Of sweaters and quilts

On Friday night, I wore Williamsro to the art opening -- there are fiber artists in that cooperative, they hold the knitting in high esteem -- and yesterday, I wore Fibonacci to the quilt show.  I was a little warm yesterday and am both happy and sad that the days are numbered as far as the woolens are concerned.

Have I mentioned, by the way, how much happier I am with Williamsro since I ripped and re-knit the bottom (Noro Blossom) part of the body?  I had picked up too many stitches the first time -- it was okay at first, but then it began to stretch and I could even see it pulling the other part (Noro Cash Iroha) of the sweater out of shape.  What was once a rhetorical question ("Does this sweater make my butt look big?") was not so rhetorical anymore and I didn't like the answer.  I'm happy I didn't let that one sit for too long.

Fibonacci, having been knit entirely using left-overs from another sweater, seemed appropriate attire for Mary Lee Bendolph, Gee's Bend Quilts, and Beyond at The Paine Art Center in Oshkosh -- even if the colors are more fall-like than spring.  (It's been on my mind to knit another, in different colors, for the warm seasons -- maybe in cotton?)

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Alison met us (Mom and me) and then we all went to lunch afterwards.  Ali was really more interested in just lunch and could have foregone the quilts, but I made her see the show and I think she was amazed.  We all were.  I knew a little more what to expect, but Mom & Ali had no clue.

"Quilts," I'd say. "We're going to a quilt show, but they're different..."

It's so hard to describe these quilts and their design -- how free and fresh and inspiring and inspired and traditional and artistic and cutting-edge and colorful and resourceful and moving -- without sounding a little more than passionate -- without sounding a little nuts.  And I'm not even a quilter!  They make you passionate, indeed.  The show was quite busy and (not surprised) no cameras were allowed.  One word:  GO!  If you have the opportunity to see this show (or a variation), just go.

We toured the mansion, also (amazing), and there is a children's discovery area in the lower level.  It was so wonderful to see Gee's Bend-inspired quilt designs on the wall, very nicely done (fabric patches glued to paper) by some local 5th graders.  It was a big highlight of the show, for me -- fun to see the fabric of their lives -- lots of sports-minded prints, including the Packers, some Pokemon, lots of denim, but also some glitzy glittery fabrics.  There was one so definitely inspired by the Work Clothes quilts and very meticulously done so that all the frayed edges of the denim were exposed.

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The Paine is also known for their gardens.  This corkscrewy bush (for lack of knowing what it's really called) is right next to the museum entrance.  So intriguing.  There's nothing much blooming yet, except for some snowdrops, but the tulips and daffodils are promising -- soon!  Still, even at this stage, the gardens are beautiful.  I went on a stitcher's retreat to Colonial Williamsburg one December and was amazed at how beautiful the gardens were at the dormant time of year -- truly something to aspire to with my own gardens.  Right now, though, "Baby A" and I would just be happy to see sprouting peas.  Sweater details in the "Completed in 2007" sidebar photo album.

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.

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.


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!


Dsc08316_1I'm in love, love, love!  It's the crappiest picture ever taken of a sock-in-progress -- it's almost grotesque -- and yet, you can see how the braid pops and isn't it a lovely sock?  ; )  I got in some good knitting time last night, some of it even out-of-doors and in public, and I'm past the point at which I decided to rip.  There is no more than an inch to go before work on the cuff is finished.

Oh, the weekend...  I need to work on Fib.  I have two Road to Indigo vests that were taking a break, but now I'm ready to have at them again.  There's this beautiful sock.  And a moebiusDarn it, RachaelDarn it, Ann!!  Darn it, magical, mysterious Cat Bordhi!!!

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Dsc08285I was so tickled by the art on the bathroom wall in the ladies' room at the coffee shop where we had lunch on Wednesday that I took a picture.  If it was Alan Alda in Clint Eastwood's spot, this would very nearly replicate the pin-ups on my filing cabinet at work 25 years ago or so.  Clint's okay, he can stay; I guess it just means that I like my men just a little less... hm... rugged.  Yeah.

* * * * *

Go say, "HEY," to Amy Lu and wish her a Happy Blogiversary!  She gave herself a brand new Typepad account to celebrate, so update your links and rolls!

The roasted cherry tomatoes turned out wonderfully!  Roasted Tomato Sauce will be the next recipe I try.  Thanks, V.!

Who are you? The sequel

I was really going to just leave it at that.  Y'all got me thinking more about Mary Jo, though.

Sunday Scribblings, Who else might I have been?, Part II.

If my name was Mary Jo...

If my first name was Mary Jo, my last name (married) could only be LaPierre.  I'd be fresh-faced and petite and have a standing appointment at the salon (every sixth Tuesday) to keep my short, curly, auburn hair, well, short, curly and auburn -- and also have a facial.  I'd have standing appointments, on varying schedules, for massage, manicure, pedicure, waxing, hydrotherapy, and the occasional body mask treatment.  "Soccer Mom" to my three boys, I'd cart them around in a Saab 9-7x which Dr. LaPierre would keep in tip-top shape -- standing service appointments and also regular detailing, he's obsessed with the cars.  We'd have been high school sweethearts -- I was cheerleader to his quarterback -- though I'd first laid eyes on him, and "knew," when we met during a rainy Safety Patrol convention in sixth grade.  I would volunteer at the boys' schools and be devoted to the local women's shelter -- my mother was a battered wife and, well, I know that they need every bit of love and help and hope and support they can get; I would be part of an underground to aid their safe escape.  I would teach the women I help to knit -- to give them something else to concentrate on while they create something useful for themselves or their children; it may turn out a misshapen, oversized, acrylic mess, good only for a laugh, but that's useful, isn't it?  Even the angry frogging is sometimes useful.  We all try to learn from our many mistakes and keep trying.  My favorite knitting projects would be elaborate, lace shawls.

* * * * * *

This sentence constitutes the standard mumbo-jumbo disclaimer about fictional characters and not hurting anyone's feelings, especially anyone named Rhonda, Mary Jo or with the surname LaPierre.

What a fun exercise --  more fun than I anticipated!

* * * * * *

I have a lot on my list today.  I switched and have today off instead of the usual Wednesday, and you can't argue with a three-day weekend.  Mack is coming, too!

I did not get out of bed and nab my 45 minutes for activity when the alarm went off yesterday (and today, of course, it didn't go off).  I opened my eyes and it was DARK outside.  Sunrise is at 5:50 a.m. -- and my alarm goes off at 5:00, so it's still REALLY dark.  Just can't do it.  Besides that, I had a hot, humid, sleepless (from 3:00 a.m. on) night.  I had a headache and was exhausted last night -- after going to Dinner Helpers for the first time in a few months, too, so... nothing yesterday.  My car is in the shop today (I should be channeling my inner Rhonda), as is Ali's (Help me, Rhonda!), and she has DH's van and there's a real ballet going on here in terms of people gettign to interviews and to work today.  I have to go to the bank, and I think I'll WALK!

Knitting.  I was a little early for the meal prep session last night, so was able to knit a few rounds on my Trekking sock.  I had tried the night before, but was so distracted with watching Project Runway that I ended up with the wrong number of stitches on my needles and just had to put it away.  (I wonder what would have happened if Bradley'd had Twiggy.  Vincent totally bombed on that!  I used to have a Twiggy doll -- she was like Barbie with short hair, bigger eyes, and no boobs -- more like an enlarged Skipper.)  Back to the knitting...  I may finally, finally finish that freaking sock today!  I had Fib all laid out on the table last weekend (man, this week went FAST) and pinned a sleeve to the body and then couldn't find my needles -- not a single one.  I remember "organizing" them (why do I even try -- I bet Mary Jo would never lose her needles) and I know they're all together in a small plastic box -- the long ones, the short ones, the chibis... where's the damn box?!  I made an emergency stop and bought some everyday needles.  Good to go with that.

Have a great weekend.


Now I remember... we're driving up to Sturgeon Bay this afternoon to attend the opening of a drawing show this evening.  The last time I was there -- ooh, it was a while ago -- it was also for a museum show opening!  We'd gone up pretty early that time so we had time to run through an antique mall and a yarn shop, among other things, but there's another fiber shop that I want to visit and have yet to see but will likely remain on my to-do list even after today because I think they'll be closed by the time we get there.

Dsc08053Saturday20sky_3My Saturday Sky is a little out of focus this morning!  I took this on my walk down to our local farmer's market where I found some zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce and corn.  Nice morning.

You’ll likely approach the nuances of daily life as well as the pursuit of your goals with a newfound boldness and enthusiasm.  --excerpt from my Daily Om Horoscope for Wednesday, August 2.

Imagine my wry smile when I read my horoscope after making the can-do phone call on Wednesday, which had to do with work and my need to do a little more of it -- not in terms of putting in more hours or days per week, but in terms of doing more actual, worthwhile -- if not meaningful -- work while I'm actually working, and feeling happier about it.  Can you dig?  There was more rolled into it, of course, and some emotional baggage along for the ride, hence the choking up, but I needed to shake things up -- make a change there or do something else entirely.  It's done.  Now I'm busy learning some of the finer points and idiosyncracies of my very vague-to-you job and it's taxing.  I took a nap after supper last night and I never do that.  The festivities of the night before may have contributed a little to my weariness, but man, I was wiped out!

I'm at odds with the knitting projects.

--Not loving the look and feel of my knitting with two (or more colors) on the Jane Thornley vests -- I love the yarns and love the pattern, but my two-color knitting technique leaves something to be desired.  I will contemplate these for a while longer.

--I finished off the in-progress color on the Log Cabin thingamajig -- eh.  Marinating.

--It's time to get to work on finishing Fib.  It's cooler now.  I want to start the applied I-cord, but I still have seaming to do, which (for me) is best done during the day on a table rather than in the evening on my lap.  I will begin seaming today.

--I worked a few rounds on my Trekking sock -- I don't hate it, but I don't love it.  I think there's another sock, a different yarn, that I'd rather be knitting, but I'm cruising (slowly) toward the toe on this one and would just like to have it done -- making an entire PAIR -- before I start another dalliance.  These will come along for the ride this afternoon.


Sweet dreams


I dreamt of alpaca last night; here it is in early morning light -- a dream come true.  ; )  It's celebratory handspun, part of a gift from Down Under sent by Yarnivorous Lynne a few months ago in commemoration of a year smoke-free.  I've actually had in mind a Smoke Ring for this yarn -- more about that one day soon -- but I think it is going to be good as the Victorian Shoulderette -- with the added feature of edge-of-your-seat suspense (that some of us go for in this "relaxing" hobby of knitting) because the yardage may be just a wee bit short.  That's a worry for another day -- if it even develops at all -- and I have some ideas if it does.  No (real) worries.  ; }  I have never knit with handspun before -- oooooh, this is nice!  I'm not buying spindles or wheels or talking about "whorls" or "top," yet (is that right?  I think that's spinning talk...), but it's nice!  I knit 25 rows of the little shawl last night and I love everything -- love the yarn, love the pattern, love the stitch markers, love that I'm doing it on straight needles instead of circs (for the time being, anyway).  Is there a Sivia Harding Fan Club?  Sign me up...

Dsc07777It gets better.  Along with the above-mentioned alpaca (in-the-hank on the left) Lynne sent more handspun.  OMG, this stuff is so soft -- this could turn my head to spinning.  Heh.  I am planning to make a scarf with it -- I want it close to my face -- though I haven't decided on a pattern.

I have no big plans for the weekend -- there will be nicer, cooler weather for the farmers' markets tomorrow, thankfully, maybe I'll do some gardening/yard work.  It might even be nice enough for working with a wool cardigan, in which case Fib may see the light of day.  Next weekend I'll be selling some junk stuff at my sister's huge rummage sale, so I'll be continuing to ready for that.  It would be nice to find time to visit the girls at Yellow Dog Knitting again during that trip -- maybe Thursday morning-ish.  (Their site appears to be down at the moment, but that link should work eventually.)

You are very sleepy...

Oh, was my ass dragging yesterday afternoon!  Every ounce of energy went towards keeping my eyelids open and eyeballs focused.  I had to pick Katie up after work, but also had to wait for a few minutes, so she took my order and I enjoyed a Mocha Frappuccino Light caffeine/cool fix (my second in as many days) (I roughly figure about 2 points per WW) and knit a few rounds on my Trekking sock.  I missed my WW weigh-in last night, but hopped on the scale at home this morning and, depending on its location on the floor, I may have lost 6 pounds or I may have lost 4.2 or I may have lost...  I'm gonna call it a loss and be happy.

The Barista Sisters were both out the door before me this morning!  I go to work early by most standards (I am at my desk by 6:45 a.m.) and my daughters like to sleep in, so this is BIG.  ; )  There was a family emergency where Ali works, so she's opening/working the next three days instead of having them off, as she'd thought.  And that's okay; plans for the days off changed, anyway.  Katie had to open today, too, but hers is earlier -- she had to BE there at 5:00 -- that translates to a 3:30 alarm -- that's A.M.  And, wouldn't you know, I got up to go to the bathroom at 3:15... Maddy'd left every light on in her wake, so I went downstairs... it was 3:22 and Katie wasn't up yet... but would be soon... I knew I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep, knowing that she'd be up within minutes... wondering if I'd hear her... needing to make sure she got up... so I waited.  I decided to check my email, read a couple of blogs -- I read them very closely, too, since I didn't even have my glasses on!

Yeah.  It didn't help to wait.  I still didn't really fall back asleep before my own alarm went off -- I tossed and dozed and hit snooze a few times so I could do it some more.  Watch for more ass-dragging this afternoon.

I forgot to make special mention of my new camera lens cap cord, visible in yesterday's "kaleidoscope" photo.  I'd been using plain old, knotted string and, while very serviceable, it left me wide open to ridicule and I finally had enough!  I made the new one myself, using these instructions for Twisted Cord.  I've been wanting to try this, with the finishing of Fibonacci in mind (for use in making frog closure or using as trim), and it was very easy to do, but not quite right for Fib.  (I just had to try.)  I have made myself a little cheat sheet from various sources for making Applied I-Cord and found some yarn to use for seaming and I've tucked it all into the Fib project box, and it means that I'm moving ever closer.  My enthusiasm for other projects is waning, but definitely ramping up again for this one!

I'm also excited about Sivia Harding's Victorian Shoulderette -- I ordered it on Friday and it was in my mailbox yesterday, nothing to complain about there!  Three suitable yarns come immediately to mind... four, maybe five... I'll have to look.  I found the appropriate circular needle and put it on the table by my chair this morning.  I'll bet this is fairly quick to knit -- and it's so pretty!

* * * * * *

Yesterday, Chelle asked, "What's helped?"  To what do I attribute the success in quitting smoking?  I couldn't really come up with an answer right away, and I thought about it a lot yesterday.

I had a long talk with a friend last night -- she went to her first AA meeting in years yesterday morning.  A lot of things have led her to this point, including family pressure, and we've talked frequently all along.  She used to feel guilty if she smoked while we talked on the phone.  ; )  She's been with me the whole way and we've talked a lot about the planning and preparation, why I smoked and why I miss it, why I don't give in -- even when, so many times in the last several months, almost anyone would have "understood."  Different addictions with many similarities.  She cried when I admitted that one thing that's helped is that I don't want to disappoint anyone -- and that the people I'm most worried about aren't necessarily the ones you'd think.  I'm most worried about Ann, who I'd never even met when I decided to throw my hat in her quit ring; all those people who were so supportive last year -- Cara with her Care Package of straws and gum sunflower seeds and DumDums (which I shared with Ann); they're Sarah and Lynne and Yvette who make tears spring to my eyes when I think of their thoughtfulness and encouragement.  They're people who, for the most part, were or continue to be strangers except by blogging.  They're not my husband or my mother or my kids... not those three kids who pleaded with me daily, for years, to quit smoking.  It's not them.  My friend was SO relieved -- she thought she was weird or warped for worrying more about disappointing strangers than her own family and friends!  It has to be that we know their love is unconditional -- sure, they'd get mad and maybe not talk to us for a while, but we know that they'd still love us and care for us -- always -- they'd eventually forgive us and come around.  And I guess, in the end, that helps, too.

Blah, blah, blah.  Thanks for reading.  ; )

It's my life


Every day is a "sky day," isn't it Sandy?  These were taken on Sunday afternoon, in the midst of a severe thunderstorm watch (nothing materialized in our immediate area).

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So dramatic and so gorgeous.

Ann asked, "What project do you have planned?"

I've been babbling, haven't I?  I know, it's a lot like Mitch Miller and his bouncing ball around here lately, except with the addition of hormones and teenagers and a missing pet.  Everything's fine now -- as of this morning -- and I should be used to it, as it happens from time-to-time, especially with indoor/outdoor cats -- but Roxie was missing all weekend and I've been working hard at staying on this side of frantic.  There's been a lot of talk about playing favorites in my midst recently (did anyone read the article about Siblings in Time?), and I must admit that Roxie is my favorite cat in many ways; just as is, in his own way, her sibling Scamp, and also Duncan.  (Mickey, of course, is my only favorite dog.)  I came downstairs to get my first cup of coffee this morning and DH, sitting in his chair, as usual, pointed to his lap.  Roxie was all curled up and I just had to go over and coo and pet and she purred (but didn't bat an eye) and, wow, that's a relief.  Also, Alison is home from her road trip to WV.  The hormones will just continue to be...

Heh.  So, anyway (the ball's back over here now), there was absolutely no planning.  This began as an exercise in sifting through and inventorying the stash with an eye toward the purging and letting go, which turned into contemplating a hank of this and a skein of that, mixed with a little Googling, resulting in a new downloaded pattern -- and there you go -- ultimately, there was casting on!  I just had to "swatch" after all that!!  More truthfully, it's a diversionary tactic linked to the procrastination thing about the purging project.  (Yeah, I purged like 3 balls of crap from the stash -- and I keep looking at it and wondering if "I'm sure.")  I've kind of stalled on the whole purging thing -- but I'll kick it into gear again!  I will.

And you may as well make it plural ("projects"), because TWO unplanned things started knitting themselves onto my needles over the weekend -- though I think of them as one.  They're the same, but different, like identical twins!  It's/they've kind of taken off on its/their own and I'm not sure how far I'll be going with it/them.

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They are both Jane Thornley's Road to Indigo Vest.  At left (the blue) is the Hemp Yarn and Imagine and I'm going to have to come up with another one or two yarns -- hopefully from stash.  At right (the green) is the Blue Heron, along with the yarn from the frogged shawl, some very skinny green cotton, some blue merino, some chenille.  That hemp version is very "me," the other one is not.  It's kind of loud and raucous and a little bright (though not quite as bright as it looks in the photo).  Katie said that I'd have to get a whole new wardrobe, though I don't think that's really true.  I have plenty of complementary neutrals and black.  ; )

What the friggin' hell, you know?

I don't know if I'd ever have done this without having knit the Fibonacci sweater first (yeah, I know, finish the damned thing!), and without having read about, thought about, and had a conversation about using a Random Number Generator with the knitting -- and also looking at every ball of yarn with a Log Cabin thought.  I actually generated some random numbers for the green vest, but quickly, and rather randomly, abandoned that idea for this project.


Dsc07657I'm a little robot, short and stout...

I've been thinking "Robot" but my mind's eye has been seeing "Squarey."  There's a big difference in their sizes, so I was a little surprised at how small this guy is!  This is by request from Maddy.  I started the sewing up last night -- holy cow, there's a lot of that!  The sides of the body, one side of the head, one leg, and one shoulder are done; I've also placed the eyes and embroidered the mouth.  And... I've knit my first-ever I-cord, two inches of it, for the antenna.

The I-cord made me think of Fibonacci -- not that I haven't been thinking of it (it's on my mind constantly) -- because I-cord is an option for a couple things, really... applied as an edging, possibly with gaps for buttonholes, or used to make a frog-type closure and button... it also made me ask DH about the household supply of drills and hooks because I still want to experiment a little with a twisted cord option, possibly with multiple colors...  Hmmm, can I-cord be knit with more than one color?

Dsc07237I've also been thinking about Trellis.  I have some seaming yet to do on that... didn't quite make it for Mack's birthday (but believe me, he didn't suffer in the birthday present department), so it'll be a Happy Late-Summer or Autumn present.  It ought to still fit him and I believe I have enough yarn that I can make a matching hat of some sort.  He definitely wears hats!

I'm still working on that second Trekking sock, and thinking about starting something new -- from stash -- maybe.  I have no business thinking about something new or buying yarn -- it's just an avoidance technique (see all of the above and then some).  What I really need is a kick in the pants.

At right, the aerial view of the back garden mentioned yesterday.

Katie got the job!  She gave notice at the grocery store last week already.  She'll be working at a very well known, international, almost synonymous with "coffee" coffee shop that's opening another location in our area -- that just happens to be about a half-mile from where I work!  I'll probably have to stop on occasion for a morning brewski from my other barrista daughter.  (The first one rarely works in the morning and, even if she does, I'm out the door much earlier than she is, anyway.)

Speaking of barristas, Ali is on her way to ...Almost heaven, West Virginia... this afternoon with two friends to visit another friend who is doing a theater internship.  A road trip!!  (Oh, that sounds like fun.)  They'll be seeing lots of theater this weekend!

Maddy has an adorable new hairstyle and color!  Ali cut it last night.  Maddy's not crazy about the color, but I, of course, love it, which means that she'll soon be changing it.

Of course.


Do not adjust your dials!  Despite appearances, this has not become a food blog...

Dsc07228Dsc07229It was DH's dad who sent those very good yet very bad chocolate cherries to the girls that I could not resist, and the more fruity portion of their gift arrived on Friday -- pears and apples and teensy weensy miniature baby bananas.  I immediately grabbed my camera, as you can see, and was told that Katie and Maddy had each already photographed the cute bananas.  I don't know what that says about us.  ; )  They taste like regular bananas, though gone after three bites -- the only discernable difference is that the peel is a bit thinner!

It was a very relaxing, stay-at-home, 3-day holiday weekend, and yet I got a lot done -- even with House, M.D. - Season One making a house-call at our house.  On Saturday, by chance, a stumbled upon a rummage sale and bought about a half-dozen balls of Sugar & Cream cotton for about 50 cents each -- I already have at least that much, but with the Mason-Dixon warshrag on my mind, well, you can't have too much and the more the merrier as far as colors to choose from!  It was just the impetus I needed to start -- that, and having spied Vera's finished work on Friday (she's right, they are just like potato chips!), not to mention her adorable baby kimono (I just learned this morning of a baby boy due in October!).  I knocked off three dishrags over the weekend -- each a little bolder and more bodacious that the last.

On Saturday afternoon, I went to the nursery -- yet again.  I didn't really need anything, but it's relaxing and everything's so pretty and I was asked to ride along!  You know I came home with somethin'... tomatoes!  After a hiatus of at least a dozen years, I'm trying them in containers this time rather than anywhere near the toxic black walnut tree.  I'm so excited!!  I've got a Big Boy and a Better Boy, already potted and caged, and a Sweet 100 cherry that will hang.  I've been reading the Eat Local Challenge blog, mostly because of Birdsong, and while nothing can be more local than the tomatoes in my own back yard, I have found a CSA on the outer edges of my general area that participates in a local farmer's market where I can pick up my share, which I'm really looking forward beginning at the end of June!

Dsc07270Dsc07269While Trellis soaked, I used up the rhubarb I'd been given and made a WW Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler and a batch of polenta!  I may have used a bit more rhubarb than called for and Katie did tell me that the strawberries weren't sweet, but I made no adjustments to the sugar content of the recipe and man, that's one tart cobbler!  Luckily, a little scoop of frozen yogurt is all it takes to bring it around.  ; )  I have heard of polenta, but have never seen nor tasted it in my entire life, but that didn't stop me from making a HUGE batch.  It's one of the easiest things in the whole wide world to make and... hey, Mikey, she likes it!  I have had it only with parmesan cheese and butter, so I'd love to hear how anyone else likes it best!

One more food-related item -- I've been challenged!  This, I believe, shall satisfy the Spammer/ann:

Spam with Spaghetti-
O s'wonderful, s'marvelous,
S'smooth like Fred Astaire.

The whole weekend was a scorcher, and we got the a/c units in the windows just in time -- I took apart and washed four fans, too.  I keep saying that I'm going to call and have central air installed...  and saying, and saying, and saying...

The water looked like pea soup when I pulled Trellis out, and the green dye just kept coming out as I rinsed.  I pinned it all out and it looks great, but the color is quite a bit lighter.  I also found instructions online to make twisted cord using an electric drill and as soon as Trellis gets put together, I'll start experimenting with making cord and frogs to see if I even want to consider that for Fib.

I wasn't able to visit the llama farm yesterday -- their line was either busy or there was no answer, and I don't want to just drop in when the sign says to call first.  The farm is on the last corner before turning down my brother's road, there's no way to avoid it, and I know it'll happen eventually.  Yesterday may not have been the best day, anyway.  I'm thinking that perhaps in muggy, hot, 90+ degree weather, the llamas (with or without their "beans") are best enjoyed from the comfort of one's air-conditioned vehicle, rather than up close and personal.

Weekend in review

I woke up at 3:30 this morning when DH got up to let out one of the kitties -- he does that almost every morning and most of the time I'm not even aware (he is much more sensitive to their early morning shenanigans and/or that's a time of very deep sleep for me).  This morning, though, I stirred and could not get back to sleep, mostly because of pain and tingles and numbness in my hands and arms, especially the right.  I tossed and turned and rubbed and shook and flexed and stretched -- finally, I got up and took some ibuprofen, shaking and flexing all the way down the stairs and back up, and managed to get about an hour of actual sleep before the alarm went off at 5:30.

I did a little bit of planting over the weekend, but nothing too strenuous; I did some knitting (including catching-rays-on-the-deck knitting), but it wasn't all that much and not very strenuous, either; I trimmed and chopped a bunch of rhubarb and made sauce (yum), and there's enough yet for a future cobbler (I even found a WW recipe).  I've suffered on and off, to varying degrees, with carpal tunnel-type problems such as this ever since my first pregnancy, much of it having to do with how much extra weight I'm carrying around, and the pain this morning was out of the ordinary -- I couldn't think of what I'd done to bring it on so fiercely.  This morning, talking rain, gardens, invasive weeds and what-we-did-over-the-weekend with my friend, I remembered the big trigger bottle of weed killer that I dispensed yesterday afternoon.  I hate to do that, and if you saw my yard and gardens it would be abundantly clear that I don't get too knotted up over weeds, but once in a while I must.  Oh yeah, ouch -- that's what did it!  I experienced some discomfort during the doing, even, switching hands a couple of times -- funny how I put that right out of my head.

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I found three new plates at a rummage sale on Saturday.  They're destined for a mosaic project, but will hang out around the deck 'til I'm ready.  I paid a dollar a piece, which is a little more than I like, but these are perfect mosaic fodder with so much pattern.  Maddy wants to do a project this summer, also, but we won't likely get started 'til July.

I still have a few viola starters to find spots for -- shouldn't be too hard, really.  I planted five pots for my new plant stand, a large basket and a smaller planter for the deck, and the front porch planter.  It was a great weekend for that kind of work.

I worked the fronts for Trellis at the same time to the point where neck shaping starts, then worked each side separately -- I've joined one front to the back with a three-needle bind off at the shoulder and might possibly have the second one done tonight!  Heh, then Trellis and Fib will both be at the same stage -- ready for sleeves to be attached, side seams to be sewn, collar to be knitted/finished, and buttons/closure!

Oh, you'll probably learn more than you ever wanted to know if you were to Google "testicle festival"...  I would just like to say that they seem to be held most often in the west -- you know, cattle country.  Here in America's Dairyland, I wouldn't think there'd be enough testi to merit a festi, but it's Wisconsin and it's spring -- and it's been a long, long winter -- so we'll celebrate just about anything!  Pretty soon the wood tick races ought to start up north...

With friends like you...

Well, let's just say that we're all so very fortunate to have such SMART and HELPFUL and WISE friends who are willing to share their thoughts and experiences and ideas -- with love and care, too.  ; )

You know, I was watching a show on PBS the other night -- Pioneers of Primetime.  It was very enjoyable, about the first "superstars" of TV, mostly comedians -- Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball.  A big fan of old movies, I'm also a big fan of old TV; I never get tired of watching old clips.  Anyway, they talked a lot about vaudeville, of course, because most of the first "pioneers of primetime" were big vaudeville (and then radio) stars before television.  Vaudeville or the circus -- that's what people in small towns did for entertainment before radio and the movies and TV.  There were theaters in every town (sometimes more than one), lots of traveling shows that employed lots of entertainers -- singers, comedians, jugglers, clowns, novelty acts, acrobats, dancers.

I was watching the show (while knitting, of course) and learning about the huge number of theaters that once dotted the country and all the performers that populated the stages night after night, and I wondered:  What are all the jugglers doing now?  You know?  Back in the day, if juggling was your thing, or tap dancing or spinning plates or singing -- I daresay, even yodeling -- you could probably have found employment with so many stages to be filled.  But these days, if you're a juggler, it is likely that you're not juggling to pay the bills.  Well, you are probably juggling to pay the bills, but the juggling is not providing the means with which to pay.  What kind of work are jugglers settling for these days?

I always wanted my kids to get a degree -- any degree -- because I think it would help them in the real world, no matter what they did, and it would be much easier, later, to add to an existing degree rather than start from scratch -- particularly if they were around a certain age.  This is me talking, from my perspective, having never earned a degree of any kind.  Now, at 47-1/2, I have a much better idea of what kind of work, requiring a degree, I'd like to be doing, but I really have little hope of landing my first job in a new field in my early- to mid-50s (when I'd finally have the paper), especially if I required health insurance.  It was tough enough to land a regular old job -- without benefits (not my current job) in my early- to mid-40s -- and I've been watching my sister, with a special education degree and experience, only a couple of years younger than me, struggle to find full-time, permanent employment (with family health insurance) in her field for a couple of years now.

* * * * *

Dsc07165It was Alison who put together the framed piece with the old photos and floral embellishment for my Mother's Day present.  It wasn't the first time she gave me bleeding hearts for Mother's Day.  ; )  I keep this one on permanent display in one of the kitchen cupboards.

Dsc07176Dsc07169A Golden Tiara Hosta, a spurge.  We've had some dramatic weather the last couple of days -- the cloud formations have been amazing with storms to the south, storms to the north, storms to the east and west -- sometimes all at the same time!  When we pass from the "mostly cloudy" stage to "mostly sunny," I can't imagine how things are going to pop!  Below, left, my garden three weeks ago; below, right, my garden two days ago.

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Oh, yeah, knitting.  I'm still contemplating how finish/close Fib -- and I still need to do the seaming so I can try it on (maybe this weekend).  I have picked up Trellis again -- Mack's birthday is in 3-1/2 weeks!!  I can't believe he's going to be one year old.



This is my newest refrigerator magnet, direct from London!  I think Katie's going to look like the female version of this bloke when I pick her up at the airport this morning... I was supposed to pick her up at the airport last night... uh-huh, she did her first overnight at O'Hare -- one of the finest aiports in the land -- that would be, "Sleepless In Chicago."


It was supposed to be a very long travel day to begin with, and featured a very long lay-over at O'Hare, for which she prepared by buying a new book, The Constant Gardener, having just finished A Million Little Pieces (which she rather enjoyed).  Well, the "lay-over" turned out to be spent in L.A. -- in an airplane -- on the tarmac or whatever it's called -- and her flight to Chicago ended up arriving 5 minutes after she was supposed to have arrived at her final destination.  And no more flights 'til morning...

She got through it with a New Yorker and a new Sudoku book, regretfully having given her MP3 player to her littlest sister last week.

* * * * *

All of Fib's ends are woven in!!

I've been Fibbing some more

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Dsc07138Remember how much I liked the fringe -- "A Surrey With the Fringe On Top" and all that?  See the scissors and needle in the pictures above?  I've been weaving in the ends of all that "beautiful" fringe.  Cara, my Short-Rows sweetheart, I feel your stripey pain.  Oh, how I do love this sweater, though, and Short Rows, too.  It's a big ol' pain in the butt -- a couple of hours or so to do just one side, and it could be twice as bad, but I already knit in one end as I worked, and it's worth it, really.  I love this -- and Short Rows, too, and who knows... could be in my future.

Dsc07137That's all the yarn I have left.  The one ball, off to the left, is all I ever had of that color -- kind of a purple-y maroon and I kept it only as insurance in case I ran out of one of the other reds.  I'm glad I didn't have to use it, but it could have been an interesting "feature."  Now, as soon as I get the ends woven in, I'll be sewing in the sleeves and then sewing up the side seams.  I want this to be a roomy sweater, but not huge and I'm afraid it's bordering on damn big.  I've been thinking of buttonband options (presented in random order) that would not add too much more fabric...

Option 1:  Do not add a buttonband.  Instead, attach grosgrain ribbon for stabilization along each edge (there would be some fussing for a nice, smooth edge, especially on the buttonhole side), sew the buttons on one side, and make buttonholes with the sewing machine in the other.  There is probably a design term for this, but I've only had one cup of coffee so far this morning.  Plus: No additional fabric, will even eat up a little.  Minus: Machine buttonholes in knitting; I have a well-marinated vest aging for this very reason.  Another plus: Would likely get the aforementioned vest finished, too; in fact, it would probably be the lab rat.

Option 2:  Similar to Option 1, except the edges would actually be folded over onto themselves.  Kind of a self-buttonband.  Plus: This would really eat up some fabric.  Minus: Again with the machine-made buttonholes (and again with the aforementioned and attending +/-).  In doubt: This could pull the body in a weird way; will need to finish seaming and then try it on.

Dsc07135Option 3:  Knit a regular buttonband.

Option 4:  Knit a narrow buttonband and, rather than making buttonholes in the actual band, there would be vertical gaps between the buttonband and the actual sweater, resulting in buttonholes!  (See "drawing" above -- and gimme a break).  Or, a variation on this would be to knit one row like a normal buttonband, and then make the buttonholes.  Or crochet an edge and then pick up to knit...

Dsc07136I've been trying to channel some design inspiration -- and you can, too!  Summon your inner Bonne Marie Burns, Wendy Johnson, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Ann Shayne & Kay Gardiner, Anna Bell, Stefanie Japel, Jenna Wilson, and some of the fabulous, inspirational sources at our disposal these days, and help me figure out the best thing to do here!  ; )

Oh, and COLOR!  I'm thinking the redder maroon for the collar because it would look nicest against my skin, and the gold, maybe, if I knit a buttonband?  What do you think about color, based on the quantities available?

A number of things...

Struggling with a 6-stitch pattern and a 4-row repeat, I'm still not back on track with the Simply Lovely Lace Sock.  Simply.  Lovely.  Hm.  Perhaps I'll be feeling it a little bit later.  Oh, but I did finish the Fibonacci sleeve last night and it will be getting a bath and blocking tonight.  I'm so excited that the majority of the knitting is finished!!

That's the end of today's knitting content, except for a little bit about knitting bones...

Margene, celebrating her 600th post today (and it's a beauty), made me take note of some NUMB3RS this morning... this is my 625th post!  That's just crazy, man, crazy.  I couldn't help but also notice the number of comments.  Margene gets a ton more comments than I do on a regular basis, and I know her number is thousands, if not thousands-upon-thousands, more than mine, and while I love comments, it's not all about the comments, but I am closing in on a rather significant and fairly large number of comments... in the realm of I-might-soon-be-whoring-for-more and a prize!  ; )

Bone2I took delivery in yesterday's mail from Christine of one big, blue blanket made up of many, many squares.  I'm pretty much struck dumb when I think about it all -- her brother, my brother, squares, blankets and many, many hearts.  I am looking forward to delivering it to its final, intended recipient and perhaps I'll find some better words to express myself -- or maybe Michael will -- but until then, "Thank you" is the best I can do to Christine and all the knitters of beautiful, blue squares.  Thank you.  I haven't written much about Michael recently.  He's still on an amazing, but painful path of miraculous recovery.  Today, he sees an orthopaedic doctor due to unrelenting pain from the fractured scapula.  I read that the scapula represents less than 1% of all broken bones, and it could take 6 months to a year for complete recovery and return of full range of motion.  I hope they can find a way to make recovery more comfortable.  On Monday, he has the long-awaited appointment with the neurosurgeon and will hopefully get the green flag to start losing the body brace, that the all the broken vertebra are healing as hoped and that no further surgery will be required.  Kellee's Knit Up Some Bone drive for Mr. Etherknitter hits a little home here, too.  ; )  And I hope Mr. E's good news comes soon!

I can't think of a blue-squared blanket without immediately thinking of PINK!  Cynthia has had an incredible response to Warming Grace -- and I'm struck dumb again when I think of the incredible bravery and pluck of a 5-year-old.  You go, Gracie, girl!

Grace leads me to my cousin Ted, then, and his mom and dad.  Ted was tall and lanky and had huge dimples -- darn, it was catchy -- he was always smiling and flashing those dimples!  They lived in Albquerque, so we didn't see them much when we were growing up -- only when they'd come here to visit.  I went to Albuquerque for the first time about eight years ago for Ted's wedding; his mother was dying from a recurrence of breast cancer and it was uncertain whether she'd even be strong enough to attend.  Turned out, the wedding day was the best day she'd had in ages... and she danced the night away.  She died a couple of months later.  My uncle died a couple of years after that, also of cancer; and then Ted.  Ted had a rare form of leukemia for his age -- completely curable if he'd been a child -- and specialists from around the country were in the loop.  He fought hard, too, but lost the battle almost two years ago.

I was recipient yesterday of a group email from another uncle; the subject line was, "Ordeal."  Gulp.  His wife successfully battled breast cancer a few years ago, but she's back on the battleground and underwent 9 hours of surgery yesterday -- with everything that's involved to excise a tumor -- weirdly, she also has a scapula involved.  I'm a bit sketchy on the details because, as is usual for my family, this is the first I've heard of it.  It's left me a little rattled.

There will be days...

Dsc07118_1Dsc07122_2I have two things that don't always go well together:  a dog and a garden.  There's a hidden benefit, though, as I would normally enjoy the bleeding hearts only in the garden.  Oh, my, they make a lovely bouquet on the kitchen table!  Yesterday morning the sun was shining through the window and the "drops" were illuminated -- it was lovely.

Yesterday, I was in Oshkosh (home of little overalls, big trucks, and an airshow) at one of the largest estate sales ever.  It was in a small, brick ranch on an overwhelmingly Victorian street.  Oshkosh is a town built by lumber and it shows!  Anyway, it was a large sale and there were lots of people and we had to wait a while to gain entrance.  I came away with a few little treasures, lightening my wallet by only $6.00 (not bad at all), including some DMC booklets on knitting, crocheting and tatting, along with a couple of other knitting booklets (one, by McCalls, has Barbie clothes as well as patterns for real people).

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The other thing I came away with was a collection of about a dozen old photos and portraits -- wedding, sisters, mother-daughter, baptism, etc.  I cannot resist these things and I choose them on total impulse and first impression based on clothing, expression, posture.  My favorites are school photos, weddings, kids (individually or in groups), men, women, families -- okay, okay, I don't really have a favorite... I love them all! This one -- OMG, this one -- is my brand new favorite!  (I wonder which one is his mother...)

Socks, socks, socks!

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Simply Lovely Lace Socks by Karen Baumer, as found in the Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Knits.  This pattern was written for two different yarn weights -- sportweight and fingering; I am doing the finer version and using Trekking XXL sock yarn in color 106, which was part of the bootie from a contest I won at JessaLu's a while back.  The pattern uses Gems Pearl and size 0 needles; I'm using size 2 needles with the Trekking.  I may go to a smaller needle at some point, but I may not -- my ankles aren't thin by any means, and I have problems with occasional swelling.  Anyway, I did the picot edge -- you've seen it around at Claudia's and Cara's and now Sandy's, and more -- but I did not want to wait 'til the sock was all finished to tack that edge down by hand, as written in the pattern!  I wanted to tack that baby down right away so I could admire it as I worked all the way to the toe!  I did my normal cast on over two needles and then worked the picot cuff as written, except I tacked down the cast on edge as I knit the last row -- similar to the way I'd do a hem, but much smaller scale.  I was winging it the first time around and that's why I ended up with a wonky edge and ended up ripping it out.  I may have gone a little overboard the second time around -- looping a length of yarn in a contrasting color all along the edge to mark each spot where the needle should go -- but it's straight and even and it was a little bit easier on my eyes.  Damn bifocals.

I worked on the sock yesterday, sitting on the front porch of the house while waiting to be admitted to the sale.  Unfortunately, my count was off and now I'm in the process of tinking back a couple of rows.  Last night, I worked on that last sleeve for Fib and I ought to have it finished tonight!!  Woohoo!  I am dipping into the small reserve for nearly every color now and I'm not sure I'll have enough of any one color for the button bands and collar.  I have a couple of ideas and will likely be putting out a call to all y'all, too.

Read all about it

Kniterati Anne is having a contest here!  It ends tomorrow!.

PurlingSwine Ann is having a contest here!  You have until Tuesday!

Go... win!!

A Southern Gal had some exciting news in the mail.  Go... congratulate!

So I opened the little box where all the Fibonacci yarn resides last night, with the intention of casting on that second sleeve.  (Nothing quite so inspirational as unpinning the first from the blocking board -- I like it!)  I don't know if I can describe my surprise when I found that not only had I already cast on, but I was at least 30 rows in -- the striping color changes, the increases, the row counter keeping track --the whole ball of wax!  When in the hell did that happen?  How could I forget something like that?

I ripped out the Lovely Lace picot edge yesterday -- it was kinda wonky.  That kind of thing happens when you don't read the directions 'til you're already several rows in and then decide to do something different and do so by winging it.  It looked good for the most part, but was all twisty in other parts.  I'm definitely going to try again, this time with a provisional cast-on so I can tack that edge down nice and straight.

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Did you know that Cadbury eggs came this small?  Have you ever seen more beautiful and elegant stitchmarkers?  I've been threatening to attach earring wires!  This is a portion of a fun parcel from Yarnivorous Lynne in Australia that arrived in my mailbox the other day.  Go look -- she has some absolutely gorgeous pictures today.  There is more -- the chocolate and jewels had to have some fibery padding! -- but I have other things to share, and show, and tell along with it, so it shall wait for a little bit to shine.  Meanwhile, *mwah* and thank you, Lynne.

Steppin' out

Dsc07052_1I did a little shopping with Katie yesterday.  First stop:  the Birkenstock store.  It's almost summer and mama needs new shoes!  I've been threatening to buy a good pair of Birkie or Dansko shoes for too long (years); it was time to make good.

We had lunch at the mall's Cafe Court, of all places, because Katie was craving Taco Bell.  I said, "Are you sure?  You've got your pick of restaurants and types of food out here..."  She was sure.  I had a grilled chicken salad from McDonald's -- not the best salad choice, it turns out, but not the worst.

Dsc07037Remember the package that I was so good about not opening?  Here's my share -- two skeins of Manx Loghtan Aran in a nice brown from British Breeds Yarn.  There were two other skeins in a much darker brown that Katie bought for herself.  She's already started a scarf.  I think mine will marinate in the stash for a little while.

I packed up the box with Mason-Dixon Knitting, appropriately padded and protected, of course, and shipped it off to Helen A. in Chicago.  Yay, Helen!!  I washed and blocked the three squares I've finished so far for Warming Grace and those will be mailed tomorrow.  I also washed and blocked the first finished Fibonacci sleeve.  (This is going to be a roomy sweater; I hope it's not going to be too roomy.)  I did not start the second sleeve yet because I needed to get something portable going, and the fun sock yarn I won from JessaLu has been calling to me.  I'm on the second try, so far, for the Simply Lovely Lace Socks (IK, Spring 2006), in the pastel yarn (we'll see how it works).  Cara just completed these for her SockapalOOOza socks, and they are simply lovely.

With everyone's schedules, this is the first evening since Katie arrived that we'll all be home, so -- finally -- tonight it's birthday cake!  I baked last night and will decorate tonight -- at Maddy's request, in the shape of a bug.  I baked one large (body) and two small (eyes) cakes, which could easily become a Mickey Mouse cake (Ali would like that), but the way they were arranged on the cooling rack made Katie wonder if we were having a pregnant lady cake.

Last moo

Dsc06962_2Today is your last chance to enter the Inter- and Trans-Continental Connections of Mason-Dixon, Dairyland, U.K. and Europe, Homecomings, Birthdays, Candles, Cake, Beer, Dishcloth Cotton, and my 2.8-lb. loss Contest -- it's Udderly Cool (and so very easy).  Send me an email (vknitorious (at) yahoo (dot) com) by 5:00 p.m. CST TODAY with your name/email/blog (if applicable) and the words "Udderly Cool" in the subject line.  That's all there is to it!  You will be entered for a chance to win your own copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting by Ann and Kay!  Katie -- my random number generator -- will be home tonight, and I'll announce the winner tomorrow morning!

When Maddy queried yesterday about when and where Katie's plane would arrive and who was going to get her and was it possibly possible that she could go, I was positively delighted to tell her that we'd already decided she could take the whole day off of school to greet her sister upon arrival.  My days off are way too precious to spend mostly in a car, so it's business as usual for me today.  I'm figuring she'll sleep a lot and settle in tomorrow, and my normal Wednesday off will work out nicely.

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Well, it's one of those days when I feel like I could foam at the fingertips for a while, but I don't have time.  So...  a little rhodie in the garden that's loaded and ready to *POP*!  A gorgeous amaryllis in the garden room, adding to the riot going on in there right now with the geraniums, african violets, and a few other things; there's another, deep red amaryllis that will bloom in another day or two.

Did I mention that I unpinned the body of Fib on Friday night and I've tried it on several times already.  Oh, yes, it still needs to be seamed and I haven't even finished the first sleeve yet, but I love it!!  I'm a teensy bit concerned about the quantity of a couple of yarn colors, but I do have a few little balls of insurance that I hope will be enough.  Not sure yet what I'll do for the neck and button bands, I'll think about that another day because...

Woohoo!  Katie comes home today!!!

Reminds me of...

Dsc07010A Surrey With the Fringe on Top!  I've been humming that song all morning, but that's okay because Oklahoma! is one of my favorite musicals!

I'll be unpinning the Fantastic Fib tonight, I hope.  I think I worked about half a sleeve last night while watching Memoirs of a Geisha.  I would have made more progress if I hadn't had to stop so often just to watch the movie -- it was the kind of movie that makes me wish for a big, Big, BIG TV!

I have to say that one of the best things about the Inter- and Trans-Continental Connections of Mason-Dixon, Dairyland, U.K. and Europe, Homecomings, Birthdays, Candles, Cake, Beer, Dishcloth Cotton, and my 2.8-lb. loss Contest is all the de-lurking going on!  Y'all have 'til Monday at 5:00 p.m. to enter for a chance to win your own copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting by Ann and Kay!  I've been reading it and loving it -- if I wasn't in the midst of Fib and pink & blue squares, you can bet I'd be knitting a dishrag!  All you need to do is send me an email (vknitorious (at) yahoo (dot) com) with your name/email/blog (if applicable) and the words "Udderly Cool" in the subject line.  That's all there is to it!  Katie -- my random number generator -- will arrive home Monday night, April 24th, and I'll announce the winner on Tuesday morning!


I only drive about seven miles to work, but this morning my mind traversed about 40,000 -- a journey commenced upon hearing the first orchestral notes of Nights In White Satin on the radio (a rather odd song selection for morning radio rotation), which always puts me immediately in the arms of LaPierre (a little lightheaded from the Brut) at the dreamy, magical midnight hour on a junior high Friday night -- it was always the last song of the evening at the YMCA-sponsored dances in "The Den."  (Or if it was a warm summer evening, the dance might have been under the stars on the rooftop -- the moon, the stars, the music, crazy young love... yeah, it was all that and more.)  So my ride to work this morning started with slow-dancing and proceeded to my aunt who loved opera and could only tolerate the Moody Blues as far as "popular" music goes, and that aunt's daugher/my cousin who threw away my fan magazines at summer camp because she thought I spent too much time looking at them (oh, Donny!) and if I never told that story here before, don't worry, I will, because it makes my blood boil even after 35+ years, and how much I loved camp those two years and playing tetherball and "my" horse both years, Taffy, a Palomino who couldn't be tied up anywhere because she'd go nuts (an abusive previous owner), and why I have three children instead of two (mind out of gutter -- it wasn't about that), and birthdays and babies and grandmas -- Bookish Wendy and hers (especially pasta) (mmm! pasta!), and my own grandma, and tears -- and my sisters (all three) and my brother and grandma again (more tears, but mostly the good kind), and when can I eat Drunken Noodles and Coconut Shrimp at my new favorite restaurant again, and a whole bunch of other stuff, and then I was at work!

Busy commute.  ; )

DH and I attended a send-off dinner for photographer Scott Edwards last night, he is setting off on Saturday morning for the Grand Canyon -- on foot.  You can read more about it here, if you'd like, and he'll be journaling along the way.  The dinner was held at a restaurant that's been around for quite a while and about which I've heard nothing but good things and, in fact, people have nearly swooned while remembering meals they've had, but I'd never been.  And now I understand.  Need more Drunken Noodles...

Since I'm talking about food and it's spring:  Asparagus recipes!

I washed the body of the Fabulous Fib and pinned it out yesterday.  It is beautiful.  I can't stop looking at it.  There is a lovely fringe all along the side where the color changes take place -- I was unsuccessful at photographing it this morning, but I will definitely try again.  It makes me smile.  I cast on a boy-blue square for "Grace" yesterday, too, but I didn't get too far as the day was filled to the brim with much non-knitting busy-ness.

I had an email from Katie in Salzburg -- the first I've heard from her since she left London on the 7th.  She had five minutes on an internet card and just wanted to remind us to pick her up at the airport on Monday.  ; )  As if we'd forget.  She's having a great time, but can't wait to get home and see us, too.

Dsc06962_1Don't forget the Inter- and Trans-Continental Connections of Mason-Dixon, Dairyland, U.K. and Europe, Homecomings, Birthdays, Candles, Cake, Beer, Dishcloth Cotton, and my 2.8-lb. loss Contest -- it's Udderly Cool (and so very easy).  Enter for a chance to win your own copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting by Ann and Kay!  I've been reading it and loving it!  All you need to do is send me an email (vknitorious (at) yahoo (dot) com) by 5:00 p.m. CST on Monday, April 24th (I think that's 6:00 in the east, 3:00 in the west, 4:00 in the mountains), with your name/email/blog (if applicable) and the words "Udderly Cool" in the subject line.  That's all there is to it!  Katie -- my random number generator -- will arrive home Monday night, April 24th, and I'll announce the winner on Tuesday morning!

What's moo?

Dsc06961_1Oh my goodness, there's so much that's "moo."

If you have not already, please go read about Christine's trip to deliver the "Comforting Jef" blue afghan, made with donated squares from knitters all over, to her brother Jef.  I am honored to have participated in this project, to have helped Christine make her vision into a real blanket, to have helped her with the comfort of Jef.  As you may know, my brother Michael will soon be the recipient of a second blanket and I suppose I'll be writing my own "No words can describe" post.  (Me: Verklempter all the time.)

In a similar vein -- and, in fact, partly inspired by "Comforting Jef" -- is Cynthia's Warming Grace project.  Initially begun in hopes of collecting enough pink squares to make a blanket for her young niece who is battling leukemia and perhaps enough for a second blanket, the project has grown and will now be ongoing, accepting squares in any color, to make blankets for both boys and girls in the oncology wing at Alberta Children's Hospital.  I lost a favorite, lanky, be-dimpled cousin to leukemia a few years ago -- totally curable if he'd had it as a child rather than an adult -- I'll be knitting some blue squares, to send along with the pink, in his memory.  There are some very generous, donated prizes for participants -- but be aware, if you're interested in entering, that the deadline is looming.

Birdsong is having a 300th Post Contest to celebrate... ummmm... her 300th post.  ; )  I would strongly encourage you to take a moment and read her 299th.

And another contest at Kat's, for which my own entry immediately follows:

Name five places, other than your house or a knitting store, where you have knit:

1.  At the lake.
2.  At the library.
3.  On an airplane.
4.  In the car.
5.  In the waiting area of my local Saturn dealership (knitting and dreaming about the new Sky roadster) where I was once joined by an elderly gentleman crocheting a baby blanket.

The deadline for Kat's contest is Friday, I believe, and while I'm not sure my places are all that original, originality does count.  There are others ahem*Celia*ahem who have knit in far more interesting locations -- I can't beat knitting on The Great Wall!  But go read 'em all, they're fun!

Dsc07001A bunch of packages arrived from the U.K. yesterday -- mostly heavy books that Katie sent home for cheap on the slow boat -- but also this one from British Breed Yarns!  (Thanks for the tip Anna!)  I want so badly to open it, knowing that some of it is mine...

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I didn't make much weekend progress on Fib, but here are up-to-the-minute pictures -- snapped on the kitchen table this morning and I'm shocked at how fabulously true the colors are -- the light green stripe is a little brighter in person, but the rest are darn good (morning sun and a chandelier with run-of-the-mill incandescent bulbs).  Anyway, I'm so excited!!  I really, really love it.  ; )  It will get washed and blocked tomorrow, and I'll figure out and get started on the sleeves.

My own contest "moos" tomorrow!

I see the moon

Dsc06953It was so bright that it almost looked like the sun rising, but it was the wrong time of day!  'Twas the moon last evening, coming up in the eastern sky, dipping beneath some clouds, almost fooling me...

Yesterday dawned very gray and very wet -- ugh, very dreary.  Thank goodness it didn't last all day long.  We've had some warm days recently, and now a little water and a little sun and more warmth and *POP!* suddenly there's a bright green haze in the ravine as buds are swelling and bursting open.  And all the grass turned green yesterday!  It won't be long before my view to the east (shown) will be nothing but leaves.

* * * * *

I finished the Fibonacci back yesterday and have a good start on one of the fronts.  I considered washing and blocking the back, but think I'll wait for at least one of the fronts -- and that will likely be over the weekend.  It's going pretty quickly, and we're going to have a quiet holiday weekend, so maybe I'll get both fronts finished!  This is definitely stay-at-home knitting with all the color changes!

* * * * *

For the record, I have no aspirations to be waif-like -- I may have succumbed to that notion for five minutes once, in my early 20s, but that's too damn much work and absolutely no fun.  And, in the end, for what?  I like cake and cookies and brownies too much; I like dessert; I like to indulge!  I also like to be healthy, in a general sense -- eat well and good, get a little exercise -- but I'm not very diligent or vigilant about any of it.  And I'd like to fit comfortably into some of the clothes I own.  That's where WW comes in -- it's motivated and worked for me before, and in some other -- surprising -- ways.  At Tuesday night's meeting, the topic was "triggers" and I was reminded about how much I relied on things I'd learned at WW to help me quit smoking last year (which led to the current weight gain and back 'round to WW -- 'tis a vicious cycle, no?) -- being aware of when I ate/smoked, why I ate/smoked, what triggers the urge to eat/smoke and what can be done to avoid them...  All of the planning I did for the quit came rushing back, remembering how the worst time of day for me was right after work and so I changed the route I drove home -- and I still go home that way!  Truthfully, during the meeting, all I could think of was how it related to smoking, not eating -- I've been wanting to smoke SO badly, people, you just don't know...  Anyway, all I'm looking to do is eat a little better, exercise a little (because now there's like zip), and drop the 25-30 gained from the quit, which would put me well above that 1989 goal weight, but it's a place where I've been pretty comfortable in recent years.

Time for breakfast!