Author Archives: Wolf Crochet
I love the Knitting Fever Painted Desert yarn that I bought in Chesapeake City last week! It took me a while to come up with a project since I only had one skein of 437 yards. It wasn’t enough for a shawl but really a bit much for a scarf. Since I haven’t done much with lace crochet, I envisioned an airy all-season scarf with a non-perpendicular stitch pattern. I toyed with the idea of using the same pattern that is featured in that oh-so-beautiful Alpine Frost Scarf by Amy O’Neill Houck but I wanted to design my own.
Finally I settled on the star trellis stitch pattern. That decision led to another whole issue. I didn’t find this pattern in my stitch dictionary but in one of my other books. I suddenly realized how completely inadequate my stitch dictionary was!
I had purchased it years ago at a used book sale and it contains knitting as well as crochet stitches. The number of patterns is limited, the instructions are not well written, and there are no charts. I have been limping along with this thing for too long! So I decided to treat myself to this dictionary. It contains 500 crochet patterns, which should keep me happy for a while.
My new dictionary does not squeeze instructions for four or five stitch patterns onto one page. It shows no more than 2 stitch patterns per page and always includes a chart. I love it!
But I digress…I love the way that this yarn shades from deep magenta to deep blue. The colors are much darker than in the above photo. One problem I am having, which I seem to ALWAYS have when making a lacy scarf, is that my edges are looking a bit funky. I had to restart this project 4 times because if I followed the instructions for the edge stitches, I ended up with gaping holes on each side and the sides of the scarf were bowing outwards significantly. After a bit of trial and error I came up with a set of end stitches that I could live with but the edges still seem crooked to me. In the end, I will probably run a row of stitching along the edges, we’ll see. Maybe once it is blocked it will be straight.
I am completely smitten with the lace edging on this scarf and this scarf. I could do something similar to second edging by designing a half-circle motif for the ends.
Crochet Today is a great little magazine. The patterns are usually in the “Easy” to “Intermediate” range and they make use of some of the more popular yarns that can be purchased at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. I’ve made many great projects from Crochet Today. But recently I’ve decided to limit myself to one magazine and I chose Interweave Crochet. I have many back issues of Crochet Today and some of them contain projects that I will never make. How in the world do you get rid of them? My local Goodwill will not take them. I would send them out as give-aways but the postage is getting too expensive to do that for all of them. The local senior centers don’t want them. Oh I hate to just throw them away!
I was casting about for a good pattern for the two balls of sock yarn that I had. I had tried an openwork scarf but did not like the way the colors pooled. Then I noticed a little triangular shawl (more of a scarf really) called Bonsai Shawl in Interweave Crochet Accessories from 2011. This pattern is so easy, a simple trellis stitch with decreases on each side that culminate in a point at the end. What really made this pattern work with the sock yarn was that the decreases on each side effectively moved the colored sections slightly with each row. I had no pooling at all! I made the purple scarf up according to the pattern but increased my trellis chains to 5. This opened up the fabric a little. On the green scarf I used the 3-chain that is called for in the pattern and added a loopy border. Then I blocked the h____ out of it!
They both turned out very well. Neither scarf is heavy. In fact, they are so lightweight that they are more suitable for spring and summer than winter! I’ll have to remember this little trick when working with variegated yarns. If you have a short color repeat, then it is best to choose a pattern that will increase or decrease on each side.
I have good intentions but no matter how many times I try to finish one project before I start another, I have a bad habit of abandoning a boring pattern! I really love my Tunisian Cardigan project and the pattern writing has been a bit of a challenge but this thing is SLOW! The thin yarn makes it seem as if I am making very little progress. I’ve decided to revisit this whole effort in the fall when I will be more anxious to actually begin wearing sweaters again!
The yoga mat bag project is just plain boring. Around and around I go, alternating mesh and single crochet bands. Ho hum… I am actually pretty keen to get this done since I really need the bag but I am just not inspired at all!
And what about the Crop Circles project I was so excited about a few months ago? I still want to do something with this but I have hit a real snag. To get a good graphic in tapestry crochet I must use sport weight yarn. But working with sport weight yarn is also agonizingly slow.
Are you detecting a theme here? If I can’t finish a project within a reasonable amount of time, I lose interest! This must be why I have never become a knitter even though I now know how to knit. Knitting is so slow and picky!
Picked Eggs and Beets With Goat Cheese
I was recently inspired by an advertising flyer that came in the mail. It included a recipe for pickled eggs. However, I reasoned, why not simply buy the jarred pickled beets and marinate the whole boiled eggs in the juice? I started 4 days before I planned to serve this dish and placed 2 jars of the beets with the juice into a covered casserole dish. I added 8 eggs and let the eggs marinate for the 4 days. Once a day I turned the eggs.
Before serving, I drained the beets and eggs and placed several leaves of iceberg lettuce on the luncheon plates. The beets were spooned on top of the lettuce and the sliced eggs arranged on top of the beets. Then I cumbled some goat cheese and sprinkled it on top. Some fresh asparagus and a slice of Texas Toast completed the meal!
In The Yard
Well, it’s time for me to post my annual photos of my rock garden and my Dogwood tree. Funny how I never get tired of seeing the yard revive after the winter. Our dead trees along the back fence have been felled and new ones will be going in this week. The Dogwood is particularly beautiful this spring. And the rock garden, slumbering under its blanket of dead leaves and debris from winter will soon come into its own again!
And what do you think I will be working on in the evenings? Will it be the Yoga Mat Bag or the Crop Circles project? No way! I am starting a brand new pattern with the yarn I bought in Chesapeake City last week!
A couple of weeks ago, when the weather was still quite frigid, my friend Rose suggested a visit to Chesapeake City, MD. Chesapeake City is located in the far northeast corner of the state. We made a date for May 2nd. If you take the scenic route on US 1, you will cross the Susquehanna River at the Conowingo Dam. When completed in 1928 it was the second largest hydroelectric project by power output in the United States, behind only Niagara Falls. The road across the dam is very narrow but the views of the mighty Susquehanna are magnificent. Bird watchers descend on the area in droves to watch the eagles nesting in the dead trees along the banks.
As you approach the city, the St. Georges Bridge dominates the skyline. This bridge was completed in 1949 and it is at the base that the historic town of Chesapeake City lies. Chesapeake City is the only town in the U.S. that lies directly on a working canal. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was completed in 1829 and river traffic is still brisk. Barges navigate the canal on a regular basis, working their way down the 14 mile passageway.
Many of the original 19th century homes are still intact, with some dating to the 1700′s. The multi-colored homes are so tiny that one has to marvel at how the residents manage to conduct their daily lives in such small spaces. The tiny back yards are enclosed in white picket fences and many feature brick patios and small ponds.
One of the more well-known restaurants in town is the Bayard House. Rose and I chose a table in a sunny section of their patio and settled in to watch the barges float past. As you can see, our meal was top-notch. Rose chose the Stuffed Anaheim Peppers and I opted for the Lobster Salad Croissant. The waitress offered dessert but we decided to take our chances in town.
The Canal Creamery and Sweet Shoppe serving gelato, sorbet, coffee, and gourmet cookies was not open for business. The owner was preparing for his opening the next day and had an inspector coming in for the final approval. We walked around the building to the canal side and found a delightful patio with picnic tables. What a great place to enjoy an ice cream cone! Alas, it wasn’t meant to be…
Undaunted, we strolled around town, admiring the architecture and the shops. Shelia allowed me to photograph the antique cash register in the Mercantile. Dropping into the bakery, we discovered that it was more diner than bakery so we continued our quest for dessert. Lo and behold! What to my wondering eyes should appear but Vulcan’s Rest Fibers! Now here was a yarn shop! Rose and I managed to handle a variety of soft and delicious yarns before I caved in and bought a skein of Scrumptious Lace and a cake of Painted Desert. Of course I joined their mailing list, never mind that it took us 1 1/2 hours to get there!
We finally said good-bye to Chesapeake City and headed over the line to Delaware to Winbak Farm. Winback Farm specializes in breeding thoroughbred racehorses. My friend Rose loves horses and indeed, has been around them most of her life. She now lives in a developement and must limit her contact to the occasional visit to a farm. On a recent vacation, she investigated where she might be able to see some horses and found Winbak Farm. The ladies in the office were very gracious and seemed delighted that we requested leave to walk along the fence line and observe the new-born foals. They told us that the red collars indicated foals that were the result of studding and the mares who were with them had been implanted. The tiny foals looked very awkward as they galloped around on their spindly legs. A mare and foal came trotting over to the fence to greet us but after a few minutes, their curiosity satisfied, they wandered away.
We still hadn’t found dessert so we headed home. But while driving through Elkton, MD, we spotted Sweet Cowolines! Quickly Rose made a sharp right turn and we finally enjoyed our dessert! What a fantastic day it had been! The weather was gorgeous, in the low 70′s. At last we both managed to dispel the cabin fever that had taken hold of us during this long winter.
Oh! And last but not least…here is the yarn I bought. Stay tuned for the next post which will be back on topic. I finished a couple of beautiful scarves and managed to use up some of the sock yarn I had in my stash.
Each morning I walk my pooch Frazier around my neighborhood. I usually try to leave the house as soon as light hits the eastern sky. Frazier is an excitable dog and the sight of any other creature will set him off into paroxysms of high-pitched screeching. So to avoid the impression that I am abusing my dog, I walk before anyone else gets the idea to go outside.
I live in a rural small town. However, this small town has been growing since the 1980′s. New developments are nestled in amidst horse farms and corn fields. My development was built in 1998. If I walk a half block and make a left, I leave the neighborhood behind. From then on, only farms, fields, and woods surround me.
New Freedom was once an important stop on the B&O Railroad line. Summit Grove Camp and Conference Center, a Christian organization, was a huge destination during the 1800′s and 1900′s. The camp is located directly next to the tracks and old photos depict Methodists dressed in their finest arriving by train from the city. Summit Grove is still in full swing today. The front doors of the houses on the opposite side open right onto the tracks!
The York County Heritage Rail Trail has replaced the B&O Railroad. If you are ambitious enough, you can get onto your bike and ride from York, PA to Annapolis, MD. Most of the track has been damaged or neglected. In some places along the trail, it has been completely removed. However, the Steam into History train is scheduled to begin operating in 2013, in time to mark the 150th anniversary of the Confederate invasion of York and the Battle of Gettysburg. It will operate a Civil War era steam train on the former Northern Central Railway between New Freedom and Hanover Junction PA. I have heard that an on-board lunch will be served.
But back to that walk…
Many of the trees on my street are still bare but the ornamentals are in full bloom! Walking downhill past the horse farm, I notice that hurricane Sandy has washed out a small section of pavement near the drainage pipe. Once I reach the bottom of the hill, cornfields are before me as far as the eye can see so I make a right turn and continue along the edge of a wood. Off in the distance I can see the horse farm and the remaining homes in the development.
Now it is time to turn around and go back. Frazier is entranced by the smells emanating from the woods and pulls hard to get me to stop. I don’t mind resting a bit because the rest of the walk is straight up hill! the hill begins at the New Freedom sign and continues steeply until I reach my street. Both Frazier and I are tired but always enjoy our morning walk!
I know, the name conjures up a terrible image in your mind. I was looking for a meatless dinner idea and this recipe was featured in my “Recipe of the Day” newsletter from Allrecipes. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to make it for dinner so I added the ingredients to my shopping list. I thought I would pair it with perogies and include some mixed vegetables for color and nutrition.
Wow! I couldn’t have been more wrong in my expectations! This meatless loaf was delicious! Although the recipe name suggests that cottage cheese is the main ingredient, the ground walnuts are what really give it the flavor. It also includes an envelope of dry onion soup mix so it can’t really be considered vegetarian. Some corn flakes, a bit of vegetable oil, and 4 eggs complete the list.
Paul was VERY skeptical when I told him what I had cooked for dinner. Paul first put ketchup on his portion. Then he pushed the slice around his plate a few times but finally decided to take a bite. And he loved it! The author of this recipe states that one slice is 282 calories and that leftovers make great sandwiches. We will have this again tonight and then I will use the remainder for sandwiches. What a find! The recipe is here.
If there is one thing you learn when you are an RVer it is that you can never anticipate what will happen next! You make all kinds of plans and keep your fingers crossed but every once in a while all the plans go out the window. I had posted previously that the battery light had come on in our truck. Paul went out at 4:30 PM to get diesel and the truck died at the service station. The alternator was the culprit. It took about an hour to get the battery recharged so that he could get back to the RV.
The storms were fierce that night but we did not have any tornadoes. That’s the one thing I don’t miss about traveling in an RV. The weather issues we faced as we toured the country sometimes left me feeling very stressed and anxious.
The next morning, we were lucky enough to get a lead on a mechanic who worked on Saturdays and had an opening for us. The alternator was replaced and we were on our way by 9:15 AM. We thought we would have to spend another night in Selma but as it worked out, we had only lost about an hour of travel time.
I finally managed to start a scarf from a ball of sock yarn. I don’t like the color pooling so I am not at all sure that I will finish this. The pattern is beautiful but this yarn is really not made for anything but socks! The pattern is free on Ravelry here.
We arrived at home at 5:30 PM. After 2 weeks in the RV, my modest little house seemed enormous! Our good neighbors, Kim and Bob, invited us out to dinner since they knew we didn’t have anything in the house to eat. We spent a very nice evening with them and their two daughters and then got back to work. The sheets and blankets all had to be laundered before we could go to bed. All the food had to be removed from the RV and the freezer defrosted.
Today we will unpack the remaining items, thoroughly clean and restock the RV, and finally, take it back to its place at the storage facility. Paul promised me a steak dinner at Hoss’s tonight. Now let’s see…how long can I put off that grocery shopping!
I don’t think that anybody who takes a road trip and stops at the rest areas along the highway can appreciate the conditions that exist on the truck/trailer side of the area. While the people who arrive in cars can enjoy a leisurely stop, those of us who are in RVs must wedge ourselves in next to the tractor-trailers that occupy the other side. At certain times, these spaces are at such a premium that trucks line the roadway in and out of the rest area. Every once in a while we will see a passenger car parked in one of the long spaces and we wish that the rest area guards would shoo those folks away. The truckers let their engines idle while they are there. More often than not, we raise our blinds to be greeted by the walls of commercial trailers on both sides. The noise is deafening and the fumes are terrible. But the worst part of stopping at the rest area is the horrible stench of all the cattle trucks and horse trailers that have been there before us. The ground is black with livestock urine and oil.
A much happier situation is the stop at a Cracker Barrel or Wal-Mart. These are not always easy to access but on occasion, we’ve managed to pull our big rig into one of their parking lots. We did this yesterday on the way north and had a nice quiet lunch under a canopy of trees.
Hilton Head Island
The day didn’t start off well. Frazier must have eaten something at one of the rest areas and was throwing up after every meal. He was lethargic and finally wouldn’t eat at all. Then Paul noticed that the slide-out cables had dropped below the slide-out. The strap that held them to the underside of the body had broken. Add just enough rain to turn the sand in the campground into a black mess and you have a clear picture of what our morning was like when we departed New Smyrna Beach Campground. The campground itself is cute. It is family owned and very shady, but the miserable internet service has prompted us to pass this place by in future trips down I-95.
Once we solved the cable problem with a bungee, we packed up our sick dog and headed north. We were going to stay in a beautiful RV resort on Hilton Head Island called Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort. We managed to back into a nice site, tend to Frazier, take showers, and be ready when our friends came to pick us up at 5 PM. Our friends Karon and Bob live on the island and we try to meet them whenever we are in the area. They took us to a popular restaurant on the water called Skull Creek Boathouse. Paul and I enjoyed the first soft crabs of the season!
Happily, Frazier only had one more incident of throwing up and felt much better this morning. Unhappily, the battery light in the truck came on when we were about 2 hours from our destination, RVacation RV Park. Our truck, a 2000 Ford F-350 Diesel, has 250,000 miles on it now. We keep it scrupulously maintained but there have been more and more minor malfunctions. We are hoping that we will not have a major problem when we drive around Washington DC tomorrow. Next week it will go into the shop.
In the meantime, here in Selma, NC, the RVs are steadily rolling into the park. The forecast is for strong thunderstorms and tornado watches. This is a sandy place so the sand is already beginning to blow horizontally against the side of the RV. Paul has just gone out to get diesel and a pizza. We will see what the night has to offer…
This is the second night in a row that I have not had WiFi on this trip. I will post and answer comments when I finally get connected again. Come on folks, it’s the 21st century!
What a great time we have had in West Palm Beach! We managed to visit all of our favorite places and then some. We spent some real quality time with my family.
Breakfast this morning was at The Sailfish Marina, Paul’s favorite place to visit. The marina has a great restaurant where you can sit on the patio and look out over the boats as they come and go. Fishermen show off their catches and little children are mesmerized by the sea life that swims in the water below the dock. Did I mention the gift shop? This is one place in Palm Beach where you can really stock up on Florida-themed trinkets. Their clothing is nice too but most of it doesn’t translate well to Southern PA!
After breakfast we had to make our semi-annual visit to the John D McArthur Beach State Park. This was our one and only opportunity to see the beach this time. Along the sand, leading to the ocean we spied the tracks of loggerhead sea turtles. They nest between the end of March and the middle of October and burrow out of their holes to the beach at night.
Tomorrow morning we will say good-bye to Vacation Inn Resort. The first leg of our drive North will take us to New Smyrna Beach where we will spend the night. Then on to Bluffton, SC where we will have dinner with some old friends.