Finally Finished: Boneyard Shawl

I am so excited that my Boneyard Shawl is finished!

I blocked it on Monday night.

I ended up doing eleven repeats of the pattern and then did about three inches of the garter stitch edge so that I got to the final color of my yarn. I got it from Wolle’s Yarn Creations and it was so exciting to knit with to watch the colors slowly change.

I am very pleased with the way it came out.

I hope to be able to wear it soon.  It’s definitely cooling off and perfect weather for a cotton shawl.

And it’s a really good size.

Look at Chica crashing the photoshoot!  She loves my shawl, too.

What a good little model.


The Noro Striped Scarf

From my time on Ravelry I’ve learned that Noro brings out strong emotions in people.  It seems very few people are pretty neutral about it. Most either love it or hate it.

I love the colors and the way they change.  Yes, sometimes they abruptly stop and they are joined with a color that does not transition so nicely, but if you wind the skeins before knitting, you can catch those knots and fix the problem. Yes there are sticks and sometimes wee little dead bugs in there, but it’s fine by me.  Others respectfully disagree.

It was on Ravelry that I first noticed the Noro Striped Scarf. It seemed that everyone had one on their projects page so I got curious. I was still new to knitting (I learned to knit and purl as a kid, but I maybe knit two or three things to completion from a pattern in the previous twenty years) and carrying the yarn didn’t entirely make sense.  So I poured through forum postings on how to do it and then bravely started knitting with two balls of yarn to make the color changes. Yes, the dark color really does change from browns to blacks and grays.First Noro Striped Scarf

This pattern really appealed to my new found desire to knit because it is so colorful and especially to someone who was a novice, it was an easy way to do something that is so eye-catching and special looking. I made my first with Noro Kureyon which is 100% wool and an aran weight.

Then Mike decided that he liked the scarf so much that when I discovered some Noro Silk Garden on sale, I decided to make him one. Silk Garden is aran weight but 45% mohair, 45% silk and 10% wool.  It is softer to knit with than Kureyon but the colors are just as vibrant.Second Noro Striped Scarf

Both of these scarfs got matching hats.

I can totally understand why people feel so strongly both ways when it comes to Noro.  I think there are a lot of things to love and hate about so many different yarns. But I really do like Noro and have a some in my stash just waiting to be knitted up.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

I think I mentioned this previously, but the number one best recipe find of the last year was Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas.  I’d eat these any time of year, but we haven’t made them all summer, so tonight was the first time in months.

It’s pretty easy to do and I guess we’ve done them a little differently each time.  We make the sweet potatoes and mash them up with half the black beans. We add the other half of the black beans with the green chiles, cilantro, cumin, chili and red pepper.

I always made enough for plenty of leftovers so I divide the mixture into ten flour tortillas and put them in baking dishes that have salsa verde on the bottom.

Then I pour the rest of the salsa verde on top and then sprinkle (um, heap?) on some white cheddar and bake at 350 degrees.

Tonight’s were in for about 15 minutes total because we were running low on time.  All the ingredients are cooked and the sweet potato mixture was probably still warm so they still turned out great.

Perfect! Goes great with pumpkin ale.

I think I’m going to cast off my boneyard shawl tonight! And today I ordered the yarn to start my DNA scarf for my dad. In the meantime, I might work on an old project or maybe start something quick and fun.  We’ll see!

Granary Gourmet Candlelight Dinner


The Lemont Village Association hosted their eighth annual Gourmet Candlelight Dinner in the John I. Thompson Grain Elevator and Coal Sheds (the Granary).

The dinner raises funds for the renovation and restoration of the Granary.  It’s a really beautiful old building and the Lemont Village Association has invested a lot of money so that the community can continue to use and enjoy this unique feature in our town.

The eight course meal with a North African theme was catered by Tom Everly, Culinary Arts Chef, and his wife, Judy Everly of Keystone Yankee Catering in Lemont and Pastry Chef, Julie Meiser Rioux.

Here was our table.

Mike and I both had the meat option and I tried to get pictures of each course. I was challenged by the light but you should get a good idea of the dinner.

Appetizer: Lamb Meatballs with Apricots

Soup course: Lamb Yohgurt

Fish Course: Casablanca Salad

Releve: Pork Loin with Moroccan Spices

Entree: Marrakech Style Chicken with Rice with Pistachios and Orange Water

Salad Course: Tossed Salad with Lemon Juice and Olive Oil

Cheese and Fruit Course: Local Cheeses and Dates

Dessert: Pear Tart with Ice Cream

My favorite things were the lamb meatballs, the soup, the rice (orange is one of my number one flavors and it was just so good), the cheese plate and the ice cream with the tart. But everything was really delicious and the company was great. We got to sit with some of our neighbors who we’ve never met before and enjoy a nice evening out in a really unique space.

WIP: Almost there!

I started my Boneyard Shawl in March. In June I posted my progress on my blog first post ever.

Here’s what it looked like then.

And now you can see how much progress I’ve made.  A few more knitting sessions and I’ll be casting off.  Look how little yarn is left!

And here’s Butler modeling it while on the needles.  The rest is all garter stitch and I’ll just continue until my yarn is finished!

Here’s a picture where you can kind of see the color changes from this awesome yarn from Wolle’s Yarn Creations.

New Kitchen Counters!

We moved into our house over five years ago and I’ve never been a fan of our kitchen counters.  They were so awful: dark and green and Formica. And the sink was some weird material that just never looked clean.  We have beautiful cabinets which were a huge selling point but those counters just had to go.

Today was finally the day!  Mike took off from work and we got new counters! (He also put new carpet in our laundry room since it got ruined in a sewer back up incident a month and a half ago.)

When I came home, this is what I saw: beautiful, creamy Quartz!

Next we’ll update the kitchen cabinet hardware and the face plates so we eliminate some of the evil brass in this house.  Eventually we’ll get a new floor.  But the new counters immediately make the room brighter and I think it made dinner taste even better!

Best Craigslist Find Ever: Card Catalog

For so many years I’ve wanted a card catalog. I’ve periodically checked the salvage store at Penn State, eBay and Craigslist. I wanted this piece of furniture to store jewelry, knitting and sewing supplies and anything else that fits.

Two weekends ago I was watching American Pickers and remembered it’d been a few weeks since my last search and I found a card catalog on Craigslist and it was just in Bellefonte!

The seller was like me; she searched forever once she got the idea that she needed a card catalog.  She ended up finding two in an auction from a library in Cincinnati and actually rented a van and drove there in a storm in February to pick them up.

Ultimately she decided she only needed one and that’s why it was for sale. She said she had two other inquiries that seemed kind of spammy and had it listed for well over a week before I saw it. How it stuck around for so long, I don’t know.  My internet searches made it seem like so many other people were looking for card catalogs. I feel so lucky!

Last weekend my boss helped us pick it up in his truck and carry it in (it is so heavy even with all 60 drawers removed).

Look at how wonderful!

All week it sat in the garage with the drawers pulled out in boxes and today Mike and I put the drawers in and removed the papers from the fronts so we could decide how to proceed. It’s mostly in great shape.

But the sides need some work.

All week I’ve been talking to people and researching how to refinish furniture and I know it could take a really long time, especially with all those drawers and removing all the hardware. Plus, I’ve never done this before and I’d hate to ruin what took me so long to find.

I think my next step will be to clean it up with some Goo Gone and see if those smudges and stickers come off. I don’t mind if it’s slightly weathered looking on the sides because the front is so amazing. I’m hoping it looks a little better after getting cleaned up.

Any advice is appreciated!



Knitting Nerd

There are so many interesting patterns available for knitters.  And so many of them appeal to the nerdy side of knitters.

The only finished object that I’ve made that I think falls into this category was a request from Mike. He loved Firefly and insisted I’d like it too so we spent the better part of a couple of days watching the series and ending with the movie Serenity. He was right that it was really good and shows that deal with outer space and other worlds normally aren’t my thing.

A few years later when I started knitting again, he requested his very own Jayne Cobb hat. Little did I know that so many people want this same hat. After searching through Ravelry and finding many patterns, I settled on this pattern by Dryope.

I have some other great nerd patterns in my queue that I really hope to get to make some day.

There’s the DNA Scarf that I think my dad would love.

And the Knitting in Biology 101 which reminds me of science class in seventh grade when we dissected a frog for the first time.

Am I missing any other great nerd knits?