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July 2012

Gooey Blueberry Pie

I don't like blueberries. That's a step up from "I hate blueberries", which is where I was, but I'm trying to like them because of the whole antioxidant thing. I don't like the way they taste or feel in my mouth, but I can overcome it. 

This pie recipe is one way to like bluebrries, though, and it can be made with anything besides blueberries -- make it with strawberry-rhubarb (which we had twice, yum), raspberries, peaches, any kind of fruit. It will be good.

And yeah, it's wheat-free :)

Gooey Blueberry Pie



1 cup ground-up walnuts (we use a food processor)

1 cup ground-up hazelnuts

a little salt

a stick of butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted 

        Mix together and press into a pie plate; bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes. Cool while you make the fruit layer.

Cream Cheese Layer:

8 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup Splenda or whatever sweetener you like

1/4 cup half & half

        Nuke the cream cheese in the microwave at 30 second intervals to soften it. Then, add the Splenda/sweeter and half & half and whip it with an electric mixer until it's the consistency of frosting. (You can set it on the back of the stove while the crust is cooking to keep it warm until you're ready to spread it, if you like.)     

Fruit layer:

2 pints blueberries or other fruit (about 4 cups)

Juice of a lemon

1 1/2 cups Splenda or whatever sweetener you like

1 package unflavored gelatin

        Cook all but the gelatin in a saucepan until it is smooth (looks like pie filling, sort of). Sprinkle the gelatin over it and mix it in, and let it cook a few minutes more.

        Cool the crust for a few minutes, like 15 minutes or more. Spread the cream cheese mixture in the bottom of the crust. Pour in the fruit that you cooked. Cool completely, 3 or 4 hours. Top with whipped cream, if desired.


My Knitting and Crochet

Mouse 28 is done:

Mouse 28

I have completed the second clue on the Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl (spoiler alert!):


It's so crammed on the needle that it isn't much of a spoiler. Just when I figured out how to do the dang nupps, there are no more. Unless I want to knit it again. Which I do not. Most of my knitting this week has been right here, working on my nupps. You wouldn't think days of knitting would disappear so fast, but there you have it. Days and days of knitting. I just hope it's worth it in the end.

I also wound up three more skeins of yarn for my Holey Jacket:


When this yarn is gone, I will be more than half done my sweater. The progress so far:

Holey sweater

Unfortunately, I haven't worked on it much, because the nupps have been attacking me, but when I do work on it, it goes fast.

My navy sock also goes fast, when I work on it:

Navy sock

I have on my schedule that my Navy Socks should be done by next Friday. The next clue on the Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl doesn't have anymore nupps, but it might be a long clue to knit, so I hope I can get these socks done -- if I don't, no big deal. They'll get done.

Tour de Fleece

Spinners have taken the famous Tour de France bicycle race and made it their own: Tour de Fleece. I wonder how long before the Société du Tour de France makes them change their name? :::shrug:::

There is a group for Tour De Fleece on Ravelry, and I spin, so I joined. What you do is, spin every day the Tour rides, June 30 through July 22. Days of rest are July 10 and July 17, just like the real tour. Spin something challenging on the challenge day (to be announced). They have a button to show spinning solidarity on your blog, which I have added to mine. And finally, we all wear yellow on July 22 to celebrate our success! There are tons of prizes they are giving away too!

I already spin every day, so this will be easy for me. I might try spinning a little more, maybe an hour in the mornings a few days a week, as well as my usual hour per night. We'll see. I'm going to be spinning my purple batts from Indigo moon; I'll probably finish them before the end, so I'll start spinning my 4 pounds of black fleece. I'd love to get that all spun up, and this will be a good beginning.

This should be fun!!


Grace Is Fat

There's no two ways about it; Grace is too fat.


For years we have just hoped she'd lose weight. We tried diet cat food, but she only ate more of it, and kept on gaining weight, while Nick and Nora started losing weight and resorted to eating their prey to survive.

I don't know why it never dawned on us to move the food bowl. We are just dumb that way sometimes. We were standing around in the kitchen, talking about how fat Grace is, too fat to jump up on the counter or anything ... suddenly it dawned on us that we could just put the dry food bowl up on the counter, thus regulating Grace's diet, while letting Nick and Nora eat to their heart's content. Duh.

Yes. We let Nick and Nora eat on the counter. We love them.

We give our cats a little mushy food (wet cat food) for breakfast and supper (mainly to get them to come inside), and they have dry food all day to snack on. This works for most cats, but not for Grace. Grace maintains that she doesn't have an eating problem -- she has no problem at all eating and eating and eating. 

Susan told me once that Grace was normal-sized when Brenda got her, but after Brenda got Zak, her poodle, and Grace started living in the closet upstairs, she started to gain weight. I remember going over to Brenda's to work on her computer, and Grace was fine, normal sized, and Brenda was amazed at how friendly she was to me, because Grace didn't usually do that.

Then Brenda died, and I offered to take Grace, because I wanted to keep a little bit of Brenda, and I figured no one would want to take Grace. Grace, by that time, had issues that went beyond her weight issues.

Anyway, time passed, Grace was continuously happy, there were no dogs, and the food was plentiful. Until two days ago. Now she is unhappy. She keeps looking up at the far-away counter top and she can see the food there. Besides her mushy food (which now has to have her medicine mixed in with it), she gets a very small amount of crunchy food morning and afternoon. It's only five pieces, mostly given just to appease her sense that she had something. She walks around the house and cries for food every now and then, which makes my heart break, but I'm not giving in.

The good news is that she gets more exercise because she's continuously walking back and forth, trying to get food, instead of lying in the sun like a beached whale, snoring. I think she'll start losing weight soon. She has to, to be able to jump up on the counter ....

My Darling Crochet

I was thinking the other day that it is a strange thing that some knitters find crochet so scary.

Why is it scary?

It hasn't got pointed sticks, like knitting does. It doesn't have hundreds of stitches to drop, it only has one little loop that doesn't drop, and can easily brought back where it ought to be if anything happens to it. 

I think it's scary because crochet stitches are deemed to be harder to make out. Exactly where do you put that hook, anyway? It can be very confusing ... knitting was like that too I bet, when it was first learned. We forget that part, forget about knitting ever bringing a sense of fear with it. 

Crochet has more stitches to learn than knitting does. All there is to knitting is knit and purl, a binary system that's easily learned, with occasional yarn overs. Crochet has a chain stitch, slip stitch, single crochet, double crochet, treble crochet, cluster stitch ... well, the list goes on. The thing is, you don't have to know it all at once. I made granny squares for ages knowing only how to chain and double crochet.

Crochet is faster than knitting. We all like that. In between my shawl and a pair of socks, I finished the back of my Holey Sweater yesterday.


It's got this weird zig-zag happening, but I like it. The thing that's weird is that it is uninterrupted by my starting a new ball of yarn.

My Knitting and Crochet

Mouse 27 is ready to rock and roll:


I used The Culprit that unintentionally dyed my lovely skein of yarn pink. There is some satisfaction that will come of that when a cat rips it to shreds.

I blocked my Cardioid Shawl, which came out lovely, and I am very happy with it. Here it is pre-blocked:

Unblocked shawl2

Here it is blocked . The magic of lace!

Cardioid shawl blocked2
Cardioid Shawl 3

I was going to start my Summer Solstice Mstery Shawl KAL on June 20th, but I had to have something to knit until then, so I started a pair of plain socks with a skein of Comfort Sock in navy blue:

Comfort socks

They're good to work on when I am visiting someone.

Navy socks

I also started some crochet because ... well, because. Because I can and it's really fun. Here's my Holey Jacket so far:


I love this pattern. It's quick and easy, and it has a little shaping, but it's not hard. I also love the Wool in the Woods Cherub I'm using, too. The color is called "Majestic Ridge". The pattern calls for Paton's Grace; if I still like this pattern when it's done, I'll order some for either another Holey Sweater or for something else.

So then it was time to start thinking about the Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl. I chose a skein of Sockaholic in color "Speakeasy" that has been sitting in my stash for a few years.

SkeinSockaholic      Label

I knit my gauge swatch, and tried out some nupps:


The nupps on the top row are 3-stitch nupps; the nupps on the bottom row are 5-stitch nupps. Wendy gives the option of doing either one, or using beads, or doing nothing. I chose 3-stitch nupps. 

When the 20th finally rolled around, I downloaded the pattern and started out. I like Wendy's patterns, because you start out with the most number of stitches, and it only gets easier from there. I cast on my 277 stitches -- twice, because I ran out of yarn for my long tail cast on 30 stitches from the end. I used a cable cast on the second time, because I was bright enough to read the pattern and saw that the first row was a right-side row. About three repeats of the pattern into the first pattern row, I regretted choosing 3-stitch nupps. Those babies are harder than they look! Doing them a couple times is fine, but doing them 30 times in a row, with yarn overs and double decreases on either side of them, is torture. Probably, I will think they're really pretty when they're done, and they better be, dammit.

Ssmskal begun

That is the result of like, four hours of work, and the unending counting. I've got four more rows to do by next Tuesday ... if I live that long. Wish me luck!



Weird Fibers

I've been thinking about the fiber that I've got left for spinning, and it really isn't much, but I'm going to just go ahead and spin it. I've got four or five packages of roving, probably +/- 4 ounces each, I've got a a little more roving that is red and black, and I've got a whole fleece processed at Starcroft Fiber Mill -- it's a black fleece (Romney? I forget) that Tracy and I split, but in the end she let me buy her half back again, and that's four pounds. I think I can spin it all in about a year, maybe half a year if I keep on the way I have been. But then ... I won't have anything left to spin! Yikes!

That got me thinking about buying some cool fiber, and THAT got me looking on the internet, and I ultimately found that spinners are seriously whacked. Seriously. Whacked. They will spin anything that is even slightly animal, and any animal, wild animals included, just to try out the fiber. 

I knew that spinners will spin wool, any member of the camelid family (like llamas and alpacas and vicunas and, well, camels), bunnies, dogs, cats, buffalo, musk ox ... and several kinds of plant fibers, like cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, and other stuff, like silk. But here are some of the more outrageous types of spinning fibers that people have actually tried:

  1. Grizzly bear -- Fleegle has posted about this on her blog. 
  2. Lion hair
  3. Dust Bunnies (they're spinnable, but make truly yucky yarn)
  4. Dandelion Fluff and Milkweed down and Cattails
  5. Green nettle fiber and cedar fiber
  6. Paper (including comic  books) and shredded soda bottles
  7. Cotton balls, dryer lint, and kapok
  8. Arctic Fox and red deer and timberwolf and elk
  9. Highland cattle and pony fur
  10. Owl pellets
  11. Human hair

All in all, this stuff sounds like it's more trouble than it's worth, so I'm sticking to what I can find easily, preferably roving, preferably hand-dyed by someone else. What luxury!


My Spinning

It's been a week already, time flies so quickly now. I had a little re-direction in the spinning I was doing. Last time we talked about my spinning, I said I was going to ply this finished bobbin with a bobbin of the blue-purple batt:


But before I spun the blue-purple batt, I snuck a peak at the other batt, which I thought was the same thing as what I had just spun. It isn't. It has a little turquoise, a little pink, a little more purple, but it has a lot of black and green in it, and it's much darker:


So I decided to ply the two of them together, and I can ply the two blue-purple ones together. They'll both be beautiful when they are done.

My spinning has really improved. Yesterday when I was spinning, I thought how much my plies are smooth and even ... just like they were before my stroke. My pre-drafting is easier too. I guess I really just had to practice every day to solve my spinning problems (in the background I'm hearing Sharon saying,"Told ya so!').

I think the batts are really easy to pre-draft, once I got the hang of it. The fiber holds together well, so I can pre-draft it quite fine, which makes my spinning finer too. I like it!

Crochet, and a Knit Along

Yesterday I succumbed to the crochet bug. Last week, I got an email from Patons (because I registered on their web site for free patterns) with two lovely patterns. I thought, that is a lovely little cardigan, and went to look at it. It is crochet. 

Scallop Mesh Jacket

Sigh. It calls for sport weight yarn .... hmmm, I think I have some sport weight yarn in my recently-inventoried stash ... yes, there it is. Will it be enough?

Yes, it was exactly enough. 

Double sigh. And I already had two hanks wound into balls, too. So I started my Scallop Mesh Jacket, known to me as the Holey Sweater:

Cherub yarn

That's the beginning of the ribbing. I'm about to start the body now -- well, after I do some web site work. It is a lovely reward. 

In other (knitting) news, Wendy Johnson is having a KAL (Knit Along) in Ravelry and on her web site. It's the Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl KAL of her own design. It starts June 20, so you have time to sign up! The pattern is only $2, but it will go up to $5 on July 17. You can join her group on Ravelry if you like; I did.

I'm going to use a skein of Sock-aholic in a color called "Speakeasy", which I won years ago in a drawing on the Knitters Brewing Company's Ravelry group:


It's gonna be fun!

Knit to the Beat

Knitting is helped by so many things, one of which is music. For people who like music (there are some who prefer the spoken word over music) it can lead you into a trance-like state, can make knitting something that is a drudge go by quickly, and it does the magic job of doing two things at once.

My husband bought me a collection of classical music that I wouldn't have thought of buying on my own: 100 Movie Must-Have Classics (he's a movie buff; I am not). It's a great collection of a hundred good classical pieces. I don't even recognize most of the movies they're from, but I gotta say, I love the music! I can get lost in that music while knitting.

100 Must-Have Movie Classics

When I was little, in kindergarten or first grade, for a music lesson they gave us drawing paper and crayons and said, "Draw what you think of when you hear this music." The music teacher played something from Peer Gynt, I think, so I drew a copy of the album cover; my sister (and my kindergarten/first grade teacher) played it all the time. The music teacher was amazed until I told him that. Anyway, what I mean to say is, when I am knitting, I can really hear the music, get lost in it, imagine what that world is like. I need the knitting to focus on the music. Knitting without music is just knitting (and sometimes better that way, like in most of my Cardioid Shawl); music without knitting is just music -- lovely and exciting, but I can't let go of myself the same way.

Another album I like and get lost in, that just came out in May, is John Mayer's Born and Raised, sort of a cowboy version of what he does best, and that is writing songs and playing guitar. He plays guitar like a bluesman. I thought the first half of the album was better than the second half, but that's just me.

Born and Raised

I also like Royal Southern Brotherhood, which also came out in May, by Cyril Neville (of the Neville Brothers), Devon Allman (son of Gregg Allman), Mike Zito (a rising star in the blues world), bassist Charlie Wooton and drummer Yonrico Scott. Devon's guitar sounds, at times, like he's Carlos Santana. It's a yummy CD. I hope they make many albums together!

Royal Southern Brotherhood

My Knitting

Mouse 26 ...

Mouse 26

... hiding in the begonia. Can you believe it? The year is half gone already.

My Cardioid Shawl is nearly done:

Cardioid almost finshed

Cardioid 2

A close up


A point

When it's blocked of course, it will be much prettier. By cramming it all on straight 14" needles, I can't really tell what it looks like until  I block it. What if, through some strange manipulation of the stitches, it spells out "Horrible Knitter" instead of being a nice, normal lace pattern? You just can't tell.

I do know that I was off a few times on my count and just fudged it; that two other times I dropped some stitches and picked them up -- probably wrong, but they were the right number, and it was better than nothing, which is what I would have if I let it all unravel; and the first time I knit a point, I neglected to pick up the wraps with the stitches which it VERY CLEARLY tells me to do in the pattern, and I didn't go back and do it over because going back, with this very slippery yarn, is pretty much impossible. The yarn is very pretty, though. I will never use it again, but it's very pretty.

I'm not sure how I can block it. That will take some figuring out. It has quite a bit of weirdly-shaped acreage. I could block it on the bed, if no one cares about sleeping there for a night ... we could have an all night party. Or, I could just figure something out. We'll see.

Shawl of Doom

No, it's not my Cardioid Shawl, that's coming along slowly (takes almost half an hour to knit one row, sooooo many stitches). The Shawl of Doom is a real pattern that was pulled from Ravelry -- lots of controversy why -- but ultimately, a group was formed (I'm in it) and now a bunch of people are knitting the said shawl.

My HipstaPrint 852079297
I guess they added the pattern back in the database about 24 hours ago. Ravelry link is here.

It started out as a joke really, and then the pattern was pulled, so people like me said Censorship! Censorship! and our first response was to take action.

I'm not knitting the shawl of doom myself, though it seems like I have a few times in my life, but I made a "doom" tag on Ravelry and a few things have been tagged with "doom", like the Mouses of Doom, and the Scrap Sock Yarn Afghan of Doom, both named for how long it'll take me to finish them. There's a Shawl of Doom knitalong now; it was even at #1 in Hot Right Now on Ravelry.

What projects would you put the "doom" tag on, and why?

Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey

I started reading the Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey. Despite being named Wool, there is no knitting in it. It's a sci-fi masterpiece that will astound you, even if you don't like sci-fi. The characters are remarkable, real, well-written. The setting is far in the future, and mankind has been living in this Silo for so long that they have forgotten a life outside. To go outside means death. Luckily every now and then someone does something to get a death sentence, and is chosen for cleaning: going outside to clean the cloudy camera lenses to let people up top to see outside. The view worsens from the grimy toxins that constantly blow in the wind.

Wool was originally a series of short stories written, at first, in NaNoWriMo. The series grew; Howey self-published them in Kindle format as well as print. His editing is perfect. The book is selling like hotcakes! People read it, share it, talk about it with their friends, write blog posts about it. Rick Riordan even Tweeted about reading Wool. It's good to finally hear of a self-published author getting the recognition he deserves!

It's interesting that even though Wool has no knitting, the chapters -- the five separate stories that make up the omnibus -- are headed "Wool", "Wool 2: Proper Gauge", "Wool 3: Casting Off", "Wool 4: The Unraveling", and "Wool 5".  

It's a great series, anyway, and I heartily recommend it. I am reading the prologue now, First Shift - Legacy. I think it will set a background for the next short stories in the series. I look forward to finding out what happened!

My Spinning

I finished my pastel yarn, and plied it. I am pleased with it. It looks just like my pre-stroke yarn does, and I am pretty happy about that!

Pastel yarn

I patted myself on the back for a job well done, and went to have supper. Then, I put it in to soak and set the twist, but imagine my horror when I pulled it out looking sorta pinkish! 

Pinkish pastel yarn

And this had nothing to do with my stroke, honest. Here's the culprit:

The culprit

This is about 4 yards of the red-black yarn plied with the end of the pastel yarn, which I bundled up with the skein of beautiful pastel yarn and forgot about when I put it in to soak. 


Oh well. It will still be pretty socks, but now I have to make them for me instead of being a gift. The good news is that they'll be for me, instead of a gift!! The other good news is that I spun yarn fine enough and consistent enough and with good yardage enough to make a pair of socks (probably on size 2 needles). I was pleased to see that it was excellently balanced before I set the twist, too. So all in all, I count it as a win, despite the intermingling with the red dye in the bath. It's kinda pretty, though. It goes well with the blue and aqua and purple and green.

Except for the mishap of the red yarn, I think the dye job was just beautiful, and I hope I do that again sometime. I thought it was so horrible to start with, all blotchy and with so much white -- it really was just white with a little bit of dye, spaced out over the roving -- but it spun up so pretty, and when I plied it, it was beautiful. I am going to look very differently from now on at the fibers I run into; before, I was pooh-poohing white, spotchy dyes as a bad dye job, but now I see that it can be quite lovely.

My next adventure in spinning is to spin a giant batt of yarn. I got this from Indigo Moon (Mary Lynn Fitzsimmons, if I remember right) before she went out of business, years ago. Good thing batts don't go bad!

Indigo Moon batts

That's half of it; the other half looks the same. I had to figure out how to draft a batt, rather than roving. Roving was pretty simple, but this ... this I had to draft wrong a bunch of times, but then it suddenly clicked, and I started to spin this:

Spun batts      Close up spun batts

Oooohhh, pretty!! I like it! I can't wait for this yarn. But first, I'll be spinning for about a month. It's nice to know that I can spin, anyway!


Ravelympics is Ravelry taking part in the Olympics, July 27 - August 12. The Olympic Committee has nothing to do with it, but don't tell the Ravelry people; they're absolutely going bonkers over the Olympics. 

The last time I did the Knitting Olympics was when they had the Winter Olympics of 2010, about two months before my stroke, when I spun the yarn for a pair of socks on my spindle and knit the socks, all over the span of the Olympics. I wore my socks to the Spa. That was Stephanie Pearl-McFee's Knitting Olympics. It was really fun and I had a great time doing it. It was the most fun I'd had knitting in a long time.

Used to be, the Winter Olympics were the only ones that registered with me. The Summer Olympics were in the middle of Tourist Season, and the store was too busy for me to focus on anything else. But now, I can focus on the 2012 Summer Olympics!

Ravelry has tons of information. Tons. Just go to the Ravelympics 2012 group and see. You'll find everything you need. Just remember the One Rule to Rule Them All: Challenge Yourself and Have Fun! (Which is basically two rules.)

I'm on Team Sockaholics, which hosts the Village Pub, a very nice place to knit. They have daily drink specials during the games. They also have a team Ravelympic Logo:

I am using it for my Ravatar up to and during the Olympics. 

What events am I going to join? Hmmmm. Challenge yourself and have fun. I can only think of one challenge that I need to face: my October Frost cardigan (Lisa Lloyd, A Fine Fleece), which fits the bill for WIP Wrestling. It's been lying untouched since before May 2012 (February 2011, to be exact), and it's a challenge for me. I may not finish it during the Olympics, but I can make a dent in it, and maybe keep on going. Since I started it, I've done more cabling, and whole-sweater knitting, so I think it's time. I am warming up my sticks, getting ready. 

Are you in the Ravelympics?

Whiney Girl Can't Knit

I have really slowed down on my Cardioid Shawl.


Why do I do this? I did it on the Itchy-Scratchy sweater... I did it on the Juno Regina wrap ... looking over the years, I can think of lots of projects that I quit knitting on. Lately, I've been knitting on only one project at a time, so when I quit, it means I also quit knitting. I read, I surf the net, I do housework, I find almost anything to do besides knit. 

(begin whiney voice)

It's so hard, and the rows are so long, and there's counting, lots of counting, and I can't figure it out when it's not right, it's too harrrrrddddddd....

(end whiney voice)

But I've got to knit. Now I feel like I must finish one thing before going on to another. I've become one of those knitters ... a one-project-at-a-time knitter, who uses up my leftover yarn before going on to another project. It's weird. I feel like asking myself, "Who are you, and what did you do with the knitter who used to live here?!?"

The half-knitted Things in my Bins of Mystery upstairs are monuments to the way I used to be. I feel like finishing them or unraveling them (if they're knit on circular needles), a few at a time, three or four a year, and getting them all finished up. I feel like giving my yarn away every time someone who knits needs a birthday or Christmas gift, a skein or two here, a hank or a ball there, to get rid of it, and then when I have no more bins of yarn, I can buy more, one project at a time, knitting it all up before buying more. 

Is this a phase? Is the half of my brain that I fried the less responsible half? I feel like I don't want more than one project at a time, because that's all I can handle, and it makes me nervous to knit two or three -- or more, like seven or eight -- projects at once. Part of that was that I had to get them done by a deadline; they were for Christmas or the knitting cruise or a class or the knitting weekend, so I had to knit them, but still. I guess that's why I have so many unfinished knits put away. They were just for me, things that I wanted to make, not things I needed to make.

Looking at it that way makes me smile. My new outlook means that if I don't want to make it, I don't have to, and I'm just now beginning to get that. Feels good.

So it's time to get off my butt and finish my Cardioid Shawl. That's the only way you're gonna get ahead, missy, so quit moping around and get knitting!

My Knitting

Mouse 25 is getting frisky:

Mouse 25

Trying to get into my tea mug. Silly mouse.

This week has been weird. I don't really know exactly what I've done. There've been days with no knitting, but offhand, I can't remember what I did do. One day we went up to Belfast, that was fun. 

Consequently, my progress on the Cardioid Shawl has been slow, but steady.


I'm three rows before starting the border, which is the last section. The rows are now really long, 300 stitches or so, and to knit across one row takes forever, especially if it's a pattern row. Did I mention that counting is not my strong suit anymore? I forget where I am, and I have to go back and recount and recount to get things right. While my hearts are lined up okay, the filler pattern is a little wonky, but maybe it won't show. I'm a little wonky too.

When I finish this, I'm going to knit plain men's socks. It'll be refreshing!

Bad Weather, Good Weather

It's been a rainy week, really dark and cold and wet, and I am like my cats in the rain -- I am not cheerful. Nick and Nora start getting antsy after about a day of rain. Since we have had a whole week, they have pretty much become comatose. Nicky just sleeps all the time, and he's chosen the couch downstairs to sleep on. Nora goes upstairs and sleeps on my yarn, and gazes out the window, hating life, thinking how it is all Nicky's fault. Grace just sleeps on the floor, but as she always sleeps on the floor all the time, it is no different than any other day for her.

Nora simply cannot stand the sight of Nick when she's been stuck inside because of the weather. She hisses at him if he comes into the same room, and growls menacingly under her breath. Nicky ignores her, he's a happy cat, and he doesn't make a sound ... but sometimes, if he has had enough because it sucks outside and he is meant to be outside all the time, he'll just silently walk up to her while she's eating and nail her. 


Then they make like a beach ball made out of two cats, and roll around on the floor, both spitting and hissing and yowling until someone breaks it up. Grace runs away. Nicky usually goes outside no matter what the weather is, he would rather die than spend another minute inside, and Nora goes out on the porch. They never hurt each other badly, but to hear it, you'd be sure they were. They're just mad. 


The first sunny day they are fine. They don't really cuddle up to each other, but being in the same room doesn't annoy them. A little sunshine is all they needed.

We could learn a lot from cats.

Old Books

I started buying up copies of Alice Starmore's books just about the time they started going out of print. I looked on line, in little out-of-the-way yarn shops everywhere we went, and I think I found all the ones I cared about. I lost my copy of Stillwater, though. I am so bummed. But, I have all the others. 

I was going through my books the other day and found these:

AS books

American Portraits, and A Scottish Garland, by Alice Starmore. I forgot I had them. Jade Starmore is the model in American Portraits; she looks so young! These are booklets more than books, I think. American Portraits had seven designs, and A Scottish Garland had eight. Included was the sales slip for them, from the New Hampshire shop I got them from, for $23.50 each. That was a lot to pay for a booklet, but I could see the way things were going, and I paid it. 

I looked the books up on Ravelry. A Scottish Garland said nothing about the price, only that it was out of print; but on the other one it said, "American Portraits, published 1994, out of print, used prices $175 - $200."


Then I looked on Amazon, and they had 4 copies of Scottish Garland from $135 - $220. Huh. I guess I got a good deal. 

So then I felt like knitting something from them, because I got such a great deal, and decided that the pink Fleur de Laine that has been in my stash since the 90's (around when these booklets were published) would be great in Columbia:


Fleur De Laine is long discontinued too. I  will get some satisfaction knitting a discontinued pattern with a discontinued yarn. But that's a ways in the future; however, it is good to make plans.

My Spinning

Not a lot of progress this week. My spinning time, while daily, has been less than a full hour, but a little spinning every day still keeps the mind sharp and the plies consistent. I finally finished one bobbin:

Bobbin Full

The second bobbin is going more slowly:


There's been too many good movies and shows to watch on tv! The season finales ... gotta watch 'em.

It'll be interesting to see how this yarn looks when I ply it. I used to spin and ply the whole thing in a day or two ... but that would be it for six months. Oddly enough, I'm able to do more spinning now, not less, with only one hand. Being handicapped has it's little privileges, I guess. Anyway, this is looking good so far, and I think the plied yarn will be better than the last batch ... every batch is better, more consistent, finer. 



I remember learning to crochet. My Aunt Phoebe taught me how to make a granny square, and I made little red granny shapes all over the place. I wouldn't call them squares, exactly; I only turned a corner when I felt like it. I think I was 7 or 8 at the time. But, she taught me crocheting very well, and it has stood me in good stead over the years.

I never considered crochet to be difficult, no more than knitting, and I was mystified when a knitter came into the shop and was put off knitting a cardigan because it had a crochet crab stitch as a finish. "I'll teach you," I said. "I'll find another pattern," she said. That was my first eye-opening experience, and it led to me teaching a class, Crochet for Knitters, all about adding edgings and stuff to your knitted garments. It was popular, as I recall.

The only crocheting I've done in years has been my Scrap Sock Yarn Afghan project. I started out crocheting a little granny square just to see if I could, and then I thought, I can use up my leftover sock yarn this way, and it grew and grew.

It will be done when I can't lift it anymore, I suppose. My scraps don't go as far as they used to!! They only make it about halfway around the square now. It's been a good project to hang onto, though. I can look over the various yarns that I used and remember the finished projects I made. It's kind of nice.

It's been a long time since I followed a pattern. I used to crochet Aran sweaters, believe it or not. Blasphemy, I hear some of you whispering, but it was really fun, like figuring out a puzzle, and the resulting sweaters were nice. I gave them all away, or I would prove to you that I did that. 

Lately the crocheting bug has me by the throat. There are some wonderful patterns  for free on Ravelry, and I have been poring over them (instead of knitting my Cardioid Shawl as I should), but so far none have quite gotten the crochet hook out. Almost, though, almost ... I love the Venus Shawl by Aoibhe Ni:


She has an e-book of patterns that I like. Here's another one:

That's Argo. Pretty, isn't it?

Not all my favorites are shawls, though. I like sweaters, too! The one thing that is appealing is that I can create seamless pieces in crochet, which I no longer can in knitting. I'd like to make this hoodie:


And this cardigan is nice:


And then of course there are these books on my shelf:

Crocheted sweaters    MoreCrochetedSweaters
Crocheted Sweaters          More Crocheted Sweaters

Is it time to make a move to crochet? We'll see :)

My Knitting

First, I want to say Happy Birthday to my sister!  These forget me not flowers are for you :) Mwah!


I finished my mouse, #24:

Mouse 24

My ruffly scarf is done, too:

Ruffles      Ruffle 2

It's not as long as I'd like it, but on the other hand, I couldn't take much more of those size three needles and the ruffles, so I'm happy with it. It's softer than I thought it would be. Mohair + metallic yarn would potentially = scratchy, at least around my neck, but this feels wonderful. Who knew. If I knit this again, I'd use fingering weight yarn and size 5 needles, and make it longer. It would be cool in self-striping yarn.

I started my Cartioid Shawl!

Cardioid Beginnings

I was prancing with excitement. This is how far it is as of yesterday morning:

Cartioid Shawl

I love working on it! The never ending repeats are just beginning though, so we'll see how long it takes. The yarn is very soft, but it's a bit splitty -- not bad, but I noticed it. It could be these Signature stilletto-tip needles I'm using, they're so pointy! They are awesome for some stitches where I have to knit or purl several stitches together, though.

The pattern, like all of Wendy's, is very well-written; it has both charts and written out directions, so you can choose what you like, and there are the numbers of stitches in all the parts every single row. When I get stuck on something, I just look and find out how many stitches I'm supposed  to have in that section, and I can figure out what went wrong pretty easily. I got pretty good at reading lace knitting a while back, before my stroke, and luckily, it has stayed with me. With this shawl, it's the end-of-section yarn overs that I usually miss, so far. 

It will be done next week!