. Like if I got closer to the television, maybe I could...see it better? Believe it more? Understand it better? I don’t know. There is no understanding it better. It’s senseless.

I was off from work that day. I drove there anyways, just so I could be around people. And not be alone.

They play the footage here. The videos of the planes flying into the World Trade Centers. I get to see that all over again. Do they still not play it there on the news? Maybe now they do. 10 years on. There are just some images/sounds that I don’t really want to see/hear any more. They’re burned into my memory.

Dutch TV has been playing the movies (the Hollywood movies) as well as the documentaries. I haven’t watched the acted-in movies. I’m not sure I’d want to. It just seems...I don’t know, sacrilege? To watch actors ACTING OUT those horrible situations, when we’ve seen so much footage of the real thing. It’s sort of like when a book is made into a movie, and the book is much better.

8:46 a.m. ET

The moment that everything changed.

God bless America


Friday, September 9, 2011

One thing

There is one thing I don't like about this time of year.

the backside of the monster outside my front door

Thank God they're outside spiders (I've never seen one of these inside - *knocks on wood*). And generally just sit in their webs. If they walked around, stalking me, I think I'd have to move.

The entry walkway is full of these things. Maybe not all this big (it's probably 2 1/2 inches with it's legs?), but still... grody.

Sometimes they build their webs ACROSS the walkway. So that you unsuspectingly almost walk into/through them.

That would be the end. of. me.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I think Hurricane Irene visited us yesterday and last night. Well, what’s left of her anyways. The low pressure system in our area made it really really windy here all day. Doors were slamming all on their own, and the howling coming from the windows made me think it was a blizzard out there instead of just a little rain. Luckily we didn’t have much rain to soak the ground, so I think most trees stayed upright. Further north in the country they had more rain. Bands of it. Just like a hurricane. Hopefully there wasn’t much damage.

After listening to the wind blowing all night long, I can’t imagine what living through an actual hurricane must be like. It wasn’t “scary windy” here, but sometimes I wondered if the things on my balcony were going to stay where they were supposed to. It’s hard to imagine wind so strong that it moves cars. Now that would be scary.

It's been cooler here the past few days. Fall is coming. Is everyone ready? We didn’t have much of a summer here, but I am still looking forward to that chill in the air. Wearing sweaters, scarves, mittens. Seeing my breath. Smelling the dead and dried up leaves on the ground, oh! and crunching through those leaves too! Gosh, I love doing that. Still.

I’m such a child.

Or more like immature?

Well, whatever I am, charmingly child-like or just plain goofy, I am looking forward to the coming weather. I’ve also started thinking of Christmas gifts that can be handmade. And planning how I’m going to decorate this year. I like to change things up each year, rather than do the exact same thing year after year after year. Sometimes I make new decorations (or buy them), sometimes I use the old ones in new ways. I’ve been working on some mittens for decorations since... forever. I can’t even remember when I started them. March, maybe? I will have plenty of them I am sure. I’ll be sure to show them to you when they’re ready. They’re so cute! I just love them, and they’re so quick! Whenever I am between projects, I whip up another mitten.

I’m still working on that little addiction problem.

Do you look forward to the end of summer too?


Thursday, September 1, 2011

{catchy post title here}

I can hardly believe it's September already. August just FLEW by, didn't it? And I didn't even have to go back to school! Why did it go so fast for me, then?

One of life's many (MANY) unanswered questions.

And soon it will be the end of summer. We have had such a lousy summer here that it might not even feel like the seasons are changing much. I heard on the news today that we've had the wettest summer here since 1906. More than 100 years. Wow! No wonder people are complaining. 

Holiday weekend is coming up! Labor Day. Does everyone have big plans? Last BBQ of the season? Family get-togethers? We don't have any plans. It will be just another Monday here. And it probably will be rainy, so we can't even arrange a bbq. Hamburgers inside sound good though!

I wish had something exciting to tell you about, but there haven't been any hot air balloons this week so far. The week isn't over yet though, so I'm optimistic. I keep my camera handy! I know that lately my posts here have been all about knitting. If you're not into that, I'm sorry! I'm trying to wean myself of my obsession/addiction, but it's not easy. Knitting is so much fun...

Other than when I get frustrated with sock heels.

Anyways, if you want me to talk about something specific (or NOT talk about something specific!), just let me know! I'm open to suggestions.

I'll leave you with this.

strikefingerhut, or knitting thimble

Can anyone actually USE this thing? Effectively? Because Lordy Lordy am I struggling with it. I aspire to knit Fair Isle someday.

Some day. After I master this wire yarn guiding thingie.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hello, my name is...


My name is Heather.

I am addicted to knitting. Mostly knitting socks right now, but if it's not socks, it can be anything. It doesn't matter. I can get my kicks from knitting anything.

the goofed up heel

Remember this? That was what...two weeks ago? I made my first sock. And was in the middle of my second. Here is that second sock finished.

a little better... an afterthought round heel

This one turned out better. I was happier with it. I was able to make the toe, heel and cuff a contrasting color with a stripe of white between without any problems. But the sock itself didn't fit right, so I wasn't satisfied with it in general. The heel was interesting though. If I had to wear them, the "seams" might hurt eventually. So even though this was probably the easiest heel I've done so far, I probably wouldn't use it on a sock I'm going to actually wear. Unless I don't do the seams on the bottom.

Since I wasn't satisfied (am I ever?), I tried another style.

The Heel Flap heel

By this time, I was bored with knitting so much sock. I really just wanted to test the heels. So I did just enough above and below the heel to see what it felt like when I put it on. This time it was even better. At least I keep improving, right? That's the right direction! It fit better (I finally figured out how many stitches fit around my ankles), and the yarn felt SO much better than the orange and gray yarn. The mix of fibers was much more comfortable. This was a huge leap on the satisfaction scale.

Plus, I really liked the coolo neato pattern on the heel.

Eye of the Partridge heel detail

It's a kind of criss-cross pattern, making it a little sturdier for a heel. The pattern only called for it on the bottom of the heel, but it might be handy to have it on the back of the heel too.

I probably would do a heel flap pattern again on socks I would actually wear (the entire sock, that is).

I wanted to try more. I'm an addict, remember?

So then this sock came into being.

a Fleegle Heel

Since I was bored doing plain socks all the way up, I put a pattern on the instep. That at least made it interesting enough for me to get past the heel. But not enough to make it a very tall sock! By the way, this heel is the same heel that was in the sock with the weird heel.

same Fleegle Heel

That purple sock turned out ok. I didn't have enough yarn to do a matching one, though. But that's alright. The addict in me wanted to try something new anyways. I am now working on a new heel style.

boomerang heel

This one is a little harder. I've had to retry it a number of times in an effort to improve it. It has backward yarnovers, and I keep ending up with holes along that seam. Which I don't really like. I guess that's the perfectionist in me? The red marker is where I tried different stitch techniques to try to get rid of the holes, but it still didn't really work as well as I'd hoped. Either I have to learn to live with the holes (they're small, really) or I have to try it over and over and over until I figure it out. Practice makes perfect, right?

That may be true, but "perfect" is the enemy of "done".

I heard that on a podcast I listen to regularly. Garden Fork Radio. Isn't it a great quote? Perfect is the enemy of done. Well said.

So in an effort to finally have a pair of DONE socks, I might just learn to live with the little holes.

Right after I try it just one more time.

ugh...such is the life of an addict.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Excitement for the week

I was watching tv yesterday evening when I heard a whooshing sound. I went to the window to check it out, and look what it was...


A hot air balloon! How cool is that?! It flew right between my building and the one across from us. It was very low, too. This picture was taken a couple seconds late. I had to rush for the camera and open the blinds and window and all. I don't know if it had gotten really low on purpose (or accident), or if it had just taken off from a field a block away, or what. But I could see the people in the basket. They were taking pictures of us while we were taking pictures of them. Fun!!!

That was my exciting event for the week!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Geography Lesson

I’ve had a few people ask me to explain where The Netherlands is on the map. And that’s kind of hard to do. Well, it was difficult for me to do. I had very little knowledge of European geography before I moved here. I knew where England was, and France, but that was about it. And I don’t live in those countries and not terribly close to either of them either. So in today’s post I thought I’d give a little geography lesson for those of you who haven’t looked it up yet. Or can’t be bothered to look it up.

Those of you who have looked it up already can feel free to move on to your next browsing destination if you like.

Ok, let’s get started, shall we? It’ll be a quick lesson, so no worries.

The Netherlands (officially “Kingdom of the Netherlands”) is in North-West Europe.

We’re the tiny dark green country (click to enlarge)

I borrowed that picture from Wikipedia. I have no idea how to correctly give credit for it? I’m clueless on those things. Here’s the link where it is online. They have no idea who I am, but I hope they don’t mind me borrowing it for this purpose.

You can see that we are between Germany to the East of us, and Belgium to our West. To the north of us is the North Sea. The lighter green on the map is the European Union.

To give you an idea about the size of the Netherlands, it is about 16,158 square miles (18.41% of which is water). That’s just a little bigger than Maryland. (For a long time, I thought it was about the size of New Jersey. I stand corrected!)

Population: 16,683,900 (2011 estimate). That’s 1,040.6 people per square mile. Crowded, eh?

The Netherlands is often just called “Holland”.

The Netherlands has 12 provinces, one of which is called South Holland. And another one called North Holland.

The 12 provinces of the Netherlands (also from wikipedia, here. Love that site.)

The folks who don’t live in the provinces North Holland and South Holland don’t really like it when their country is called Holland. Thems fightin’ words, mister. Because not all of The Netherlands is "Holland." See?

Ludi and I live in the capital (Maastricht) of the most southern province, Limburg. Population of Maastricht: around 118,500.

We are a Constitutional Monarchy, just like England. We have a queen, her name is Beatrix. Isn’t that a lovely name? It always reminds me of Peter Rabbit.

We have a multi-party political system, and no single party has held a majority since the 19th century. There are about 10 parties have seats in the parliament right now, and dozens more that aren't represented in the parliament.

The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, though the seat of the government is in The Hague.

25% of the area and 21% of the population are located below sea level. 50% of the land is less than one meter above sea level! Yes, there have been many destructive floods in this country’s history.

We have a maritime climate, meaning coolish summers and mild winters. Average highs in the winter are around 40˚ F. Average highs in the summer are around 71˚ F. Nice!!!

The Netherlands uses the metric system for everything, so that would be about 4˚ C for winter, and 22˚ C for summer. 

We get about 31 inches (793mm) of rain per year.

The flag of Kingdom of the Netherlands:

Red White and Blue

The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. But many people speak more languages. I’ve noticed a lot of people speak English very well. Thank goodness!

I could go on and on with facts about the country, but that probably would bore you. If you’re even still reading this post! It’s getting a little dull, so I’ll stop here. If there is anything else you would like to know, just ask.

I hope I answered your questions. Heck, I probably wrote more than you ever really wanted to know about this country!

Next lesson: How To Write a Long Boring Blog Post.
Oh, wait....we just did that! I'll have to think of something else.


p.s. I just posted a link to my blog on Facebook. Hi to all my Facebook friends!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Random Photo Wednesday

I went "eenie meanie miney mo" in my photo stash and found this one to share with you today.


Triberg Waterfalls (Germany)


Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday again!

Happy Friday everyone! How are things going? Anyone got any interesting plans for the weekend? Oooh! Those famous meteor showers are this week, aren’t they? The ones that are every August? Has anyone been scanning the skies for shooting stars? The moon is full tonight, so it will be a little hard to see anything. Assuming it isn’t cloudy. Like it probably will be here. We’ve had the most miserable summer ever, I think? Frankly, it’s alright by me since I don’t like it too hot, but most folks are pretty disappointed with the weather here. Rainy and cold. It’s more like fall than summer. We’ll hardly experience a change of seasons!  Hopefully this doesn’t mean we’re going to have another bad winter. Yuck. (Again...fine by me!!! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.)

I cast on the socks I mentioned in the previous post the other day. I’ve finished one, and started another.

wow, that’s a weird heel on that there sock

My first sock was not quite a success. It wasn’t a complete disaster since it WILL, in fact, actually fit onto my foot, but it’s just not what I was picturing in my mind.

I always picture fanTAStic successes in my head when I first try new projects. Is that cocky? As in “Of course you’ll be able to do magical things with your talent!” Or is it just ignorance? As in “You’ve never done this pattern, but what could possibly go wrong?” Maybe a bit of both.

Anyways, I was thinking that I would be all fancy with this First Sock Ever, making the toes, heels and cuff a different color, with a white stripe seperating the two colors. But the pattern didn’t call for color changes. I figured I could just figure it out as I went along. Well, the toe went great. Easy as could be. But the heel.... yeah, you can see where it went wrong there. I started the heel flap bit with the color change, but it became too complicated. I had to either wrap and turn on each row, or carry the instep color yarn across the heel. I decided to just let go of the awesome sock that was pictured in my head, and just try to figure out the pattern and how to make a sock with a heel with no holes in it.

My next sock is a different pattern. It still doesn’t call for color changes, but the heel is knit differently (afterthought heel, for those knitters out there), so it will be MUCH easier to change the colors. When it’s done I’ll show it off show it to you.

Oh, on a side note here, I found a temporary solution to tripod problems in my photo studio (aka The Kitchen).

 bringin’ it into focus

Clever, huh? I always have empties hanging around. They do make an attachment for cameras that can be screwed to bottles (just like a lid) for just this sort of thing. I don’t have one of those. I just rest the camera on the bottle top.

Darn handy.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another Finished Project

Even after the Great Knitting Meltdown of 2011, I am still totally hooked on knitting. I cannot seem to stop myself. As soon as I finish one project, I start another. All the while I’m looking at patterns online, thinking about The Needles I Have, The Needles I Want, and yarn too. Don’t even get me started on The Yarn I Want.

oh, the things I could make.

Anyways, here is my latest Finished Item. I showed you a sneak peak the other day. Did you guess what it was? It might have been a little hard to tell from that photo. Here, will this help?


It's a pair of mittens! Not just any ol’ pair of mittens though. HANDmade mittens. By MY not-so-little ol’ hands! With a coolo-neato thumb gusset/gore/thingie! Can you see it? Going across the palm? Ain’t she purty?

I don’t know why I am fascinated by this type of thumb treatment. It's just different. You don't see it all the time. If ever. It was amazingly easy and makes a fitted kind of mitten. I love it!

And the yarn... well...I have no idea what yarn it is. I got it in Appeldorn last year (on that stash buying trip, remember?) It was in the sale bins, three balls in a clear plastic bag, with no tags at all. I have no idea who made it, what the color’s called, what size needle I should have used for it, or what’s in it. Is it acrylic? Wool? I have no idea. Which is a shame, really. If anyone reading this recognizes it, can you let me know what it is?

So there it is. My latest project. And yes, now that this one is done, I have started my next.


I realized something while taking the picture for this post. Well, two things. First one is: the only place I can get decent lighting for a closeup picture like this is on my kitchen counter. It didn’t help that it was a little cloudy.

The second is that I need a taller tripod. I had my camera attached to the little travel tripod that we have (the only one we have, I think), and that was balanced on top of our water kettle, which was balanced on top of a wooden box that holds teas. I should have taken a photo of that set up! My college photography teacher would be ashamed. But there was so little light that I kept getting blurry pictures. I could have just upped the...what is it, the ISO? It was set to 100. I could have taken it to 1600 or something, but then I get grainy pictures. I hate grainy pictures unless that is what you’re aiming for. So I kept the ISO at 100 and assembled that makeshift tripod.

I’ll have to work on finding better camera support.

What do you think of my mittens?


Friday, July 29, 2011


* Work In Progress

I guess my three day break from knitting was long enough. I couldn't take it anymore and started another project today. Here's a little sneak peak.

what can it be?!

I'll let you know when it's done! Stay tuned!