knits & plants

aah, the simple life. almost.

Monday, January 30, 2006


This is your mitten.

This is your mitten on thrums.

Friday, January 27, 2006


What a difference a few minutes can make!

My marginally-grumpy self was just shaken out of the doldrums by the re-emergence of JenLa with a happy surprise.

Apparently, invasive cows, a drought, a nasty cold, and the unexpected expiration of your site domain is not enough to keep down the truly dedicated.

Jen just came through with my Knitting Olympics team button I had requested last week.

I happily announce the formation of the Irish Knitting team. At the moment, it's a team of one. Anyone want to join?

"Scileann fíon fírinne"

The Art of Patience (part one in a series)

For those of you who know me, it will come as no surprise that I do not count patience among my strengths. I'm well aware of this character flaw, and do try to become better.

That being said, today is beginning to look like one of those days where I'll need every ounce I can muster.

Let me just say that I am very fortunate to have found a job that I l-o-v-e. I've been working for Pompanoosuc Mills for about a year and a half, and I am never, ever leaving. We build hardwood furniture in East Thetford, Vermont. My job is to produce marketing materials, posters, mailings, and manage our website. I have an excellent boss, and my co-workers are very cool.

Here's the view from my desk:
There's my baby...the novajet printer I run & maintain. And there behind that is all my papers and supplies on my work table. And there, behind that, with the big red arrow pointed at her my mother-in-law. *sigh*

Oh yes, there are maaany stories here. But for today, I'll just be leaving it up to your imagination. And if you can imagine it, I've dealt with it.

Patience is a virtue. One I don't have. What I DO have is a formidable stash of audiobooks and pair of noise-canceling headphones. La, la, la...

In other news, Carmelita, Creed, Glenn and I are going to eat sushi and see Strangfolk in Burlington tonight. It's been so long since I've actually gone out that I'm a bit twittery about it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Slippers v1.3

My great-grandmother was a knitter, and kept the entire extended family, kids and adults, supplied with knit slippers. We loved those slippers. But inevitably, you wore through the bottoms. I'm at the end of my last pair. We lost our Nannie in 2000, so there are no more Nannie slippers to come.

No problem. I'm a knitter! I've got the Nannie Slipper recipe. Just follow the pattern. But, uhh, it doesn't have gauge information. Or yarn recommendations.

My first pair ended up being just right...if you're between the ages of 3 and 5. Second pair...good for age 10. But now I've got it. Ta-da! A new pair of Nannie slippers. The torch is passed. They're pretty straightforward, but oh so cozy. I'll post a pattern in a few days.

Friday, January 20, 2006


I suppose there comes a time in every one's life where all their good friends start having babies in rapid succession. And my time has come.

Trouble is, my alarm clock had already started audibly ticking away late last spring, as my friend Jess can attest. Jess & Bri got pregnant last March. From the moment we knew, I pelted weekly emails at her. "How you doing? How's the baby doing? Can you still see your feet?..." That sort of stuff. Thanks, J, for being such a good sport about the whole thing! We're living vicariously through you!

And last night, I got to meet baby Quinn. whooboy. She's beautiful. I'm not just being all baby-crazy either. See? I just wanted to squish her! Thankfully, Jess let me hold her for a good, looong time. I'll be back tomorrow, Jess, ok??

aside to RB & JH: seeeee what you get for moving out of state and leaving us? i get to hold the babby! thbbbbbbbbbt!

Sorry, I'm recovered now. So then, I have baby dreams all night. And when I get to work this morning, there's this:This, dear reader, is Isabel, and my best friend from college, Lizzie. Bella is modeling the Zutano jumper given to her for Christmas by yours truly. She, too, needs to be squished. I however, need a cold shower.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


It goes without saying that I hold Stephanie McPhee in high regard. But the Yarn Harlot has outdone herself once again. Her latest post has given me shivers of excitement. And I am not the only one. At the time of this post, the non-lurking knitting community has left 694 comments about it. Yikes.

So, what's she come up with this time? Only the best community knit idea in forever. I am now an official entrant in
The 2006 Knitting Olympics

Here's the deal. You pick a project. A challenge. You cast on your masterpiece on Feb 10 during the Opening Ceremonies. You then have 16 days to complete your project. Cast off before the Olympic flame goes out. Brilliant.

What's more, she's arranged it so that all abilities can participate. You're only competing with yourself. Pick something challenging and get that sucker finished. I love it. Stephanie, you just ROCK.

And take a look at the response! It's overwhelming. There are hundreds of people who will also be going without sleep and drinking too much red wine and getting cramped hands. Who could ask for a better sport?

So. Here's my project:It's a sampler afghan in Galway wool. I will get it done.
I will get it done.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Check out what's been happening at our house this past week:That used to be my compost heap. Now it's the staging area for our logging adventure. They take away all your yecchy, straggly, overgrown scrub pines. They leave all your nice hardwood. They pay you. It's excellent. Really. Well, except that all my poor birdies have to find new homes. Not to fret, though. Where we live, trees outnumber people by 4,000,000,000.8 to 1.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Dog Days

This, Dear Reader, is an abridged version of Murphy's saga.

Murphy is our 2-year-old Springer Spaniel and surrogate child. On October 11, he was hit by a car on the road by our house. I'm sorry to say that he wasn't properly supervised at the time. I was in the barn getting eggs. We thought, since we didn't live on the road, and since he had never before shown interest in going down to the road, we didn't have to worry about it. We were wrong. The bastard who hit him never even stopped. His front leg was badly broken, as you can see. The surgeons, although wonderful, were guarded about Murphy being able to keep the leg. He had a surgery to pin the bone back together. Poor Murphy. He emerged with a leg bandage thicken than his head, and a partial-body sleeve. If it wasn't so tragic, it would have been hilarious.

Murphy came home a week later, but he had to stay as quiet as possible (read: drugged out of his gourd). He had to stay in a crate at all times. You can see how much he was enjoying it. Well, Oscar kitty did. Our lives totally changed. We had to ban visitors. We cancelled Thanksgiving. I got record amounts of knitting done.

On the xray, the two large breaks are pretty clear. What's harder to see is the third break right above his elbow. They only had this tiny piece of bone to connect to, and the pin slipped out. So there was another surgery to put in another pin to reattach the bone.

This time, we all decided that the best place for Murphy would be at the vet. He got special accommodations in their main procedure area. The techs were awesome. Glenn & I visited every day, but Murphy was unhappy. That, combined with the drugs caused him to stop eating, and stop healing. At the end of three weeks, he had lost 12 pounds. Skinny and weak was no good. We took him home again.

I don't have to tell you that by this time, we were all a wreck. So, a week later, when a pin detached and try to eject itself, we were all prepared for the conclusion.

Murphy went in for his third surgery in the beginning of December. They took the leg with no complications. I was there as soon as they opened again the next day. One of my favorite techs came running to tell me that Murphy was up, walking, and had walked out on his own three legs to go pee. It was truly amazing, I got a happy puppy greeting, and was allowed to take him out for a short minute to walk. They had told me how quick the recovery was, but I was still amazed.

Still, being back at the vet, Murphy wouldn't eat. Now at thirty pounds, he was close to the danger zone. Plus, he needed energy to put into recovering. His chart authorized the techs to give him ANYthing he wanted. They tried cinnamon buns. They tried chicken fingers. Glenn
brought him a sausage sandwich. Anything. No dice. After two days, with no sign of complications, they sent Murphy home early.

From then on, it was all recovery. In a day, Murphy had learned to get up and down the porch stairs. He went up and down stairs right away. He assumed his proper place in our bed straightaway. The second night home, Glenn cooked him venison until he couldn't eat anymore...over 2 pounds!

Every day since has had a good event. The day he got into bed by himself. They day he jumped into the snowbank and didn't get stuck. The day he got into Glenn's pickup truck without help. The day he went on his first walk. They day he weighed 37 pounds. The day his sutures came out. The day he romped with a friend's dog twice his size and held his own.

I never would have believed it, but Murphy truly doesn't know he is a poor wee cripple. His spunk has not been altered at all. He gets around just fine. He is still the happy, lovely creature he always was. We've just about got him back on a dog food-only eating regimen. There's so much to be happy for.

So. There's our story. Give your pet/kid/sweetie and extra squeeze tonight from us. It's good to have them all safe and happy under one roof.

live and learn

Lost my freakin' post. Aaargh.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Welcome to knits & plants. I've been feeling the urge to jump on the blogging bandwagon for a while, and my powers of description could certainly use a lot more exercise than they're currently getting. Reading about the exploits of literate and witty kindred blogspirits just isn't enough anymore. Sigh. Plus, it's January in Vermont. I need something to do.

So. The first order of business is to explain what you're likely to find in my blog. Hmmm. That's not so easy to explain. My brain is usually spinning faster than is good for me or those around me. But it's a good bet that I will most likely wax prolific on the following subjects:

Knitting. It's good for the soul. And my sanity.

Gardening. The completely absorbing world of trying to make teeny seeds produce a flourishing and (mostly) edible product is still very new to me. It's hard. And therefore, I want to be good at it. Obsessive-compulsive behavior at it's best, ladies and gentlemen.

Cooking. It's what happens when you marry a chef. Didn't think the making Kraft Macaroni & Cheese was a crime? Well. Me neither.

Pets. Yes, yes, I'll try to keep it to a reasonable level.

Life in Vermont. The mountains. The trees. The short but glorious period between June 15 and July 1 that we call summer. This will include, but is not limited too all the things we do to keep us warm/active/entertained/sane. And perhaps occasionally I will poke a little fun at my inability to understand some of the more puzzling Vermonter culture. Like ice fishing. And finally,

The Technophile Files. In which I will attempt to resolve my love of gadgetry and computers with the fact that we live without television, high-speed internet access or cell phones.

So there you go. This will be fun. And maybe, just maybe if I find a community of like-minded folk, I can stop harassing my friends and coworkers with the droppets of my life that they just don't get. Like why I continue to pant over yarn sales and seed catalogs. Well, maybe not. Welcome, and enjoy!