Oh Hi There!

Whoops! It is November already! I've done stuff!

Stuff I Made:

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Purple fingerless mitts. Pattern: Sally Roger's Reading Mitts, by Sally Rogers. I used Jo Sharp DK wool. These would make a good Christmas gift! They were quick to knit and they look fabulous.

Next, I made some baby things for a baby who is about to be born. 

 

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The baby blanket didn't have a pattern, but it was made from Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton DK. The sweater  is Oat Couture Victorian T-shirt by Annie Dempsey, and I knit it from Katia Mississippi 3 Print. I started to knit it right before I had my stroke, and I finally got to finish it! The socks are knit from Yankee Knitter #29 Classic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow, out of scraps from my sheep socks. The adorable booties are Little Eyes by Inma Gijón, and I knit them out of fingering weight cashmere that I believe was once something in a kit, but I am not sure what. Couldn't be cuter than those booties though!

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I made a pair of adult socks too, from Yankee #29, but they were from Tofutsies yarn that was in my stash.

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I've made six hats, but I only used two patterns: Storhedder, by Mary Jane Mucklestone (the two mostly pink hats), and Stash Slip Stitch Hat by Renée Rico (the green/yellow/black/white one). The others were just ... hats. All were out of scrap yarn! I have been on a hat kick lately, and I have a pile o' knitting ahead of me to use up. Remember the Mousies of Doom from a few years ago? Well, this is the same thing, but with hats. And no catnip. 

Stuff I Am Doing Now:

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The Aran purple coat keeps getting interrupted by other things, but it is moving steadily along toward the finish line! The back and right front are done, and the left front is about half done. I have bagged the idea of using old-fashioned techniques to knit it, in favor of snapping pictures of stuff that I need from the book and making a spreadsheet to keep track of the rows. Blame it on Pogo. She kept sprawling across all the lovely paper that I needed to use to knit, so I had to go to the screens. They are vertical.

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This is the beginning of a Christmas Stocking for the two year old who got the sweaters. It is based on Arne & Carlos' Christmas Stocking (go check them out on YouTube and on their blog, they are a hoot! They have tons of useful and entertaining information too!). I have added pattern #110 from Mary Jane Mucklestone's 200 Fair Isle Motifs, and the Christmas Trees from O Dennenboom (socks) by Renée Kies

Stuff I am Not Doing:

I am no longer knitting my Daily Mindfulness Blanket; it was turning out too heavy for a blanket and what I finished is now Pogo's daily mindfulness purring and kneading mat. She loves it. I think I will start it again in lighter weight yarn, not scrap yarn -- something DK or sport, with gradual color changes like Noro. That would be pretty as well as giving me a good project for mindfulness. 

I unraveled my Ka'ana Shawlette too, for similar reasons. I was using a hairy, sturdy Aran weight yarn and the resulting fabric was too stiff and bulky and itchy ... I really couldn't see anyone cuddling up in it. The yarn is perfect for hats though! Woohoo! I'll use a different yarn for Ka'ana, something silkier and softer; it will be a joy to work with. I think I have something in my stash, in fact ...

Nanowrimo. Sigh. I finally got an incredible story idea, something big and broad and mysterious and delightful yet a bit scary, but I got the idea on October 31 (and it isn't a Halloween story either), which meant that I didn't have time to do any research but hey, that is life. Unfortunately the power was out, but I wrote for one day on November 1, and then my iPad died. And my iPhone died. And my computer died. It took a week for power to be restored ... so I decided that it was a higher power who decided that I should do the research and get my spiffy new idea good and ready for next year! So I will be all set for Nanowrimo 2018!


It's the Middle of June Already!

Time goes so fast when you are not doing much at all! 

We watched The Wizard of Oz a couple nights ago. It was a fun return to my childhood. I remember that the whole family watched the little black and white television: Mum, Dad, a couple siblings and I. Everyone was all grown up but me. I was so scared of that wicked witch! I never realized that it was in color once Dorothy got to Oz; it was a nice surprise. Anyway, Dorothy says, "My! People come and go so quickly here!" In my case, it was time that went quickly!

So, what have I been up to? I was sooooo sick with a cold for about two weeks, but I am all over it, thank goodness. I rarely get sick at all, but this cold laid me low. During those two weeks I could just sleep and drink a lot of water and cough, a lot.  But I did get some knitting done after I got better.

I finished my Harpswell Inn Hitchhiker:

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I find that I wear it more than anything right now, and it is very colorful! I love it.

I have been bad about getting pictures of my finished projects, so you will have to use your imagination a bit on these. I finished Reyna out of some hand dyed purple fingering weight.

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This is the picture I got of it.

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This is the picture from the pattern.  It's a fun knit, fairly mindless, and quite pretty when it is done. It has gone upstairs to be blocked. No telling if I will ever see it again.

I knit a pair of purple socks; again, only one is pictured, but rest assured that I knit the complete pair!

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That was my TV knitting for  a couple weeks. 

What I am working on now is a shawlette from the book MAINE knits, by Beatrice Perron Dahlen. It is called the Cresting Waves Shawl and is designed by Leah B. Thibault. 

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(photo from Leah B. Thibault)

I am using a skein of Meadow by the Fiber Company in the color Bellflower.

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It is a light fingering weight merino wool, baby llama, silk, and linen blend which has a lovely drape (thank you, linen) and sheen (thank you, silk) that feels soft and warm and luxurious (nods to the merino wool and the baby llama). I love this combo of fibers, and I have never seen it before. 

It likes to fight my needles a bit, as it seems to have its own mind, so at times I have to be forceful to make it go where I want it to go. (I suspect the linen is responsible for this.) Sometimes at first, it flew right off the needles when I wasn't paying attention! Twice! The first time I was only a few rows up so I unraveled it and started over, and the second time I said, "Shit!!" "Look, Mister, you had just better behave!!!" and I got it back on the needle. I learned my lesson, and it has been under my watchful eye ever since. I think when this lace panel is done and I am working on the plain stockinette part, it will be much better behaved. 

This yarn feels so good! I can't wait to wear it!! Here is what there is so far, after three and a half repeats of the lace panel:

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I wish you could feel it. It is so yummy.

Have a good day, everyone. Isn't this weather wild?? So hot and then so cold! 

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In the meantime ...

I started to knit Sylvi on October 22 and finished it on March 22, so it took a long time to get it done. However, I didn't work on it the whole time. I took a few long-term breaks to knit other things. 

I knit the purple Ironwood Shawl that was in the KnitScene Spring 2017 magazine, out of Wildwood Yarns Arcadia in a pretty purple. The pattern called for two skeins of Madeline Tosh Sock, which has 385 yards and is about $25 a skein; I had one skein of the Arcadia and I didn't notice that the pattern called for two skeins. Arcadia has 394 yards per skein. I knit happily along, and about the time that I went to the Spa in Freeport I noticed that I was running a bit low on yarn, and that is when I saw that the pattern called for two skeins! I estimated that the amount of yarn I had would almost come close to finishing the shawl though, so I figured I would just put another color on whenever I ran out, something that would contrast nicely and look like I had planned it that way. When I got home, I rummaged through my odds and ends of sock yarns and found some pretty lavender handspun that I made eons ago, and set it aside.

But the ball kept going and going and going. It was a magic ball! Just two rows before the end of the shawl, I finally ran out of yarn. I knit the final two rows, bound off, and am quite happy with it. If I had forked out $50 for Madeline Tosh Sock yarn though, I would have been kind of mad that it had only required about fifteen yards of the second skein.

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Beside the shawl, I knit a couple sweaters that I can't show you or talk about yet, and a bunch of hats:

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Watch Cap by Michele Rose Orne


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Bayside Beanie baby hats by Stacey McCrea Warner


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Spruce Head Hat by Michele Rose Orne

Then I designed and knit a cowl at the Harpswell Inn Knitting Weekend with yarn that was provided. It came out pretty and I'll put the picture and the pattern up here when I get the pattern written; the cowl is blocking now.

Another thing that I knit (that is still blocking) is a scarf/shawl that I recently completed. It was the Mystery in March KAL (yup, I got it done in March), a lovely asymmetrical piece in a sampler of various knitting stitches, by Tori Seierstad. The yarn I used was originally used in the Mystery Sock IX: Crazy Quilt Socks, done in Old Number 8 in a dark red yarn. After working three clues, I thought I would never wear those socks (the pattern was perfect, they just were nothing I would ever wear. Sorry.) So, when I saw the mystery shawl commencing, I ripped out the sock and started the shawl. It was a blast to knit! Pictures soon. :)

So what is on the needles now? The primary thing is Amy's Scarf, which is reinvigorated after a long hibernation that started at the end of October. I started it back in July! I have to get it done. It is inspired by the scarf that Amy Pond wore in two Dr. Who shows, and I have wanted it for years, ever since I saw it on Dr. Who. I bought just the right skein of lovely red at the Spa in 2016, a red called Rock Lobster, in Mad Color Fiber Arts Sonatina. I'm about half done!

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So Much Fun!

I have had so much fun the last couple of weeks! 

First, the things I have knitted: not much, actually. I have my stealth knitting project almost completed. In fact, it will be finished this week probably, and I can go to Freeport at the end of the week with a clear conscience. I have, in addition, sewn up my Sylvi coat/sweater, woven in most of the ends, and am now working on the hood:

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It is kind of hard to knit because of the weight of the sweater and only having one and a quarter hands, but it is going slowly onward. I hope to finish it next week, after SPA in Freeport. At least Hillary will be able to wear it for a couple weeks before Spring!

Second is the goodies that I have bought.

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I pre-ordered MAINEknits by Beatrice Perron Dahlen a few weeks ago, and promptly forgot it, and then there it was! I wanted to get it when I realized that all of the patterns in it were in my favorites in Ravelry, which was a sign that the book needs to be on my shelf.  I was pleased to find that the book has really gorgeous pictures of Maine, a foreword by Pam Allen, and well-written essays by Sarah Kilch Gaffney, Julie Letowski, Samantha Lindgren and Beck Robbins in addition to beautiful, highly-wearable and desirable-to-knit patterns by fourteen excellent designers, including Beatrice Perron Dahlgren. 

The book is divided into three sections: Sea, Farm, and Wild, which is how I think of Maine too. I'm from Aroostook county, Maine, the wilderness was all around me in Portage where I lived, my father was a farmer, and now I live by the sea! There are five or six patterns in each section, totaling seventeen patterns in the book. Most of them are sweaters and accessories for women, but a few are unisex too, and one is photographed on a man and a child; that sweater can be made in children's sizes too. There is also a cowl in child and adult sizes as well. 

I also got some little colored stitch markers from Cocoknits.com. They are so pretty, I want to string them on a chain and wear them as a necklace! 

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I succumbed to pattern lust and bought the yarn to make these socks:

They are 173-45 Sleepy Sheep from Drops.

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They are so springy and pretty! I don't really need 450g of yarn to knit socks. I'll have yarn leftover, so maybe I will design something with Mary Jane Mucklestone's books that I have been looking over.

The best thing though is the fluff that I got from On the Round! It is soooooooo gorgeous! It makes me want to spin and spin and spin! 

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This fluff is hand dyed Corriedale top in a OOAK (One Of A Kind)  color. That means it is unique!  Rachel Jones does an incredible job of dyeing. Her colors are imaginative, playful, and creative while being harmonious too. It takes real talent to do that. I will wait as long as possible to start spinning this, but I think the beauteousness of the fluff will overwhelm me. It is sitting right beside my computer and I keep looking at it and sighing happily. I need to get a couple things done, but soon ... soon!

The third and final fun thing is ahead: SPA!!! Lynne and I are going to Freeport for the weekend (February 24,25, & 26) and we will have so much fun. We are staying at the Hampton Inn. SPA is a weekend of fibery goodness that is at three hotels in Freeport, but it really kind of takes over the town. It is like a convention of 1000 (maybe more) knitters and crocheters and spinners and weavers and felters and other fibery folk who show up for the weekend. Some people go for three or four days. Lynne and I will pretty much stay in the Hampton Inn; the vendor area doesn't really interest me much (see above) but there are many vendors and people who want their wares. Also Mother of Purl is in the area and there are a few things that they offer too this weekend, including an On the Round trunk show -- Rachel will be there in person to amaze and delight you! 

Pogo's Sweater

I haven't the heart to tell Pogo that the sweater isn't for her.


Wet and Crazy!

I decided after much dithering to wet block the pieces of Sylvi. My sister used to dither about lots of things, especially things she was afraid of doing. After a week of not sewing the pieces of Sylvi together, I realized that I, too, was doing what I used to give Rachel hell for doing. "Just do it already! What are you so afraid of? What is the worst that could happen?" I would tell her. So, I took my own advice and wet blocked the pieces. I had thought long and hard about blocking the coat all sewn together, and what a nightmare it would be. Blocking the pieces proved to be much easier and, in fact, enjoyable. 

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It is amazing how much wool changes when it is wet. These pieces were placed in the washing machine, which was then filled with water, set a while, and then spun dry. Easy peasy. When I started to pin them to the blocking board (really a slab of blue insulaton board, don't tell), it was magical how they were so easy to pull into shape! The en-even edges became even, the cable down the back that dipped down making a U-shape was easy to straighten out. I loved it! So that's where Sylvi is now: drying. It will be easy to sew together now, I can easily imagine it. The hood will be fun to knit (actually knitting this coat was pretty enjoyable), and the petals will be no problem to knit either, now that the fabric seems so flexible and pleasant to work with. The only thing that I am not sure of is sewing the petals down, but I feel that that is because I haven't done something like that since my stroke, but now I really feel like I can do it. 

My right hand (the paralyzed one) is waking up and getting more useful. I can actually hold a big tapestry needle with it, and kitchener the toes of my socks together using my right hand now! That is a big improvement. My fingers all open and close at my command -- slowly sometimes, but I will take it. I'm working on strengthening the muscles in my forearm to make it easier to lift my right arm, too. And I walk around the house quite a bit now without my cane. I walk like Frankenstein, but without my cane. I still have to wear the damn brace though. 

And now for the crazy part of my blog post!

Some readers may remember when Wendy Gaal had her first Mystery Sock Knit-along way back in 2009. I participated in it, making these beaded socks:

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Well, now she is up to Mystery Sock #9: Crazy Quilt Sock Knit-along! It started on Friday, January 27, but it is not to late to participate. You don't need to buy yarn or the pattern for the knit-along; the pattern is free, but only people who use Wendy's yarn will be eligible to win prizes in the end. The last clue will be posted March 10, and the winners will be among those who have knit one sock in one of Wendy's Knitter's Brewing Company Sock yarns

Wendy always challenges knitters with these Mystery Sock Knit-alongs. She also makes tutorials and videos that are really well done to help you learn the techniques involved, and there are tons of people to help out if you have any problems at all. Several people who have never knit a sock before at all are successfully knitting this. Wendy gives you a bit at a time and spoon-feeds you the very detailed directions with lots of hand holding if you need it, and she is the most patient person with these Mystery Sock KALS that I have seen.

I got the kit with Old No. 8 sock yarn in color BAC OTL from Wendy at Knitter's Brewing Company, and wound it up:

It came with a pretty little commemorative stitch marker:

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I don't use the stitch markers that come with the sock yarn in these kits because I am using double pointed needles, but I love them and use them in other things!

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I have done the first Clue, and let me tell you, it is really crazy!! It is a toe up sock, knit up at an angle, with a pretty cool little texture going on! 

I love it! I can't wait to see what the next Clue will be!

 Here is a picture of an ancient Egyptian picture of a cat herding geese, since Pogo wasn't in a posing mood:

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New Year, New Socks!

My New Year Socks are done! They are so sparkly and colorful! I feel like I am disco dancing when I wear them!

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(Beth laughs and laughs and then composes herself)

I have a Sylvi update, too. I have the right front done to the underarm :

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I'll finish the right front tonight, sew it together over the next two nights,  knit the hood for a couple of nights, and then there will be The Petals. Actually knitting them won't be difficult if I can get them started. I think I can do it. Anyway, the whole thing should be done in about two weeks, maybe less. It will be pretty.

I have some stealth knitting, to borrow a phrase from Wendy Johnson. It is my daytime knitting at the moment. I hope to show you at some point in the future! It is why I am only working on Sylvi at night :)

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Another Sylvi Update and Other Projects

Sylvi is growing by leaps and bounds. The back is done:


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I have the left front done to just above the underarm:

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The black yarn on the side marks the increases, and the one in the middle marks what row I started the underarm on.

Pogo the astute feline inspector says they pass and gives them a paw print of approval.

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I started some bright, glittery socks just before New Year's Eve. 

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Everyone needs bright glittery socks What a wonderful world it would be if everyone wore them. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Stiletto, purchased from WEBS, but it seems they are out of it. I did buy it in their big year end blowout sale. Anyway, the pair is half done, and I start the second sock tonight during my daily TV watching. The pattern is the one that I have pretty much memorized, Classic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow.

I got a knitting magazine (KnitsceneSpring 2017) and a skein of lovely purple Wildwood Arcadia yarn from my friend Lynne! I started the Ironwood shawl, and it is perfect for the yarn. I love both the pattern and the yarn! 

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Happy knitting!


Sometimes a Trip Down Memory Lane Can Be Pretty Horrifying

From McCall's Needlwork & Crafts Fall-Winter 1961-62:

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From McCall's Needlwork & Crafts Fall-Winter 1964-65:

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From McCall's Needlwork & Crafts Fall-Winter 1971-72:
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And now, a word from a sponsor:

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As an excuse, I can only say, it's cold. The frost has invaded my brain!

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October

Fall colors ...

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Trees over the camp

I took these pictures when I was in Winterville at the end of September, but they were stunning and colorful!  I love seeing the crisp reds, the playful yellows, and the magnificent oranges.

I love reading, too, and one of my favorite books to read in October is Headstones and Monuments by Steve Ogden. 

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It's a delightful collection of scary ghost stories (but not too scary!) that will entertain you on the dark, windy nights leading up to Halloween. If you like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, you will like Headstones and Monuments. Remember telling ghost stories at night around the campfire? Yeah. It's a collection of that kind of really good ghost stories. And Steve's artwork is excellent!

I love new fall mittens:

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Orange, my favorite fall color, and dark brown. Both are handspun yarns; one I spun before my stroke (the dark brown; I think it was Coopworth), and one after (the orange, which I got from Sharon in Nova Scotia; it's Romney, I believe), so they are blended together, the before and after, making a new whole. Like me!

The pattern, previously a Mystery Mitten Knit, is Soria Moria vott, and it will be featured in Tori Seierstad's mitten e-book coming later this autumn. Tori makes good mittens! Until the book comes out, you can join the I Make Mittens group on Ravelry, and follow Tori's progress.


Blogging Again

Sorry, I got bored with my blog, and I meant to kill it off. Quietly, you know? Some people really can't give up, and I am one of them, apparently.

All five of you who actually read my blog (you know who you are) will be happy, and the other 150+ who come for the free patterns will be happy too, because I'll probably continue posting new patterns, rarely. And I am glad that I can be of some small service to you :)

So you can look forward to posts about my wonderful, amazing knitting (snicker, snicker), and my cat pictures, and whatever else pops into my head. I will not be posting everyday; that got really boring, but I will post occasionally. By that I mean at least one post per week.

To close, here is the requisite cat picture -- he's mad at the world. It is 0˚ outside. 

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December

Time to get your advent calendars out!! The first day already flew by me, I didn't even write my blog yesterday. That's why I left Sundays open, hehe.

Last year I made a musical advent calendar using Spotify and put it on Facebook. That was fun, but doing it two years in a row would be boring, I think. This year I opted for advent calendar software from Jacqui Lawson, which is easier, I must say. 

The Christmas movies will start tonight, I think. We'll watch at least one a day through Christmas. The Muppets Christmas Carol has become my all-time favorite, I think. What Christmas movies do you like?

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Tick Tock, People

It's less than a month to Christmas.

Does that sentence fill you glee or with dread? 

It fills me with glee. My Christmas presents are almost all made, the advent calendars are delivered, the house is decorated (well ... we never take down our Christmas village, hehe, it's up all year), and now I'm just waiting for the Christmas spirit to lay it's eggs on me. Or whatever. I really like Christmas.

We have a slew of Christmas movies to watch, and we'll parse them out over the next month. Christmas music will fill the hours when I am no longer working on NaNoWriMo. Oh yes, and NaNoWriMo will be done, and I will have beaten it into submission. That's the best thing of all!


Christmas Countdown


Small Things Make Me Curl My Toes and Laugh

When I finished my NaNo writing for the day yesterday, I felt like I was dragging mightily. You know how it is. Getting everything to come out right, when you don't even know exactly what you're shooting for, is very hard. 

Next year, I will make an outline. Or maybe, next year, how about not NaNo-ing at all? Sounds good to me, right now anyway. Heh.

So anyway, needing a break, I read my blog mail from Typepad because everything else seemed really hard, and there was a post about using CSS to add drop caps into my posts. I do know what CSS is, but like everything else I learned a long time ago, I didn't really learn enough to use it. :::facepalms:::

But this seemed good, so I tried it, and damn if it didn't work! Way to go Typepad! Now I feel all special and stuff. 

You may need to click refresh a few times to see my drop caps. If you can't see them, I'm sorry. I tried. It works for me, and frankly, it made my toes curl with joy.

:)


Things I Used To Do Before NaNoWriMo

Or more appropriately, Things I Used To Do Before NaNoWriMo Sucked All My Energy and Time Away.

1. Knit. I used to like to knit. Remember during the Ravelympics when I knit a whole Aran sweater in 14 days? Yeah. That was easier than writing.

2. Spin. I used to occasionally spin fiber into yarn. 

3. Read. I remember reading, dimly. I think I used to like it.

4. Listen to music. I think music is wonderful ... and if I make it to the end of this month, I plan to listen to it again.

5. Write interesting blog posts that are not lists of one-word items.

I think I need a pep talk. Here are some by a few of my favorite authors:

Neil Gaiman

Robin McKinley

Tom Robbins

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My novel is titled "Je Ne Sais Pas" which means "I Don't Know", hehe. Sheesh. Another week to go!

 


Turkey Sweaters

I read a short story a long time ago, when I was living with Carney, about a family that had turkeys. The parents had to go away for a few days and left the much-older sister to look after the two little boys. She was to make sure that they took good care of the flock of little baby turkeys that had just arrived.

The author spent a hilarious page or two describing how the baby turkeys became featherless, plucked by the boys probably. Anyway, it was their fault, and was the sister mad. The poor little turkeys were shivering, so Big Sister sat the boys down and proclaimed that they had to learn to knit turkey sweaters. Sobered by the thought of their father's wrath when he saw the shivering turkeys, they did just that. With Big Sister's help, they knit little turkey sweaters all day and night, and the turkeys stopped shivering.

Wish I could remember who wrote that story; they deserve a medal.

Somehow when I searched for 'turkey sweaters' I came up with something different, like this:

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(photo from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon blog, 2009)

Or this:

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(photo from fufufashions.com)

I guess turkeys wearing sweaters isn't really any weirder than what we wear or make our dogs wear.


Baby Blankets

I'm going to make a baby blanket, maybe two next year. Our family has a baby coming: my nephew and his wife are expecting, and that, my friends, is the knock of opportunity. I also didn't make a baby blanket for my niece and her husband's baby, because I was in the hospital at the time. She is two  years and almost three months old now, and I'm think she might need a big-girl blanket. You know, for blanket forts and such.

To crochet? or knit? In blocks or strips? Or whole? Lacy? (Seems to me that lacy designs would get their fingers caught, and I don't want to be responsible for yanking kids' digits askew.) Cables? Colorful? What colors?? Make it up, or follow a pattern? (I never designed a baby blanket before.) The possibilities are endless. 

I've seen a lot of baby blankets that I like. I've thought of a few I'd like to design.  But, as a person who has never had kids before, and I really don't interact with them much -- I prefer kids when they're about 10 or 11 or older; I am the grumpy old lady of  children everywhere -- I ask you, what makes a good baby blanket?

It's fun to go through my stash of patterns!

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Oat Couture's Curlicue Coverlet

 


A Library on Wheels

Since I've been playing around with writing. I've started to really examine the writing in my life. I loved reading when I was a kid. I loved reading -- well, listening to, followed by reading -- Winnie the Pooh with my sister, reading Dr. Seuss' One Fish, Two Fish book, and Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, .... basically, that's all I remember from my childhood. I also vaguely remember a blue book about a kangaroo, but I have no details. And I believe my first chapter book was Bambi. I read a lot more; I just can't remember what things I read.

I do remember the Bookmobile. I can still see it, smell the smells of all the books. The bookmobile was a wonderful thing, living in rural northern Maine. When I was a kid, the closest public library was the Presque Isle Library, and that came later as a place to explore. I remember being very impressed by their collection of Nancy Drew mysteries. 

Bookmobiles have an interesting history. They began in Cumbria, England in 1857; needless to say, it was horse-drawn, so it wasn't really a bookmobile as much as a bookcart, but you get the idea. In the U.S., in Chester County, South Carolina they had a mule-drawn portable book system around 1905, carrying books to rural areas. I think it was in the 1950's that bookmobiles really took off; I remember checking books out from the bookmobile in the 1960's.

There are other types of bookmobiles worldwide: there's the Camel Library Service in Kenya (The Camel Bookmobile is a novel written by Masha Hamilton featuring it); there's the library ship, Epos, serving western Norway; and Elephant Libraries in Thailand. All three sound like fun ways to get the word out!

Rockport has a good library about two stone's-throws from my house. I have never been there ... Amazon delivers.

1969_bookmobile
(photo: Syracuse bookmobile, 1969, from www.onlib.org)


Learning to Cook All Over Again

One of the hardest things for me to realize about my stroke is that on scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is being shaky for a day or so, and 10 is dying, my stroke was an 8.5 or 9. Some would say 9.5, but I have to believe somewhere out there is someone worse off than I. 

It's hard to believe. I just keep on going, you know? Keep on getting better, keep on getting around, keep on knitting and spinning. Last week I started cooking supper for us again. With one hand. It's really hard, but it gives me purpose. It becomes one more thing I can do so my husband won't have to do it all himself. It's been three years, I have done cooking before, but this is the first time I've taken it on as something to do regularly, every day.

I find that going slowly, being patient, is the key. Just getting to the sink and back is something I have to think about. Peeling cloves of garlic, such a sticky little chore. Taking the ends off green beans, an endless job. Peeling potatotoes -- no longer can I peel nice, long peelings, I have to make short, little peelings because my cutting board, which has three prongs sticking up to hold the potato, only lets me peel a little tiny peeling at a time. I have thrown out all that I knew before, and I'm finding ways to cook that are different from anything that seems logical. It's like cooking underwater in slow motion. 

It feels good, though. Cooking is good for the soul :)

 


Baby Blankets

I was randomly looking through my virtual stash, taking stock of what I have for baby blankets. 

I have some white cotton/acrylic that would be good, some brightly colored cotton baby yarn that would be good for crochet, some Baby Ull from Dale of Norway in oranges and greens. What to make? 

I culd go simple:

Lg_pattern_finebaby_medium

That's the Swan's Island blanket from Michele Rose Orne.

But I kind of want to make up my own pattern. 

Decisions.


Brown

I was driven in the fall of 2007 to knit a long, brown scarf that would wind around my neck twice and hang down long enough to play with the ends when I was bored, or wipe up spilled drinks in the bar, or whatever. I loved that scarf. I wore it all the time that winter, whether I was cold or not. Then after that winter, I couldn't find it and went onto other scarf things.

Long brown scarf

I'm glad I wrote down the particulars; it's 70 stitches on size 4 needles with four skeins of Dale of Norway Baby Ull yarn (that's fingering weight), and I did knit 2, purl 2 forever until all four skeins were used up. Any 700 yards of fingering weight yarn would do it, I'm sure. I did not write down the measurements of the scarf, and I wish I had; you can tell it's about 6 or 7 inches wide from the photo, and probably 6 feet long or so. It was long enough, but not too long; wide enough, but not too wide. It was just right.

I'm getting the urge again to knit another long, ribbed scarf, maybe out of brown, but maybe out of another color I like from my stash. That'll be a good winter project!


Herd Boy and Weaving-Girl

I found this tale while researching something else, and thought, what a great story! It's from about 6th century BC, and tells how a herd boy captured the heart of a celestial maiden who wove for the king and queen of heaven. Look up into the sky on the seventh day of the seventh moon, to see the stars Vega and Altair, Weaver Girl and Herd Boy, and hear their story:

VegaAndAltair

"The seventh day of the seventh lunar month is the Double Seventh Festival in China. The folklore goes that it is the day when Herd-boy and Weaving-girl reunite with each other. The beautiful love story about the origin of this festival is still popular today.


"It is said that a long time ago, a clever and honest man named Niu Lang (Herd-boy) was living in the Niu village at the west of Nanyang city. Niu Lang's parents died when he was very young and he had to live with his brother and sister-in-law. The latter was very cruel and mean to Niu and always forced him to do some hard work. Finally she even drove Niu out of her family. Poor Niu only had an old cow with him. One day the old cow suddenly told Niu, "Tomorrow is the seventh day of the seventh lunar month; the seven daughters of Yuhuang Dadi will come to earth and have a bathe. The youngest one that named Zhi Nv (Weaving-girl) is the cleverest. Hide her clothes and she will be your wife." Niu Lang was aroused by what the cow had said and decided to have a try.

 
"When it came to that day, Niu Lang hided himself in the reed by the river beforehand. Soon seven fairies descended from the heaven. They took off their clothes and jumped into the river. Right then Niu Lang bounced up from the reed, grabbed Zhi Nv's clothes and dashed backwards immediately. This had terrified the seven fairies and the six of them flew to the heaven with their clothes on, leaving only the youngest Zhi Nv startled in the river. Niu Lang stumbled that he would return the clothes as lang as she promised to marry him. Zhi Nv found that Niu Lang was the kind of man that she loved, so she nodded bashfully. After the marriage Herd-boy and Weaving-girl lead a happy life and they loved each other very much. Later they gave birth to a son and a daughter. How perfect the life was! How ever, the Queen Mother of the Western Heavens was irritated by their behavior and forced Zhi Nv to return to the heaven.


"Niu Lang put on his cowhide shoes and brought his kids with him to chase Zhi Nv back. When it came to the edge of success, the Queen Mother of the Western heavens pulled out a hairpin from her hair. With just one wave of the hairpin, she brought about a billowing river, which separated the two lovers at each bank. They could do nothing but weep with each other. Fortunately, the magpies were moved by their sincere love. That's said to be the origin of the Milky Way, Altair and Vega. Hundreds of thousands of them flew there and they formed a magpie bridge so that Herd-boy and Weaving-girl can get together again on the bridge. Not being able to make any change to this, the Queen Mother of the Western Heavens had to permit them to reunite with each oter every seventh day of the seventh lunar month.


"From then on, whenever it comes to that day, young girls will dress themselves in new clothes and tried to find the Herd-boy and the Weaving-girl stars in the sky at night, expecting to see their yearly reunion and praying to gods that they can be as intelligent and talented as Zhi Nv and can have a happy marriage. That's how the Praying-for-Cleverness Ceremony Originated.


"The Praying-for-Cleverness Ceremony is a very exciting day in the Chinese countryside. Young girls wear new clthes, worship the two stars and "pray to Zhi Nv for cleverness." There are many kinds of prays, the most common one of which is the pray for the talent of threading needles. Young women bring out colorful threads and seven needles. The girl who can pull a thread through these needles will be regarded as 'talented lady.' 


"The Double Seventh Festival is considered as the Chinese Valentine's Day. The story that Herd-boy and Weaving-girl reunited on the Magpie Bridge casts a romantic light on this festival. It is said that you can even hear the sweet whispers between these two lovers if you sit under the grape vine on that day."

from ChinaTravelRUs.com



 

 


October

I've already gone a week and a half into October. This is the time of year when time just starts flying. Pretty soon it will be Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then the hoopla that is the Christmas season, then a little New Years, and then I can relax. It will go by just as fast as that sentence did, too. 

When I put "Mouse 42" up on my blog, it hit me -- ten more weeks left in the year! Only ten! Ten more mice to knit, only ten. I wonder at people who start knitting now for Christmas; they only have nine -- eight and a half, now -- weeks before Christmas. No wonder they are rushed! 

Next year I'm not going to knit gifts for Christmas. People can only take so much of that, after all. How many scarves do people need, really? How many pairs of socks? People have so much stuff already. I think next year will be a food year, you just can't have enough to eat or drink, and after a while it goes away!

Also, I'm not going to knit mice, either. Next year I'm going to knit and crochet lovely things from my stash, spin lovely yarn, read interesting books, and maybe do a little writing, we'll see. It was fun to see if I could do something, and writing in my blog daily and knitting a mouse-a-week was what I chose to do, but now I have done that. Probably I'll continue writing my blog nearly daily. Maybe instead of knitting a mouse a week, I will switch to a square to knit or a granny square to crochet or something. Maybe I'll knit mittens or socks or hat to sell on Etsy. Maybe I'll write patterns. It will be something fun, anyway!

October whirl


The Universe with No Knitting

Capt Kirk: Bones, what would happen if that thing entered a tranquilized body? 
Dr McCoy: Well, it might take up knitting, nothing more violent than that. 

That's the only quote I could find from Star Trek that references knitting. You'd think that in all the years of the Star Trek original series, Star Trek the Next Generation, all of the movies, that show with the woman captain, Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Enterprise, someone on Star Trek might have been a knitter, but no.

Deanna Troi, played by Marina Sirtis, even really knit, but it never made it into the show, even as a prop, for Heaven's sake. You'd think over the years in all the shots of people's personal space, in their private quarters, you'd see in the background a ball of yarn, some knitting or crocheting or sewing, or even a loom set up, but you would look in vain. I guess that says how little-valued "women's work" is -- even though men did it too. During the Middle Ages, men did a lot of it! But times change.

Given the nerdiness of certain knitters, and I mean that only in the kindest way, as I am one of them, seems to me someone would have been a knitter on the show, or worn knitting, or something. Data kept a cat; couldn't he knit as well? Don't having a cat and knitting go together well?

Could be I'm wrong, I hope so, so if anyone has any knitting-related quotes or images from the Star Trek universe, send 'em my way! 
DataWithSpot
(from StarTrek.com)