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February 2005
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April 2005

Feed me. Teach me. Get me thinkin'.

What to blog, what to blog?  Or, in Harlotese, it's time to "feed the blog."  Like Margene, blogging is part of my day and I think I do the song and dance pretty well on most days.  Even when I got nothin', I can usually come up with somethin'.  I have to do this everyday; if I don't, I'm afraid I won't.  I can't believe it, really, that I've blogged so consistently for a year.  Do you know how many diaries and/or journals I've been given and/or bought in my life?  Can you guess how many actually have words in them... any words at all?  I've always wanted to journal regularly, but never did in any way shape or form 'til now.  DH has kept journals fairly regularly since he was a kid -- so cool!

So, anyway, this morning I was having trouble with the daily magic trick, trying to conjure that little somethin' out of nothin'.  I cast on the sleeves for Goldie last night and I'm knitting both at the same time for the first time ever, but that just doesn't inspire much excitement today.  Tomorrow will mark two weeks without smoking a single cigarette, but I'm not inspired by that, either; maybe tomorrow.  I'm not even getting much out of the kids this week!

When all else fails, a quick run through blogland usually saves the day.  And it is so.  Celia is the first willing victim interviewee to post answers to yesterday's questions.  She is such an interesting lady.  (She said nice things about me, too.  *Thank you!*  But that's not why I like her.  Check her out; she's just uber-cool.)

I visited Annie this morning, too.  She's gone and learned something new!  She learned it from Mary Beth, specifically here.  I'm sure you will agree that Mary Beth is one fine knitter, and very generous.  Inspiring, really...

I had a bit of a revelation about patterns and charts when I started Goldie and Mary Beth left a comment:

I like to think that the chart gets me started, like a map, but I try to go out on my own as soon as I can - that's when the fun begins!

Goldie is nothing too complicated, but there are a number of things going on and I tried to heed Mary Beth's advice; I've been "out on my own" for much of this sweater.  The resulting freedom became evident last night when I looked at my original notes for the sleeve and noticed all the hash marks from the first time -- a LOT of hash marks -- hash marks for every row, every repeat, every increase -- every everything was noted -- and realized that I was FREE!  It was a revelation -- I'm reading my stitches and my knitting better than I ever have before!  Thanks to encouraging nudges by people like Mary Beth.  ; )

Abra-cadabra.  Somethin' out of nothin'.

I'm lookin' for some answers

Finally!  I've got Blog-A-Thon questions!  The astute among you may notice that the last three questions for each contestant victim interviewee are the same, and they're the same as the last three questions I asked Jennifer.  Well, I like those questions and I'm truly interested in the answers.  I have posted all five questions for each blogger for ease of copy+paste.  The rules can be found here.  And let me just say that even with repeating 3 of 5 questions for each contestant victim interviewee, this was HARD!


1.  Is there a crafty or artistic endeavor that makes you say, “I’d like to try that someday!”?

2.  Many of your photographs feature botanicals.  Do you have a green thumb?

3.  What is your favorite food a) at a restaurant, b) to make from scratch, c) for a snack?

4.  "Summer vacation" and "summer home" used to have a more literal meaning – some people would actually spend their whole summer at their summer home!  Where would yours be located?  (Anywhere in the world and money no object, of course.)

5.  What's at the tippy-top of your "I'd Like to Make That" knitting project wish list?  (Again, money and time no object, nor even "skill level" if you believe in that sort of thing.)


1.  I admire your strength and confidence and it is no more evident than in your unique, playful, fun style – from PJs to work clothes.  Who gets the most credit for influencing your sense of personal style?

2.  I think you like to party!  You seem to effortlessly pull it together, whether it’s a CAMP dinner or a St. Paddy’s brewhaha.  Tell me a story about the how “effortless” it is; you know, “I thought we’d never get the show on the road because…”

3.  What is your favorite food a) at a restaurant, b) to make from scratch, c) for a snack?

4.  "Summer vacation" and "summer home" used to have a more literal meaning – some people would actually spend their whole summer at their summer home!  Where would yours be located?  (Anywhere in the world and money no object, of course.)

5.  What's at the tippy-top of your "I'd Like to Make That" knitting project wish list?  (Again, money and time no object, nor even "skill level" if you believe in that sort of thing.)


1.  Every blog I visit lately has a shiny new spinning wheel or drop spindle in the house!  Will I be seeing one at KittyCafé?

2.  What crafty or artistic endeavor makes you say, “I’d like to try that someday!”?

3.  What is your favorite food a) at a restaurant, b) to make from scratch, c) for a snack?

4.  "Summer vacation" and "summer home" used to have a more literal meaning – some people would actually spend their whole summer at their summer home!  Where would yours be located (I already know that it will be fully plumbed!)?  (Anywhere in the world and money no object, of course.)

5.  What's at the tippy-top of your "I'd Like to Make That" knitting project wish list?  (Again, money and time no object, nor even "skill level" if you believe in that sort of thing.)


1.  Are you really going to try that “Not To Do List” thing?  (It sure seems like an interesting idea!)

2.  I found your blog because you’d linked to me regarding St. Brigid; you wrote that it “really inspires me to keep learning.”  What do you see as your biggest obstacle to knitting that or another Aran?

3.  What is your favorite food a) at a restaurant, b) to make from scratch, c) for a snack?

4.  "Summer vacation" and "summer home" used to have a more literal meaning – some people would actually spend their whole summer at their summer home!  Where would yours be located (I already know that it will be fully plumbed!)?  (Anywhere in the world and money no object, of course.)

5.  What's at the tippy-top of your "I'd Like to Make That" knitting project wish list?  (Again, money and time no object, nor even "skill level" if you believe in that sort of thing.)

It's a big hairy deal

Remember this?  Soon enough, I think, we'll be treated to a similar photo at Yarn Envy.  Prior to the big chop-chop, Beth will post pics of short styles she's considering and there may even be voting by the masses.  Before the scissors come out, she's trying to raise the money it will cost to have her Locks of Love donation actually made into a wig.  If you've got a dollar in your PayPal account, why not donate and help Beth reach the $1000 goal?

AieyeDoes this photo make you think you're at someone else's blog?  I've seen a couple of photos like this on my computer and I can't help but think of Cassie.  This is Ai's eye -- and I doubt she's ever seen Cassie's.  I just had to post it.

Goldie4Duncan likes the circs; he loves to help me "knit"!

Here's Goldie -- TNBO'd at the shoulders, with sides seamed and most ends woven in.  Ai got home just in time to try it on.  It looks great -- a lot shorter that the first and much more fitted.  I keep thinking of this as Ai's sweater, but it will really be Kate's.  They've gone and pulled a switcheroo and Ai's will be in the other color (take a look here).  And Mdd really wants one, too.  Pink, please!

Cable_1Do you see my little flub?  I made an extra cable crossing -- there are tight cables like that on the back, but not on the front.

LovemissionLook what landed in my mailbox the other day!  Mission Falls 1824 Cotton from a clearance sale!  And a gift book that looks like it'll be a great little read!  Thanks, Gromit, for having a great sale and for helping me celebrate the quit!

Feels like Monday

I did not get around to washing or blocking anything yesterday.  I made pretty good progress on taxes, though I'm not yet finished.  I also made good progress on the front of Ai's "Goldie" sweater.  I'm about half-way with the armhole/neckline and I'll have to paw through my notes to figure out how I handled the shoulders on the first -- I didn't like the way they'd written it the first time, and I still don't.  Something about extra tabs that went over the shoulder and were joined to the back instead of regular shoulders.  I'll post pics tomorrow -- might even have the front finished tonight.  I did find a mistake in a cable late last night, but I ain't fixin' it.

I was tempted to start something new for baby -- they're so fun and quick -- but then I get all engrossed and nothing else gets any attention.  Best to finish Goldie; wash, block and seam the hoodie; wash and block St. Brigid; and maybe work a little on Cromarty before starting some wee little thing...  My sister already has the Tanguy hat, and I've shown her Miss Dashwood and the "Miss-ter" and the hoodie.

It's been over 11 days and, according to Quitnet, I haven't smoked 223 cigarettes.  Man oh man, doesn't that sound like a lot??  I know, it is a lot, but wow -- never wrote down or kept track in that way.  "A pack a day" doesn't sound like that much; doesn't sound like over 600 cigarettes in a month!  Congrats to Connie, smoke-free for a week as of yesterday; Ann, who's also at 11+ days; and my sister who, of course, quit (one day) before me.

I'm getting sick and tired of seeing At Knit's End pictured on blogs all over the country (okay, NY and UT) and not on MINE!

Survival mode


My sister who quit smoking before I did (by a day) gave this to me when she arrived on Friday.  She's been making them and giving them to everyone she knows; in fact, she gift-wrapped mine -- and included a packet of pansy seeds -- and then pulled out a bag full of them and gave everyone in my house their own Survival Kit.  The way she figures it, everyone has SOME kind of crap going on in their life.  If she could, she'd spend the rest of her life making and dispensing things like this for the pure joy it brings her to help brighten someone's day and make people smile.

I have not broken into my Survival Kit yet.  I'm doing okay.  Today may be the biggest test, in one word, so far...  Taxes.

There's washing and blocking to be done, too!  While the kids got ice cream the other night, my sis and I got coffee; my cup was mangled under the lid and so quite a bit of coffee dribbled down the front of St. Brigid.  I also finished all the knitting on Opptuna.

Easter Parade


The Cold Turkey Chicken Viking Hat -- perfect accompaniment to St. Brigid?  We've been having a complete blast with this hat.  Check out the photo album -- I'm still working on captions, but the pics are there...


Bawk bawk bawk, gobble, bawk bawk, gobble gobble gobble.

Something very special was in yesterday's mail -- the "Cold Turkey Viking Hat" from Ann.  It's been very busy 'round here, but I promise to share some photos.

I was not having a good day yesterday.  You'd think, having a whole week to celebrate, that I'd have been cruisin'.  It wasn't so.  I was stressed about my sisters coming and not having enough time to spit & polish the house as I'd like.  DH and the kids all pitched in and it's okay, but not what I'd really like (and we're not talking anywhere near perfection, people).  One of my sisters was upset about something personal, but this upset was at the start of our visit.  It was upsetting to me.  Oh, the DRAMA!  I wanted a cigarette.  I was wishing that I could stop at the gas station and just buy ONE cigarette.

I was pissing and moaning a bit and my brother-in-law overheard me.  Nineteen -- 19!! -- years ago, he gave up a 4-pack-a-day smoking habit (Camels, mind you, and there were cigars on top of that) and we won't even talk about the drinking.  He came into the kitchen and propped me up.  No, he said, you don't wish they sold just one cigarette.  You don't smoke!!

I don't smoke.

So, anyway, he gave me my pep talk, and then the Cold Turkey Viking Hat arrived in the mail.  It was perfect!  We all tried on the hat and had a good laugh.  Another sister arrived a little while later and we were all sitting around the kitchen table.  I had the hat in front of me, kind of folded with my hands resting on it.  My sister said, "You know, from this angle, that kind of looks like a chicken..."

Bawk bawk bawk, gobble, bawk bawk, gobble gobble gobble.


Heirloom1_1Opptuna4_1One hoodie almost finished.  Man, it looks like the front of that sweater is glowing in a radioactive way or something, doesn't it?  It's not that blue, but it is that cute!  It's all hood from this point, then a few short seams for the sleeves and sides!   Cute, cute, cute!

One side of a bag knit.  One gusset started.  Kt wasn't sure if she wanted to knit the "boring" second side next, or the "boring" gusset.  There really isn't much going on here except "boring stockinette."  Oooh, but sewn together with the addition of ribbon and some doilies, it's going to be fab.  Lynne is sending a few doilies from a recent auction acquisition that Kt might be able to use.

SquittenOne really cute kitty.  I'll tell ya, this cat is fast as lightning.  He got outside this morning and it was the devil to catch him.  Mdd finally charmed him into her arms and brought him inside.  Within seconds, as I was holding the door open for Mickey, out he ran again!  I know that Ann was hoping Poe might settle down a bit after his "operation," but Duncan didn't skip a beat -- it was like it never happened!

One week of not smoking.  Run over and congratulate Ann, too!

Think up some words

Being a big fan of the three-needle bind-off, I'm doing it to Opptuna even though it's not written that way, and the first shoulder was TNBO'd last night.  This hoodie is so teeny, the shaping from neck to shoulder is done in a flash!

We've all read that three-needle bind-off may not always be the best way to go -- depending a lot on the weight and desired fit of a garment.  One thing that I've done in the past -- completely by accident, mind you -- is to forget the "bind-off" part of "three-needle bind-off" and end up simply knitting together the front and back, then I work another row to actually "bind off."  This usually happens because my full concentration is on the awkwardness of working with three needles and not losing any stitches.  I think the result is a little sturdier than a normal three-needle job, but not as stiff -- and certainly not as bulky -- as a backstitched or otherwise sewn seam.

I'm working on those Blog-A-Thon interview questions!  Here are Jennifer's:

1)  Besides knitting, I've seen other kinds of needlework on your blog.  Do you have any crafty or artistic pursuits that you haven't told us about?  Is there something that you'd really like to try?

2)  Alpha, Beta, Gamma -- where do YOU think all those SSRP boxes are?

3)  What is a) your favorite food, b) at a restaurant, c) to make from scratch?  (You do cook now and then, don't you?)

4)  "Summer vacation" and "summer home" used to have a more literal meaning -- people would actually spend their whole summer at their summer home!  Where would yours be located?  (Anywhere in the world and money no object, of course.)

5)  What's at the tippy-top of your "I'd Like to Make That" knitting project wish list?  (Again, money no object, nor even "skill level.")

--Thanks Jennifer!

Why can't I get this to post "in pictures"?  I've seen it a lot of places, but swiped it from Emma.  Well, not really swiped, since I can't get it to work -- I want to swipe it from her!!

Yes! We have pictures today!

The following is an important announcement that I've been trying to post for days.  In these trying times, I often end up posting something completely different than originally intended (and does it seem that I foaming at the fingertips more than usual?) and forgetting things...  Go see Beth.  She has an appointment in mid-May for a haircut and is donating her shorn tresses to Locks of Love -- AND she's raising the money needed to make that donation into a wig.  She's got a handy-dandy link right on her sidebar.

Dsc04035Dsc04037Opptuna progress -- neck shaping will soon begin.  This sweater looks like each piece was knit in a different colorway!  I even double-checked last night because that last skein is nothing but purple -- all three are Color 37, Lot N2.  The pieces are so small that there's no repetition of color on any single piece, but you can kind of put them "together."  I like it just fine.

Dsc04033Kt's knitting the Heirloom Bag from Rowan 37.  She's using Aunt Lydia's Denim in the Linen color -- I happened to have a ball of it and she was ready to start.  Now!  She loves the whole satin ribbon 'round the bag part.  I'm not sure about the crochet.  The other day, she said, "I've only ever crocheted one long line."  Hey, hon, that's Single Crochet and it's called a Chain!  I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  (Am I bad for thinking that we could buy some doilies?)  She's going to make it a little bit deeper and, even so, I think she's nearly finished with the first side.

Aren't those gorgeous birthday shoes?  She's been wearing them constantly.  Yesterday she went to see a friend and he thought she was nuts when, after getting out of her car and plotting her course, she hesitated -- better to walk through the snow or the mud?  She chose snow.

I talked with my sister on the phone last night.  That's a big, big trigger for me, but I got through it.  She didn't smoke while we talked, either.  And thanks to Dez's comment here, I bought some mints this morning and I'm taking back my break time.  For anyone considering a quit, the comments left since March 10th are a treasure trove of tips, inspiration and encouragement.  Have I said "Thank You" enough?  I don't think so...

Thank You All!

Yes! We have no pictures today...

I feel bad about that -- and I do have things to show!  The back of Opptuna is on a holder and there's a few inches worth of progress on the front.  I love the color and I love Silk Garden more than I thought I would.  Maybe I can finish this by the weekend and give it to my sis!  There is no hurry, as she's still 2-1/2 months from her due date, but this knitting is so fun to do and I can't keep it to myself!  Kt has started knitting one of the bags in the latest Rowan magazine (on US 3 needles, even) while wearing her fabulous new shoes!  I'll have pics tomorrow; it's kind of always been that way 'round here as far as pictures -- feast or famine -- but I'm also in the midst of trying to find a new groove.

Somehow, some way, I'll find my nonsmoking groove.  The change has had impact in so many little ways.  Many times, my smoking time on the back porch was not only a stress reliever, but a time to regroup or transition -- 2-minute planning sessions.  I'm not really doing anything during those times right now except try to suppress urges and concentrate on not smoking; I'm not taking any time to regroup and there's no transition.  I guess that's why I feel so distracted -- my sister mentioned feeling that way, too.

But it's Day 4 and I haven't caved.  My resolve is still strong.  I can't disappoint my family or Ann or Connie (stay busy, breathe deep!) or Nurse Becky (she called last night) or anyone who has written one single word of support -- or myself.

When I arrived home last night, I noticed that the mail hadn't been brought in yet, so I went in through the front door.  It wasn't 'til I was actually on the porch that I noticed there was also a big box on the chair.  It was a big, heavy box, and the return address made me smile.  Cara, you're the biggest sweetheart!  What was inside?  A wonderful, encouraging card, a bag of 300 DumDums, four boxes of stir sticks, countless sticks of gum, and many bags of sunflower seeds.  When I showed it to Mdd, she said, "Wow!  Your friends must really care about you!"  I got tears in my eyes as I realized:  Oh my goodness, yes they do!

Yes they do.  Mwah!  I love you, Cara!!

*******Okay, enough mushy stuff.  As promised, Terby's Blog-A-Thon Interview!  She got it from DomestiGirl, who got it from Three Olive Martini, and there are technicalities to take care of...

Blog-A-Thon Rules:

  1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions HERE.  They will be different questions than the ones below.
  3. You will update YOUR blog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here are the questions that Terby (hey, congrats on admission to the Knitting Blogs webring!) asked me:

1). What's your favorite thing about living in Wisconsin?

First, it's that most of my family lives here. My siblings are all within a one- to four-hour drive; I have a good relationship with all of them, I like to spend time with them, and I especially like my kids to spend time with their kids.

Second, it's the seasons. I guess it's in my blood, having been born and bred (for the most part) here. There is absolutely nothing like the freshness, rebirth and discovery that is Spring after a Wisconsin Winter (or any place that really has Winter).

2). What have you learned from blogging?

I have learned about a whole new world full of kind, caring, generous friends; pattern and fiber sources that I never knew about before. I have been inspired, empowered, and challenged.

3). You do a lot of texture knitting, and you mentioned you have never done color work - any plans to try it?

I will try color work. I truly enjoyed knitting the 2-color Northstar Mittens and look forward to doing some of a multi-color, Latvian variety to continue learning. I imagine my appetite for color work will be whetted even more next month after taking classes with Joyce Williams and Lizbeth Upitis. I never used to care much for color work patterns, but how they've grown on me -- design and technique are both very appealing.

4). What song are you secretly singing to yourself?

I have been singing or humming "So Happy Together" for over a week.

5). And finally, blatantly stolen from Kirsten, where do you get your knitting inspiration?

It comes from everywhere. Admittedly, a lot more from blogs and the internet than ever before -- one thing I really enjoy about KALs and popular patterns is seeing how different yarns work and what modifications and observations other knitters might make. I still get a lot of inspiration from books and published patterns, too.

If you'd like to be interviewed, too, leave a comment.

If I were a r*ch g*rl

I'd start each and every day with a relaxing, full body massage.  Ahhhh.  That's how my day started yesterday and, man, was I ever mellow!  We had a great little weekend get-away.  It snowed overnight on Friday and was still snowing a bit on Saturday, but not enough to hinder our plans.  We drove up to Sturgeon Bay in the afternoon; visited a yarn shop, some antique/junk shops, a great little coffee shop, and an art museum.  I had two fiber destinations in mind, but only one was open.  It had cross-stitch supplies, too, kind of all mixed together and a bit unorganized, and there wasn't anything out of the ordinary.  I spent a fair amount of time there, but didn't buy anything.  The other shop was more intriguing, carrying supplies for weavers and spinners as well as knitters -- I saw lots of looms lined up on the enclosed porch -- and I felt that they held more promise.  I'll just have to go back someday!

Our big antique purchases were an old door latch (DH) and a couple of old cabinet photos (me) for a grand outlay of $4.00.  The door latch will actually be put to use on the upstairs closet door.  The photos... well, I'm a sucker for babies and fashion and they'll just join my burgeoning collection of orphans!

Our room at the B&B was a third floor loft -- more spacious than any B&B room I've ever stayed in -- one gable end for the sleeping area, fireplace, chaise; another smaller gable end with a futon couch, TV, music, small fridge with chilled glasses and wine; a small table and chairs between those two areas (at the top of the circular stairs that led to the room); a huge bathroom was in the gable end opposite the futon area; and just outside the bathroom door was a whirlpool tub.  It was really great.  This little treat was a Christmas present to us from my mom and stepdad.

Dinner on Saturday night was on my dad and stepmom (I earmarked their Christmas gift for that purpose!).  We went to a really great restaurant that didn't look like much on the outside (it's in a strip mall), but was very cute and cleverly decorated on the inside!  Wonderful food, too.  And we had a celebrity sighting -- in the booth right behind DH was the celebrated running back for the Packers!  Most of those guys don't hang around here at this time of year, so it was even more of a surprise.

I did do a little knitting, but mostly I did ripping.  I think I ripped the back of Opptuna for the fourth or fifth time on Saturday night.  I had wonky stitches (again) and I decided that it was too narrow.  I'm on track now (that's my final answer!) and have progressed just past the armhole decreases.

Though not as bad as Day One, Day Two of Not Smoking was hard.  I had to keep reminding myself not to feel sorry for myself, that I'm really doing something very good, and that I'm not being punished -- that's kind of how it felt.  I was a little mopey on and off -- lots of sighs ("poor me") and deep breaths.  I did much better on Sunday; today, meh.  I do have three days under my belt, though, have handled a couple of stressful situations, and I haven't blown up at anyone yet.  I have noticed some triggers that I was never even aware of -- coming to the end of a row of knitting once in a while or DH heading out the door to take Mickey for a walk are two things that make me want to jump out of my chair and head out to the porch!  It seems that a reduction in my consumption of Diet Coke (almost always caffeine-free) has occurred as a result of this change, and I'm drinking more water -- not as much as I could or should, but more than I have at any other time except when I was active in Weight Watchers.  I seem to be experiencing more frequent heartburn, but that may be in my head, or because I've eaten out much more in the past week than usual.  The bottom line is, I haven't smoked since Thursday and that's good -- neither has Ann, and neither has my sister!  Yayforus!

I'm going to have to move Terby's Blog-a-Thon interview to tomorrow!


I threw out my flowerpot ashtray and broke 12 cigarettes into the trash can last night.  Like Ann, I slapped on a patch this morning.  Like Ann, I didn't usually have my first cigarette for more than an hour after waking up in the morning.  Like Ann, I won't be wearing the patch at night.  Like Ann, your emails and comments of support and encouragement are making a HUGE difference in how I feel about all this.  I guess I'm a lot like Ann.  And that's just fab, because I like Ann!

This is hard, and I'm being tested right off the bat.   There's bad, bad news affecting someone close to me (not a relative, but damn close) and I'm taking so many deep breaths this morning that I feel as if I'm in labor.

In my nicotine withdrawal delirium, I actually decided that I am in a labor of sorts; giving birth to a different me.  I'm feeling testy now, as I did then, too.  I can't help but remember what I yelled at said to my breathing coach husband, shortly before the birth of our eldest, "Dammit, I know how to breathe!!"  And I did.  And I am.  And I still congratulate myself for not telling him to fuck off, as my sister said to hers.  That very same sister, after being very noncommittal, has decided to join in the quit!  She got the date mixed up, though, so her morning email began like this:  Am I a frickin' day early??  (Notice how she's cleaned up her act since motherhood?)  She is the most competitive of my siblings, though, so once she realizes that she'll forever be able to say that she quit before me, she'll be fine.

So, anyway, breathing, breathing, breathing!  And now on to brighter things...

Birthday Shoes!  Way back on the 4th, I posted about some shoes that Kt was eyeing up for her birthday.  They were on sale at anthropologie (item 45182) and when I tried to order them that day, they only had three pair, all size 11.  About a week later, Kt sent me an email and said that they had a pair of 8-1/2s (still not her size, but close enough to try) (and she's such a shoe ho' that she was checking back everyday!)!  So I ordered 'em and they were in yesterday's mail and they fit and she's just thrilled.  They're unusual, they're red, they came with their own fabric bag!  Whew, one birthday gift down, two to go.

Also in the mail was something that I referred to all night as my "Knitting Prescription" -- self-prescribed -- the spring Rowan mag and my renewal gift.  The yarn is Cork; I don't care for the capelet pattern, am thinking of using it for something for baby.  Kt loves everything in the mag and, having just completed everything but the brim of the Newsboy Cap (and the Point 5 commissioned scarf, which was very well received), seems eager to spread her knitting wings further.  Shoe ho', yarn snob, that first labor resulted in a lovable monster!

The forecast is for 3 to 7 inches of stupid snow, maybe more, between now and tomorrow afternoon.  This is our weekend away!  We may have to change our plans a bit.  As long as DH & I can get to Green Bay tomorrow (and it's not all that far away), we'll be fine; I'll be happy if all I do is soak in the whirlpool, knit, read, and have my massage on Sunday morning.

Sunday is my first blogiversary!  It's been an incredible year, 290 posts in 365 days, innumerable new "friends."  My first comments came on April 1st and can you guess who left them?  Kathaleenie and Ann.  That's just so cool.

On Monday, I'll be answering Terby's Blog-a-Thon questions, which seems like a good way to kick off a new year.  I have to answer one of her questions right now, though, unofficial and off the record:  What song are you secretly singing to yourself?  Well, this one (between giggles).

Happy Weekend.

Wearin' of the Green

I put on a green shirt today completely by accident.  I was reminded of the significance this morning when I encountered Aison decked out in her wild, shamrock-print pants, green "I'm Irish" shirt, and sporting green... mascara.  It's really bright!!  I'm sporting green socks today, and those I chose on purpose.  There is a wee bit of Irish blood in these veins!

And it's me brother's birthday today, so even if there wasn't actual Irish blood, we'd be honorary Irish by association with someone born on St. Patrick's Day!  I think any Irishman would agree that it's reason enough to have a beer.  We'll be celebrating with corned beef and cabbage at Mom's.  The card I bought says something about having baked a cake using those ingredients; the punch line is that the cake can blow out its own candles!

When Kt was pretty little, we visited my sister in Milwaukee and went to the St. Paddy's Day Parade on a beautiful day*.  I lost track of my daughter, and as I ran down the sidewalk, calling out "KATIE!!" how many grrs in the congregated Irish dance troupe do you suppose reacted to my call?  A sea of faces turned in my direction, many of them topped by red hair!  (All in fisherman's sweaters, too, I probably needn't add.)  Thankfully, we found the Kt that I was interested in within seconds and the humor of the situation quickly followed.

Opptuna2Here are two completed Opptuna sleeves.  They're a wee bit longer than specified because, well, they're for a baby sweater and they're so little that by the time I thought of measuring, I'd already gone too far!  A little extra length won't hurt and I think they'd be adorable rolled up a bit.  Having never knit with Silk Garden before, I have to say that I like it -- there are some bits that need to be picked out along the way, but it's otherwise very nice and I think it'll even improve with washing.  It's probably going to drive some people nuts that those sleeves are so completely different.  I have encountered a couple of knots so far.

Does two a webring make?  So far the Cold Turkey Knitters are Ann and me, and that's okay.  As Ann said today, we're not really quitting cold turkey; we're both using nicotine replacement products, but it's a catchy name and there's no question about what we're quitting, is there?  Anyone will tell you that support is a big part of quitting and that's what the webring is about.  I'm so glad that Ann and I are doing this together; I know that I need to be accountable to someone.  Sometimes I think I'm insane for having blogged about it -- none of you even knew that I smoked -- but, you know, it was a heart & soul reaction and now I'm accountable to legions, the eyes of the world... one or two more and that can only help.  Go give Ann (Yay for us!) an Irish kiss and good wishes!

I bought my patches yesterday, along with chewy/sweet Starburst, carrots, straws, crackers, licorice, and juice.  I smoked a few less than 10 yesterday.  And at one point, was making rationalizations about maybe not having to quit altogether if I am only smoking 6 or 7 a day.  I know, I laughed at my stupidity and opened the big envelope full of smoking cessation information that Nurse Becky sent.  I go back and forth today between wanting to smoke as many as yesterday (or fewer) and going out in one last smoky hurrah.  I know, that's really dumb, too.  On March 18, 2009, I want to be able to say that it's the fourth anniversary of the day I quit smoking.

Oh, and I ordered two copies of Stephanie's book from my Independent Bookseller yesterday.  She said that it was on order.  I told her that I heard that they were on the truck.  (Whatever that means -- doesn't mean they're going anywhere or, even if they're actually being transported, that they're being delivered to anyone.  I know how it works; that sometimes, if they're going from, say, Massachusetts to New York, they might have to take the shortcut through Arizona.)  Anyway, I talked it up so much (I may have even had a twinkle in my eye) that she told me she'd call the minute they arrived, and I told her that she could sneak a peek if she'd like.

*You never know what you'll get in March, or even how many times the weather can change in the course of 24 hours.  There's a prediction for anywhere from 6-12 inches of stupid snow (that's right, Cassie, the stupid kind) between this afternoon and Saturday morning.  And it's gorgeous (relative term, it is March) outside right now!!

The house that Ai built

Lego2 Lego1This is actually the second house that Ai built this week.  The first one was all white and quite traditional and stately; this one is much more whimsical.  As you can see, there's still plenty of building material.  Mdd's also been building, and you can see the corner of her Lincoln Log house -- she built a little dog house, too.

I like it that my "kids" still play.  In the midst of this building boom, one of them even suggested that we need more Legos.  (Is there such a thing as too many Legos?)  I know that my kids will always be my kids, I'll always think of them as kids, but I look at my house-building daughter and realize that in less than a month we'll be rolling the birthday odometer.  She's going to be a full-fledged, legal, capital-Adult.  Never mind that Kt will be commencing her third year as such.  Ack, even Mdd, the only one I can still technically think of as a kid,  is a growing, changing teenager who used to hate shopping, in a very kid-like fashion, but who I'll be picking up from school today, the second time in the last couple of weeks, to go shopping.

There are other cool mothers (and in one of the coolest moves ever, a published author, too!) feeling pangs, too.  (I'm not much of a partier -- I don't go to many and I don't have many, but Celia's party posts make me want to change all that!)

Goldie2Opptuna1There's Goldie on the left, Opptuna on the right.  I took two tries to join Goldie's pocket flap to the front; I'm walking down the middle of the road with this one.  In a move to get out of traffic, I started a swatch sleeve for Opptuna on larger needles and I like it much, much better!  The sleeve is at top compared to the first swatch back on the bottom, which was done on smaller needles and is awaiting its third and final frogging.  I may have one more increase row on that sleeve, and then it's just a few more inches, I'm sure, before it's finished!  This is pretty mindless knitting -- a simple twisted rib pattern.  I go back and forth about what I should be knitting right now -- something mindless because I'm finding it hard to concentrate, or something complicated so I have something else to concentrate on!

PansyframedPansywall1One of the things I hope to do today is find a place for this.  It's my $2 pansy print -- looking like a million bucks!  DH had some maroon matboard, I had the old frame, we bought some glass and made a picture!  These are the two main "pansy walls" downstairs.  Please focus on the pictures and ignore the rest (thank God dust doesn't photograph well), including any pictures that may bePansywall2 crooked and unfilled, unpainted holes in the plaster.  (Taking care of those could be a full-time job 'round here.) Time for a re-do so the new kid fits in.

Maybe I'll vacuum and dust, too, while Ann works her Lord of the Nonsmoking Webring magic and we both try not to think about smoking, or even about thinking about having a cigarette.  She's been going out for breakfast, hearing really fabulous stories that she won't share, and cleaning, I'll be cleaning, pounding nails into walls, creating dust (which will need to be cleaned up) and more holes in the plaster (which will need to be patched and painted).  Maybe I'll go out for lunch.  I've been very, very good, smoking only 10-11 yesterday, which is exactly half of what I blew into thin air last week at this time.  It's hard... and it's a piece of cake.  I can put it off and put it off, but I still know that they're in my pocket and I'll eventually have one.  On Friday, they won't be.  Part of me thinks I just shouldn't even wait 'til Friday, but another part thinks that all this thinking and awareness, cutting back, planning, etc, is good.

Cold_turkey_1_2I haven't been very good or very consistent about replying to emails and comments.  I can't guarantee that I will; it's mostly a concentration thing.  Please know that I am deeply touched by each and every one.  No lie, it's not just hormones or nicotine withdrawal, I'm one of the biggest babies in the whole world.  I smile through tears while reading every single encouraging word.  Thank you.

Update:  She did it!  Ann is the proud mama of the Cold Turkey Knitters -- a webring for knitters who are also quitters.  Like Ann and me.  Look for the turkey in my sidebar, go visit Ann, and then sign up -- we don't want to be lonely!!

Cat and mouse

DeadmouseLate Sunday night, I was doing some computerizing.  Our computer arrangement is functional, but it's less than ideal.  It's set up in such a way that Duncan and I were playing tug-o-war with the mouse through a small hole in the desk.  I couldn't actually see him, though, so when the tugging stopped, I figured he'd moved on to more interesting things.  A short while later, I moved the mouse, but the cursor didn't respond and when I gave the mouse a tug, there was little resistance.  Okay, there was no resistance and I pulled a chewed-off cord through the hole!

Duncan is fine.  We've had a fair number of critters through the years, and none have ever done anything like this!  Thankfully, I had a spare mouse; it's wireless, which we like, but so very jumpy that's it's been relegated to back-up status.  You position the cursor right where you want it, you're about to click, and it takes a sudden leap of about 3 inches to the left; Mdd hates it for games.  DH, of course, is going to try to splice the severed one.  I will be adding "mouse" to my shopping list.

I just bought some yarn -- just now, as I signed on to Typepad.  They have that cool list of updated blogs and photo albums and I spotted an album called, Wendolene's Clearance Sale on Gromit Knits!  There's other stuff, too, really cool stuff -- go see (but the sage green Mission Falls Cotton is mine!).

I made a little progress on Ai's Goldie sweater.  Only a few rows to go before I'll be joining the pocket flap to the rest of the front and then it might be picture worthy!  I thought about Opptuna all day yesterday...  I'm hoping to start again today.

The last time I smoked in my car was yesterday morning.  I felt a little panicky this morning, at about the spot that I'd normally light up the last of my on-the-way cigarettes, so I opened the window -- wide -- and got a good, kinda cold, fresh air blast!

I'm very thankful for two changes in the marketplace that will, I think, help me remain quit.  One is that cigarettes are no longer displayed and available at the end of an aisle at the grocery store.  I didn't have the will, and maybe still don't, the last time I quit to keep my hand from reaching out and throwing a pack into the cart with the bananas.  Too damn easy.  I'm also thankful for the pay-at-the-pump option at most gas stations.  While I prefer to pay for my gas in cash, it's also the #1 place that I buy cigarettes.  I'll be paying at the pump for a while.

This morning, on my way out the door, I told DH that tomorrow is the day I'll be buying The Pill... oops, little slip there... I mean, The Patch.  The Patch!!

A little less puffin'

In order to focus, I think it's best to write chronologically.  My brain's just buzzin'!

First, I have to mention Ai and her new job.  She started a week ago today as a cashier at a regional retail store.  The first words out of her mouth, big smile on her face, when she walked in the door last Monday were about a "hot guy" who also just started.  On Tuesday night, they went out to coffee together after work.  He doesn't smoke or drink or do drugs, he's a senior at another high school, he wants to be a doctor, they like a lot of the same things.  Oh, and he's HOT!  Sizzle.  On Friday night, she and her friends met him and his friends at Perkins.  It's so cute!

Okay...  Kt came home on Friday for the weekend and I'm sure I must have done some knitting on Friday night.

Saturday was a big day.  Thankfully, there was some over-scheduling at work and Kt got out a little early, so our visit to the LYS was a bit more leisurely.  She found two more hanks of the Point 5 to knit the scarf for the guy at school.  She looked at some other things for herself.  That girl!  Talk about a yarn snob.  She fell in love with the Prism yarns -- Cool Stuff, Wild Stuff, Whatever Stuff They Had Hanging!  The LYS had 'em for around $90, but she was checking ebay as soon as we got home.

I left my cigarettes at home.  FYI:  I don't smoke in my home, and I don't smoke in the car when the grrs are with me.  What I'd normally do on an outing such as this, is smoke between the door of the LYS and the car, or whatever.  On Saturday, I left 'em home...

What did I buy?  Three balls of Galway Worsted for the Spring Midwest Masters classes -- green, light green, white.  I bought three balls of some other Galway with flecks of color and my intention for that is something Dulaan-related.  I also bought three skeins of Silk Garden for Opptuna, as planned.  And I looked at what was available for Williamsro.  Oooooh, I love Cash Iroha!!  They had very limited colors on -hand, but I really just wanted to check it out.  Yum.  I've been looking at colors online, and my intention is to give Sandy a shout and buy the supplies for this sweater (or whatever sweater I finally decide on) from Knitorious, anyway.

Oh, The Opinionated Knitter jumped into my arms, too.

We weren't ready to go home yet, so decided to go have coffee.  Then we went out to see what Ai looked like at work.  We also bought some Easter candy.  Since store policy forbids her to check out family members, we took our stuff to the hottie's lane!  (She's right, he's cute.)

I must have finished knitting Goldie's front pocket flap on Friday, because I picked up the stitches and started knitting the back on Saturday night.  This was while Kt was casting on for the Newsboy Cap from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation!  Her first time knitting with circs, stitch markers, making cables -- I taught her to do 'em without a cable needle -- eventually, DPNs.  She's pretty darn excited.

On Sunday, I worked for a few hours at my local antique mall.  I left my cigarettes at home then, too.  Normally, I'd pop outside for one or two.  I started reading my new book (see above), instead!  I actually tried knitting a Ken-type Dulaan Hat, but wasn't sure I liked how it looked.  Then Kt needed to borrow the honkin' needles I was using; after I yanked 'em, she told me how cute the hat was turning out.  I'll have to try again.  I'm feeling muddled and impaired.

I cooked again last night -- full-fledged lasagna!!  I was able to get started early enough that Kt could have supper with us before heading back to school, and that meant that she could also take some with her!

I also cast on, twice, for Opptuna.  I'll be ripping it out again because the gauge on the back swatch is off.  I think I need a bigger needle...  Ack.

So now it's Monday.  I've been reading comments and emails all through the weekend -- offers to take my middle-of-the-night calls, if needed; so many ex-smoking knitters (who knew?) telling me how many, how long ago and how they gave 'em up; links to journals and profiles and resources; other smoking knitters thinking about quitting, too (do it, do it, do it).  Thank you.  I would never have guessed how much it helps to hear about the struggles and successes of others and have them cheering.  I forgot how much it helps to go through this crap with someone.

You Can Do It!

Anyway, Monday.  After today, there are only three more days until I don't smoke another cigarette.  Ever.  Ever, ever, ever.  I told my mom on Saturday and she's beside herself with glee.  I told Ai & Mdd last night, too.  Actually, Kt did the telling.  I couldn't do it.  I couldn't [expletive deleted] tell them what they've always wanted to [expletive deleted] hear because I felt like such a stupid [expletive deleted] dumbass for taking so damn [expletive deleted] long to tell them the number one [expletive deleted] thing they've ever wanted to [expletive deleted] hear from me.  What a fucking idiot.

Back to Monday (you see how this goes?) and I'll try to wrap it up...  Nurse Becky's words have stuck.  Though I didn't completely stop smoking in my car yet, I did have only one cigarette on the way to work when I normally have three; I wouldn't allow myself to light up until I passed a particular exit.  I usually have a smoke on my way to the mailbox, usually twice each morning.  Today I separated those activities; I went to the mailbox, I had a cigarette, not at the same time.  This is such a ramble, I don't recall whether I've mentioned that I have been smoking fewer cigarettes; Saturday was better than Sunday, but Sunday was better than Friday, etc.

On Wednesday, I'll be going shopping for The Patch, juice and water, sweet chewy candy (I never feel like having a cigarette after an orange Starburst!), maybe some licorice, definitely some chocolate.

Sometimes I think there's just enough time to plan and prepare, and at other times I think there's too much.  Some of it is good -- what do I need to get to help deal with cravings?  Some of it I wonder about, but I guess being hyper-aware of every single cigarette, knowing that people are watching me now, is okay.

All together now: I don't want cigarettes to be the boss of me!!



My quit date is less than a week away and I'm continuing to gather steam, information and support.  I'm finding that I'm very easily distracted, though.  I'm getting things done, but it's hard to concentrate on one thing for very long.  My thoughts go like this:  Thing-A, Smoking, Thing-B, Smoking, How's Ann?, Smoking, Smoking, Thing-A, Get Dressed, How's Smoking Ann?, More Things...  I feel like I need to pin notes to my shirt or write on my hand so I remember what it was I thought of while I was upstairs that I planned to do when I got back downstairs.  Yeah.

From QuitNet, I found a link to smoking cessation program offered by my health care provider.  They have an actual support class, but that doesn't start 'til April 18th -- I plan to have my first smoke-free month under my belt by then.  They also provide phone counseling -- and I did remember to call them when I came downstairs this morning!  I talked with upbeat, cheerleading Nurse Becky, who is sending me some information, and it sounds like I should be expecting some calls from them.  I think they're going to, like, hold me accountable.  Anyway, she liked my plan so far.

Another reason I called them is because the blurb I found online mentions that I may be eligible for reimbursement for use of replacement products, up to $400!  I wouldn't doubt that other providers have similar programs and if you're thinking of quitting, you should call!!  With my health plan, I have to be quit for four months in order to be eligible for reimbursement.  That would be July.  That could translate to a very nice, stash-enhancing windfall!

Nurse Becky also said to start changing now.  If you normally have a cigarette with a cup of coffee, separate them -- have your coffee and have your cigarette, but make it two separate activities.  If you always sit in the same chair (to have coffee and a smoke), sit in a different chair.  If you smoke in the car, stop now.  Figure out what what you're going to reach for or do in place of a cigarette -- a stir stick to chew on, a rubber ball to squeeze when you're on the phone (that's a BIG problem area for me), slowly drink (and enjoy!) a glass of water, take deep breaths, take a walk, etc.


Kt and I will be going to the LYS soon.  I have a shopping list:

  1. Noro Silk Garden (I've never used it before!) to make Opptuna, a hoodie for a baby, from Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton's Book Two.  This one slid into the line-up because it's cute and I saw it while looking at another sweater (see #4 below).
  2. One skein each of three different colors of sport or worsted wool for classes I'll be taking next month at Spring Midwest Masters.  I'll be taking three classes from Lizbeth Upitis & Joyce Williams and one from Lily Chin (this one has swatchy homework).  I'm very excited.  I will also meet, for the first time, another knit blogger!  (I don't know what to wear.)
  3. More wool for Dulaan hats -- these will provide the FO fix I like on the weekends!
  4. Price the materials and check available colors for Williamsro, one of the sweaters I'm considering as a reward!

Commissioned knitting -- and WOW!

Here's the Knitting News.  Someone has commissioned some knitting -- from Kt!  A guy in one of her classes has asked her to knit this Colinette Point 5 scarf for him -- same color and everything.  (That's a very curly, pre-Locks of Love Kt!  Kinda weird.) It's a very quick knit and she'll enjoy making another.  I happen to have a filled LYS discount card, so she'll save money on the yarn.  Yippee!  A trip to the LYS tomorrow.  Maybe I'll find some pre-quitting motivational fiber-replacing-tobacco-therapy stuff.

Here's the Wow.  Wow!  Yesterday was kind of a weird day.  Popping out of the closet to admit that I smoke and then declare that I'm gonna stomp out my butts in front of all y'all...  weird, thrilling, scary, very emotional.  That last part might have a lot to do with PMS, but as of this morning, it's no longer "pre-."  I've been moved and motivated by your kind and inspirational words, sharing of the hell it is to quit and the tips you've employed that led to success.  It's so encouraging.  Thank you.  Somehow I'm going to combine all your comments into a document that I can carry with me, something that I can look at when I need a reminder of what I'm doing and why.

I've been discovering resources.  QuitAssist seems quite helpful.  I've revived my QuitNet enrollment, and I've been reading (rather than deleting) their emails.

It's all a little freaky the way this is working out.  One of the tips I've read to help with the first few days, especially, is to do things or go places where smoking isn't allowed -- a museum, the movies, a library -- and to find ways to relax.  Well, for Christmas, DH & I received a gift certificate for a B&B in Green Bay.  Several weeks ago, we decided that March 19th would be a good time to use it and booked our room.  There's a museum show opening that we'd like to see, we talked about going to a movie and, of course, relaxing in the whirlpool.  We also plan to run up to Sturgeon Bay to visit some galleries and (fiber) shops.  On Tuesday, I had an email from the B&B owner about a relaxation package they're running that weekend, and on Wednesday I booked both DH & I for 45-minute massages on Sunday morning. The cost of this little extra is almost exactly the amount of the refund check I got from my dentist on Wednesday.

Just seems like signals, or stars aligning, or some such thing.

Baptism by "Storm"

St. Brigid was officially baptized last night -- the only thing missing was actual Guinness, but it was enjoyed in spirit.  At practically the last minute, I was offered a ticket to last night's performance by Gaelic Storm.  Third row orchestra on the right; let's just say that my right ear is a tad hearing challenged this morning.  'Twas all worth it!  We had a blast.  The fiddle and pipes (oh, I love me some pipes) and that big, long, horn thing...  Ya just can't sit still!  I'd never seen them before, but judging by their tour schedule, they must like Wisconsin, and I don't doubt that I'll see them again.  The grrs would love them!

There was not a single stitch knitted yesterday, even with all those projects vying for attention that I showed yesterday.  The photography shoot was my only contact with fiber!

Dsc03944Dsc03945As of yesterday, most of the ice and snow had melted in the south-facing back yard (the north-facing driveway is still a skating rink).  It's at this time every year that the brick paths are surveyed for damage.  These are all locally salvaged building bricks, not originally intended for paths or landscape use, so I think they take a harder hit from the weather.  Their aesthetic and history appeal to us much more than their endurance factor, but that means that there are annual casualties.  One to three inches of new snow will cover these bricks today -- the repairs are still several weeks out.

Dsc03946_1I don't know what to call this.  A pack of cigarettes, I guess.  It's one of two that I bought on my way home last night, and hopefully it's among the last that I will ever buy.  I read the lovely, oinkety, Purling Swine Ann's post yesterday and it struck a chord.  Before I knew it, I was not only leaving a comment, but throwing my hat into the quitting ring.  Oh, please, let me quit smoking with you!  Misery loves company and all that junk.  All I'm going to say right now is that I'm going to do it.  I've been needing to do it and knowing that I should do it and, truthfully, the knowledge of this screams at me much more than knitting projects do -- every minute of every day -- and it's amazing how a person can just tune stuff out, along with the emails from QuitNet that I've been receiving (and ignoring) since I signed up for that months ago.  I've been ignoring my own voice (and my husband's and mother's and kids', etc.) for years.  It's time to snap-to!

I just know, no matter what, I'll never be as cute and funny with an oxygen tank as Maggie Smith in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  I love her, but I remember thinking, while watching the movie, how very sad that was, too.  I don't ever want the knitting of oxygen tank cozies in my project line-up.

I told DH this morning.  You should have seen his face light up.  He's never smoked; his chain-smoking mother took care of that.  He said that he'd keep his trap shut and let me tell the kids.  Kt will be the first to know since she reads my blog (Hi, Sweetie!  You keep your trap shut, too!  Love, Mom).

I'm just warning you:  It might get bitchy and boring and whiny 'round here for a while.  There might be tears at the drop of a stitch marker.  I've got a week to lay in a supply of chocolate, gum, kleenex, patches and lollipops.  Wish me luck.  I'll take advice, encouragement, and love, too.

Yarn on my mind

Thoughts of projects are crowding my mind.  All of these have been dancing on my brain for a while, but they're really calling me now -- loudly.  They don't care about Ai's sweater or Kt's sweater or Mdd's sweater or baby hats!

I finished the back of Goldie last night and cast on for the front; it has a kangaroo pouch pocket and I really enjoy making those.  All the while, though, these other things float through my head.  And while I like what I'm making (and Ai seems to be pleased), well, I've made it before (and I'll be making it again), so the thrill is gone, I guess, and the mind wanders...

Dsc03939_1This is some wool that Yvette sent me a while back.  I wasn't sure what I would do with it 'til Saturday night.  That's when I saw "Finding Neverland" with Mdd and I now know that these will become a tam; a two-color baby tam.

Dsc03942This is some old Donegal Tweed that was left-over from a kit my sister made years ago.  She thinks that they gave her too much yarn.  Ya think?  There are quite a few untouched hanks there.  I think these would be perfect for Fibonacci.  That issue of MagKnits came out quite some time ago, and that's how long this project has been on my mind.

Dsc03941This very pale gold shetland was purchased on sale several months ago.  It wants to be something.  Something for DH, perhaps.  It's just tired of living in the stash basket.

Dsc03940And this stuff really doesn't want to be a cushion cover.  It's the Rowan gift yarn from last year and it's been moving from drawer to basket and back to drawer.  The colors are gorgeous.  I wonder if this might like to become mittens of a Latvian nature.

Perhaps now that I've acknowledged all these things, they'll stop hollering at me all at once and get themselves arranged in an orderly queue.  Maybe they'll leave some room for the grrs' sweaters and baby hats, too.

Mr. Dashwood be damned.  I'm moving on in the baby hat department.  I will most certainly be making another Miss Dashwood (in cotton, minus earflaps), but, as you can see, I don't have time for all this fooling around with sex-change operations.

Imagine how the world could be... very fine!  I'm a little hoarse this morning as I was singing in top voice, and the speakers in my car put to the test, playing my new CD!  Actually, there are two new CDs, but I only played one song -- one of my all-time favorites -- "So Happy Together"!  I've mentioned that song a couple of times, but most recently when the music meme was going around.  Wendy picked up on it and told me that it was played at their wedding.  I would never have thought of it, but it's an absolutely perfect song for a wedding!  Can't you just see it?  Happy, smiling, in love, arm-in-arm, just hitched, walking out of the church to that song?  Friends and family singing that song with the choir, sending you joyously to meet your future together?  If and when my grrs ever marry, it will be so.  And I will likely sing at top voice then, too; in fact, I'll lead the chorus.  Oh, and look at what else she sent -- a magnet that she made with "my" blog picture.  That tickles me like you wouldn't believe.  Thank you Wendy!

And if that weren't enough, I also had a "prelude to spring" gift in the mail!  Cara sent a box of her photo notecards -- all flowers!  She is an amazing photographer, I just love her work.  More than that, she's a sweetheart through and through.  I have enjoyed getting to know her -- there is something about every comment and email that pings me, you know?  Plus, she's the mastermind who put together the Knit One Read Two book club.  I'm enthusiastic about that, but woefully slow... one of these days I've got to put down the needles and catch up with the books!  Thank you Cara!

Misster12028329Misster1When I put down the needles last night, there was an FO!  It's an attempt at a more manly Dashwood.  It's really not all that manly, the brim is quite riffly, but it is less girly.  I used straight needles and a twisted cast-on edge for the brim that made a less lacy and fairly firm edge; the brim is much shorter than the Miss, and I replaced the bobble border with a basket rib.  Both variations came from Knitting On The Edge, by Nicky Epstein.  Misster12028129I switched to DPNs after the basket rib and knit the rest in the round, seaming the brim and border afterwards.  I'll add ribbon ties soon.  The modified hat took almost an entire ball of Sugar & Cream for the 3-6 month size.

I enjoyed your very sweet comments about Ai and her dress yesterday.  She's so happy, you wouldn't believe it!  How happy?  She smiles like that when she's just thinking about her new dress.  Prom is one month from today.

Knitting in Neverland

I didn't actually do much knitting over the weekend, but I saw some at the movies.  I know I'm not the only one who notices knitters and knitting at the movies!  Mdd and I went to see Finding Neverland.  Right off the bat, I noticed the boys' tams, very cute 2- or 3-color tams.  I really loved Kate's tam-like hat, later in the movie.  I also saw a sweater that I liked.  All in all, I enjoyed the movie much more than I thought I would.  The boys just melted my heart.  I think I'm a lot like young Peter.

Dress3aDress4aI did go shopping.  Ai had this dress on hold and we had to pick it up on Saturday or risk losing it.  As it was, all the others in this style were sold by the time we got there.  Apparently, my charge account at this particular department store expired some time ago, so I opened another in order to save 15% -- in this case, it isn't chump change!  Since I saved 15% on any other purchase that day, it was time to replenish perfume.  And I found a new jacket -- Jones New York, chocolate brown, very similar to what I've been wearing the past few years (also JNY).  It was on clearance -- a $150 jacket marked down to $29.99 and 15% off of that!  I got my current jacket on sale, too, I'm sure, but not that much!!  Woo.  I don't really like shopping all that much, but this kind of stuff could change all that!

I did work on Ai's Goldie sweater -- I've probably got about six inches and the back will be finished.  Last night, I cast on some baby blue variegated Sugar & Cream to play around with the Mister Dashwood ideas I've had (picture tomorrow).  I thought my mods to the brim might still be too ruffly and girly, but Ai said that her baby boy would wear it, if she had a baby boy.  Let's not go there, okay?

In other news, not only did I go to the grocery store yesterday, I also made supper!  Hm, yeah, it's been a while.

Thanks for all the responses to my Saturday morning query!

What's the meaning of this?

I've been plagued with a question about yarn since Christmas and it's been getting bigger.   Googling hasn't provided the answer.

The seed was planted when I purchased the yarn for this shawl.  You'll see that I used Mountain Colors 4/8s wool.  Mountain Colors' Yarn Styles page tells me that it is a "good basic worsted weight yarn."

In my google attempts, I have visited Mielke's Fiber Arts site where I found yarns referenced as 8/2, 7/4, 3/2, 5/2, 10/2 and 20/2.

And the question grows when, in those vintage patterns I've been looking at, the specified material is pearl cotton, sizes 3 or 5.

What in the world do those numbers mean?  I know they must have a meaning, but I can't find a thing.  Does it have something to do with the spinning of the yarn, particularly the numbers like 8/2 and 4/8?  Someone help me, please!

Just when you think you know...

There's a CFWE (Creative & Fun Woman EXTRAordinaire) in our midst -- go read all about it! Congratulations, Ann!!  There's a new St. Brigid fresh off the needles, too!  Go have a look-see at Kim's gorgeous new sweater!

Just when you think you might be getting a handle on your kids, they go and show you that you know NOTHIN'!  CollegeI showed Mdd the sweater that I posted yesterday and she liked it.  What she liked even better, though, were the two sweaters on the facing page!  Really, you could blow me over with a feather.  Never in a million years would I have guessed that she'd have even a remote interest in these.  She was actually torn over which she liked best, and then decided it was the turtleneck -- it's shown in color on the cover, too.  She'd like different colors, of course, and she'd like me to hurry up so she can wear it while it's still winter.  Oy.

I attached a pic of the finished Miss Dashwood to an email I sent my baby sister yesterday.  I told her that it's hers if she has a girl.  Here is her reply:

BEAUTIFUL HAT!  I LOVE IT.  So if I don't have a girl just save it till I do cuz I'll keep trying and it will be all your fault because you made such a great hat.

I had time to make a couple of stops before meeting Ai to look at a dress.  One was at Hobby Lobby where I purchased some Sugar 'n Cream in two variegated colorways (pinks and blues, of course) to play around with a couple of other versions of that hat...  sometime...

There are two dresses on hold.  We'll be getting the one she wants (the other makes her look more like a bride than a princess).  I've thought it over and she deserves what she wants.  Did I tell you that she got her first-ever 4.0 report card recently?  Did I tell you that she won a merit award (cash!) in a local high school art competition?  Did I tell you that she's willing to use birthday money for the dress?

She's not the only one in birthday mode -- Kt (a certifiable shoe freak) sent a link to some fabulous shoes on anthropologie's sale site, just a little hint (hoping it wasn't too early for birthday hints).  They're Lagos flats and they only have three remaining in size 11 (item 45182 if that's your size, cuz it isn't Kate's).  Craptastic.  Birthday season is fast approaching -- all three grrs within 9 days next month.

Mickeymaddy_1Here's one reason why Mickey doesn't show up in the blog too often.  She is way too interested in sniffing the camera or licking the left-over Cheetos dust off your fingers!  Speaking of Cheetos -- which I love (Puffs for me, please) -- somewhere in blogland recently, I read a lament about how eating Cheetos and knitting can't be done at the same time.  Someone worthy of nomination to the Cheetos Hall of Fame (I don't know who) left a comment that they have found a way to do it -- by stabbing them with a toothpick!  Don't you just love that??

Happy weekend!  May you find a way to do the things you love while knitting -- yay, La!  (Don't mention anything about the Cheetos to Jen, though, 'kay?  Now's not the time...)

Wrap your head 'round this!

Star1Star2I bought these two issues of Star Needlework Journal, from 1921 and 1923, published by The American Thread Co., yesterday at an antique shop.  I have some old Star spools of thread that were in DH's mother's sewing tin (an old biscuit tin).  There were many issues to choose from, but these are the two that came home.  The issue on the left really caught my eye with this cute sweater pattern.  Is that style not fairly fashionable now, or is it just me?

The terminology is interesting.  "The entire sweater is worked K 1 row, P 1 row."  It uses Silkine Pearl Cotton, size 3, in two colors; no needle size is given.  Even more interesting are the directions for a girl's dress on the same page.  It uses size 5 cotton and "5 bone needles size 4 pointed at both ends.  Cast on 105 sts on two needles and 112 sts on the other two needles, making a total of 434 sts and join."

...a total of 434 sts and join.  And how long do you suppose those "size 4 pointed at both ends" needles would have to be?  Wow, nothing about being careful not to twist, either.  Maybe it's just me (again), but this just leaves me mouth agape.

Pansy_1Here's my other "score" -- another Paul de Longpre pansy print.  I can't believe it was only $2.  I need a mat and glass, but have a frame to fit it, even!  There were lots of other things that caught my eye, but I'm more budget-minded than usual with that prom dress thing on my mind.

Duncan26mickeyMeeting Ali later today to see another dress or two...

Duncan and Mickey caught some rays yesterday.  They get along so well and it's fun to watch them play together!

The lovely Miss

Dashwood7It's very pretty, but it isn't the same without an adorable model.  Miss Dashwood was still drying out last night after her soak.  I used one of my sister's bowls for blocking the crown (it was perfect!), but it was still damp so I unpinned it and left it to dry overnight.  I quickly sewed it together this morning -- I haven't woven in the ends and I'm prepared to move the earflaps, and I haven't bought or sewn in the buttons, and I'm not sure I have the earflap/tie placement correct.  The hat really softened up with the washing -- I was a little worried about how stiff it was before.

Miss Dashwood, pattern from Knitty, 3-6 month size

Blue Sky Alpaca Worsted Hand Dyes, 50% alpaca, 50% merino, color 2007

US 6 circular and double-pointed needles

Started February 25th.  Completed (tentative earflaps) March 2nd.

This was very fun to knit and would make a fabulous baby gift!  I had done a knitted cast-on before, but not a picot edge -- what a gorgeous detail for a baby girl's hat!  The decreases before the bobble row, looking kind of like pleats, is another beautiful detail.  And the bobbles, while I really hate making them, just make the hat!  I got around the horrible bobble chore by slipping the stitches off the needle and pulling the yarn through with a crochet hook to make the stitch.  I employed that method wherever more than two stitches needed to be worked together; I knit much tighter on circs and DPNs than I do on straights.  It's just a beautiful hat and a very nice pattern.  Five stars!

I had to break into a second hank of yarn to do the earflaps and ties -- the hat itself took approximately 100 yards.  Your mileage may vary!  I'm hoping to get a pair of matching baby mitts out of the remainder.  I am seriously contemplating making another Miss Dashwood in a summery cotton and using ribbon for ties.

Goldie1Here's the start of Goldie for Ali.  The color is really very close to that of St. Brigid, which, yes, I was wearing yesterday*, minus the flecks of color in the Cascade 220.  The Zar One is lofty and springy and while this may look kind of small, it's all pretty stretchy.  I'm totally cabling without a needle on this baby -- very easy on such big needles!  Ali's eyes lit up when she realized what I was working on.

Speaking of Ali...  She hauled me out to the dreaded mall last night to look at (ack!) prom dresses.  We met a friend and her mother, went to three stores, and they tried on lots of dresses (teehee, I tried one on, too!).  Poofy, she wants poofy, but it seems the bigger the poof, the heftier the price.  Her favorite -- and I have to say that it was beautiful and she looked like a princess -- was expensive.  Owie, owie, owie!  I have a big, big problem with spending so much on a dress that's destined to be worn once.  Even if Maddy wore it in a few years -- and she probably won't because we all know that poofy won't be "in" then -- I still have a problem.  I agonized over this last year, too.  Prom is just over a month away, and she's still going to look around while I cross my fingers.

*I'm going someplace different today, so I'll be wearing St. Brigid again!  (In the "Afterglow" comments, Susan told me I could!  Thanks!)

Whad'Ya Know?

Miss Dashwood is still at the spa.  After a nice soak in the tub last evening, she's recuperating, resting, reclining, realigning.  It's doing her a world of good!  The last tie has been knit and she ought to be feeling more put together by tomorrow.

You'd think I'd have worked on Cromarty then, wouldn't ya?  Nope.  In October, I took delivery of two bags full of Filatura Di Crosa Zar One from Elann.  The intended use was to knit one more of this sweater (from last winter's VK) in each of these colors at the request of Katie & Ali.  I had some delusional thought back then that I might even have one, if not two, finished by Christmas.  Oh, what wild things we think sometimes, huh?  It is a quick-knit sweater, but I had my problems with this pattern and, since they wanted them in the size smaller than the first, I could foresee more wrangling.  It's "Golden Tan" for Ali on the left, "London Cobblestone" for Katie on the right.  Naturally, they'll be able to trade!

Golden_tan London_cobblestone

I had so many problems with the pattern, in fact, that I basically re-wrote the whole thing while knitting the first sweater, using what useful written information could be gleaned and by examining the photo.  Trial and error.  I can't even remember how many times I frogged back to the ribbing to restart the pattern, hoping that I was on the right track -- it was a lot.  I was bound and determined to do it, though; impatient to wait for corrections to be posted, so stubbornly forged ahead.  It was one of those "I learned a lot" experiences.

So, it's "Golden Tan" on the needles.  And there was wrangling, but I think I'm on-track now.  While perusing the many notes and things stuffed into the magazine from the previous effort (reacquainting myself with anguish?), I came across a small scrap of paper on which I'd drawn a series of numbered, horizontal lines and groups of Xs in 2s, 4s and 6s.

I had a moment right then.

Whad'Ya Know?*  It's a chart.  It's a chart and I made it myself.  And, I made it long before I had thoughts of knitting St. Brigid; before I'd ever seen the charts within Aran Knitting; before I "realized" that I've never knit from a chart before so I better practice (and thus Galway hats were born).  It's kind of funny to look back to late May and read about how intimidated I was by those charts.

I was astounded at how much of a chart I'd actually made and how quickly I'd forgotten about my little, scrappy chart when a big, burly, published book with real, official, printed charts landed on my kitchen table!  I had numbered all the horizontal lines in the right margin, later adding the word "even" to the left margin at all the even-numbered rows; the Xs represented the three different cables in the pattern, made up of 2, 4 or 6 stitches, and I'd placed the individual groups of Xs on the odd-numbered rows where they were to be worked.  I kept looking at that scrap last night and thinking, Man, this couldn't be more like a "real" chart if I'd tried!  It's just really weird to realize that not only did I already know how to knit from a chart, I'd actually already made one!

*So, Whad'Ya Know?  (Michael Feldman says, Not Much.  I love this show.)