Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mexico Again (And Again)

Stan and I spent ten days in Mazatlan in the middle of October, we flew home, and now I am back in Mexico. I'm in Ajijic, a town on Lake Chapala, near Guadalajara. A friend moved there a year ago and has been wanting folks from her hometown to come see her and her new home. I'm always game for a trip so here I am.

I have to make room for more pictures on my blogger server, so words will have to do for now.

It was beastly hot in Mazatlan, the locals even complained. El Nino had warmed the ocean and created super high humidity. We still had fun and went to the places we like the best. Last year I was so very sick when we left I forgot my Kindle. Took a long time to get well, but that's another story. Our friend Steve from the resort took it home and one year later I got it back! I bought another one in the meantime, now I have a spare so the grandkids don't hog the new one. We got home before the hurricane hit, but it missed Mazatlan anyway.

The weather here in Ajijic is perfect, high 70s during the day and around 60 at night. The altitude is high and the humidity is low, similar to Montana only without the snow, lol! Carol is taking me to lots of places, today we rode the bus to Chapala and some of the outlying towns. We walked the malecon in Chapala and had lunch there. The rest of the week will be filled with social events, more food, and a little volunteering.

I am slightly homesick, two trips back to back kinda do that to you. But this has been a great adventure, traveling all by myself, and I'm missing a couple of big snowstorms back home.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Toe-Up Sock Pattern

I've shared my socks on Facebook for a while now, and everybody has been asking for the pattern.  So I finally got my act together and here it is:

                                          Toe-up Socks
Materials and tools:
1 set of double pointed needles, size 2 (US)
Fine sock yarn, about 400 yards.  This usually takes most of two 1.76 oz skeins for adult size
Yarn needle, tape measure, scissors, small crochet hook for picking up stitches

KFB=increase, knit stitch as usual but don’t slide off left needle, then insert needle into back of stitch and knit another, then slide original stitch off needle.
SSK=decrease, Slip two stitches as to knit, slip left needle in the front of both stitches, wrap yarn around right needle & pull through, slipping off onto right needle

Sized for infants-toddlers, older child and adult sizes in parentheses

Toe & Foot:
Cast on 8 (8, 12, 12) stitches. Knit one row straight across.
Pick up 8 (8, 12, 12) stitches on the other side.
Round 1:  Knit 1, KFB, knit 4 stitches, with another needle knit the next four stitches, KFB, K 1.  Go to last needle-K 1, KFB, knit to last 2 stitches, KFB, K1
Round 2:  Knit around.
Continue rows 1 and 2 until you have 28 (36, 48, 64) stitches on your needles total.
Knit in the round until the length of the foot is 2 inches shorter than the length of your foot. (For an infant about 1 ½”, for a toddler about 2 ½”, for an older child about 4”, an average woman, about 6 ½”, for a man 7” or 7 ½”)

Gusset Increases:
Round 1:
Needle 1: K1, KFB, knit to end.
            Needle 2: Knit to last 2 stitches, KFB, K!
            Needle 3: Knit across
Round 2:
            Knit around
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there are a total of 40 (48, 64, 84) stitches on your needles.

Forming Heel:
Knit 7 (8, 12, 16) stitches from first needle.  These stitches will rest for a bit.
            SSK, Knit 10 (12, 12, 18) stitches. 
            Divide the rest of the stitches evenly on two needles, including the first 7 (8, 12, 16) you knitted.
            Row 1: Working back and forth: Row 1-P 2 together, purl across row, turn
            Row 2: SSK, knit across row.
            Repeat rows 1 & 2 until there are 6 (6, 8, 8) stitches left on needle, ending with the right side facing.
Heel Flap:
            Slip 1, knit across.  Pick up 6 (8, 9, 11) stitches from the increase edge you created when extending for the heel
Turn, slip 1, P across picked up stitches and the heel stitches. Pick up and purl 6 (8, 9, 11) stitches on the other edge you created with the heel formation.
Turn, you should have 18 (22, 26, 30) stitches on your heel needle.
Row 1:  (K 1, slip 1 as to purl), repeat between () to the last stitch.  Slip last stitch onto needle, slip one stitch from reserved stitches and knit both stitches together.
            Row 2:  Turn, slip 1 as to purl, purl across row to last stitch.  Slip stitch onto needle, slip one stitch from reserved stitches and purl both stitches together.
            Repeat rows 1 & 2 until you have a total of 28 (36, 48, 64) stitches on all your needles again, ending with a purl row.
            Divide stitches back onto 3 needles again.  Work, knitting in rounds until leg is as long as you want.
            Work in K 2 P 2 ribbing until cuff is as long as you want.  Bind off.

Baby and toddler socks are the most fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

At the River

Stan suggested we try to cool off at the river so we drove out to the bridge with Sydney and the dogs. After Stan dragged me through the mud, which I fell into after my flip flop got stuck, we found a nice spot.

Grandpa and his shadow.

The dogs hated the water and Merlin rolled in the gravel to try to dry off. It took a long bath to get the sand out of his fur!

The boy dipping for minnows.
Came home and we all showered. Then I cooked bacon, fresh farm eggs and pancakes. Now to muster the energy to clean up the kitchen.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


We've been sailing through this summer, here it is August-don't know how it got here so soon! We thought we were going to have a very hot summer, but after the fourth of July it cooled down to balmy.

I'm still teaching a class on Wednesdays, it morphed from knitting to crocheting and from adults to kids. It's a good thing, there are plenty of latchkey kids out there, having something to do in the summer is a very good thing. Sydney has been staying with us. He's here all week and goes home on the weekends. His mom moved to Atlanta so we get to enjoy his company. He's been taking classes at the shop too, gets him out of the house and away from electronic screens.

On Tuesdays through the summer the Bozeman city band plays at Bogert Park in conjunction with the Tuesday farmer's market. So far Stan and I haven't missed any.

A lovely way to spend a summer evening, listening to a variety of music, watching the kids play, inhaling the scent from the barbecue vendors, and munching on freshly picked Montana Flathead cherries.

I get a little knitting done while I listen, unless it's too cold, it is Montana after all!
I haven't done much sewing, a few wedding gifts, but I really have the itch to make some new clothes for myself. The Manhattan Potato Festival is next week so first I want to be sure I have a good stock of items for the shop, she should have lots of traffic that day. Then some new tops for fall.

I've knitted something special but I can't reveal it until after Saturday. It's a very special gift, I can't wait for the recipient to see it-she might cry and I might too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Morning Fog

It's foggy in Manhattan this morning, I just had to snap this photo of the sun shining through it. Fog is fairly common here, we're pretty close to the Gallatin river. Makes me appreciate Montana's beauty.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Flowerbed Labor

I've been wanting to redo my back flowerbed for a long time. The daylilies were choked badly by crabgrass and the sod had grown into the bed. Everything else I had planted had died off. Since I've been seeing a naturopath for a year now, I have tons more energy so I was raring to go. I already had some bark and a roll of landscape fabric, a trip to the garden center resulted in more bark and a flowering cranberry bush. So I started on Tuesday digging the bed.

A nice mess!

I did the digging on Tuesday but I conned Stan into helping on Thursday. I'm glad he did, what a big job!

Rain delay.

Second rain delay. We mostly shoveled mud.

Landscape fabric down and ready to plant.

Ta daaa!!! 5 1/2 bags of bark later that included another trip to the garden center and it's done.
Now just don't look too closely at the deck, it's very old and needs a good coat of stain, plus some repair work. Guess I know what's next.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fun Stuff

We've had a really warm spring so far, actually our winter was pretty mild, a huge contrast to the eastern part of the United States. I've been selling a few things at the shop, but so far I'm just paying my rent. I've been working on some spring things, Deb said they're short on tiny girl's stuff.

So I'm making some sun hats:

I started this shawl a couple of years ago, it was intended for working on while sipping my coffee on my Mexican balcony. But it got too big to take so I worked on it sporadically at home. It's a little long, but I wanted to finish the color sequence. It's mine, I think, lol!

This was also a take-along pattern. I got impatient so I finished it. It's a Drops pattern, the patterns are translated from Norwegian and many things are lost in translation. I persisted and figured it out. It's for my gift stash, I couldn't get enough for it to sell in the shop. My niece is pregnant, maybe she'll get it if she has a boy.

Today is a big day, I'm going to start teaching knitting! My first class is toe-up socks. I rewrote a pattern and added child and toddler's sizes, got the pattern copied and I'm ready to go. I hope I can instill a love of knitting in others, it's been something I've loved to do ever since I swiped my mom's books and yarn and taught myself at age 11.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Busy January

I had decided my jobs for the new year were to first get some things ready to take to to the gift shop, then knuckle down and really clean my sewing room. Got the stuff to the shop and now I'm working on that room. I decided if I didn't have storage for something it was going out, so I ruthlessly sorted my fabric.

I ended up with seven, yes seven bags of fabric to give away! It is a mix of scraps and full pieces. I had a huge bag of fleece scraps, our adopted granddaughter took it to the retirement home where she works and they're going to piece lap robes, a cool idea. I advertised in some of the local classified pages on Facebook and it's gradually going away. I'm down to three bags. A big bag of scraps went to the local 4H group for sewing practice. I thought about giving it all to Goodwill, but I knew if I advertised it the fabric would go to people who appreciated it. Someone is coming in the morning to look at the rest, hopefully she'll take it all.

Here's a disgusting before picture. It had been a really long time since I'd done anything.

Here's the same bookcase after sorting. This is my quilt fabric. I also have places for purse fabrics, apparel fabric, knits, fleece and flannel. Rolling it really helps to keep it neater.

This was in Stan's mom's stash. Made in France-I need to make something special out of it. The bad thing about being a sewer is that when people find out you sew, they give you all kinds of fabric and notions. So far I've been too nice to say no, you never know what treasures there might be, but I'm practicing my "no!" as we speak.
Twirly scarves for the gift shop.

Potato baker bags. These are so cool-you wash your potato, wrap it in a paper towel and microwave it in the bag. They turn out delicious! I also brought in a pile of other things, including bowl cozies.

I'm going to shy away from fabric stores for a while, I still have enough down there to keep me busy until I die!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I'm Alive!

My friends were probably wondering what happened to me. Well, I got sick, really sick. Just before we left for Mazatlan I got what I thought were back spasms. Then I developed a cough and it hurt my back to breathe. I went for acupuncture twice and my acupuncturist was concerned when the pain didn't go away, he felt there was something wrong with my heart and lungs. He advised me to go to a Western doctor if I wasn't better after my trip.

Well, I was sick the whole two weeks, finally the Tuesday before we left for home I called a doctor. I figured it was pneumonia and he treated me for that. But I didn't get better, I started getting worse. We had a long flight home that Friday with three layovers, we left at 6:00 A.M. and got home at midnight. I couldn't walk through the airports so I requested wheelchairs.

The next morning, after sleeping sitting up on the couch I got dressed and had Stan drive me to Urgent Care. They flipped out! They took a chest x-ray and started a breathing treatment. When the x-ray was developed the physician's assistant sent me to the hospital, she said my heart was enlarged. She wanted to call an ambulance but I thought it was silly, given that Stan was in the waiting room and I'd survived 18 hours of flying the day before.

After several hours in the ER I was diagnosed with viral pericarditis. The pericardium is a sac around your heart and mine was full of fluid,  my heart was enlarged and my inflammation markers were off the chart. Plus the albuterol from the breathing treatment put me in a fib. I was admitted and spent two hellish days battling with the staff-they didn't care that I was either allergic or sensitive to ask the drugs they gave me. I was sicker when I left the hospital than when I was admitted.

After being discharged I spent the next few weeks sleeping sitting up on the couch. It became obvious that if I didn't want to be sick anymore I'd have to take matters in my own hands, so I started taking colloidal silver. They had told me that the virus in my heart could be any kind-cold, flu, stomach bug-it was in my body and chose to hit my heart. Colloidal silver is a fantastic antiviral and it worked.

I was really sick a total of about 2 1/2 months. Just before my birthday I went for acupuncture and he told me I had really scared him. He did a moxa or mugwort treatment and by Sunday I was almost completely well! Thanksgiving was tough but our great kids came over and did all the cooking and cleanup. By Christmas I was able to do pretty much everything

I still have to be careful, no jogging yet or heavy lifting but I feel so thankful to have survived. I told Stan the best Christmas gift I got was that I got to live. He was pretty happy about that, too! I actually have been knitting and started sewing again just after Christmas.

It's been so cold I made the dogs some sweaters. Chloe loves hers but Merlin hated his and rolled around on the floor until it came off. Silly boy, wait until he gets a haircut, he'll like it then!

These are bowl cozies. You place your bowl of soup or whatever in it and put it in the microwave and it keeps you from burning your fingers when you take it out. I made 24 and gave them as Christmas gifts. 
The grandkids didn't get homemade pajamas this year, I wasn't up to that until too late too get them done.

I quit my job just before we left for Mexico. I do miss it, but there was a situation I couldn't tolerate. I am enjoying my free time very much and I have a burning desire to do tons of sewing and knitting. And I've been asked to give knitting classes at a new craft/gift shop here in town-that should be a real hoot!