Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nerd Wars - October

I'm officially participating in Nerd Wars 3. Here's my favorite project so far, a Spock hat:

Spock hat

It's modeled by my DS2. And, you may notice that my son has his left eyebrow raised -- just as Spock often did.  The black hat itself is the "hairline".

edited to add:  The hat was a hit as my DS2 helped hand out Halloween candy.  Several kids commented on the great werewolf ears.

I've also designed and knit a dishcloth representing a trans warp human, knit a Guinan hat (which I've donated as a chemo hat), and knit a 47"-long scarf.  I'm also almost finished with a tank top, B-licious.  Then all that's left to do is a colorwork project -- a hat and mittens to donate to a local school.

trans warp (ST:VOY) dishcloth

(The dishcloth may look more like a possum than a trans warp human.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

fall trees

The street in front of the house looks particularly nice this fall. And so, I decided to share a picture of it. (Also, I've posted so many pics of snow around the house that I thought it might be good to post a pic with no snow.)
fall trees
We're getting our basement finished. Here's a picture of the basement with some of the framing done. And, you'll notice that's it pretty much empty except for the pool table that came with the house -- and for the part in the shadows that won't be refinished. They started work on Friday, September 30th. The first day was just to mark where walls would be and to start building the soffits. This picture is after they finished work on the next Monday. You can see where the walls will be. (More pics of the construction are here.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Four socks

I'm happy.  I've accomplished one of the goals I had for the year -- to design 4 socks, one for each season. And, it turned out that all I had to do to get the last of the four done was to wait until it was almost autumn. The first of these is a pair of Christmas socks. They feature fir trees and icicles/sleigh bells and candy canes.  I made it for my DH as a Christmas present.
Christmastime socks
The hardest part of the socks was figuring out a way to get candy canes that looked halfway nice. I redid the back a few times until deciding to try various ideas out on a dishcloth. Here's the dishcloth:
Candy Cane dishcloth
The spring and summer socks came along pretty quickly. Here are the spring socks (with snowdrops on the front and a tulip cable on the back):
Snowdrops socks
Here are the summer socks (with a rose trellis on front and an iris cable in back);
Rose Trellis socks
The hardest one was fall. I tried acorns, oak trees, sheaves of grain. But, they just didn't look right. Finally, I tried cornstalks, as they would look after the first frost.  (The idea for the picot cuff came from a lady from the Lilac Cottage knitting group.)
Cornstalk socks
All the socks are toe up. Three have a yo-yo heel, and the fourth a Widdershins heel.

After sitting out the previous edition of Nerd Wars on Ravelry, I've decided to get involved again in the competition (which starts this next month).  I'm hoping to be on Team Enterprise again.

Finally, I'm still inundated with cucumbers from the garden.  I tried making bread rolls using chopped cucumbers and green onions.  My DH liked them, but I didn't.  The best I've managed to do is pickle them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August garden

I think I shouldn't have fertilized the garden.  :)
The plants are taking over the yard.  The cucumber plants, which were so small a month ago, are now growing over the short wall onto the path and even over the tomato plants.  The tomato plants, which were supposed to be bush tomatoes, are growing over the side of the taller wall and onto the lawn -- until I move the vines back to the top of the wall.

I'm glad that I got tomato plants with a shorter yield time than last year.  We've already harvested about 20 nice large tomatoes -- which I've made tomato sauce from.  I added some giant marconi (sweet) peppers from the garden to the sauce -- and don't think I'll need to add much in the way of other seasonings.  The sauce is delicious!

I have no idea where the sweet potatoes are.  (They're covered by cucumber vines.)  But, the cucumber plants have yielded some nice, large, tasty cucumbers.  And, we've also been able to harvest some habanero and jalapeno peppers.  Plus, I evidently didn't do a good job cleaning the garden last year.  I've also been able to harvest some volunteer cherry tomatoes.

The peaches look ready to harvest.  :)  They've small.  But, the tree is still small.  I'm looking forward to seeing just how good those peaches taste.

Friday, July 15, 2011

wind storm

We had a big wind storm Monday morning. I hadn't heard or seen the wind blow so strongly since when I lived in Colorado. The storm lasted less than half an hour but did a lot of damage.

The wind blew over the top of one of our trees, a shagbark hickory. Luckily, the top of the tree blew away from the house -- damaging only another smaller tree.

We, along with most of the county, were without power all day Monday. Luckily, power was restored to our part of the neighborhood Tuesday morning. It was nice to have air conditioning again! Thankfully, a neighbor had a generator which we used a outlet from to keep our refrigerator going.

My DD had her own experience with the storm. She had just boarded a train to travel to work in Chicago when the storm hit. The wind shook the train back and forth while it was still in the station. Then they started their journey. A large tree fell on the tracks. The engineer put on the brakes to stop the train just in time. However, because of safety regulations, the train was limited to a speed of 10 mph for its entire trip to Chicago. She got to work about 5 1/2 hours late.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Possibly peaches

a garden update....
It looks as though we may get some peaches this year.  The chipmunks and squirrels have left the peach tree alone, and some peaches have started to grow.  (To "help" the chipmunks and squirrels leave the tree alone, I placed an upside-down aluminum pie tin around the tree, just below the bottom of the pic.)

I don't think we'll have any apples this year.  The tree had only 3 blossoms on it, and none seem to be turning into apples.  The amount of fruit on an apple tree varies from year to year.

The vegetable garden is starting to take off.  The tomato plants have a few blossoms.  And a cucumber plant had its first blossom.  I've harvested a couple radishes -- and still haven't figured out why growing radishes here is so hard.  And, I think that a couple of broccoli plants are growing from seed.

a general update
I was going to leave it with just the garden update.  Then I remembered that I hadn't posted anything since before my birthday....

My DD's boyfriend (from England) came to visit her for a couple of weeks in early June.  And, my DS1 was here for a few days during his stay.  (My DS1 came here to help celebrate my birthday -- and also to go to a wedding in Ohio and also to help celebrate my DH's birthday early next month.)  The day before my birthday, we all went to a couple Gold Cup soccer games at Soldier Field.  Then, on my birthday, we all went to a baseball game at Wrigley Field.  (The Cubs won.)  It was the boyfriend's first time at a baseball game.  And, I think he enjoyed it.  He learned a lot about the game, as well.  He's probably the only one of his friends in England that knows what a suicide squeeze play is.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

a late spring for my vegetable garden

This year we really didn't have a spring. As my DS2 noted -- May's weather just switched back and forth between summer and winter. So, the vegetable garden isn't as far along as last year's at this time of year.

garden, June 2011

Last year, I planted cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and a regular Big Boy tomato.  I discovered that only the Big Boy tomato had the taste I like in tomatoes.  However, it bore fruit fairly late.  So, this year I planted some early tomatoes (60-65 days) --  2 Early Girl bush and Park's Whopper.  They already have a few blossoms.

My DH loves hot peppers.  So, besides planting jalapeƱo and habanero peppers, I'm also trying out a tabasco one.  Then I decided that I'd plant a sweet pepper (giant marconi).  I hope that the flavor of sweet peppers has improved since I last grew them -- in the 80's in NC.  (The ones I grew then were pretty much flavorless.)

My big problem this year was finding broccoli plants.   I just couldn't find any plants for sale.  So, about the second time I went looking for broccoli, I bought cucumber plants.  After planting the cucumbers, I placed carrot seeds (Danvers Half Long), spinach seeds (Melody hybrid), and radishes (cherry bell) between the cucumber plants and also between the peppers.  Then later I added a few broccoli seeds between the cucumber plants.  (I'm not sure whether or nor they've germinated since I have no idea what the seedlings look like.)  On my final search for broccoli, I got some sweet potato plants (Beauregard).

My string beans (Burpee's Tenderpod bush) didn't do well last year.  So, this year I planted pea seeds (sugar snap).  But, I also planted the string beans again and added some Kentucky pole beans.

So, we'll see what happens this year.  The radishes didn't do well last year.  So, this year's garden has added peat moss.

It looks as if we might get some peaches this year (if I can figure out a way to keep the chipmunks and squirrels from eating the fruit when it's bite-sized -- for them).  It was loaded with blossoms and now has quite a few small peaches.  The spring weather was so damp that the peach tree has leaf curl (a fungus).  But, according to what I've read, that shouldn't affect the crop.  I'll just have to use a fungicide this fall.  The apple tree had just 3 blossoms on it.

The filbert nut trees that I got from Arbor Day are growing well this year.  They're growing so well that I'll have to move one of them to a better location.  Even the one that got broken off (or chewed off) near the base last year is doing well.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This was the month that the team I'm in for Nerd Wars on Ravelry (Team Enterprise) decided to knit a lot of tribbles. I think the last count was 61. Here's one from last month and another from this month "guarding" the cat food.


And, here are a few more... on the mantle where they can survey almost everything going on in the house. (I used this tribble pattern.)  They were all made with fun fur -- some with just fun fur, some with fun fur and Wool-Ease, some with fun fur and Homespun.  The ones with just fun fur are softer and squishier.  The ones with 2 types of yarn are easier to toss from person to person.



As a side note: My DS2 is going to be participating in a charity speed demo marathon to benefit Doctors without Borders (and, in particular, their efforts in Japan). The marathon will run from April 7th to 10th.  Instead of having the marathon run from one central location, participants will be streaming their chosen video game from their home computers.  The marathon starts at 4:00pm EDT.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 2011

Nerd Wars on Ravelry has gotten me to try things I probably wouldn't have -- at least not for a while.

I've done some double knitting -- which I'd never attempted before. I'll probably do more double knitting. I really like the feel of double knit.

I've done some serious crocheting -- and my first pineapple doily. (Pineapple doilies are a staple of crocheting -- though not nearly as popular as afghans. But, I'd never made one.) I still don't see the excitement for pineapple doilies, but I enjoyed crocheting with a size 10 steel hook and size 30 crochet thread again. I did hit a major snag. I just discovered that I didn't have enough thread to finish the doily. Luckily the edging is done in 12 separate sections. I'm doing every other section in a different thread -- a variegated purple instead of the variegated purple and yellow I'd used for the rest of the doily. (The link is to a tutorial on making the edging.)

I've designed and knitted a couple of dishcloths, Red Rectangle Nebula and Diamond Mosaic. And, I even designed and knitted a Star Trek hat.

It's gradually starting to get warm here. Here's a picture of the deck from March 6th. (The paw prints may be of our neighborhood coyote.) Now the deck is completely free of snow. Daffodils are coming up. And, the only snow left is from the large piles of snow left by last month's snowplowing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


As a result of the recent devastation in Japan, one of my favorite designers -- Monika Eckert (Wollklabauter) -- decided to create a shawl, Prometheus. Proceeds from the sale will go to either Wings of Hope or Doctors Without Borders.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

a tribble for Nerd Wars on Ravelry

I'm making progress on my projects for Nerd Wars on Ravelry. Here's my entry into the category -- a tribble made from Fun Fur and Wool-Ease. The sides have been "sewn" together in a 3-needle bind-off. All that remains is to stuff it slightly and draw the top and bottom together.
Tribble in progress
As to snow..... It's completely melted off the back porch. We can even see some blades of grass in the lawn -- due to the warm weather we've been having. The big piles of snow are even half the size they were before!

Monday, February 14, 2011

snow, a week later

These pictures were taken a week after our big snowstorm. It's going to take quite a while for all that snow to melt.....

The roads are dry. But, the temperature hadn't been over freezing for about 2 weeks. That's supposed to change.

In fact, it did. ... Sunday, the temperature was above freezing and stayed above freezing overnight.

And, maybe, the groundhog was right. We're supposed to get our first 50 degree day this Thursday -- exactly 2 weeks after the prediction of an early spring. :)

We discovered an unusual danger from icicles on Saturday. An icicle turned on one of our outside spigots. We heard water running. After checking everywhere around the house, we finally checked outside. An icicle had turned a spigot on. My DH had to dig through the snow to get to the spigot and turn it off.

On Friday, I discovered that Wool-Ease is very durable. I had gotten out of the car in a parking lot that I often go to -- and discovered a scarf that I hadn't known I'd lost. It was just barely visible in the ice of the parking lot. So, I took it home, let it thaw out, and then washed it. It's as good as new!

My knitting projects so far this month have mostly been Star Trek and/or Nerd Wars related. Here is the Red Rectangle Nebula dishcloth that I (designed and) knit as part of the competition.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


I haven't done any blogging for quite a while, but today seemed like a good day to start again -- with some snow pics.

According to the weatherman, this was the third largest snowfall in 129 years of Chicago record-keeping. The first pic is my DH digging his way down the driveway to the road, in order to have enough room to use the snow-blower. The powdery snow goes past his knees.

The second pic is our back porch. It had a little snow on it from before. But, now the snow lies next to the patio door -- about 20" deep for the entire patio. Before this snow, the total for the season for Chicago was around 30".

I've started getting ideas for knitting projects -- and am about to have too much knitting to do (or that I'd like to do).

I've joined Nerd Wars on Ravelry. I've finished my first project -- a Red Rectangle Nebula dishcloth -- and am thinking about what to work on next. I've also got some ideas on socks and sweaters..... And, I'm thinking seriously about a big project, Moni's Windsbraut Pirat shawl.