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Blog Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the blog contest.  The readers of this blog are some incredibly creative people.

Random Thoughts

It’s fascinating what goes through the minds of blog readers…I honestly had no idea what kind of window I was going to be looking through when I posted this blog contest.

Below is a sampling of what came in…I only responded to the first one listed because there’s an expert on the subject sitting right next to me.

  • I wondered why tires are black.  Isn’t the rubber plant green?  And if so, is the rubber dyed black. And if so, why black?
    • Not all rubber is black…rubber bands, for instance, aren’t typically black. For tires, carbon-black is added to rubber to give it strength and it’s black color.  As it turns out, when I first met Thaddeus, he was working in a rubber mill, where they milled various rubber compounds and extruded some of them into various products for other companies.  Thaddeus tells me that carbon-black was originally made by burning petroleum in an enclosed furnace and scraping the walls.  Using the residue of burnt petroleum added the strength to rubber that products like tires needed.
  • Why do stores only send me coupons for things I don’t want to buy, instead of the things I do want to buy?
  • No matter how awesome it looks, I cannot bring myself to use Manos del Uruguay yarn because of the movie “Manos: Hands of Fate.” 
    The random thoughts come only when I’m showering.  Alexa needed.
  • Why did they build double-decker train cars only to use them OFF PEAK hours? 
  • Never trust a man who says “trust me.”
  • How does one tiny cat take up 3/4 of the bed?
  • How exactly can one ‘Wang Chung’ tonight?
  • Can a life of abnegation and self-sacrifice be faulted as leading to  an unhealthy pattern of “micro-suicides”, or is it the natural expression of a generous and spiritual life?
  • One of my random thoughts relates to yours regarding cleaning your teeth vigorously before going to the dentist. I have wondered why I do the same thing, yet I have the completely opposite approach before going to the hair salon. I never bother to wash my hair first, because they will wash it anyway. However, I would never think of going to the dentist without thoroughly brushing, flossing, and rinsing with Listerine! 
  • Do most people take off the toilet seat cover to clean the hinges?  How often?
  • How do cats always find the warmest spot?
  • Mind full vs. Mindful.  Are you not being mindful when your head is spinning with all the things around you; say at a carnival or concert.
  • I read some books because the cover has a good font on it. 
  • I always loved that the “paperless office” generated so many copies of whatever was sent as a computer file.
  • Every time I make a random thoughts list, I feel like Larry King. 

 Thank you everyone for participating in the blog contest.

Here are the two scarf kits that will be sent to the randomly selected winners of the contest.

I love both versions, but I’ll let the first-chosen have their preferred colorway and send the other one to the second-chosen.

The winners are:

Amy B.
Helen M.

Please join me in congratulating the winners.  I’m still looking at getting coupons for MJ Yarns as runner-up prizes…I’ll keep you all updated.

Current Knitting

The fifth of six panels was started on the Easton Mountain logo blanket.

I haven’t worked so much plain stockinette with some intarsia for a while and I’m enjoying the easiness of it.

I’ve also started a sock KAL as part of a Facebook group I’m on with Hayes.

I chose Noro Kureyon Sock, US1 needles and 68 stitches.  The KAL calls for an after-thought heel, which I’ve never done before, but I imagine it won’t be too difficult.
Source: fre

An Accidental Remodel!

 The two little Striped Aviator Hats are finished for my two little misses in Washington State where they are experiencing – WINTER!
(Size 4 and 2)

I decided to go with ties on their hats because it is cold and they would need to secure their hats better than my Florida grands.  I love this little machinery to crank out the I-cords in mere minutes!

 After the leaking pipe ordeal, the flooring all looks and feels like a scrub board.  Since we have to pull it all up and replace it, we talked over a little thing we wished we had done 4 years ago when the kitchen was totally overhauled and didn’t think of then.

 And that was to rip out this partial wall dividing the kitchen and the family room.   Since it wasn’t a  support wall, it could go and now it has!  Of course, all of the walls in the old part of the house are cement block which makes for an interesting removal.  Dad and Bill are well acquainted with the challenge and made fast work of it!

 The sheetrock was stripped and the sledge hammer work began!

 No, more like piece by piece they carried each block out after Bill nudged them off their mortar!

 By early afternoon  we were looking at this-open and roomy!  What a great way to make the kitchen a better place to work in! (We are going to be adding a small island counter on wheels to place it wherever it would be needed!)  Bill has to change the placement of the water lines to the refrigerator and fill in the sheetrock on the ceiling and the wall behind the cabinet-he likes the wall knocking out kind of project, not the finishing work kind of ones! Tough shanoogies, says I!  Oh, yes, we have to replace the flooring, too! lol)

 The cats all gave the new arrangement quite a going over-different is not always acceptable to them!

Baby Lena says her world has been turned upside down but she would like it anyway as long as there is food and milk!
Source: FF


There will be a new yarn coming our way in February.

Life in the Long Grass

We are an Irish artisan hand dyed yarn and art studio in the countryside in Ireland. I am a keen knitter and was taught to knit and crochet by my Mum and our crafty neighbour Mrs Ryan. I love working with natural fibres and incorporate them in our home and what we wear as much as possible.

We worked as a graphic designer (Caroline) and architect (Jonny) in London and Spain before moving back to Ireland and living in the countryside – from there it was a natural transition to take our love of colour, art and design and apply it to our love of yarn.

All the yarn in our first shipment will be Fine Sock 75/25

75% Superwash Merino & 25% Nylon, 4ply Fingering weight yarn, 425m (467 yards) and 100g

75/25 4ply yarn is smooth, soft and the most durable sock yarn making it the perfect choice for all projects:  socks, baby clothing, shawls, cardigans, and sweaters.  The softness and drape is fab next to the skin.

As I was downloading the pictures of the yarn for the website I kept thinking to myself “that would look beautiful in Find Your Fade.”

There will be semi-solid colourways as well.

This is just a sample of the great colours coming. There will be 13 mottled colours and 15 solids. Watch for updates here and on our Instagram account – needleemporium.

I cast off the last stitch just as the football game was ending. Tomorrow we’ll sew in the ends and then I’ll get more pictures.
Source: Looms


I made it to the last colour. Two football games, hockey and golf have been perfect for knitting. I have less than 30 rows and it’s finished.

I was going to write about a new yarn coming in February but now it’s late so I’m just going to give you a teaser and I’ll tell more tomorrow.

Source: Looms

Birthday Fun!

 Early morning work.
 We enjoyed a birthday scavenger hunt around my parents train house!
 The kids had so much fun following their map!  
We had fun following the kids!
Ella needed a new Elsa dress since she outgrew her last one!
 Eli liked being on his new trike using the ground instead of the pedals for now!
After the party, we went home and did some treasure hunting-
Bill is grateful I am cleaning up his yard!

Source: FF

Ambah O’Brien Mystery KAL

It’s always a good day when new yarn arrives.

From Lang

Our classic amongst the multi-coloured yarns: now in a wheel-like cake. With the 200g presentation you will have fewer breaks in the colour sequence. The latest shades display more matte-shiny effects and even more complex colour combinations. You will be enchanted!

50% virgin wool
50% acrylic
380m in a 200gram cake
6-7mm needles
$40 a cake

One cake will make the hat, cowl and fingerless gloves. The pattern is purchased on Ravelry.


Wendy Evolution kits arrived earlier this week.

Scarf/shawl kit in a box. Super soft, hand knotted colour changing yarn (the colour change is produced by dyeing each colour separately and then hand tying set lengths of yarn together), packaged to work straight from the box.

Ambah O’Brien is hosting a Mystery KAL starting the beginning of February.

Choose 3 skeins of gorgeous sock yarn and head over here to join Ambah and friends in a fun mystery knit-a-long. Over 6 weeks, four clues will reveal a shawl, that will keep you guessing. Enjoy the company of others as you solve the mystery and finish yours on time to be in the running to win some great prizes.

Ambah is one of my favourite designers and we have lots of her shawls hanging in the store. Her patterns are very well written and I highly suggest joining the fun. Here is a link to her designs on Ravelry so you can see her work…

I’m almost finished the sixth colour on Find Your Fade. A bit of knitting tonight and then lots on the weekend. I hope to have it finished by Sunday evening. Speaking of Sunday evening – the next season of Homeland is starting. 
Source: Looms


The first post on this blog appeared on Wednesday 13th January 2010.  Seven years ago.  Isn’t that amazing?  I’m amazed, anyway.  I never expected to be still writing blog posts.  The original idea was just to find out something about blogs and blogging by trying it for myself – I’m sure I didn’t imagine that I would carry on blogging for so long.

In that first post, I showed this photo of a Fair Isle pullover I knitted for John in the early 80s, before I stopped knitting for a long long time. Since 2010, the pullover has had an exciting time – I lent it to Lydia who used to own Spun in Huddersfield (still open, but with a new owner).  She started to sell Jamieson’s Shetland, and wanted some examples of Fair Isle knitting to inspire customers.  I lent her John’s pullover, and a sweater from the same book by Sarah Don that I had knitted for myself, and they were on display in the shop for most of a year.  Lydia said that many customers admired them, and several wanted to buy the pullover.  Now we have them both back at home, I think perhaps we ought to start wearing them again….

Back to my anniversary.  Now that I’ve been writing this blog for seven years, I can see that I have managed to write about 70 posts a year.  It’s been quite consistent – the minimum is 66, the maximum 76.  This is despite my best intentions to write more often.  Must try harder, and I’ll see how I’ve done this time next year.
Source: ggg


 Isn’t this the sweetest little lap blanket?!
 It has been a bit of a week-we burst an old lead pipe under the sink.  (This is Bill’s pic of the hole he had to chip out of the cement block under the sink so he could repair it.
While it was hard for us to reach, it wasn’t hard for the water to leak under the cupboards and into our flooring.
I will save that saga for another day.
 This is how I did dishes this week…….in the tub!  
At least it wasn’t in the creek!
 I tried out a new Accuquilt die called LeMoyne Star.
It looked complicated but when you broke down the components, it was very enjoyable!
These blocks will be made using scraps from the stash with the others doing the Rainbow Scrap Challenge with Angela on her blog.  This month’s color is purple!  I’m working on my drawing plan but wanted to jump in and get lost sewing with the week we’ve had!)
 Four little blocks sewn together and I had it!
Bill finished the plumbing job just in time to make dinner!
It was so nice to work in a kitchen with water and a drain!
He even saved the pieces he had to cut out of the back of the cabinet so he could put them back.
I cannot begin to mention the blessing of having a handy husband!
(Oh, and during one of the trips to the hardware store for supplies, the car battery died.
Bill got a ‘jump’ from a helpful stranger and went and bought a new battery for it.
My Dad came and put it in for Bill so he could stay on course with the drain pipe!
What a day!

Source: FF

New Ransomware – Beware!

It’s bad enough that you can have your computer data hijacked by clicking on an e-mail attachment, but now your iPad and iPhone are at risk by just clicking on a web site!

Java Script Screen Lock

A friend of mine told me about how he contracted some virus that locked up his iPad and required him to pay a tech company $100 to unlock it.

So here’s the scam…you’re cruising various porn sites, and click on something that looks hot and titillating.  The following displays on your Safari web browser:

Or worse yet, some FBI or police notification indicates you’ve caused a problem and need to call a toll-free number right away.

No matter what you do, you can’t unlock Safari.  You reboot.  You clear cache.  You hard-stop Safari…but nothing works.  God forbid you were doing something you shouldn’t at work.  Or doing something you don’t want your spouse to find out about.

You call the number and they charge you $100 to fix the problem.  They also request your iCloud password to complete the changes for you.

If that’s not bad enough, they call you back two weeks later telling you additional updates need to be made for an additional $100.

My friend paid the initial $100 to get his iPad unlocked, and fortunately he didn’t know his iCloud password and couldn’t find where he had written it down.  And when they called him back two weeks later, he had them call me to explain the issue before he’d authorize any more money.

They actually called me and these scumbags threatened all kinds of dire consequences to my friends iPad if he didn’t continue with the updates.  I was just going to tell them not to call my friend back, but “Justin” got mean, so I started to interrogate him.  Asked his full name (wouldn’t give it), the company name (said it was Mind Tech, but it wasn’t – he had called from an “Unknown Number).  Asked where he was calling from (he said California).  Asked him for a web URL so I could verify his information and was told that was only provided to clients, like my friend.

Just so you know, the company that called my friend is called OnTimeTechSupport . com because they sent him a follow-up e-mail to confirm all they had charged him for was at his request.  A company called Eastside Media LLC charged his credit card.

None of it was necessary, and my friend is contesting the charge with his credit card company.

There are a few different scams but most of them just require you to stop the Java Script that is locking Safari.  I haven’t tried it, but a google search indicates that when you see a pop-up like the one above, go to your settings and enable airplane mode. This will cut all connections with Wi-Fi and cellular services. Then remove browsing history on your Safari app by  going to Settings > Safari > Clear history. Turn airplane mode off and reopen Safari – you should be good to go.

Current Knitting

The three Pink PussyHats were completed in time to deliver them my friend who will be wearing one and giving away the other two at the march on January 21st.  I finished the last one minutes before I had to deliver it, so I forgot to get a photo, but they came out great.

I also finished the pattern for the Milano Scarf and published it out on Ravelry.

I priced the pattern at $.99, but honestly it was published to highlight MJ Yarns, so if anyone would like a coupon for a free copy of the pattern, just e-mail me (by clicking on the “E-Mail QueerJoe” link to the right of the blog and I’d be glad to send you a coupon for a free copy.

Finally, I also made additional progress on the Easton Logo blanket.

Now I need to start on the purple side.
Source: fre