I’d just like to say that this last month has been INSANE. We moved out to the Cleveland area of Ohio just under two years ago from the Pacific NW. We expected to stay a little longer than we did, and I won’t bother with the whole story of why we came back now, but we made the decision to return once Miss J finished school this spring.

We had an extremely busy couple of months of packing, keeping the house clean (and vacating it) to try and sell it, making arrangements with movers (for the house, the piano, and the cats), etc. Not all of these plans went smoothly, to say the least.

The worst problem, by far, was the moving company. Long story short: they never showed up, in spite of the fact that I called to arrange it a good 6 weeks before we wanted to move. We ended up renting a smallish and the largest U-Haul we could get, spent two days loading like maniacs (and here I need to give a major shout-out to Eldest Son,  Miss J, and the football playing son of our pastor in Ohio for working like BEASTS.) As it turned out, we did not have enough room in our trucks for everything, and had to leave behind some excess furniture. Sadly, this included our bikes. And lawnmower. And numerous other things. So be it. It’s just stuff, though some of it has to be replaced out here. Anyway, we finished up at 10 pm and decided to hit the road for a couple of hours.

Thursday: We started out a bit shy of Toledo. Drove through Indiana, which was mostly pretty farmland. If we had only had more time, we could have stopped for an exciting adventure at the RV/Motor Home Hall of Fame and the Studebaker Museum. Sigh. One of life’s lost opportunities. The only ugly part of Indiana was Gary, which in spite of the song, is NOT the one place that can light my face. We then drove into Illinois, which I can pretty much categorize by Chicago and tollbooths. I guess I’m glad we drove through Chicago traffic during the day, but it was not an experience I enjoyed much.

More driving through Wisconsin, which is very lovely farmland. During all of my driving on Thursday, I decided I should be a farm wife. All of that lovely landscape; working in my garden; sitting on the front porch in the evening with a glass of lemonade…very idyllic.

As we ended Thursday, we got into Minnesota where we had our first semi-major experience: a silly, deluded deer decided to jump in front of the big truck. Now I may not have mentioned this, but Mr. Greenethumb was driving the big truck in the lead, Eldest Son and Miss J rode in the smaller truck in the middle, and I played caboose with our car. We were all incredibly thankful that the Big Truck was in front at this point, because it didn’t even register a dent after hitting the deer. Total hours on the road: about 14.

Friday: From Albert Lea, MN we set off. A large chunk of the day was spent in South Dakota. Now, SD is a lovely place but for one thing. We saw ridiculous amounts of billboards, mostly advertising Wall Drugs. (The kids counted 90 signs, and the first one we saw was actually in Minnesota — 355 miles before the destination!!) However, all of that rolling prarie was certainly beautiful. Over the course of this day I decided that I actually wanted to be a ranch wife. We passed signs for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home, I saw a cattle drive (cowboys!!), and we drove by a rodeo. We could have gone to the Corn Palace or the tractor museum. But no. “Rolling, rolling, rolling…” was our theme.

In the late afternoon, we crossed into Wyoming. Just about at that time, we saw a thunderstorm ahead of us in the west. Now, I do not like electrical storms. I bravely drove on, telling herself that this is wide open country, and the lightening was actually quite far ahead. Of course, we were headed in that direction, and just as I was starting to get a little more nervous we were bombarded with the heaviest hailstorm I have ever known. It was crazy! We crawled along at 5-10 mph for maybe five minutes before we were out of it. We pushed along a bit farther, entering more mountainous terrain; saw several herds of pronghorn; entered Montana, and gave up for the night. Total hours on the road: about 14 again.

Saturday: up a little earlier and on the road by 8. We drove in Montana until 5 pm. NINE HOURS, and that wasn’t even close to the entire width of the state. Have mercy! (You know you’re in trouble when you enter a state and you see that there are 599 more exits to drive past to get to the next state). It’s gorgeous land however. Hills (mountains) and plains. We crossed the continental divide at 6392 ft elevation. I wish we could have taken the time to go to Yellowstone or Zion while out there, but that will have to be another trip. Needless to say, after the brutality of driving through Montana, it was a blessed relief to drive through the panhandle of Idaho and get through that state in just over an hour. We stopped for a quick bite in Liberty Lake, WASHINGTON, and got on the road again. We had hoped to get all the way back Saturday night, but we all very sensibly realized that was a “lack of genius” plan and called it a night in Moses Lake.

Sunday: Quick (comparatively) drive home in the morning of about 2.5 hours. We hadn’t been to the house for very long when our family and friends showed up with lunch and strong muscles to help unload, for which we are eternally grateful.

And so we are back, with no time of rest for the weary, since we’ve got to unpack, get Miss J registered at school for next year, fix the poor car (which decided to sound like a lifelong smoker with emphysema toward the end of the trip), and get ready for Youngest Son’s wedding next month. When is my vacation??? And when will I have the time or energy to knit again??

Best song heard on the radio while driving: “Life is a Highway”

Most frequently heard song while channel surfing the radio: “Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp (?!?!?!??)

2nd most frequently heard song: “1999” by Prince. (Again, ?!?!?!?)


Ten More Days

So it has come down to this: ten more days in Ohio before we move home to Washington. I am, surprisingly or not, full of mixed emotions about this which I’m prepared to share with my friends. Today’s installment: what I won’t miss about Ohio. (I have decided to start with the “negative” aspects because I want to finish up with more happy things.)

First of all in thought, though not necessarily in order of importance, I will not miss potholes. People of Washington, you know NOTHING about this. We’re talking craters that could swallow a truck whole. The Ohio DOT (or whatever it’s called out here) spends much of the summer attempting to fix these, and it helps, but I think it’s like leprosy. You can cover it with a bandaid but it won’t go away.

Secondly, I will not miss the bugs. Yeah, lightening bugs are cool. And listening to the chorus of 8 billion crickets is kind of cool for a while, though sometimes they are so loud you can hardly hear yourself think. But I am not a fan of bugs. They have their place, but it is not in my house or near my body.

Then of course, there’s the humidity. Yeah, I definitely won’t miss that. Even when it’s hot in Washington, it cools down overnight and there’s a freshness to the air in the morning. Not here. Seven a.m. on a lovely, sunny summer morning…you step out on the back deck and immediately are drenched with a wave of stickiness. Seventy degrees, ninety-five percent humidity. Not going to miss that.

I won’t be missing the drivers. Maybe I’m doing them a disservice and slandering their good names. Maybe it’s in the Driver’s Handbook for Ohio. Maybe it’s actually the law that after a light turns red it’s okay for the next four cars to go through the intersection. Yes, I have learned to wait and make sure all of the violators have finished crossing the street before I head into it.  And then there are the drivers that pull up behind you on the freeway and park themselves on your rear bumper. Plenty of room in the left lane for them to pass, they just like to stay where they are. I think speed limits out here are more like guidelines than an actual code.

I won’t miss the fact that at present, I have to think about what time it is when I want to call anyone on the West Coast. It’s pretty much never a good time to call some people–what’s okay for me isn’t okay for them, and vice versa. Some of you out there haven’t even had dinner before I need to go to bed; and I can take Julia to school, go for a long walk, wash some dishes or laundry, practice the piano, sweep up the eternally shedding cats’ fur, and pay bills, and you’re all still waking up and getting the kids off to school.

And I truly won’t miss having so little family around. My house was meant to have more of my relatives in it more often.

P.S. – I definitely won’t miss this much raking:


Sweet William

One more day until the ebook is here!

Today we’re going to look not at tragedy, not at history, or even comedy. We’re going to look at Bill’s softer side.  I want to share two patterns that are on my own “to-make” list. They are A-DOR-A-BLE! The first is a sweater for a baby. I need about 15 people I know to have babies just so I can make this a bunch of times:


(c) Elizabeth Green Musselman

Can’t you see it?? A brown bear, a polar bear, a PANDA bear, a black bear…I’m swooning over here from the cuteness! (Ooh! And a golden brown Winnie the Pooh version!!! AAAHHHH!) The pattern is Exeunt, Pursued By Bear, by Amy Tyszkiewicz.

The other pattern that I think is sweet is the Fairy Queen Tea Cozy by Cassandra Deavers and Alex Aulisi.


(c) Caro Sheridan

It’s too bad my daughter is too old for tea parties, though to be honest, she wasn’t into them when she was of the age to be into them. I’m going to make this anyway. All of those embellishments look like so much fun to knit, and how could you not feel happy using a tea cozy like this?

One thing about the newest Defarge book that makes me squirmy with delight is the fact that there are a lot of socks in it. Six patterns (including my own)!

I love sweaters. Really, I do. And I have knit more in the last couple of years than in previous years, but I definitely have a preference for knitting accessories. This is probably because you don’t have to be quite as concerned about gauge. (Or else, ahem, you pretty much know what gauge you’re going to get with sock yarn and needles and can–with a moderate amount of safety–assume the correct size to knit).

I love all of the socks in the book. Some of them are moderately easy, some are definitely a challenge that you can sink your teeth into. There’s a place for both types in my knitting world.

Meg Warren has another lovely sock pattern in this book. (I still want to knit Tristan and Isolde from one of the previous volumes). This time she’s done a lovely knit-purl pattern: The Very Sole of Wit.


(c) Elizabeth Green Musselman

Another pattern that I’m itching to cast on is Viola’s Stockings. Beads! Cables!


(c) Caro Sheridan

Ironically, back before I joined Ravelry and had time to read blogs, I used to follow Sarah’s adventures. I’m sorry I quit following her, because she’s started designing and there are a number of her patterns that I’d like to knit.

There’s never enough time to knit all the things, is there??

More of the Madame

This week is all about the book. I’m excited about it, and not just because of my own patterns in it. There are some amazing patterns by other designers. I can’t believe I have a part in this book beside some of the Famous People of Knitting.

A couple of the patterns that caught my eye are by the same designer, Julia Temiseva. Yes, they might have caught my eye because both of them are knit in red, and red is my favorite color. (Well, except when green is my favorite, but I digress…)

Both of these patterns are inspired by King Lear, and are simply beautiful.

Mrs. Lear’s Mitts:


(c) Caro Sheridan

And Mrs. Lear’s Scarf:


(c) Caro Sheridan

Can’t you see why I’m excited??? These are just lovely, and I can’t wait to get started knitting.

It’s Here!!!

So my life has been insane–we’re moving again–and I’ll discuss that and what I’ve been knitting lately next time, but for now I just need to freak out (in a good way) because the NEW BOOK IS ALMOST OUT!!!

I’ve been sitting on these two patterns for quite some time, and not talking about them (which is extremely hard for me, and now the wait is over.)

First of all, what book? It’s the third installment of “What Would Madame DeFarge Knit”, and this one is called “DeFarge Does Shakespeare”. Here is the link!   Go! Order it now! The digital version will be available Friday, the print version in a couple of weeks. (And let me just say that the digital copies put out by Cooperative Press are really fabulous). While you’re over on the site, sign up for the newsletter. There’s going to be a free, extra pattern that comes out with the book.

Okay next up, are the two patterns I have in it!

Lover’s Tangle Socks!

Here’s the non-official, my own personal picture of it:


And then the Sonnet 73 Gauntlets:


(This picture is in the book and was taken by Mr. Greenethumb!)

I’m ridiculously excited about this book. The previous two DeFarge books have terrific patterns, and this one is no exception. I’ll be sharing more of the patterns in this book over the course of the week.

Go. Check it out. You can find it on Cooperative Press’s website too. And knit with the Bard.

Having New Year’s Day on January 1st just doesn’t work for me.

Here’s the thing: when you have kids and husband home for the last two weeks of the year, and when those two weeks are filled with lots of holiday activities (and believe me, I tend to bake and craft and decorate and cook and…); well, when those things happen, there’s not a lot of time for reflection and organizing.

I love a fresh start. I love cleaning up the holiday decorations and going for a more simple, clean look in the house. I adore planning new projects, whether they are knitting, or sewing, or crocheting. I love make lists: what to clean (this obviously includes everything, but I love crossing things off as I finish them), books I want to read, people I want to make plans with, what I want or need to do in my garden. But it does take time to think these things through, and I just can’t focus on it when my people are around.

So I’m officially giving it up. January is now going to be my recover-from-the-holidays month. Cleaning all that stuff up. Putting all of the books and sweaters and yarn and stuff that has accumulated in the living areas away where it belongs. Purging a closet if I feel like it. Knitting All The Things. Renewing my commitment to exercise and eating healthier. (Yeah, that always takes a hit over the holidays too.)

And so today, on February 1, I begin my official new year. Now I’m going to get organized, and start working diligently on my projects of all sorts. My notebook(s) will be my best friends, and we will have a lovely time making plans and sticking to them. (And occasionally NOT sticking to them. Life should be enjoyed, after all!)

Now, something that I did do in January, or at least finish in January, was a new sock design. I am very priviledged to be one of the mystery sock designers for the Solid Socks group on Ravelry. Every other month, they have a mystery challenge. Once a week (for a total of four weeks), a clue is released to knit part of a sock, so that at the end of the month you can have a pair of socks. Not knowing what it’s going to look like is the challenge! I’m not going to spoil the surprise by showing it here, but if you want to take a peek, the pattern is called Buttercup’s Heroes, and is inspired by one of my all time favorite movies, “The Princess Bride”. I have to say, I LOVE this sock. I know it’s not polite to love any of your “children” more than the others, but this may be one of my favorite designs ever.