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March 2012
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May 2012

Spring Thoughts

I've got to get out and scrub my porch; it is nearing spring now, and I will plant my flower boxes. It's so nice to see them, and the flowers that I have hanging on pegs from the ceiling of the porch, colorful little welcome-homers. It makes the house feel lived in. I wish I'd taken pictures of my flowers from last year. I thought I did, but I can't find them now. I can't decide what to plant ... 

I saw a hummingbird the other day, which made me think about putting up my humming bird feeder, too. The little buggers are hungry! I saw a cardinal too, his bright red feathers were so beautiful, just outside my window. I saw a plump robin yank a big, fat worm out of the ground, tugging and tugging. 

My tulips and daffodils haven't bloomed yet, but my neighbor's across the road has flowers that have been blooming for weeks now. I guess that's the power of sunlight! Our house faces north, theirs faces south. But we have a better view of the ocean (until the leaves show up) than they do!  :)




Book Review: The Diamond Age

I recently finished Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. I think I can enumerate Neal Stephenson up there with Tom Robbins and Kurt Vonnegut, those weird, funny, mind-stretching guys who write. I wonder why I haven't discovered any women who write like that? Something to ponder.

The Diamond Age centers around Princess Nell in a steampunk sort of world, where Neo-Victorians ride on robotic horses and build huge builings in the sky made out of diamond that is from a matter compiler. A lot of the action is in Shanghai, and in the Leased Territories, and towards the end it takes place underwater. 

Nell is a little girl who lives in a dirt poor neighborhood with terrible parents, and her brother Harv lives with her too. Harv is her parent figure in this uncertain world; he teaches her things, and takes care of her. One day he brings her The Young Ladies Illustrated Primer, which he stole from a Vicky (Victorian). The thing is, it's a very special book, and it teaches her to read and so on. 

The narrator of the book is a real person named Miranda, who slowly begins to think of herself as Nell's mom. She witnesses, through what Nell says, horrible things in Nell's life. It messes with poor Miranda's head, so Carl Hollywood, sort of her agent, feels compelled to help her. Meanwhile, John Hackworth, the unfortunate creator of the book, becomes involved in all sorts of adventures. You see, his creation of the book was ... illegal. He was supposed to make only one copy of the book, and it was for the grandaughter of a noble, but he also secretly made two. One was supposed to be for his daughter, but it got stolen before he could give it to her. 

Nell struggles and overcomes her demons, rises in society, and she becomes the real heroine. One thing I really like about Neal Stephenson's female characters -- they are strong women. Amy Shaftoe in The Crypt0nomicron was also a very strong woman character. I find it quite fascinating that such a macho man as Neal Stephenson seems to be could consistly create such strong women characters. I like it. 

Neal Stephenson is a very Dickensian writer, too, in the level of details he gives about people and scenery, and Nell's story, rising from the depths of society to the very top, is like something out of Dickens, too. 

He ended this book the same way as The Crytonomicron, abruptly. That's one thing I don't like about his writing. But, it's very masculine of him; he was done with the story, so he just ended it. And really, he said everything that needed to be said. I guess I just wanted to keep hearing his voice :)

My Slow Progress

It's slow, but it's still going forward :) 

First, here is Mouse 19, unveiled:


You will notice a color change on the face. I finally reached the end of the ball of gray that I had ... but then I found another ball of tan Lush in the stash that I was inventorying last week. Small miracles, like yarn showing up just when I need it, are mysterious but good; thank you God. Now you can see tan mice, just in time for summer! They are naked too, so no tan lines. Silly mice.

My Crosswired Socks are 75% done:



These socks are kind of addictive to knit; I just want to keep going and going. Didn't I say that last week? It's still true. I may want to knit these again sometime, but not right away, because there are about a trillion other things I want to knit first. 

I really miss the Itchy Scratchy sweater. It's pining away behind me on top of the knitting bag (which never houses any actual knitting projects, just yarn and tools and needles and stuff). I didn't knit on it at all this week, because I was knitting on my socks, but I wanted to. I'll knit on it for the next two or three weeks til it's done, and then I'll block it and it will look fabulous, and everyone wil tell me I must be a GENIUS, and it will fit perfectly, and my arm and leg will miraculously be all better, and I'll take up scuba diving, and we will go live in Mexico where I will teach knitting to rich tourists. 

The End.


My husband makes good brownies; he's perfected the recipe and makes nice moist brownies that taste really great. Unfortunately, he doesn't make any notes of what he is doing while he's baking. But, the following is as close as he can remember, so I'm putting it here so *I* can remember it, as well as a few other people who have had occasion to try them. :)

I would have taken a picture but, ummm, they're all gone. Oooops.


1 c. almond flour

1 c. chestnut flour   *addendum:We just found out that chestnut flour is high in carbohydrates, so I recommend substituting almond flour or brazil nut flour for the chestnut flour.

1 c. hazelnut flour

1/2 c. coconut flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. cocoa

1 c. Splenda or sugar (or a really long squirt of agave nectar)

2 oz dark chocolate, unsweetened

4 oz. cream cheese

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 tsp. vanilla

hot water

1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Mix dry stuff together and set aside.  Melt the chocolate and soften the cream cheese in the microwave (cut it into small squares and microwave 15 seconds at a time until it's soft), mix it together, then add the eggs and vanilla. Add hot water to desired consistency, and add nuts, if desired. Put it in a 9" x 13" greased pan, and bake for 30 minutes at 350˚.

One of these brownies is really filling, so be careful. We usually have one after supper with whipped cream or peanut butter or almond butter sweetened with stevia, which is really good, especially with coffee. It is yummy!


Yesterday I went upstairs armed with my iPad and my phone and set about making an inventory of my yarn. I had it all inventoried at one point, but since then I had added to it, I moved ... and nothing was where it used to be. My inventory wasn't even complete as it was. So this time I was determined to set it all down.

The last time, it was on sheets of paper. I can't really write anymore (I suppose in another time, I would have learned to write by now; but with keyboards being so prevalent, why bother? I have to sign my name and that's about all I need to write) so I used Evernote on my iPad, made a new note, and started in. Some people would have had me use a spreadsheet or database, but I think it's overkill. I put down how many skeins of yarn, the name, color, weight, dyelot, and where it is, and a simple search helps me find it. Later, if I really need to put it in a database, I can ... that's the advantage of having all the time in the world. Last time, I scribbled as fast as I could because it had to get done right now, because I was a Very Busy Person and didn't really have time to make an inventory. Now I have the time. 

I went up about 9:30 and came down a little after 1:00; it was time to stop. I got maybe 25% of it done. I kept finding interesting things, like books and patterns and equipment, and had to look through it. I can't believe how much fun stuff I have up there. I fould beautiful skeins of sock yarn, and remembered where I was when I bought them. There is a lot more sock yarn than I thought I had. I found yarn for sweaters that I bought in faraway yarn shops. I found kits that I bought on  a whim a long time ago. Sadly, I found one kit for a Vivian Hoxbro kit with the yarn all wound into balls and the gauge swatch knit -- it was supposed to be for the store; guess it won't be now. A lot of the yarn made me sad too; there's a lot of memories of Unique One in those bins. But, shit happens, and I can't get hung up on it. There's a lot of half knit models for the store. Somebody will wear them, I suppose. 

One thing that struck me was, I used to knit all the time for the store, to make models, to work up new patterns, for the knitting cruises, for my classes. It was all very good and fun and all, but I remember that I never had time to savor my knitting. Everything was done in a hurry. I'd finish one thing and start on the next thing in line.  Now I knit for enjoyment, for re-learning, for the senses. All in all, my life undoubtedly is harder, requires more patience, and there is a lot of things that I just can't do (yet) [Lynne. I am believing. Really.], but besides all that, there is a part of this life that is maybe a little better, too. Now, I have time. 

I'll keep going back, inventorying, finding stuff, exploring until it is eventually done, but it's a luxury not to have to hurry.

A Great History of Knitting Needles Resource

I just discovered this most-excellent web site: Webster's Knitting Needle Notions: a Site Devoted to the Humble Knitting Needle.

Susan Webster is a knitting needle bloodhound (like me) and her collection of old knitting needles is amazing. In the history of the knitting needle, she gives a chronology from the early Christian era through the 1980's that is really quite astonishing. I am very glad to have her web site to refer to! There is still a lot of early history left to find, however. The "knitting madonnas" pictured in the 12th century paintings (there's a set of pictures on Flickr) show them knitting baby shirts and extremely detailed, muticolored socks; I don't think they simply sprang from their foreheads with knitting knowledge like that. There must have been a few years of trying to figure out this knitting thing. We still haven't found any knitting extant, or needles either, but that is probably because they decayed, being made of things that nature loves to reclaim. Dust to dust is for more than just us humans, you know.

There are three .pdf's of every needle she has encountered. It's fascinating to look through. It is organized by the maker's name, if known.

Webster has a section of "Orphans", needles she has not yet found anything about. Go look and see what you can see. I found several needles that were similar to some of my collection, but beyond "they came from a collection of needles I found on ebay", I couldn't be of much help. But, I am glad someone's out there hunting! 

I don't know if she's still compiling more stuff, or if this is a dead web site, but I am glad I found it.


Yesterday I downloaded SockWizard, a Knitting Software program for knitters by Carole Wulster. I got the download for immediate gratification, but there is a CD available too, if you can wait for shipment. It is available for both Mac and PC; my version is on a Mac. I am very excited about this. 

I was always pretty good at women's sized socks, but if I needed to make men's sized socks it kind of made me shiver a little. Children's sizes scared me to death; I don't think I have ever knit a children's sized sock without using a pattern. I remember knitting baby socks that came with the pattern for a Dale of Norway baby sweater I was making, and I made one or two single baby socks as models in the store, but that's it. Now there are children in the family, and I can use this software to make whatever size they need, out of whatever yarn I have (including my handspun! ooo!).

Carole Wulster says "Since 1990, our goal has been to design and write software for the hand knitter that is easy to use.  We wanted our software to be a tool, not an end in itself." That is what I needed, a tool. A tool that I can use to go off by myself, to knit various pattern stitches, a jumping off point to greatness. Well, maybe not to greatness, but to make a pair of socks that fit anyway. 

So I fired up the SockWizard. This is what I saw:

Beginning screen

It has a place to put in your needle size and your yarn choice. I like how it has both US/Imperial and Metric measurements. If you hit "Next" it goes to Gauge. 


"Estimate row gauge" is clicked by default, but you can unclick it if you know the gauge your working to. Of course, you would have to knit a gauge swatch at some point, or you can just wing it and write the gauge of your finished sock with the yarn and needle choice, and file it somewhere electronic for further reference (I have a list of knitting notes that I keep on my computer for this.)

The next window is called "Construction":


I love this window. I can change the direction I want to work in from Toe to Cuff, or Cuff to Toe. If you knit from Cuff to Toe, there are 8 variations of heel and toe to choose from. The heel flap has 3 variations. And, there are THREE variations of finishing the toe! Whooohooo! I can knit from cuff to toe if I want to!  If you knit from Toe to Cuff, there are 4 types of heel given, and 8 types of toe. I can hardly contain myself!

The last window is Sizes:


You can choose Infant/Toddler, Child, Woman, Man, and Holiday. (Can you believe it? Holiday socks. So very cool.) Included are three styles of socks: Standard, Knee socks, and Ankle socks. The shoe sizes change the numbers in the boxes, but you can put in your own numbers to fit the wearer. 

Then, lastly, you just click "The Pattern" and it is generated for you in a second, and you can view it or print it or save it or make a .pdf or whatever. There is even a "Help Book" for help in knitting socks. It is magic. The cost is $34.95

Now I'm off to knit on my Crosswired Socks, but I will be dreaming of knitting socks for everyone with SockWizard!

Knitting & Spinning

I made two mice this week, to make up for not making any last week. Here are Mouses 17 and 18:

Mouses 17 & 18

I didn't work on my Itchy Scratchy sweater this week at all, because I've been obsessed with my Crosswired Socks:

Xwired    Heel

These are so much fun to knit: it's like eating popcorn. I can't put them down! But I have to be mindful of not knitting too much, or the carpal monster will get me. 

I like how there's a different pattern on the back of the leg than on the front. While I was knitting, I dreamed of making a hat with the new colors of Good Karma Farm yarn -- Hibiscus and New Mowed Lawn (I'm going from memory here). 

And, as promised, I have been spinning a little bit every day:


My spinning has improved, but it still needs work. This is superwash merino that Tracy dyed. She gave it to me with the promise that I would spin it and knit with it someday. Little did she know that I would have a stroke! So here is my promise in the keeping, I'm spinning it, Tracy!

I divided the fluff in half before starting, and the first half is just about done. It will take me about a week to spin the other half, and then I'll ply it and set the twist. I never really know what I will make with the yarn until I end up with it. I intended to make socks, and I still may, but ya never know. They yarn may surprise me. I think it's still a little thick for sock yarn, but we will see. 


My lilac bush has sprouted leaves in earnest now. I love that fresh, green color that signifies the beginning of spring!

I Wish It Would Always Be Spring

Mel walked joyously up over the little hill, and struck out across the field to her left. It was a glorious spring day, the sun was shining, robins and sparrows and blue jays were singing happily, and butterflies danced in the morning breeze. She was headed to her special spot, where she would be alone and eat her breakfast in peace. The little basket at her side held an old, plaid blanket, a good book, warm cinnamon buns, slices of strawberries and melons, and fresh, hot coffee in a thermos. It was time for her to greet spring the way she always had, with a breakfast under the old yew tree as soon as it was warm and dry enough. 

Soon the tree was in sight, with a marvelous view of the little town of Verna before it. No one ever came up here. It was always deserted, but she enjoyed the lack of company. She spread the blanket on the ground, put out the food, and flopped down to read her book, slowly munching on the cinnamon rolls and the fruit, and sipping the coffee. 

Time passed. The sun was very warm, and it felt good on her shoulders after winter’s cold. She put her book down and stretched, thinking how perfect this morning had been. “I wish it could always be spring!” she said, out loud. Suddenly she heard a loud crack from deep underground, beneath the tree, which startled her. She looked around curiously for the cause of the noise, but finding none, she picked up her book again, and soon was lost in its tale.

The spring months passed, and before long it was mid-June. Children were let out of school and ran playing around the town. The weather continued to be perfect: the temperatures were not too hot our too cold, the rain fell in early morning or at night, and everyone remarked at how long their daffodils, tulips, and lilacs were lasting. Two more weeks went by. It was now almost July, and people’s daffodils were still blooming. The were gorgeous things, to be sure, but there was some muttering going on, a wave of disbelief and worry was creeping into conversations. Soon it was July.

Mel walked into the post office, to find little knots of people talking about the weather. 

“It’s not right, I tell ya. My apple trees still have their blossoms on ‘em, but not a single apple. It’s just not right!” said Jake, who drove the school bus. 

“Yeah, an’ the water in the lake certainly hasn’t warmed up a bit. It oughta be gettin’ warmer! I’m thinking the Beach Committee is gonna hafta put some serious thought into closing the beach for the summer, til it warms up anyway,” said Marvin. 

“It’s just plain weird. I mean, it’s not global warming, exactly. It’s just staying the same!” stated Amelia. “We should maybe have a special town meeting to see what everyone thinks it is.”

The was general agreement about this. The knots of people had convened in the middle of the post office floor, which was where Mel happened to be. As she was on the library committee, and thus was the closest thing to an actual government representative, they waited for her to say she would start the ball rolling.

“Well,” she said hesitantly, “if you really think that we should, well, I guess I can ask Phil about it ...” 

Everyone thought they really should, so Mel went to Phil, the town manager, and got permission for a special town meeting. Phil thought they should get some research about weather, and Mel was deputized to find what she could about weather systems that could explain the spring-like weather. It seemed that it only went as far as the town line, however. Every town around Verna was gearing up for summer just fine, but Verna was obstinately holding onto its forsythia and its forget-me-nots.  

The news leaked to a few newspapers, people posted pictures of Verna’s profusion of spring blooms on Twitter and Facebook, and soon the Associated Press was in on it. Vans with various news logos pulled up at the two local bed and breakfasts, bristling with antennae. Several doctors of biology and weather functions were seen taking measurements of the air, the water, and photographing the local fauna. The population of the town grew astronomically, and while it was nice at first to have lots of new customers in the stores, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts, after a while no one could keep it up. The town meeting was scheduled for two week’s from Independence Day.

They held the town meeting. Dr. Martin, an expert in weather, said a lot of things, but in the end, he had no idea why it seemed so spring-like. Dr. Marcos, an expert in horticulture, was amazed at everything, but she couldn’t explain it either. A lot of people got up to say it just wasn’t right, but they had no explanation for it. There were lots of questions, but no answers.  

The National Guard kept people out of town now; it had a wall around it, high piles of sand bags and chicken wire, with men with guns pointed at nothing in particular. It was the ultimate tourist attraction ... except you couldn’t get in unless you lived there. The residents of town were issued special passes so they could get in and out of town, and that helped, but they felt increasingly like prisoners. Whenever they left town, people followed them everywhere. Invitations to go on Leno, the Today show, Fox were a dime a dozen, and some took them up on it. Many didn’t. There was a feeling that there was something wrong about the whole thing.

Mel went up to the yew tree regularly to enjoy the air and the sunshine and the birds chirping. Then it got to be autumn, and it was suddenly cloying. She enjoyed the spring, but suddenly she found herself wishing for a little nip in the air. She baked cookies more often, and looked in vain for a bit of fall colors coming into the leaves. She even wished for a snowflake or two. It was hard getting into the spirit of Christmas by humming a carol while apple blossoms decked the branches of nearby trees and fish swam in streams that were clear of ice.

Soon it had been a year. It was spring again, real spring. Mel wished she would never see a spring day again. She was tired of buds and blossoms and warm, but never hot or chilly or cold, weather. She packed a basket with sandwiches and apples and a thermos of tea and went back up to the yew tree. She always wondered why no one ever was seen up there; it seemed to be the perfect spot for a picnic. She spread her blanket and put out the thermos and apples and sandwiches, and plopped down. She hadn’t brought a book to read. She drew her legs up under her and closed her eyes. 

Tears welled up and fell uncontrollably. “I wish it would stop!” she said. “I wish we could go back to being normal!”

There was a shift, a space that hung for a moment in time, and then resumed. She felt it more than anything. It felt right. Mel stood up and ran, down into town. The guards were gone ... no wall surrounded the town, no vans with bristling antennae lurked about parking lots anywhere.

“Mel! You like you’ve seen a ghost! What’s the matter?” Marvin asked, after she bumped into him, spilling his mail on the ground.  

“Oh....ummm, nothing. I was just up on the hill, having a picnic under the yew tree ... nothing’s wrong,” she said, and repeated it because it sounded so good to say it, “Absolutely nothing is wrong!”

Marvin watched her run off in another direction. “That girl’s a bit addled by the nice spring weather we’re having.” He took his cap off and scratched his head. “Everyone knows there’s no yew tree in town.” 



It's been one and a third years since I last spun. It was December of 2010. You can read about it here and here.  I spun 4 ounces of blue fluff that I bought at the last Spa, before my stroke. I spun the whole thing, but I wasn't very happy with it; it was lumpy and bumpy, not at all like the smooth, glorious yarn I had been used to spinning. It made me really sad. When I tried to ply it, one ply broke and that was it -- I abandoned the whole project in a fit of anger and said I wasn't going to spin again.


Fourteen months later, I find I can do a lot more, I am wayyyyy less depressed, and the spinning wheel kept attracting my attention. Luckily I kept it right by the bathroom door, where I would look at it every day. Saturday I pulled it out, pushed it up to my chair, and decided to try it again. 

I reattached the end that had broken, and it was no big deal to start spinning again. It felt good. I was still not happy with the yarn, and it is still lumpy and bumpy, but now I see it has potential.


With practice, a lot of practice, a really large lot of practicey-practice, I can spin yarn again that is similar to what I used to spin. But, I need to .... practice. No spinner becomes a better spinner without practice. When I saw Sharon up in Nova Scotia, I promised to practice spinning on the wheel that I bought when she was moving, but I never did. 

Now I will. It's set up, all ready to go. I will practice. I promise.







Yesterday Lynne and I went to Portland. We walked around a bit at Marden's, and I admit, I was  shaky at first, but as I walked more, my leg seemed to get stronger. Then we went to the Christmas tree shop, but I was winded from Marden's, so I stayed in the car and watched people. I wished I could get up and walk effortlessly like they did, and something in me said, well, you can if you work at it.

Then we had lunch at Sea Dog with Katie, Lynne's daughter. She told us about the Gelato Fiasco and Five Guys restaurant. I didn't even know there was a Five Guys in Portland. I used to go to a clothing show in Marlboro that was next to a shopping center where Five Guys was, and it was the highlight of my trip. Five Guys makes the best hamburgers ever, while you watch, and their french fries are wonderful. The Gelato Fiasco is right next to Five Guys, so my two favorite things are conveniently placed! I had some tiramisu gelato that was very good. 

We went to Trader Joe's next. Yesterday was the first time I was in a grocery store of any size since my stroke. It was very slow going, but it was wonderful. I walked all over the place, found two kinds of tea, some coconut oil, some almond butter, some bars of chocolate. Then the long walk back out to the car, but I found that my leg was improving with every step. When we got back to the car I was winded, but happy. 

So that's a lot if information about a little thing, but a simple trip to Portland to you is a lot to me. Walking into a grocery store, buying groceries, checking out, getting back to the car -- it's a big deal, to me. It was a fun day!


No Mice for You

I didn't knit any mice this week; I'll have to knit two next week! 

I did knit a little on the Itchy Scratchy sweater this week. I missed it. I got to within 15 rows of being done the front. Then I just have the neckband, the sleeves, and finishing, and it will be done!


I have enjoyed working on the Crosswired Socks this week. I am up to the heel turn, which will be fun, and then I start patterning the back as well as the front of the sock. These socks are gonna be great. I thought as I knit, there are so many wonderful color combinations -- I may have to make another pair!


This is obviously a pre-blocked picture; there are no weird colored stripes like in the picture, there is just bad shading. I am loving this pattern! It's a lot of fun to knit, especially after learning how to cable without a needle. I am whizzing right along now!


Happy Friday the 13th!

Cables Without the Cable Needle

I finally figured out how to do cables faster, without the cable needle. Before my stoke, I used to cable this way all the time. After my stroke, it was nearly impossible; but, as they say, where there's a will there's a way. I find cables without a cable needle are much easier. There's the added fear of losing a stitch, but there's less fear of losing the cable needle (or some other needle) AND losing a stitch. 

Here's the video that Wendy Gaal made for the Crosswired  sock KAL that shows how to cable both with and without a needle. I perused it mightily and tried to figure out how I could do it with only one hand. I succeeded. I can show you how I do it later, if I get someone to hold the video camera.

It's great that I learned how to do this, as it frees my mind a bit about cables. It's much faster, too. 

Getting Around the Rocks

problem is a chance for you to do your best. 

-- Duke Ellington


Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.

-- Og Mandino


If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.

-- Frank A. Clark


If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

-- Mary Engelbreit


I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning to sail my ship.

-- Louisa May Alcott


You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

-- Walt Disney



Book Review: Knitting Cat's Sweet Tomato Heel

I recently caved and got Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato Heel Socks, an e-book; it will have 11 designs in it, and currently has 9. I love the front cover shot of a bluebird flying away with a sock! Very clever indeed. (No birds were harmed in getting the shot, hehe.)

First of all, I must say that Cat Bordhi has once again proved that she is the Steve Jobs of knitting. She has published an incomplete e-book, and will be adding to it regularly. The book was intended to have only 9 socks, but she says "I’m having so much fun designing these socks that I can’t stop." Who knows what we will end up with? There may be whole sections about designing your own sock; the possibilities of this kind of publishing are endless, and I look foward to what she will do. It's a perfect medium for Cat Bordhi, as everything she does is a little bit different. I think this changes everything.

I love the way Cat Bordhi writes. There is a playfulness that comes through, probably because she used to be a teacher. She describes the inside-out pockets in her "Hidden Treasure Pocket Socks" as puppy ears; I love that. On her "Hither and Yon" socks, she uses clear beads on the front of her socks, to let the color of the yarn show through, and multicolor beads on the back, to surprise passersby. A little surprise is always good!

The book has 9 patterns currently; two more are forthcoming. The patterns for the individual sock are available as single copies for $6.00, or you can buy all 10, plus a thank you gift of the last design which won't be available separately, for $20. If you are planning to knit more than three socks, you should buy the book. Each design uses the Sweet Tomato heel, which I blogged about here. Each design is also written for toe-up and top-down construction - a wonderful thing -- and written for one long circular, two circulars, or double-pointed needles.

Each design is highly adaptable in different sorts of ways, and I can use it as a springboard for other ideas. There is something for everyone in this book. All of the socks are sized for women, but children and men are also included in most of the designs, and babies are included in two designs. Cat's instructions are very clear, and while a bit wordy, it's necessary to follow them exactly in a few places. I think adventurous beginning knitters will do fine with this; it's the more advanced knitters which may tend to just go, thinking they know how the design works, and have to frog back. One of the good things (and bad things) about having had a stroke is I don't think I'm right about anything anymore, so I have to pay really close attention! It helps me, but it's aggravating as hell.

This is a great book, and I am looking forward to trying all the designs. Kudos to Cat Bordhi for this format! Another thing that's great about e-books is that I can take it anywhere -- my iPhone, my iPad, my MacBook, in print. Like Cat's designs, it's highly adaptable. :)


Something New

Yesterday I visited an acupuncturist! Jackie George, M.Ac, L.Ac. is soooo sweet and nice and knowledgeable that it was a pleasure to go and see her. You can go to Abundant Health and read up on her for yourself. I am scheduling acupuncture treatments eachweek, and we'll see where it leads. I am primarily going for relief of my muscle pain which I've always had in my right arm since my stroke, and relaxation techniques, because hey, who doesn't need that? The muscle pain aggravates me though. Why does it exist? When it's really bad, it seems like my whole right side, including my leg, aches and throbs and I can't do anything. Besides, going to have acupuncture is different, and I will get to tell you about it, as well as anything that happens -- I'm not saying that anything will, but it's a way of trying.

Jackie started by just talking to me, asking questions, getting information, and she told me about what sorts of things she wanted to try this first day. Then she got me in a prone position, and I was very relaxed. I was in bare feet, but she has heat lamps on the feet, which is really relaxing and wonderful. She felt my joints and muscles and stomach, and she asked me to stick out my tongue.

Since I had a heparin shot in my stomach every 8 hours for 14 weeks, I wasn't squeamish about needles in weird places; but even if I were, it was still no problem. I didn't even feel them going in. She place one on top of my head, one in the center of my forehead, one each in my hands and feet, and she left me alone for awhile after setting some incense alight and playing some soothing music. "Just relax," she said, but I was already relaxed. I felt wonderful.

When she came back, she took the needles out, sat me up, and did an infa-red treatment on my right arm and on my right foot to help them relax. That part seemed a bit useless to me, but she said it wouldn't show up until I had the treatments a bit longer. We will see.

I'm keeping an open mind. If nothing else, it's a good way to relax, and Jackie's positive nature is wonderful. I trust her; she is a friend of the family, and several of my relatives think very highly of her, people I trust, so I trust Jackie too. Acupuncture is not something I thought of right away when thinking of stroke rehabilitation, and certainly no one in the medical community mentioned it, but it has been used for centuries in China, and Jackie has mentioned helping several people with strokes. I think it is worth it for the positive feelings it engenders, and I am nothing without those positive feelings :) A little bird keeps telling me to BE POSITIVE, and I'm trying!

I will let you know how my next treatment goes! Stay tuned :)

Endings and Beginnings

Mouse 16 welcomes the world:


Another thing that came to a well-deserved end was the Man Socks:


I think the the ribbing on the right-hand one makes it more distinctive. I really can't believe that I ran out of yarn on these socks. They are for a man, but he is not a super-long-legged-foot man. The two other times I made socks out of this yarn, I made girl sizes, and had a lot left over. I'm kind of dumbfounded that I not only ran out, but 29 rows from being finished? Really?

Enough about that.

I didn't work on the Itchy-Scrtchy sweater this week. The socks really took over my life, and I wanted to finish them and find out what the end was going to be. Now that they're blocking, I can relax, and get back to the sweater. It's right here.


The exciting new thing I've started is Crosswired Socks, from Knitters Brewing Company. I chose Foo Foo Drink and Dreamsicle for my colors. They are Mary Jane colors, and when I have to choose colors, I'll stick with Mary Jane's color sense over mine any time. So far they don't look like much, but I like the colors!


Yarn, Why Do You Hate Me?

You petered out on me 29 rows from the completion of my pair of socks. In the future, I promise to use size 2 needles, not size 1's. Rather than making my brain hurt and tear out what I have already done on the other, finished, sock, and then finishing both of them, I'm finishing this pair with the corresponding green that I found in my stash of yarn. It helps to have a large stash of yarn sometimes. I hope the recipient doesn't mind; I don't think he will.

Needles, why do you try to commit suicide on a daily basis? This morning I found one of you jumping purposely over the table's edge, directly into the furnace's hot air vent. Luckily, you didn't go down all the way; my husband was able to retrieve you. But I've watched you, trying to escape, always falling out in the worst situations possible. You know I can't knit without all five of you!

I have 17 more rows to knit, and then I have to bind off. Please don't go wrong. The Man will love you, honest. 



Spring is like a perhaps hand  
by e. e. cummings


Spring is like a perhaps hand 
(which comes carefully 
out of Nowhere)arranging 
a window,into which people look(while 
people stare
arranging and changing placing 
carefully there a strange 
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps 
Hand in a window 
(carefully to 
and fro moving New and 
Old things,while 
people stare carefully 
moving a perhaps 
fraction of flower here placing 
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.



Sunday morning we had a breakfast for the family, and it was great to see everyone again. Georgia was a real cutie pie! I got to thinking, as I watched her, that the Little Girl Cardigan I knit was never going to fit her by Christmas, so I gave it to her ... it fits perfectly now. Good thing, and she will have fun wearing it while she plays outside!

She also got the cutest hat that Lynne knit her, which she put right on. It looks great with the cardigan! She is a stylin' little girl. I can't believe how fast she is growing.

Pam and Kevin gave me my birthday present a little early, because Pam said I deserved it for getting my finger to work. They gave me these gorgeous earrings, which were made partly from gold from a ring of my father in law's,  and beach stones. Jennifer Nielson, a fabulous jeweller, made them for Pam and Kevin. Thank you!!! I love these earrings:


They are very special!

Grace crept out after the Small Quick-Moving Person went away, and she's sleeping in her sunbeam now.