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October 2005
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December 2005

Skimming my way to Christmas


I did the required 12 rows of Shirley Shrugs last night and it wasn't so bad.  The little voice says, "Why knit something if you don't love it?"  The other little voice says, "It's for your mother; she's done plenty of things for you over the years that she didn't really want to do."

That other little voice kind of puts me in my place.

I did not pull out the second Log Cabin Sock, but I did work a bit on Weasley.  Woo!

DH & Maddy brought the Christmas tree up from the basement.  I noticed a string of lights marked with bits of masking tape -- must have flagged it last year as needing to be replaced.  Heh.  That string is glowing brightly, wouldn't you know, but there's a HUGE chunk at the top of the tree and some spots near the bottom that are dark, dark, dark.  Ugh.

Today, I'm going to learn a little bit about my credit union's online bill pay service.  I've paid plenty of bills online before, but never in this way.  My most recent bill from MCI came with a notice that they'll start to charge me a fee to send me an invoice unless I register for e-billing.  I'm old-fashioned -- I like to hold the actual bill in my hand, to write the actual check, and stick the actual stamp.  I've got to get with it.  My mother (let's just say not so computer savvy) will be happy to hear it -- she's been doing it for quite a while!

Y'all had eyeballs popping out of your heads yesterday at the number of Bloglines (or Fucklines, depending on who you are and maybe the day) subscriptions in my list.  You know, I make it a point to subscribe to the feeds of people who make themselves known to me in one way or another -- by linking or commenting or emailing or throwing a dart at my Frappr map.  When you click on my list of feeds, all you see is the gigantic list.  When I click, I see it with highlights -- you know, 384 subscriptions, but only a fraction of those have new posts, and they're broken down into smaller (but not yet bite-size) pieces.  I haven't been using my new system for very long, but I am SO happy with it -- the blog reading is so much more manageable.    I've actually been caught up with blogs a couple of times this week!

Geez, remember?  Back in the day -- a year ago -- when we blindly clicked on our link lists not knowing whether anyone had posted anything new.  And the learning curve -- figuring out who was who and who posted when and how often -- Bloglines is SUCH a time-saver that way.  I will freely admit that I don't read every single word of every single blog every single time -- just can't do it -- nor do I actually open every single blog every single time, but I'd rather skim them than ignore them altogether.

Just last night, I was reading Jen's post about Christmas Stockings and her desire to knit one for X by Christmas.  Then I clicked on "Knit Blogs UVWXYZ" and saw a post on Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Day about Christmas stockings -- and a Stocking Along!  Did you know there was a Stocking Along?  I didn't, and I don't think Jen did.  I was so happy to share that with Jen and hopefully she'll find a pattern or maybe just some inspiration and support.  That's the kind of stuff I love about blogging and why I like to read and/or skim lots of different blogs.


I'm kind of mad -- okay, I'm pissed -- because there are supposed to be pictures in thist post, but the email I sent from home this morning with files attached is still floating 'round cyberspace at this hour.  You should be seeing a finished Log Cabin Sock and a little progress on both Shirley Shrugs and Weasley.  No need to adjust the dials or clean your glasses, they're just not here.  Harumph.


I love the Log Cabin Sock -- kitchenered (only eight stitches) the toe last night and it's gorgeous!  I can't wait to make more.  I'd cast on for the second a few days ago and finally worked the ribbing last night before pulling out Mom's shrug

I don't love Shirley Shrugs.  I should say I don't love the yarn I'm using, but Mom picked it out and I really love how it looks, it's just not fun to work.  I'm at the stage where I'm starting to play games -- last night, it was math:  how many rows left to do divided by how many days to do them equals at least 12 rows a day.  (Coming attractions:  What if it was a birthday present (end of January)?  Would Ladies' Log Cabin Socks cut the mustard for Christmas?  How many days before do-or-die decision time?)  Dang, I used to love working with cotton, but I think I've become a wool pig.  I've thought of doing it in something else, but darn it, she picked it, so I'm dreaming of doing it again in wool -- for myself.

I love Weasley!  Worked only a few rows on the second sleeve -- this is my reward knitting.  I really want to work on it all the time, at any given time, but must keep nose to Shirley grindstone.


I love Bloglines.  Sometimes it's techno-crap, too, like when it's HOURS and HOURS between the actual posting and showing up in the list as having posted, but I can usually techno-tolerate it.  My name is Vicki and I have a Bloglines subscription addiction -- about which I really have no apologies.  There are so many talented, inspiring, creative, and funny people out there, I want them all!  And there are new baby blogs born and waiting to be discovered everyday!

The problem is that even with eleventy-bazillion-and-six unread posts waiting, I'd still read my "go to" blogs first -- that might be considered clique-y, but there are bloggers with whom, for whatever reason, I feel a connection or a level of comfort or share an interest and/or they post everyday -- WHATEVER -- but there'd still be a LOT of unread posts at the end of the day.

Several weeks ago, I divided my subscriptions into three different folders -- one for blog-related stuff, one for knitting blogs, and one for mostly not knitting (aka, general interest).  That didn't really help, since 99.99999% of the blogs I read are knitting blogs.  I did make a separate folder, then, for bloggers I've met and that helped a little bit.  I remembered a short-lived experiment with reading blogs in alphabetical order, kind of, by day of the week.  A-E on Monday, F-J on Tuesday, etc.  That didn't really work very well, either, but I thought I'd apply it to my knit blog list and I like it!  I really like it!!!  I blew away several thousand unread posts in order to do it, and I haven't gone on vacation or anything like that, but I feel like I'm keeping in the loop a little better, even with folks who post infrequently.  For the most part, I don't even click to expand those folders, just click on the folder heading and read with a "come what may" attitude.  My ever-changing, always growing (there's that addiction thing) list is always available from the right sidebar under "Blog Links" or click on the link above.

Baby sweater

Dsc05962_1How many people does it take to put a sweater on a baby?  He's so good-natured and puts up with our shenanigans.  ; )  Someone said over the weekend that he reminds them of the Quizno's baby (hey, I think they're right!), so now I think "Bob" when I look at him.  He's ten times cuter, of course, and much more of a fashion horse.  I can't imagine how many times a day he'd be changing clothes if he were a she.

I had Maddy dig through the box marked "Baby Clothes" that I've saved, looking for something to aid in determining size and measurements for the Weasley.  The girls used to beg to look in that box -- they were amazed at the teensy, tiny, pretty things that they once wore:  the blue and white gingham bonnet I made with cross-stitched ducks, a favorite little sailor dress, the outfit from Harrods, pink hats.

Dsc05950We found this four-color wrap sweater that I knit some 20 years ago toward the end of my first pregnancy.  Despite increasing and excruciating pain in my right arm due to carpal tunnel-type problems as the pregnancy progressed, I was determined to knit to the finish and then I sewed it together quite badly.  Oh, it's horrible!  I don't remember where the pattern came from, but it looks nice other than the wonky sewing.  I remember recycling the buttons from one of DH's old shirts.  It just fits, so Weasley will be a bit larger.

Using my earlier sleeve as a swatch, I recalculated everything according to gauge and the desired size and proportion and started Weasley anew.  I got a good start in the car, taking Katie back to school, and then finished the first sleeve and cast on the second before bed.  I also finished, except for the kitchenering, the first Log Cabin Sock.  Knitting pics tomorrow!

Hey, baby

Dsc05960It was one year ago, on Thanksgiving Day, that my sister called to tell Mom that she was pregnant.  This year we had a 5-month-old joining us for dinner!  Here he is, post-green bean feast, "riding a motorcycle" on his auntie's lap (she was even making motorcycle noises).

We had a fine non-pureed feast, ourselves, of roast turkey, stuffing with sausage and giblets, steamed vegetables, raspberry fluff, fruit salad, and sweet potatoes.  Thank you, Norma, for the comment/warning/heads-up regarding Jane Brody's sweet potato/apple dish...  I ended up doing my own thing, combining that recipe with one from Joy of Cooking, and adding a dash of this (nutmeg) and a little of that (cinnamon), besides (plus paprika and cloves).  Mmmmm.

Dsc05934_1Oooh, yeah, look at that!  The last Better Pal package arrived the other day and contained this beautiful skein of Bamboo yarn -- I've been wanting to try this and, well, now I can!  Isn't it gorgeous?  Dsc05935_1You want a better look, don't you?  The colors are just beautiful. Yet another skein of yarn that I can't wait to work!!  My pal was Jessica of Rose-Kim Knits!  Thank you Jessica, I am dreaming of January and the opportunity to work with some of the lovely fibers you've sent to me.  Oh, and the orange Chibis -- I've seen them around, of course, but didn't realize that they were actually different.  The needles are smaller -- my pal mentioned that they'd work nicely to finish the toes of my socks.  ; )

On the flip-side, I had the pleasure of spoiling Anne of How the West Was Spun these past few months and, of course, being one of the torturing villagers assembled by Margene to mess with Ann a little.  It's been a blast!

Dsc05942Since this photo was taken, I've turned the heel, finished the gusset and am mid-foot -- it's the Log Cabin Sock from Handknit Holidays.  And look at that!  There's a Handknit Holidays Knit-along hosted by my very own Pal!  Sign me up!!!  I'm knitting this, the men's version, in Cascade Pastazza which I happened to have in the stash as the result of a half-price, going out of business sale a few months ago.  I happen to have some Rowan Cork in the stash, also, which I will use to knit the women's size.  I may do a run of these for members of my household as we've turned down the heat a notch and it's just a drafty old house with cold, hardwood floors...

Speaking of the house.  I'm enlisting the design sense and muscle of my girls this weekend to do a major rearranging of our living area.  This is kind of with the Christmas tree in mind, but mostly because it's just time for something different!  Woohoo!


There's good news and there's bad news.  Bad news first.

Bad #1:  My wake-up call this morning was from Alison.  She was in an accident on the way to school this morning -- she's fine, the car is not.  She lost control -- snowy roads -- spun around backwards across the median and hit the side of a school bus (no kids on board, thankfully).

Bad #2:  Then the high school called and said that they had my daughter in the office.  I'm thinking, "Huh?  Who's in high school?  Katie's in college, Ali's in college, Maddy's in mid... oh, yeah, Maddy's in high school!"  It's been nearly half a year and I'm not used to it yet.  Anyway, she wasn't feeling well.  Our phone has been very busy this morning.

On to the good news.

Good #1:  The last Better Pal package arrived yesterday -- some absolutely GORGEOUS bamboo yarn and some of those little Chibis in the orange container!  I'm anxiously awaiting the revelation...  Who Are You?

Good #2:  Also in the mail yesterday was wool from Scotland!!  Anything -- and I mean anything -- else on my radar fell off.  I cast on a sleeve for Mack's Weasley and I'm within centimeters of casting off.  The handsome, little recipient will be here this weekend and, as he won't remember a thing, I'll be using his real arm to determine whether I'm on the right track or should be going up a size or two.  I'll take all kinds of measurements!

Good #3:  I had notification of the shipment of the book for the Crossed In Translation knit-along, too.  I wonder if there's a whole container on its way full of nothing but those books!

General Goodness:  The good outweighs the bad -- there are a million little "good things."  Given recent events, I'm more acutely aware of them all -- big and small, warts and all -- for which I am thankful.  Among them, and not the least of which is you.  Yeah, YOU!  Thanks, you guys, for reading, writing, lurking.

Happy Thanksgiving!  (DH is making pumpkin pies and I'm trying something new -- Sweet Potatoes with Apples from Jane Brody's Good Food Book.)

Yarn to spare

Dsc05933Dsc05931That's about four yards of yarn left over -- and one relieved knitter.  It probably wouldn't be hard to find, but I don't want to go hunting right now; the shop I bought it from has gone out of business.  I could barely even look while I was finishing -- I just kept pulling yarn out of my bag, praying that I wouldn't come up short. I'll post pattern details and FO pic in the photo album.  The recipient doesn't want them 'til Christmas!

Dsc05926_3I filled in at the antique mall for a few hours on Saturday afternoon -- and I brought my camera.  I think of my blog buddies and their collections...

This solitary souvenir shaker reminded me of Christine -- she's decorating the camper she restored with souvenir plates.  This isn't a plate, but isn't it cute?  If it's from a salt & pepper set, do you suppose its partner was also Wisconsin, or could it have been Michigan or Minnesota?  One could even imagine it as part of a very large spice set... couldn't one?

Dsc05925_1My friend Ann is a collector also.  There is many an adorable, collectible pig, and then there are atrocities such as this.  The only thing remotely attractive about this pig is that it's a bank -- a big bank -- and once filled, would yield a small fortune upon the celebratory and anxiously awaited smashing.  This could be an impetus to saving -- that's what the country needs, hideous piggy banks (forget a high rate of return) -- the theory being that one would have to keep the pig (let's say prominently displayed in the living room) 'til filled and that one would save at an accelerated rate in order to be rid of the ugly pig!

Dsc05927Then there's just adorable cuteness that someone ought to collect.  DH likes ice cream -- vanilla, thankyouverymuch.  This might find its way under the tree or in his stocking -- maybe with a gift card for ice cream.  Hmm?  Isn't it cute?

I worked some on Shirley Shrugs -- maybe a half-dozen rows.  I can't work much more than that in a sitting or my wrists start letting me know, so I'm just going to have to be consistent and work a little every night.

Monday: Movies and Mittens

Dsc05929One-and-a-half Warm Hands.  I'm a little concerned with the amount of yarn I have left to complete the second flap, but I'm trying to keep optimistic.  I'll either finish tonight or be scrambling to find a yard of gray Donegal Tweed.  If I run short, it is going to be only a few rounds.  The fingers on the second mitt were easier to make and the fit and feel is better.  Pop Up Paws is a great pattern.

Dsc05928I have to get back to working on Shirley Shrugs, but will also cast on for Knit Unto Others -- I think I'm going to use Kate's Gifted pattern.  I've become a Jaywalker, also, and would love to cast on for that soon.

Movies!  Maddy went to see HP on Friday and Saturday nights; Ali went on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon; Katie on Saturday night.  The girls went together, kind of impromptu on Saturday night upon learning that tickets were available -- I love it when they do things together, and it was fun listening to them laughing and making plans.  Ali had purchased advance tickets for the Sunday afternoon showing on the ultra screen, but they got there kind of late and ended up in the second or third row; she said, "Yeah, we were in the movie."

On Sunday afternoon, Katie, DH and I saw Capote.  Philip Seymour Hoffman is outstanding.  Wow.  I remember watching Truman on talk shows; PSH nailed it!  It's just amazing how an actor can "become" his character; and in that vein, I really want to see Walk The Line and Good Night, And Good Luck (oh look, Jeff Daniels has a role!). (P.S.  There was so much smoking in Capote that I could smell it!  I have a feeling it'll be much the same in the other two.)  It's my kind of movie season!

Warm hands, warm heart, and hugs

KnituntoothersbuttonWhat's not to love?  Knit Unto Others, the knit-along brainchild of Margene and Carole, meshes perfectly with Hugs for Hands, a local drive for the collection of mittens and gloves for distribution at emergency shelters in NE Wisconsin, and Sandy's Warm Hands makes it a trifecta.  You know, Bonne Marie pointed over here last year in conjunction with the words "mitten mania."  I guess the mitten thing isn't anything new around here.  Baby, it's cold outside!

We recently cleaned out the closet and I have LOTS of store-bought gloves and mittens, hats and neck-warmers that I'll donate along with the hand-knit mittens; I think there are some jackets, too.  I will find time for this.  If you live in the cold, cold north (like me), there are LOTS of drives and collections for warm outerwear in your local area with convenient drop-off points.

TV NEWS:  I just read this morning that Regis is going to host a revival of This Is Your Life!  I'm kind of neutral about Reeg, but I love, love, LOVE that show and I think he'll make a good host.  I'm so excited (I hope they choose some good "lifers").  I'll have to think about who I'd like to see.

MOVIE NEWS:  Maddy and a bunch of her friends went to see Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire last night.  They loved it.  They didn't have school yesterday, so it was Prep for Harry Potter Day -- reading, watching earlier movies -- getting PRIMED, man!  When I picked them up, the first question was, "How did you like it?" and the second questoin was, "Did Ron get a sweater for Christmas?"  Maddy said, "Yes, he did, but it was different!  It had buttons at the shoulder -- and I thought of you, Mom."  Then she proudly told her friends that I was knitting a Weasley sweater for her little cousin for Christmas.  *sniff*

So, somebody spill about Weasley II!!

Please, please, please, go see Margene's sky and then click on the links to ebay auctions -- a couple of Clapoti up for auction to help Emma's Oliver get his wheels!

It's Friday

Dsc05922There are sconces flanking a big, old, oval mirror in the downstairs bathroom.  This is the bathroom with shower rod (d.b.a. clothesline) nearest the laundry room, so all manner of "hang to dry" items are usually, well, hanging to dry.  Inevitably, someone has to take a shower before the laundry's dry and has to find a new place for it -- quite often, it is from the sconces, and that's where I found my Rib & Cable Socks last night.  It makes me smile and think of The Goodbye Girl (or the newer version) -- the bathroom scene with Richard Dreyfuss/Jeff Daniels and Marsha Mason/Patricia Heaton and the hand washables.  It's a cute movie -- it was one of those "formative years" for me when the original came out and, maybe it's because we're both from Great Lakes states, but I like quirky Jeff Daniels.

I have not yet tired of FRAPPR!, have you?  It's fun to search different tags -- your city, state, another interest or hobby.  Try it, you'll like it!  Please throw your dart at mine, if you haven't yet; I'm working on getting around to them all, too.  It's a blast seeing where you're all from -- especially those of you who don't have blogs.  Y'all can be fairly anonymous and yet make your mark.  Pretty cool.  Pretty please?

Dsc05924So much better!  Here's where I left off on the Paw last night -- there's a finished thumb and a finished index finger.  I flubbed up on the middle finger, so will have to fix that today, but figure I'll finish up all the fingers in no time and then start the flap.  Ali's excited, Maddy likes them, hubby REALLY likes them, too.  They're awfully quick and I don't mind doing those fingers as much as I feared.

My sister called me this morning and Mack won't be having any little sisters or brothers, at least not now.  Maybe one more try, but first we'll need to drown our sorrows next week with the turkey dinner.  Meanwhile, the Mackster himself has a second bottom tooth and one on top is starting, too!

Happy weekend.

Throw your darts

Edited to add: I finally found that stupid Frappr button!

Check out our Frappr!

Might I also add:  Die, Bloglines, Die!  I've been all alone on my Frappr map for HOURS because you're ignoring me.  I get more frustrated by Bloglines than Typepad almost any day.

Jhnn_1FRAPPR!  Fine.  Go throw your dart at my map; no tranquilizer darts, please.  I really do love maps -- DH and I used the Wisconsin Gazetteer on our leisurely drive on Saturday afternoon. "Let's see what's down this road..."

Dsc05920It was a good day yesterday in general terms, but it totally sucked in the weather department.  Gray and windy and with a very fine snow.  My neck doesn't like getting cold anymore!  All those footprints are Duncan's -- snow is something new to be discovered every year, you know!

Mom and I had a nice lunch a great time browsing in some shops we hadn't been to in a while.  We scored on the camera -- a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W5, though also considered the slightly less expensive S90.  In the end, I liked the way the W5 felt.  I'd done a little legwork beforehand and found that though Circuit City had the best price at $290, Office Depot would throw in a 256mb memory stick worth $50 and the total price was only $10 more.  I will also get credit on my Max Perks card.  I like perks!

I ripped and restarted the paw and I'm very glad -- it's going to be perfect.

I also inquired about my Yarn Warehouse Weasley order.  I've never ordered anything from across the pond before, so had no idea about timeframe, nor did I ever have any notification of shipping.  I placed the order at the very end of September and it posted to my card in the beginning of October and now we're smack-dab in the middle of November and that's long enough (isn't it?) and I'm assaulted by Christmas wherever I turn and my highest priority is to knit this baby sweater (among other things) but I don't have the materials yet!  "We must assume it was lost in the post," and another will be on it's way today -- I should have it by the end of the month, I'd say.  Their customer service is wonderful, I only wish I'd known that they originally shipped it on the 3rd of October!!

Tossin' and turnin'

Dsc05917I rarely have a bad night's sleep, but last night was one.  I was flippin' from one side to the other, then back again; feeling hot then cold, I'd stick a leg out from under the covers, tuck it back in and pull the covers up to my ears; get up, get back in bed, turn on the light and read (nearing the end of Yellow Jack!), turn it off -- I even asked DH if we could switch sides of the bed at about 4:30 this morning.  No, that didn't help, either.  I finally dozed off and barely heard the girls getting ready for school.

Dsc05916Today, it's the normal day-off stuff -- bills, banking, laundry -- then off to lunch with Mom and shopping to help her choose a digital camera for Mack's mom and dad for Christmas/birthday.  They really like mine, a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S85, and I'm leaning toward a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W5 for them.  Speaking of cameras, the other two photos I'd intended to post yesterday.  (Service doesn't seem much improved today, either.  Just sayin'.)

Did you see Katie's comment yesterday?  It's just music to a mother's ears when her daughter says things like, "I love that yarn!" and talks about knitting withdrawal (though I hate to see my baby suffer!).  The hard drive on her computer failed about a month ago, so she's been using campus computers and I don't hear from her via email as often.  Anyway, she's been knitting up a storm -- two pairs of Bonne Marie's Voodoo Wristwarmers, two scarves using some Adrienne Vittadini "Dani" that she reclaimed from a vest I'd knit a few years ago.  (The scarves are a much better use for it, believe me, as the vest made me look a lot like the Michelin man.)  She's also knitting the ear-flap hat that Maddy requested -- called me at work on Monday morning to find out what "m1" meant.  I know she's "made one" before -- she made thrummed mittens last year for her friend -- but she didn't remember.

Things are looking up for her, though, after a rough patch with the the computer failure and her car window being smashed, she just learned last week that she will receive a nice grant for the London trip and she has a job lined up for next summer -- she'll be an arts & crafts counselor at a girls' camp in Maine!  She's very, very excited.  I'm so happy for her!

Ack, give me paws, indeed.  I'm going to have to rip and start over.  Totally my fault -- I didn't really swatch and I'd been just plain ignoring the little voice in my head that said, when I tried them on, that "fitting like a glove" did not exactly mesh with Ali's reminder that "I like them roomy."  I got as far as making the tourniquet for the index finger before coming to my senses.  Mitten Monday is a few days off, though, so I ought to have something to show by then!

Lastly, my Better Pal has not yet revealed herself to me, but I hope to learn who it is in the next few days.  I'm on pins and needles!!  I'm still salivating over that gorgeous baby alpaca she sent in her last package -- I want to start something!  Now!!  I want to savor working it, though, so will wait 'til I feel like I have the holiday knitting under control.  Meanwhile, I had the great pleasure of spoiling Anne and had a lot of fun doing it.  I was also, of course, among the villagers that Margene assembled to torture Ann -- what a blast!  That was an added and unexpected bonus that heightened my enjoyment of the whole thing.  (And look at that, I'm linking to Ann right on schedule!)

Give me paws

Dsc05918Technology is not being my friend today and that means that I only have one of three pictures to show you -- is it just my account or are others having problems with their yahoo mail today?  Sluggish doesn't even begin to describe h..o...w.....s..l...o......w... it is.  I gave up trying for now.

The knitting, on the other hand, went pretty well last night.  I cast on the Pop Up Paws for Sandy's Warm Hands and zoomed right through to about the mid-thumb area.  These are going quicker than expected, but I guess that's what happens when you're using US 4 and US 6 needles, huh?  Plus, I'm using Tahki Donegal Tweed and maybe I'm a simpleton, but I'm just wildly entertained at how a tweedy yarn knits up.  I can look at it in the hank and it's okay -- gray, some color nubs in pretty colors -- but start knitting it up and watch the reds and oranges and blues go by and become part of the fabric and I just have to keep knitting to see what's going to happen next!

What you see in the background is what I've accomplished so far on Shirley Shrugs.  I intended to knock off a few rows on that, too, but was mesmerized by that mitten.  My wrists thank me, actually, for giving the cotton a break, so it's all good.


Dsc05908I love my new shoes.  I bought these at the Bass outlet store by Cara's house before heading to soggy fairgrounds at Rhinebeck.  I had a bit of a shoe dilemma on that trip.  I can't find the darn post, but y'all remember Stephanie and the "one bra, one pair of shoes" post or something like that.  That's me.  I've never had a thing for shoes, have never had more than a half-dozen pair of any type of footwear (boots, tennies, slippers, sandals, "good shoes") at any one time.  I was completely thrown off by all the rain that preceded my trip east and totally botched it in the footwear department.  In a last-minute panic, I threw in some old, but nice leather Mary Janes and a pair of Bjorns that weren't really mine but they were by the back door.  It was the Bjorns that I wore on the plane and by the time I got to Newark, with all that sitting on the plane in Chicago, I had blisters.  Obviously, I wouldn't be wearing them for the rest of the weekend (or ever again).  The leather shoes I brought were great, but monsoon season was just ending and it was wet and even though they were a few years old, they were expensive shoes and I still wear them and I didn't really want to ruin them.  Thank goodness for Cara!  She knew where to go (and Bass shoes have always fit me well).  There was a two-fer special, so I actually bought two pairs, but I love these the best.  You want to know why?  They fit like a glove from Day One, and they're absolutely perfect with both pairs of my handknit socks.  They're waterproof, too.

On the way to my brother's for lunch on Saturday, we ran by the LYS for needles.  I bought a set of Crystal Palace bamboos to replace the Brittany birches that snapped.  I also snagged two hanks of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in a color called "pewter" that Mom had eyed up last week -- her birthday is January 31st and maybe, just maybe I'll have a chance to make her some socks.  And I signed up for a class in color knitting.  I'm going to put the Latvian mittens on hold 'til then -- the class meets twice for two hours each time and there's a limit of four students.  I think it would just be good for me to review and watch and learn some more -- and I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket.  So, I've had the yarn and pattern for "Pop Up Paws" for a year at Ali's request, and decided that I'll try to get those done in the next couple of weeks.  I also worked some on the shrug, arms and hands are aching in the morning, though, so need to pace myself.  I'm starting to worry about where my Weasley stuff is -- a baby sweater is a quick knit, but I don't want to be crammin' at Christmas.

We had a great lunch and visit with my bro and his wife -- they live out in the country on a small river, so it was a nice change of scenery.  I was delighted to find a llama farm, just before the turn-off to his road -- practically next-door neighbors!  It looked like they had quite a herd.  There was a sign out front with the words "fiber for sale" and a phone number.  I'll definitely call and check it out next time!  DH and I did a little Saturday afternoon Sunday driving in the way home -- we checked out some little towns that we usually just zip past on the highway by-pass, saw many a "fixer-upper" farmhouse, a few too many house-less farms, and happened upon little cluster of lakes rimmed with great, funky, original, old cottages, supper clubs and taverns.  It had a great "up north" feel, kind of retro, even, and it's not that far away.

I went over to Mom's yesterday afternoon to watch the game, as I usually do on Sunday afternoons during football season.  When she learned that the Falcons had a record of 6-2, she wistfully said that she wished the Packers had a record like that.  "Heh," I said, "even 2-6 would be nice for the Pack!"  Well, after yesterday's win, we're 2-7!  ; )  Our fifth string running back, Samkon Gado, celebrated his 23rd birthday by making three touchdowns in his first NFL start!  I loved the sign in the stands that read, "Oh my Gado!"  Indeed.

Husbands say the darnedest things

Dsc05910Last night, I started a Latvian mitten gauge swatch using five needles, four colors and having a beautiful scalloped edge that began with a two-color cast-on.  By the beginning of the fourth row, I was down a Brittany needle; by the end of the fifth, I was down two.  *SNAP*

Dsc05911I'm setting up my photo shoots this morning while DH is making coffee and he asks, "Are those knitting needles?"  His tone of voice is the incredulous "I'm prepared to be amazed," "nothing would surprise me" one.

I couldn't find any other US 1 wood needles in my collection, so started to pinch-hit with some aluminum Phildars, which, I discovered this morning, are actually US 0.  This does not bode well for the Latvian swatch today, but it does make a trip to the LYS seem likely.

Added (is it saying that I'm "nice," Holly?) -- found at Cara's and Emma's!

Your Birthdate: November 6
You tend to be the rock in relationships - people depend on you.
Thoughtful and caring, you often put others' needs first.
You aren't content to help those you know... you want to give to the world.
An idealist, you strive for positive change and dream about how much better things could be.

Your strength: Your intuition

Your weakness: You put yourself last

Your power color: Rose

Your power symbol: Cloud

Your power month: June

The Old Lady Club

I had a little flood of remembrance the other day when Alison queried her readers about a "new" craft she'd discovered.  Then new mom Stephanie (hey, go wish her a Happy Birthday!) wrote about the challenge of just finding time, with a new baby in the house, to work some string with a couple of sticks.  And I was transported back about 14 years...

When Maddy was born, knowing she'd be my last and with Katie in first grade and Ali in preschool, I decided to be a full time mom.  I figured it was a now-or-never.  I had put in a full day working and/or going to school since I was 14, so coming to a full stop and making such a big change at age 33 meant there was a period of adjustment.

Y'all know that I love my children to pieces and I wish they hadn't grown up so fast, and yet there were times when they were little that I wondered what kind of nightmare prison sentence I'd signed up for!  Would I ever have a minute to myself again?  Would I ever get enough sleep?  An uninterrupted conversation with another adult?

One of the things I did for my sanity during this adjustment to my new life (one that I did eventually get used to and enjoy for five years) was join the "Hobby & Craft Club" -- a group of women that met every Thursday morning for two hours in the community room at City Hall.  Secretly, and among friends, I called it "The Old Lady Club" because that's what they all were!  I could easily have been the granddaughter of any one of them, and perhaps even the great-granddaughter of a few.  Those ladies did a lot of crafting for charity -- church and hospital and nursing home craft sales -- and they worked a LOT of plastic canvas!  It's easy on the eyes, you know -- big holes, big needles, big yarn!  And it was both quick and cheap.  Praying hands, American flags, and crosses were all favorite designs, prolifically produced, all with magnets so they could hold up the grocery list on the 'fridge.  Another favorite was crochet afghans in scorch-the-eyes color combos and big, BIG hooks.

I listened to the little old ladies talk (and gossip) and laugh while I worked my counted cross-stitch samplers on 32-count linen -- in extremely poor light.  I think they looked on me like a little pet -- they weren't quite sure what to do with me, but I behaved and didn't make a mess, so was tolerated and even humored now and then.  It was two hours every week that I could put my head down and work, uninterrupted and without any pressure from anyone about anything (and no phone), and it sure did help.

There are some new, or soon-to-be-new moms out there -- Stephanie, Jen, Kate, my little sister.  ; )  It's the most wonderful thing in the world, but it's a huge shift in your life and priorities -- no matter how much you read and prepare and think about it or how much advice you get, you can just never plan for all the ways it will affect you.  So, in the realm of advice that may or may not help:  I never felt too guilty about sitting down to stitch while the kids napped, either.  (Or taking a nap while they did and staying up after their bedtime to stitch.)  Sanity or a clean house?  It wasn't a tough decision (I knew I'd have regular cleaning jags to take care of the dust bunnies).  The Number 1 thing is:  take care of you so you can take care of your family.  It might take some time and experimentation to find what works best for you, but that's okay, too.

Dsc05906Here's a wide view of my chart for Shirley Shrugs.  I forgot to flip the pic -- Row 1 is at the right, the middle is indicated by an orange-ish line, and the shaded triangles are where the short-row shaping will occur to make "shoulders" and hopefully keep the shrug more snug around the neck.  I am fully prepared to be making lots of fudge when I get to those areas...  I really only need a small fraction of that chart, but I don't see my love for copy & paste ever diminishing (and you get a nice overview this way, too).

Have a great weekend everyone!  I think we're going to my brother's for lunch tomorrow.

Sh*pping news

Bmank In sh*pping news, I went to the P.O. yesterday and mailed off a bunch of baby stuff and the last of the better secret pal stuff and all the other stuff clogging the mail pipes.  I had so much stuff that I took a shopping bag with me to carry it all!  'Tis one of those never-ending things, though...  I just promised to mail something to Wendy.  Go put yourself on the map!

In sh*pping news, I'm not liking the avalanche of Christmas already -- even in the grocery store!  I'm going to want to hang myself right along with the mistletoe by the time it's time to put it up!  I think I could take the merchandise if it wasn't already accompanied by music.  At this rate, I'll be more than ready to roast some chestnuts on an open fire, too!

Hm.  Maybe I'm just a little Bah Humbuggish today.  I have been thinking Christmas, of course, because I make things; doing my best not to get caught up in the retail frenzy that's being created.  In my own, calm, holiday bubble, I finally cast on for the shrug yesterday -- 104 stitches, Mission Falls cotton in sage green (as chosen from my stash by the giftee), I'm about half-way through the first of 14 repeats and ought to pick up steam over the next few days.  I also wound up some Cascade Pastaza for the cabled sock pattern in "Handknit Holidays."  I've got Rowan Cork for the women's version, too.  My guess is that these would be pretty quick knits on size 5 and 6 needles and they're in the Christmas queue.  I wound up all my Rowan Four Ply with Sandy's Warm Hands in mind.  I'm going to need a small project, and mittens will be perfect!

I ran across this picture of Katie and Batman the other day.  She was in about third grade, I think, and I drove her at least 30 miles so she could meet him.  Isn't she cute with her braids and bobby-sox?  He was pretty awesome, if I may say.  She was so awestruck, I don't think she could even look him in the eye.  I just saw the most recent movie and liked it.  Katie just called yesterday to say that she'd won a grant for the overseas program (yay!) and has had three strong inquiries and one phone interview already for jobs at summer camps.  One in Maine (all girls), one in Connecticut (where they wear uniforms), one in Wisconsin (they take a trip to Canada, too!).  She's pretty stoked about not having to work at Arby's; that's kind of her biggest goal for the summer... time to move on!

Mom-talk.  How worried should I be about Katie going overseas in two months?  She'll be spending the majority of her time in London, but will be going to Paris and Italy and Switzerland, etc., before returning home.  The ghettos of Paris aren't on the itinerary, but I'm still a little uneasy.


Dsc05905I definitely feel like I'm getting better an kitchenering.  As with most repetitive tasks, if I can find the groove -- the pattern and cadence -- I could probably do it all day!  Oh, I'm so happy with these socks and I can't wait to get 'em off in the mail.  Thanks, Mim, for a great pattern (link on her sidebar, along with other great patterns to try!); I'll definitely be making more of these!

So, I think I've responded to all the birthday emails and comments -- if I missed one, it's not because I didn't appreciate your good wishes!  Thank you!!  There's a comment conundrum 'round here.  I love 'em, I even turn on the red light occasionally, but I'm not always very good about responding.  Time shortage, more than anything; choices have to be made, something falls by the wayside.  Poo.  I've heard of people getting paid to blog -- it's Big Business! -- but don't think I've ever heard of anyone getting paid to blog about knitting.  I'm first in that line, okay?

Dsc05892I had a wonderful assortment of birthday cards -- nearly half had picture of old ladies on them.  Norma sent the one with the "coven," along with some witch's brew and that adorable pepper shaker.  She's got me pegged!  I love it!

Dsc05901It's already found a home among the treasures.

So, on Sunday, I started off by baking my own birthday cake.  I followed that up by starting a big pot of Knitche's Chili All Day!  It's chili weather!!  The big finale was a double-batch of chocolate chips cookies -- some to take to work as my birthday treat, some for Ali to give to a friend that shares my birthday, some to take to Mom's with the chili and cake.  I didn't spend much of that day in my PJs because I was out of cumin...  One of my sisters didn't think it was right that I was doing all that work on my birthday.  The thing is, I like to cook, but haven't done much lately and to take nearly a whole day and just whoop it up in the kitchen was really nice!  I'm going to do that more.

Dsc05894One more pic...  Ali gave me the 2006 Knitting calendar, and I bought Handknit Holidays for myself from Knitpicks at what I thought was a very good price.  I saw this book at Cara's last month and decided that I had to have it.

I spent a good deal of time with Excel over the weekend, charting the shrug.  My jumping off point, as you may have gathered, was Shirley Paden's Cabled Shrug in the Winter 2005 issue of Interweave Knits.  I kept her edge designs, but replaced both the zig-zag/bobble pattern and the center design that it flanked.  The new center is a triple-diamond repeat that I saw on a pillow in a magazine and then hunted down in a Barbara Walker book.  The zig-zag is replaced with a snaking cable from a Harmony book -- I didn't want any bobbles.

At some point over the weekend, I did a google search for Shirley Paden (and maybe the shrug) and came across a blog (neglected to note the name) that commented on the appeal of this shrug, but likely frustration when it came to the actual wearing and trying to keep the thing on your shoulders.  I'd always imagined myself (because I'd kinda like one of my own after Mom's is finished) all snuggled up in my chair, wrapped in a big, cabley, snuggly hug of a shrug, but undoubtedly I'm going to need to run and answer the phone/door or want to make a sandwich... get out of my chair.  I concluded that perhaps some minimal shaping at each shoulder would help -- some short-row kind of magic that would make a bit of a curve around the neck-ish.  This is where the arrival of Handknit Holidays in my mailbox is somewhat serendipitous because there is a cabled tree skirt that uses short rows to make it curve around the tree trunk-ish.  Yeah!  So, I've fiddled more with the Excel file, a calculator, printed pattern pages, a pencil and a legal pad, and now I'm ready to cast on "Shirley Shrugs" -- an experimental shrug that I'm knitting for my Mom for Christmas!!  Heeeee!

Copy and paste

Dsc05896I kid you not, this was my horoscope on my birthday:

Your practical logic can be your greatest asset now. You can see the patterns where others only see chaos. It might take time to get anyone to understand you -- or even believe you. Move slowly and spell out every detail, if necessary. Think of yourself as a kindergarten teacher on the first day of school. Lay down the rules with care to build a solid foundation that will support your ideas.

Does that maybe shed some light on the "yammering" part of yesterday's post.  Honestly, I hate that word.  I think I could stomach "harping" better than "yammering" -- if I'm harping, I'm thinking that I'm heard; if I'm yammering, I'm thinking that I'm completely ignored.

Dsc05890This all has to do with Katie's love-child of a car with the bashed in rear window and our dependence on vehicles -- and the thought that someone in our household might not have a vehicle at their immediate disposal for the next two months is difficult.  The fact that it wasn't worth carrying anything more than the minimum required insurance on that car leaves us in a bit of a pickle because it isn't worth even the cheapest "professional" fix.  The amateur hour was full of ideas, though, and they were sending up red flags.  I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that all the flags (lay down the rules) and my "yammering" (it might take time) were backed up by a knowledgeable and trusted source.

Dsc05897On the other hand, as further proof that sometimes you have to be the bad guy (spell out every detail) in order to be the good guy, Alison admitted to me last night that buying the car last week wouldn't have been a good move.  I'm more proud of the fact that she can admit that to me, while holding her head high, than anything else.  Having been caught up in the moment, she needed someone (it was me) to throw a bucket of cold water on her.  So, she's striving to save every dime and realizes that she can buy a perfectly fine car for her needs for a much lesser wad of dough, too.

But the business at hand is still my birthday, since I've recently subscribed to Wendy's notion of "birthday week."  At top left is a book that my sister gave me.  It's an old, paperback book (c. 1963), part of an early reader series recently pulled from their school library.  My sister must have said something like, "Vicki needs more yarn like she needs a hole in the head," at some point early this summer.  My nephew, the 8-year-old comedian, picked up on it and discovered that he could get quite a laugh upon repeating this line (especially and most approvingly from his mother), and did so many times over the summer.  I'm sure you see why my sister would consider this the perfect gift.

Hole in my head or not, I ROCKCara said so in black and white (see the card?), and backed it up with colorful flowers.  I took delivery of said flowers at 11:30 CST on Saturday morning.  I was still in my PJs.  At noon, Ann called so she could talk to me, sweetheart that she is, and send her best wishes while I was still young.  I was still in my PJs and, it turns out, so was she -- and she's EST!  It was well past 2:00 CST when I finally got dressed and it was only so I could go to the store.  Anytime I'm in my PJs for that long, I think fondly of the PJ Queen, Celia -- she practically invented PJ Day (links on her sidebar)!

But this is only the beginning of the multi-part PJ story!  Also shown above is a beautiful, cotton nightgown (I love lots o' buttons!) from GAIAM, a gift from DH that I opened on Sunday morning.  I have another nightgown from this company, also a gift from DH a few years ago (what can I say... I like nice sleepwear), that I took with me on the Rhinebeck trip.  It not only kept me warm, but is apparently good for humoring the hostess, too.  As I emerged sleepy-eyed from my bedroom, I was laughingly accused of being "all Little House on the Prairie" (one of my favorite books series AND shows of all time, I'll have you know).

I sat down to read the Sunday paper and a large picture in the Travel section caught my eye.  It was an interior shot of a grocery store in Shanghai and there was a man wearing his PJs looking over the produce.  The caption stated that folks in Shanghai think nothing of going about their daily lives -- out and about on the street -- in their pajamas.  Well!  Celia, as you may or may not know, is visiting China at this very moment!  All I could think was, "Well, Celia must feel right at home!"  I rushed right over to her blog and left a comment.  She wrote back to say that she hadn't seen anyone in their pajamas yet, but they'll actually be in Shanghai on Wednesday!  I don't want her to rush the trip on my account, but I can't wait for a report.  I can't wait for her to post about the whole trip -- I enjoyed the pictures and stories about Italy so much!

I didn't really intend to leave a cliffhanger yesterday.  I'll tell you, blogging is so weird sometimes.  One day, I've got nothing and all the time in the world and I'm struggling to put two words together, the next day I'm under the gun and feel like upchucking all over.  I'll stop before someone hollers, "Clean up on aisle 3," but still to come is cooking and Shirley Shrugs and more birthday stuff.

Question of the day

If a woman is talking, driving home the point she's trying to make that security and safety are the top concerns regarding a particular scheme -- and "driving home" needs to be done because the attitude seems somewhat cavalier ("Beverly Hillbillies" comes to mind) and it doesn't seem like she's being heard -- and she is accused of yammering and it turns out that her concerns are MORE than valid, is it still yammering?  Can one say to her, "You were yammering, but you were right."

Meanwhile, I had a pretty good birthday.  I had lovely flowers, phone calls, cards and a couple of presents; I had lots of cyber wishes and I took your advice and ate plenty of dark chocolate-frosted dark chocolate cake and bittersweet chocolate chips cookies.  I spent a lot of time in my PJs -- there will be PJ talk tomorrow.

There was very, very little knitting (lots of cooking, instead!).  I learned that I cannot cast on a baby sock and pay attention to a movie -- I finally got it, though, and am making progress.  I think I'm going to send the single, finished sock to Mack -- I'm a little concerned about length.  If it's good, I'll send the second as soon as it's finished; if it's too short, he can send it back and I'll tear out the toe and lengthen it.  Oh, and I made HUGE progress with "Shirley Shrugs" -- my pet name for the modifications I'm making to Shirley Paden's yummy shrug pattern.  Oh, lots to tell about that, too.

Socks and spoons and a happy birthday weekend

UPDATE:  Both pics are clickable now, Ann (you don't have to press your nose against the screen now).  As long as I'm here, I may as well say something.  Ahem.  First, your birthday wishes are most welcome and so fun to read!  Thank you.  My appetite for cake has been growing all day!  Second, the florist tried unsuccessfully to deliver something here today; he'll be successful in the morning.  Woohoo, flowers (or something)!  Third, the eldest heard from an all-girls' camp in Maine that's interested in her as their "arts and crafts counselor" this summer.  Too cool.  She'd even have time to knock off a few credits, as she'd planned, between time in London and time in Maine.  As long as there's some measure of good news to balance out the not-so-good, we're all good, no?

Dsc05888Well, this is one of the cutest things I've ever seen!  DH said something extremely complimentary this morning, like, "It looks like a real sock!"  Well, yes, it's Mim's wonderful pattern for a full-featured baby sock!  It's adorable and I'm thrilled that M*c and I will have matching socks!  I'm anxious to start the second.  I may even have enough yarn for another pair, but I was also thinking of thumb-less mitts or little baby wristers or just saving it for a special heel or toe or maybe something else altogether.  Um, yeah, it's early and the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet.


Norma was showing off her lovely, vintage, Mallow china the other day.  I've had some pieces of that -- and the flower is one of my favorites in the garden!  I love stuff like that!  I have many spoons and other utensils, and even some serving pieces, in this old William Rogers silverplate pattern -- one of many grape designs -- called "Vintage."  It is prized, collectible, and can be expensive.  I couldn't quite bring myself to paying $150 for an olive fork a few years ago, but oh, I sure did love it!  By limiting myself to souvenir Vintage spoons over the past few years (and not really needing any more everyday teapoons, anyway), I've been able to keep the lid on this collection -- I've only ever found two!

It's a birthday weekend.  I'll be another year older on the other side.  Well, I'll really only be that many more days older, but the digits... ah, the digits on the ol' birthday odometer, they will turn.  I think there might be cake.  Screw Weight Watchers.

Diversionary tactics

I was drinking martinis that tasted like margaritas, eating sushi (for the first time!), tortilla chips with homemade salsa, sweet potato and plantain appetizers, and homemade New York style birthday cheesecake complete with smoking monkey, and socializing last night instead of knitting.  I was really on the fence about going -- I'm such a home-body these days -- and, as usual, I'm so glad I did!  I wore my Rib & Cable socks and Caryl's Kershawl and I talked about knitting with another party guest -- and the birthday girl is a spinner and fiber artist (weaving, felting) who lives on a farm and raises sheep!  She's a Scorpio, too.  What's not to like?

So in lieu of actual knitting today, let me point you in the direction of The Garter Belt.  I've pointed there before -- the link is always on my sidebar -- but it's been a while and I recently "found" it again.  Check it out, why dontcha?  Those grrs have all been busy.  There are some free patterns to try and, if you like those, some to buy.  I'm eyeing up a few... I like that Plum Shrug!

Tonight:  I'm going to nail down mom's shrug, work on the sock, think more about a mitten pattern for Sandy's Warm Hands Knitalong.

Blueangel_1We'll continue to button up the house today -- a little weatherstripping here, some caulking there -- we've had some wonderful weather the past few days.  The photo is one of the Blue Angel "hostages" in front of the house -- the pic is from last year, but they look exactly the same this year at this stage of the game.  I'll be doing a little garden clean-up today, too!

There's been a lot going on around here.  I haven't been very good about responding to emails and comments of late -- and I think, since the Typepad "upgrade," that I'm not even notified by email of some comments.  Sorry 'bout that.

In a nutshell, we did not agree to co-sign the loan that Ai called me at work to tell me about yesterday so she could get a different car and, after a fashion, she was fine with the reasons why and the options presented to her.  She will get a different car eventually and we will likely co-sign, but not this one and not at this time.  She is stubborn and bull-headed and strong-willed and every other descriptive term in that vein that you can think of, and I was worried that it would go badly.  But I think I shared some wisdom; I think I got through to her; hey, maybe you can talk some sense into kids!  The reality is that a rock could get a loan these days if it could find someone to co-sign... and it's just too damn early to be traveling down that road to The Man.

Being somewhat distraught and preoccupied last night, I worked on nothing more challenging than the baby sock and only got past the gusset at that.  I need to get that shrug started!

Did anyone check out the AntiCraft link yesterday?  What do you all think?

I'm sure you all have seen it, but before October is completely forgotten, I just have to point out another stupendous costume achievement.  Aison has completely outdone herself (and everyone else) with those cute halloween things.  She's got more creativity in her little toe than I'll ever hope to have!  Bravo.

Too young

Dsc05822Okay, it might not seem right to hear about a cool, new, online knitting site, The AntiCraft, from someone who had mail from A*RP yesterday, but I can't help that -- it is what it is.  The mailing list is obviously f*cked up -- I have a few years before 50, people!  You can pretend the news came from that obviously hip, young whipper-snapper on the left, if it makes you feel better.  Then again, as the creative forces at The AntiCraft have said, "You're going to die anyway, so you might as well knit."  Sooner or later.  Check it out!  It's very cool and the spirit and design can be appreciated (if not worn) at any age.

Obviously, there are some patterns there that I won't be knitting -- at least not for myself.  I used to think my mom was nuts when she'd ask me things like, "Do you think these shoes are 'too young' for me?" or "Is this haircut 'too young' for me?"  What the hell is "too young"?  My mother has incredible taste and style oozing from every single pore and she can pull off just about anything, so the answer was/is usually, "NO!"  I'm inches away from what I think can officially be called "late 40s," and my hair is longer than it's been in quite a few years.  I don't think it looks horrible or 'too young,' and I think I've got a handle on that, but I could be wrong.  I know that my 70+ year old great aunt in the skin-tight black jeans and boots with 3" spikes and butterfly clips in her hair and big hoop earrings and studded jean jacket was dressing "too young."  I know that the older lady I saw last summer with the roll of cottage cheese with stretch marks pooching out between her hipsters and belly shirt was dressing "too young."  I think I know where the line is...  Okay, I'll stop now.

Dsc05819_1Thanks for all your comments yesterday about M*c's croc/gator costume.  Thank goodness for nephews... this is the first Halloween that none of my kids went trick-or-treating in any manner.  Poo, the only candy I got to raid was my own.  I, personally, handed out candy to only one child last night.  Must have been a throw-back, Elizabeth, because they hollered rather than knocked/rang.  (You must go see the The Littlest's costume and the Halloween feast!)

Here's M*c in his Packer costume, looking a little concerned about the way things went on Sunday, don't you think?  Those blue eyes aren't missing much these days.

Yes, oh observant one, that is a spinning wheel in the picture of my socks yesterday!  The photo was shot at my mom's and it is one of two (two!) wheels that she has for purely decorative purposes.  I have been resisting the spinning even with wheel(s) right under my nose.  I know where to go, though, should I ever be stricken....

The socks!  Lolly's Socktoberfest made it so much fun -- a lot of work for someone on vacation in Hawaii!  I knit Nancy Bush's "Fancy Silk Sock" (free pattern available at about) from the book Knitting Vintage Socks.  I used Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, as specified, in green and white that I purchased at Purl in NYC last June, but went up a needle size (to 2 US) and added enough stitches (8, I think) for an additional lace repeat in order for the sock to fit my fairly average sized leg.  I love how they turned out.  I wore them yesterday and they were warm -- almost too warm!

I'm getting closer to figuring out the changes I want to make to the Christmas shrug for Mom, but not close enough to be casting on stitches.  Instead, I'm making a pair of Mim's Basic Baby Socks for the M*cster with the remainders of the above-mentioned socks.  Ought to be quick!