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August 2012
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October 2012

Designed by Beth: Wandering Path Socks

I designed these socks for the knitting cruise, and I knit two pair of them, one in blue and the other pair in purple. I still wear them today. I loved knitting them, and I hope you like to  knit them too!

Wandering Path Socks

Wandering path socks



Size 2 double pointed needles

100 grams fingering weight sock yarn 


Gauge: 7 sts per inch


Cast on 60 sts and join without twisting. Work knit 1, purl 1 ribbing for 1 1/2 inches. Increase to 72 sts in the last row of ribbing.


Work Wandering Path Sock chart until sock leg measures about 7 or 8 inches, ending with row 16.


Divide stitches in half and work heel flap over 36 sts, working back and forth on 2 needles: 

Row 1: *slip one, knit one* across, turn.

Row 2: Slip first stitch and then purl the rest of the stitches in the row. 

Repeat these 2 rows 17 times. Work Row 1 one more time. 


Turn heel: 

Row 1: Purl 20, purl 2 together, purl one, turn. 

Row 2: Slip one, knit 5, knit 2 together through the back loops, knit 1, turn. 

Row 3: Slip one, purl 6, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn.

Row 4:Slip one, knit 7, knit 2 together through the back loops, knit 1, turn. 

Row 5: Slip one, purl 8, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn.

Row 6: Slip one, knit 9, knit 2 together through the back loops, knit 1, turn.

Row 7: Slip one, purl 10, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn.

Row 8: Slip one, knit 11, knit 2 together through the back loops, knit 1, turn.

Row 9: Slip one, purl 12, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn.

Row 10: Slip one, knit 13, knit 2 together through the back loops, knit 1, turn.

Row 11: Slip one, purl 14, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn.

Row 12: Slip one, knit 15, knit 2 together through the back loops, knit 1, turn.

 Pick up 18 stitches along side of heel flap, knit across 36 stitches from top of foot, pick up 18 stitches on other side of heel flap, knit half of the stitches for the heel flap.

Decrease gusset stitches:

 Round 1: Needle 1: Knit to last 3 stitches on needle 1, k2tog, k1; Needles 2 & 3:  knit across; Needle 4: k1, ssk, knit to end of needle.

Round 2: Knit around. 

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until a total of 72 sts remain (18 sts on each needle). 

Continue working in stockinette stitch until foot measure 7 1/2 inches, or 1 3/4 inches less that total length of foot. 


Work toe:

Round 1: Needle 1 & Needle 3: Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k 1; Needle 2 & Needle 4: k1, ssk, knit to end; 

Round 2: Knit around. 

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 36 sts remain. Then work Round 1 only until there are 4 sts on each of the needles (16 sts). Knit across sts on Needle 1. Place sts from Needles 1 and 4 on one dpn and put sts from Needles 2 & 3 on another dpn, and Kitchener stitch the toe together. Weave in ends.





My Knitting

Sunday I ripped out my Peony baby sweater, deleted  it from Ravelry, and fumed the rest of the day. I didn't knit. I was just about to where I could take the sleeves off on waste yarn, and discovered  that for some stupid reason I had made a hole in the middle of a sleeve, it wasn't even a dropped stitch, it was an actual hole I had created with a yarnover for some stupid reason, and it was about five rows down, and there was no choice but to unravel those five rows. Then I messed everything up badly trying to unravel the five rows, and the whole thing ended up in three little balls again, with me fuming.

Monday I started it over again from scratch, made a new Ravelry entry, and knit along keeping careful track of what my idiot fingers were doing the whole time. This is how far I've got:


There are no mice. Mice have to wait til the baby sweater is done. 

How come I never make mistakes in my mouse knitting?!

Book Review: New and Up-Coming Crochet Books

There are some really great books coming out that are for the crocheters in the crowd. Here's a few that I've picked out:

1) Tunisian Cables to Crochet by Kim Guzman. If you're interested in this book, you better jump on it, because there are only 5 left in stock at Amazon. This book takes Tunisian crochet a bit further; I didn't even know there was such a thing as cables in Tunisian crochet, but now I want to try them! This little booklet is a good way to learn. Apparently, you can order now, though the product details say it's comimg out October 1.

2) Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs: Creative Techniques for Joining Motifs of All Shapes by Edie Eckman. This book is a must-have for all crocheters! Love making the pieces for an afghan or outfit, but hate joining them? Edie Eckman will show you how to turn that all around. Also available in a Kindle edition. It's coming out October 23, 2012.

3) The Finer Edge: Crocheted Trims, Motifs & Borders by Kristin Omdahl. I remember my Aunt Phoebe used to crochet miles and miles of lace edgings for pillow cases, towels, even sheets, and I thought they were so pretty. This book reminds me of them. Who wouldn't want sheets or towels with handmade lace edging on it for a wedding gift? Or a Christmas gift? In this book, Kristin Omdahl shows you how you can create fabrics, use trimming ingeniously in garments, use your creativity. She even has patterns. This book will be available January 8, 2013.

4) The New Tunisian Crochet: Contemporary Designs for Time-Honored Traditions by Dora Ohrenstein. What can I say, I'm a sucker for Tunisian Crochet. Featuring patterns from several designers, and having 20+ stitch patterns, this book promises to be a hit. It will be out February 26, 2012.

5) Blueprint Crochet Sweaters: Techniques for Custom Construction by Robyn Chachula. Finally, someone has written a book for crochet that I have been waiting for! It's a book on sweater design, written for crocheters, the first of its kind. I have it on my wishlist. This book could revolutionize crochet designs, putting the tools into the hands of crocheters everywhere, making it possible to get a set of patterns like Yankee Knitter patterns or Pure and Simple patterns in yarn shops, but for the crocheter, not the knitter. I always thought that somebody should do a collection of patterns like that, basic designs for the beginning crocheter, and now maybe someone will, now that the design basics are published. This wonderful book comes out March 5, 2013, and I can't wait!


Legends of the Shetland Seas

I've been thinking about changing my blog's look. It's pretty basic, black and orange and green, plain white background, and a picture of my purple "Legends of the Shetland Seas" shawl. I get emails asking what shawl that is in my picture all the time. I sold quite a few kits for it when I had the store. People were somewhat dismayed that it only came in off-white; I dyed the yarn purple before knitting it.

Anyway, my blog hasn't been changed since I first made it, back in January 2004 -- almost nine years ago. I bet templates have changed a lot since then, hehe. I was on my old tangerine iMac then, I think. That was when iPods only came in white with a clicky wheel, there were no iPhones or iPads, Internet Explorer ruled the internet, and I think Yahoo! was the go-to search engine. Times change.

So, I think I'm gonna change my blog, too. I'm no longer the same person I was when I started this. I'm certainly not a yarn shop owner, I'm handicapped now, and I've got more time on my hands than I know what to do with. Having a lot of time sucks, really. But I've got my blog to fiddle around with. Everything will still be here, but it will just look different!

What would you like to see in a blog? Suggestions are always helpful! 

The Nanny

Let me introduce you to Vivian Maier. Vivian worked as a nanny for most of the 1950's through the rest of her life, but secretly, she was a street photographer. She rarely shared her photographs. 

In 2007 John Maloof discovered a trunk full of negatives at a local thrift auction house on Chicago's Northwest Side. Vivian Maier had come to light. I have put some pictures here, but I urge you to take a look at the Vivian Maier website; it's fascinating. These photographs would make good story starters.

Untitled, Undated
Untitled, Undated

Untitled, Undated 2
Untitled, Undated

August 1958 Churchill Manitoba Canada
August 1958, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

 [love the Roy Rogers and Trigger shirt!]

Untitled 1953
Untitled, 1953


Day before yesterday I was looking for inspiration, and found this TED talk by Jane McGonigal entitled "The Game that Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life", which caught my attention, so I listened. She was a game designer, who had a concussion, and while recuperating she was very depressed and she thought, this is like a game; so, she designed one.

She calls it SuperBetter. It sounded  very cool, kinda different, and another way to do therapy, and it was online, so I signed up yesterday. 

A lot of the game experience is incorporated into it, it's like a personal-Facebook meets Plants VS. Zombies, and it makes you feel better just playing it. It certainly isn't hard, even I could do the first few steps without stressing out, and there's a lot of ways you can design your own levels if you want to, or have them handed to you if you want that too, and you can switch back and forth if that's what you want as well.

All of the Quests, Allies, Power Ups, Bad Guys, and Future Boosts are easily doable at first, and I'm sure they get harder as you go, but they are never too hard. My first ally (you have to get friends and family to help you if possible) was Lynne -- that was kinda hard for me, it was a challenge because I don't like to ask for help, but there could be martinis, so I just went ahead and did it. You just have to work at the things that seem hard.

Your achievements and your ultimate Epic Win are your goals. You get to choose when the game stops. It's fun, it's a game after all, and I really needed this, because I was very close to throwing in the towel and giving up. You can only go on for a while before you start feeling like it's never ever ever getting any better, you're not making any progress. It would be so easy just to give up.

I had a stoke, and working at recovery is a daily thing for me. Daily. As in, every single day. I never take a day off. This game helps with that, makes it easier to stay in the game, as it were. But, it also helps people with depression, injuries, illnesses, or health goals (such as losing weight or quitting smoking), any number of things that can use a little boost which this game provides. It's a feel-good game, but it's also about self-responsibility and goal-setting. There is a lot of science built into it,  which you can read any time along the way. Best of all, it's free and there do not appear to be any ads.

Who knows, I may feel super better after a few weeks with this, and I may not, but it can't hurt me to try it!


My Spinning

My spinning mojo is seriously lacking. This is what I got done all of last week:



Sorry about the darkness of the photo ... it was dark when I took it. It gets dark so early now, ya know? 

I spin about 2 yards of roving per day, and I don't know how many yards of yarn that equals. Then there are the days when I don't spin at all. Even when I am not spinning, I still beat my old record of not spinning all year and then spinning all day, one day per year.

I was getting better before my stroke though, I was drop-spindling religiously about 45 minutes to an hour each day, and I was getting quite fast at it, too. I could spindle spin the wool for a pair of socks and ply it, in about 16 hours. If that were my work, I could spin it and ply in two work days, faster if I used a wheel. Ah well, those days are behind me. 

I've got the rolags left over from my Knitting Olympics of 2010, right before my stroke; I should spin them to see how close I get to spinning fine enough and consistent enough for sock-weight yarn.


I just got a new app for my iPhone! It's called Etchings, and it makes your photos into little works of art, including an Air Mail postage stamp (good for vacation photos), an 1854 photograph, a one dollar bill, a Beatrix Potter print, and a full color spectrum, as well as others. If that's not enough, you can refine the kind of lines that you want to use, from very fine up to extra bold. All for ninety-nine cents! I like it! Here are some samples:

Belted Galloways Etching
Some Belted Galloways up the road from me. That's a regular etching.

Porch Etching
My Porch

Our House Etching
Our house, doesn't it look old?? Like 1854 old?

Nora's grandmother

Tom Kitten
Nicky as a Beatrix print

One dollar bill
Nicky as a $1 Bill

Etchings is available for the iPhone now, and they're working on it for Android as well -- you can sign up to be notified when it comes out. It is made by MindSea Development, out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, one more reason to love Canada.

Wild ... What they won't come out with next!

Stripping the Yarn Stash

It's coming towards the end of another year of knitting and I'm pleased to say I have reduced my stash considerably -- but then, considering how large my stash is and what a small dent I have made in it, that isn't saying much! I'm pretty happy with my spinning stash, however. My spinning stash is only one bin, and I can see the difference there. Next year, if I keep spinning and don't buy much more fiber, I might clear it out! That doesn't really help the knitting stash, though, hehe. Less fiber for handspinning means more handspun yarn for knitting ... hmmm, or gift giving...

I have about twelve more projects planned for the ol' stash-busting mania, and I'm gonna pull a few old UFO's (unfinished objects) out of the stash, too. Reduction is key. If my stash was gone, we would have an entire room upstairs for something else! Maybe I'd be better off trying to reduce just one bin; it's less scary that way.

How big is your stash? Is it full of the extra-good yarn that you just want to fondle but never use, or is it good, usable stuff that you got on sale, or is it remnants of icky yarn that you have in your stash that you just don't like? Mine is mostly good, usable stuff that I hope to use, the sooner the better. But I need to go through it and weed out the yarns I know I'll never use.

Stripping the yarn stash


I was gonna write a book review today about a non-knitting book that I started two or three weeks ago, but it kinda got stalled, and I'm just not reading at all. The book is written by a good writer, one I have read two other books by and loved, they're full of very intricate plots, very detailed characters, and lots of little intricacies, but I just don't like reading this one, it seems. They are also very long, and a little slow to start, and I have only read about 7% of the book so far (in three weeks). I hesitate to tell you what book it is, because the author is so good, and it is all my own fault that I am not reading.

This is like knitting something and getting stuck in the middle of knitting it. When I get stuck in the middle of something now, whether it's a thing I'm knitting or a book I'm reading, I just stop. I can't seem to go forward until I either make the decision to just abandon it or go forward with it.  Luckily, with my knitting, I only knit what I want to now, so that's ok. With my reading, well, I have only outright abandoned two books in the last three years, and one of them I still want to try and read. 

I should declare a Reading Day and just read! I need to get over it. I'm whining, and I really hate that.


My Knitting

Mice 37 & 38 make their appearance:

Mice 37 & 38

I got the Wanida socks done, but they're not blocked yet:

Wanida Socks done

They'll be blocked and lovely by next week! The kitchener stitch is better, but it still needs work ... practice, practice, practice.

So this is my next project:


I'm doing the Sunnyside Baby Cardigan by Tanis Fiber Arts, and I'm using Shibui Sock in color 220, Peony on size 4 (3.50 mm) needles. It's knit in one piece from the top down (baby cardigans are about the only thing I can knit like that anymore). I haven't gotten very far:


We'll see how far I get in a week.


Toot Your Own Horn

Every now and then I really miss not being able to play a musical instrument. It's actually a regret I have because I only have one hand that works (so far!); if I had both hands working, would I play? Or would I just go on saying someday I'll play again, someday I'll pick up a sax or a recorder, someday I'll get serious on that piano, someday I'll learn to play guitar. I really, really wish I'd learned to play guitar, but if I had, that's just one more thing I'd regret. 

I've tried to think of what you can play for music with only one hand. There's the harmonica, and a good blues harmonica is a wonderful thing. I don't really know anything about it, but there's probably tons of YouTube videos about it. They say that you can play piano with one hand, but really ... wouldn't that be kind of simple? Doesn't seem like you'd get the full effect. I'd rather play a wind instrument.

So I googled it. Turns out I can play the saxophone if I want to -- someone has devised a way to make one-handed saxes!  Who knew. And, one-handed piano abounds, there are tons of pages on the internet about how to play the piano with one hand. There's a guy out there who has tips on using the guitar with physical handicaps, too, and that's just one of many.

 I may or may not decide to play an instrument again, but it's good to know it's there if I ever want to. For now, I'll just play the radio :)

(artwork courtesy Gabriella Fabbri)

The Room of Many Drawers

≈≈   The old Drakoni inhabited all of the large rooms in the bottom of the tower. In Alessa’s tower, there were her room and her father’s room, and six other rooms that also were used as living quarters, including those of the harbormaster, the dockmaster, several ship captains who made the town their homeport, and Alessa’s old nurse, Mara. Alessa didn’t know to what purpose Hanno put all the rooms in his tower. She had only ever been in two of them. The main one, where he kept his books and received visitors, had become a classroom for Alessa. Hanno had taken her on as a student, at Allyn’s request. There, he taught her math and science, languages and geography. She had also been in the adjoining room, a laboratory where Hanno had guided her experiments in chemistry, biology, and physics. Alessa loved this room. The walls were covered with a wooden framework containing hundreds of drawers, all sizes, big ones, small ones, wide ones, narrow ones. Each drawer had a unique intricately-carved wooden pull directly in it’s center. Hanno would send her looking for items for him in the drawers occasionally. “It’s in the butterfly drawer,” he’d say, or “the drawer with the Mykara bloom on it.” She had spent hours examining the drawer pulls, admiring the care of the carver, the exacting detail in each pull. She suspected Hanno had carved them himself.  ≈≈

My Spinning

When the weather was a bit warmer I took advantage of the time to spin outside on the porch. It was really beautiful! Since I finished my purple batts (finally), I was ready to tackle the red and brown roving that I think Tracy gave me when she sold the half of the black fleece to me. I kinda put it away with the black fleece; I'm going to have a fun time with all that black!

Drafted roving

It's wool, and it sticks to itself something fierce, it's very grabby. It drafts easily, if you are not particular getting it perfectly spun, which I am not. Actually, I hope to spin this keeping the thick-and-thinness of it, because I think it looks old-fashioned; that's the only thing I can think of to describe it, "old fashioned." It looks like an old-fashioned hunting hat, or probably two or three hunting hats.

(The blue bit is my leader poking through.)

It was a very enjoyable day, and Nicky came and relaxed on the bench with me:


I have to wonder what he imagines I'm doing. 

I was sad to hear of Marianne DelConte's passing. Her charming smile always cheered me! I miss you, Marianne. When I spin, or knit anything with cables, or work with anything yellow, I'll always think of you.

What Makes a Good Hat for a Man?

I'm pondering the thought. I asked my husband, but it was such an open-ended question that he just said, "I dunno." I asked him if he liked cables and he answered "No" right away, but then quickly said "Maybe" upon further consideration.

Men don't usually wear hats, except non-knit caps, like the John Deere variety. Knit hats are considered a slam to their desire to brave the elements, be tough, be manly. Knit hats -- and gloves and mittens, for that matter -- are for people not manly enough to go without. 

That being said, when it's really cold and they have to go out and do manly things like shovel the driveway when the danger of having parts freeze off is more real, that's when the need for a warm hat and gloves or mittens is welcomed. 

That's where I come in. What makes a good hat for a man, in that situation? An earflap hat? A ribbed hat? Something with a cuff? Cables? Plain knitting or fancy? Colorwork? If the pattern doesn't show a man wearing it, forget it -- you are better off having him just not see the pattern at all, I don't care how much it professes to be a unisex hat. 

Unisex hat 1
Unisex hat on a snowman -- GOOD.

Unisex hat on a woman model -- HE'LL NEVER WEAR IT.

Maybe I'll just make wool socks.




Sick of ink (a professional worder) 
I went into the biosphere 
With two botanizers, a birder, 
And a Leave-No-Trace-Trained mountaineer.

We witnessed the sacred in several classes. 
They showed me how elevations flatten 
On a topo map. Through fine field glasses 
We confirmed a quantity of Latin. 


Idle by nature, sick of talk, 
I went into the somewhat wild 
With an undifferentiated dog, 
An apple, a gum wrapper, and a six year old.

The crags scratched our eyeballs. A brace of Quink 
Came burtling out of their whiskets. Old Breather 
Whulphed. It wasn't what you think, 
Exactly. I guess you had to be there.


Antioch Review 
Summer 2012

My Knitting

Wanida Socks

I love knitting these socks! They're going very fast. I might make another pair sometime, they are so cleverly designed. I'm wondering if I can defeat the Kitchener stitch this time; I haven't tried it for a while, and the last time it came out horrible, so I just stopped.  I will try it again, after I find out from the recipient how long her feet are. 

I'll have to knit two mice next week, as I didn't get around to doing one this week!

Putting Cables in Your Knitting

After completing October Frost in the Ravellenic games, I was all fired up to knit cables. It was such a relief to know that I could do it again! 

Designing with cables is fun, but it can be tricky. You can't just stick the cable in without making allowances for how much it will pull in; cables suck up a lot of horizontal real estate. I saw once a woman wearing a beautiful summer top that used cables in a very ingenious fashion, forming a tighter fabric just below the bust. She said it was from the spring/summer Sandra magazine that year ... unfortunately, I can't remember what show it was that I saw her at, so I can't remember what year it was, but it sure was a good use of cables in the design.

So. Suppose you have a stitch guide that has a really pretty cable in it -- or several (if you're like me). How do you put the cables in without having the thing just pull in and hug you tight? You might make a bigger size, but that's an iffy way to design. I learned (from somewhere a long time ago, can't remember where) that for every stitch crossed in a cable, add a stitch in your knitting: a three-over-three cable would then have three stitches added to make up for the three stitches crossed over.

If you design a pair of gloves that have three two-over-two stitch cables up the back, add 6 stitches -- 3 * 2 = 6. If you're designing a sweater that is stockinette stitch on the bottom, but you want an interesting cably thing at the top, count the number of stitches crossed over on the row with the most cable crossings, and add the stitches to keep the same width in your knitting and to prevent puckering (unless you want that).

Cables swatch

Cabling is a lot of fun, and designing with cables is even funner :) I was in the middle of designing a great cabled sweater for the knitting cruise when I had my stroke; I still have my notes somewhere. I lost hope when I found my cabling ability was compromised, but now maybe I'll pull it out and look at it again. The Isaac Evans knitting cruise goes out this week -- I sure miss doing that! I'll go with you knitters in my heart :)


My Spinning

All my purple batt is spun; here it is, before setting the twist:

It's better, but it still needs work. It is well balanced, so that's good. I did try to ply it a little more, and it looks better.

Now I'm going to tackle 2 balls of red/dark brown wool (I think it's Romney?):


It's roving, and drafts pretty easy. I think it'll be kinda marled when it's done. We'll see. It might be really pretty.

Recipe Review: Peanut Butter and Jelly Macaroons


Lynne came over recently and we made Peanut Butter and Jelly Macaroons. Ohhhhh, were they good. Very, very good. The recipe is on the Wheatbelly Blog. I see you can pre-order a Wheatbelly Cook Book now, too; it comes out December 24.

One thing about this recipe: you should be prepared to do a little work, but remember, it's worth it. First off, you have to toast the coconut that you flavored with almond and vanilla extracts, and you have to grind the unsweetened toasted coconut with a food processor, you don't just dump it in. Then, since we don't actually eat jams and jellies, you have to grind the unsweetened cherries into a paste to get the jelly flavor. And lastly, you have to separate the eggs so you can whip the egg whites until they are stiff. There is a lot of preparation, and it's not like normal cookies where you dump a bunch of stuff into a bowl and stir it up. But it tastes so good when it's done!

The one thing I would change is -- it only makes 24 cookies, and we split it up. I think the next time, a bigger batch is called for! 

I've been wheat, starch and sugar free almost a year now! It just keeps getting better and better :)


Ah September, the first month of fall.  It's getting colder, there's a little nip in the air in the morning; not a lot, just a reminder that fall is here, that winter is coming. It's just enough to make me put a sweater on. There's plenty of summer left, though. 

September means football! I signed up for a fantasy football thing for knitters, and the excitement is growing! I'd take part in the trash-talking, but I don't really know enough about it to trash-talk football, so I'll call this a learning year.  I'm all about the Patriots, though -- Go Patriots!! Woohoooo! (Sounds convincing, doesn't it?) 

September means back to school for the poor folk that have to go back this time of year, whether it's students or teachers, administration or lunch ladies and bus drivers. I feel for ya. Mostly I just grin a lot in September, remembering what it used to be like.