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November 2007
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January 2008

A-B-C, it's easy as 1-2-3... or 52 or 26 or 365... I mean 366

No, I'm not going to Blog 365, though I might help to provide a little fodder for other.crazy.people.

I did get an "A" in one of my classes... and a "B" in the other... but that's not it, either.

It's the ABC-Along!  Inspired by the great ABC-Along of 2006 and with the blessing of Anne, I've decided to "host" ABC-ALONG 2008.  I had such a great time doing it in 2006 and I've missed it for all of 2007, so it's time.

While my use of quotation marks above could be debated on The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, I do not feel that I use them "unnecessarily."  By "host," I mean:

Disclaimer.  I run a pretty loose group and/or -along.  I'd much rather knit or read or take pictures or cook or do laundry or clean the bathroom (you get the idea) than run admin (you've been warned).  I love a party, however, so let's get one started.

I'm interested in stirring up some creativity!  This project is wide open to interpretation and personalization.  What does it mean to you? Have a little fun; take, post, and let's talk about some interesting pictures -- see where it goes.

I've started both a Flickr group and a Ravelry group for ABC-ALONG 2008, and you are hereby invited.  The Flickr group is public/invitation only -- the last day to request an invitation to the group is January 19th; sign-ups will be closed as of January 20.  Please request an invite by leaving a comment on this post or sending an email (vknitorious @ gmail .com) with your Flickr ID.  By nature, Ravelry is open all night... we'll see where it goes.

It's simple:

Members in this year-long group -- knitters, spinners, fiberists (yeah, I like that!) -- post a photo to their blog and/or the Flickr group every two weeks to correspond with a letter of the alphabet.  Photos can be related to fiber, but do not have to be; they should reflect the personality of the photographer, and something of importance or meaning to them.

Post at least one photo in each 2-week period to match the corresponding letter of the alphabet.  There are 52 weeks in a year and 26 letters of the alphabet, allowing two weeks per letter (Weeks 1&2=A, Weeks 2&3=B).  Example:  "A" is for... Alaska, asparagus, alpaca, astronomy, aperture...  Whatever you choose, it should have some meaning for you.

I know a lot of people got new cameras for Christmas.  Maybe "A is for aperture" and "B is for (white) balance"... "F is for f-stop"... or "focus"... and perhaps the tone is set for exploring the new camera, its features, and photography in general.  Photojojo has some great ideas.

More to come as is warranted, including a hard-and-fast schedule and a button/banner.  To kick things off just right, everyone who sends me a comment or email request by the deadline (that would be January 19th) will be entered in a drawing for a book that I happen to have an extra copy of, that happens to begin with "A."

I did not get a new camera for Christmas, I must make do with the old.  It has served me well these many Christmases, sometimes taking pictures of Christmas things.

Ornament_front Ornament_back

Ornament_top Ornament_bottom

Katie decorated this ornament for us at my sister's last month.  I never put 2 + 2 together when she told me she'd gone out there, and even when she said that decorating had been done (Mack made a few ornaments -- and was chatting up the customers quite a bit, too!  Can I help you?).  The slip-trail technique my sister uses is called "ditzwork" and Katie's interpretation and design make me think Ditz meets Yellow Submarine.

Alzheimer's prevention

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For all the knitting I've done, I should be just about finished with the back of Oblique!  But no.  Here you see an up-to-the-minute progress shot -- about four inches of knitting.  I'm just about to begin a gentle decrease to the waist.

First I was having problems with the left-leaning lace part, then a little bit with the right -- okay, a lot.  For various reasons, I ripped and re-knit that section countless times.  When I'm challenged by the knitting, reading, understanding and following the pattern, I always think what good exercise it is for my brain -- a little Alzheimer's prevention (though what it does for overall sanity is still in question).

I was finally humming along last night, in the groove -- YEAH, this is GOOD! -- and at about six inches, I checked the pattern and discovered that decreases should have started at four.  I practiced deep breathing while I held in it my lap for a bit, contemplating the difference that two inches would make in an already long sweater.  If my legs were longer... maybe.  If I wanted a sweater-coat... maybe.  And the yarn.  Would the yarn hold out?  I've already created a problem for myself regarding the yarn.

In November, I read Stephanie's post entitled Three Things and I haven't been able to get Thing Three off my mind.  I've been fascinated by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton and the way she prepared -- or didn't prepare -- and held her yarn while knitting. I'd made a comment on that post:

... I can't decide whether it's refined -- because she, herself, seems so very -- or more primitive in nature. I am almost tempted to try it and see how I feel.

Yeah, I decided to try it.  Starting with a patterned cardigan just before Christmas maybe wasn't so wise in a house with three kids, three cats and one dog -- in any combination, at any given time -- all wanting, at any given time, to be let in or out or be fed.  Perhaps I should have started with a small project -- a hat or mittens.  Ripping and re-doing with the occasional jumping up to answer the phone or the door added even more tangles knots interest.  I ended up with a bit of a mess, which I've untangled as well as I could before cutting off a tangled wad of unknown length of probably going to be needed at some point (I'll worry about that later) yarn.

How did I feel?  I did feel rather refined, but not very relaxed.  You know what, though?  I'm going to try again.  I know to be more mindful.  Holding the yarn that way rather epitomizes the way I want to feel when I knit -- I want to feel loose and relaxed, unrushed and (hopefully) untangled.  I like it, and I like that I have to think about it.

Back to Oblique... I also discovered that I'd made a big flub in the middle lace section, and ended up ripping out the whole thing to the ribbing and starting over.  I think I'm on track now.  Argh!  The lace is kicking this cable girl's butt!

Dsc01788It snowed for much of the day yesterday.  This is the view out the kitchen window this morning.  We still need to shovel.  There wasn't a lot of wind with this storm, for a change, so the snow stuck nicely to the branches and trees.  It is so very fluffy, white and bright -- it would be blinding if the sun were shining.

Thanks for all the good wishes for our health.  That was one amazing little bug.  It was almost like being possessed for a day, it came and went so quickly, and with hardly a trace left behind!  My theory is that it all began with Mack and a play-date he had just before Christmas, but that little Addison was the carrier.  It seems that the people who smooched on him the most -- or who smooched on those who smooched -- were the ones who got sick.

Thank goodness for the weekend!!  I have to work on Monday, but then I have off on New Year's Day and then my "regular" day off on Wednesday.  I'm amused by thinking of it as a one-day work week.  Hm, why yes, I am easily amused.

Shoo flu

My sister Ann arrived with her family -- and the flu -- on Christmas Eve.  I never would have seen her had I not gone up and visited the sickbed.  They'd all been at her in-laws' prior to the journey north and by the time she realized she was sick -- really, really sick -- they were already closer to here than there.  My brother never saw her.  As we shared our Christmas Eve meal together, Michael said that he was looking at his BIL in a whole new light, impressed that he'd bring the boys up here for Christmas even though Annie was sick at home.  Heh.  Someone must have spiked his nog.  That would NEVER happen.

One-by-one we fell.  First, my BIL on Christmas Day.  Next, their two older sons who'd already returned to Madison.  The girls and I went to see "The Golden Compass" in the evening on Christmas Day and shortly after returning home, Maddy said she "felt gross."  It was all downhill from there.  I tried for a long time to convince myself that I wasn't really sick, I was just feeling weird because of Maddy.  Yeah, well, I can dream, can't I?  Katie was next.  I thought Ali had escaped, as she'd left for work as scheduled, but it turns out that she'd returned after only an hour on the job.  I heard that my stepdad had to call it a day by noon yesterday.

I haven't heard about my brother or my other sisters and their families.  My mother and Annie's in-laws have apparently escaped, so far; they're the only ones who have had flu shots.

I have not had a day like that for as long as I can remember.  Maddy called me from her room sometime in the morning, requesting ice and water.  I was so lightheaded after answering the phone, that I had to lie down for a bit before fulfilling her request.  I was also very feverish, and changed both my nightgown and pillowcase at some point.  I managed to bring glasses and a jug of water upstairs and made my deliveries.  At around noon, I forced myself to get up, wash up, and get dressed, but an hour and a half was all I could manage, and I ended up back in bed until sometime between 4:00 and 5:00.

By about 7:00 I had a small bowl of Cheerios.  Being pretty much captive, Katie & I decided to watch "The Bourne Ultimatum" again, since our first viewing was riddled with interruptions.  I dozed in and out a lot, but I still managed to catch a couple of things that I'd previously missed.

I fixed a "left leaning diagonal lace pattern" section that resembled more of a zig-zag and that was all I could muster for the knitting.  Oh, it's a sad, sad state when I'm too sick to knit.  The new project is Knitty's Oblique, and even though I'm only a few inches in, it was just too heavy to hold.  I never mustered casting on the second -- intended to be Unbiased.  Watch for it.

I'm better today -- at least this flu, or whatever, comes on FAST and zips along just as quick.  My muscles are still a little sore and I'm not functioning at 100% (mentally or physically), but it's back to work nonetheless.  Thank goodness there are only two days 'til the weekend.  I hope you all had a holiday/weekend to remember, too, but maybe in a better way.

Been busy 'round here

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First up, Odd Fellow (from Unusual Toys for You to Knit and Enjoy by Jess Hutchison, OOP, sometimes you can find it on Ebay) -- the original little "bean" that I made for Ali's friend with whom I share a birthday -- this is the one that started the recent bean bonanza.  Ben was visiting last night and he finally collected his little guy, but not before I performed a face lift -- on Bean, not Ben -- and isn't he so much cuter now (left/before, right/after)?  The placement of nose and mouth makes a huge difference in the "personality" of these little guys.

Dsc01772The weather outside was truly frightful yesterday.  I was awakened by windows rattling to the wind -- 40 mph gusts -- and snow, which lasted all day.  The official line says about 5.5 inches of snow in these parts; there was a lot of drifting because of the wind.  I shoveled six inches from the back walk to the garage door yesterday -- twice.

I spent a lot of time in -- specifically, in the kitchen -- though I did have to venture out to the store once.  I made Sandy's Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, though some of them were minus the kiss as requested by Madeleine.  My sister usually makes these and they're a big favorite.  I never realized how few ingredients were involved and how easy they were!

I prepped the Heavenly Hash fruit salad that is a staple of our family gatherings for years.  My mother usually makes it, but I volunteered this year.  The recipe is from a lady named Jean Olson -- I'm not sure if she was a friend in Toledo or Toronto or Denver or St. Louis -- but she must have been a wonderful and generous cook, it's her sugar cookie recipe we've always used, too.


I received a most wonderful prize package in the mail from Twirl Girl Carla on Friday because I won her birthday contest (Scorpios RULE!).  The Mrs. Field's peppermint truffles were the perfect accompaniment to opening parcels.  The yarn is SO wonderful!  It is handpainted wool sock yarn from The Fiber Denn in a color called "beach."  Now, whenever I see yarn in colors having to do with the ocean or the beach, DH comes immediately to mind; I always think it would be so wonderful to knit him something in such a colorway, being that he loves the ocean so much.  I never, ever commit, though, because I realize how much I love those colorways, too, and maybe I'd like something for myself and, well, I like to keep my options open.  That's terrible, isn't it?  I'm such a generous knitter in my mind -- I really want to be -- but so selfish in reality.

Maybe I could knit something we could share.

What I did not expect in that package from Carla was the solution to my Eve of Christmas Eve dinner dilemma!  Because of the aforementioned frightful weather, I did not have overnight guests arriving at dinner time last night, but I did not know that on Friday night, so I was delighted to find a bottle of Spiedie Sauce inside.  I cut up some chicken and poured on the sauce over it and left it in the 'fridge overnight.  It was about as far from "open flame" or "grilling" weather as could be last night, so I used my Foreman-ish grill to cook it (I didn't even use skewers -- just spooned the cubed chicken on and scooped it off.  We ate it just as Carla suggested, on a soft kaiser roll with mayo and a pickle.  Oh my heavens, it was delicious!  There was a lot left over, because I'd been expecting a crowd, so it's in the fridge and it's SO good that I've been "snitching" cold spiedie chicken cubes!

Everyone scheduled to arrive yesterday will now be arriving today, along with those originally scheduled to arrive today, and what that means is a house full of people this afternoon -- at Mom's.  We are having a very low-key, no fuss, no muss Christmas Eve dinner this year.  This is a bit unusual for us.  We usually do things like platters full of Cornish hens, standing rib roasts, Beef Wellington, yorkshire pudding, big hams with cloves and glaze.  This year, we're having ham sandwiches (and now, spiedies!), potato and fruit salads, corn pudding (another nod to tradition -- and a perfect accompaniment to this meal) -- on the Spode Christmas china, no doubt, and maybe even with the sterling.  ; )

The Log Cabin suede-sole slipper socks are finished, but not very easy to photograph.  I look like Bozo with 'em on my feet, so I'm just going to have to try and get a good picture of Michael trying them on tonight.  I gave up on Mack's Shark Mitts -- kind of futzy and putzy and I'm not in the mood.  I'll still knit the kids some mittens, they just won't be for Christmas.

I started knitting something new for myself last night, and I think I'm going to start yet another something new today!  For myself?  For DH?  For someone else?

Happy!  Merry!!

Saturday Sidewalk

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Drip, drip, drip.  The snow is masting -- haha, apparently that's what it does when it's "melting" so "fast" that the words become one as I type.  It is 38F right now.  It is supposed to rain later, then the temp will fall creating a "wintry mix."  The precip will eventually turn completely to snow.  It all means shitty and dangerous holiday weekend driving.

The walking isn't easy, either.  The beautiful new metal roof over the back porch is causing some big-time problems right over (and on) our back steps.  While heat coils on the roof would probably solve the problem, I would rather find a better way.  I'm actually thinking that a temporary (only in winter) shed roof-type thing over the steps and sidewalk below might work.  When we change the screens to storms, we would also attach the roof, which would direct the run-off (or slide-off) accumulation from the roof away from the traffic area.  It could work.

Today I get my hair cut!  I actually scheduled this appointment before leaving the last time, something I haven't done in years and years.  I'm excited -- and I'd better get going, I need to be there in less than an hour!


Dsc01759You know, there are some movies you can knit to and there are others that require full attention.  Last night I watched Helvetica and, just so you know, it requires full attention.  I first read about this movie last year, was very amused by a haiku contest (winners here) in which the subject was fonts.  I was so amused, in fact, that I printed three personal favorites and posted them near my computer both at work and at home.  It's been months and months and they still make me laugh.  It's even funnier because I actually used the type they wrote about -- Comic Sans for the one entitled "Comic Sans," it's 10x funnier and just cracks me up.  There's another about how to "pica stock" using "small caps."  Who knew fonts could be so entertaining.  Is it just me?

Anyway, Bonne Marie reminded me the other day by adding "Helvetica" to her sidebar wish list, and that prompted me to add it to my Netflix queue -- and make it number one.  I think more people would find it interesting now than, say, 20 years ago, but most would probably still find it a bore.  I worked as a typesetter from 1978 -- actually, I started part-time for my dad in 1975 -- until 1991 and I loved it.  "It" being both the movie and the job.  I never actually set lead type, but I did work on some clunky old machines before sitting down at some amazingly big, totally awesome, completely dedicated-to-one-thing computers: the Compugraphic Mark IV with its one line of display and all the cool flippy switches for leading; the mammoth EditWriter with it's big screen and 8-inch floppy disks; and finally the Varityper, also enormous, but with a sort of WYSIWYG option.  Yep.  We've come a long way, baby.  Fonts came on film strips, four to a strip, and they were expensive.  We were always like giddy kids when it was time to order new fonts.  Oh, and the border tape, X-acto knives, waxers and rubber cement.  If people only knew -- really knew how awesome it is to have hundreds of typestyles in whatever size they want at any given time...  That's not saying they all know what to do with them.

Dsc01760So, yeah, here's the story of my life lately.  There's a million things to do, time is running short, and I'm watching a must-see movie about a typeface.

I ran out of coil-less pins, but managed to get one Log Cabin slipper upper pinned to the suede lower.  The Cork is way too weak to use for sewing, so I'm going to use a finer wool/cotton in a nice brown.  I'm lovin' Tudora.  I still need to find a button -- and block -- and weave in ends.

Oh, and there was knitting talk on the radio this morning!!  One of the local news personalities who does double-duty on morning radio (as so many of them do) was talking about last night's knitting class at Loops 'n Links.  She sounded so excited!  They've moved from scarves to hats, and last night they learned to purl.  ; )

What else can I say?  Oh, yeah... TGIF.  The next five days are mine.


Ornament1 Ornament2

VotiveAs part of our knitting group's holiday party, we also had a voluntary ornament exchange.  Participants each brought a wrapped ornament and throughout the evening they were passed to the left or right on cue, which was a word or phrase.  Finally, Jean (a teacher) read us a story about the "little one" (the cue) and then she gave the book to Ann, a gift she can read to her own "little one" next year.  My ornament was from Eileen and it will definitely add some sparkle!  It seems shinier than a mirror, if that's even possible, and I love it.  It also made for some phun with photography!  Heh, that's the chandelier-of-many-lampshades over my kitchen table in focus on the left, showing some of its bling, and also a new view of my wonderful beadboard ceiling.  I also won the ruby votive door prize.  Fun was had by all.  That Ann sure knows how to throw a party!

I had a good time with the ladies of the (book) club last night at the English pub.  I had a chocolate martini (of unknown heritage), followed by a couple of Chicago beers, and then we all sipped and shared a Beefeater martini -- a mistake the bartender made -- and whoa!  I used to drink a little gin back in the day (gin & sour w/a twist), so I didn't find it as offensive as some everyone else.  You could put one of those under the Christmas tree for a pine scent, though!

I unpinned the shark mitts and the slipper sock tops from the blocking board yesterday.  Did I mention a finished Tudora?  I need to find a button, but the knitting was finished on Sunday.  That's the last time there was any knitting done around here!  While I have nearly all of Christmas and year-end stuff taken care of as far as shopping and pick ups and deliveries, I have done nothing with my house, the laundry pile is reaching monumental proportions, the vacuum cleaner is looking forlorn, and there are some projects that need finishing.  I think I shall forego tonight's last tango (of the year) and stay home for a change -- I've been such a party animal this week!

Christmas, International Style

On Monday, it was the international buffet during the last of my "global" classes -- we had brigadeiro, Russian tea cakes, lasagna, and sushi, and dishes from Asia, Mexico and Canada.  Last night, our knitting group met at a German restaurant to celebrate the holidays.  Tonight, book club will be meeting at a new English pub/restaurant.  Tomorrow night, I could go practice the Argentine tango.

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The important thing right now, though, is these cookies.  Ann, the force behind our knitting group, planned a wonderful get-together for us and made each of us a goodie bag.  This wonderful tower of cookies was inside, along with a couple of other Christmas goodies.  Ann has been sufferin' the morning sickness lately, so I'm amazed that she'd even think about doing all this baking.  Maria, knitter and stone carver extraordinaire, helped her with it and they did a wonderful job.  Wow.

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These two are already gone.  The one on the right was like a little sandwich with a tiny bit of jam inside.  I think this was the old family recipe, thought long lost, that Ann said was recently rediscovered!

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I'm thinkin' ginger on the left, and a special sort of sugar cookie on the right.

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I remember that the last one is a snickerdoodle.  I always remember the snickerdoodles.

I'll email Ann and see if she'll come and leave a comment, when she's feeling good, to better identify these cookies.  I've got more to share about the party, but it'll have to wait.  It's my day off and there are a million things to do and, of course, I'm already running behind.

Sweets for the sweet


Brigadeiro!  For some reason, when I say it or think it, it's with emphasis.  I used this recipe.  Because I read many of the comments and tips, I substituted Ghirardelli Chocolate Mocha cocoa mix for the unsweetened cocoa.  I rolled half of the candies in chocolate sprinkles, and the other half in more of the cocoa mix.  The mixture could have been just a little bit thicker, but it's pretty darn good.  Both the process and the end product are reminiscent of truffles, though Brigadeiro(!) is much sweeter and more like a Tootsie Roll.

Tonight is the last meeting of my "global" class and, whilst we finish up the work, we will share in an international potluck.  Brigadeiro(!) is a popular candy in Brazil, which is one of the countries that I studied more thoroughly in class.  I'm going to make some more for Christmas.  My youngest sister spent her junior year in high school as an exchange student in Sao Paulo -- and I wonder if she'll remember these.

I have finished the knitting of the Handknit Holidays Log Cabin Socks variation for suede soles!  I've given them a soak and pinned them out to dry.  While I was at it, I soaked and pinned out Mack's Shark Mitts, too.  This week will see some sewing up and finishing!  Last night, I worked on Tudora and have just begun decreases.  w00t!



Good bye, Dan.  Thank you.

Twin Sons of Different Mothers is one of my favorite albums of all time.  I remember reading a record review in the day that described it as a "go to" record -- or however it might have been put in 1978 (I don't really remember).  The gist of it was that it should be kept handy because it was an album you could play when you just didn't know what you really wanted to hear -- and it was always the perfect choice.  Almost 30 years later, I still know all the words to those songs; I tap my toes, drum the steering wheel with my thumbs, and cry.  I had a best friend at the time -- heh, after more than 30 years she's still my best friend -- and people used to mistake us for sisters all the time.  Heh, they still do that, too.  It was funny because she really did have a sister named Vicky.  We always laughed that we were Twin Daughters of Different Mothers.

Something different

TreeThe Scroogie mood is starting to lift, maybe, just a little bit.  Maddy helped me put the tree in the stand on Sunday night -- there was a little bit of comedy involving crookedness and falling over, but we did it.  It's been in the front room since Sunday night and I finally strung it with some lights.  These are "garland" lights, which Mom persuaded me to buy (and perhaps one more is needed).  They're very different, but the look is growing on me and I think I like it!

We haven't had a real tree in years.  I meant to buy a smaller one than the artificial tree we have (the one that's in the basement, already strung with lights, and basically "free"), but it's really only about 6" shorter, though, in casual conversation, I've been saying it's a foot.

I'm getting excited about decorating the tree now.  This year, it's going to have only the girls' ornaments.  St. Nicholas has brought each of them an ornament every year, plus they each have some that they've made and that others have made for them.  Any one of these years, Katie and Ali, in particular, might be wanting their ornaments to decorate their own little trees.  I thought this would be fun.  Ali tried to hang her most recent ornament on the tree and we were reminded that sturdiness of branches was one of the big benefits to an artificial tree.

I had fun on the tree lot, choosing the one I liked best, and this morning I started getting excited about decorating it after Christmas -- with peanut butter pinecones and suet and birdseed -- and finding a place for it outside.

Let's review: Pictures 2007

01january_2Continuing yesterday's "year in review" theme, I've chosen one posted photograph from each month of the year.  These are not the BEST photographs from each month, they're the ones that sing to me for one reason or another, or make me smile.

It's not as easy as it looks -- there were some months that it was tough to choose only one, and others that I just had to close my eyes and just pick one already.  I was reminded of a "game" I used to play with my sisters and the Sears, Penney's and Wards catalogs -- not only the Christmas catalogs, sometimes the big ones, too.  I'd sit with a sister and we'd go through the catalog page-by-page; we'd each have to pick something we'd want from "our" pages -- if I was sitting on the right, I could only choose from items on a right-hand page, if I was sitting on the left... or sometimes we'd switch it up and could only chose from the others' pages.  Well, anyway, here are my photo pics for the year.

January -- I love this picture; I was showing DH how I can take a self-portrait with my camera phone (or a portrait of us both!).

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February -- St. Brigid's sleeves get lengthened.

March -- Kind of crude, but it makes me laugh; it's one of the elements I made and used for my brother's birthday card.

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April -- Let there be peas on earth!

May -- I love this photo of Mack, wearing his new baby a sweater, playing in the back yard.

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June -- Lilies-of-the-valley nightcaps!  This is one that if the neighbors were watching when the photo was taken, they might wonder about me.

July -- Special Swap!  This was my first and favorite Special Swap.  My partner, the theme, the idea, the timing, all the pieces -- everything came together perfectly.  It was pure joy to make this tray for Lynne.

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August -- Addison arrives.  (God, I love babies.)

September -- It's football season!  (I love toddlers, too.)

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October -- Multi-tasking Saartje's Bootees.

November -- Opal Socks Hundertwasser Der Blaue Mond as Argosy scarf.  This was one of my favorite things to knit all year.  I love the idea and inspiration for this yarn, love the colors, love how they work in this pattern -- I wear this scarf a lot, and other people seem to love it, too.  I would like to make another.

12decemberDecember -- Here's a glimpse into the future, because this picture hasn't actually been posted yet.  These are two little Odd Fellows made this month and sent off, in a PIF sort of way, with upsized Santa Hats on their heads.  I hope they make a couple of kids very happy.  The one on the left is for a young girl, the one on the right for a little boy; favorite colors as specified by their mothers.  I had so much fun making these.  I can't look at them and NOT smile.  XO.

Y'all let me know if you "review," too, eh?

Let's review: Words 2007

I did this meme last year, thanks (again) to Celia, and put my own spin on it by adding a favorite photo from each month.  This year, I'm going to spin my own spin and make it two separate posts:  a Words edition and a Photos edition.  Photos yet to come.

The first sentence of each first post of the month for 2006 (just not able to stop spinning, I've included the title of each post):


Red buttons:  My last FO for 2006 was another Calorimetry.


Post pourri:  Well, this was just going to be a little on-line note to myself about things I wanted to mention, elaborate on, think about and/or link to, but it took off!


Just a few things:  Carrie referenced the BigAlice List of Positives in her comment to my last post.


Monday, Monday:  ...can't trust that day.


Great Expectations:  Well, I ended up a bit long-winded today... there's knitting stuff at the end.


My pretties:  That's what's become of the iris bud I posted a little while back.


It's a Miracle...:  ...a Miracle Sweet!


Late bloomer:  I met with the director of a program I'm interested in (she's a late-bloomer, too) -- very interested in, as in, I think I might know what I want to be when I grow up -- at my local technical college today, and I have applied for school.


Winners at hand:  Ooops, it's Tuesday already!


Smitten + Mitered + Mittens = Smiterittens:  Look at that!


Maddy Mouse & holiday musing:  She's more ham than mouse.  ; )


SoSuMe:  I know, NaBloPoMo is over.

It's the most wonderful willy-nilly time of the year

If one came here today expecting to see a finished Tudora -- because, you know, the way I left it on Friday, it was all but promised -- and instead found an unfinished pair of never-mentioned slipper socks, would one be very surprised?

Sock4 Sock3

You see, I got out of work a little bit early Friday on account of the company Christmas party, and instead of using the full allotted time to primp and prepare -- because how much primping is really necessary when preparing to go bowling -- I used some of the time to stop at my LYS.  It was on the way.  Don't tell me you wouldn't do the same.

I browsed a bit while an order was checked, and came upon the inventory of suede soles for slipper socks.  I fondly recalled the fun I had making last year's Mackluks, as well as the pair for DH's birthday -- and my brother came to mind, his name still with an unchecked box on this year's gift list.  I'd been concentrating all my efforts on his wife -- the EZ Mitered Mittens & Noro Striped Scarf -- and really hadn't given him a thought... 'til now.  Mom suggested I knit a pair of socks, but no matter how much I love my brother, I am not going to knit a pair of size 13 socks, at least not at this late hour and with the hoopla of the holidays and a deadline.  Suede-sole slipper socks, on the other hand -- using BIG yarn and BIG needles -- could be knit in no time, even for BIG feet!

I was fully intending to knit them according to pattern, except knitting the leg in-the-round as I did on the other two pair, and chose a nice neutral shade of Cascade 220 to go with the dark brown suede of the sole.  I pondered variations on ribbing while I drove home.  Then I went bowling.

Bowling was fun, though I think there are muscles in one's body that are only ever used when bowling and they're still reminding me today that we haven't been acquainted in years.  I threw one strike and a few gutter balls (but not as many as you might think), never broke 100 (maybe not even 80 -- it was all in fun, I wasn't paying that much attention), and thank goodness we didn't bowl a third game.

On Saturday morning, I contemplated the slipper socks some more.  The 220 I bought was sure a nice color -- would make a nice Tudora, I thought.  So then I started thinking about the stash -- none of the other colors of 220 were good, nor the 128, but what about the Pastazza (Cascade being my go-to yarn these days, I guess)?  I'd used that two years ago for my stepdad's Log Cabin Socks, which he LOVES and my mother has mended a LOT.  Hey, what about modifying THAT pattern to attach to the soles?  And what about using Cork -- the yarn specified in the pattern for the Log Cabin Socks -- of which I have four balls in a completely uninspiring color from the gift kit that apparently didn't turn me on, either, for subscribing to the Rowan mag a few years ago.

It's a win-win!  My brother gets slipper socks in a quick-to-knit pattern, I use stinky stash, and I have yarn for a second Tudora... provided I finish the first... and first finish the socks.

Sock2 Sock1

I told myself that I could knit on Tudora during the football game, but when I was at the point shown on the left, I discovered a misplaced cable that required ripping out and reknitting one entire section -- which I actually had to do twice because of a counting problem -- and that set me back a bit.  Grr.  Things went well after that, though, and now the gussets are finished and I'm ready to cruise straight down the insole to the toe.

To do...


That didn't take long.  There was no sitting back, no regrouping, no examining or determining.  I'd printed a pattern yesterday, found a lovely pair of Brittany needles that I've had for a while but never used, and looked for some yarn.  I'd found a ball of deep red wool, then glanced over and spied the lonely ball of "rescue yarn" that's been on my table for a while, waiting to be loved.  It's a lovely ball of dark green wool, impossible to photograph in morning "light," so look for at least one more progress photo, I hope, in daylight.  It's going to be an FO before long!

At this time of year, even at my Scroogiest, I can't help but think what a wonderful, quick, stylish gift this would make, and wouldn't every woman I know love one of these?

This is a ball of "felting wool" -- Cascade 220, no doubt -- that my sister kept telling me she had and wanted to give me.  She bought it a couple of years ago, intending to make a bag, but made babies instead and hasn't been so inclined to knit in her "free time" lately.  Mack found the little yarn cake and entertained himself for a while by pulling random strands from the middle, so I rescued it.  It wasn't as knotted and tangled and difficult to rewind as it looked.  The color is perfect.

Every woman I know is going to want one of these.

It may mean that I'm going with the "just cast on a bunch of stuff and come what may" plan.  I know I have a lonely ball of Kidsilk Haze in the stash...  There's a company party tonight, but otherwise I'll be in and knitting over the weekend.  We'll just have to see what happens.

FYI:  Changing the furnace filters can make an enormously HUGE difference in air quality and quantity of heat.  I'm surprised I didn't actually hear my furnace gasping for air.

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy weekend, everyone.

Tied up with string

Mitt2 Mitt1

Mitt3 Mitt4

These are a few of my favorite things.

Mittens for the Soaring Eagles Project, based on this pattern -- it's the one I started with, anyway -- but without the snout.  In the end, it just didn't look right -- and it was green.  Nothin' wrong with green pigs, mind you, but my mind started wandering toward Miss Piggy and Kermit and, well, no. It just didn't feel right.  I'll try the piggie version another time.

That reminds me!  Someone at Knit Night on Tuesday said that Cookie Monster's first name was changed to Veggie Monster or something stupid like that.  Give me a break.  Oscar The Grouch had his name changed, too?  I am afraid to verify these rumors... afraid that they're probably true.  WTF?

I'm sorry for the digression.  Back to the mittens.  I cast on over two needles and knit the cuff rows, as specified, but P2tog'd the cast-on edge of the mitten with the stitch on the needle, securing that edge rather than just letting it roll (which, I'm sure, would have been fine), and I like how it turned out.  It's sturdy and a little more flat than round -- just a little different.  At the top, I just decreased every other row for a bit, then every row for a couple, then ran the yarn through and cinched it.  I'm thinking this is for a 4- or 5-year old -- dimensions weren't readily available, but that's my guess/intention.

SantahatI forgot to mention that yesterday's Santa Hats were based on this ornament pattern by Susan B. Anderson, found at CraftSanity.  I used the same number of stitches, but a US6 needle -- and some LaGran Mohair along with the Lamb's Pride Worsted for a row or two more at the brim than called for, and I tried a couple of NOT-the-dreaded-bobble treatments for the tassle.  I tried, I really did, but then I got a frustration-induced hot flash and that was the end of that.  You haven't seen the last of these.

Jody has done it again.  She posted pictures the other day of a beautiful bias scarf that she'd just finished -- reminiscent of Clapotis, but completely different -- with a lovely, little-bit-lacy edging.  There was plenty of interest, and she's now posted the pattern (including charts!).  Thank you, Jody!

Speaking of Knitty, the new one is up and... wow.  What don't I like?  In no particular order, Ice Queen, Tudora, Justify, Laughing Carrots and Jeanie are at the top of the list -- and it's a TIE.  I think it's about time to sit back and regroup, examine the To-Do list and stash, and determine a plan of action... or listen and see what speaks to me loudest... or just cast on a bunch of stuff and come what may!  Something will start singing and there's bound to be an FO or two at some point!

I'm feeling a little more jingly today.  I got some cell phone and insurance business taken care of yesterday; my credit union's new online banking thing DID finally go live, and only a couple of hours late; and there are four packages ready to mail today.  I went to the "Cheer Party" at Ali's Starbucks last night and, basically, had my supper with all of the samples they handed out ("Here, have one of each!"); and St. Nicholas remembered to do his thing.

I still haven't decided what to do about a tree, but I bought some lights.  They'll either be used to brighten up dark areas on the big, fake tree that's in the basement (I've just been leaving the lights on), or to light a small, fresh tree that will be decorated with only the girls' ornaments.  I have heard some Christmas carols, but haven't played any yet, even though I've talked about it plenty (that will help -- a little Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, James Taylor...).  Catching up with the season opener of The Closer helped, too.

Ho, ho, heh

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The holiday happiness is just not happenin' for me this year.  I'm not giving up yet, though.

Nature's (cold) white balance

123a 123d

123b 123c

I worked on some kid mittens for the Soaring Eagles Project over the weekend.  Knitting during our first major (messy) snowstorm of the year, the grassy green color made me happy.  There are now two, both awaiting only thumbs.  That's about all I managed with the knitting all weekend.  I spent a lot of time shoveling very wet, heavy snow on Sunday.

The Striped Noro Scarf and coordinating Mitered Mittens came out for more pictures, too, though no human models were available.  Ah, well, that's what the trellis is for.  ; )  That is one l-o-n-g scarf -- I'll have to measure it before it's wrapped.


I know, NaBloPoMo is over.  SoSuMe.

It's snowing.  My car has a brand new fender.  Maddy just left with money and my list (not the one that starts out "eyes") to do my grocery shopping!  I am doing almost everything under the sun to avoid my homework today.  I'm running out of stuff to do -- and the sun's no where to be seen, actually -- so pretty soon I'll have no choice.

Here's a fun diversion.  Cross-posted at the baby shower blog.  I meant to post this over there a month ago -- exactly, to the day.  SoSuMe.  ; )


Download Cara_Baby_Words.pdf