Look What the Cat Dragged In

I thought I would give you an update on my knitting follies. Thanks to the generous support and endless creativity of my amazing readers, I have decided to resurrect the yarn from my past fails. And here they are:

The simpler the better for this yarn. I attempted socks and fingerless mitts, but the yarn was too fine, the circumferences were too small and the needles were too dark for my aging eyeballs.

I am taking the advice of Mildlygranola who recommended casting on something simple and fun. And that’s exactly what I did. I started a Sockhead Cowl by Kelly McClure. I love the Sockhead patterns for their ease and how they showcase the colors in the wool. I am naming this project Bandicoot after that lovable video game character Crash!

Next up is the former Weekender, now the future Felix Pullover by Savory Knitting. I have admired this pattern since it was released. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? It has all the features I love in a sweater: top-down, raglan sleeves and a bit o’ eyelet. I think it will be a perfect match. I have named this project Venus Adept after Felix, the main character in the video game Golden Sun. Felix is a Venus Adept, and a main playable character in Golden Sun: The Lost Age. See what I did there?

Regina, you are quite the clever one.

I also knit a pattern that has long been in my queue. These are the Simple House Slippers by Temple of Knit. This is a great pattern to have in your library. They are simple to knit, customizable for any yarn weight and for my size (8.5 US or smaller) great for using up less than 55g of worsted weight yarn. Knit them, you won’t regret it!

In non-knitting news…

That wonderful potter, Margaret of WildDesignNY has been at it again and just look at the beautiful pieces that are blessing our home:

I really wish you could see the glaze up close and personal. The colors are so divine. So get to know Margaret, and if you need a personal trainer, she’ll kick your butt and whip you into shape. Get Fit with Margaret.

Look what happened to me at work! My BFF Kate braided my hair! We had fun and she made me feel like a princess. Do you see all those red highlights? Those are natural. Would you believe that as a child I was a little toe head? All I need now is my tiara, but that won’t make an appearance until my birthday.

There has been a lot of activity at the Cosmicknitter household. One of my favorite springtime visitors has arrived.

Razz made another trip around the sun. My baby boy is 12 years old now. I feel like next year he should be allowed a date to the tailgate.

His brother Ben (featured on the right) gave him a birthday present fit for a good boy.

So much stuff. So little time. How have you all been? Please know that I am thinking of you and praying for you and hoping that you know that God is holding you close to His heart.

Saint of the Day: St. Florian. I won’t go into detail about his life and ultimate death because is it very tragic. You can learn more of his faith here. He is the protector of those in danger from fire or water, which are two very powerful forces.

In my glass: Harney and Sons Tea, Staatsburg blend. Follow on Instagram @harneyteas

In my earballs: This guy

There is so much that bumbles around in my head that I want to chat with y’all every day! I keep telling myself “ReginaMary, write more…talk more. Ah, well, this is me, so take me or leave me.

I continue to pray for my interweb friends. I hope each day brings you joy. I am humbled when you share you struggles with me and I celebrate when you have joys.

Happy May, the month of Mary!

Love always,

ReginaMary.

P.S. I don’t know where I got the idea for this title from. Maybe I was inspired by a gift Razz dragged in; a garter snake. I can take a lot of stuff, but snakes and spiders freak me out!

Funny Strange or Funny Haha?

Whenever someone mentioned to my daddy that something was funny, that was his response.

So here is a funny conversation that occurred in my house the other day.

Me (kinda to myself but a little out loud): “I feel like casting on socks…should I do double points or circulars? hmm…”

Spouse (from other room): “How did you knit your last pair?”

Me (a little surprised by the question): “Circulars”

Spouse: “Magic Loop?”

Me (increasingly surprised): “Yes”

Spouse: “Do one at a time on dpns.”

Me:


I’m in a bit of a knitting quagmire. I cast on and ripped out two separate projects. I learned that I do not like knitting bottom-up sweaters. I knit the entire body of The Weekender before realizing the neckline did not flatter. I love the yarn – Donegal Tweed by Takhi. Then, because I like kicking myself while down, I ripped out the work on the Flux Hand Warmers by Martina Behm, a pattern included in Arnall-Culliford Knitwear’s Confident Knitting program. No issue with the pattern, mind you, rather I attempted to knit them with that confounded Queensland Collection Perth. That was my fourth attempt to knit a project with this yarn. Well, you know what they say: Five times a charm! If anyone has knit with this wool, please share any pattern recommendations.

You know, with all of this ripping out, I never did cast on those socks!

So I have nothing to show.

“She hung her head in shame.”

Have a beautiful and blessed day!

Much love,

ReginaMary

Snip Snap, Snip Snap

It was a close call. I was happily knitting along on my Soup Snakes – woolly leg warmers by Laura Aylor-aka Fogknits. I thought I planned this project out perfectly. I swatched, people, I swatched! Everything was going according to plans until it didn’t. It appeared I miscalculated the yarn, or so it seemed. I placed the project on waste yarn while I figured out my options. I thought about begging for a ball or two from folks on Ravelry, but people only had the superwash variety in their stash. I thought about working the last section in a contrasting color. Then I thought ripping both out, casting on with smaller needles, and tweaking the stitch count was the way to go. My final decision was to cast on for socks. Logical, right? As I poked around in the bin of yarn, what do you think I saw? Only 5 balls of the desired yarn needed for the leg wramers. When I say I was happy, I mean I was overjoyed! I was *this* close to frogging. You may be wondering how I missed seeing the yarn the first time I looked. Let’s just say my mind has been a bit preoccupied and leave it at that. This is a great pattern; very well written and tons of fun to knit. Two thumbs up! Here is the finished product and I am very pleased.

Now, about that one-eyed house finch. After roosting on the bedroom door, I moved him to the shower curtain rod. (It’s hard enough to clean up after an 85 lb golden retriever. amiright?) He remained in the bathroom overnight; quiet and without incident. The next morning I put him outside and wouldn’t you know he flew off? Here is a video of the little bugger (you can hear my peppers sauteing in the background).

See his little eyeball? That is due to House Finch Eye Disease. This causes a the eye to become swollen and red, leaving the bird listless, mostly blind, and vulnerable to predators and bad weather. I have since seen him around the yard. He often sits on the grass or at the feeder tilting his head in the direction of noise. When he flies, he looks a bit like Woodstock.

Spring is here, but this fella would love to hold on to every last bit of winter. He loves the cold and snow.

But on the other side of the street we fully embraced it! The blooms have since faded, but boy they were a sight to behold.

I have cast on for another project. Actually two. Actually three. Whatever, Regina. You do you.

Did you have a nice Easter or Passover? My husband and I met on Catholic Match, and after exchanging emails and phone calls for a few months, our first date in 2013 was the Easter Vigil Mass. This is a 2-3 hour service with seven readings, psalms, tons of incense and wonder! I spent many services at mass alone. I always sat in the pew near the 5th station of the cross. I would look at husbands and wives worshiping together and it was difficult for me to not feel envious of what they had. When Robert offered to meet me for the vigil mass as our first ‘in person’ date, it seemed like a prayer answered. I was so moved by his love and knowledge of the mass. His appreciation of the faith and excitement for the Resurrection was beautiful. I could not help but suck his face at our parting. This month we celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. I love this goofball so much, but I’m still not convinced he isn’t a serial killer!

This Easter felt so special. We did not have Mass last year. We did not have much of anything normal, last year. So this year, when the Gloria was sung and the bells were rung, I felt myself on the verge of tears. He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!!

Google photos reminded me that this happened eight years ago:

This is my youngest (now 25) in his senior year of high school.
This was the year he and I joined a gym together and he began his fitness journey. He is a certified personal trainer now.
We are so proud of you, Alexander.

I know I say this often, but it bears repeating. I love the blogging community. I love the knitting community. I am so blessed. My life is rich.

In my glass: Santa Cristina in my Pittsburgh Steelers wine glass

In my earballs: Real Crime Profile podcast

Saint of the Day: I’m just going to revel in the Easter season. Seriously, how wonderful is it all?

Found Him!

Well, look who decided to show up!

Black Oil Beetle

The photo is a lousy one. It took me quite a while to identify him. All of my field guides were unable to help. I resorted to Google Lens. I uploaded the photo into the program and it directed me to a Canadian website which indicated that the beetle in question was from Europe. Notice its range:

No observations in North America

I did find it odd that few, if any, sightings were in North America. Then I downloaded the American app called iNaturalist and it returned the same results! Black Oil Beetle. No matter how you slice it, this is a unique insect that was out of its element in February. The beetle has been released and I am on to other matters, like a one-eyed house finch currently roosting on my bedroom door.

A Bug’s Life

On a walk the other day, my son spotted a beetle in the road. He wasn’t dead, but he was clearly a little early for his time. It was only February and beetles shouldn’t be crawling around while there is snow on the ground and freezing temps. He asked if he was dead, but being the bug gal that I am, I could tell he was just in a frozen stupor. I took him home. Isn’t that what everyone does when they find a frosty beetle in the road? I didn’t recognize the species and wanted to study him closer with my field guide nearby. Fast forward to the next morning. Walking toward the front door, it dawned on me that I had totally forgotten about the beetle I brought home the night before. I looked down at the spot on the rug where I placed him. He was gone. Clearly, he thawed out and was now happily roaming around my house.

I have another finished object! This is a cowl made with alpaca wool purchased at the local farmers market. I started with a provisional cast-on in the round and knit until there was just enough yarn left for grafting the ends together. The stripes and slipped stitches are random.

What childhood books would you re-read again as an adult, just to bring you back to that place you were as a child? I have two: Rasmus and the Vagabond, and the Little House on the Prairie series. These books transported me to another time and lifestyle. I loved them. I recall my daddy working in the yard behind our house growing up. He would take the logs of trees that fell in the winter, carve them up to mimic benches and create a space for me to sit and read in the solitude of our back woods.

We had school pictures taken recently. All staff are featured in the yearbook along with the students. The photographer reminded me I needed to sit for mine. Fine. Snap. Thanks to the beauty of digital photography, I was able to see the image immediately. Apparently, I had a serious case of static. This year’s photo looks something like this:

“I can retake it”, she said.

“Nope, that’s me in a nutshell” I said.

I am participating in two really fun knitting events that begin this month. The first is Confident Knitting by Arnall-Culliford Knitwear. This program will introduce twelve techniques while knitting twelve accessories. I subscribed to the print/e-book but there are yarns and kits to accompany the program as well. The second event is Woolwide Adventures (@woolwideadventures), hosted by Irene Waggener, Anne Frost, Amy Snell and Erin Pirro. This program will take us on weekly adventures where “…we’ll explore the wonder that is wool, meet shepherds that raise it, learn techniques to craft with it, and of course, the amazing sheep that grow it.” I am looking forward to learning new things and meeting new friends.

I best get going-I have a beetle to find after all!

In my cup: Harney and Son’s Formosa Oolong

In my earballs: Nothing. It’s silent. Not a sound.

Saint of the Day: St. Katharine Drexel. Now here’s an inspiring gal! Katharine’s family was blessed with spiritual and material wealth. She was well-educated and traveled extensively. After watching her stepmother suffer with terminal cancer for three straight years, Katharine learned that their money couldn’t protect them from suffering. During a family trip out west, Katharine witnessed the struggle of Native Americans. In 1891, Katharine made her first vows as a religious and dedicated herself to working for the American Indians and African-Americans in the Western United States. In 1915, Katherine founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic University in the United States for African-Americans. This is just the tip of the iceberg! She founded a religious community, opened the first mission boarding school, and established missions in 16 states. St. Katharine believed everyone should have access to an education and she dedicated her life and inheritance to this end. Katharine lived to be 96 years old! She is the patroness of racial justice and philanthropists. What an inspiration!

Have a blessed week. I hope the sun is shining in your corner of the world!

{{Hugs}}

ReginaMary

I’m Tasty and I Know It. Our National Candy

To all my American friends, I know what you are thinking. “We have a national candy?” Yeah, no, we don’t. But what if we did? Sitting at work the other day, this thought came to mind. I asked my boss and colleague what they thought our national candy should be. Without missing a beat, my office mate searched the web for ‘most popular candy’ The result was a statistic on the most purchased Halloween candy of 2020. Ready for this? Skittles and Starburst. I’ll give you a minute to get back in your chair for, I too laughed so hard I fell out of mine. Then, something came to mind that my chocolate-loving, sweet-toothed husband said to me last October: “When you buy candy for Halloween, get something I don’t like.” And suddenly, it all made sense! What if everyone shopped for Halloween candy like I did? Well, I imagine the most popular candy would be ‘Bit-o-Honey’ or those confounded circus peanuts! After much thought and a lengthy (and lively) discussion, we agreed the Hershey Bar would be America’s choice. If you look it up, the Hershey Bar was touted as ‘The Great American Chocolate Bar.’ Personally, I would vote for the peanut M & M.

My husband makes me laugh! He has a sharp wit and a quick sense of humor. There is one small problem, he is not suitable for prime-time. Whenever he sends me a funny text or email at work, I find myself hootin’ and a-hollerin’ out loud…but alone…because I can’t share it with anyone!! Mr. Naughty.

Speaking of my husband… I finished his blanket!! I named this project Eustace; an explanation is found on my project page. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Co. Encore Colorspun in color 7653. The only requirements he gave me for this blanket were the colors: Blue (to match his eyes), Brown (to match the chair) and Gold (to match the dog)!! I hope he likes it!

How did your scones turn out? did you try the recipe? I promised to share some alternatives to chocolate chip with you. I would have to say one of my favorite varieties is Cranberry Orange scones. Follow the basic recipe, but leave out the egg. In place of chocolate chips and vanilla, add fresh cranberries, a whole heap of fresh orange zest and fresh orange juice. I place the cranberries in the freezer before using. The dough mixes up in the same manner. While I will say that making individual scones is my favorite method over all, these do well patted into a circle, then cut into wedges because pressing the dough into a cup can cause the berries to squirt.

So, this happened:

This is a beautiful glass tea flask that I recently treated myself to. I waited patiently for a few weeks for it to arrive since it was traveling all the way from London. I enjoyed it for less than a week before I knocked it over on the kitchen counter. I am not one to cry over spilled milk, but this really made me sad. I was mad that I let myself purchase something ‘dear’ and even madder that I got so attached to a ‘thing’. It was lovely while it lasted and I would love to have another some day, but for now, this has to go in the trash.

I am a close to having another finished object to show you, but for now it is on the blocking mats. Seems like an eternity since I have completed anything so to have two projects come to an end is such a great feeling.

On a totally unrelated note, my husband watched This is Spinal Tap for the first time ever. As a musically inclined fella with a great sense of humor, this seemed like a match made in heaven. However, there did seem to be more head-shaking than giggling coming from his side of the sofa. I did hear him reference the movie a few days later when he commented on something that “lasted about as long as a Spinal Tap drummer.” My work here is done.

It is time for an afternoon cuppa before I start dinner. We are having broccoli rabe and beans, a Lenten favorite for Fridays.

In my cup: Harney’s Irish Breakfast

In my ears: Stitched In Sweden video podcast

Saint of the Day: Saint Maria Bertilla Boscardin. Maria was born in Italy in 1888. She was very fearful of her father who was prone to jealousy and drunkenness. He preferred she work in the fields and help at home rather than go to school, so her education was limited. This often caused her to be ridiculed for not showing many “talents”. After joining the Sisters of St. Dorothy, she received a nurse’s training and began working in a hospital with very ill and emotionally disturbed children. It is here she found her calling. How beautiful is that? I feel sad for those who put her down. There is so much more to a person than schooling. And God shows me everyday that there is a place for each and every one of us in his plan. St. Maria is the patron saint of all those who are suffering from any form of spiritual, mental, or physical abuse. Thank you, St. Maria!!

Thank you for reading! Be well and have peace in your day.

Until next time,

ReginaMary

Oh, Those Scones!

Thank you for all the kind comments on my post for Su’s Virtual Tea Party.

I have been asked by many to provide my recipe for the Chocolate Chip Scones, so without further ado…


Scones

2 1/2 cu all-purpose flour

1 T baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

8 T cold unsalted butter, cut up

1/4 – 1/3 cu granulated sugar

2/3 cu milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cu semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Baker’s or granulated sugar for topping


Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Position oven rack in the middle.

In mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir to combine.

Using a pastry blender, add butter, cutting in until the mixture looks like small peas.

Add sugar and toss.

In small bowl, combine milk, egg and vanilla.

Add liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Quickly fold in chocolate chips.

Place dough in the refrigerator for about 15 mins.

Baking the scones:

Using a 1/4 cu measure, place scones on parchment line cookie sheet. Sprinkle additional sugar on top of each scone and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Slide parchment to a cooling rack to cool.


That’s all there is to it. However…I am going to share some of my little tips that may help you get stellar results. This is a very flexible formula for scones. Once you get the technique, you can make them your own.

When it comes to flour, I use King Arthur AP. I think it is the best. Use your favorite but try to avoid bleached and bromated flours. When measuring the flour, fluff it in the canister or bag, then spoon into the measuring cup and level off. Scooping directly into the flour can compact it, adding too much to the recipe and making dry scones. ew.

I never use salted butter. Ever. In anything. What I do, however, is let my butter and egg sit out on the counter for at least an hour. I know what you are thinking. “But Regina, your recipe calls for cold butter. Now you tell us you leave yours out? Has my whole life been a lie?”. The answer is yes, yes, and no. Sorta. When the butter is rock hard and just out of the fridge, it is so difficult to cut up that I found myself working at this step too long, creating a tough dough. If I allow the butter to stand a bit, the cutting in takes no time at all. Bada bing bada boom.

Vanilla extract. You can add it, or not. No big deal. If you don’t have any, substitute a liqueur.

On to the chocolate chips. I have made these with Ghirardelli semi-sweet, 60% bittersweet and 72% dark chocolate. They all work.

I use a trigger handled ice cream scoop to shape my scones. But don’t think you have to make individual scones. This dough can be gently patted into a 6″ circle which is cut into 8 wedges. Wiggle the knife as you cut the wedges to allow a bit of space for nice crisp sides. You can also roll out the dough and cut with a 2.5″ cutter. This is my least favorite option because the more you handle the dough, the less tender the crumb.

When you cool the scones, keep them on the parchment, on the rack and cover them with a very thin baking cloth to preserve the delicious crust that the sugar creates on top.

This recipe doubles and triples beautifully. When I make a large batch, I drop a dozen on the cookie sheet and put the sheet in the freezer. Once they are firm, I place them in an air-tight container or zipper bag in the freezer until I am ready to bake them. Just let them sit on the counter for about 15 minutes while the over preheats. You can freeze baked scones just as easily. Allow them to cool completely before freezing. When you are ready to eat them, let them sit out on the counter before placing them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Please do not microwave.

What if you don’t like chocolate? Fear not, I have modifications to suit every taste. Stay tuned.

Buon Appetito!

Everybody Loves a Party!

There is a wonderful tradition amongst some very lovely bloggers. Su (Zimmerbitch) hosts a monthly virtual tea party and EVERYONE is invited. The kettle is on and the knitting is near! The tea is from the very local Harney and Sons in Millerton, NY. This particular tin was included in my F2T box. Do you like the tea set? This was a gifted to me by my boys a few years ago. We are getting a snow storm and the heat is coming on; time to snuggle in.

Staatsburgh Blend: A local blend of black tea, apricot, red cornflowers, hazelnut, nutmeg and cinnamon. To Die For!
Chocolate Chip Scones. I ran out of vanilla extract so I added a little Frangelico Liqueur. I don’t think he minds!

Stay warm and cozy!

ReginaMary

How Very “Pinterest” of You

When you think of impulse shopping, what comes to mind? Shoes? Handbag? Yarn? Not this gal. Upon stopping for a bottle of wine to have with our Chinese food, I was immediately taken with a bottle of Chianti. You know the one. Round, not tall, with the raffia around the base. Stick a candle in it and – voila! – instant atmosphere. I had to have it. As the clerk rang up my purchase, she commented “how very ‘Pinterest’ of you!” Take a look! Even when picking out wine, I am such a nature girl.

Life is Beautiful

Some of the best dreams are the ones where I can fly. Not just fly, but SOAR. Little effort is needed for me to rise above everything. I don’t take on a Superman pose, with my arms in front of me rather, my arms are to my side. Every so often I have to move my arms to give me height or speed, but for the most part I am soaring. It is so calming and peaceful. What a wonderful experience. I don’t know if any of you have had similar dreams. If you have, please take a moment to share them with me.

Some of the best foods are the ones that look like crap. There are a few things that I never buy because I don’t know moderation when eating them; liverwurst and German bologna, to name a few. Pickles are another favorite; not just any pickle, but a garlic dill eaten out of the jar. I recently walked into the kitchen to find my son eating pickles out of the jar. I have raised him well.

Making progress on the knitting front. I am down to the last ball of yarn for my husband’s blanket. He should have plenty of winter to enjoy it. Come to think of it, he will enjoy it in the summer if the air conditioning is too chilly for his legs.

I inherited a sweater quantity of yarn from a friend. 16 skeins (about 1500 yds) of Classic Elite Believe, a cotton/rayon. The photo is washed out. The yarn is black. I need a pattern that will be easy to navigate so I won’t have difficulty reading the fabric. I have a few in mind.

Emma’s Caponcho

This begins as a cowl then grows into a cape/poncho thanks to the addition of increases down the sides. Don’t you think it would be nice in a drapey cotton? I am hoping the yarn fades a bit with washing. The plain stockinette would be ideal for embroidery. Thoughts?

Easy to knit in stockinette.

Top Down Poncho

As you can see, I am drawn to a cape or poncho for this yarn. I think it would make a great layering piece over jeans or a dress. I would hold the yarn double for this one. Not sure about the buttons. I have visions of them constantly coming undone. Don’t tease me.


I did a bad, bad thing. I clipped Razz’s nails last night. You know where I am going with this, don’t you? I snipped one nail too close to the quick. I KNOW!! My little boy squeaked in pain. He is fine, I am scarred.

For Christmas, I received a gift certificate for Harney & Sons Tea. I had a field day filling my cart. Formosa Oolong, Darjeeling, and Irish Breakfast. All loose tea. While cleaning out the storage closet recently I found a tea pot that my sister passed on to me. I cleaned it up and had fun filling it with my new tea. I learned a lot about this pot. It is heat resistant and can sit directly on the burner. I trust this to be true and have no intention of testing the claim.

In my glass: Peppoli Chianti Classico in a Pittsburgh Steelers glass. Salute!

In my ears: 9-1-1 Calls Podcast with the Operator. OMG! I love this podcast. Don’t worry, they always follow up the 911 calls with a happy ending!

Saint of the Day: St. Agnes. This is one heck of a story. Legend has it that Agnes was a beautiful girl of 12 or 13 yrs whom many young men wanted to marry. Among those she refused, one reported her to the authorities for being a Christian. She was arrested and confined to a house of prostitution. The legend continues that a man who looked upon her lustfully lost his sight and had it restored by her prayer. Agnes was condemned, executed, and buried near Rome in a catacomb that eventually was named after her. The daughter of Constantine built a basilica in her honor. What a horrible experience, but let’s hear it for our girls. Any surprise Agnes is the patron saint of girls and girl scouts?

As always, thank you for stopping by. Don’t be a stranger…drop me a line and tell me how you are!

Have a blessed day and hug a puppy!

I’m going to leave you with the song my husband and I danced to at our wedding.

Keb’ Mo’-Life is Beautiful

This is for Robert.

Love and peace to you all.

ReginaMary