Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012

We are sitting here waiting for the New Years to ring in, watching movies, new and old, while knitting and playing ball with Ramses-puppy. This pretty much sums up 2011 in a way. A lot of change, a lot of play, a lot of knitting, and a lot of watching plots unfold.

Happy New Years my friends, may 2012 bring you good fortune, great friends, good yarn, and time to appreciate it all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Knitting Conclusion

Despite throwing away a project, having a funeral, and of course the weird time-warp that sums up the month of December, I did get a fair amount of holiday knitting done, given away, and otherwise completed. I still have a couple to mail out. Just spreading the Christmas joy out more...

Completed: 5 pairs fingerless mitts, 3 scarves (one not pictured)
As you can see, clearly part of the success was using yarn I like but that is easily replaced. Except for the colored mitts, those were for Mom and they're out of a Merino/Yak handspun yarn that she had claimed and made a hat out of. So I took the leftovers and knitted up some mitts. Super cute.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Random Images from Christmas

The festivities are over, the packages are gone. The tree is still standing, which is an amazing feat. The kids are busy playing with their new stuff (not 'toys' of course) and the animals are happy things are getting back to normal. Another Christmas is in the books, and I can't wait for the next. Only 363 days to go!

Present OD

Christmas glee

Who puts presents this far under the tree?

Two santa's helpers, and one supervisor

Supervising really, really is hard work, just ask Clyde

Actually the holidays are just exhausting

Chief present inspector

Tree guards (Ramses now just goes and randomly sits by the tree so
I can take his picture.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Sunset

"May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love."
~Ada V. Hendricks

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

"Wouldn't life be worth the living
Wouldn't dreams be coming true
If we kept the Christmas spirit
All the whole year through?"
~Author Unknown

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays....

Our Christmas wish ~

May Santa think you're nice not naughty
May Christmas be a great party
May those you love surround you
May the Christmas cookie pounds be few
May the love of the season carry on
May you awaken tomorrow to view a beautiful dawn (unless you like to sleep in)
May your Christmas spirit never cease
May your new year be filled with peace

Happy Holidays from the Twisted Threads crew to you.


Devin, Ramya, Bella, Ramses

Lance, (Ramses), and Neptune
Not pictured: Heather, Cory, Sara the tortoise, Slider the turtle, the fish, the yarn stash, the spinning wheels...

Christmas Casualty

Due to circumstances out of my control, I found myself shopping at Walmart at 11:30 at night two days ago. I had spent the day wrapping presents, retrieving Silent Auction winnings, dropping people off to run to other events, cleaning fishtanks, bathing and grooming poodles, and so on and so forth. So between that and the X Factor finale, we didn't get to Walmart till 11:30. At which time I grabbed a bag of accumulated trash from the van and tossed it in the trash can there.

It wasn't till I had tucked myself (and the dogs) in bed at 2:00 that I sat up with a start. O. M. G. I hadn't thrown away trash. I had thrown away a knitting project. I laid there pondering my choices. I could: A- get up and go back to Walmart and dig through the trash in hopes of finding it. Or B- Make myself up a story to feel better.

In reality I wasn't THAT fond of the yarn, I was more upset over the loss of my Addi lace turbos, cause I love those needles and they're expensive. But there was nothing I could do at this point. This is a small town, I was a bit worried digging through the trash would end in me being arrested and I think bail would be more expensive than the Addi turbos. Had it been Three Irish Girls Yarn, or handspun yarn, I may have risked it.

Instead though, I made up the following story:

Once upon a time there was a knitter who had come into hard times. She had lost her house, her car, her job, and worst of all, her yarn stash. It had been a terrible year. A couple night before Christmas, she wandered into Walmart to buy herself some day old bread, and to escape the cold. Her hands were freezing in the bitter tundra air. When she was leaving, she paused to throw away her wrapper, and a glint caught her eye. A practically new pair of Addi Turbo lace, size 4, laid on top carefully sealed in a plastic bag. On the needles was half of a mitten knitted out of beautiful teal cabled yarn. There was enough yarn left of the skein to easily finish the pair, and have some left for another small project. Here eyes filled with tears, here was the answer to her Christmas wish. Some beautiful yarn to knit with and a project to keep her freezing hands warm in the Tundra winds.

A month later, with her warm hands and stylish mittens finished, she was spotted by a yarn shop owner, who admired her incredible skill, and offered a job on the spot. Her fortunes changed from that moment forward and a few years later she ended up a famous knitting designer. All because some harried hurried person accidentally threw away the wrong bag in a Walmart parking lot...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Silent Auctions

Every time I go to a silent auction I feel a need to up the bid. Typically I choose something that is handmade and bump it up a little. Not necessarily to win, but typically to get the artisan a little more credit for their work.

The other week was no different. We had finally made it to the Stork House. This little house we drive by practically every day but somehow during the special events we had always missed the time, forgot or had something completely conflicting in the time. Finally, we made it through for a tour and Christmas party. While there, (by the way, they have 2 spinning wheels in residence, a walking wheel and a flax or CPW, have to go back for a closer look.) I stopped by the silent auction table where I bid up a few items and then wandered away.

Last night I got a call, I had won, not one, not two, but all three items I had bid on! Alrighty then! What did I win? I won 2 crocheted dish towels, a basket of raspberry and strawberry jam, and.... Wait for it....

A pair of felted mittens. And......

A handspun scarf. Yes. Because there is a shortage of scarves in this house.

Not a bad haul for one bid on each. And it went to charity.

Bella says that clearly they are all presents for her. Any questions?

I'm not sure what the destiny of this little scarf will be. It's actually quite lovely but I do already own 35. I'm not sure I need another scarf. But I'm sure it will get a good home no matter where it's destiny lies.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Full of Beans

Today was a day of full onset Christmas prep. First, my mom's present came in the mail which meant 3 hours of solid work on the computer for me sorting and collating media to sync it.

Then, we picked up the kids from their final day of school, which was really a field trip day for them, the poor dears spent the entire time skiing, what torture. They were starving so after we fed them we went to the store to split up and Christmas shop. This has seemed an awesome deal in the planning stages, what could be more fun? Of course the reality of it was that both kids were so hyped up from the end of school, the skiing and Christmas that shopping with them was rather like shopping with an untrained puppy in a store full of raw bones. But we persevered, and then went home to wrap them. Kid quote of the day: "Just because my mouth isn't tired doesn't mean my lungs and legs aren't tired!" When Devin and I deviated with a short trip to the Hallmark store and I decided to walk there instead of battling through the overcrowded parking lot again.

And yes, we did walk. The weather here has been freakishly dry which meas we don't have 72 inches of snow which means the temperatures aren't dropping drastically. More on this another time. The frozen tundra and I have an uneasy truce going right now in which I will not badmouth it, and it in return won't snow. Sorry snowmobiling, wishing for a white Christmas, can't wait to snowshoe/icefish peeps. That's our agreement. If broken my ranting about the stupidity of a city in the middle of the frozen tundra and that the people claim to enjoy the cold while never really setting foot outside of the artificial warmth.

In any case, after shopping with the puppies, er kids, and wrapping presents I set out the craft project I've chosen in lieu of cookies. Sure, these don't look as appetizing as cookies, but they're healthier. And cheaper. And rather pretty. I'm still making a few cookies, but we're handing out these instead this year.

I hope all of you are accomplishing your Christmas lists while still getting a little time to look at lights, listen or sing carols, and soak in the feeling that this time of year brings :).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yarn Goddess

YOUR new yarn?! I think NOT!
I am glad faithful servant you followed my orders - more blue yarn.
Come slave poodle-dog, lets unravel these new skeins into yarn art immediately!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

3 Little Kittens or Mittens, or Mitts..

Christmas knitting is going well. 2 scarves done, 1.5 pairs of mitts. I am just now sitting down to watch the Survivor finale and we'll see if I can get another 1-2 done. They're wicked fast. I'm using a new pattern, welted mitts from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas and it's even faster and so cute! It's the one on the far right in the photo.

Hope your Holiday knitting is going well, and that you're getting some time to watch the lights and soak up the sounds, scents, and feel of the season.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Six Months!

Happy six month birthday Ramses!
Showing off his down stay

And his sit stay

It seems impossible bur Ramses is 6 months old today. He took time out of his busy retrieving, cat chewing, toy playing time to pose for a couple photos. Training has been on hold while he finishes teething. I don't think puppies learn much while their teeth are hurting. So we've just been playing games and reinforcing what he already knows. PS ~ yes the tree is still standing... Today.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


We did it, we decided to attempt a Christmas tree again.

Our past Christmases have been laden with Christmas tree disasters. For every year of a successful Christmas tree, there is one where it was more interesting.

Do you see what I see?
There was the Christmas when I was 5 or 6, and we didn't have money for a tree. It resulted in my brother and I (he was much older and a legal driver) circling the town looking for someone who'd sell us a tree for 5.00. We did find one.

Or the tree we purchased that was a little wider than we anticipated. Despite the fact that it took up half the room it was pretty. Except it was too tall and the star wouldn't fit on top. We cut the top off and it ended up looking like a round piney ball. Duct tape worked great though to reattach the tip.

The year we lost half the branches to our artificial tree. Presumably they were left in the basement of the house we had moved out of. Leaving things during moves is a tradition. When we moved to the frozen tundra, we managed to leave all our pot and pan lids. That, takes talent.

My personal favorite tree story though, is when we had a tree delivered by my sibling's grandfather (too complicated of a story there). He owned a tree farm and dropped off a netted tree on our porch as a present. It was a beautiful tree, but at least 8 feet tall. My friend and I started to saw the bottom off with a very dull, very old saw. An hour later we had the tree cut to size, and 35 minutes later it was in the stand. By this time my mom was home and we decorated it carefully. It was truly a gorgeous tree, huge, full, and we had perfectly hung all the decorations. We took a step back to admire our handiwork and watched in awe as the tree swayed and fell to the floor, decorations flying everywhere. My friend looked on stunned as my mom and I laughed hysterically. Come to think of it, our friendship kind of faded away after that. Evidently there are 2 types of people in the world. Those who laugh at tragedy, and those who don't.

And of course there was the last tree we had. In 2009 we decorated a little artificial tree I had purchased the year before (this one's branches were firmly permanently attached) only to watch helplessly as the cats denuded the ornaments, knocked the tree over, scattered and shattered ornaments and finally broke all the branches of the poor little tree. It was a Christmas carnage and truly painful. Last year we forsook a tree but this year we decided the cats were old enough and fat enough to try again. We have been conditioning them to spend part of the night in the bathroom as a safety measure just to be safe, and stocked up on their favorite food just in case they need to be satiated with food to leave the twinkle lights alone. We will see how this goes..

Braving the wilds of the tree lot

Just the right fluffy tree

They picked the same tree. Miracles to exist in the Christmas season!
Lance checks it out for safety

Neptune takes off the netting

Mercury pretends he's living in the wilds

Ramses checks out where the kitties are

Picture of innocence

Bella sits in wait (She will be the problem I predict)

Cory found a yarn ornament he made

Covering all angles

Two stars for 2 kids

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Projects Part 1

We spent yesterday shopping only at small stores for gifts (and yarn for gifts). We went over to the east side of the city where we visited Lila and Claudines. How great is Lila and Claudine's? Well, in the 3 trips there, we have way, way over qualified for their frequent buyer program's reward. I waver between being happy, and sad, that it's over an hour drive through city traffic to get over there. If it was closer, I could get a job there. If it was closer, I could spend hours knitting by there awesome fireplace. If it was closer I may have to start selling plasma. In any case, extreme control had us leaving there with only 4 skeins of yarn, and 4 Christmas gifts (they have gifts too - we cleaned out on Jewelry..) So really, I thought we had a lot of restraint.
Some of my haul. The skein on the far left is destined to be the pattern,
and not for Christmas. At least unless I can manage to learn a complicated lace
pattern and complete it in practically no time.

We rounded out our east side trip with another yarn store stop, mostly to gaze at their Noro (though I didn't buy any), and then finally to a great vegan meal at a Vienamese/Chinese place.

Today we were off to Devin's piano recital (videos coming soon) which was at a craft fair. We did some shopping there too, most of which can't be pictured, except for these lovely earrings, destined to be a gift. Unfortunately, we didn't bring any cash, and I had to pass up the gorgeous pottery stand that didn't take credit cards. I love pottery, it's on my 'someday I'll do this list) though I have a hunch it may be too fiddly for my relaxed crafting standards.
I love these earrings, and hope the recipient does as well.

And yes, I've already cast on, and am whipping through scarf #1. Cheating, it's a drop stitch scarf so insanely fast, but it's out of a lovely Merino/cashmere blend. Sitting next to me is a pile of 'non-bonded to yarn, awaiting to become gifts. Actually there are 3 skeins in there I am bonded to, but I'm winding them anyway and we'll see what their fate really brings.

Meanwhile, I am anxiously awaiting the mail tomorrow which should bring my last skein for my Lolita, and I can finish the final few inches, cast off and start devoting myself to fingerless mitts. I have to wait you see, because I am totally missing all my size 4 needles. Where did they go? I blame the cats. So I am right on schedule, moving right along, even with Ramses-puppy stealing my yarn every 20 minutes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Knitting

I am not a gift knitter. For one thing, I knit function, not prettiness. For another thing I get bonded to my knitted items and would rather have them sitting here in a collection than unused and unappreciated. But this year my knitting has improved. I knitted a wedding gift, and found I gave it away easily. Now granted, maybe I didn't like the yarn very well, but I still managed to give the blanket away.

This year however, I am poor, (but rich in spirit). I also really like handmade presents. I've made a lot of handmade things in the past, just not knitted things. So, as of today, I have a list. A list of things to knit for people. Small accessories that hopefully they'll use. Have I really waited till 16 days before Christmas to commence my knitting? Of course! Why not? Really the list is easy:

1 - pair of mittens

3 - Fingerless mitts

4- Scarves (that might be tricky)

1 - Shawl

Oh, and I'm assembling soup jars for people too. But that'll just take an afternoon, well, and I need to put up the Christmas tree. Which means I need to clean the yarn strewn house (ask the cats about THAT one). But really, it's easy. Did I mention making fudge for gifts, and gift baskets for the neighbors. Well, again, cooking for Christmas is really just a 1 day deal. And I can knit during part of it thereby multitasking.

Of course I have a plan, a master plan if you will. My plan:

Tomorrow: Shopping. Including visiting 2 yarn stores on the other side of town, the ones I love and never get to. We need a few other things from over there, and frankly you can't expect me to use stash yarn on people. Stash yarn I have bonded to after all. No I need impersonal store yarn. Store yarn that I haven't petted, and cuddled, and lovingly stowed in a cubby. You may of course be saying to yourself that yarn is expensive, and how is that saving money? I am really not sure, and would prefer not to talk about the actual dollars and cents to this decision. Can you put a price on love?

Anyway, knitting and pattern matching will start the next day, along with decorating (and a tree if we really are crazy enough to attempt it) I am of course ranking items by order of dates: friends far away are highest priority, those who we won't see till after Christmas, low priority. Easy. And I mean, that seriously extends the date to New Years. That's an entire extra week!

Finally, cooking and such needs to be completed for handing out by the 21st. I plan to do the soup jars that day too. Again, no major rush, I have quite awhile to gather ingredients.

I believe procrastination leads to intensity in work thereby improving the creative process. That's my story anyway.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Adventures in Knitting

Lolita has been going so smoothly. The pattern has flowed from my fingertips in a fluid symmetry. I often say that yarns choose what they want to be, and this yarn was supposed to be this vest. It's also awesome to learn about shoulder shaping without having to deal with sleeves. I'm really whipping through it. Or I was.

Until yesterday, when I ran out of yarn about 4 inches earlier than I should have. Hmmm. Really, the back took THAT much? Of course I ignored the standard rule of knitting, always thing you have too much yarn, not too little. This is something I ignore a lot, I just blindly cast on and start knitting away not thinking about how much yarn the pattern may say it requires. Who are they anyway? Yarn sellers, I don't need that much. Who would need THAT much? Silliness. Then, I get down and realize I'm short. In this case, by my approximation, I think I'm about 2 - 3 inches of knitting short. The problem, is that this is handdyed club yarn. Yes I can get more, but it'll take a bit. And I am not a process knitter. I want it done NOW! Not later. So I raced to Ravelry where luck would have it my plea found one person willing to part with a skein of this yarn. It's in the mail tomorrow morning and should be here quickly! Thank goodness! Now I just have to decide whether or not to keep knitting with the lighter color, or whether to wait and see if the new yarn is light or dark. Part of me says to keep going, part says to wait. So many decisions. Of course now that the new yarn is procured, and on it's way I may not need it anyway. If not, no biggie, this would make a gorgeous hat, I love the color.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a UFO - nope it's a very important object waiting to be thrown

My other very mini knitting project this week? I know it may not look like much, but this is a VERY IMPORTANT TOY now. Ramses has been after this blue yarn for weeks. Stealing it at every opportunity. While it was being made into a hat, he'd steal the hat or yarn and race away with it. I finally took the leftover yarn, knitted it into a square, sewed it up around an old squeaky tennis ball of his (he loves squeaky tennis balls) and felted it. It felted beautifully and is now his absolute most favorite thing in the world. Silly puppy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chickpeas and Dumplings

Comfort Food at it's finest:

1 can chickpeas drained
1 can pinto beans drained
1 cup carrots sliced
1 cup celery sliced (3 ribs or so)

1 cup of frozen corn
(notice I'm into 1, I go for simplicity here)

1 cup mushrooms sliced
1 quart vegetable stock (I like Kitchen Basics unsalted the best)
1 cup frozen or fresh peas

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil
Tumeric, smoked paprika, sage, poultry seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, nutritional yeast


Heat oil in pot and add veggies starting with the garlic and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes (I cook as I chop). Once the pan is hot add stock to cover, chickpeas, pinto beans, and frozen veggies. Season to taste (I used approximately 1 tsp of paprika, 1/2 tsp sage, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, and 1/3 cup nutritional yeast, the rest, I'm not sure on - I do know I went easy on the tumeric, it's a great flavor but don't overuse) remember the dried seasonings will bloom and merge. Add the rest of the stock, give it a stir and top off with a couple cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to a steady low boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Meanwhile make your favorite drop biscuit recipe (I used Betty Crocker's cookbook) or mix up bisquik then add to the pot. Boil uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover for an additional 10.

Delicious, filling, and no chickens were harmed in the making of this recipe :).

Monday, December 5, 2011


I am pretty proud of myself - I am on the back of my Lolita.

Sorry for the cell phone photo, it's late, I'm tired, I'm not locating the real camera. Yes, I see the difference in the dye lots. I bought this skein from a person on Ravelry and when it came, it was definitely a shade darker. But, I believe in letting handdyed yarn speak to me, and one reason I'm using this pattern is because I have confidence it'll look cool with the back a shade darker. My 3rd skein is back to the lighter shade again.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Since a nun in September told me at a wedding reception I was industrious to be knitting, and not wasting time, I took my knitting with me to the two concerts at  church today. No, I didn't knit during the actual service, but yes, I did during the choir concert. Good thing too, cause it was a little long this year, and look at how much knitting I got done on my Lolita. I am almost to the point where I need to start doing things other than knitting this super fun pattern back and forth. That worries me, but I'll think about that tomorrow. If it goes badly, I'll turn it into a lovely wrap. Always best to have a backup plan..

Three Irish Girls Eiffel Tower on Glenhaven Cashmerino worsted.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Processing Information

I am a bargain shopper, whether out of necessity (right now) or because it's fun. For the past 6 months I've been hunting for a Cuisinart Food Processor. My last one was an old model that I picked up for 5.00, at a Goodwill. It lasted for years, and would still be working had I not lost the lid in a move sometime.

So I was thrilled when I found a brand new Cuisinart on Craigslist for 60.00. But after waiting a couple weeks, and then email bargaining I got it down to 45.00. YES! All the cool slicing blades and everything.
Since bringing it home, it's been humming regularly.

The first thing I made? A green smoothie, dark leafy greens, banana, blackberries and a little soy milk. So good! I'm trying to drink 1-2 of these a day for all of December to see how I feel. They make a great breakfast for me since I don't love breakfast anyway, and drinking it is easier than eating it. So far the biggest pro I have found is they fill you up to an insane level. You're ready to go for hours after that with no hunger.
Vegan of course!

Tonight, after I made chocolate green smoothies (the kids even ate them!) I made hummus for lunch, and after that, split pea soup. So good! I am in processor heaven! The nice thing is it cuts down on my chopping time, which allows me more time to do other things - like untangle this skein of yarn. Ramses was so kind as to tangle it all up for me. I'd much rather do this than knit with the yarn - or spin.