Oma’s blanket

My Oma is rather known in the family for the wonderful cream-coloured cabled afghans she knits. 

This is one of a pair she knit for my mother. 

I’ve gone through her patterns but I can’t find this one, or the ones to make the ones in our house. I’m thinking of reengineering them someday. They have such a timeless beauty layered over with feelings of love. 


Gingerbread caramel popcorn

Yes. Yes. Yes. It’s everything you hope it will be.


15 c air-popped popcorn
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter
1/4 c light corn syrup
1/4 c + 1 Tb molasses
1 1/2 tsp ginger (powder, not fresh)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla

Pop the popcorn and then put in a large, oiled bowl. Prep 2 cookie pans by either greasing them or covering with parchment paper.

Melt brown sugar, butter, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in heavy-bottomed but small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring the whole time. Then boil without stirring for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir and enjoy the foaming. Add the vanilla, and quickly pour it over the popcorn. Toss the popcorn to coat it as evenly as possible. Place on cookie sheets.

Bake 1 hour at 250 F. Stir every 10-15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container because soggy and humid popcorn is a melancholy thing.



Last year I knit three gnomes and thought, “Oh, I can see this getting to be addictive”, but put the joy of it away for this year.


Then this year, as I began a green tall gnome, I realized that I could add colourwork and got nearly lightheaded with the possibilities. To fit the colourwork bands in between the increases, they had to be spaced a little farther apart, and so this first one grew into a more stately ‘grandpappy’ sort of gnome. And then there was a nice midnight blue gnome.

And of course, what’s a grandpappy without a wee baby?


I left off the arms to make this one a little more delicate. Rainer liked it, but thought I could maybe go smaller. Less of a preschool gnome, more of a wee baby. My second try turned out more toddler-sized. So this morning I whipped up a wee, wee gnome. Possibly Brazil-nut sized or smaller. And utterly sweet.


Here’s a current family photo:

The growing gnome clan

Hard to imagine that just a few days ago there were three.

We are going to be naming them. Germanic names. Ernst. Sven possibly. And Gerswinda (a concubine of Charlemagne’s). We’re accepting name nominations – should that be gnominations? Male and female names, because we’ve decided that, like dwarves, they’re all bearded.

Stay tuned. I can’t imagine this is a final family photo.

Here’s the link should you want 3 Gnomes of your own. Or 6. Or a baker’s dozen… (note that I made mine of fingering weight and therefore smaller than the pattern samples)

don’t be SAD


Today’s picture isn’t a visually complex shot to be sure! It’s my full-spectrum lamp that treats my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Starting in late October and continuing until April, this powerful light is part of my morning routine.

Unless you’ve experienced depression, or, horribly, yearly depression, it’s hard to explain this magic. I sit in front of a lamp, my brain makes chemicals, and I don’t experience a creeping slip into a world of emotional greyness. The carb cravings aren’t in control. I am not trying to sleep 10 or more hours a day. I have hope.

As I’ve written before, this has been a hard 6 months, with burn out and possibly depression dogging my heels, but this lamp still helps. I can feel it in the way I wake hopefully at 5:30, part of me eager for a chemical bath. I smile a little, roll over to snuggle in, and wait for the alarm.

Light in a season of darkness. I wish it for you, too.


I’ve been having problems following the script lately, at least when it comes to my hobbies, especially my knitting. It’s not that I don’t have plans. Oh, I have plans! I wanted to knit 6 sweaters this year, for example, and not many of those are for me. I have traditionally loved making lists and proudly checking items off as I went.

It’s not that I don’t have lots of new plans, either. I am enjoying the traditional fall pastime of imaginarily knitting the entire world of possibilities. Sweet dreaming days, these crisp autumnal days.

It’s that when it comes time to actually knit, I don’t cast on anything that’s on my Responsible To Do List. I pick a yarn and a pattern that is totally off the responsibility radar. Or even my radar at all. I need a new project, and I so I surf through the possibilities and often pick something I didn’t even have prior time to dream over and plan.

At the start

It’s a little understandable. Or maybe a lot.

We are full of Responsible these days. Stuffed to the responsible gills. I find I am completely unable and unwilling to apply any sort of Ought or Should to my free time.

After the flurry of prepping our house for Rainer’s parents’ arrival, I cast on a sweater I had never even heard of and almost blissed out while I knit on grey stockinette. No, truth be told, I am still actually blissing out. Oh, stockinette. Oh, simplicity. Oh, glory.

gone but not forgotten

I didn’t mean to take the summer off blogging, but I did.

In many ways, it’s been a time that I could categorize as ‘less talking, more listening’.

It’s been a slow time, a thoughtful time, a busy time, a laughing time. And through it all, I’ve felt compelled to listen and to think rather than to talk.

Quiet and calm

This morning I had planned to run errands, do housework, and generally Win Life. But I had forgotten the electrician was coming and so instead of winning life, I won a quiet morning…which just might be the same thing.

Good to see you again,

homeschool vacation?

Imagine taking a holiday at the office.

It’s a little hard, mixing home and work, and as a homeschooler I find taking breaks – true breaks – difficult. All through the year I compile a mental list that begins with the phrase, “I’ll get to that when we’re on summer break.”

Homeschoolers need rest. Homeschoolers need recharging.

Homes need work.

There’s a conflict there, and I am looking for a solution that also matches the reality of a one-income family. (How I’d love to just throw money at some of these problems! Make someone else do the work…)

I asked two friends what I ought to do: 1) work hard for a few weeks and get a couple of big tasks off my list and have a feeling of accomplishment before my time off, or 2) rest a week now and have some positive energy for the tasks. They told me to ‘Pay yourself first’. It seemed a good bit of advice and so this is one of my weeks off. I hope to get another later this summer.

Of course, first thing as I jumped in the shower this morning my mind thought of 3 emails and 2 phone calls I ought to take care of. Great, I thought, How am I going to get mentally on board with this?

The solution I came up with is this: I am giving myself 1 hour per day for To Do things. Housework? Emails? Errands? I get 60 minutes per day, so I’d better pick important ones and I’d better learn to let go of the rest. (Now, I’m not counting cooking in there.)

It’s early days yet, in fact it’s early Monday. But I’ve had some fun, relaxed a bit, done a bit, and now I’ve sent myself to my room to start reading a novel. It’s book 3 of His Majesty’s Dragon, if you’re wondering.


How do you keep a holiday at home?

Stash Flash

The Must Stash podcast girls are doing a June “Stash Flash” – encouraging people to show their stash, to discuss what they’d like to change, organize, or improve. Here’s mine.

I store my yarn in our bedroom, mostly in our closet.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

With a little bit under the bed:

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

But what’s in those?

Starting to the right, here’s my bin of drawers. It holds a few tools and completed gifts in the top, and then lighter yarns.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

On top of those drawers is the only unorganized bit. It’s leftover from when I had 2 baskets on the main floor. (Before I realized that cat and dog hair will accumulate with such ferocity in open baskets, and before I realized that they were an open invitation to my dog to snatch a ball of yarn to be traded for a yummy treat.) I tend to throw things in there when I am done and have a bit of leftovers of yarn, or if I think I might knit something next.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Behind the drawer is the bulk of my stash. 3 bins.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

What’s it look like inside?

First, the oddballs of worsted container, which I’ve done such a great job of working on that it is now mostly filled with sweater quantities in DK and sport. (2 grey sweaters!)

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Here’s a shot of something I just love but am stumped by. I adore it in the skein. It’s art. But it’s scratchier than I can wear. And I worry that I wouldn’t adore it once it was knit up.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Remember the view to the left?

The green bin is probably my biggest problem: it’s stuff I want out of my stash, off my list, out of my zone of responsibility. But there’s such a tiny community of knitters here (or there are lots of them but they never congregate) that selling it seems hard. And shipping in Canada is expensive.
Some of this is fibre, from when I thought I was going to be a spindle spinner at least part-time.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

In that bin there’s also a tote bag of leftovers.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Then another big chunk of the yarn.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

After that we have to go to the underbed storage.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the years getting my stash organized and in shape, and I’m pretty happy with it. Last year I embarked on a campaign to deal with the ‘lurkers’, those yarns that I didn’t love or didn’t have a plan for. I wanted to love more of my stash. I’m still working on that but it’s much better.

I guess if I had to pick a goal to work on, it’s actually on my main floor. I’m not happy with how I store my needles and other tools. They seem scattered, and uncentralized.

and then we were back


Home. What a word. A longed-for place, a mood, an enfolding by waves of security.

But also a return to normal days. Routines. Chores. Pet hair.

The transition is proving hard this time. It doesn’t help that we had 4 weeks of spring and the feeling of burgeoning freedom and energy that brings, but returned to 5cm of freshly fallen winter.

We’re ready for summer vacation, but yet cognizant that there is limited time left in high school to cover all the things we want to, need to. Torn between wanting to chuck it all and buckle down even harder.

At least I’ve managed to avoid RTDLS this time. That’s Re-Entry To Do List Syndrome. I usually hit home with a list of lists, like a New Year’s Resolution gone madly overboard. This time I’m taking it day by day, task by task, trusting myself to do the right things without a list. Without the pressure of a list. Without the ambition of a list.

In that moment-by-moment living, I have carried the holiday home with me.