Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "An Irish Country Village" by Patrick Taylor, reading "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen and knitting Wisconsin Wintersocks. And casting off the lace shawl I've been working on since I last posted.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Captain Sharpie Strikes Again!

Less than one week until school starts. I'm afraid Captain Sharpie may be going underground for awhile, but here's her latest:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I must not be drinkin' enough?

Have you ever heard the Country Western song, “I must not be drinkin’ enough”? Well, I have come to the clear realization that “I must not be knittin’ enough.” For the last two weeks I have been cranky as all get-out. I’m stone cold sure it is all because I am not knittin’ enough.

I have a good excuse. This Physiology/Microbiology thing might not have been the easiest course for jumping back into the academic pool. The last time I took a science class, Jimmy Carter was President for Heaven's sake. To say my study skills are a bit rusty is an understatement. Still, I am unfazed … the professor is a knitter! And these chemistry formulas? They aren't any tougher than the lace charts I have been pouring over lately. The problem is all this studying is definitely cutting into my knitting and blogging time.

How to deal with the "reorg"? Why, by starting a new shawl, of course! I’ve cast on the Judy Pascale Shapely Shawlette pattern I bought last month at The Mannings. (Just because I wasn’t as enthusiastic on that shopping trip as I should have been doesn’t mean I came home empty handed!) Since the first time I saw this shawl, I’ve been curious about the shaping. (You cast on a few stitches at the center back neck and it grows wings and a point at the same time.) It has a nice rhythm and no brain-twisting complicated patterns to use up my otherwise-occupied gray matter. The pretty autumn colors of the Schaeffer “Anne” yarn I am using should be just enough to keep the boredom away. Besides, the classroom is pretty chilly. A contemporary shawl of an interesting hand-dyed yarn is the perfect accessory for a Student of A Certain Age, don’t you think? The usual female student uniform of low-slung jeans and a tiny, tight T-shirt with/without the cute princess phrase is seriously Not My Style and these ladies could use a dignified example.

They won't be getting it from me, but I sure hope they get one somewhere.

I’m off to do some studying. I hope to be all caught up so I can treat myself to a trip to “My Favorite Yarn Shop” in Warrenton over the Labor Day weekend. They are celebrating their 1st anniversary. Who knows what might find its way home with me (although I promise it won't be a llama)?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dear Joan(ie),

After all those years of asking you which side my appendix is on, it finally sunk in. I aced this week's anatomy quiz.

There are some things my brain has just refused to remember. I'm pretty quick to grasp concepts, I'm fair at memorizing, and I can be quite the stickler for detail work, but occasionally something crosses my path that I simply can't remember. Up until this week, one of those things was which side my appendix is on. Fortunately, I knew where to get the information. For as far back as my memory reaches, I just asked Joanie.

It was the live version of the old joke, "My sister & I know everything; everything in the world. Just ask me anything."

"Oh ... my sister knows that."

Friday, August 25, 2006

It must be a sign

Everything is connected.

Yesterday I saw a blue-tailed skink in the parking lot. I herded him over to the grass. A parking lot is not a safe place for a blue-tailed skink. They are such exotic looking little creatures that I couldn't help thinking, "This is a sign. A portent. Something good will happen today." (Something already had. I saw a blue-tailed skink. See, I was right.)

He was a handsome, elegant creature. I think that's a sign that if I get an A in this class, I should treat myself to the book of equally exotic, handsome & elegant "3 Corner and Long [Tail] Shawls," don't you? I could knit one with a blue tail.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm not 40 something

I'm 39.95 plus shipping and handling.

Maybe I'm pondering age a bit today because (drumroll, please ... or is it ominous thunder in the distance?) tomorrow is my first day of school. I'm starting with one class to get my feet wet -- the science prerequisite for the nursing program. It's one I don't think I could pawn off with any credits I've accumulated or with experience. I'm not nervous about the academics; I think my brain is still fairly fit and flexible.

I am nervous about the rest of the family adjusting. I'll keep you posted.

The Ultimate in Telecommunication Equipment

They have yet to improve on the Pink Princess rotary dial telephone, manufactured by Western Electric, don't ya think? And now that I have one, I feel as glamorous as Barbie.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Kid, Ked, Sharpie

This is what happens when you mix a pair of white Keds, a Sharpie marker and a teenager in the throes of the end-of-summer doldrums.

I think Cassie should do advertising for Sharpie.

19 days 'til the first day of school.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Refreshed Mojo

Enough miscellaneous prattle! On with knitting -- I got my mojo back! And from a most (and Claire, I do mean most) unexpected source: crochet. I'm not really a knit vs. crochet snob. To me, knitting is Beethoven's 9th symphony: intricate intertwinings that build to a full and rich climax. Crochet is The Blue Man Group: full of energy and rhythm and unexpected twists and turns. In-your-face. Crochet stays where you put it. Knitting is fluid and flexible. As Audrey Hepburn says in Roman Holiday, "Each, in it's own way..."

I think I like knitted lace so much because, frankly, in the lace world it's the underdog. Knitting has to really work to make crochet's equal when it comes to lace. Check out these yards of lovelies from the hands of my great grandmother:

Now look again with something for perspective -- my 0000 needles. A shopkeeper told me, "They don't make anything finer than quads," and yet "they" obviously do. The finest needles I own look like a Kindergartener's extra-fat crayons next to this venerable lace. My needles will fit through the yarn overs, but I can't imagine knitting yards of lace with the needles fine enough to produce this. To crochet a similar lace would have been faster and simpler. I know Great Grandma Schwochert was accomplished at both. I wish I could ask her why she chose to knit this.

But I digress. The crochet project that set me back on my feet was to join knitted rectangles to make an afghan; not only crochet, but the dreaded "F" word -- finishing. Many different knitters brought 7 x 9 rectangles to our last guild meeting for assembly. As crochet is wont to do, it moved right along and here is the result:

When you want a border that says, "This far and no further," when you want to tame the unruly gauges from 9 different knitters, when you want a little instant gratification, crochet's your game.

My mojo also got a boost when my sweet cousin asked if I would knit her a little something:

Mini-mittens. (Coincidentally, mittens are also the guild's charity project this month.) There's nothing more inspiring than knitting a project for someone that you know, ahead of time, will really appreciate your work.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

This is my chair

This is my desk chair. I like my chair. It has a wonderfully stable base, a completely neutral color and notice the lack of arms? I detest arms on swivel chairs. I'm always banging them into things and wishing I could scoot closer to the desk. My chair has no arms.

But it does have my newest office companion, named -- quelle surprise! -- Shadow. I would call him Sailor because he's light in the rigging (and on the keyboard and on the phone and in the in-box), he drinks like a fish (out of my mug if I'm not paying attention), picks fights with the dog AJ, and is a perfect little charmer. He prefers sleeping on the black chair, maybe for the camouflage and finds my screensaver endlessly entertaining. When he's not sleeping or fighting, he sits on my lap and purrs. He's the latest office accessory. I predict everyone will want one this Christmas.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Cass has been on a watercolor kick this summer. Pretty groovy, isn't it?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jean

Today is a pretty auspicious day. It's the 41st anniversary of Lyndon Johnson's signing of the voting rights act. It is the birthday of Alfred Tennyson, the first Englishman to be given a title based solely on literary achievement. It is the birthday of the man who discovered penicillin (and said "A good gulp of hot whiskey at bedtime -- it's not very scientific but it helps) and of the man who made famous Pop Art out of ubiquitous soup cans. It is the sad anniversary of the first time a nuclear weapon was used in a war.

But as far as I'm concerned the event of the day is my sister's birthday, and all those other things are the footnotes.

I've been hunting around for photos and found I don't have many. I seem to carry most of the images of Jean in my head: stretched out on her bed, reading on a summer afternoon. (If I promised not to be too bratty, I got to read her books when she was through which is where I first encountered the Ray Bradbury that my daughter now finds "irrelevant." ) Or with single eyebrow raised and skeptical expression aimed at Peter and Chip (or is it Taffy?) Or her brilliant smile standing next to Doug on his wedding day.

I know there must be more photos SOMEWHERE, but this one is the one I wanted most. It's not a particularly good photograph, but it tells a story that I treasure. Baby Cass had been fussy all day and had been passed from her mother to Grandma and then to Jean, when this photo was taken. A minute later Cass calmed down and was as sweet & content as she could be.

Grandma said, "Babies like Jean."
Maybe they like her because even when they have a diaper leak of legendary proportions on a crowded airplane, she calmly rinses out her dress and carries on. No fuss, no drama. She just does what needs to be done. She is patient. She has a wicked wit, but not a wicked tongue. She lives in a house with a fabulous view and does a job that needs doing, she appreciates music and art, all without the least bit of pretentiousness. She raised wonderful children including the champion thank-you-note-writer of our entire extended family. (A title to make any mother proud.) She laughs at Great Housewives of Art because she gets the joke. She might not know it, but she is my example for serenity. She's the best big sister I could hope for and I will always love her.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


It's been a quiet week in Bedford Falls, partly because of this:

That's right. It's Boy Scout Camp week. Sunday morning bright and early I packed my beloved son off for a week in the wilds. He'll come home Saturday. The only thing the Scoutmaster promised was that he will take a shower. Some time. During the week. The rest is anybody's guess.