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knitty know how...

my quest for a large sized pebble vest is on going ...

two weeks ago i did the maths, i checked it thrice 
(you have told us that before Tif)
i cast on with a hope and a prayer to the knitty gods
and it would appear i was rewarded for my good knitty intentions
for a large sized pebble vest grew on my knitting pins
till eventually it came off my knitting pins
and oh glorious day of days
it fit ....

until that is, i blocked it
then oh glorious day of days
turned into an oh pants day of days

of course there will be many who upon reading this
will shake their heads with an all knowing sort of a shake
for only a rookie would make such a knitty faux pas.

thus it was back to the drawing board for me and my pebble vest ways.
i took into consideration my loosey goosey knitty ways
i took into consideration i wished to make a higher neckline
i took into consideration how much soft donegal expands when wet
i took into consideration my novice blocking ways and seeked advice
i took into consideration this was a learning experience,
thus making me wiser for the next time
(however before all this consideration, i confess i did hang my head
and weep a tad upon discovering my pebble vest
was all baggy and saggy upon my bod)

so i pulled up my knitty knee socks once again,
and armed with my 'learnt mistakes', cast on yet again
with even bigger hopes and bigger prayers.
as much as i loved the soft donegal in the slubby cream
i knew i could not, would not be able to make another
in the same colour without getting sidetracked
so i picked a super duper grolly green to keep my interest high.

a week on and many many hours,
 attempt number two is now blocked and lying out to dry.

and this time...
this time, i just know my high hopes will not be in vain
and if this is the case, if it truly is a small miracle
then next week i will share what i did
(with kind permission from the original designer)
to make an itty bitty pebble vest into a bigger one for grown up folks.

The Bonnie Prince in France

This year the image of the Bonnie Prince was chosen to lead the Scottish Chapter at the annual Chartres Pilgrimage. If you have never heard of the Chartres Pilgrimage, click on the link and see what it's all about.

The Scottish Chapter also took the Bonnie Prince as its name!  On returning from the pilgrimage, the organiser of the Scottish Chapter sent an email to relate the Bonnie Prince's success:

"Thank you so much for letting us carry Bonnie Prince Jesus for our banner. He was very much loved by the pilgrims at Chartres especially the French, so much so that he was chosen to lead the procession into Chartres Cathedral for the final Mass!
 We are already planning to return next year. I hope that we will be able to have the Bonnie Prince lead us again..."

 The Scottish Chapter members preparing to depart Edinburgh airport en route to Paris.  The Chapter was fortunate to have two of the Dominican sisters from Elgin as part of its number.

Scottish pilgrims stand with the Bonnie Prince out side the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, where the pilgrimage begins.

 The Scottish Chapter: Bonnie Prince Jesus!

 Walking on the Chartres Pilgrimage.

 Processing out of Chartres Cathedral after the final Mass at the end of the pilgrimage.  As the email said, The Bonnie Prince was honoured by leading the procession into the Cathedral, and thus is the last out at the end.

Posing for photos with the Bonnie Prince.

Thank you Team Scotland for taking the Bonnie Prince on the Chartres Pilgrimage!

Anyone in Scotland who might be interested to joining the Scottish Chapter on next year's Chartres Pilgrimage can keep an eye on the Chartres UK blog where all the information will be posted.

Freedom, Joy, Growth

"The basis of your life is absolute freedom, the goal is joy, and the result of that perfect combination is motion forward, or growth. Your goal is to find objects of attention that let your cork raise." (Abraham-Hicks)

I've been trying to find my way back here, because once upon a time I really enjoyed writing and I still enjoy looking back on old posts about my kids. Lately my life has been something stuck between denial and a Smashing Pumpkins compilation (melancholy and the infinite sadness, people).

Joe once said that blogs are the only thing faker than Facebook. And I have to say, I agree with him. I've tried to walk the line of truth here as much as possible, but there are some things that are just, well, personal. So the truth, I am six months pregnant and my husband and I are separating. Not like trial separating to see how it feels. But we made a plan to divorce one another and that includes us staying married for a little while so that I can have amazing things like health insurance when I deliver our fourth child this fall.

The divorce is collaborative which is legalese for saying that we worked with a mediator to come up with a mutual agreement that is kind and required a ton of patience and amicability so that our kids are protected and know that they are loved. We will still be seen together in public and in pictures, because we are still a family. I hope that we are proof that sometimes people love each other more when the arrangement is slightly different. I know that we will be proof that our love for our children is paramount to all other things. And that is all I will disclose about my marriage, because some day my children will be literate and they don't need their personal bizness up on the internets.

Someone once made a comment here about our house, calling it the Barbie Dream House. Something that was part judgement mixed with a splash of jealousy and a hint of bitterness. Comments like that are the hard part about sharing parts of your life; sometimes people don't realize they are hurting you. Or worse, they know exactly that they are hurting you and they spit that shit out anyway.

So the Barbie Dream House is on the market, and ironically it's my Barbie Nightmare House, not because there is anything wrong with the house itself. No, the house itself is perfect. It is an amazing, gorgeous, from a magazine house that was intended to be the very start of forever. However, I cannot afford to keep it alone and until it sells I am stuck living inside of it with no option to purchase another home for me and my children. And let's be honest, at 6 months pregnant I am a ticking time bomb.

I found another house, exactly perfect, but the sellers won't take a contingency until the house has been on the market for a longer period of time, so I am waiting and praying no one else loves this house as much as I do. If you know me, you know I suck at waiting.

I wish that the whole thing was cut and dry, but a move comes with all sorts of complications due to Ryan's autism diagnosis. Without getting into lots of boring details and what-ifs, if-thens, if I leave the county I lose Ryan's bussing and if I leave the school district I lose his whole IEP. So, that's stressful not because it can't be solved, but because the solution is completely out of my hands for the time being.

Clearly, a lot of crazy things have been happening and I've been trying to sort it all out. It's left me with a lot of time to think about why. Note, not why me? But actually WHY. What am I supposed to be taking from all of this? Dear Universe, what is it that you are trying to teach me? And I think the answer is two things:

1. Let go. Of control, the need to feel like you are in control, and the idea that life is some picture in your head that you can enact. It is not perfect. It is messy. There are hiccups. (But you survive them.)

2. Some thoughts are better kept to yourself. I am a chronic over sharer and a chronic say exactly what you thinker. I need a filter and an internal edit button in order to preserve relationships with people I love and to protect myself from unnecessary harm.

So, I am learning. I am welcoming the lessons. I am growing.

a 'small beings' dottie angel smock frock ...

on sunday i made a smock frock for myself
on monday i pondered a thought
on tuesday i went to work still pondering
and on wednesday, that pondered thought
became a dottie angel smock frock for small beings

complete with grande handy dandy pocket 
for squirreling things away...

God Giveth the Increase

 Happily Orkney is receiving some summery weather, and on Papa Stronsay the greenhouse is really flourishing!  At the risk of overdoing a good thing, here is a collection of photos taken today to show you all how things are going.

 The cherries are back!  There are hundreds of delicious juicy cherries on this tree.

 A few years ago the greenhouse was infiltrated by Red Spider Mite.  This mite is a real pest.  It is very small and reproduces rapidly.  They feed on your plants and end up killing them; we nearly lost our peach tree as a result!  An effective means of keeping the mite in check is the introduction of a predator-mite called Phytoseiulus persimilis. The predator-mite colony arrives by post in these tubes.

The tiny mites and the substance in which they are packaged are spread around the greenhouse.  Here you can see some sprinkled on the pear tree.  It is on the leaf in the centre of the photo.  We do this each year.

Over the past few years we have also been introducing various aphid predators to control the greenfly.  This year we are thrilled to find that the predators seem to have settled permanently in the greenhouse.  We have not introduced any new ones this year, and the greenfly are completely under control without the use of any sprays!
 The grapes are not ready yet, but they are on the way.

 The loganberries are delicious this year.

Due to various reasons, we didn't get any tomatoes planted this year.  However, God supplied our want: these tomato plants grew of their own accord!  They must have grown from seeds dropped by last year's plants.

An upside-down tomato.  It grows upside-down out of the bottom of a suspended bucket.  Amongst other advantages this keeps the pests away from the plant.
Could these be the only apricots grown in Orkney?  I don't know about that, but they are certainly doing well in the Papa Stronsay greenhouse.

They're not ripe yet but they already have a beautiful colour.
 The Kiwifruit are still very small.  They will not be ripe until the end of November.

 Br Jean Marie, F.SS.R. is laying some new sprinkler pipes.

 They are simply a plastic hosepipe with lots of small pinholes in it.

 The pipes are hooked-up to a tap and the tap is turned on.

This sprays the area around the pipe with a fine, rain-like mist.  This will also help in the fight against the Red Spider Mite mentioned earlier in the post.  The Spider Mite thrive in a low humidity environment.  Using these sprinkler pipes helps to keep the humidity high and create a hostile environment for the Spider Mite.

 Br Alfonso Maria, F.SS.R. is transferring seedlings into the ground.

 The Strawberry bed has also had a sprinkler hose put on it.  The strawberries are a little out of control this year, but their fruit still tastes great!
 The peaches are still young.

 One of two apple trees.

 The plums are still green and thus quite difficult to distinguish from the leaves.  However once you start to see them, you'll see that it's going to be a bumper crop.

The Nectarines have a while to go yet before they are ready for eating.

Therefore, neither he that planteth is any thing, nor he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 1 Cor, 3:7

a 'little knits for small beings' charity blankie...

hello hello! Colin the Computer is feeling peachy and thus i may continue with what i wished to be doing on friday. so as i mentioned previously, a lovely dearie suggested knitting for small beings in need, and therefore i thought it quite spiffy to make a easy peasy blankie for club dearies if they wish to join in with a bit of donating. if you are not a club dearie, do not feel left out, you are still welcome to make this blankie, for others or for yourself. 

as i said, easy peasy, so let us begin...

nitty gritty:

*my blankie measures approximately 18.5"/47cm x 23.5"/60cm
*i am a loosey goosey knitter, if you are not, consider casting on a few more stitches
*crochet terms are USA terminology
*if you do not knit, consider doing a double crochet for the main part of the blanket
*if you do not crochet, consider finding a nice knit edging pattern for the edge of the blanket
*consider only using easy care yarns so wherever your blankie ends up, it is easy to be cleaned by another
*consider making this blankie on a tres grande scale
*consider just how muchly there is to consider...


left over yarns from other projects, preferably DK or worsted in weight
size 10 knitting pins
size H/5.00 mm Mr Hook
tapestry needle


1: take all your leftover yarns and lay them out in a pleasing order. pick your first one in line and start rolling into a ball, when it is almost at the end, tie on the next yarn in line. tie together using a surgeons knot (if you do not know this knot, take a ganders at YouTube, for it tis a handy knot indeedy to know). after you have secured your knot, you can bravely cut off the ties close to the knot or you can leave them to weave in later. continue upon your ball winding ways adding a new colour of yarn with your spiffy knot every time you come to the end of the previous yarn. you will end up with a huge ball of yarn in multicolours and if you are like me, the chances are quite high, you will not even recall what colours are in your ball which adds an element of surprise to your knitting
(word of consideration, change colours quite frequently, this is an itty bitty blanket)

2: cast on 60 stitches using the long tail method and your knitting pins. continue on your knitty way only doing garter stitch for 21 inches and slipping the first stitch of each row. every time you come to a new colour, just keep on knitting, even if it is in the middle of a row.

3: if you dared to cut off your tails, then move onto #4. if you did not dare, then weave in your ends

slanted shell stitch border:

4: pick a jolly coloured yarn for your edging along with your Mr Hook and with right side facing, join the yarn, chain 1 and single crochet evenly around the edge of your blankie, trying hard to come up with a total of stitches divisible by 4 plus 2. if its off by one or two stitches, do not fret, crochet is forgiving and so is this blankie, you can fudge a few stitches to make the shell edging fit

5: do not turn work, (single crochet, chain 2, 4 double crochet) in first stitch, *skip next 3 single crochets, then (single crochet, chain 2, 4 double crochet) in next stitch; repeat from * until you are all the way around your edge and with a bit of luck you can just slip stitch the ending shell to the beginning shell, if not, then do a bit of fudging a few shells away from the end so it meets nicely and not pantsly. 

if the slanted shell stitch border is too complicated, fret not, then consider a straight forward shell stitch border or even a picot would be peachy

handy dandy loop:

6: for the twiddly loop, join yarn in top right hand corner, chain 16, slip stitch into beginning chain, turn, chain 1, single crochet into each chain, slip stitch into beginning of loop and fasten off securely. (this could be done whilst you are doing the slanted shell stitch if you prefer)

if need be, wash your little blankie through to make it soft and then find a worthy cause which helps small beings, whether it local or nationwide, and donate your little blankie. 

 please do make this blankie for charity or for personal use but please do not make it to sell unless it is for charity
 and if you do make this blankie, considering sharing over here if you so wish as that would make me most happy :)

For Sale By Owner

Hi friends, my home is for sale. If you know someone in the market in the Albany, NY area, please share the information. It's a great house and it deserves a great family. Thank you in advance for reading and sharing.

4 Beds / 3.5 Baths

4-car garage

3,518 sq. ft. on 1.15 acres 

house backs up to 8 acres of forever wild

MLS # 201407958 

Feel free to email me with any questions nikinikinine@yahoo.com

darn, drat and double pants ...

Colin the Computer is tres poorly,
normal service will resume when a small miracle has happened...

a 'little knits for small beings' blankie ...

 a little whiles ago, a lovely dearie on facebook mentioned about knitting little things for small beings for charity. a lot of the club dearies have already been doing so before they joined the club but i did think it a rather nice thing to do and have always admired folks greatly who craft and donate.
i pondered picking a charity for The 'little knits for small beings' Club to donate to, but then i got to thinking, folks like to sometimes chose their own worthy cause, as it can be local to them and not nationwide or indeed, different countries have different charities.
so instead, i have worked on an easy peasy blankie that club dearies (or anyone else who may wish to) can make using their left over yarns from other 'little knits' projects and then donate the blanket to whatever charity they wish.

on friday i will share the recipe for what i did, suggest ways to change it if you only crochet or only knit and do not wish to combine the two, and i have high hopes there will be many made for small beings in need around the globe by us yarny dearies

club news and other whatnot ...

we have a club motto!
oh hip hip hooray!

surely any club worth its club salt
has a motto and thus we do

"every day 
in every way
i will do my besty best
to crochet or knit
for small beings
carry high hopes
they will fit"

this motto has been printed
upon the membership cards
by my lovely printer buddies.
i am rather giddy anticipating their arrival

in other news,
perhaps not equally as thrilling as the club motto news
but worthy of a mention anyway.

i am working on something yarny that i will share next week

i am immersed in world cup fever due to living with my lads of 3

i am somewhat dismayed to learn, boing on my trampoline 
is not going to do the job 
and i actually have to have some knowledge of what i am doing, 
if i am not to suffer an injury according to my soul sister.
drat and double drat and oh how dull

i have quite daringly sent my book proposal/outline off out there somewhere

i am thinking i might go bonkers if i cannot get
all the creative things inside my cogs out into the air soon

FSSP Priest Murdered

Of your charity please pray for the soul of Fr Kenneth Walker, FSSP who was shot dead last night. Requiescat in Pace.

Our students studied with Fr Walker in the FSSP seminary in Nebrasca, USA, and assisted at his ordination. We are very sad to hear of his tragic death. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.



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