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Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Hygge (“heu-gah”). 

I just read about this Danish tradition in an article on the multi-faith website Patheos. This article defined hygge as "coziness," such as making your living space cozy throughout the cold winter months. Focusing on light, warmth, candles, and gathering together with friends. There are many internet articles on hygge, of course, and the Wiki entry on Denmark mentions it up top. I know I'm not discovering something that's been around for eons, but this is the first I heard of it, and it's intriguing! 

While searching for articles on hygge, I found an editorial written by Jessica Vozel.  (Written for the Pittsburgh Herald-Standard.) Vozel points out that Americans would have difficulty with hygge because so many of us rush through our lives, value achievement over down-time, and think it lazy to sit around with friends four hours in a cafe. I won't get into the psychology of it, but she has a point. I do see people lounging around Starbucks (I myself am a frequent visitor), but by themselves ... I see fewer and fewer people gathering in groups at coffee houses.

I myself love coffee and coffee shops, but I rarely share my coffee-drinking time with friends. I have coffee at work at my desk while I'm working, in the morning while I get ready, on the weekend as a grab-and-go from Starbucks, to drink in the car!

But back to hygge, which is not about coffee...

I am not a very social creature, so the community gathering concept of hygge is rather lost on me. I am, as my nickname suggests, an unmarried woman of a certain age. My friends have children and have their own lives, and, sadly but understandably, there is no longer time for lazy mornings hanging around La Madeleine's over late breakfast and coffee.

So, in other ways, to get through the long Mid-Atlantic winters, I shall do what I can to observe hygge throughout the cold months. Candles, greenery, hot beverages, and warm cozy wool.

There appears to be an entire web directory dedicated to hygge, and I am going to go explore it.

Cozily yours,

Spinster Beth (with Fat Petunia in the corner)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's Going to Be Boring for a While

I'm not knitting very quickly on this baby blanket, and it's all I'm doing right now, so the next few weeks will be quite boring here!

It is much bigger than the last blog entry, at least.

Other updates:

Weather: Cold, foggy, rainy, dreary.

Reading: "Boiled Over," by Barbara Ross. The 2nd in a series (so far, a series of 2) about murder mysteries in a small town in Maine.

Next running event: Diva Half Marathon in California. Roughly 40 days away. Training is right on schedule!

That's all, folks!

One day, the sun will shine again ... 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why Can't I Have Nice Things

Every pair of socks I knit sooner or later, usually sooner, develops a hole or bare patch.

This was expensive sock yarn, too.

Most of my socks turn out very loose (dunno why, I'm a tense knitter), so maybe this time it was the friction against the back of my shoes.

Usually the hole falls in the ball of the foot, or bottom of heel.


So frustrating. I love hand knit socks.

I did start the baby blanket I switched to, after realizing the dress wouldn't work with the yarn and pattern.

Leaf Lace Blanket  from 60 Quick Baby Knits. 

It's meant for Cascade yarn, but I'd already purchased Paton's Classic Wool DK Superwash. Color is Wisteria. 

I will have to buy more, but I'll worry about that later. The baby (a co-worker's first) is not due till March, after all. 

The pattern is so simple--odd rounds 1-7 and 9-15 are the same. So just two different lines to memorize. I hope this flies off the needles, but -- well, I know better. My knitting luck has been rotten lately. 

In other news, the weather has improved. It was 27 this morning when I walked the dog, and it felt like Spring. We're expecting icy rain overnight. Booo. 

Oh, were you trying to do something here? Am I in the way?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Luckily, I'm a Knitter

...Because today was a day when great swathes of wool were necessary.

I wore all this, plus heavy boots and a heavy lined coat. Gloves under mittens, because as I get older, my fingers ache terribly when it's cold (and turn waxy and white, which disturbs me). Wristlets under my coat, because for some ridiculous reason all my sweaters are 3/4 length sleeves. Leg warmers over my jeans, because one layer of fabric is not sufficient when it's this cold!

The waxy-white-finger-thing ... kind of icky, right? Anyone else have this issue? This happened when I forgot my running gloves but was determined to run the 9-mile-run I had on my schedule. It was about 36 degrees, which I honestly thought wasn't too cold to go bare-fingered. Silly me!

It was 7F this morning ... -13C. Now that's average in places like Norway, home of one of my favorite knitting bloggers, Hege ... but for Baltimore, that is really cold! We get a week or so of "Arctic" weather every winter, and we rush about covering pipes and filling our gas tanks and such, but then the extreme chill passes and it's back to being around 35F (1C) during the day and mid-20s (-5C or so) at night. We got a few inches of dry powdery snow Tuesday, which had the chance to melt slightly before re-freezing, so it's just no fun to be out and about.

So I finished the Scandinavian Mittens, as you see ... just in time to wear them!

One is slightly larger. I have a tendency to knit very tightly, and I concentrated on knitting loosely when I was doing the 2nd mitten. However, the thumb-gussets are terrible. I have a rough time with picking up stitches.

I was going to start a baby dress next, but -- despite spending a lot of time selecting the yarn and pattern -- the yarn I selected is not a good fit. Rather than spin myself into knots trying to figure it out, I'm just going to be a quitter and make a baby blanket. I reason that it is a better gift, anyway; a baby dress would only be good a few months, but a blankie is forever!

That's what I tell myself, anyway ;-)

Cover me up and bring me a hot cocoa. And fluff my pillow. And read me a story. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Mitten for the New Year

One down!


It was really hard to get the thumb to look decent. I thought about just making it pink or brown, but I told myself to stop being lazy. 

Taking a nice warm sunbath ... such fuzzy yarn! I didn't notice till it was in the sun. 

So I'm going to cast on the left-handed mitten in a few minutes here, and hopefully knock it out before the mitten version of second-sock-syndrome hits. The pattern isn't tricky, just tedious. I love colorwork, so it's a treat, but I won't show you the reverse side. My reverse sides are always pretty ugly!

I leave you with a picture of Spot and Georgie Girl, lazing in the yard on a nice day. 

The doggy is a cat magnet. Cats love her. 

Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Well, I did it.

I unraveled this size 2x Bohus that I finished 4 years ago.

It was very satisfying!

Yes, I have a lot of bits of small yarn now, but I am confident I can use them up somehow. Fair Isle, most likely.

I started these Scandinavian Spots Mittens from the "60 Quick Knits using Cascade Yarn" book.

And I'm still knitting on the tunic thingie:

So I have something mindless to knit, and something tedious. Good way to end the year!

Shhhhh .... don't disturb the wild cave kitty.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Once upon a time, I was a size 2X (18).

Castle in Wales ... Newbury? Newton? 2010

I'd always kind of struggled with my weight, but that was primarily because I didn't really try hard to stay in shape, except for the 10 years I was in the military. 

Like too many servicemembers, I just let it go when I got out. 

Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Stratford, England, 2010

It was so much easier to just make excuses and not take care of myself. Size may not matter, but fitness and health do. And I had neither! 

In front of some rocks in Salisbury, England, 2010

Then in 2011, several different things came together, and I decided enough was enough. I started doing this ... 

Navy 5-miler, D.C., 2014

Didn't let the weather stop me.

Baltimore Celtic Solstice, 2013

Iron Girl Half Marathon, 2014

Navy 5-Miler, 2013

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run, Last Month

So, to get to the point .... I knit this "Bountiful Bohus" in 2010, from "More Big Girls Knit:"

I was so proud of myself for steeking for the first time! 

But ...

Here is how it looks on me now: 


I think the only thing to do here is unravel it, and reclaim 9 skeins of lovely Cascade 220 for some other purpose. I don't think I would get much usable out of the colorwork, but I should get at least all 7 skeins of the brown back. The sleeves alone are enormous. 

I'd like to make a skirt, and I think this sweater has more than enough yarn for that. 

So! What do you all think? Have you ever unraveled a large project before? 

We don't care, lady. Is it time to eat yet?