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August 2007
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October 2007


Did I mention the food fight?  I think I did.  A couple of weeks ago, Maddy (second from right) and some of her friends went grocery shopping for gooey stuff and took it all to a park and had a fun time flinging it at each other.  They came to our house for hosing-off when it was over.  My dad was visiting, at the time, and had the presence of mind to snap a photo, which he sent to me the other day.

None of them can stand the smell of ketchup and mustard now.

Look at those smiles.  They're not drug- or alcohol-induced.  In my mind, it was money well spent.

I finished an EZ Mitered Mitten last night -- still have to do with thumb... and the other mitten.

Today, for the first time, I'm heading out to work in the field.  I will be out of touch all day -- and it may even be a longer day than usual (I normally work a 10-hour day, so...).  There are some "things to do" on the weekend, but there should also be time for fun stuff.  The Packers are playing the Vikings this weekend, which will likely be the game that Brett Favre breaks Dan Marino's record for touchdown passes.  Did I ever mention that I once shook Dan Marino's hand?  Bart Starr's and Reggie White's, too, but it was with Dan that I set my own personal record for biggest sports fan dork moment.  It's a record that won't likely be broken.  Heh.  ; )  My Fantasy Football matchup is spectacular this weekend, too -- the closest game I've ever had, I think -- so that should be fun!  Y'all have a great weekend!

Back to the blocking board?

Block3 Block1

Block2I couldn't stand it!  There was no time for actual knitting last night, but I had to do something fibery, so I freed this from the blocking board instead.  I pinned together the sleeve seams and tried it on -- and, overlooking the fact that it's a bit over-blocked, I am pretty happy with it.  The front neckline and opening is still a big area of concern and will likely pose the biggest challenge.  Because of the construction of this sweater, the fit of that area has a lot to do with the underarm, and it's going to take some playing around.  I will be doing more measuring up and trying on and this is definitely going in for another soak and a re-block -- and then we'll see.

And now, after trying it on and seeing that about 1/3 of the back is basically done already, I wonder if I could possibly squeak by with the 4+ balls of yarn I have left.  Pardon me and my muttering, sputtering, contemplating, pondering...

I was short on knitting time because I took Mom to see Tango Buenos Aires last night -- of all my possible companions, I thought she'd enjoy it most because she's actually been to Argentina!  I went, basically, as part of a school assignment.  It was a great show and we both enjoyed it a lot -- the music was fantastic and the dancing... of course, the dancing...  I also discovered that there's an Argentine Tango group that meets twice monthly right in my area.  Who knew???

Who? Me???

September 26, 2007
Impatient To Succeed
Scorpio Daily Horoscope

Your life can seem horribly hectic today, and you may be unsure as to how you came to have so much on your plate. It is likely that the many obligations making you frantic are the result of you trying to do too much in too short a span of time. Your impatience may be at the root of this, as your eagerness to realize your dreams likely caused you to OVERLOOK YOUR NATURAL HUMAN LIMITATIONS when making plans. Finding inner peace can be as easy as first accepting that your life will unfold at its own pace and then prioritizing your schedule. If you appreciate life's journey for what it is today, you may discover you are willing to wait for the fulfillment of your purpose.
--Daily Om

Emphasis (above) is mine.  Most days, that horoscope shines a light in the right direction.  At rare times, I can't seem to find one word of truth.  And then there are days like today, when there's relevance in nearly every word.  Sometimes I like to go through and highlight the relevant words and phrases -- not only in the horoscope, but in other stuff, stuff I've written, too -- strip it down to the bones.

BelieveTo complete my (sorry it's been kinda lame around here) blog entry, here's a photo of some wonderful, hand-dyed, back-to-school yarn that Deb sent a while back in an adorable Hello Kitty lunch box.  I'm the only person I know who got "back-to-school yarn."  Love it.  She also sent a relevant word which I also love and shall now highlight: BELIEVE.

That is all.

Blocking from Hand-to-Hand

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Swatching for color only.  On the top, at left, Cascade 220 The Heathers, color 9408 "Cordovan"; on the right, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, color 6280; in the middle is the Lana Grossa Royal Tweed.  I know which one *I* like best.  Swatching for gauge is next, which will probably be followed by seaming of sleeves, lots of trying on, measuring and contemplating, and then a bunch of math.

This morning, I soaked and pinned out the hand-to-hand portion of the Hand-to-Hand Aran for blocking.  When I do eventually pick up stitches to knit the body, this baby is going to be way too bulky for portable knitting.  I've cast on some Silk Garden for a pair of EZ's Mitered Mittens to remedy that problem.

The weekend was filled with family, football (yay Brett Favre!), and knitting.

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Time-out for cute

AddHoly smokes!  Watching this little armful is tiring work!!!  It's been a while since I've had to sustain that "always-on" state for any length of time.  It must not have been too bad, though, because I look pretty happy in that pic!

I made a quick trip to Madison after work on Tuesday to watch the wee one while my sister went in for a day at work yesterday.

Addison is 6 weeks old and he's so darn cute!  He's starting to interact a little bit, showing some personality, responding with an occasional smile.

Yeah, and the cuteness quotient borders on overload when Mack's in the picture, playing his "guitar" (a ukelele given to him by a neighbor) -- and he's talking so much, it's hard to keep up with the -isms.  As he was leaving yesterday, he said to me, "I'll see you after soon!"  He calls the pacifier "Knut" (instead of Nuk), or as my BIL prefers to think, "newt."  Heh, who knows -- it's cute as hell either way!

I had the chance to zip over to Lakeside Fibers with Katie for a late lunch and... to look at some yarn!

Decisions_2Across the top in the photo at left is the Hand-to-Hand Aran -- I'm almost to the last hand, only a few more decreases to go.  It's clear that I'm not going to have enough of his yarn -- and not only has it been discontinued, but his particular color and lot are of long-buried vintage, left-over inventory from my LYS's previous owner.

I stopped at my LYS before leaving town on Tuesday, thinking that I could find coordinating yarn to work in somehow, and I came out with the Harris Tweed pictured at left.  While searching for likely suspects at Lakeside yesterday, it suddenly occurred to me to do the entire body in a different yarn, rather than just part of it -- which may (very likely) just end up looking like I didn't have enough yarn and/or just plain stupid.  So in the middle is a fantastic color of Cascade's The Heathers, #9408-Cordovan, and on the right is Berocco's Ultra Alpaca.  I've got some swatching to do.

I also made a stop in Beaver Dam on the way home to meet, chat, and knit with Kathy!  That's a stop I'll definitely make again!!

* * * * * *

Let the games begin!  We're gearing up for the first baby shower game at Cara's baby shower blog -- we're going to be partying over there for months, and it's never too late to join in.  Let me know if you want the log-in info or wish to be a guest author.

Trash or treasure

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I'd say a little of both.  Some of it's a bit iffy, but that's all in the eye of the beholder.

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Truth be told, some of it's already made the trash heap.


But some of it is just too curious.  What in the world is the intention of this knitted piece with all the "buttonholes"?  Any guesses?  It's still on the needles, but there's no yarn attached, and it didn't come with a pattern.

Those blue needles are short, plastic, and marked "Hasbro, Inc."  One of the smaller size metal needles has a serious hook at one end that almost seems on purpose, but I can't imagine why.

This is just a portion of my Saturday haul from just down the street.  There was an estate sale there at the end of July -- it was the day before I was to go up north for the weekend, but had to cancel because I'd wrenched my back.  It was kind of overwhelming then, plus I was hobbling and in pain and not in the mood for much, and I was mostly just curious about the house.  Of all the houses on my block, it's the only other one that I'd consider living in -- it's been "in the family" for 95 years and is relatively untouched.  That is both good and bad because it could have used the touch of a good handyman (one skilled in the repair of plaster) a long, long time ago.  I suspect (and recommend) that it will have to be gutted.  Oh, all that work, on the one hand, to consider with some very fine and unique features on the other -- beautiful, original lighting fixtures and sconces, french doors, leaded glass windows, beamed ceiling, hardwood floors, oak pillars and woodwork and stairway (and a back stairs -- I love that!), TWO oak doors with beveled oval windows, very old old old fixtures for curtains and doorway coverings.

I once thought I might like selling houses.

Anyway, even after a well-publicized and successful estate sale, there was still plenty to pick from.  Besides the items above and what's already gone in the trash, I found a very cool bushel basket type thing, a very useful kitchen cart on wheels, several baskets, and two boxes of dishes and glassware.  I spent a whopping $7.50.

I hauled home a spindly, hand-made baby changing table ($5) from another sale that will work well to store yarn and/or books in "Vicki's Room."  And I found a large end table, ready-made for a mosaic project (reference two boxes of dishes, above, in addition to burgeoning stash) that I may eventually swap with the gorgeous, but small, Victorian one that I use as a chair-side worktable.

You can't make this stuff up

I have held back the blogging because I thought perhaps I'd be prone to sensationalizing.  I do exaggerate on occasion, especially when I'm excited -- and also when I'm nervous.  An entire weekend has gone by and, well, it is just a sensational thing -- and bizarre.  I was prompted at one point on Friday afternoon -- in the midst of the dramatic climax to a sad and strange week -- to look at the calendar and wonder aloud if there was a full moon.  (Not 'til the 26th.)

On Friday afternoon I received a call at work from Ali.  "Mom?"

There was a pause and then... was she breathing, panting, laughing, crying... laughing or crying?  "Ali?  ALI?"  More noise and muffles and snuffles.  "ALISON!!  WHAT'S THE MATTER?"

She'd just come home from her retail job at the mall to get ready for her barista gig and saw a lot of squad cars and policemen around the corner, just a few blocks from our house, where a car had hit a tree -- and also on our street and everywhere in between.  A neighbor must have seen Ali drive by and called to tell her what was going on -- that they were searching for an escaped prisoner (convicted of attempted murder, known gang member) from Minnesota who they believe had been driving the car that hit the tree.  For various reasons (and understandably) Ali started to freak a little.  She opened the back door to speak with an officer, but before she could even get a word out, another officer, wielding a very big gun, startled her from the path down by our playhouse and yelled at her to GET BACK IN THE HOUSE AND LOCK THE DOORS!   

Holy freakin' shit.  Well, that put her over the edge and, hysterical, she called me -- and I couldn't tell whether she was laughing or crying.  I think she couldn't make up her mind and was, actually, doing both.  I finally got the story out of her and called 9-1-1 myself to talk with the dispatcher, share our concerns, and urge them to get someone INTO the house.  Meanwhile, I checked all my sources and learned that all the schools were in lock-down -- there's a grade school two blocks from the crash scene and the middle school a couple of blocks in another direction (as the crow flies) (or suspect flees).

A couple of officers came in and did a cursory check of the house and, thank goodness, Ali had to go to work -- she got the heck out of there as quick as she could, locking the doors behind her.  I called Maddy when school let out and she was on her way home -- they'd let the kids go if they were driving or if the bus let them off right at their door, but not if they were alone or were walking.  She said that they were told to "travel in packs."  By the time I came home from work, news trucks had swarmed the neighborhood.

Talk about your Freaky Friday!!

Long story short -- they determined at about 6:00 that it wasn't the escaped convict from MN that they were chasing, but a different guy -- a more local guy -- who'd also been convicted of attempted murder and sexual assault, but who hadn't escaped from prison and was only wanted on parole violation and other not very exciting stuff (I guess, that's how the media played it!).  They caught him a few hours later, only about about a mile and a half from the car crash scene.  The prison escapee turned himself in on Saturday morning.

* * * * * *

On Saturday, it was city-wide rummage sale day.  I scored some stuff right down the street and also, later, with Ali -- there's even a little bit of knitting stuff, which I will have to show you later.  I also took Maddy to the mall for shoes and, I gotta tell ya, going to the mall with a kid who doesn't like to shop is the way to go!  I watched the Packers pull out a win yesterday and may have won my first Fantasy game of the season, too!  There was also knitting.  I haven't quite escaped the Black Hole known as Sleeve Island, but I've reached the decreases, at least, so it is shrinking -- two stitches, every fourth row.

; )

A big, big island

So, really, it makes no difference whether the knitting is done from cuff-to-shoulder (one at a time) or cuff-to-cuff (all-in-one), once the "second sleeve" is reached, temporary residence on Sleeve Island is a fact -- where nearly everyone is susceptible to Second Sleeve Syndrome.

Mine's a really big, very long, quite narrow island.

Is there an official knitters' syndrome for second sleeves as there is for second socks?  I don't recall... it's not talked about that much.  *gasp*  Maybe that means it's even worse than the sock variety. I've been on this island, you see... plus I'm crazy... and not just a little bit nuts -- flat out crazy.  Let's say, if there wasn't a second sleeve syndrome, there is now... at least on my island!

It seems I've also, simultaneously, made personal discovery of the Black Hole.

Homework and other demands are not too weighty this weekend, so I'm hoping to quickly reach escape velocity and sustain it 'til I've made my escape from the island!  I Will Survive!

Of course, a Black Hole of a Different Color (?) awaits. Oh, I think it'll start off interestingly enough -- all those short-rows on the front (because of the neckline shaping) to try and get the front and back aligned, maybe some shenanigans 'round the underarm/sleeve area -- but then it's going to be nothing but stockinette.  Unless...

* * * * * *

Did you know that there's a Cat Bordhi channel on YouTube?  (Thanks, Knittin' Deb!)  Yeah, that'll keep me entertained 'til I make it off the island!

* * * * * *

THIS JUST IN:  Who decided to fool around with 3 Musketeers?  I know, I know, I shouldn't be sneaking and now... *GAK* French Vanilla *GUK* Mocha Cappucino *GOK* MINT... I'll just have to be more careful.

Oh. Really.

You're One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest!
by Ken Kesey
You're crazy. This has led people to attempt to confine you to a safe place so that you don't pose a danger to yourself or others. You feel like you pose a great danger to the man (or maybe the woman) or whatever else is keeping you down. But most of the time, you just end up being observed. Were you crazy before you were confined?
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

As seen at Kathy's!  I believe I've taken (but never posted the results of) this quiz before -- with a much different result!!  Heh.

I had a good day off yesterday.  I figured out which numbers I wrote in my checkbook were "real" and which were "virtual" and made sure that everything's caught up and in real-time.

I took some of my new vitamins.  And I took a nap.  I did some homework.  I watched (laughed, cried and sang along with) Tony Bennett.  I knit a little.  I took a few pictures of Ali's new, cute, short hair.  She was in a rush to leave, so they're not that great, but you get "the picture."  Heh.

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No show, all tell

I knit a bunch on my Hand-to-Hand Aran last night at knit night -- and had enough time to tear out all I'd done before the coffee shop closed.  Somehow, between all the chatting and laughing, story-telling and picture-taking, I crossed a "magoo" in the wrong spot and threw everything off.  As usual, I just blew right past the subsequent warning signs that flashed in my brain and muddled/fuddled it good for the rest of the night.

Can't you see, I'm TALKING here?

It was that kind of night.  Ann was completely bewildered, trying to figure out her gauge and calculating mods for a new pattern, and then discovered that she'd been looking at the schematic for a completely different sweater the entire time!

I got all the stitches back on the needle before leaving for home, then worked a few rows to a) get it right, b) figure out where the hell I am in the pattern.  I did this cheat-sheet card with nothing but numbers and letters to represent rows and stitch patterns, but I'm going to have to add a symbol or two.  I like it because it looks like a secret code.

* * * * * *

I am losing it.  I'm going to have to work on... something.  Organization?  Checks-and-balances?  Getting enough sleep?  I had not one, but two late notices in the mail the other day for payments that I thought I'd made online.  I wrote the payment info on the stub... typed it into my Quicken register... apparently forgot to actually perform the online transaction.  I'd done that once a long time ago and had been so careful and methodical since then, but I guess I got lax, let my guard down.  Erg.

* * * * * *

I'm the resident Know-It-All in one of my classes -- and I HATE THAT!  I've piped up a couple of times (I know!) and the instructor has all but pointed her finger at me in a couple of situations -- and I HATE THAT, too!!  It's only been a couple of weeks, and I've wanted to crawl under the desk a few times already, but I also get a little like that shirt that my stepdad made for my sister once:  Help me!  I'm talking and I can't shut up!  I could probably have tested out of this class, though I don't know if there's even a procedure in place for that; I wanted to take it because I thought I could learn some things.  You know?  Tips and tricks, a little shortcut, help me improve and do a better job -- there's always something to learn!  I thought it would be my favorite class, but it's my least favorite class so far (of two, so what do I know -- and I totally LOVE the other one).  The instructor is a little less organized than I'd have imagined, is very repetitious, does a fair bit of digressing, and -- in a class where attention to detail is pretty much what it's all about -- seems to pick and choose what details to be picky about, dismissing some altogether!  I have a hard time reconciling the inconsistencies, especially since I've actually practiced some of what she's teaching.  You know when you were in high school algebra or geometry and you wondered when in the world you'd ever use that information and your teacher said, Don't worry, you will -- and here we are, knitting, and using it all the time (even if we don't actually think of it or call it "algebra" or "geometry" -- oh, heaven forbid).  Well, here is the instructor standing up in front of class saying, Oh, you won't need to know this; they don't use/do this anymore.  And there's just the teensy tiniest grain of truth to that -- mostly as relates to terminology of the work performed and of the performer -- but, to my mind, not enough to slam the book shut on the subject!


Decreases1 Decreases2

This might do it!  As you can see, I'm proceeding as if it will.

For the left front (on the right in the picture, and in the picture at right), I decreased severely -- every row -- in the same place as before, until there was nothing left but the "magoo" cable with a purl and a KTBL and a selvedge stitch on either side.  I worked it straight for just a bit and left the stitches on a holder because there could still be a little something happenin' there.

For the right front (on the left in the picture at left), I did a provisional cast on and mirrored the "magoo" cable, doing increases on every row at that KTBL in the middle instead of decreases (of course) and figuring out (in reverse) the little cable pattern so it would all jive when joined.  I seem to have muddled my way through okay.  The right front has been joined to the back, making the sleeves/yoke into one long piece, and I've begun working my way down to the right cuff.

Note to self:  Must remember to check when sleeve decreases should begin.  Make note of where "little cables" give way to garter stitch.

I am much happier with the curve at the front neckline!  There are going to be major pick-up stitches and short-rows happening on both fronts when that time comes -- I can't wait.  I only wish I'd chosen a sturdier yarn.

* * * * * *

If you have requested the necessary info to view or post to Cara's baby shower blog -- Who's Gonna Be "The Boss" Now? (yep, you'll need a super top-secret password) -- and haven't received anything as of this morning at 10 CST, please check your spam or junk mail folders for an email from Typepad or SixApart.  Drop me an email or a comment if you'd like to join in the fun or if you need it sent again.  Heh, we've even lured a lurker into the blogweb with this baby shower business!  (It's all downhill from there, Lee; no doubt, you'll soon have a blog and lurkers of your own!)

* * * * * *

In other news:  The weekend was swell.  I had a nice, busy time with my sister, her son, my mom and my dad (not at the same time).  Ali got her hair cut SHORT-SHORT-SHORT and it is CUTE-CUTE-CUTE!  I've always wanted her to do this, and I'm thrilled.  I'll try to catch her between jobs and boyfriend and when she's not sleeping for a photo!  Maddy and her friends went to the grocery store on Saturday night, took their haul to the park and had a food fight, then came and hosed themselves off at the end of our street.  Good, clean (if a bit sticky), legal fun.  It's all relative.  Oh, and the Packers won the season opener!!

Strike One

Strike1b Strike1a

Hand-to-Hand Aran Cardigan front neckline unvention, first effort.  Unsuccessful, but not unworthwhile.  I made my decreases from a certain point in the middle of the yoke by doing an SSK at the KTBL stitch between the "magoo" cable and the little cable on every RS row.  It's not enough.  I could start the decreases earlier, do them more severely, do them very severely and then taper off, do them in combination with some other yet-to-be-determined thing...

Weekend doings (besides further trials in unventing as time and yarn allows):  My sister Karen and her son Daniel are coming tonight -- her husband and youngest son are dropping them off on their way to a hopeful weekend date with some salmon at the end of a hook on Lake Michigan.  My dad will also be a guest -- tomorrow night -- unless plans change last-minute (they often do).  This weekend with houseguests is one of the reasons for last holiday weekend's cleaning jag.  It's still not perfect, but oh well; it never will be.

* * * * *

Y'all know by now that Cara's having a baby, right?  Ann & I are hosting a baby shower and you're all invited!  Well, you soon will be.  I'm the virtual host -- there's a password-protected (-from-Cara) blog we can all post to -- and later, when it's time to open presents, Ann's going to serve cake!  I'm getting the blog thing pretty and all the details figured out, and invitations will soon be ready.  In the meantime, if you would like to participate -- and can agree to protect said password (lest Guido need be dispatched to break your knee caps knitting needles) -- you can send me your name and email address to be put on the list -- email* or comment and indicate whether you'd like the ability to post as well as read the baby shower blog.

*vknitorious (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject:  Baby Shower Blog

Oh, Luciano

Rock star.  Rest in peace.  My mother got into Halloween big-time one year -- costume, lighting, and music were all carefully chosen to create a spooky mood at her front door.  It was a Luciano Pavarotti disc played at 16 rpm on a record player that lent the pefect tone.  I think he might have liked that.

ArmSorry for the crappy picture -- we're entering the long season of horrible light.

This is me, last night, wearing one arm of my Hand-to-Hand Aran Cardigan -- actually finished across the back and half the front.  It took mere seconds to realize that I'm going to have to make another departure from "blind follower" and "unvent" that front neckline to make a comfortable, wearable cardigan that I'm not constantly pulling away from my neck.  I'm sure this would make a fine boatneck pullover, but a boatneck cardi isn't going to work for me.  It would drive me nuts to leave it like that, especially since I intend (I think) a bit of knitting for a collar/edge/trim/buttonband.  It needs a scoop or a bit of a V.  I slept on it last night and dreamt up modification ideas to ponder today.  This will need to be resolved soon because the very next step is casting on and mirroring the other cardigan front.

Otherwise, I'm happy!  Very, very happy!

Breaking records

Three days, three broken things.

  1. Sunday, a tall drinking glass while unloading the dishwasher -- one of those that breaks like safety glass -- right into the dishwasher.  (The second time I've done that.)
  2. Monday, the laundry basket bumped the stack of cookie sheets and drying racks on the stove which knocked a large glass-jar candle and a big glass jar full of utensils over the other side.
  3. Tuesday, a small drinking glass of the variety mentioned above -- thankfully, only on the floor this time.

It might be time to buy new drinking glasses, as the supply is beginning to get low.  I'm not usually such a klutz.

Today, we may break a temperature record -- the record is 91F, the prediction is low-90s.

I saw Maddy briefly yesterday after her first day of school.  I asked how her day went and she, a high school junior, replied, "AWESOME!  I CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK!!"  You've gotta know how that makes me feel (AWESOME!).

Winners at hand

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Ooops, it's Tuesday already!  I switched my regular weekday day off from Wednesday to today and made a nice extra-long holiday weekend for myself.  It's been very low-key, though not without little bits of drama, and I've been very busy at home.

Drum-roll, please!  There were lots of good guesses for delicious sweaters (some of which I even have patterns for) -- Na Craga!  Flyingdales!  Aranmor!  Celtic Dreams!  Alas, I'm making none of those now.  It is... Elizabeth Zimmermann's Hand-to-Hand.  There were a few correct guesses and the randomly drawn winner is:  Cindy B.!!

I am using the Hand-to-Hand Aran recipe from Spun Out #20 (originally printed in Wool Gathering #14, March '76).  It is cast on at one cuff and knit to the neck, the front and back are worked separately to create an opening for the head, then reunited and knit down to the other cuff; stitches are picked up all around and the body knit down.  Mine will be a cardigan.

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I have reached the neck and am working on the back.  I discovered a mistake in the "Little Cable Fabric" pattern that I'm using in place of the "Fractured Lattice" across the back and chest, so that weird needle and loose stringy stuff up there is what's left to knit back up -- I think I had to rip down 20-some rows and I just ran out of gas before finishing last night.  I remember the day when I used to do that kind of surgery with all manner of cable needles and crochet hooks -- man, that took fortification!  It's so much easier to put it on needles and knit it up -- tension is usually much better, too.

Dsc01161Second drum-roll, please!  There were lots of correct guesses in the mooshy-squooshy portion of the program.  The book is The Piggy In The Puddle, words by Charlotte Pomerantz, pictures by James Marshall (I never knew that was a Reading Rainbow book!)  -- and the randomly drawn winner is Tiffany L.!

When I went up to get the book off the shelf, I didn't have to look far to find other little piggy books -- and I wasn't even trying!  There are likely a few more.  The girls discovered them on the computer desk yesterday...

Dsc01162Kate:  "OMG!  Is that PIGS IN HIDING?!?!?!"

She starts paging through the book.  "Oh, I remember that one!  Look at that one!  Hahaha!  I always wondered what was under there!"  (See left. (Donuts.))

Enter Ali.  She picks up THE PIGGY IN THE PUDDLE, laughing, and says, "I can hear Dad's voice reading this to me!"  (It is a fantastic read-aloud book!)  "What you need is lots of soap!"

They laugh about DON'T FORGET THE BACON, a big favorite of Madeleine's (in kindergarten, she listed bacon as her favorite food and included the "recipe" in the class cookbook), and mention I CAN.  No conversation about children's books takes place 'round here with mention of that book.  The girls used to "do" all of those things that babies CAN as part of their bedtime routine -- every night -- for years and years.  I even shot video of it once or twice.  We added a few little things and elaborated to make it our own over the years, such as "the dying cockroach" and "the apple tree."  We practically wore out the original book and it is safely tucked away; I bought new ones for each of the girls several Christmases ago.  I'm looking forward to sharing them all with Mack and Addison... my own grandkids someday (no rush, girls, no rush at all...).

I had a little email conversation with our favorite Purling Swine about these irresistable piggy books -- I don't think she'd heard of a single one!  Well, I've got another one for ya, Annie, I just came across it this morning:  Swine Lake!  I'll admit I don't have that one on my shelf, but it must surely be a winner with the combo of James Marshall and Maurice Sendak!

Okay, I've got quite a day ahead, then it's back to the salt mine tomorrow.