Friday, November 17, 2017

Scandinavia Photos

which I said I would post ages ago, but honestly, photos on Google are so much better than mine!

So here goes:  

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. Isn't she large?  Isn't she beautiful?

This is not my photo of her.

This is:

Surrounded by tourists. Some on land, some, like us, on a boat.  

She's not all that large, and she's not way out in the water. I think she should be and then she wouldn't have been beheaded at least twice in the past and she wouldn't have had a bikini painted on her during a conservative era in Denmark.


According to the exhibit at the hotel in Fläm, this was traditional dress in Norway at some point in the past. I never saw anyone wearing these clothes, not a surprise, but what was a surprise was seeing a number of people wearing what was probably traditional dress in Sweden, even whole families of people walking along in traditional dress. Maybe it was some sort of holiday; it was a Sunday, so maybe for church? I don't know, but it was fun to see.

Culture shock, says the caption.

But I think it's genius.

While it is no surprise to see two single beds pushed together to make one king-size bed, it was a surprise to see separate covers for each, and it's brilliant!  Neither sleeper gets strangled by the other one yanking (ahem) the covers over to HIS side of the bed. Once we returned home, I made our bed the same way, but with our existing king-size mattress and one bottom sheet, but two duvets, twin-bed size, for each of us. Success!!!  No more nighttime fights over the covers; no one gets strangled.  

This sculpture in the Vigeland Park is one of the most popular and most photographed. I suppose it is meant to celebrate woman, but when I look at it, I see a woman about to tear her hair out.  (H-is this you?)  Vigeland Park is the world's largest sculpture park by one artist, and has over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. It also has more rose bushes than I have ever seen in one place and they are beautiful. I suspect that long days of summer sunlight are the biggest factor in their blooming. 

Once again, I took a photo of a strange sign, this one at a gas station in Sweden. Anyone know what this means?

Is it racist?  Is it misogynist? Is it whatever word makes fun of yokels?  Are there yokels in Sweden?

It remains a mystery.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

If all else fails, read the instructions, right?


Rats. I had to give in when I tried to sew yesterday. I couldn't remember how to thread this machine and how to fill a bobbin. I think everything should be intuitive, but after years of not sewing, I realized that my intuition just didn't work.  

Where were my grandchildren when I needed them?! For them, it would have been easy, just like everything computer-related is easy.

Now, you might ask, why is Knittergran sewing? She's a knitter; it's right in her name.

It's a matter of mission creep. You know--- how you paint a room and then the room you can see from the freshly-painted room suddenly needs paint too? Mission creep.

My mission creep started with this:

My Instant Pot. I've made several meals using it, and they have been great AND fast!

This 15-bean soup, for example.

What does soup have to do with a sewing machine?

After the Pot arrived, I was cruising the Instant Pot Facebook site for recipes when I came across this cover:

I can do that, I thought. 

I put out a bat signal to the hive mind of my contacts, asking if anyone had seen this fabric, and within minutes, minutes, I tell you, Sallyknit found the fabric at a shop in Ohio.  

I ordered it and it was here in just a couple of days. Now I need to make the cover. 


I forgot that I don't really enjoy sewing; I did enjoy it when my daughters were young and I could quickly sew up the cutest clothes for them. I even made them matching outfits, so clever am I. (As adults, they informed me that since they are almost seven years apart in age, my outfits meant that one of them was guaranteed to be wearing age-inappropriate clothing. hmph...CUTE age-inappropriate clothing, says I.)

Too late I realized that I need to MAKE MY OWN PATTERN for this cover.  Yikes! 

And BONUS!  Mission creep wasn't over with this sewing project. I have been asking, pleading, begging for years for a food laminator aka vacuum/sealer thingy. While I do realize that I put a hex on any gift needing a plug, couldn't my family figure out that this was an exception? Apparently not.

Now that I have the means to make many, many leftovers with my Instant Pot, I need a way to store the food without freezer burn.  Hence, the food laminator.

I ordered it my own self:

No, of course I have not read the instructions yet.

I'm counting on it to be intuitive.

Monday, October 30, 2017


I am just back from a long weekend in Black Mountain, NC and Asheville, NC.  A group of us attended SAFF, the big animal fiber fair held on the WNC Agricultural Center grounds.  

The leaves had the generosity to change colors as we watched.

There was little color when we arrived on Thursday, but by Sunday, after a cold front blew through, this is what we saw from the deck of our rented house on Black Mountain.

We were a little disappointed though---in the past, the event took place in the arena where cattle auctions are held, and it was larger than the new building we used this year.  Imagine this area filled with all fiber-related vendors and displays:

This year, the arena held goats and sheep and at the top, above the seating, were the gorgeous angora rabbits.

Really, there IS a rabbit in there!

This is a French Angora Rabbit, cleaning his ears.  

There was a seven-year old girl with us, and boy-howdy, did she want a fluffy rabbit!  But her grandmother held firm, and no one carried a rabbit back to Atlanta.

Partly thanks to the cold, and then the rain, and then this:

we stayed indoors and knit. And knit. And knit. The owners of the house were pretty adamant that yes, there are bears (and snakes) so we lit a fire and enjoyed the company of the ten of us who went up the twisty, turny, hairpin turns on the sometimes paved, sometimes not, roads up the mountain.  

Yarn was bought; needles were bought. Other knitting-related items were bought. (Passive voice to avoid identifying the guilty)

One of the group made these bags to hold our purchases:

What, you might ask, does Y93.D1 mean?

Well, just in case you work with yarn or other fibers, Y93.D1 is the medical billing code for knitting/crocheting injuries. Really!

There is a code for that.


Monday, October 16, 2017


My husband asked me recently what kind of doctor I would be if I were a doctor. I don't know why he asked, but I immediately answered "a brain surgeon." I had given this some thought a couple of years ago when my daughter needed brain surgery and I read a lot about the topic. I've considered other activities as well:  if I were a baseball player, I would be a pitcher; if I were a professional tennis player, I would only play singles, etc.. Keeps my mind from obsessing about the possible apocalypse or about conspiracy theories.

Today I had to fix stitches in my Shelby Pattern. It's knit with fine lace yarn, and it's intricate, and when I finally had conquered the lace portion, after ripping the whole thing out twice, I messed up the border. It's supposed to be garter stitch, but on the purl side I kept purling the border stitches instead of knitting them, and so I was getting stockinette stitch. (Non- knitters may want to bail on this post.)

I set up my surgery station and started work:

I had all the correct tools: two sizes of steel crochet hooks, the Ott light, and the attached magnifier lens. After about an hour, I was able to put the first five stitches back on the needle and purl across the back to get to the last five stitches and fix those. But---ACKKK---now I had done something wrong and had too many stitches in the first lace section and I couldn't figure out how that happened. I tried; I really did.

And I ripped the whole thing out once again. 

So I have concluded that I lack the dexterity necessary to perform brain surgery. Patients are safe from me. I know it's a poor workman who blames his tools, and I can't do that, but I do think that if I were a surgeon, I would have a better surgical assistant than Baxter. He did check everything out and he approved of my set up and tools, but then he just kept getting in the way. 

I have fired him.

Monday, September 25, 2017


Odds and ends from our trip:

Of course, the high point were the fjords in Norway.

From the boat tour:

From the train:

From the railway website:

And because I can't help myself, I take photos of weird signs. This sign in the bathroom on the boat we took through the fjords was only in English, so apparently English-speaking people have been behaving badly. They should stop.

Photos don't do justice to the fjords, so I'll stop, but these were formed by glaciers millions and millions of years ago, and the water in this area is deeper than 1,000 feet. I can't even imagine what this must have looked like millions and millions of years ago, before the glaciers completely melted. There are only a few left in this area, just small areas on the tops of some of the mountains.

If any countries need tunnels, they should contact the powers-that-be in Norway, because they are champs at building tunnels. We went through dozens of them while travelling around, but this is my favorite. It is the longest tunnel in the world at about 15 miles long, has air filtrations systems, and these sections of blue that are supposed to simulate daylight driving, but I thought they looked like driving through a glacier (I hear they are blue).

Nobel had to invent dynamite! It became the best way to tunnel through the mountains in Norway, and driving was an efficient way to deliver goods (and now tourists) through the country.

More to come.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Have You Ever

seen a more beautiful lace shawl?

You have?  You've seen Faroese shawls, Estonian Lace shawls, Orenburg shawls?

Well, OK.  

But have you ever seen a more beautiful lace shawl knitted by yours truly???

No you haven't (because I haven't made any others).

Seychelles from Ravelry designed by Susannah IC

I bought the materials for this four years ago and then put it all aside thinking that it was much too difficult for me.

But I corresponded with a couple of knitters on Ravelry who had made it, and who assured me that it was easy.

And it WAS!  Amazingly easy.

Shhhh....don't tell anyone else.  OK?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Did It!

The pattern for Seychelles, which intimidated me for four years, turned out to be really easy, especially after two cabled sweaters I made.

Each of these sweaters has patterning on the wrong sides of the knitting as well as on the right sides. It was a lot to keep track of!

The Seychelles wrong side rows were always just purl stitches. A breeze, and there were only 41 stitches per row, and only 20 rows per repeat section. 19 repeats but still, they were easy, so easy that I could work on them while I watched the new season of Endeavour. Yay! I love Endeavour, the prequel to the dull Inspector Morse series; the main character, the older Morse, was depressed, and I suppose he was such an effective actor that he made the show .... depressing. I never finished watching the series.

Anyway, here is the beaded lace portion of the project.

Now all that remains is to pick up a million zillion! stitches along the non-beaded side of this lace and knit the stockinette part of the wrap. There are (shudder) short rows to keep track of, but I think that is as complicated as the rest of the project gets.

This will be the most delicate thing I've ever had to block, and I think that will be a bit challenging. I'll be afraid I'll break the fine thread-like yarn!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I'm a Southerner?

Yes, I currently am, although you wouldn't think so based on the amount of wool clothing I have. Surprise! I said to myself when I needed these three bags to hold it all.

THREE trash bags contain all of my woolens, clothing as well as things I have knit.

I live in HOTlanta, Georgia, y'all.  For goodness sake.

I am paranoid about moths after losing two winter coats to them over a couple of summers, two beautiful camelhair coats.  sniff... So each summer, I put everything moths would like to eat in these bags in the car and let them ride along with me for a few days. In the driveway and in parking lots, I've gotten the heat in the car up to 132 degrees, and that is supposed to kill all stages of moths. GASP... I have to open all of the windows and run the ac for a few minutes before I can get in and touch the steering wheel.

From these bags, the clothes go into airtight plastic containers until it's cold enough to wear them. IF it's cold enough to wear them. I haven't replaced my winter coat because for the last few years, I just haven't needed one. Winter here is like winter was in Florida when I lived there; a good sweater for cool mornings was all I needed.

I have just finished my snood, and it's all set for Norway, and of course, I will break out a sweater or two to take along. It is supposed to be in the 60s while we are there, perfect weather for tourists!

hmmm.  I see that this needs to be blocked to even out the decreased stitches area. As my youngest granddaughter says: Easy peasy, nice and breezy.

Off to soak a snood in Soak.  A little alliteration!

Sunday, August 6, 2017


I am currently knitting this snood to take with me to Norway in the fall. Seems as if it would be useful, plus it's an easy knit and that is nice to combine with the more complicated Seychelles that I am slowly working on.

Blue Skies Woolstok, Earth Ivy

And I made another Cherry Clafoutis, yum, half recipe since no one else in the house likes it and I get to have to eat it all by myself. Poor, poor me.

But I will NOT be making any more jam. At first I did think it tasted ok, but it really doesn't. It wouldn't jell as quickly as I thought it should (a no-pectin recipe) so I would add more lemon juice, and then I would think that it would taste too lemony and I would add more sugar, and it made for the weirdest sweet sour jam. It just doesn't taste very good. It is edible, in the sense that someone desperate for sustenance would probably eat it, but I will leave jam making up to the professionals. My attempt at blueberry jam does not compare to this:

It's so good that I ate it all! On my second batch of crumpets. But not to fear. I bought more.

Speaking of desperate for sustenance, I have finished reading The Best Land Under Heaven, by Michael Wallis, and what a terrible story. Of course cannibalism is a terrible choice to make, and some did not choose to eat cannibalized peers. I guess I had always thought of the choice as the result of sort of a reasonable conversation amongst reasonable people, but starving people aren't necessarily reasonable. Some were so starved that they hallucinated, and others truly went mad. It's no wonder that they did what they did.

However, each person did agree not to partake any of their own cannibalized family, but I'm not sure that that even held up as time went on. One young boy was seen eating a live mouse he had just caught; others ate raw organs as they were taken from the bodies. Necessary? I guess they thought so. I don't know why others survived without resorting to cannibalism.  

On a lighter note...sort of...Abraham and Mary Lincoln were good friends of one of the couples who went on the trip and these friends, the Reeds, tried to convince the Lincolns to go too. Abe was fascinated by the idea of the west coast and had indicated interest in going, but finally decided that he was more determined to have a political career. Mary had no interest in leaving her comfortable life in Springfield, Illinois in order to travel in wagons through very difficult terrain, populated with native Americans---some friendly, some not.

Imagine how different American history would be if Lincoln had gone on the journey with the Donners and Reeds.

The End!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

It's Texas, y'all!

My daughter is at the beach in Texas. I warned her about sharks, but didn't really think there would be cows at the beach.

But hey! It's Texas, and what would be more "normal" than practicing roping cows with a plastic one, at the beach:


Friday, July 21, 2017

Cows ARE deadlier than sharks are!

And here's the link.

And they don't so much fall on people as they do attack people.

Maybe that's fair, since we do eat a lot of them. Vegetarianism might be a better idea than we knew.

(Thanks, C, for finding this article!)

Bonus Far Side cartoon:

Thursday, July 20, 2017


My older daughter, Heather, told me this morning that she and her husband are going this weekend to the beach in Corpus Christi, Texas. When she mentioned the trip to a friend, the friend protested, "There are sharks in the Gulf!"

Well, yes there are; it's where they live. Heather told her friend that being at a salt water beach is where she is happiest, and I agree, although in my case, the beach is tied with a Har-Tru tennis court. I don't have access to either one since I moved from Florida.  sigh.

Heather said that she had read that more people are killed each year by being fallen on by a cow than by being attacked by a shark. We laughed. I said I didn't know anyone fallen on by a cow, so a shark attack was even less likely.

Ooops.  I realized after the conversation that I DID know someone who was attacked by a shark and who had a really mangled wrist to prove it. I was at the hair salon, having my hair returned to its God-intended color (strawberry blonde in case you wondered), when the woman who sat down next to me had her wrist all bandaged up. The shampoo girl asked what had happened.

The woman explained that she had been on Cumberland Island, and after she and her daughter had run the circumference of the island, they lay down in very shallow water, held themselves up by putting their hands down on the sand, and kicked just to cool off after the run. Suddenly the woman's hand was in a shark's mouth.

A fast boat ride to the mainland later, the woman met her husband at the hospital. She showed us photos of her wrist and arm. When I told her that I was surprised that she had thought to take photos, she told me that she hadn't, that she was in shock at that point, and that her husband had taken them. 

Of course he had. What is wrong with men? When I broke my wrist, was covered in mud from the swamp I fell in, and was wrapped in a sheet to protect the furniture in the ER, my husband took a photo. I deleted it when I discovered it. Ugh.

Anyway, the woman's wrist and arm were put back together, and I'm sure she is fine by now. But the shampoo girl asked, "Are you sure it wasn't a whale?"

In two feet of water???  C'mon.

Anyway, Heather, here is a chart to keep in mind:
Shark's view from below the surface

Just don't go surfing, ok?

And I guess don't stand next to any cattle?

(I suppose she read the cow/shark statistic on the internet, so it must be true, right? Seems unlikely though.)