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.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Other stuff

Last guild meeting, our program was the Moebius cast on, to hopefully inspire us to knit Moebius scarves for the Santa Train.

Alas, I was inspired to cast on a Moebius basket (still for charity, just a different one). The handle has a twist in it so this whole basket has one side and one edge instead of a right and left and an inside and outside. All the trickiness gets used up in the cast on; from there on it's absolutely brain-soothing. The color changes keep it from being tedious

The photo is misleadingly red. When Dr. C saw it, he asked if there was a color that WASN'T in it, but it's actually only red, yellow and blue. When I'm done knitting, I'll throw it in the washer with hot water and blue jeans and shrink it into a sturdy, manageable, fuzzy basket for this year's state Rainbow leader. (Their colors this year are red, yellow and blue so when I saw this multicolor fun fur in my stash, I heard the yarn's tiny voice of destiny.)

And the shapely shawlette continues

It's actually at the point where I could cast off but I have such a whack of yarn left, I want to make it bigger and maybe give it a pointy edge. I like this yarn so much I want to use every bit. It's languishing in the cogitating bin awaiting a decision.

In non-knitting news: we had our first exam (Anatomy, Physiology & Microbiology AKA A&P/Micro) last Thursday. The class average was Not Good so our compassionate instructor graded on a curve. I was happily (for me, anyway) the outrigger on the high end of the scale and needed no curve to pull off a decent grade.

Monday, September 25, 2006


This is Oliver last week:

This week is different. This week we are kittysitting for my usual desk accessory, Shadow. I was a little worried about how Oli would take to a young male on his turf, but after a couple of days to get acquainted, they found they had a shared fondness for playing Ninja Kitten.

In spite of the laser eyes in this photo, there were no puffy tails, hissing or flattened ears. (There was a little black fur flying, but who can tell where that came from?) Shadow is the one with the red collar and bell, ergo his new nickname, Mr. Jingles. Oliver has 8 pounds and 2 inches reach on him, but Shadow makes up for it in moxy.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Since I haven't blogged in over a week, just pretend I've been in Peru & couldn't write. (I have some friends who actually WERE in Peru. In Peru you can eat alpaca (oh, no!) and guinea pig.) So all the news over the next few blogs will be old, but because I've been keeping it in the freezer, it shouldn't be too stale.

Last Saturday I went to Knitters' Day Out with my friend Claire. KDO is a one-day batch of classes held at Central Pennsylvania College. It's put together by volunteers and they do a job to rival any professional. They have a nice slate of classes & always schedule a few "Guest Teachers" (nationally known gurus); last year they had Lily Chin & Lucy Neatby. If you register early enough, you can expect to get into one class with a "guest" and one with a local teacher. Last year I didn't get into a guest class, although I had lunch across the table from Lucy Neatby and she was colorful and charming. I took a dyeing class and a class on illusion knitting, both from local teachers, both memorable and both excellent.

This year Janet Szabo, Joan Schrouder & Margaret Radcliffe were the stars and I had a hard time deciding what my number 1 choice would be. I settled on infinitely Interesting Cables with Janet Szabo and this is what I got:

Here it is closer and blurrier:

It may not look like much to you, but to be able to start knitting a cable in the middle instead of starting at the bottom is a really neat trick. When you first see one, you think, "Yeah, well, how hard can that be?" Then when you start to do it, you realize there's more to knitting sideways than you thought. Once you're done, you feel like saying, with a great deal of fanfare, "TaDa!" Practically magic. Janet was a warm, knowledgeable & enthusiastic teacher. She had a box full of great samples. Of course I bought her newest book on designing Aran sweaters and she was very gracious in signing it. Someday I plan to knit a red cabled cardigan like the Perfect Sweater (Woolrich 1989. It has become my Moby Dick, except it probably won't kill me.)

With all that said, the best part of the whole class was Janet's answer to my question, "How did you get started teaching?" She decided to write a book rather than sit around fretting, waiting two years to find out if some heavy duty medical stuff worked. Two years. Just about the right amount of time to write a book and self publish it after publisher told her it wasn't sexy enough. See? Knitting can save your life. I love stories of women thumbing their noses to adversity.

My morning class was Introduction to Bobbin Lace by Deb Bender. I took the class out of curiosity, knowing the chance wasn't likely to roll around very often. I am not inflamed with a drive to do bobbin lace night and day. I didn't even buy any of those cute little bobbins, and I don't generally pass up the opportunity to buy cute supplies. It was interesting. I always enjoy learning something new. The teacher had a passion for lace and shared it with us all. (Passionate teachers are my favorite kind.) And I doubt I'll ever pick up another bobbin.

Part of the fun of KDO is the drive up and back. Since neither of us is inclined to go up the night before, Claire and I set out in the 5:15 am pre-dawn darkness and chatter for about 160 miles. Since we haven't taken the same classes, at the end of the day we have plenty more to chatter about all the way home. We stopped at a diner for some supper and who should wander in but Melissa! (A guildmate who does incredible lace.) We'd have stayed all night knitting at the counter if we hadn't been so tired and if the little kid behind us hadn't been trying to cough up her wee heart [Note to parents: Shushing the toddler every 5 seconds for 15 minutes probably won't help. Next time, take her outside for some air. We'll all thank you.]

Friday, September 15, 2006


Lilian Hellman (or was it Dorothy Parker?) said eternity is two people and a ham. This has always been my byword when it comes to ham. I'm just grateful they keep well.

We've been having ham steaks, ham & corn chowder (a popular soup in this house -- maybe it's the two cups of half-and-half) and today we're down to bean soup. I'm making two pots: one with cabbage, carrots, onion, ham, beans, potatoes, cumin, & chili powder; and one with ham, beans & potatoes. Guess which one is for me...

So as long as I'm pondering eternity, ham and how long it takes navy beans to get soft even after I've soaked them overnight, I think I've decided what to do when I grow up: write the back labels for modestly priced wine. Have you read these things? They get to throw around words like "magical" and "charming" and "struts" like there is no tomorrow. Vince is waiting to read one that says, "Reminiscent of poisoned fish..."

Thursday, September 14, 2006


My favorite bumper sticker today said "When Jesus said love your enemies I think he probably meant don't kill them."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dear Vincent,

Happy Birthday! No matter what anyone else calls it, I will always celebrate September 11 as the day I held my baby boy in my arms for the first time. Whenever anyone asks, "Do you remember what you were doing when the towers fell?" I say, "Of course I do. I was taking chocolate cupcakes to my son's class for his birthday."

Happy Birthday! Even your sister admits you were one cute little boy.

This year has been an amazing one. This is the year you became realio, trulio, no tippy-toeing, taller than your mother, and started wearing shoes bigger than your father's.

This is the year you became a Star scout and were awarded the Order of the Arrow in Boy Scouts. This is the year you aced the state's standardized tests in science AND math AND reading. (Way to go! Handsome and brilliant.)

This is the year I stopped calling you Vincie (although I still think it sometimes.) I will always love you -- no matter what -- but thank you for making it so easy.

Happy birthday! I hope you always fly through life like you've flown these first 14 years.

And may you never lose your sense of humor.

Love, Mom

P.S. If all this mush embarasses you, just be thankful I didn't use the photograph of you in the firehat.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fashion Advice

I am the furthest thing possible from being a fashion maven, but yesterday I discovered I do have standards, however low they may be.

Guys: do NOT wear flip-flops with jeans and a faded T shirt.

Flip-flops are best reserved for wear with minimalist clothing: swimsuits, shorts, etc. Perky teen aged girls can get away with wearing flip-flops with almost anything, but that's only because the rest of the world doesn't expect them to have any sense. Guys, unless you just came off your sailboat or surfboard, stick with those chunky sandals with velcro straps. The slap-slap of flip-flops seriously interferes with your cool look.

I made this discovery while I was searching the snack food aisle of the grocery store for Puff Corn. I had a hankering for hull-less caramel corn. You make it pretty much the same way as any recipe for caramel corn, except instead of popcorn you use Puff Corn. Puff corn is a little like the stuff of baked Cheetos, if Cheetos were sturdier, shaped like popcorn and had no gaudy orange "cheese". You wouldn't think the absence of hulls would be a big deal, but I am here to tell you, hull-less caramel corn is snack-food crack.

Alas, the gourmet taste buds of Northern Virginia must not crave Puff Corn, because I have yet to find it. I predict a situation similar to the one Coors had when their market was strictly west of the Mississippi. People will be hauling Puff Corn home from their vacations and hoarding it in their basements.

I know I will be.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

If I knit fast enough,

does it count as aerobic exercise?

I saw a variation of this as a bumper sticker and it started me thinking. I enjoy racing at certain things. Typing for instance. I've loved to type ever since Mrs. S taught the required semester to me and 25 other squirrelly sophomores. And no, it was not called Keyboarding then. It was plain old typing. On manuals. {Those require no electricity, for you technology unimpaired out there. We could type in the middle of a hurricane if we wanted to.} Everytime I sit down at a these abecedarian buttons, I feel compelled to go as fast as I can. This same feeling doesn't overcome me when I'm using the machine we learned about second semester that year in driver's ed.
I don't drive fast.
I don't swim fast.
I don't hike, sew or spin fast. (That sounds a little Seuss-like.)
I don't even try. But knitting? With every stitch I'm thinking about how I could save a motion, speed it up, really FLY! Maybe I read Cheaper by the Dozen once too often? I'm curious about holding the yarn differently, knitting backwards (I can't yet), nickel plating and the search for the perfect join on a circular needle.

I think speed occupies my mind right now because I'm working on a project on which each row is longer than its predecessor. Every single row. 6 stitches longer every 2 rows. It explodes like the rabbit population in Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I started out with only 5 stitches and already I've got over 150.

But I still love this yarn. This pitiful picture does no justice to the colors -- purples, greens, navy, burgundy & browns. The photo is just to prove I've made progress since my post a few days ago.

Yesterday I trooped out to "My Favorite Yarn Shop" in Warrenton to help them celebrate their anniversary. They were teaching felted treasure bags to kids and when Dina invited me to do one, I jumped at the chance. Well, not so much jumped, but thought, "Why not?" I've felted wool before so I thought it would be no big thrill. Boy was I surprised! I don't know if it was the whole 'treasure' idea or that I was working alongside a girl of 8 or 10 or that we were using a rock for our mold (I do love rocks), but it was loads of fun. We took a smooth rock, wrapped it in layers of wool batt we'd teased loose, wrapped that with a cloth, secured it with rubber bands & gave the whole thing a massage in hot soapy water. After we got sick of that, we rinsed it, cut one end off and threaded a cord through for a drawstring. Very stylish, what every crafter girl is dangling from her neck this year, but I plan to hang mine on a Christmas tree.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hints from Captain Sharpie

For anyone who is curious, our fabulous, unique mailbox makeover was done by applying a layer of white exterior semi-gloss paint, a little red paint for trim, then doodling with permanent black marker while watching TV. This is a test to see just how permanent "permanent" is. We're at a disadvantage because this is a plastic mailbox and nothing seems to stick to it for long, but that doesn't concern Captain Sharpie.

Captain Sharpie believes art is all about the process.

In other local news, after a summer of drought, Nature seems inclined to solve the problem in a single holiday weekend. Since it is so rainy and miserable, I thought today would be a good time to slog out and get some chili at Wendy's, and while I was out, maybe a tetanus shot. It's been over a decade and I'd been meaning for awhile to get one (unlike mine, the Offspring's immunizations are scrupulously up to date) but I was hurried along by a little freak run-in with a Vietnam era bayonet. Don't worry. The cut is certainly clean, and not all that deep, since the bones are so close to the surface of an ankle... I just thought now might be a good time for a Tetanus shot.