Yarn Along: Firebird Gale & the Christmas Stocking

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Gale
One of my knitting goals for 2016 is to knit more garments and less accessories. Because, seriously, how many cowls does a person need? I get easily bored with my knitting so I picked this tunic because it's on big needles with bulky yarn. Big needles + bulky yarn = a quick knit. So, hopefully, I will finish this before I lose interest.
Pattern: Gale by Alicia Plummer
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore Chunky Tweed in colorway 670  
Reading: The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
I just finished reading The Firebird and I'm willing to bet that it makes my Top 5 books for 2016. Nicola can see into the past when she touches an object. When a woman comes to the art gallery and asks if her wooden carving is worth anything, Nicola sets out on an adventure to trace the origins of the Firebird. She follows the tumultuous life of young Anna through Scotland and then Russia in the early 1700s. Some of the same characters from The Winter Sea reappear in this book but it really isn't a sequel. I highly recommend reading both books.

FO: Christian's Christmas Stocking 
For Christmas I knit my husband, Christian, a stocking. I didn't quite finish it on time so I'm just posting pictures of it now. Christian's mom's ancestors are from Norway so I wanted a Scandinavian design. I modified/redesigned some elements of the Henrik chart from the book Scandinavian Christmas Stockings by Mette N. Handberg. I charted my design out in Illustrator to make it easier to follow. I added snow-capped mountains to the stocking because Christian loves the mountains. I am so pleased with how the stocking turned out. Christian loves it too! Now I need to make one for myself.
Pattern: Based on Henrik by Mette N. Handberg
Yarn: Cascade 220 Fingering in colorways 8622 Camel, 8010 Natural, 9332 Sapphire, and 9404 Ruby

What are you knitting/reading this week?



Snowshoeing at Navarino to a Porcupine Den

My friend, Nancy, led a local Sierra Club outing last weekend at Navarino Nature Center in east central Wisconsin. We could have used a little more snow but the sun was shining and temps were in the 20s - perfect weather for snowshoeing!

The highlight of the trip was visiting a porcupine den in a hollowed-out oak tree. 

"Is he in there?"
Better get a closer look... Watch out for all the poop!
There he is! Or his rear-end anyways.

Porcupines do not hibernate. On nice days they will come out of their den to feed on branches, pine needles, bark and such. I guess our guy was sleeping in because we were certainly there on a nice winter day!

After visiting the prickly fella, we took a shortcut through a hummock-y bog to catch up with a trail on the other side.

This was my first time snowshoeing at Navarino but I'm sure I'll be back. After all, there's 15,000 acres to explore!



Dogs really DO eat homework!

I led a local Sierra Club outing (a snowshoe hike) this past Saturday. I had the waiver/sign-in sheet folded up and sitting on a chair in the kitchen. When I came home from the coffee shop on Sunday, this is what I found:

One of the dogs ate it!  I don't think I'll be submitting this one to the outings chair! LOL. 


Books of 2015

I'm pretty diligent about tracking what books I read throughout the year. I tend to get through more audiobooks than paper books due to my long commute. (I spend about 2 hours a day in the car.) According to Goodreads I got through 60 books in 2015. That number kind of shocked me! I wanted to mention my favorites in case you're looking for some recommendations. I rated the following books 4 out of 5 stars.
My favorite audiobooks of 2015: 
Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Land Girls by Angela Huth
The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
The Witness by Nora Roberts
The Hungry Ocean by Linda Greenlaw (non-fiction)
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Crazy Love You: A Novel by Lisa Unger
Split by Swati Avasthi
Angels Walking (Angels Walking, #1) by Karen Kingsbury
Chasing Sunsets (Angels Walking, #2) by Karen Kingsbury
The Highway by C.J. Box
Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

My favorite paper books of 2015:
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Seasonal Disorder: Ranger Tales from Glacier National Park by Pat Hagan
Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills
In the Company of Others (Father Tim, #2) by Jan Karon

Do you have any must-reads that I should add to my list for 2016? 


Yarn Along: My Kitchen Madalynn

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Madalynn Cowl
This project was set aside for awhile to work on Christmas and baby shower gifts but now I'm back at it. I had to modify the stripe pattern to 2 rows of blue and 1 row of gray so I won’t run out of gray. I almost like my way better because half of the cowl is predominantly gray and the other half is blue.
Pattern: Madalynn by Leah B. Thibault
Yarn: Quince and Co. Chickadee in colorways 108 Delft (blue) and 150 Sabine (Gray)

Reading: My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl
I am in love with this book. Ruth Reichl was the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine when it went under. Abruptly left with no job, she finds solace in the kitchen. Each recipe begins with a Twitter post and then a short story as to how Ruth ended up making that particular dish. The recipe is written in a way that makes you want to read through the whole thing - it's not a set of directions but a story in and of itself. The little slips of paper in the above photo are all of the recipes I wish to make and I'm only halfway through the book! In the evenings I find myself standing in front of the pellet stove getting lost in Reichl's kitchen. 

The warmest spot in our house - but you have to be like a rotisserie chicken to stay here for very long!

 What are you knitting/reading this week?


Winter Walks

After an unseasonably warm December, arctic air has finally blown down from the north. That doesn't stop us from getting in our daily walks! These shots were taken on Sunday. The sun is almost set when we make it out for a walk during the work week. But - the days are getting longer!

Our usual route down the windswept country road. Buster is always farther ahead than Winston.
The only thing that got cold was that little patch of exposed skin around my eyes. Should have dug out the goggles!
The drifting snow patterns remind me of Utah's redrock country.

Chin-cicles. Buster doesn't mind the cold.

 I'm hoping for more snow so we can get out snowshoeing this weekend!


Yarn Along: 2015 Knitting Recap

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Click HERE for project details.

In this new year I wanted to take a look back at the knitting projects I finished in 2015. I'm not sure why, but I was disappointed when I filtered out my completed projects in Ravelry and only 15 showed up. That's still more than one project a month so why do I feel like I slacked off this past year? Three of the projects that I completed had been hibernating for years and years so I think I'm most thankful that I completed those. 

Favorite Knit Gift: Egg to Penguin


I made this Topsy-Turvy toy for my cousin's little guy's first birthday. I have to admit, when I finished it, I had a hard time sending him off to a new home. Susan B. Anderson's toys are brilliantly designed. Instead of having a bunch of little body parts that you have to sew on at the end, she has you pick up stitches and start knitting them right onto the body. Brilliant!

Hardest Knit: Grove Mitts

This was one of the projects that took me years to finish. I had the second mitt done to the thumb and then set it aside for 2 years. So, by the time I picked it up and finished it, the mittens came out two different sizes. Why do we do this to ourselves??? I rated this as my hardest project because of the crazy charts and variety of stitches that I don't use on a daily basis.

 Most Worn Knit: Wrapped Up

This poncho is easy to wear, comfortable and warm - great for our cold Wisconsin winters! And the Colorflow Yarn created a cool ombre effect. I picked that yarn up during a vacation years ago and was waiting for the perfect project to use it in.

Favorite FO: Baby Sunnyside

In the beginning, this pattern and I just weren't gelling. After I frogged it and started over, things went much better. The Tanis Fiber Arts yarn is a joy to work with. And this sweater - just about the cutest thing I've ever knit! I can see this being passed down through the generations.

What did you knit in 2015 that you are the most proud of? I would love to hear!