Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ahhh, Petting the Alpaca...

I went to Alpaca Farm Days at Grand Alpaca Company today.

Amazing cuteness! I've always loved to pet my Alpaca yarn, but, to pet the yarn while it is still on the Alpaca is truly a fine experience.

Seeing how attentive the mama Alpaca is to her baby warmed my heart.

They ate up all the extra attention they were getting.

Everyone was wearing their sweater as it was a bit cool this morning.

I got a good education during the tour from Jane Talbott the owner of Grand Alpaca Company.

I certainly do appreciate her passion for her endeavor. She knows each of her animals intimately and they all have names.

In addition to breeding the animals she also sells fiber, so if you are in the market for some fabulous Alpaca fleece check out her farm.

Time for a nap now...thanks for stopping in.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Here's My Sign

I was lurking Javajem's blog and found this really cool thing. You can spell your name with Flickr photos here. Check it out...mine's up there at the top. Cool huh? Go see what yours would look like.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Yay! My practice BSJ is finished! Winston (my grand-dog) was kind enough to model it for us. We couldn't decide which way looked better, front-wards or back-wards...whatchu think?

He is always a super good sport for modeling.

It's a perfect fit worked on size 4 KnitPicks.

I think this is the best view. Isn't he adorable?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Self Portrait Meme

I was reading Janice's blog and she tagged everyone for this self portrait meme. So here is me...

doing my favorite thing these days...blogging.

Don't you love that 51 year old neck?! ewww

Where's my turtleneck?

Edited 9/26 to add:

So now let's see your photos. Leave me a comment and let me know when you have yours posted so I can go see...

FIADE Question #3

Autumn has now officially begun here in the States!! What is your favorite thing about Autumn/Fall? Why?

Vacation, my birthday, cooler weather, new clothes, nice warm knitwear, soup, actually cooking dinner again, wearing socks that I've knit, apples at the farmer's market, oh, I guess I was supposed to pick one (1) favorite...

Sorry, I don't read directions to well. lol Guess that explains my difficulty with Jen's mittens, ROFL!

I'd have to say my favorite thing about fall and cooler weather is that The Saint and I can snuggle comfortably. He's very snuggly but when it is hot, me and snuggling - not so much! lol

Bring on the cooler temps! I love it!

Ok I'm off to the 2nd Anniversary Party at City Knitting! Maybe I should leave my credit card home...nah!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

testing....testing... & did anybody see my mojo?

Well, here's a pic of my test knitting for Jen's Rippled Fingerless Mittens. I seemingly I can't count, or read, lol!

Check out the picture and see if you can tell what I did wrong and more wrong...

No, there will be no prizes for the lucky guesser, ha ha ha, ah-hem...

I knit the one on the right first.

See my problem?

I missed an entire ripple up near the thumb. A closer look and you'll notice that the thumb is a bit stumpy and the twisted rib of the thumb is inside-out! The inside out thumb would be a throw-back to my days when I used to knit socks inside out. I have since mended my ways with the socks but it came back to haunt me when I did the thumb on the first mitten.

Ah well, practice makes perfect. The second one turned out really good. I'll be starting over on the first one tomorrow. Then I'll write up my notes for you Jen and get them off pronto.

This was a really fun project that knit up quickly and they are nice and toasty. Thanks again Jen for the opportunity to test them out.

And now for a sewing related interruption...

In this time of missing mojos (Cass can't find her housework mojo) Hey Cass, I didn't find your mojo here either, rofl - my sewing mojo seems to have taken a hike (possibly insulted by the knitting mojo, but I'm just guessing, lol).

I have done some things with my sewing machine in years passed that amazed even me (in addition to countless relatives and friends) lol.

If you go to Rena's Room you'll see my greatest accomplishment, (aside from raising my children) Rena & Chef Wes's wedding quilt circa 9/06. It's made from fabrics called, drum roll here, Bistro! Ha,ha,ha,ha...Wes being a chef and all, well, I thought it was pretty creative...the fabrics have names like Saucy Swirl, Fetucinni, Lasagna, you get the idea...

Go, go there now, you have to see it, I'll wait right here for you...
and would you say hey to her while you're there, please? She could use some company, she's been working way too hard lately.

Oh, thanks for doing that, and how did you like the quilt?

I've been trying to get motivated to quilt again, especially after looking at the beautiful quilts that Dave has made. I'm not feelin it so this morning I tried to force it to come around by hauling out my Mariner's Compass and hanging it in my newly painted bedroom.

I told myself that this was merely for the purposes of taking it's picture and show it to all of you so maybe you could motivate me to finish this piece. It's just the top, no batting, no backing, no quilting...poor thing.

When I got it pinned up and stood back I was amazed by how well it looked with the new green walls. I had planned on hanging this piece in my office at work but it's going in our bedroom. lol

It just doesn't really go with the leopard print comforter, mwa-ha-ha-ha! Dammit! Guess I'll have to buy a new comforter if I ever get that Mariner's Compass done :)

Here's the Mariner's Compass,

watchu think?

I know it's not knitting, but anyway...we all have secret hobbies besides knitting don't we? tee-hee

Thanks for hangin with me and giving me some opinions. I love opinions!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm gonna be a test knitter!

How exciting is that? I'm feeling all wiggly inside.

My friend Jen W sent me the instructions for her Rippled Fingerless Mittens and I'm gonna knit them up and give her a report on the instructions and how I like the mittens. Yay!

Thanks for the opportunity Jen! I feel honored.

Here's my choice of yarn and needles. Whatchu think?

Here's a little closer-up picture so you can see how really pretty the yarn is.

We have a set of size 7 Crystal Palace dpns - size 6 is suggested in the instructions but I tend to knit a bit tight - and approx 4.5 oz of 100% Romney Wool handspun by Sue Ann Carpenter of The Sassy Ewe in Barryton, MI.

I purchased this yarn from Sue Ann at the Fulton St Farmer's Market the first Saturday I went this year. I'm hoping to see her again but the veggie farmer's haven't let up enough to make room for the Artisans yet so I'll have to keep waiting.

Just for grins - and to give you a feel for the size of this cake of yarn - here is a picture of the yarn with my 8" dpns and my checkbook...isn't it huge?

I'm thinking this should be plenty of yarn...

Well, I suppose I should hit the hay so I can make it to work one more day this week. Thankfully it will be FRIDAY! Those sales reps have driven me crazy this week! I need a weekend and maybe a nice glass of Merlot with some 5 year old Gouda...mmm, can't think about that now, must go to sleep...


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


"frecklegirl has invited you to Ravelry!" 

Thanks frecklegirl!

Wow, I've got a lot of work to do. If you don't hear from me in a couple of days you better call the authorities, lol...or maybe Rena so she can come and give me an intervention. ROFL

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

FIADE-Topic #2 and BSJ WIP

This is the Topic #2 part...
When you knit or crochet dishclothes, washclothes or face clothes, what do you use?
KnitPicks circs. Prior to this day I have used the metal Options but yesterday I got these...
KnitPicks Options Harmony - aren't they pret-ty? Go check out Poppy Sassypant's review, it's a hoot!

What size needle or hook? US 7
Wood? what type? Clover bamboo
Metal? Plastic? I've never used plastic, metal is ok but I really like my circs
A specific Brand? as previously stated - KnitPicks
Why do you love that needle or hook so much? smooth, pointy and circs are easy to transport and you can work well in a small space if necessary
Is there one you are dying to try? No
Is there a particular yarn you love and use all the time for cloths? Only brand readily available here in GR is Sugar N Cream although I did get a ball of Peaches n Cream from a very generous swap partner and I'm looking forward to trying it out.
What is so special about it? It's readily available but I'm not sure that makes it special.

And now for the work in progress part...

I am speeding along on the BSJ, can you believe how cute it is? People keep asking me if I'm making it for someone special...the answer is NO! There are no little people on the near horizon. Or the far horizon for that matter. lol And that's ok. But, anyway, how do you like my little sweater?

Friday, September 14, 2007


You're the best! I appreciate all of your Birthday wishes so much.

Clarabelle will get a surprise from the postman if she'll send me an email at allybelser at comcast dot net with her mailing address. She wished me a Happy 51st Birthday and that is how many I was yesterday. Yay!

There were presents and knitting.

Last weekend The Saint and I picked out this super cool new knitting chair for my favorite spot by the window. It's big enough for me and Winston, the grand-dog, to fit in comfortably. Allowances have to be made for the little animals too.

Notice the handy-dandy drawer for stuff! The theory being that all the stuff will be in the drawer instead of surrounding the chair...not sure it's ever gonna work out like that, nice try though Honey! lol

I was able to get some knitting in while The Saint checked out the fishing situation on the river. The sun was shining and the temperature was about 70 and I got to sit in the truck in the park near the Sixth St dam and knit for more than an hour in the peace and quiet, aaahhh.

Here's what I accomplished...It's the beginning of a child size Baby Surprise Jacket designed by Elizabeth Zimmermann. I'm working it in Moda Dea Sassy Stripes in the Stormy colorway. I got a 10 pack of this yarn super cheap on eBay eons ago and this seems like the perfect project for it. And probably about 3 more sweaters, lol. It's practice before I start the Adult Surprise Jacket for myself.

Yes, I'm actually following the instructions from the Adult Surprise Jacket that say "we recommend that you knit a baby version first to give you a rudimentary idea of what you are doing". Since I have invested a nice sum of cash in the yarn for the adult version I don't want to be wearing it out trying to learn the concept of this design.

Sometimes others know best. This is a hard concept for me to accept in most situations. LOL

I got cards, and a gift card from Rena to use at KnitPicks! I'm going shopping as soon as I'm done posting this today. he-he-he
She also presented me with a copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting which I have been coveting at my LYS. What a happy book it is. And, a ball of self-striping Sugar & Cream in a very pretty pink. She spoils me!

Jared returned from his trip to St Louis in time for my birthday! The Saint, Jared, Rena and I headed over to Bombay Cuisine where we enjoyed a fabo dinner and a nice bottle of Little Penguin Pinot Noir. Loved it!

It was a marvelous day. I am blessed.

Have a great day everybody!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

The Pixie haircut was popular in 1961...when I was 5.

How many does that make me today? hmmm? There might be a prize involved...

When I found this picture in the photo album I had thoughts of my Grama, who departed this world 9 years ago and who I miss every day. She made the fabulous book this picture has been in all these years. All of the pictures are labeled with cute captions and the dates they were taken. A lot of the tape is yellow and brittle and the front cover has separated itself from the rest of the book but it is still one of my prized possessions.

My Grama taught me how to do so many things. She was a great role-model and a good person. Thanks to her I can sew, knit, crochet and cook a pretty good meal.

This forum gives me the outlet I lost when she passed. I can do "show and tell" to all of you and it makes my effort more rewarding knowing someone besides me sees the results.

Thank you very much.

Now let's have some cake!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week

Now that in some geographic locations the weather is starting to turn cooler, do you change the type of yarn(s) you knit/crochet with? If so, what do you now knit/crochet with instead and why? If not, why do you not switch and what do you knit/crochet with?

I do like to use lighter weight yarns, especially cottons, in the warmer months. I try not to use my a/c at home any more than absolutely necessary so much of the summer we are breaking a bit of a sweat around here. lol

I like to work on things like market bags and more whimsical items in the summer but now that it is cooling off a bit I have begun swatching for a Zimmermann Surprise Jacket made with Cascade 220 in several different colors. You can check out my September 1st post for the colors I have chosen.

I'm also toying with the idea of a new felted bag for winter. This one is pretty cool it's called Jasperuvia and is offered as a free pattern from I even like the colors as shown on the model.

Monday, September 10, 2007

His Girl's Fish Tales

The Saint took us fishin this morning. At 5:00 am!

We crossed Muskegon Lake before dawn headed for Lake Michigan. It was too dark and too choppy to take any photos and all concentration was focused on finding the mouth of the channel that would take us to the big water.

Rena's first trip out for salmon. The water was not too cold at 66 degrees but it still looked pretty scary with the wind whipping it into a frenzy. There was plenty of foam swirling around the boat and the spray was hitting us with regularity. She got a good taste of being a fisherman on her first trip out.

Having finally arrived at the mouth of the channel The Saint relinquished the helm to me and got the lines set. We putt-ed out and got the boat lined up for the north/south troll, the wind and swells made for an interesting ride. On our second southbound pass across the mouth of the channel we had a fish on and Rena brought it in with about a 10 minute fight. It was 7:30am. One fish in the box! Her first trip out and she had her first fish! Not so many fisherman are that lucky.

About a 6 1/2 lb King Salmon. Makes me so proud! *sniff*

Another pass north and south brought us more wind and larger swells, so it was time to head to the channel. As we approached the lighthouse we hit on another fish.

So Rena got to play Sakajawea while I reeled in fish #2. Turned out to be about 20 lbs, we can't be certain on the weight though as the dinky scale we had topped out at 15 lbs and couldn't register the weight of the fish. was more than 15 lbs and less than 30...yeah, that sounds pretty good.

Hey wake up! I think he's done-for...

That's a whole lot of smoked salmon! mmm-mmm!

Rena: "Mom, that fish is almost as tall as you, ha-ha-ha"

The Saint did all the hard/dirty work. Thanks Honey! He always makes sure "his girls" have a great time.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Happy Anniversary Val & Wes!

Today is Val & Wesley's 1st Wedding Anniversary!

Congratulations we love you! Love you, love you, love you!

Here's hoping for many more happy years together.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Monkey Busy-ness

Ola! Hope everyone's having a great weekend! I know I am! My day started with a trip to Marie Catrib's with my son, Jared, for a delicious breakfast (our first together in a very long time) followed by a trip through 954 West to check out the latest vintage (second hand) clothing and then a few hours knitting at City Knitting. It just doesn't get any better than that!

Except that we will be capping off the day with a trip to our favorite Vietnamese soup place, Pho Soc Trang for a big bowl of Pho. Ahhhhh

This is the weekend at the beginning of a week of vacation. A vacation that does not involve any kind of packing or extensive travel. Ahh, the Fall Vacation. Time to relax, regroup and reorganize before winter comes.

This week will involve some salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, a trip to the shiney new casino called, um, I'm having a mental block, hang on, gotta go Google it...oh yeah, Four Winds. I'm not a "casino person" but who can resist something shiney and new and a short road trip from home?

The Saint is a pretty good Blackjack player though and this place is boasting "300 varieties of wine" so...WHY NOT GO?! He can play cards and I can drink some wine. Sounds like a perfect day to me. lol

And maybe, just maybe, I'll stop and visit my Dad in Benton Harbor while we're down that way. That is, if I can catch his busy-retired-self at home. lol

Why is it that retired people are never at home? My Mother's never home either...she is a widow and retired and is so busy running around the state with the "Seniors" that I can rarely catch her at home. (and if you click on this link, in the top row far right picture in the turquoise jacket, who do you see? My Mom! (wow, I didn't know she had a picture out there in the blog-o-sphere, I'll have to tell my brother & sister, they'll be so amazed) Mom's a celebrity! lol

Guess it's good they're both staying busy. Keeps em out of my hair, hee hee, JUST KIDDING!

And in the world of knitting, we have, ta da! A new and improved Monkey! See...

I took this pictures with Cass in mind *snicker*. Hey Cass! Hope you're enjoying your vacation! Are you there yet? (whiney voice - a little car trip humor) You really should try this Van Gogh stuff...mmmm, espresso flavor...and the bottle is pretty too.

Here's another shot without the bottle-as-leg-substitute...

in case you missed it on Let's Learn Socks Knitting. And speaking of which, if you are learning socks or learning new kinds of socks or just like to hang out with people who knit socks, you should join us. We like new friends!

And speaking of new friends...HEY! to all my new BFFs from Dish Rag Tag. What a blast we've had, even if we did finish 4th, drat! I believe that still puts us ahead of a whole bunch of other teams that haven't gotten their box to that giant mailbox in Alabama yet. That has got to be the biggest mail box I've ever seen! Hey, Emily! lol

Congratulations, especially to TEAM XDR, Rena's team, for getting in that giant mailbox first today. You came out victorious today. We want a rematch!, um, sorry, I got carried away for a you, Rena!

Thanks again for a great time. To Jennifer, Nichole, Grace, Katy, Susan, Lesley, Allison, Karen (who is blogless) and Rebecca it sure has been fun getting to know all of you! Stop by and congratulate them on a job well done.

I am proud to have been on your team.


Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth Questionaire

Dated to stay at top of blog for the reading convenience of my mystery swapper! LOL

For more recent posts please scroll down. Thank you

Questions & Answers aka TMI...

1. Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been doing it? Learned crochet/knitting/sewing from my dear departed Grama at age 8. Kept up with the crochet but let the knitting go until about a year ago when my daughter wanted to learn to knit and needed a buddy, which would be where I come in, so we took the class together and I've been insanely knitting and spending more time with Rena since then. Not that we needed an excuse, knitting just gives us one more, *giggle*

2. Have you made dischloths before? Do you use them yourself, give them as gifts, or both?
Yes, I've made many dishcloths. They are my go-to knitting when I'm bored or at wits end with whatever else I'm knitting. I have one going at all times. There's a pile of them in my kitchen drawer for daily use and I've given away more than a few.

3. What's your favorite cotton to make cloths from? What cotton would you like to try that you haven't before ? Sugar & Cream is the local available dishcloth cotton. I received a ball of Peaches & Cream in a swap that I really like and will be seeking that out on the internet when I am in need of additional dishcloth yarn.

4. If you knit, do you prefer circular or straight needles? For all, do you prefer wooden, metal, or plastic needles? My favorite needles are Knit Picks circs. I have size 7,8,9 tips and 2 sizes of cables. I also have size 2 fixed cable Knit Picks and size 1 Addi's for sock work. We won't count the collection of straights (in every size know to man) in two large glass vases on my tv cabinet

5. What are your favorite colors? Any colors you don't like much? Haven't found a color of dishcloth yarn I didn't like.

6. What do you like best about Autumn? The cooler temps, the beautiful leaves, the ability to knit and wear sweaters and nice warm socks. Salmon fishing season. Craft fairs & Quilt shows. And happy birthday to me on Sept 13 (yes, Nichole, I stole this idea from your blog, lol)

7. Pies: Pumpkin? Apple? Pecan? All of em? or No Thanks! My Mom's Spie (yes that's actually the variety) apple pie would be my all time favorite.

8. When you were a kid, were you the one who couldn't wait to get started with school , or the one who overslept on the 1st day? I definitely looked forward to getting started. Although I hated the clothes my mother made me wear, hee, I had/have a school supply/office supply, fetish. lol

9. Do you celebrate Halloween? (The real key here guys is especially knowing if you have an aversion to the holiday or little goodies/decorations associated with it, given the timeframe of the swap) Bring on the pumpkins and goblins! I love halloween. I stand at the front door (with the screen removed) and hand out candies to the kiddies and shed a few tears thinking about how cute they are and how grown my own children are now. Their little for such a short time...oh, sorry, I'm getting off the subject aren't I? Oh well, it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to...

10. If you had to choose just 3 edible 'goodies' to eat for a full year, what 3 would you choose?
Scones, chocolate (the darker the better), Honey Crisp apples

11. Do you have any pets? Kids? Husbands who seem like kids? ;)
1 husband who still takes great joy in childhood activities - mostly teasing the children & dogs, 2 grown children, Jared 29, Rena 27 and two dogs, Max and Sam, both black and tan mutts-even our pets are integrated! LOL

12. If you were to describe a particular yarn that shares traits of your personality, what would it be and why? Cotton - casual, but can be dressed up with accessories, dependable, consistent and strong.

13. Do you use your cloths mostly for dishcloths, or as facecloths? Dishcloths

14. Favorite Fall Holiday: Halloween or Thanksgiving and why? (Feel free to share another fall memory if you do not celebrate either of these holidays) Thanksgiving - We gather both families (mine and The Saint's) together for the feast. The two of us have a combined family of 7 children (4 of which we see on a regular basis) 2 grand-children, 4 spouses/partners, 2 dogs and 6 grand-dogs. We celebrate the diversity of our heritage and lifestyles with a huge multi-cultural meal followed by wacky card games and alcoholic beverages. The Saint cooks the chitterlings in the garage, which is not attached to the house, lol, and fries the turkey in the driveway. Then it's a big hodge-podge of spaghetti, mashed potatoes, greens, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce/relish, cornbread dressing, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole (are you hungry yet) and other misc items too numerous to mention. Every Thanksgiving is my favorite (except for the year we ran away and were in Mobile, AL with The Saint's newly-found extended family and it was 76 degrees) as our family evolves and grows into a more interesting unit every year. It'll be 9 Thanksgivings this year, time has flown and we've all grown a lot since that first year in many ways.

15. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should know about? Allergic to long-hair cats, tobacco and molds. If you have a cat just let me know so I don't take a deep breath before I put the dishcloth in the washer, lol! I love cats but my lungs don't. :)

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Beautiful Day for a Parade

click on photos if you want to biggie-size them

There were t-shirts handed out (we love free stuff!)

lines of trucks (the modern means of shipping your stuff) ...YAY Teamsters!

and horseys (the original mode of shipping your stuff)

and political statements.

Some pets,

And some patriotism.

Our Grandchildren walked with us today, Ladarrius, who's 11 now, got tired of waiting before we stepped-off and found a curb to sit on. Makes me think of the first year I was at the parade with The Saint. He drove one of the trucks in the parade and we took Ladarrius with us so he could ride in Papa's big truck and he fell asleep before the parade stepped-off. He was 2 that year. Wow, that seems like so long ago...he'll be in middle school this year...

Meet my granddaughter, Jasmine, she's 8 and almost as tall as me already. Of course that's not saying much, I'm height challenged, but she's only 8! tee hee

Don't we look good in our matching yellow shirts? I'm amazed I actually got us both in the shot, lol

Jasmine always loves the parade. Today she told me that she was missing my cooking. She mentioned banana bread in particular so hopefully the weather will cool off soon so we can get on that. I don't usually cook much in the summer, that's the time for The Saint to dazzle everyone with his culinary skills outdoors.

One more semi-serious pose before we step-off...

Some scmoozing was done by the newly elected Trustee to the Board of Teamsters Local 406 - Congratulations Honey! More meetings for you means more knitting time for me, right?

And a lot of walking! It was a beautiful day for a parade. It's always fun to see a bunch of people you only see at the annual gathering on Labor Day.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Color Choices

Thank you to everyone that weighed in on the colors for my Zimmerman Surprise Jacket! (see previous post)

Here are the colors I chose. Most of these are Cascade 220. The brown is Berrocco Ultra Alpaca and the green is Ella Rae Classic.

Now I just have to figure out what order to do them in *sigh*. Got any suggestions?

I'm off to swatch some more...

I think I'm going to ask the birthday fairy for a better camera this year ;-)