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August 2006
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October 2006

Living large

BigroundbarnLast Saturday, I was in Marshfield again.  Katie was at the wheel and I said, "Hey, do you want to drive by the house that Nana grew up in?"  So we did, twice, slowly, and got the hairy eyeball from the current residents who happened to be outside.  My grandpa died when I was 6, and grandma when I was 8 -- and she lived the last many months, when she was sick, with my aunt -- so it's been a long while since I was inside, but I do have strong memories of that house, inside and out -- I remember a particular, unique, not unpleasant scent that I've only ever smelled there.  It was still there when I had an opportunity, as a teenager, to have a quick tour of the house.

What I do not remember, from when I was little, is that directly behind the row of houses across the street is the Central Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, home of The World's Largest Round Barn (pictured above).  Wisconsin is full of large things!  I thought of my buddy Ann when I saw the sign for the Central Wisconsin Horse Expo that's coming up there in a couple of weeks.  After I snapped the barn photo, Katie turned the car around and I saw this:

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Obviously, I could not believe my eyes!  Well, that made me think of Ann, the purling swine with whom I share of love of sheep, even more!  ; )  Baaaaaaa!  Oink, oink!

I laughed at Ann's comment yesterday about how she'd caress their washing machine in that game show hostess way.  We used to re-enact certain commercials in the bathroom mirror, sometimes for each other -- my sister Karen, especially -- Ultra-brite toothpaste was a favorite, but so was Playtex Cross Your Heart, all that lifting and separating, infused with drama.  ; )

I have a full weekend of knitting ahead at the Fall 2006 Midwest Master's Seminar sponsored by Yarns by Design in Neenah!  I've been so focused on Shirley that I still have homework to do!!  Thankfully, other than pulling together materials, I need only a 6-inch swatch -- nose to the grindstone tonight.

"You're soaking in it!"

The scent of Dove soap always reminds me of grandma's house.  Mom always uses Caress (pink, the original).  I have no allegiance except for the laundry soap, and I prefer Tide -- though I do stray down the aisle on occasion and am currently trying All. I can't ever see a box of Oxydol without thinking of our old neighbor, Mrs. Watson.  Her laundry room was also the side entry/mud room and, as the mother of five kids, too, she did a lot of laundry -- it was a BIG, green box of Oxydol!

I have had my mouth washed out with soap, but I don't remember the brand.

I haven't watched a soap in ages, but yesterday, as part of my "guiltless morning" I finally sat down to knit at a little after 11:00 and flipped on TV.  Everyone knows that the only thing worth watching at that time of the day are the fine citizens of Genoa City, WI, on The Young and the Restless.  The first thing I see?  Genoa City's grand dame, Katherine Chancellor (oh, how I love Jeanne Cooper), torturing Jack Abbott from the helm of Jabot Cosmetics!  And then?  Jack and Ashley each trying to determine whether the other's bluff is a bluff, or the bluff of a bluff of a bluff, or not, or something.  And Victor Newman explaining to his grandson (when did that happen? does that make Nikki a grandma?) that he's been diagnosed with epilepsy.  Interesting.

I watched Y&R for a while in the early '80s -- would even sometimes run to my girlfriend's house for an early lunch and to catch the latest episode.  For the year-and-a-half that Maddy nursed, her timing was off, so I watched Days of Our Lives.

I didn't pay much attention to the commercials yesterday until I heard the word "ooze," except to note that they sure are of a different variety in the daytime than at night!  It was, of course, a commercial for denture cream -- something you never see on primetime.  ; )  I had a flashback vision of toothy Martha Raye hawking denture cream, followed closely, of course, by Madge and Palmolive -- "You're soaking in it!"  In my flashback, of course, I was a kid, "sick" with some made-up malady (because I was hardly ever really sick enough to stay home!), cuddled up on our brown plaid couch in the family room, choking down sipping a mug of hot beef boullion, Mom's cure-all remedy, waiting for Dick Clark and The $10,000 Pyramid, Allen Ludden (and, if lucky, Betty White) on Password, Hollywood Squares (when Paul Lynde would be in the middle more often than not), and to see what exciting prizes Monty & Jay were bringing down the aisle or giving away behind Door #2 on Let's Make A Deal!  We only had three channels (four if you hooked up that weird antenna thing for public TV), but it was exciting -- not too exciting, of course, because I was "sick"!

Where I'm at

Dsc08620Shirley -- shot on the kitchen floor.  If you see any spills or spots or crumbs, please keep it to yourself -- floors are not on my list today.  In fact, as soon as I'm finished with a few little things here on the computer, I'm taking the morning to knit.  I have the house to myself 'til noon-ish -- that's been a rare occurrence of late -- and I'm taking full advantage to do whatever I please, without guilt.

My foot was the handiest (or footiest) thing around for scale -- there's a weird Birkie tan pattern this year due to the new style.  ; )  I haven't had a pedicure in a couple of years, though I'd rather like one.  Be that as it may, my big, unpolished toe seems to be pointing in the direction of the first short-row shoulder -- can you make it out?  And the second?  It's basically short rows done to accommodate the deletion of one full diamond repeat at the edge (in this photo, it's the upper edge).  It makes a slight curve and a bit of a pucker where the shoulders will be when worn.  Neither was done flawlessly, but I rather like the "markers" I left behind.  I'm working down the arm -- I could probably have left off one repeat at each end, but Mom does like to roll up her sleeves.  ; )  It makes a little more to cuddle into.

Dsc08628I perched atop a pergola "bench" to try and capture the color of my favorite ash in the back yard.  I just love the soft purpleyellowgreenishness.  The color changes have been pretty dramatic over the past few days -- the maple two doors down that can set my bedroom afire on a sunny morning has been lit!  The ash will be bare in a few more days -- one of the first to drop its leaves.  The walnuts are falling fast in the lower yard, too.  I collected them last year, but it turns out I misread the directions about how to store them and I ended up with a mess.  I might try it again.


Kick_asthma_1I'd like a world in which there was no more gasping for breath, wouldn't you?  My husband has been gasping and sputtering, coughing and wheezing for weeks now.  It's not fun.  Gasping is fine if your breath has been "taken away" because you just won the $200,000,000 Powerball jackpot (sadly, I can't demonstrate that particular gasp -- yet) or a lifetime supply of quiviut (one of these things being pretty much on par with the other, no?).  Gasping is not fine if you're trying to take a walk around the neighborhood or up a flight of stairs or do a little gardening or play a fun game of tag outside with the kids -- just plain old living and breathing.  Gasping is not fine then.  Breathing is good, gasping is not.

This came to mind while I was over visiting Celia yesterday, looking at her pretty "Q" specimens, and noticed her Kicking Asthma button and, HEY, that's coming right up!  This Saturday, Celia will be taking part in the Asthma Walk in Oakland -- and there is still a little ways to go 'til she reaches her goal!  If you can, please take a minute and pledge here -- you might also win handknit-just-for-you socks!  And maybe, someday, when we hear someone gasping, we'll only wonder whether they've won the lottery or the quiviet, not whether they're struggling to catch their next breath.  Wouldn't that be nice.  ; )

I continue to Shrug with Shirley...  by my rough calculations (I could not resist the very rough calculations), it is realistic to think I'll be finished -- completely -- buttons (or something -- some sort of closure at the lower arms so there's an option between shrug and shawl) and everything (including delivery), by mid-October.  I don't even dare to work, much less think about finishing the second Celtic Braid Sock (or anything else) that I re-started a little while ago (which isn't looking any better color-/pooling-wise, but at least I tried and now I know) -- not 'til Shirley has shrugged her last!

Ann has started to post pictures from her trip to California -- check 'em out!  Don't forget to click for the Rocky Mountain close-up.  ; )

I forgot to add Latvian Mittens to my list the other day -- brought to mind because I happened upon the Latvian Mitten KAL blog!  This prompted me to create an entirely new category in my Bloglines addiction subscription list for KAL and project blogs!  I will need a translator for this particular one...  Of course, for the most complete and up-to-date KAL list, please click HERE.

Buttons and bows bobby pins

Progress continues on Shirley Shrugs. I did a lot of knitting in the car -- and fixing, too, because it was a pretty drive on Saturday.  We even saw a full rainbow in the evening.  I have worked the second short-row shoulder and in some ways it's better than the first, and in other ways not, but it is what it is and it does what it's supposed to do.  I showed Mom yesterday and she lit up.  That will help me with this long march down the arm.  ; )

The Packers won their first game!  My fantasy team didn't do badly either -- I have running backs on both sides of the ball in tonight's game -- should be exciting.


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Katie's been knitting!  She knit some leg-warmers recently and this scarf.  The scarf was knit length-wise on a circular needle -- I don't remember what size -- using scrips and scraps from the stash and self-fringing at both ends.  She used everything from sock yarn to worsted to bulky, down-home wool to stuff with a little glitz and glam (but no fur, thanks).  It's about 20 miles long, as you can see from the number of times it's wrapped around her neck, but she likes to wrap 'em so it's good.  She made the button necklace, too, using fishing line and mostly buttons from the nearly full drawer in her great great grandma's sewing machine -- plus a few large coat buttons found at a recent antique stop.

Long live the pincurl.

S is for...


Sewing tools.

Dsc08604I know how to sew, but I don't really sew.  I can't imagine not having a sewing machine or a sewing basket in which to corral the needles, a small stack of fabric, thread and pins for the mending.  Heh, the mending that I never, ever get to.  The girls always outgrew the mending pile -- usually by years.  Right now, my main sewing basket is set atop the sewing machine case under one of the dining nook windows and atop of that is a pile of stuff with holes or missing buttons or blown out seams or falling-down hems, along with some fabric and patterns.

The accoutrements of sewing are many and they come in all sizes.  I have three sewing machines and about a half-dozen sewing baskets.  Two of the machines are, at the moment, non-working treadle machines of the heirloom variety -- one from my maternal grandmother, the other from my paternal great-grandmother on Grandma's side.  The baskets and stands are a bit of a problem...  I am inexplicably drawn to them -- wicker, wood, plastic, it doesn't really matter.  All but one are filled with items having nothing to do with sewing -- they hold yarn or needlework, and one in my bedroom holds belts. 

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I've sewn skirts, shorts and tops for the girls, dresses for myself, even a bag.  My main line, though, has been curtains.  I've made simple curtains and valances for nearly every place I've lived.  My neighbor lady even asked me to sew a curtain for her once.  I never met a tension rod that I didn't like.  When DH's surrogate grandparents' home burned and the family rallied to transform an unused outbuilding into a new living space, I felt helpless.  As the mother of a one-year-old who required constant attention, I couldn't pound nails or pull wire or paint, but I could make the curtains!  It isn't home without the curtains!!

Dsc08605My mother -- while she hasn't sewn in quite a few years -- is an amazing seamstress.  She used to sew for Sharon and Karen and me -- three of everything -- even after she had Michael, but the sewing machine was keeping company with the mothballs after Annie's arrival (though Ann definitely benefitted from the sewing with all those hand-me-downs).  Mom sewed cute, ruffly, flannel nightgowns for the girls with matching gowns for their Cabbage Patch dolls a few years ago -- she still "sews."  One of my grandmothers always went over the seams of all of her store-bought clothes, not trusting the workmanship.  The girls, too, have "sewn" -- outfits for all of their dolls, alterations to their own clothing -- though I am using the term quite loosely.  (Sometimes scotch tape, string, staples or safety pins replaced needle and thread, and sometimes kleenex or paper towels or leaves replaced fabric -- can you see why we like Project Runway so much?)

Things to do

First, of course, I have to finish the Stupid Shrug -- that's an endearing term I've found myself using (I tell myself that I'm spitting saying it with love) for what is more formally known in these parts as Shirley Shrugs -- but then...

There are a few things on my knitting list and/or on my needles!  There's a clamoring and I've got to tame the beast make some sense of it a list -- and then some decisions.  Sweater season has arrived and the urge to knit stuff (sweaters or otherwise) has come on full force -- it's time to prepare the knitting nest for the long, cold nights ahead.  (One thing I've discovered, actually, is that the pool of the growing shrug on my lap on these cool, autumn evenings is quite nice -- and warm -- I've been known to arrange it just so.)

Dsc08562My Saturday sky is quite gray today (though, at the moment, it is dry), so the picture is taken through the changing leaves of the backyard ash -- the colors of which are so beautiful but so subtle, it's impossible to capture on film memory card.  It serves as a nice visual accompaniment to The (Partial) List of On-my-mind or In-progress Knitting:

Red Scarf Project Scarf(s) -- I have red yarn in stash!

Moebius Scarf -- how many times will I have to start before I get it right?

Socktober Socks -- possibly probably Eunny's Bayerische Socks as first seen at Deb's (hopefully, the suffering has ended!).

Not one, but TWO of Jane Thornley's "Road to Indigo" vests on the needles -- I love these!

Sivia Harding's Victorian Shoulderette with Lynne's beautiful yarn -- kicked my butt.

Peace Fleece Coup d'Etat Cardigan -- yarn and pattern in hand; I'll wear this a LOT, I'm sure of it.

Something for Mack for Christmas (mark my words: the only Christmas knitting I'll do this year) -- a stocking?  Sarah Peasley is picking angora from her eyebrows (Sept. 22) while working on a cute Grace Ennis design -- or do I want something cabley or more traditional?  Or maybe a sweater?

Oh, I hope, hope, hope to have Shirley finished in a month -- I did some calculations a long time ago (so many rows per this many days = finish line) (calculating how long it takes to knit something is probably the #1 knitting avoidance technique and usually comes right before a long period of marination, thus a UFO is born) (writing about #1 is probably #2), but at this point I'm more interested in the actual knitting and just getting 'er done.  How about that?  How did that happen?  Am I a getting be a grown-up knitter?

Today, I should have a good three hours of car time for knitting.  I am two rows away from the second short-row shoulder and that is uber exciting, mainly because it'll be worked in reverse of the first and I'm not quite sure how it will actually be done 'til I'm in the thick of the doing.  Knitting by the seat of my pants.  I think I'll sit in the back seat, just in case I have to spread it all out or need to take a little rest.

P.S.  If you're one of the three who hasn't written a Haiku for Cara's contest, get thee over there as the deadline is looming.  Also, if you haven't voted in the adorable, mother-to-be (it's a girl!) Wendy's Peep Poll, get over there, too!


You don't really want to read about how many rows I knocked off on Shirley Shrugs, do you?

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I didn't think so.  (Ten.  I lost some time when Katie dragged me to the library.)  This is more of my sister Sharon's handiwork -- the first and only thing she's ever quilted.  It's a dozen years old and I still haven't gotten over how frickin' cool it is.

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Three of us quilted squares -- originally intended to be pillows for Mom for Mother's Day.  One of these days, I'll remember to photograph mine.  This one had to be a wall-hanging, instead, and you can no doubt see why.  It hangs in a window between the garage and mudroom so that both sides can be see and admired regularly.

Happy weekend!  My Saturday is pretty much booked, but also involves some car time and, hopefully, I can be a knitting passenger -- and there's always pretty good knitting during Sunday football games!

A constant craving

Heheheh, the "constant comments" could lead to a "constant craving"!  ; )  While the prize is still yet-to-be-determined, there is a winner!  And how fortunate that I just happen to be stopping by Iris with Katie tonight?  I shall be sending a parcel to France for Yvette!  Yay!!  Yvette and I have been corresponding for quite a while now -- made a swap, had similar experiences with Locks of Love, made similar sweaters -- she has been amongst the biggest and most supportive of supporters for the quit right from the start and sent a sweet little reward at the one-year mark, for which I no doubt still owe thanks.  So yay, Yvette!  It was great to hear from so many people -- many new to me (and maybe you) -- and that's the very best part of having a contest of any kind:

EggplantAlisha -- Tales from a Self-Taught Knitter
Ann-Marie -- ChicksWithSticks
LuLu -- LuLu's Petals
Mea -- EweHoo (she, too, saw the Harlot in Eau Claire!)
Rhonda -- KnitObsession
Dorothy -- (not) Just Another Blog
Janet -- My Knitting Haven
Christine -- Things I Do: SpinWeaveKnitandCake
Chery -- Chery Knits: Have Needle... Will Travel
Jess -- MikKnit (mother of a very famous baby)

Was that tacky to say the number yesterday?  I didn't even think about it.  Well, it just goes to show that on this here knitting blog, I received 38 comments a couple of days ago on the post about my most recently finished sweater (with which I am quite pleased, thanks) and, at last count, 48 on a contest post for which no one (incuding me) even knows the prize!  It could be a bag of Red Heart from a rummage sale last week.  ; )  I received a boat-load of comments earlier this year that, while they still make me want to fall to my knees in gratitude for all the love and support, and I don't know what I'd have done without them, I'd have glady done without.  There was St. Brigid, the quitting smoking, the Knitting Olympics, a rant or two -- and I've been somewhat involved.  If you want a reaction, you've got to act -- I haven't been as active in the blogs these past several months as I once was, nor have I hosted any Knit-Alongs or been much of a champion for a cause, I'm not designing patterns, selling yarn or writing books (you know, I sometimes wonder just what it is that I am doing and writing about here) -- but even something as simple as leaving a comment on another blog makes a difference, I guess.

So, anyway, on to other things and more links!  I wrote to Gale the other day and she sent me the files for the fantastic poster she designed for the Red Scarf Project which is championed by Norma (oh, send good computer vibes).  I happen to have a pretty good color laser printer because of other things I do in my real life, and it turned out wonderfully printed on a really good paper!  Katie has already hung one at the Starbucks where she works and I'll take one to the aforementioned LYS tonight, plus I have the big Midwest Masters Seminar weekend coming up at Yarns by Design in just over a week (oooh, was that a tingle?).

There's more.  In case you haven't heard, it's Carole's birthday today -- Happy Birthday, Carole!!!  I know what one of her presents is, too.  ; )  I can't wait to meet her next month.  Her husband Dale is the guest blogger today and it's definitely worth a click.

Oh, and this:  Go help Bookish Wendy pick her new peepers!

Update:  Cara has changed the Haiku contest deadline!  (Oh, I'm not so good at the poetry and now... the pressure...)

; )

Pergola Pergolasky

On the homefront:  1)  The pergola has stalled a bit -- other things taking precedence at the moment.  All that remains, really, are the benches.  I didn't get a Saturday sky in last weekend, so here's Wednesday evening through the pergola "roof."  2)  Katie (above) helped me make this Eggplant Parmesan recipe the other day and it was excellent!  3)  A dozen more rows done on Shirley Shrugs last night -- I am less than a repeat away from that second short-row shoulder.  Once I'm past that point, it's going to be a long, boring trip to the other side and I'm sorry (in advance) that I'll be dragging you along.

Fortitude to us all.  ; )

Constant Comment Contest

There was always a box of Constant Comment Tea in the cupboard when I was growing up.  Mom didn't drink much tea, that I remember, but she always had some on-hand.  While I certainly don't have "constant comments" around here, I get a few now and then and they sure do add up!  I noticed this morning that the number is nearing 6000 and that's a good enough reason for a contest, no?  All you have to do is leave a comment and if you're #6000, I will send you a yet-to-be-determined prize.

*Please allow me to clarify that those 6000 comments are on 750 posts!  I can't believe I've been blogging for 2-1/2 years and have written seven hundred and fifty posts!!  Anyway, that's an average of 8 comments per post, which isn't bad, but we're definitely not setting the world on fire with the "constant comments" over here.  ; )

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Having finished the Very Fab Fib, it's been all Shirley Shrugs around here this week. Another inspired project, this time by Shirley Paden's Cabled Shrug in the Fall 2005 Interweave Knits, it was to be a Christmas 2005 gift for my mom.  I'm ashamed to say that these pictures are over six months old and, at the time, the shrug was already overdue by more than a month.  I've changed most of the cables, removed the bobbles, and am making short-row "shoulders" with the hope that this will sit on and hug the shoulders.  I try to forget that I'm actually knitting a very, very, very wide scarf -- that's also quite long -- with lots of cables.  Oy.  I've completed one of the shoulders already (right side pictured in middle, wrong side at right) and I will confess that I keep admiring it, trying it on various shoulders in the household, using it as motivation to keep.on.knitting...  Oh, I've got to get this done!  (Reminder to self: No Christmas Knitting this year -- with possible exception for Mack!)

Thanks for the piratey chin-ups yesterday -- I had some good laughs!  More than anythin', "yo ho ho" be a good replacement fer th' smokes -- nay poop decks or walkin' planks fer me!  Yo ho.


My pirate name is:
Captain Bess Roberts
Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. Two things complete your pirate persona: style and swagger. Maybe a little too much swagger sometimes -- but who really cares? Arr!

* * * * * *

Arrgh, indeed.  I'm one grumpy Bess today -- one wrong move on my ship and you might be walkin' the plank.

* * * * * *

Notable:  Eighteen (18) months smoke-free as of yesterday -- though I'll admit to checkin' the gas gauge on the way to work this morning and noting that I need not stop and thinking how that's really a good thing today because it would be a shame to blow it all now, wouldn't it, and I'm not sure I'd resist, and it wouldn't really make me feel better -- in fact, I'd feel a whole lot worse.  Arrrggh, okay, I'll stay quit.  ; )

Shiver me timbers, I had my first Fantasy Football win this week!

A Tale of Two Sweaters

...and two sisters who knit (one of them is knitorious).  ; )

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Dsc08539My sister Sharon bought a kit to knit a sweater for our mother for Christmas about 10-15 years ago.  I don't know the pattern name or who designed it, but perhaps it is in her archives somewhere and I can come up with it -- or perhaps one of you will recognize it.  You know, I don't think Sharon ever knit a dishcloth or a scarf or even a simple cardigan or pullover -- it seems like she picked up the needles and started to knit a tour de force (or three) right from the start.  Besides the cardigan modeled above, she knit one with navy blue wool cables sprinkled with multi-colored intarsia chenille leaves, and a cotton intarsia fruit cardigan, and started an incredibly complicated wool and chenille smoking jacket before putting down the needles -- despite my frequent urging to take them up again, they've been down for a while now and there's been talk of giving me her (vintage) stash.

Dsc08540There was a lot of yarn left over from the kit -- one full skein of each color of the lovely Donegal Tweed, plus a few extra, small balls.  One thinks that there may have been a mistake in the original kitting-up.  She no doubt made one of the largest sizes -- and still, a lot of extra.  She does knit quite tightly -- the intarsia areas, in particular, feel almost as if they're woven and there is no give in the knitting whatsoever, plus there's been a little felting, which is a good thing, in a way, because otherwise this sweater would be incredibly huge and the sleeves, already too long and rolled up, would hang to my ankles.

Dsc08541Over the years, the left-over yarn traveled from Wisconsin to New Mexico to Ohio to Kansas and back to Wisconsin -- it was good yarn! -- and it eventually came into my possession where it continued marinating in the living room.  Then Alexandra Virgiel had a pattern called Fibonacci published in Magknits, and I knew I had a project for that yarn!  Reading about the Fibonacci sequence in The DaVinci Code was one of the tidbits that stuck with me from the book, and the idea of a Fibonacci-inspired sweater just tickled my fancy.

A top-down raglan on circular needles, however, did not tickle me at all!  I did some swatching, and figuring, and charted the colors and sequence and row count using an Excel worksheet, and cobbled together this and that from that and this, and, voila!, with a lot of wishful thinking and spurred by curiosity, I set out to knit a cardigan in pieces.  It was love from the first -- beautiful yarn, gorgeous inspiration, color and pattern...

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Pattern:  My own, a cobbled-together cardigan in pieces, with indispensible inspiration by Alexandra Virgiel's "Fibonacci."

Dsc08525cropped_1Sequence:  Two, Two, Four, Six, Ten -- a repeat of five stripes -- using a rotation of seven colors.

Yarn:  Seven hanks of Donegal Tweed (one in each color) plus a very small ball of nearly every color.  Colors:  801 (Tan), 802 (Gold), 803 (Bright Green), 840 (Dark Red), 880 (Rust), 893 (Orange), and 894 (Dark Green).  I have a small bit of every color left except for the dark green.

Needles:  US 8.

I splurged on the buttons -- they were $5 or $6 each -- but they're so perfect for this sweater, and I got the yarn for free!

Started April 7, 2006; finished September 9, 2006.

I will, forevermore, look at leftovers and oddballs from a slightly different perspective -- one that's more full with possibility.


My sister had this mosaic tray on display when I visited last weekend, so I took a quick photo.  I made this for her a couple of years ago, part of her "creme brulee" Christmas package -- complete with torch!  The idea was that she'd serve her delectable French dessert on this fleur de lis tray -- quite fitting, non?  It was an unfinished tray that I purchased at Hobby Lobby, I believe; I hadn't done such a small project before, and now know that I prefer them larger.  ; )

Yesterday, I saw the most delightful, mosaic patio table -- in the most delightful backyard I've had chance to stumble into recently -- oh, there was the cutest "garden shed" with big windows and french doors -- let's not even talk about the actual house...  Anyway, it was so creative and inspiring.  The table was rectangular and quite big -- probably sat six comfortably, though a few more could easily squeeze in.  It had a fairly wide, border of wood and was made mostly from rectangular tiles.  At each "place," looking an awful lot like a placemat, was a small iron grate all grouted in and looking almost lacey.  Gorgeous!

I need more time to do all the things I want to do!!!

I'm going to be up and at 'em early and out of touch for most of today and tomorrow.  Thank goodness I somehow have another four-day weekend.

The perfect recipe

If you've been reading this blog with any regularity this year, you know that right about every two weeks I post a picture that corresponds with a letter in the alphabet and that I often gush about how much I have enjoyed, am enjoying, will continue to enjoy -- and it's getting near the time when I'll likely start to pine about how much I will miss and how I will cope without -- participating in the ABC-Along -- and the genius of its mastermind, Anne.  I have enjoyed the posts of others quite a lot, too; they are often very thoughtful, personal, whimsical, heartfelt (or -wrenching), delightful.  Celia and Carole seem to regularly strike a chord with their posts -- Celia with her beautiful children, her family and friends, her nose, and the occasional yodel; Carole with the embroidery, the ocean, quilts, and... well, yesterday, she took the cake -- and had the recipe for it, too.

There was instant recognition yesterday, the second Carole's "R" post came up on my screen -- I knew what she had, how it looked, how it felt, how it smelled -- and the tears sprung to my eyes.  They still do when I think of it.  Oh, what treasure she has, such irreplaceable treasure for herself and to share with Hannah.  I asked my grandma years ago if she could find recipes written in her hand, my great grandmothers' hands -- even my great great grandmother's -- so I could see them, copy them, hold them, hug them, have them... even for a moment.  She was very vague in her reply and never did come up with anything and I wonder, now, if perhaps one or more of those women were illiterate and there was nothing to be had.  Whenever Grandma asked, and she always did those last few years at home, what we "wanted," I'd always tell her the box of pictures, the recipes.  My uncle has the pictures, an aunt has the recipes.  I did find a couple of stray recipe cards in drawers when I helped clean out the house and I kept them.  I love how the ink is blurred where the butter or Crisco -- or, more likely, lard -- left its mark; how soft and fuzzy they are, like the flour will never, ever be brushed completely away.

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I kept a few other things that I came across that weekend.  Mine was the bittersweet task of cleaning out the drawers of the built-in buffet in the dining room.  Nearly every drawer could have been described as a junk drawer, but everyone knows that one woman's junk is another woman's treasure.

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There was some fancy handwork -- a large embroidered and pulled-thread doily, a lace runner -- mostly in need of repair.  Tiny crocheted baskets -- one larger one with five smaller ones tucked inside.  These are such a curiosity to me, mainly because my grandma had six children, and the smaller baskets might hold a dozen jelly beans each -- on a good day.  I realized this morning that my youngest uncle is far younger than the rest -- he was only 10 when I was born -- so it is quite possible that these were made for a family once thought complete.

Thank you, Carole, for such a beautiful post.  I am so happy for you -- that you have those recipes and a little piece of your mom to treasure forever.

* * * * *

Random Thing #1:  I have not re-started any of the knitting I frogged.  I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to start something else.  My mom inquired about her shrug -- that would be "Shirley Shrugs," supposed to be her Christmas present last year.  I think that's weighing on my knit-psyche and thwarting attempts at anything new.  I think I'm going to have to pay attention and resume/finish knitting the shrug.

Random Thing #2:  I had occasion to see a Roberta Electronic Spinning Wheel yesterday.  Ashford makes one, too, and probably others.  I never knew that such a thing existed.  I was completely blown away at the price... and the fact that it can be had with dual power.  Not that I'd ever want such a thing, but blown away nonetheless.

Random Thing #3:  While at Yellow Dog Knitting on Sunday, I noticed an announcement on the bulletin board for an exhibition at the Design Gallery, School of Human Ecology, UW-Madison -- details here (scroll down a bit).  New School Knitting: The Influence of Elizabeth Zimmermann and Schoolhouse Press, October 27 to December 17, opening reception on October 29th.  It sounds so interesting!

Random Thing #4:  My youngest daughter has a job, Saturday mornings only, at this point, cleaning... at a coffee shop.  She is not a barista, but I can see the writing on the wall... it is only a matter of time.  I ask you, what are the chances that all three of my daughters would be doing this type of work???  None of them really even like coffee, unless you consider cappuccino to be coffee (I don't).

Have a great day (the sun is shining here!).

Bright ideas

I've been reading this really great (IMO) book for book club -- I happened to choose it, so I'm really happy and relieved that it's turning out to be good!  I don't often read first and then recommend, I usually choose a book that I haven't read, that looks good (often judging by the cover, I must admit), and hope for the best.  I'm pretty sure that not everyone in our club is going to think The Book of Bright Ideas is good, though, and I'm okay with that.  The last time I picked out a great (IMO) book -- Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time -- there were a few in the club who thought it the biggest bore ever and couldn't even plod their way through half of the 256 pages, yet one member loved it so much she gave a copy to everyone she knew for Christmas.

My choice is usually pretty easy when I discover that an author is from Wisconsin and the story is set in Wisconsin (must go back to my Little House in The Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder roots) and (IMVHO) these two -- Sandra Kring and Michael Perry -- are among the best.  I've enjoyed their work and have shared it when I can.

The actual "Book of Bright Ideas," as referenced in the title, is written by two little girls, from very different backgrounds, who were thrown together one summer.  The "bright ideas" are tips for life, rules to live by, observations on how to get along in the world because, they figure, no one else is going to tell them what they need to know and, they figure, by the time they reach 100 bright ideas they should know all there is to know!

Don't you just love it?!  It reminds me of seventh grade.  My parents had just separated and we had moved from a four-bedroom colonial to a three-bedroom ranch.  Behind us was another single-parented family of five in a three-bedroom ranch.  Janet was my age and had an older sister and brother, Julie and Jim.  Julie was, of course, way smarter than us.  She asked me once how many facts of life I knew and my heart sunk.  I knew that there were some vague facts and I had a vague idea of what they were about...  Not wanting to look stupid or be made fun of -- I fudged as best I could, I'm sure I was very vague.  She told me that their mom told them one fact of life every night.  I imagined that there was a book -- how big, I don't know -- with all the facts of life, numbered.  I imagined the kids in their pajamas, at their mother's feet, each night at "story time," drinking up the knowledge (fact-by-fact) that she imparted.

Ummmm, yeah, I was a bit naive then.  Now, I am Knitorious.  ; )  I know the facts of life and sometimes I have bright ideas! The latest was to pull the knitting needles from almost everything I had going and frog.

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At first glance, the moebius looked great -- I really am getting the hang of it.  It's working and I'm getting comfy with the circs and picking!  I found this huge hole, though, and I just can't think.  It's weird, but it just seems easier to rip and re-do.  Helping Beadslut pull the needles from a sock on Sunday gave me strength to do the same to my second Braided Cable Sock.  OMG, have you ever pulled the needles from someone else's work -- intentionally?  Even when they ask you to, when they're holding it out to you and begging you to, it's so HARD!  You may recall that I wasn't liking how the color was working out on that second sock, and it was Beadslut who'd commented then that I could try knitting from the other end, so I'll try.  Whatever the result, I'll live with it, but at least I tried.

A Sunday in Eau Claire

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If you came across this blog and read that I spent part of my weekend in Eau Claire with a Yarn Harlot, a Beadslut, a Cursing Mama (and her Mr. Motorcycle), a Hyvetyrant, a really wound-up Deb -- in fact, she's Wound Too Tight -- and that Chris was Stumbling Over Chaos (and Mayhem, too) and into Yellow Dog, and that I yearned for the Rogue I saw...  I wonder what you'd think.

Dsc08471You might think I had a damn good time!!  And you'd be right -- I most certainly did -- and it was all quite respectable!  That's Deb, Chris, Shari & Betty along the left side of the table; Mr. Motorcycle & Cursing Mama, Anne, Beadslut and Jeanne. My sister was dragged along, and was the only quilter I saw at this great gathering of knitters -- she is passionate about many things, so it really was not difficult for her to grasp the whole thing and be entertained and "get it."


We had a great time at Yellow Dog and kitty-corner at the Acoustic Cafe.  It was a blast playing "Spot The Knitter" and "Name That Knit."  There was some beautiful work being worn.  I had finished sewing on Fib's buttons Saturday and then gave it a light, overnight block around the seams -- it was still a bit too damp to wear on Sunday, and I would have roasted!  As it was, I took off the gray cotton sweater ($10 at Target a couple of years ago, thanks) and just wore the shawl over my shirt!

Just as she wrote in her post, Beadslut and I were first at the door of the Masonic Temple when the doors opened -- with about a dozen close on our heels and a warning that there would be many, many more.  He wasn't expecting to see anyone, I'm sure, and I think we kinda scared him!  There was a huge open area surrounded by a gallery and I thought, whoa, Stephanie can show us her cartwheels in here!  It was not really going to work, so we got busy and hauled in some chairs.


With a Hyvetyrant, who is wearing a beautiful Clapotis, and me -- Vicki -- holding the Harlot's Fleece Artist sock.  I was knitting on the moebius during the talk, also in Fleece Artist... more on the weekend's knitting and unknitting tomorrow.


The Olympic button poster was the very coolest thing!!

I can walk right up to Dan Marino and stick my hand out and say, "Hi, I'm Vicki, I love the way you play football," but I'm not comfortable in my blog moniker skin -- or at least not saying it.  Ifind it difficult to say "I am Knitorious."  I'm thinking that I just have to practice, though, because it can't be any easier to say "I am a Yarn Harlot," or "...Beadslut."  That should be a lot harder.  ; )


I'm sorry that I didn't a hundred other bloggers who were there -- I think kmkat was there (didn't meet her), Stephania was there (didn't meet her).  It's worth a look-see at their posts -- that handknit sock ritual ring was the coolest thing!  Speaking of rings, there was a coming together at Yellow Dog -- Joyce Williams and Dixie in their stockinette, me in cable.  ; )  I wasn't thinking and didn't get a good picture of Joyce's incredible sweater!

I don't know where to begin


So, I'll start at the very beginning... it's a very good place to start.  ; )

On Saturday, I visited my brother, and I'm very glad I did because I had an up-to-the-minute answer whenever I heard, "It's so nice to meet you! How's Michael? How's the pergola coming?  Did you finish Fib?"  Michael is doing okay!  Six hours a day turned out to be a bit of a stretch, so he's back to four for at least a week or so before they try again.  All the guy wants is to put in a day at work and still have a little something left at the end of the day for some recreation.  It's no fun to be totally wrung out at the end of every day!  The good news is, he's had his compound bow adjusted to the lowest tension and he can pull it and he's intending to go hunting -- just being able to get out there for a few hours with the intention of hunting is going to be huge.

Dsc08476Usually, when I go to visit my brother, that's my final destination and I turn around and go home.  This time, I was traveling further and I knew there had to be a better/shorter way to proceed than backtracking to pick up the highway.  He said, "Oh yeah, you just follow this road to Knitt Road and hang a left."  Those have got to be the best directions anyone's ever given me.  ; )

The journey begun on Knitt Road (obviously, someone doesn't know how to spell) eventually led me to Eau Claire where I'd dragged my quilter sister to meet up with a group of wonderful knitters -- bloggers, non-bloggers, possible bloggers-to-be -- and my only regret is that there wasn't enough time...

...and the Packers lost and my Fantasy Football Team might end up being Tom-Foolery!  However, Stephanie trumped the Packers' season opener at home on Sunday and here you can see that she scored BIG on her very first play -- a deftly handled, gutsy hand-off to a walk-on, rookie yarn baby kid, the curly mop more than compensating for his her being slightly undersized at that position.  ; )

Much more to come.  I had a blast.

Ain't no sunshine

Thunderstorms rolled through yesterday afternoon.  Cool weather followed.  Much cooler weather.  Fall-like weather.  My sky is chilly and gray.  I think you can picture it.  ; )

I'm off to see the wizard Harlot in Eau Claire!  Joyce Williams will be there, too, I'm told.  ; )  And I'm looking forward to meeting all sorts of new people at Yellow Dog tomorrow!  I'll be the one with the quilter.  After reading some of Stephanie's posts, though, my sister was quite charmed and half-tempted to pick up needles for the first time in *ahem* so many years.

I won't be back 'til Monday sometime and it's hard to say about the blogging in the meantime.  My camera is packed.

Fib has a collar, some ends woven in... still need to sew on the buttons.  It's packed, too.  ; )

Fibonacci high

I'd forgotten how exciting it can be to reach the downhill slide of a big project, how contagious can be the enthusiasm of others -- the discussion of possibilities, the pleasures of pondering button placement.  The last time I felt this, it was the end of February and I'd just won a gold medal for Williamsro in the 2006 Knitting Olympics (U.S. Cable Team, among others).  I will still basking in the celebratory glow, feeling full up to here with the knitting mojo, realizing what a fantastic thing I'd accomplished, when, on the last day of February, my brother was in a horrific car accident and landed in ICU and for the next five, six, eight weeks, my focus was almost entirely on him.  End of celebration.

The way these things work, that change in focus happened to my entire family and caused our whole dynamic to change -- drastically -- but things are never static, so as the chips fall and as we all find our new footing, the focus has been evolving and changing, too.  Things -- emotions -- were really topsy-turvy for a while -- they still are, I guess.  Some of us are still processing events and coming to terms with who we are now and and changes and how it all works.  As I wrote to my sister the other day, as she was pulling her foot out of mouth yet again (poor thing -- and at least we could find some humor amongst ourselves), I liked our old family dysfunctionality better -- even if it wasn't ideal, at least we all knew what to expect and were on the same page of the same book.  She agreed -- someone has definitely taken the fun out of dysfunction.  ; )

Through all these months, I continued to knit -- socks, knitted toys, blanket squares, dishcloths, sweaters pieces large and small -- but didn't finish any but the smallest thing, and sometimes not even then.  There is satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment in finishing A Thing, no matter the size or complexity, particularly if it brings you (or the recipient) joy, but I'd had so many great things floating around in my head.  My knitting mojo really, really suffered.  I'd have little spurts -- namely, Trellis and Fib -- and the pieces were easy to do, but any finishing requiring more than a kitchenered toe and/or weaving in of ends seemed overwhelming.

Now it is autumn.  Technically, I know it is not, but the kids are back in school, so yeah, It Is.  To me, a knitter, autumn = a focused return to knitting, sweaters, wool, maybe even a festival.  Whilst I stood by as lovely assistant on the Pergola Project (PP), I found that I wasn't really needed all that much.  Even with the autumnal nesting and all the putting up of tomato sauce around here, I still had some "free" time, so I decided that it was time to pull out Fib.  I usually do my seaming at the kitchen table and that was perfect, as I could easily keep an eye on -- and be available for -- PP.  Once I started, well, it was that slippery slope, the downhill slide.  So many things provided impetus to continue...  Darn if those colors don't just scream autumn!  The lightheaded, giddy elation of matching stripes; warm days and cool nights; tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs perfuming the house; not only opportunity, but reason to soon wear that sweater.  DH has been very excited and quite complimentary, as was Katie -- these two and their sensibilities for color and style (well, not DH so much in the style department) were energizing, as were the earlier, encouraging comments in posts last spring as I was knitting the pieces.  It was getting exciting!

Buying buttons at Iris the other day, asking for your opinions yesterday, knitting with the group at Bahr Creek last night and getting their input -- I've been absolutely infused with energy!  I'll tell you, people, I am higher than a frickin' kite.  I probably shouldn't be allowed to operate machinery.  Thank you for all your thoughts and comments and compliments!  I think the knitting mojo might be awakening.  ; )


Bahr Creek (link at right) was WONDERFUL!  It took me an hour to get from work to my friend Pat's house, then another hour to Cedar Grove, so we arrived around 7:00.  What a great group -- young and old, boy and girls -- and I was surprised at their number!  We had birthday cake -- for a 90-year-old in attendance (she was 90, wasn't she?) -- and artichoke dip!  Yum.  Amy Lu showed me the moebius cast on and how to knit it and I think I was doing it right all those times, it's just weird.  Nice to have Amy's calm presence next to me -- I'd lean over and ask, "Does this look right?" and she'd say, "Yes," and a few minutes later, I'd lean over and ask, "Is it supposed to do this?" and she's say, "Yes."  ; )  So, I think I'm finally knitting a moebius!  There was some great, lively conversation and I really want to go back again!

Pat... I've got to spend more time with Pat.  She brought some yarn with her, wanting to pick a few brains in regards to a felted bag design.  She's not a knitter, but she knows plenty of them and trades services or whatever -- tomatoes, for one thing.  ; )  While they don't have any currently, she and her husband usually have sheep in the barn.  She washes and dyes their wool and uses some of it for her work as a textile artist, most often felting, and some she spins, and she is also a weaver.  I nearly plotzed when we got back to her house and she showed me bags and bags -- many more than three bags full -- of WOOL in her four-car shed (not a garage) -- colorful, curly, soft, beautiful wool that she's been dyeing all summer in preparation for winter's work.  My next mission is to get a tour of her workroom at home.  She was elated to have finally visited Bahr Creek, too, to see first-hand their great selection of supplies for spinners and weavers.

Don't tell me fibs

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Dsc08457_1Fib was a sensation at the LYS while button shopping last night -- mucho props given to Alexandra Virgiel, of course, for her wonderful Fibonacci inspiration (maybe someday I'll feel comfortable enough to knit a whole sweater on circs!).

Does this buttonband make my buttons look big?

What do you think?  The buttons are pretty cool -- they're wooden with mostly green, a little red, a little gold -- couldn't ask for more.  Do you think I need to make the band a little wider?  Would it be dumb to attach them vertically (I should have taken a picture).  Do you like the right side of the button (at left) or the wrong side (at right)?  Do you like the stripey button band?  If I made it wider -- two more rows, four? -- I'd probably use the bright green.  Hm?

Please opine and discuss freely.

R is for...


Rodents (specifically, mice).  Gathered together for a group shot.

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From the time I was a wee, six-pound newborn until I was well into adulthood and had wee babes of my own, my dad called me, "Mouse."  Consequently, I have a small collection.  Given the number of my years and the occasions within those years, multiplied by many a gift-giver, I think the collection is quite under control -- subdued, even.

That one with the pink ears and nose was an art class creation of Madeleine's some years ago.  The "mother and child" one (I know, they're mice) was a gift from my mom.  There are three in the back that are porcelain and made by Grandma.

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One of them has had a chip on his ear practically from day one.  Some of them have tail issues.

Dsc08456I have not dug out the Christmas decorations -- the little "gumdrop" one with the "licorice" tail and "slivered almond" ears was never put away -- or any of the Mickey Mouse stuff (there would be that -- and why not, he's a cute little rodent) -- or coffee mugs.  For the most part, these are just sprinkled throughout the house -- one or two tucked in with the depression glass, some on a bookshelf, one in the upstairs bathroom, another on my dresser.

I realized, several years ago, that Dad had not called me "Mouse" in quite some time.  I don't really know when or why he stopped.  I was surprised, in our last phone conversation, to hear it.


Webbutton_wannaplayI'm inordinately excited with the discovery of Stitchy's Rhinebeck Blogger Bingo at Cara's this morning (I signed up in a heartbeat).  I'm going to be a player and a square -- big stretch, as I pretty much play a square in real life -- but this time, it's "Hip To Be Square."  Oh, and don't I love me some Huey Lewis & The News!  I don't know... I'd heard a rumor that The Carpenters would be providing this year's soundtrack, occupying the role last held by Barry Manilow, but I'm thinkin' that Karen and Richard just got bumped -- Huey is a little livelier, if not as silken.  Anyway, last year I took my Mini Sharpies and my Knitters Without Borders notebook and my Cheesehead Erasers (a precedent from my first blog-related trip last summer) and asked people to sign my book -- like an autograph book and, yeah, cheesy (huh, imagine that) and "summer camp" and some might guffaw argue childish (I was only embarrassed for a minute or two), but it gave me the reason I needed to participate in Rhinebeck rather than just go to Rhinebeck.  Otherwise, I can be a real good wallflower and *yawn* people-watcher.  (At least it wasn't an autograph dog -- remember those?)  So, while I'm sure there are some who will just DIE at the thought of Blogger Bingo, I'm all for it -- a little fun, a little interaction, probably some surprises -- who knows, maybe we can get a little Limbo going, maybe some Charades -- anyone for Scrabble?  It's all about meeting people and mingling and having fun, isn't it?  You don't go to a FESTIVAL if you're looking for privacy and alone time, you know?  (That's a RETREAT.)  It's a fiesta!

It occurred to me this morning that my Fall Fiber Festivities calendar is getting full -- events are fast approaching and nearly reaching fevered pitch!  It all begins tomorrow night -- well, even tonight, if you want to count shopping for buttons for Fib -- when I'll be joining a textile artist friend for a trip to Bahr Creek Llamas & Fiber Studio and a visit with Amy Lu!  Hopefully, I'll "get it" when Amy Lu shows me that moebius cast-on that's eluded me these past couple of weeks, and we should get there in plenty of time for visiting llamas.

I'll be heading to my sister's this weekend and attending Yellow Dog Knitting's Yarn Harlot event on Sunday.  I am so excited to also be meeting Cursing Mama, Bead Slut, Wound Too Tight Deb, Stumbling Over Chaos Chris, and k3tog Jeanne, who is new to me, and plenty more I hope.  (Perhaps I can use this as a training session for Blogger Bingo!)

On the last weekend of September, straddling into October, I'll be attending classes at Yarns by Design's Midwest Masters Seminar -- "Morphing Cables" and "Hand Embellishments" with Fiona Ellis, and "Introduction to Faroese Shawls with Joan Shrouder.  I haven't attended a seminar since my first in Spring of '05, so I'm excited.  I'll be seeing Amy Lu again!  I had an email last week, I believe, and they still had openings in most classes -- just throwin' it out there.  OMG, I cannot wait to morph some cables!  I'm a little scared of the Faroese shawls and wonder if it's a little beyond me and maybe I should have opted for something else, but So Be It; besides, I love those shawls.  Opportunity.  Knocking.

A few weeks after that, it's off to the east -- my first-ever, long-awaited, once-postponed visit to experience the legendary Long Island hospitality of the puglicious, purling swine that is Ann -- and Rhinebeck!  (That's a linkfest for another post.)  I won't have any money left to spend, but I'll be there.  ; )  BINGO!

Numbers schmumbers

First, Madeleine's early TV sensibilities seemed to go from Rugrats to Crocodile Hunter to Emeril, it seems, so it was Maddy that my mom thought of first when she saw the news of Steve Irwin's death yesterday morning and alerted us.  You can't help but feel sorry for his family, and it's so tragic and freaky, but, crikey, it somehow seems right that he died doing what he loved.

Dsc08443_2I helped Ali move to college yesterday.  She's never really been away from home before.  It's different.  She is so excited, though.  I was mopey for a while, but I've been caught up a little more in her excitement this past week, making sure she has everything, etc.  Lunch on Friday helped.  She has a new job at the mall, which is a mile from where I work, and school is 20 miles down the highway, so it's not like we won't ever see each other.  It's not like when I delivered Katie to school the first time and left her there, thousands of miles away, knowing I wouldn't see her at all 'til Christmas.  I rode home with Ali's friend/roommate's parents and both of us mothers recounted the story of the first child's emotional delivery to school.  I will likely see Ali on Thursday...

DH continued to work on the pergola.  True to form, we had quite a complete and specific plan -- to a point.  Now, we're flying and designing by the seat of our pants.  Slow going, plus there was a bit of a rain delay yesterday.

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Fibonacci is all seamed.  I cannot describe the extreme sense of accomplishment and pleasure I had from matching up those stripes -- perfectly -- and seaming this sweater!  I am so pleased.  The first of the buttonbands was completed last night, leaving only button placement, and the second (buttonhole) band and collar to be knit.  It won't be long now.  ; )

The days are numbered

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Dsc08438Had I not begun to number the Pergola Project Days, perhaps I wouldn't feel the compulsion to blog Day 3, but I did, so I do.  It may seem painfully slow, but that's okay.  DH has been working on it steadily, while I have been supervising, making meals, going shopping/to lunch/the store, running to the lumber lard (twice) and/or hardware store, schlepping kids and/or friends of kid, starting to seam Fib, etc.  Those 2x4 pieces on the top are not attached yet, but they are all cut and shaped and the holes are drilled and screws started (I'm responsible for the drilling and screw-starting) -- tomorrow!

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Last night's supper:  roasted tomato sauce,  baked eggplant, multigrain pasta, homemade bread.  It was the best yet.  ; )

Kick_asthmaPlease read this post of Celia's and donate, if you can, to help Kick Asthma!  My husband suffered as a boy, and has again in recent years, and two of our daughters have suffered, as well -- it has been frightening at times.  Let's kick it, kick it good!

Pergola Project, Day 2

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The note about tomatoes was scrawled on an envelope and found sticking out of the mailbox yesterday morning -- our neighbor has gone on a trip.  From my reaction, you'd have thunk it was a money tree she'd left in my care.  ; )  Yeah, third batch of sauce in the oven today...

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DH is a table saw man -- it's been my experience that a fella is either a radial arm saw man (my dad) or a table saw man -- not that he can't use a radial arm saw, he just prefers the table saw.  He unloaded lumber and set up the table saw in the lower yard while I cleared off the deck and trimmed back the flora.  He also dug up the iris patch for distributing and transplanting elsewhere.

Dsc08417I must admit that for the rest of the day, I consulted and supervised and did my level best as lovely assistant, holding things steady when needed, etc.  I took Maddy to school, went out to lunch with Ali, made a run to the grocery store... it's not like I wasn't busy!  I believe my services will be more in demand today.  The picture was taken just before we went in for BLTs last night -- there was one more post planted after supper; one to go and then we start the top part.

Lunch with Ali was very nice.  It was mainly to take her pulse, you know?  I've seen and suspected some things and just needed to let her know how I feel about them and there was only a teensy bit of a lecture.  Really, I don't know if you could even call it that -- I just told her that I loved her, that I'm glad she's going to school, and said my piece -- and she reassured me about a few things and then we went shopping.  ; )

Updated to add my first Saturday Sky of September (with hammer and nails).



Katie had to be to work at 5 this morning, and Ali at 6:30; it's Maddy's first day of school, which would normally start at around 8, but only the lowly freshmen have to go so early on the first day of school.  Maddy's going to have one last weekday sleep-in, then go out for Chinese with some friends before heading to school at noon.

I've got a pre-moving-to-college lunch date, too, with Alison.  We'll have a little mother-daughter chat.  ; )  I was going to surprise her with the cloths, but she surprised me!  She was surprised, and touched, just not as I'd imagined.  Sweet.

Dsc08409Dsc08410_1Last night I had a little walk past the front garden area and was stopped in my tracks by this gigantic weed, that I only noticed just last night, at a full 4 feet in height!  It's amazing what we edit out!  I've been meaning to get out and trim back the spent ferns, anyway, and even the meadow rue which I usually trim much earlier.  I donned the gloves, grabbed the pruner, and it didn't really take too long to spruce it up a bit and pull the most offending weeds.

I planted the porch pot with the begonia in a gardening class earlier this spring -- it also has impatiens, but the alyssum has long since expired.  The begonia just took off and I have always loved yellow against my house, so that's perfect!  The porch planter has something dark green with purple flowers in the middle, and two sweet potato vines on each side and, man, did those vines ever take off!  This is the front porch, which faces north, so the bright yellow of the impatiens and the bright green of the foliage really lighten it up nicely.  It was a pretty good year for the front porch.


Here's the back yard, which is actually on the side.  It's very, very tiny.  The back of the garage is at left; the right leg of the brick walkway leads to some steps that go down to a path (the playhouse is down there, and more hostas); the concrete walk at the bottom also leads to some wooden stairs that lead to the "lower yard," which is actually in the back and is half grass, half garden -- and there's a ravine/wooded area beyond all of that.  Our house was basically, literally, built on the edge of a ravine and our "back yard" is wedge-shaped because of the natural line of the bluff, or whatever.  The corner of the garage that you see?  It's not a normal, 90-degree corner -- our garage is rectangular except for that corner, which is just lopped right off because of the lay of the land -- and, because of the lay of the land, our deck has only two square corners, too.

It used to be, when the kids were little, we didn't even have a garage.  I didn't want a garage because where in the world would we put a sandbox?  Where would the kids play?  The lower yard is great, but it's only partially visible from one room in the entire house -- and even that with great effort!  No, I decided that I'd scrape snow and ice off my windshield, haul in groceries and kids through torrential rain and blizzards, figure out how to steer a wheel that's baked in the red-hot summer sun, because the kids needed a yard, for crying out loud; no-brainer.  Well, the kids got older and we got older and they didn't use the yard much -- so they helped us build a garage!  ; )

We love our little deck, but it, too, bakes in the red-hot sun.  Sometimes that's okay, but an option would be nice, don't you think?  I had the bright idea a few years ago to build a triangular pergola over part of the deck, providing dappled shade, with extra seating, some planter boxes, trellis-y things for stuff to grow on.  You can see that the tomatoes have pretty much taken over the deck -- it's like a jungle out there!  I have been editing out the weeds surrounding the deck for a while now, and soon they will truly be deleted.  Heh.

Labor Day Weekend, 2006 -- The Pergola Project.  Day 1:  Plans are drawn, lumber is in the van.