Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas on the Hill

Episode 2 is up!
Yes, after almost 3 weeks----episode 2 is live.....thanks for your patience. Life events conspired against me in the process of getting the episode out sooner, but better LATE than never. The good news is, I'm going to try to get a pre-New Year episode out by December 31st (Episode 2.5 hopefully! Stay tuned my fellow listeners.)

With a layer of natural snow on the ground, temperatures hovering in the teens-twenties, and the ski areas humming away, winter is here and the "Hill" is no exception.

Let's start with the CORRECT contact information for me and my podcast endeavors!

The podcast can be found on iTunes----just type "Counting Sheep" into the search box; look under the podcast heading, then you can go ahead and subscribe. The podcast can also be found at:

My blog, well, you've found my blog, but here it is:
You can drop me an e-mail at:

The Ravelry group is Counting Sheep and my "ravetar" is Rabbitlady

Fiber Conquests:


Mayflower Vest by Donna Kay (e-mail:

Progress is slow but steady---2 repeats of the pattern are done (which doesn't sound like much in writing---but quite the accomplishment on the needles)

Gadget of note: the Knitting Chart Keeper by Knitpicks:
a knitter's "easel" of sorts; it allows you to view your pattern chart easily & keeps it in place with magnets. The magnets mark the row you are working on & you can move them as you go. The unit folds up & snaps closed for storage. WELL worth the price!

Another Vest: EZ's rib warmer; pattern can be found on Ravelry: Ribwarmer Revisited WG58 SO42 for $1.00. Also, if you keep back issues of Knitter's Magazine, it's in the Fall 1997 (No. 48) issue, pp. 80-82. All garter stitch with short rows (don't let that scare you---the pattern spells it out for you and it's easy) fast, fun. I'm knitting mine in my handspun yarn from my sheep Maple and Sugar.

Crochet Crazy!!!!!!

The Fiber Trends Crochet Felt Boot Slippers are done and have been gifted!! YAY!!
This project included my only foray into needlefelting for this episode!

Amazing Amigurumi: Lion Brand free patterns
1. The Weiner Dog (#70579AD)
2. The Penguin (#81012AD)---too cute for words
3. The Turtle (#81009AD)---an Christmas gift for a friend (and you know who you are!)
4. The Reindeer (#80971AD)---didn't get to this one, ran out of time, maybe next year.

These items almost crochet themselves. Check out other amigurumi patterns as well as load of other free patterns at Lion Brand's Website

Christmas Trees: featured in the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Crochet Today, pp.67-68. Done in Red Heart Heart & Sole sock yarn. One ball color #3973 "Christmas" and one ball color #3931 "Berry Bliss" with a size D-3 hook. I used these as package toppers, but you can use as garland, or ornaments. Very quick and very easy.

Interweave Crochet Magazine Issue Winter 2010

Riverstone Cardigan by Mandy Moore on p. 14. My yarn of choice is the one used in the pattern, but I couldn't find the tweed so I made a substitution:
#4010 (straw)
#8509 (light grey)
#7822 (Vandyke brown) as a substitution for #7617 charcoal tweed

I purchased the yarn at one of my favorite LYSs: Baker's Yarns

This project is started and I have about 4 inches done already---and I'm in LOVE---more comments on this project in the future as it progresses......

The Frosted Window-Pane Pullover by Kimberly K. McAlindin is in my future as well.  I strayed from the pattern and bought Knit Picks Gloss DK in color Doe for this project.  I love the texture work of the bodice and the high empire-style of this sweater.

I'm also in love with Lily Chin's Mesa Pullover as well which is featured on pp. 18-19 and Robyn Chachula's Belcarra Cardigan on pp. 51-53.  If I wasn't completing a cardigan very similar to this one, I'd be all over this project as well.

Bravo Interweave for putting out a fabulous issue of Interweave Crochet!

Alpaca, alpaca, and more alpaca.............ho hum.

No progress (okay, I haven't even started!) on the Ski Sheep by Woolpets----but I did needlefelt two sheep already (one the crochet boot slippers) so that counts, doesn't it?!? 

What's happening on the farm?
Larry, Moe, and Curly are growing like weeds and eating like piggies!  They will be going to their own hutches soon as mama Midnight needs a BREAK!

Sheep introductions

Feeding the birds can be hazardous to your health---when you don't wear the proper shoe attire! :-)

Sleeping on the Job:  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, wake up!!!!!!

Information for this segment is taken from:  Watchful Care:  A History of America's Nurse Anesthetists by Marianne Bankert and also from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.  Questions are gladly encouraged to be answered in future podcast episodes!!


WEBS Annual Year End Blow-Out Sale (on-line sale has already begun as of 12/22).  Take advantage and stock-up for the NEW year!!

Group Knitting & Knitting Groups:   try it, you'll like it!  E-mail me for tips on how to start your own group in your vicinity!!

Okay everyone, e-mail YOUR new year resolutions or goals!  Episode 2.5 will cover this old tradition of making resolutions.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Podcast Promo & Episode 1 now on iTunes!

Hello one & all!
'Tis the season to start something new! As promised, I have begun podcasting! I managed to navigate quite a few unexpected bumps in that road (because I'm basically a computer cretin)---but I'm happy to say that I've learned quite a bit from both the Libsyn & iTunes support people. Hope you enjoy listening!

Show notes: These will be rudimentary for this first go-around since I expended most of my time and energy into recording, uploading, etc. of the podcast.

Knitting: Mayflower Vest by Donna Kay
This is a fair isle vest done in two colors with an all-over pattern. The yarn is Rauma Finullgarn in off-white and maroon. I'm knitting it in the round with one steek up the center. Donna Kay's designs are fabulous and she spends a great deal of time getting the pattern right! I love her designs which can be found at Harrisville Designs right here in Northern New England:
Donna's contact information: and she is treeoflife on Ravelry.

No pictures on this one yet---perhaps next week!

Crocheting: Crocheted Felt Boot Slippers by Fiber Trends
These are a Christmas gift for my sister (who wore out her last pair). Crocheted huge on a big hook (size N) and then thrown to the washer on hot cycle. They shrink down to the appropriate size. The yarn is Araucania distributed by KFI in color #416. ( Can be done with double soles that you crochet and attach with a row of single crochet OR you can crochet one sole and attach a suede sole after the machine felting---this version tends to last a lot longer! Added bonus with this pattern: you can needle felt a sheep or other such item of your choice to the side after the boots have dried. My sister will probably be sporting the sheep. Fiber trends patterns & kits can be found at:
Suede slipper soles can be found at Patternworks:

Needlefelting: Ski Sheep from Woolpets
This little guy is soooo cute as are the other animals in this line. The kit comes complete with the wool, directions, and needle to make this adorable little sheep on skis! All the materials are packed within a clear acrylic Chinese-food-style package including the metal handle. To see this and others log onto the WEBS website:

Spinning: Alpaca, alpaca, alpaca
I'm spinning a friend's alpaca----trying to finish up last year's clip so that I may go onto THIS year's clip-------how did I get myself into this? Still I need and want to do my own spinning!

What's happening in the barn?
New bunnies!! Pictures to follow

Sleeping on the Job: Some background on the profession of nurse anesthesia.

Yammer: Those podcasts that inspire me!
Cast On by Brenda Dayne
CogKnitive Podcast by Dr. Gemma
KIPing it Real by Jacky
The Knit Wits by Carin & Rick
KnitCents by Rachel
Knitmore Girls by Jasmin & Gigi
Knitting Pipeline by Paula
Spin Control by Shilo
Ready, Set, Knit by Kathy & Steve Elkins at Webs Yarn Store
Yarn Craft from Lion Brand Yarns
Yarns from the Plain by Nik

Thanks to all of these talented folks who have entertained and inspired me for quite some time now!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Hello all!
Whew! It's been a LONG time---sorry for such a delay in posting. I've been busy with lots of stuff and now that I have the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival behind me, I can try to settle into what is ahead. We are T-minus less than two weeks till the hubby and I fly off to Amsterdam (with a side trip to Germany to see the relatives) so that I may present my poster of my doctoral research at the Second International Conference on Violence in the Health Sector (October 26-29).

Just some background information; I graduated April 2009 with my Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. It was a 'mostly on-line' program with some in-person intensive weekends in Michigan. To complete the course of study, one must do a 'capstone' project which usually entails some kind of research. My research study focused upon looking into the extent and impact of horizontal violence within the work environment of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists of which I happen to be one. Yes, there is horizontal violence within the operating rooms of this great country of ours---sad to say. Anyway, to make a long story even research abstract was accepted for poster presentation at the Sigma Theta Tau (Honor Society for us nursing-types) International Convention last autumn in Indianapolis, IN which lead to my abstract being accepted at the International Conference in Amsterdam at the end of this month------WAY too exciting!!! I can hardly contain myself! But, mostly, I'm excited to attend the conference to see what else is going on related to this topic---which is soooo HUGE right now (i.e.: bullying in schools, workplace bullying/violence).

So, anyhoo, we fly off to Amsterdam at the end of the month with a side trip to Germany as I said. My parents are accompanying us for part of the trip (the Germany part). I have two uncles and two aunts (my mom's siblings) in southern Germany whom I haven't seen for 18 years!!

Other items on my plate: Midnight, one of my French Angora rabbit does gave birth to a litter of baby bunnies on October 2nd. They are doing well and we already have people interested in purchasing. The autumn color here in Vermont is glorious and we are enjoying it! Sayda, our newest sheep (I believe I introduced you to her in a prior posting) has been busting out to browse under one of the apple trees. The hubby has since tweeked the electric fence to the proper voltage and fixed some areas of it where she was sneaking out underneath---but it will require a trip to our favorite fence company Wellscroft in Harrisville, NH this week. I see a side trip to Harrisville Designs in my future........

I have been duly inspired as of late to initiate my own podcast under the Counting Sheep name---I have been brainstorming about segments for the podcast and I think I have enough stuff for the rudimentary beginnings of a podcast!! I'm kind of excited about this new venture, but I probably won't tackle it until after we get back from Amsterdam---too much going on.

My knitting group survived a change in venue----we named the group as well. We are now called the Mt. Ascutney Fiber Arts group (MAFA for short) and we meet at the Hartland Public Library on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month from 6:30pm-8:00pm. We're welcoming ALL fibery arts including knitting, crocheting, spinning, rug-hooking, and beyond.

Okay, I think that's all for now---stay tuned for the podcast that I've typed it, I HAVE to do it, right?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

So I haven't posted for a while---July has turned out to be a fairly busy month, Tour-de-Fleece aside (I'll get to that later). We started the month off with a visit from my dear friend Barbara and her two children. I barely made it home in time from a Lions event that I cut out early on to greet her and Emily and Dan. We immediately made our way to our favorite Antiques store (The Antique Mall in Quechee, VT---if you're in the area, it's worth the trip!) to prowl around there. We picked up a few items, tasted some chesse and then went to the Harpoon Brewery for dinner. I think our dogs were a hit with Dan as he spent lots of time with them and asking questions about them!

After their visit, we helped our friends bring in the hay---sheep in Vermont need to be fed about 7-8 months out of the year---and so, summer months are spent cutting, raking, tetting, baling, and storing hay. It was a particular joy this year as we have had quite some humidity which makes even getting near the hay less than desirable.

On Saturday, July 10th, I went to the ChainLink (CGOA) conference in Manchester, NH. It was fabulous! First off, I ran into Doris Chan (one of my favorite crochet designers) and she graciously signed a copy of "Crochet Lace Innovations" for me which has a design that I'm crocheting right now. Well, no better place than a convention to get inspiration for your craft. I took a class on crocheting Bruges lace with a lovely lady, Susan Lowman from Arizona. Check out her site: I'll have to post pictures of the lace I've made in the next post. Of course, I bought some yarn (for Chan pattern) from The Elegant Ewe of Concord, NH---they also have a website and they are really nice!

I've been busily trying to find a new venue for our knitting/crochet/fiber group here in Windsor, VT. It's taken a bit of back and forth, but we will be meeting at a very nice community room every other Thursday evenings. These changes have finally forced me to hone in on a name for our group and the group has decided upon the Mt. Ascutney Fiber Arts Group.

My last bit of news to report is that my spinning wheel has been extremely lonely this month---yes, I've failed miserably at the 'Tour-de-Fleece!' As a matter of fact, I didn't ever really get started on my batt (It's Complicated) although, I certainly can use the name of the batt to explain my July. I started a new part-time job as an anesthetist for an ambulatory surgery center (2 days a week) as well as maintaining my other part-time job (2 days a week) for a gastroenterologist. The good news is that with the drop in humidity around here, it actually feels like weather for spinning. It's difficult to motivate oneself to spin WOOL when it's 95 degrees out and 60% humidity!

Stay tuned, I'm hoping to get 'It's Complicated' up and running------for now, I'm going to go do some laundry (our dryer was just fixed yesterday after being down for 3 weeks)!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hot, hot, hot.........

It's 93 degrees Fahrenheit here in Windsor, VT and says it feels like 101. I concur. I'm not particularly fond of the hazy, hot, and humid type of weather----I moved to Vermont almost 7 years ago to escape that. Lucky for us, we don't have to put up with too much of it as Vermont tends to have more tolerable weather conditions than New Jersey (my state of origin). Right now, I just praying for a break in the trend which may come within the next couple of days----as an anesthetist, I spend most of my waking hours in a super-cooled environment---so my body is "used" to being cool and so, this weather poses a problem to my equilibrium.

Well, enough about the weather-----the DH and I helped our friends hay this week------yes, if you think just moving around in these weather conditions is tough, try slinging bales of hay in it. We have about 180 bales in the barn of first-cut hay and we are happy campers about that---'tis more than enough to get us through the coming winter. The HUGE field that our friends hayed brought in ALOT more than what now resides in our barn and we're still wondering where to store it all.

July 3rd (the start of the Tour de Fleece) has come and gone and I must confess that I have not yet begun to spin my project for it (see prior posting). I will, however, "catch up"----many, many tasks (besides haying) have hindered me from sitting down at the spinning wheel---but I assure you, that I will not disappoint Team CogSpintive! We are all aware of how 'life can get in the way' of our intentions.

I am proud to say that I've skirted all of my sheep's fleeces and they have been sent off to be processed into roving----even in the heat, I've made some progress (oh, talking about the weather AGAIN!!).

This Saturday, my friend Jennifer and I will be going to the Crochet Guild of America's annual show in Manchester, NH. I'm going to be taking a class in Bruges lace and also cruising the market for any and all things unknown to me---looking forward to it---should be fun and I'll bring back a full report on it here!

Stay cool everyone!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cat call

What do you get when the universe combines one housecat, a Dymo label maker, and one bored husband? Our cat, Buddy, puts up with ALOT---I try to make up for it by giving him the best canned catfood money can buy. We're not sure how old Buddy really is as we adopted him when he was already quite the older adult cat, but given the fact that he only has two teeth left, we think he's reached his Golden years. He thinks he's a dog and so, the dogs think that too. Buddy, like most cats, believes he owns the place and we let him think that too.

Today is the first day of a two-week respite from both of my part-time jobs which I have been looking forward to for some time now. Spent today trying to help the DH install a pre-hung door (well, he did most of the work---I just provided lifting (read: grunt work) help and dumb looks when he asked for suggestions on how to fix the crookedness. You'd think that installing a pre-hung door would be akin to child's play---I'm here to tell you folks, it's NOT! It's times like these when I realize how unskilled and unknowing I am about a whole bunch of things in life.

Anyway, I've got a list going of all the things I'd like to have done at the end of two weeks---by that time, I'll be well into the Tour-de-Fleece (see prior posting). I'll let you know if my goals are met!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

To Sleep perchance to Dream....

I've devoted most of my life to providing anesthesia to those having various surgical, as well as other pain-producing procedures. I am, by profession, a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) and in case this is the first time you are hearing that term, be informed that our kind were the first grouping of licensed, trained professionals to give anesthesia in the US. CRNAs are Registered Nurses with a bachelor's degree and additional training in anesthesia which currently leads to a Master's degree. There is a move on currently to require nurse anesthetists to have the DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) degree.

CRNAs are a proud bunch; indeed, we enjoy taking care of our patients. The specialty is unique in that we must strive to foster a trusting relationship with those in our care in a very short amount of time. We see all levels of fear and every different way there is to exhibit fear. Our mission is to quell that fear as best we can, instill trust, and safely deliver an effective anesthetic. My career is very rewarding to me and I love what I do. So the next time you see those initials: CRNA, you'll know what it means!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tour de Fleece! I'm in!

If you are familiar with Ravelry, each year, the 'Tour de Fleece' takes place in July. Okay, before you all think I'm daft----the 'Tour de Fleece' takes place during the same time as the more well-known 'Tour de France.' For those of us who are 'bicycle-challenged' and fiber-oriented, we choose to "spin" in a different way. We spin fiber---of our choice of course, with the idea that we start spinning when the Tour de France starts and by the end of THAT race, we have our "goal" yarn. Enter, stage left, my fiber----called "It's Complicated" the colorway named by Linda Diak of Diak Designs in Grafton, Vermont (I like to stay local). And so, in July, on the day that the Tour starts, I will start spinning 'It's Complicated.' (By the way, I just saw the movie last night and it's GOOD! But, I'm a sucker for Meryl Streep who comes from my alma mater state New Jersey). Not sure if I'm going to ply 'It's Complicated' with itself or with another colorway from Diak Designs---stay tuned! P.S: I've joined the "CogSPINitive" team.

Friday, June 11, 2010


We farm folk tend to be slightly excited when acquiring new animals. Meet Sayda (Spanish derivation; "extremely lucky"). Sayda was purchased at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and road home in my friend's Prius (9-hour drive). My friend and I were dog-tired at the end of the journey, but we laughed practically the whole way! So, I ask, does one get a prize for bringing home a sheep in a Toyota Prius?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Many goals.......

As I take my first few steps on this venture to blog, my mind is jammed with ideas. I guess I should first introduce myself---I am Ruth and I live in Vermont with my husband, 2 Golden Retrievers, Buddy the cat, 4 French Angora rabbits, and 6 sheep. We moved here from New Jersey about 7 years ago when we only had one Golden Retriever and a cat (not Buddy-more about that later perhaps).

I am an avid knitter, crocheter, and spinner of all things fiber. When I'm not doing that, I earn a living as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (more about that later too). So, when searching for a name for my blog---I chose something kitchy that encompasses these two very polar aspects of my life i.e.: since I put patients to sleep for procedures, I thought Counting Sheep was very appropo (I was an insomniac in my youth---and my mom used to tell me to count sheep). And, well the "sheep" part fits with my farm life.

Anyway, I titled this post "many goals" because that's what I have---most anesthetists have a type A personality and we tend to be over-achievers. So, I'm going to attempt to start small---I want to blog about my life here on the farm as well as my career which I believe many people find mysterious---I'll attempt to take some of the mystery out of it.

A mid-range goal of mine is to start podcasting and that I'm really excited about---and I'll post about my progress with that.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get pictures up with each post which will include what I'm working on and farm life (can't really post pictures about job stuff as it would violate privacy laws).

So enjoy reading; and post a comment---I welcome suggestions, questions, comments......
Until the next post,