To read more posts...leave a comment...and to mark your location:

Posts are in reverse chronological order. To read beyond the visible posts, click on "older posts" at the very bottom of the page or click on specific months/days in the left margin.

Feel free to leave a comment at the end of any of the posts.

I'd love it if you scrolled down to the bottom of the page and marked your location on the map!

Tuesday, March 31

Meet Lyra!...a two month project

My knitting friend from Houston, Kenny, called me up one day and said, "Let's knit Lyra!" And that's how this started.

I had no idea what Lyra was (I believe it is pronounced "Lie-rah"), so after we talked about knitting this pattern, I tried to find out about Lyra, and the designer, Herbert Niebling. I have been unable to find much about him, but from what I gather, he was German, and designed doilies and tablecloths and the like sometime during the 1920s and 1930s. I am not quite sure of the time period, so if anyone has more information, please let me know.

Click on pics for larger view.

First pic is Lyra right after blocking. Top right pic is on the dining room table. Other pics are closeups of the corner and mid points.

With the advent of the knitters online group, patterns, ideas, and feedback and information about yarn, along with social and political fun, have flourished worldwide, and is shared at the fastest pace ever!

So, I got the pattern, and during January and February spent about 200 hours knitting this lace. While the original patterns are mostly done with size 00, 0 and 1 US size needles (quite small in diameter) and knit with thin cotton thread, I decided to knit Lyra with Grignascu merino/silk (75/25 blend in a pewter gray color) that Kenny bought for me on his visit to Vermont last October (thanks Kenny!). I used size 5 US needles.

The knit piece has been washed and blocked--two hours of stretching it out and pinning it with lots of pins over a blanket topped with a sheet on the living room floor. It was not the most fun I've had in old age, and my butt and calves were very sore for 3 days afterward from squatting and sitting on my heels!

This Lyra is 60x60 inches.

Enjoy! Also, click HERE for pics of Niebling's design mastery!

Monday, March 23

Tonight's Dinner....gilded potato/leek soup!

My friend Derek in "the LV" suggested that I send him some of the recipes for the dishes I whip up, so he can post on one of the many work/play sites he is always talking about. I don't measure anything but will try to re-create what I made tonight!

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, ends trimmed, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 2 leeks, just the white part, root end cut off, then sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium thin-skinned red or gold/yellow potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 large boxed container veggie or chicken broth
  • small handful fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dry
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To save time, start sweet potatoes 10 minutes before other items. Put sweet potatoes in a small pan, cover with water and bring to boil. Parboil 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Do not drain! Heat up broth separately.

Put the sliced leeks in a bowl, fill with water, swish around with your hands to ensure any dirt between pieces is washed away. Lift out of water with a large slotted spoon or wire basket. Set aside.

Using a heavy bottomed soup pan (Dutch oven, etc.) turn heat to medium high. Add olive oil, wait a couple of minutes for oil to heat. Add diced onions and celery. Saute 3 mins. Add leeks, saute 2 minutes. Add parboiled sweet potatoes along with water from pan, the potatoes and sweet red pepper. Add basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Add heated broth and enough hot water to cover all vegetables.

Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a low boil/heavy simmer for 15 minutes.

Turn heat off, and using a potato masher, carefully mash soup to desired consistency. Soup will be very hot so be very careful! Return to heat, taste, and adjust seasonings. Add 2-4 tablespoons of butter, Smart Balance (vegetarian), or Earth Balance (vegan). Stir, let sit 5 minutes.

Serve with warm crusty bread topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, ripe tomatoes and basil leaves, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 15

This Side of March...sun and socks...and hats!

It's been three days of bright sun here in northwest Vermont. Good for ya'll--not so good for me. Just about all of you know that I struggle on a daily basis with migraines. While I have not had a full-blown-send-me-to-the-hospital-migraine in over two years, I've had lots of ones that I've managed to halt with my meds. However, every day is a chore for me. There are so many triggers for me: sun (the brightness, reflecting off of snow, metal, etc.), sugar, chocolate, aged cheeses (although soft and goat cheeses seem to not affect me as much), low pressure systems, and a horde of other food and environmental factors (noise, chaos, etc.).

A couple of things have helped me reduce the bad migraines and daily lesser headaches. Chiropractic work, which I get done every 4-6 weeks, and headache free vitamins; a combination of daily vitamins and herbal supplements that I was taking anyway.

I get chiro done at Busby Chiropractic, in Essex, Vermont. As it turns out, Dr. Busby and his wife, who is a staff member there, are our neighbors! They live further up our street, but we tend to call people who live on our street our neighbors. They are at 159 River Rd, Essex Junction, and can be reached at 802.879.1144 if you are interested in this.

The vitamins can be purchased at Really! They seem to be a combination of what I was taking, but only two pills a day, versus 10-15 pills I was taking, trying to get the calcium, magnesium, feverfew, B vitamins, and all of the other trace minerals and other things my body needs. Who knows how this works in total, but my body was definitely missing something. My daily tension headaches have been drastically reduced--to about 10%. That is the greatest impact anything has had on me. That, and the chiropractic work.

So, where does this leave me? Unfortunately, I am unable to work a scheduled job. I am no longer at Sweet Clover Market (the owner, Heather, picked up the first two bottles of the headachefreevitamins for me at a food show!). I do pick up a shift now and then to help them out.

I am now going to focus on my handspun yarn, and foray into the handknit world--mostly baby socks, hats, and other fun items! I've been working on some swatches (test knit squares) of handspun that I am sending to my friend Derek, in "the LV"--what the rest of us call Las Vegas. My niche (other than handspun/handknit) will be U.S. raised and processed (into roving) alpaca, eco-friendly and local fibers as much as possible.

I've been playing around with merino/tencel blends and merino/bamboo blends. I also found some U.S. grown gunmetal black bamboo, which I think will be lots of fun to use in creating items. Bamboo is renewable and eco-friendly, I just need to learn more about energy used to process this, along with how fibers are made from tencel and soy.

The alpaca I've used so far has been from Maple, at Northstar Alpacas in Michigan. Maple is a truly wonderful person, and I've grown quite fond of her in the past year, especially since the loss of her husband. It's been fun reading her blog about the trials and joys she's had learning to run the farm on her own. Please visit her blog, and her Etsy shop for some of her handknit alpaca goods! You may have to become an Etsy member, but it's free...I will be selling items at my shop (vtknitboy) after I set it up!

Sock picture: (l to r) The purple is corriedale wool and is plied with merino/bamboo fiber. The top edging is 100% alpaca from Maple.

The middle sock is alpaca plied with merino/tencel. It is softer than the first sock, but very strong.

The other purple sock is corriedale wool plied with merino/tencel. The two purple socks have a row of eyelets (holes) near the top where I am going to thread a silk ribbon through so parents can adjust the tension of the sock (ie., keep it from falling off).

In the picture of the hats, the top right one is corriedale wool plied with alpaca. The alpaca is not as soft as the alpaca in the socks, but is still pretty nice to the hand!

The bottom left hat is alpaca plied with merino/bamboo. It is lovely.

In the third picture, the skein on top of the socks and hats is 100% alpaca. Very, very soft!

The smaller three pictures are from my phone, and I don't think they will expand when you click them on. I will retake the pics with my digital camera and substitute them later.

Left to right: Spinning the lovely black alpaca from Maple! This stuff is a dream to spin. Very, very nice. Middle picture is a closeup of the mini ball I wound up. At right is a picture of a hat I made with three different natural colors of alpaca--all from Maple's farm!

Oh, and way up at the top is a picture of a scarf I made from alpaca/silk roving from Maple. It's sweet!

I have a couple more pictures of projects I need to transfer from my camera. In the meantime, have a fabulous week!