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Ktcam0003_1Mr. Dashwood fits perfectly.  It's a bit ruffly, but not too bad, really, and it's perfect for our cooler mornings and evenings these days.  Tanguy, however, is nearly outgrown.  In this corner, Merry M*c, at 11 weeks, is weighing in at about 15 pounds -- chunkilicious -- and he's worn precious few things marked "newborn"!

It was quite the revolving door at M*c's house over the weekend -- Ai went down on Thursday night to do some painting.  Mdd and I followed on Friday night -- through torrential rain in spots!  Ai & Mdd drove home on Saturday afternoon (Ai had to work early Sunday morning).  Kt rode down on Saturday night with Mom and her DH.  The twins joined us for lunch on Sunday -- one of them was in town to deliver her eldest to UW for freshman year!  By Sunday night, we'd all cleared out.  M*c was not lacking for company or attention over the weekend!

Ktcam0031Ktcam0032Remember a month ago when I discovered that one of my cousins was a knitter?  This is the hat and booties set that she made for M*c -- from Debbie Ware's Too Cute!  Adorable.  He's been wearing the booties I've made for him, too -- all but the last, which are already too small.  The hands-down faves are the Kool-aid booties and I may knit another pair.  It will soon be time for Opptuna and then he'll need more handknits!  It'll be a Weasley Christmas, for sure -- I'm thinking of ordering one of these.

An eye-full


My Aunt Vicki tells really funny stories.  I especially like stories about me.  Like the time I peed right in my own eye when Aunt Vicki was in charge of the between-diaper wiggle and Mount Vesuvius (that's what my mom calls it) started erupting, even though there'd been a quite recent "lava flow" and danger was supposed to be low.  Yeah, that was a really funny one!  --M*c

My daughter the pansy

Moms7There was a Mothers' Spring Tea when Ai was in second grade.  The moms enjoyed cookies and tea and beamed as their children, each dressed as a different homemade flower, recited garden variety poetry.  Only fate could explain Ai's being chosen for a pansy.  Isn't she the cutest little gap-toothed pansy ever?  I made the "headdress" with tagboard and tissue paper and she wore a big ol' pansy t-shirt.  (I still have that shirt!)

Moms6Here's my progress on Caryl's Kerchief (pattern and kit available through Foxyknits).  I acquired this pattern last December through an intercontinental trade agreement with Yvette and I'm using the hand-dyed, sportweight wool I recently bought in northern Wisconsin from Red Barn Farm.  The color is "pansy," and it is beautiful -- many times more beautiful than what I'm able to capture with my camera.  As I watch the range of blues and purples pass through my fingers, I think of forget-me-nots, larkspur, delphiniums, the sky, water, blueberries, grapes.  It's quite lovely -- sometimes bright, electric blue, sometimes almost as black as my favorite old-fashioned pansies.  I'd say it's kerchief size right now, the 7th repeat is just underway, and there's a good amount of yarn remaining, so I think I'll get something more like the shawlette that I'm aiming for.

Moms3I guess it's All About Ai Day!  Here's the hood of her car, the rest of which is midnight blue.  She sanded it, primed it, and painted with acrylics.  We all had dinner out together last night, then she drove down to Madison to paint a bedroom at M*c's house.  Apparently, all roads lead to M*c's house this weekend because I'll be heading down tonight, my sister (who I just visited last weekend and saw the weekend before that, too) will be dropping her daughter off at UW-Madison this weekend, and Kt will come down with my mom and her DH on Saturday.  There's a sisterly lunch planned for Sunday -- it'll be the first time we've all been together in quite some time!

Instantly recognizable

Is there a more recognizable and universally known knit than Clapotis?  I met my first last week, up close and personal at Yellow Dog Knitting.  It was knit by shop owner, Dixie, using Schaefer Yarns' Laurel (a handpainted, variegated, mercerized, pima cotton) in the Billie Holiday colorway -- it was lovely, with nice drape, a bit of sheen.  Mmmmm.  I wish you could see, but, alas, no camera.  Dixie said that she was inspired by two other customers who used the same yarn for their Clapoti (or Clapotises?).  The short end was sewn to the long end, so it was very easy to wear while working.  The shop was full of samples -- lots of little stuff, variations on a theme -- and I really liked that.  As if I need inspiration to add anything to my queue.

I had a nice lunch yesterday and got lots of other nagging things crossed off (mostly) my list.  There's more to do, but I'm feeling better about my possible playtime with M*c this weekend.  I've completed four repeats on Caryl's Kerchief and will post a photo tomorrow.  I like it; DH commented on the beautiful color last night, too.

Mmm, mmm, good!

Dsc05277We've had some recent cooking incidents.  Kt had a craving for chocolate pudding the other day and had it on the grocery list.  The kids are used to instant pudding, because they always liked to have it instantly!  It was cook & serve pudding in the grocery bag, however, and it had to do.  (I have fond memories of that stuff from childhood -- Mom would sometimes sprinkle it with flaked coconut and my favorite part was the extra-chocolatey, skin that would form on top of the pudding as it cooled in the 'fridge.)  As Kt was trying to find room for the bowls, a green pepper fell into one and there's the result -- a chocolate-covered green pepper!

Over the weekend I made brownies -- Betty Crocker (I think) fudgey ones.  I added the eggs, measured out the water and oil, and stirred.  It was so dry, though!  There's no way all the dry ingredients would be absorbed, so I added a teensy bit more water and put it in the oven.  Ten minutes later, I spotted the measuring cup with the oil and water on the counter -- we determined that it was too late to add it and crossed our fingers that they'd turn out somewhat decently.  I don't recommend this trick with any brownie mix, but with this one, it didn't seem to make a difference -- they were moist and tasty and had a lot less fat!  I'll bet I didn't even add half the amount of liquid called for!

Dsc05282A few years ago, my grrs found a new way to play with Barbies by styling the heads rather radically and adding them to their keychains and the like.  Yesterday, there was a little cleaning spree at my house and someone -- I'm suspecting Ai, but it could be Mdd -- found and made improvements to another.  If it's Ai's, I'm guessing that its new purpose will be as an antenna topper on her car -- she's in the process of painting the hood with a design of her own.  What the hell.  My kids never lose their cars in parking lots.

Dsc05289Finally, I've got a new secret pal and there was a package in Monday's mail!  How do you like that?  Two balls of Hemp Yarn -- worsted weight wool/hemp with pretty decent yardage -- and I can't wait to do something with it.  It's not the softest stuff in stash, but I have a feeling that it will soften with use -- that's been the case with my favorite hemp shirt, anyway.  Woo!  I now have a Chibi.  Up 'til now, I think I was the only person in blogland who didn't have one!  There were three Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate candy bars in the package, but you see the only two that remain.  Yum.  Oh, thank you, thank you, Secret Pal!!

I've actually got lots more to blog about, but I'm trying to spread it out.  I've always been very good about blurting out everything in one huge post and then I'm stuck having to pull stuff out of thin air to keep us amused.  So, look for some future words about Clapotis (not mine -- yet) and pictures of Caryl's (hopefully big) Kerchief.  It's my day off and I have tons of stuff to do, not the least of which is go out to lunch with Mom and some friends.  ; )

What's in the bag?

Mdd5Mdd's scarf just kept getting in the picture!  In the middle, you see the needles that she used to knit said scarf.  I had very few needles with me and my sister has even fewer than that, so I had to buy some biggies for Mdd.  These are not your run-of-the-mill, scarf-knitting, big needles -- these are handcrafted by "A Yarn Good Idea," the local Eau Claire interest of a retired UW professor.  This particular pair are made of birch and black walnut, but there many other combinations, styles and products.  He has been working with the ladies at Yellow Dog Knitting to make refinements and improvements to his circular needles and from what I saw, they are quite nice.  Wooden shawl pins and buttons are also in his product line -- at the shop, I saw the most gorgeous accent button in the shape of an oak leaf.  Striking!

Flanking the big needles are a set of Addi Natura circs, which I'm using with the Red Barn Farm yarn (say that three times fast!) for Caryl's Kerchief/Small Shawl, and a set of Addi DPNs -- a set of 5 -- which might first be used to lure the former sock (just a ball of yarn now) out of time out.

Mdd6There were several Baby Albert Coats on display as shop samples at Yellow Dog and I was drawn to them over and over.  Each was knit in different yarn and in different color combinations, some with hoods, some with collars, all cute!  I had borrowed both of Sally Melville's books from the library a short while ago, but I won't have to borrow The Knit Stitch anymore.  ; )  Three potential baby recipients come immediately to mind -- maybe they'll all get one!

Mdd1I bought the yarn for one -- three colors of Classic Elite Wings.  I also bought the Fiber Trends pattern for the Braid & Bobble Hat (that one's been on the list for a long, long time).

Speaking of babies and knitting, it's been getting cooler in these parts and I've heard that booties have been keeping M*c's tootsies warm, and his little noggin has been warmed with both Mr. Dashwood and Tanguy (it's snug but still fits) in recent days.  When I knit Tanguy for his dad (intended for Christmas), I may have to knit another for the M*cster!  It's quite possible that I'll be going to Madison this weekend, too, so I'll likely have updated pics.  I think we're due some baby-love, huh?  I'm in the mood.

Back at it

Mdd7I'm just tickled pink that y'all enjoyed the photo review late last week.  I wonder when Standard changed over to Amoco?  That's an old, old sign; the station itself (made of rocks, did you notice?) is now a friendly (I'm assuming) neighborhood tavern in downtown Butternut, WI, as are the grain elevator and the mural.  "Bob's Boob Tube" and the Park movie house are both located down the road a piece in Park Falls -- where my educational career was kicked off, having spent my first few months of kindergarten there (the school was converted to City Hall a number of years ago).

Mother Nature -- what can I say?  Well, #1, thank goodness for Kt's zoom lens, and #2, the hummers were darn close even without the zoom and comfortable enough even with all the activity that they'd alight on the wire from which the feeder was suspended for a few minutes at a time.  The sky was gorgeous all weekend, and those are just a few of the many loons we saw on the water.

The well-turned heel of the beautiful sock that I loved and had worked on all that weekend?  Gone.  I just discovered on Wednesday night that the sock was too small, so now I'm back to two green & white Lorna's Laces yarn cakes.

That left a bit of a dilemma as to what to bring with me last weekend, as I surely couldn't keep working an ill-fitting sock and I was pretty sure that a time-out was in order for the sock and that I would not be re-starting this weekend.  That led to my packing my ball winder (but no swift) along with a few hanks of Cash Iroha that still need to be wound for Williamsro, along with the pattern and needles; the sportweight yarn called "Pansy" that I bought last weekend from Red Barn Farm and the pattern for Caryl's Kerchief that I've had in mind for it; the socks (just in case I was wrong about the time-out/re-starting thing); Tivoli (which travels everywhere with the socks); and numerous books to peruse.  My 8-year-old nephew was more than happy to help with yarn-winding operations!

Mdd3In the comments, Emily (don't forget to check out Kepler while you're there -- it's fabulous!) wondered where the ubiquitous splashing muskie picture was and yesterday I saw the mother of all muskies -- 3D and huge all along the front of a sporting goods store in Chetek (I think that's what it was, I can really only imagine because I was kind of distracted by the big fish!) -- and I didn't have my camera.  It was a craptastic weekend in that I camera-less ALL weekend.  I needn't tell you that I was actually searching for a yarn shop that I'd heard about when I found the fish...

Mdd4I didn't find that yarn shop, but there is fibery goodness from other shops and there are pictures!  At right is a ball of Plymouth Sockotta, the only purchase I made at Black Purl in downtown Wausau -- not that I wasn't tempted by more.  They'd just come back from Stitches Midwest and they had lots of unpacking to do!  I have driven around Wausau (about the half-way point to my sister's) for 16 years or so, but have never been downtown -- the 600 block of 3rd Street is quite charming.

Some miles further west is Eau Claire.  There is lots and lots of road construction (which will be terrific once finished) and my detailed map with directions to Yellow Dog Knitting was of little use.  I had to use super powers to find my destination; I think my knitter's secret decoder ring was homing in, actually, since it was through phone & mail from Yellow Dog that DH bought it last Christmas!  (That ring may one day take me to Toronto as I'd have never known about it if it hadn't been for the Harlot's Christmas list.)  As I recall, there was a little hoop-jumping involved in the procuring of that ring, but the service was nothing less than stellar.  I have to say, that's just how it is in person, too.  Dixie and the grrs were delightful and I had a great time visiting and shopping.

We finally found something that Mdd liked!  Among the many shop samples on display at Yellow Dog, she found a soft, fluffy scarf.  While we searched for the yarn, we came across another yarn that she liked a lot and it was suggested that it be paired with some ribbon.  What you see her wearing up there is a scarf made with one strand each of Berroco Softy and Zen held together -- the yardage was quite similar, but she has a lot of Zen left over (can you ever have too much Zen?  Margene?).  It is a dreamy soft scarf!  There are a few things about this that I like:  #1) Mdd loves it.  She started on Friday night and was finished on Saturday.  #2) I believe it's the first thing that she's actually finished -- because she loves it.  #3) It was knit on gorgeous, handmade, birch & black walnut needles.  More on them tomorrow -- and about what's in the bag (if you saw my pic with Dixie on the YD blog).

Dsc00966 Dsc00964

Here's a pretty well-turned heel, I think, and the gusset that I finished last night.  Now I'll just be knitting the foot 'til it's time to shape the toe.  Woo.

Dsc00963The sock is written for five needles, but I've only got a set of four in that size, so I'm making do.  So far, so good.  I would like to try this on pretty soon, though, and I've got to remember to do that half-way through the "lace needle" -- I think it would be accomplished easier with all four needles in the work.

Yesterday was my second and last day of work this week.  This morning, I'm running around with Ai to settle some school stuff and buy books; this afternoon, registration for Mdd -- high school registration.  This evening, I have book club, and in between all that, I'll be packing up my car in preparation for another northern run -- this time in a more westerly direction.  Yes, folks, it's that time again -- Rummage-O-Rama at my sister's!

Dsc00768I am likely to see lots of this on the way.  This is one of my favorite things to see in the whole wide world.  I can't even explain what I feel when I see hay balls strewn across a field -- there's a calm and sense of random order, accomplishment, a feeling that all is right.  Kt was kind enough to snap this for me last weekend.  There had been a good rain a few days earlier, too, so fields looked quite lush.

I plan to leave plenty early tomorrow morning and intend to do a little yarn crawling -- Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire, for sure, and hopefully one or two more.  I'm going to try to cook up some posts to keep you entertained while I'm away -- I may or may not be able to get on a computer.  In any event, I'll be back with regularly scheduled programming (and probably the start of Sock #2!) on Monday!

What I like about you

Dsc05266_1I like it that even 20-year-old art history majors aren't too good for Crayolas and coloring books.  Who could resist Lumiere?  Mrs. Potts was on the facing page.

This is also a test of the suspected Typepad automatic photo resizing system.  I didn't upload a photo the other day because I'd forgotten to resize it and it was huge; I didn't want to inflict painful download times on dial-up users.  Norma wrote that she thinks Typepad has automatically resized some of hers and I've suspected that with some of mine, too, but never investigated.  So, Lumiere is a huge file and we'll just see what happens.  (Update:  It seems to have automatically resized.  If you're brave enough to click and make big, let me know if it loads fast, slow, or normal, would ya?)

I did the very cool short-row heel on my sock last night and am a few rows into working the gusset.  I had time to kill before Jazzercise, so was knitting in my car with the windows open in the parking lot last night.  Is that knitting in public?  Class is held at a very, very old mall (possibly one of the first enclosed shopping malls in the whole wide world) -- the lighting isn't very good inside and there isn't an outside sitting area and it was such a beautiful day...  I ought to have something worth showing you tomorrow.

Northwoods knitting

Rdsc05251_1 Rdsc05252_1

Friday was a beautiful evening to drive in a northwesterly direction.  Kt drove while I knit and occasionally took pictures of the sky.  We didn't get to the lake 'til 11:00, but we slept well and had the weekend ahead of us.

On Saturday, Kt and I stopped at many a little shop on the way to the grocery store -- it's a long, long way to the grocery store.  Our route took us first through the very small town of Butternut.  We stopped to photograph an old Standard sign in front of a former gas station (now bar) made of rocks and noticed a quilt shop; we made that our first shopping stop of the day.  There were a few friendly ladies at a big table with their machines, lots of quilts and hangings on display, fabric, tools and books galore.   I haven't quilted in ages, but I knew I'd be able to find something in that shop -- mostly little gifties.

I'd wanted to visit Red Barn Farm in Butternut, but Rose was discouraging visitors to the farm shop on account of her insurance carrier, so the ladies at the quilt shop kindly directed me to the consignment store in Park Falls where Rose has some things for sale.  I found a few more gifties among the small selection of knit-related items, as well as some yarn -- a hank of sportweight called "Pansy" for me (maybe some mittens) and Kt found a hank of natural wool in the style of Colinette Point 5 (which she likes so much).  A few doors down in one direction was a lotions & potions store where they also made their own soy candles, and a little ways in another direction was a small antique shop (I found an old, vibrant kitchen towel with pansies!), a short ride in the car to another antiques & gifts shop.  We had a lot of fun and I don't think I walked out of a single store empty-handed...

Rdsc05261Dsc05267It was a relaxing weekend.  I had fun visiting with Dad and my sister.  Dad's birthday is tomorrow, so we got an ice cream cake and sang happy birthday yesterday before we all packed up to head home.  I had a nice, long boat ride late Saturday afternoon, spent a fair amount of time sitting near the water, working on my beautiful sock, watching my nephew try to catch snakes in the wood pile.  It was good.  Mdd & Kt walked down to a spot where an old resort used to dump their trash and came up with some intact bottles and jars, including a 6-oz. Coke bottle with a local bottler's mark, an old Log Cabin syrup bottle, and numerous liquor bottles.

Kt drove half-way home yesterday and I was able to start working the heel of my Waving Lace Sock.  This is a different kind of heel (sl 1, K1 across, then purl back) than my first sock, and that's pretty exciting -- short rows coming up!

Yeah, I'm hooked

Dsc05236rOh boy, I'm really, really hooked.  You guys were right.  Hook, line and sinker.  That's a detail shot of the scalloped edging option (which I opted for) on my first Waving Lace Sock.  I waved one way and then waved back last night, completing one full pattern repeat, while watching the Packers beat the Chargers in their first preseason game.  Heh, doin' The Wave while watching football -- that's appropriate!

You're so right, Colleen, you probably did see this yarn when we met up at The Point.  I'd originally bought it with the intention of giving it away, then I realized that practically all of the yarn I bought in NYC was to give away and so I decided to keep some -- yarn buyer's prerogative.  Stacie, this is the same yarn that I sent to you, except yours is blue -- oh, I love it! So far, it's knitting up very nicely.  I had a less detailed shot to show you, but I forgot to resize it, so it actually shows even more detail because it's so frickin' HUGE.  (Lots of people have switched, though, so is dial-up still a concern?  It would be a major infliction, this one.)  The sock is knitting up so nicely that it appears to be the swooning strain of sock sickness from which I'm presently (willingly) suffering.

So the last time I watched football, I was still a smoker.  WHAM!  I got hit with a biggie urge last night at the first 2:00 warning.  I used to have a celebratory (or commiseratory) smoke after each score, but being a very low-scoring game, that wasn't much of an issue last night.  Those 2:00 warnings, though -- and by some fluke, there were THREE instead of the normal two!  Wow.  I just put my head down and concentrated extra-hard on my knitting 'til, as Joan says, it passed over like a cloud.  I used to smoke a lot during half-time, too, and I would have missed getting pissed off at T.O. and his "only $12 million," whatever the hell that was about.  Cara, darling, my sympathies, but better you/Eagles than me/Packers.  It was a pretty good Favre-fest, though (Stephanie, were you and Henry watching), and Captain Favrelous just may have some super powers up his sleeve yet this season.  Go Pack Go!

It's too bad...

Socks2_1...that my first socks aren't as photogenic as they are cute and comfy!  Woohoo, people, there they are:  My First Socks!!  (Thanks, Kt, for downloading and resizing and emailing me the pics before going to work yourself this morning.)  There's a better shot of the first finished sock on this post.  I described them to DH as girlie socks in manly yarn -- to me, the cables make them girlie and the color makes them manly (and also a photographic challenge -- I took three pics and, sadly, this is the best of the bunch).

Rib & Cable Socks by Nancy Bush in the recent issue of Interweave Knits, knit in Mountain Colors Bearfoot (as specified).  I had to go up a couple of needle sizes and I did one less repeat on the leg -- I don't remember why, but they're neither too long nor too short, so it's all good.  I'll add them soon to the complete photo album with more details (and maybe a better pic).

I was unable to download, resize and send my own pictures last night because I was too busy starting on My Second Socks!  It'll be a whirlwind trip up north this weekend, but I'll have two other drivers available, plus campfire time, and if it rains (somewhat likely, I hear), I'll have even more otherwise-idle time, so I had to, you see... I just had to start them in case I need something to do!  If nothing else, they'll provide the infinite comfort I get from just bringing my knitting along and knowing it's there.  Specifics?  Waving Lace Socks, by Evelyn Clark, from Spring 2004 Interweave Knits; I'm using the green & white Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (as specified) that I bought at Purl in NYC and that I originally started to use for the Rib & Cable Socks.  I liked how the yarn was knitting up then, so my fingers are crossed.

I think y'all are right; it's a sickness.  I'm not sure who, exactly, but it's very likely that one (or more) of these people was transmitting the bug that finally penetrated my immune system.  I'd been resistant to this strain for such a long time.  But now, I'm told, I may very well have been stricken with Sock Sickness.  There are still some tests to run before an official diagnosis can be made.  The results should be back in a couple of weeks.  They tell me it's incurable...  So far, my susceptibility to Spinning Syndrome has not been compromised, but I wonder if it's only a matter of time before I succumb.

Do, re, mi, fa...

SEW!  Thank you for the great comments about the bag.  Ali really picked out some fun, stylish fabric and the directions were pretty clear, though there are things that I'd do differently or pay attention to more if I were to do it again.  I have a funny relationship with sewing and with my machine.  I don't sew a lot, but my machine is always handy -- very, very handy.  I used to keep it in the old kitchen upstairs -- perfect location, nice room, lots of light, storage galore, but not handy.  The machine found its way downstairs years ago and has taken up permanent residence on the floor under a window in the dining nook.  It really only comes out a few times a year and usually for spurts of activity, such as the skirt spurt last November.

My mom sewed a lot when I was little, as did her mom (I have grandma's treadle machine), my dad's mom, and my dad's mom's mom (I have great grandma's treadle machine, too); my stepmom  once owned a fabric store, so she definitely sewed, and she's the one who gave me the machine I use now.  She didn't give me her machine, the one I used in high school -- that was earmarked for her only daughter, even though she hardly ever sewed at all -- but I totally understand that and mine is a very closely related workhorse.  I've sewn many a curtain on that machine, lots of summer shorts sets for the girls (my favorites were the old-fashioned tops that tied at the shoulders or in the back), Halloween costumes (Raggedy Ann!), pants and skirts for the girls, even some machine-pieced quilty things, and I've mended plenty of blown out butt seams and ripped hems.

It was never a solitary activity for any of my predecessors, either, which is probably why the "sewing room" thing doesn't work for me.  Sewing always took place in the kitchen or dining room; in fact, the treadle machines were part of the dining room furnishings in their respective homes.

I'm still sometimes surprised that not all women sew -- even just a little.  Just as I always thought that every man had a nail trimmer in his pocket as standard equipment -- because my dad always did/does -- I always thought that every woman had a sewing machine.

In the realm of knitting, I'm pleased to announce that toe decreases on the second sock have begun!  I can't believe I'm finally going to have a pair of my own hand-knit socks!

In the bag



I added a pocket on the inside of Ali's new bag -- just the right size to keep her cell phone handy.  She cut out the pieces and I did all the sewing.  I don't know why I always end up doing all the sewing for her!  Next time, she's doin' it!  She chose two florals from the selection of coordinating fabrics and they made an awfully cute bag.  I don't know if I've ever sewn a bag before, certainly never a lined one with a gusset and separate strap and using buckram.


I only knit one or two rounds on my sock last night before my tank went dry.  The weather turned hot and humid again yesterday and it left me feeling drained.

Looks like I'll be heading up north to Dad's with the girls this weekend -- either Friday night or Saturday morning.  This is the first opportunity all summer and, while we usually like more than a weekend (because it's such a long drive), we'll grab the chance!  At least one of my sisters and my brother will be there for a part of the weekend, too.  There are fiber opportunities along the way, so I'll be plotting my course for the rest of the week!  I'll also be heading up north again next week (in a more westerly direction), to another sister's and there are even more opportunities!


A picture's worth a thousand words

Unfortunately, I forgot to download pictures, so I'll have to type all one thousand words!  Ha.  Just kidding.  Pics tomorrow, I promise.

Gg_button2Today we have graphics...  Go ahead and click for some cute gift ideas (for yourself or someone else!) and a good cause!  Cara's the mastermind behind this one -- I wonder if she's got a little yarn mustache.

I have worked almost exclusively on my second sock this weekend, having turned the heel and I'm cruising on the foot.  I may have my first completed pair by week's end.  I'm getting excited about that -- and about starting my second pair!

I did a lot of shopping over the weekend -- clearance sales are everywhere!  I was pretty deliberate in my purchases and most of them are earmarked for future gifts -- baby things, birthdays, even Christmas.  I'm not going to bust my butt to finish the Peek-A-Boo mittens (I'm not feelin' the love) for the baby shower -- they'll still be most welcome in November -- when I can get 60% off Carter's onesies and the like at Kohl's!

I had the sewing machine out a couple of times.  Ai bought some fabric for a bag last week and all the pieces and parts finally came together over the weekend.  It's adorable and I can't wait to show you -- and to make some more!  (One stop yesterday was Hancock Fabrics so Kt could scope the selection.)  My brain was numbed for a while at the directions for sewing the lining to the bag and then pulling it all through a hole to *voila!* basically have a finished bag.  Finally, I just trusted that the directions were correct, took it one step at a time and *voila!* *ta-da!* a bag!

I also made a sleeveless, tunic-type top out of an oversized, smock-type, linen jacket that Mom had given me a while back.  She is at least two or three inches shorter than me and I don't understand how she looked so good in that thing and "frumpy" doesn't even come close to describing how I looked!  So, I re-styled it and it suits me so much better!  I used another top as a guide, lopped a little off each side (along with the sleeves) to give it more of an A-line and make it a tad narrower, then cut the armholes.  I basically had to sew two side seams and finish off two sleeve edges and I was finished!


I am absolutely in shock this morning to learn that Peter Jennings has died.  His announcement about having lung cancer came about a month into my quit and I recall being a bit shaken by the news even then.  I'm not a dim-wit, I know that lung cancer is serious and people die, but I also know people who have been treated and who have recovered and who have survived.  It never occurred to me that Peter Jennings would lose the battle.  (Wake up, woman!)

Here she comes to save the day!

Celia tapped me.  Since it's pretty clear that there's no need for a stinkin' blogger protection program 'round here, she'd like to know Five Things That I Miss From Childhood.

If you want to participate, the chain-letter part works like this: remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place; add your blog’s name in the #5 spot; just check to make sure the links are still attached if you copy n’ paste.

1) purly brites

2) HK Knitter

3) Kimberli New York

4) Unraveling

5) Knitorious

I miss kickball and games like pom-pom pull-away and even plain, old tag.  There were lots of kids in the neighborhood and we all played together pretty well.  We'd usually start drifting home when the streetlights came on, but once in a while, if it was a really nice evening and everyone was getting along exceptionally well, we could stay out a little past dark.

I miss popcorn and Kool-aid parties.  One summer, we practically made a ritual out of popcorn and Kool-aid every afternoon.  We'd spread a blanket in the shade of a (really rather small) maple tree in the front yard and have a little snack with whoever was around.

On the subject of food, I miss Jell-o parfaits.  That was another summer, when I was in high school, but for this purpose, I'm gonna still consider that childhood.  Anyway, does anyone remember the Jell-o parfait craze?  Man, it was quite a process, too, but we had fun with it.  You'd make regular Jell-o and put it in individual glasses -- tipping them in the fridge while the Jell-o set, if you wanted to be all fancypants.  Some of the Jell-o would be mixed with Cool Whip, I think, and that would be another layer, atop the plain Jell-o.  Finally, there would be a layer of straight Cool Whip.  Mmmm.

I miss family gatherings or when Mom would have friends over and listening to the grown-ups talk.  When I was a baby, my dad nicknamed me "Mouse," and it stuck for years and years.  Well, I think I acted like one, too; I could be quiet as a mouse and not draw any attention, except sometimes I think my mom could "see" my elephant ears.  (I don't remember Mom ever calling me "Mouse," but she did call me "Elephant Ears" on many occasions.)  My absolute favorite thing to do was listen to grown-ups talk and, especially, tell stories and laugh (but I'd listen to anything!).

I miss the Dilly Wagon.  "Dilly Wagon" was our generic term for any slow-moving, motorized vehicle with a freezer attached, playing kid-enticing music while dispensing various ice cream treats.  What a frenzy that would cause in the neighborhood!

Last night, I went to a minor league baseball game -- and that is something I haven't done since childhood, either!  It was a blast and the weather was absolutely perfect.  (The air was so thick you could have cut it with a knife yesterday morning, but, as promised, the afternoon brought a most welcome change.)  A big difference between last night's game and those of my childhood was in my choice of beverage.  *Hic*  And for some unknown reason, probably having to do with *hic* beer(s), I typed a couple of emails and maybe a few blog comments before I went to bed last night.  I know for sure that I wrote to my sister and made mention of how many times I had to hit backspace to keep from "slurring my words."  I wrote to Celia, too, though I don't think I said anything about beer.  I did say that I was green because she met Stephanie, and something about how I could easily be a groupie, and wondering if I'd be called a Harlot Head (and what would the logo look like and could I paint my car?).  Oh, the mind doth wander...

Lunch and shopping

I had a great afternoon with Mom yesterday.  We had lunch at a new Italian bistro (her second time there, my first) where I had something with pasta and asparagus and she had a fabulous pizza with olives and artichokes.  Then we wandered around a cooking store and then into cabinet and bath/tile showrooms.  It's probably a really, really good thing for our already-stretched bank account that I didn't go there when we were recently shopping for tile.  I'm a sucker for tile, I'll tell ya, and in matte glazes with designs and colors reminiscent of Roseville or other art pottery.  Love.

For some reason, we ended up at the mall -- Pottery Barn and J.Jill, specifically.  I actually did find some fun stuff on sale at PB and, in keeping with my thought pattern of the last few days, some of it is for Christmas!  Mom has been going to Weight Watchers and has lost nearly 16 lbs. in 20 weeks or something like that.  A while back, she had to write down a goal weight that she'd like to reach by a certain date and what she'd give herself as a reward.  Well, the date is coming up.  Fall is fast approaching, too, and 'tis the favorite season for which my mother likes to buy clothes.  Since it's the favorite season for which my mother likes to buy clothes, she really doesn't need anything new for fall.  But a reward... well, everyone knows that a reward has absolutely NOTHING to do with needs.  This Caprice Jacket is in the running.  I tried it on and I wish I deserved a reward for something (something other than quitting smoking, something that I haven't already rewarded myself for many times over in the last 4+ months).  I really couldn't help but think of Anna's Claude; the jacket was also smock-like, and had a gorgeous line, and it's lined, so there was some heft to it -- there was a big pleat in the back with a stitch holding it together, but once snipped, oh, a lovely swing.  I think Mom was looking for permission to reward herself a little early, but I maintain that she first needs to reach the goal.  Am I a big ol' party pooper?

Garbage day

Wednesday is garbage day (recycling every other week).  About half the time, we're scurrying to get the trash cans to the curb as we hear the truck rumbling down the street, and one of those weeks, DH is usually calling after them to stop (I don't ever do that) because we were even a little later than "normal"!

Dsc05227Dsc05226These are the Peek-a-Boo Mittens from Knit Mittens! that I'm making for the baby shower.  I'm using some of the Baby Ull that I bought long ago from Jody and another lovely stitch marker from Susie.  I knit a few rows on this, then a few rows on my sock, a few rows on Tivoli...  There are stripes, but it's the orange yarn playing peek-a-boo!

I used the Baby Ull to make Tanguy, too, and now, with every stitch on these mitts, I'm thinking about Christmas knitting because my brother-in-law wants a Tanguy of his own to coordinate with M*c's.  He'd so wear it, too, and so would at least one of M*c's older brothers.  And then I think about the Weasley sweater that I want to knit for M*c.  I stopped at the library on the way home last night and brought home some books.  I just want a simple baby pullover pattern and will chart my own "M."

Oh my goodness, have you seen THIS?  It's ERIS, the pattern for a v-neck OR cardigan by the designer of ROGUE!  I love it!!  I ran across the link on the Knitty Blog last night, which, for some reason, has only recently made it on my bloglines list, and I didn't hesitate for one single second.  So, yep, I've already printed out!

My mom called last night, "Has Ai changed her mind yet?"  I hadn't talked with her since Sunday.  She's taking me out to lunch today -- to cheer me up, even though I'm not bummed like I was.  Plans did NOT change between my leaving yesterday morning and returning last night, either.  (Thank goodness.)  And really, I think I was more surprised than anything.  Ai's moving out was SO not on my radar -- in my mind, I guess, I figured they'd be leaving IN ORDER.  It's just not her turn yet.

So, I won't actually be attending the above-mentioned baby shower in a couple of weeks because I'll be up at my sister's that weekend for Rummage-O-Rama, our annual blow-out rummage sale.  It think this will be her 15th year as hostess, my 12th or 13th as participant.  I have to start getting stuff packed up and organized today!!

Let me off!!

Virginia_sheepMy uncle sent me a CD of old photos he'd scanned from my grandma's and great grandma's collections.  It's a pretty horrible scan, but that's my grandma with some wee woolies, probably on her parents' farm in the '30s sometime.  I was delighted to find it and it qualifies as the knit-related highlight of the past several days.  I did start a pair of wee, striped mittens as part of a baby shower gift for a baby that's due in November.  I panicked, thinking that the shower was this weekend, but it's actually in two weeks.  Whew.  Last night, I finally added another ball of yarn to the Tivoli T -- progress!

If I hadn't been so distracted yesterday, I'd have pointed you to Anna's latest creation for sure!!  So here it is, the very cute Claude!  She assures me that her copious notes are being transformed into a pattern which will be available soon.  This young woman has definitely got style and I advise you keep an eye on her!

>Here ends any knitting content.<

I love to hear my mother tell about when my brother was little and would go on the ferris wheel at the county fair -- how as he neared the top she'd hear him call out "Mmmooooommmmmm" each time the wheel came 'round.  I think he thought he'd eventually outgrow his fear of heights, so he kept trying every year.  She got pretty good at begging to have the ride stopped so he could get off.

It's funny, I don't remember getting on this roller coaster, but I'm ready to get off!  "Mmmooooommmmmm!"  Crisis (mine) has been averted -- postponed, anyway -- as Ai's decided not to move out, and all it will cost is a little remodeling.  I'd like to think I had a little something to do with opening her eyes -- making her really think about whether she can live with these particular people and their Moochy Moodiness, for one thing; perhaps finances, for another.

Things have been changing WAY too quickly around here -- I'm not used to having so little control and it just keeps getting worse and worse.  I'm not a control freak by any stretch, either; I'd be having a total breakdown if I were!  I'm sure it's all part of the big plan, but there's only so much of this shit I can take before I'll actually be renting and loading the U-haul myself and asking where I can drop them off!

Yes, when I signed up for my first Lamaze class, I was also signing up for this -- the reward for a job fairly well done, I guess.  I had a very active, emotional day yesterday, including many thoughts of my own experience at this age and what it all means and who I hurt and what I learned and what an ass I was!  What in the hell am I complaining about?  Ai's been wearing kid gloves compared to the sucker punches I was throwing.  I'm counting my lucky stars now.

So we'll be removing part of the ceiling in her room and putting up some insulation and walls in the attic, thereby making a loft.  Mdd will eventually make good use of this, too.  And I hope this is still the plan when I get home tonight.

Weekend discoveries

Box1I found treasures at two of the three rummage sales I stopped at on my way home from Jazzercise on Saturday morning.  This is an old cheese/butter box.  There've been a few, of varying sizes, in and out of my house over the years.  I always spot them and always turn 'em over and look for a mark; it's one of my treasure-hunting compulsions -- or habits, maybe even an idiosyncracy -- along with looking for manufacturer's marks on old dishes and holes on the underside of chair seats.  Many of these old boxes have been stained, stenciled and/or painted, and many were sold for just that purpose, so if the manufacturer even marked it in the first place, the mark's often been obliterated.  This one was not used for decorative storage, but rather more utilitarian purpose, as evidenced by the words "Window Rags" scrawled in pencil on the lid.  Regardless of its most recent use and cost ($1.00), it is now a priceless family heirloom because it is stamped with the mark of the box company that made it -- a company founded by my great grandfather and his three brothers!  SCORE!

Rdsc05210On Sunday, I drove to Milwaukee for a small family reunion -- by myself, as everyone else in my family was otherwise occupied.  This is M*c in the arms of his second cousin -- she wants a sibling so badly that she found an informational adoption website for her mom and dad to peruse.  She was not adopted, but she must think that it's tied to the cause somehow.  She is absolutely adorable and M*c seemed to like her.  I did not fight her off for "M*c time," but I did wrest him from the arms of an aunt or two.  Hey, a girl's gotta do...

Do you see what's supporting them in that picture?  It's the knitted/felted knitting bag belonging to and made by one of my cousins!  She gave M*c an adorable hat and booties from Debbie Ware's book, Too Cute!  She does more color knitting and I lean more toward texture, but we neither have an aversion to the other.  Also in evidence at the knitting cousin's home, our hostess for yesterday's brunch, were mosaic stepping stones, mosaic picture frames, and a mosaic table -- all made by her own hand.  Seems we have a few things in common.  We might have to get together again soon.

This particular cousin has a son who is between Kt & Ai in age.  He is not going to college right away, but is taking some "time off," working at a grocery store and between apartments (friends' apartments), so I had a very sympathetic ear when I shared Ai's weekend news:  She wants to move into an apartment with a couple of friends.  Yes, I know they grow up and this is part of it and they have to live their own lives and they don't want the benefit of my experience/life/mistakes-a-plenty/blahblahblah.  I want to piss and moan and cry.  This one kind of blind-sided me and I'm not quite ready.

I've discovered the idiosyncracies of some of my favorite bloggers:  Lynne (with photodocumentation), Kim, and Ann (kind of unleashed a storm of contrOVERsy there), and that others (Katy, Norma) are idioscyncracy-challenged or, shall we say, practically PERFECT!

Oh, is this a knitting blog?