Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.

3 Comments:

I'm totally with you on not wanting designers to do something "innovative" with the seasonal decorations/colors.

Pink and green for Christmas I can BARELY tolerate - I was a child of the 70s and also went to prep school - but any of the other bizarre combinations give me hives.

The Target near me has got a whole wall of bizarreries - Christmas tree ornaments "Vegas-style" (martini glasses and dice, now I ask you) and other things that I can't wrap my head around as being Christmas.

And, on a related subject: I can't stand it when chefs/cooking magazines go all "creative" on Thanksgiving. No, I do not want wild boar for Thanksgiving instead. No, I do not want the dressing with my turkey to be made out of pita bread or contain chipotle-dusted corn. No, I do not want the pumpkin pie replaced with some kind of monstrosity concocted out of exotic fruits. And I especially do not want people mucking about with my mashed potatoes and introducing such adulterants as bleu cheese or garlic or peppercorns. (If it's someone else's family tradition, I will put up with it but gripe inwardly, but if it's some chef changing things for the sake of change, NO.)

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 2:59 PM  

I can handle any jewel tones with Christmas - purple and gold and sapphire blue, all acceptable.
Spangled Vegas ornaments, a sushi Christmas appetizer tray, too weird. We are stuffy traditionalists, and without us, how would anyone know why the Pink Beaded Martini Glass Ornament was supposed to be cool? Without stuffies like us to gripe about it it'd just be boring.

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:11 PM  

My mother made a Williamsburg wreath with apples, oranges, nuts and perhaps even a pineapple in the center. One of my absolute favorites, and the talk of the neighborhood. This was in New York State, so the fruit stayed good long enough to fill out the season.

By Anonymous Necia, at 7:09 PM  

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Monday, November 28, 2005  

I made it into the attic! Yes! Victory - or at least - progress. I can’t go into that dark warren without muttering to myself "I simply must get up here and clean this place up". I never do. But I always promise myself that I will. It’s a veritable rat’s nest of old clothes, old furniture and old toys. It is in serious need of a good clean. Let us hope that day will come sometime before I am too old to get up the steep tiny staircase with mop and broom.

And I didn’t discover much of anything beyond enough ribbons and bows to bedeck a store’s worth of presents, and one box of Christmas cards. So when I go to TheCity today I will buy another box of cards and I believe I really will have to buy some more wrapping paper. My attic is not climate controlled - it’s hot in summer and cold in winter (which is why I don’t ever get around to cleaning it out). The colors on the wrapping paper fade in the summer heat and I really ought not put it up there at all. Might as well burn it in the stove.

That will be one to go into the Christmas Notebook: Do Not Save Wrapping Paper in Attic!

I also brought down the Wreath thingies. "Huh?" you ask. Well, they are little styrofoam fruits that have been glitterized and attached to alligator clips. The sit nicely in just about any sort of wreath and give it that della Robbia look - my absolute favorite Christmas look, be it the Italian version or the Colonial Williamsburg edition. I am a seriously traditional Virginia Christmas decorator. Do not give me Martha Stewart teal and buff for Christmas. I know what I like, and it’s not "different". Not "refreshingly new". Not a "Not Your Mother’s Christmas."
I want my mother’s Christmas. That means it’s also my Christmas - the ones I remember when I was young and full of hope and anticipation for all the possibilities rolled up in the mystery of this magical time. Who knew what Santa might bring? Perfect gift? Perfect date? Perfect bliss? I never even minded that perfect never came along. Good enough was good enough and besides, the act of hoping is fun for me. It’s a lot like being a process knitter - the journey is the pleasure, not the arrival.

So give me traditional, medium value reds and greens, lots of fruit and the woodsy scent of evergreens, fluttery ribbon ties and please, no Siberian landscape white punctuated with public restroom aqua and pink.

A few years ago I noticed that the traditional colors for the different seasons were under serious attack. You see it most in magazine covers. Gone are the rich hues of autumn on the October issues of House Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens or even the grocery store standbys - Woman’s Day and Family Circle. The only magazine that hinted at autumn colors in it’s 2005 fall line-up of covers was the Martha Stewart November issue. At least it had a dark cover centered with a pumpkin pie - alas - it looked a little gloomy to me - and very urban trendy, as opposed to heart warmingly autumn.

After a summer of sweltering mosquito biting, exhausting heat, we got the fresh new look for autumn - Lilly Pulitzer green! Yuck. I am ready, at the end of a typical Virginia summer, for things cozy, snugly and dark. I am tired of hot bright sunlight. I long for evening to come early, blanketing our day with it’s soft cloak of nighttime. I want to look at a picture and smell cinnamon. Not lime. Not in September, and definitely not in December.

In fact, I want the magazine to promise me the same stuff I want Christmas to promise me - the might be's, the maybe's, the image, the feel, the look. I don't care if it's not real. I don't care if I don't actually have the big table laden with harvest bounty. I just want the feel of it, stimulated by visual images that I've long associated with the possibilities and maybes and hopes.

Oh. Well. Hmm. I didn’t mean to tumble into an interior decorator’s rant. I merely ment to say that I found those fruit clip-ons in my attic foray and I see that I’m short one so I hope there are more available at some holiday shop somewhere.

A box of Christmas cards, some fruit clip-ons and a bag of wide wired ribbon. That was all the haul I got out of my treasure hunt into the attic. This week’s shopping will fill in the gaps; scotch tape, unfaded wrapping paper, some greenery. The holly this year is Currier & Ives perfect, loaded with berries and glossy green leaves. I like to wait till December actually gets here to put up decorations, but there’s always a bit of assembly with holiday decor and it’s nice to get started on that in a timely fashion.

I’m leaving for the city this afternoon and will be there all day tomorrow, visiting my family, doing a story time program in J’s classroom and playing with new fiber friends. No post from me till later in the week. I’m taking along the Christmas socks and maybe the novelty yarn calash-that-might-become a Christmas gift scarf instead. And I am back on WW again, with a vengeance. The body is not happy. The clothes aren’t either. Perhaps I can achieve a low fat vegetarian flush over the next few weeks. I certainly feel the need.

Till later, then ....

posted by Bess | 6:19 AM

1 Comments:

"I would actually like a calash, made of silk, of course, to wear with my velvet cloak, of course, to wear over my ruched and rustling dress, that swings over my hoops as I step into the ball room, of course. " Ahh... I want one of those too! With some delicate slippers that waltz across the floor silently....

By Blogger Amie, at 9:47 AM  

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Sunday, November 27, 2005  

Oooooo I can’t believe it’s the last day of my sweet luxurious 5 day holiday weekend. I am soooooo in to staying home and so very in to playing with my toys. And I am so not going to mope away this last golden day feeling sorry for myself because it all ends tomorrow. It doesn’t. The only thing that ends tomorrow is - tonight.

So - all my rock spindles are in great shape for Tuesday’s story time in J’s kindergarten class. I’ve also twirled enough on my Golding spindle to know I can demonstrate how it’s done. I haven’t spun on HeyBaby since The Retreat - which seems about 3 years ago. So, what have I been doing fiber wise, that has taken up so much of my time? Guess I’ll have to go back and read my own blog if I want to know. But I shall warm up on HB and do a little spinning on my wool and mohair/wool tweed. Oh my! I also remember that I’ve signed up to participate in a handspun yarn swap. Wool blended with something else - 120 yards - in January. How could I forget about that.

Okay - spinning and Tuesday all arranged. What about my knitting? I didn’t knit a stitch on any socks yesterday and yes, A - be confident - I shan’t start any sweaters for any darlings before Christmas. Instead, I’ll start something else. While watching Love Actually for about the 5th time in 2 weeks, and weeping at the end, like I always do, (sigh) I sorted through my big bag of expensive novelty yarns, all of which are coordinating, miraculously, since they were all bought one ball at a time from sale bins. Plucking two - a thick/thin thing bought while BD was having his heart attack, and a fizzy sort of thing that is scratchier than I wish it were, I cast on a wrapped stitch shape - planning on something to wrap around the head - depending on how long it grows. I am thinking of something like a calash - a big hood type thing that I can wear without getting hat hair. The scarf part can go around my head and then perhaps wrap around the neck like a very short scarf. I’ll knit the hood part with some other type of yarn that coordinates, but isn’t fizzy, because, alas, the fizzy stuff itches.

It’s a mindless knitting project. I just don’t want another scarf. I have enough. And I do like to wear hats and have always wanted a loose hood. I would actually like a calash, made of silk, of course, to wear with my velvet cloak, of course, to wear over my ruched and rustling dress, that swings over my hoops as I step into the ball room, of course, where Colin Firth is waiting to dance with me. But at least I can have something that doesn’t flatten my hair to my skull.

Something else wonderful happened yesterday. I found where I’d carefully stored my Ali$e$armore Book of Fair I$le Knitting. Yes. I did. I paid full used book store for that puppy and I’d been $couring my house for week$ looking for it. What a relief. It was consorting with The Best of Lopi - you know those northern island folk like to hang together. Now if I can only find that new sock book I bought last October.

I’ve also been flipping through my old knitting magazines and notebooks, refreshing my memory and seeking inspirations. I have quite a fat library of ideas, patterns and samples. It’s fun to pour over them. In fact, perhaps sometime I will do an analysis of what I like and why, from the back issues of my magazines.

What I have not done is go into the attic and look over my Christmas stash, and I’m afraid to promise that I’ll do it today. I ought to do it. I’ll be glad if I do. At least that will keep me 2 floors away from the kitchen with it’s tidbits and morsels and high fat goodie bites. (Thank goodness the whipped cream is all gone - at least it can do no more damage!) But I have begun work on my little Christmas Notebook and before the season is over I’ll have a lovely little blueprint for next year - and perhaps, I shall be a little more beforehand for this one.

So. Life returns to ... December tomorrow - or at least, as good as. I have one small chore at work that is about half way done. I can get it all the way done before the week is over and then I am officially on half-brain. We have a big function at the library next week. And something is happening on Dec. 10 - though I can’t remember now what it is. We are talking about throwing a party between Christmas and New Year. It’s that time of year again, and I actually love it. I hope you all do too.

And what do you know - a quick peek at the used book finders tells me that my Ali$e $tarmore has gone up 50% in 2 years. What an investment.

posted by Bess | 9:00 AM

1 Comments:

Now don't you go getting all cocky and think with all this time before Christmas you might just see if you can eek out a sweater for LD...

XOX

By Blogger Amie, at 10:05 AM  

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Saturday, November 26, 2005  

Our C is singing our post-holiday song. Nothing like the aftertaste of whipped cream to put us in a sober, and perhaps depressed, mood while standing in front of a dressing room mirror. Of course, I haven’t a fancy schmancy laywer party to go to and I did my Body, Thy Name Is Fat thing last weekend when I shifted all the winter clothes around. I’ve had pleanty of turkey this weekend, and a good bit of pie filling, but I’ve added the extra miles to my daily walk. My teeth are gritted and I’ve dug in my nails. So far the scales are steady at ... 13 lbs too heavy - where they’ve been for a year. 13 lbs means one dress size away from my favorite, and cutest clothes.

Fortunately, there’s nothing left in the kitchen of an excessive nature (Why do you think I have big crowds for dinner on T day? No leftovers - or at least, very few.) My mantra is "Thanksgiving is a one day feast and it’s 364 days away."

I never did make it up into the atic to look at Christmas stuff. It was too bloomin cold. As in - barely above freezing. Not a day I want to brave the dim caverns of an unheated attic. I will go up on Sunday when it’s supposed to be 60. I also did very little on the Christmas Notebook. But there are now only 2 half-socks to knit before the gift day - which means I can actually knit Other Things between now and 12/25. Sweet, thought, no?

But I hear a Big Darling asking for my company, so there’s no more to be said this morning. Ta.

posted by Bess | 8:09 AM

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Friday, November 25, 2005  

Brrrr it’s cold. The thermometer kissed 20 this morning and I am in the cold frozen office with 2 sweatshirts on over my p.j.’s. Yesterday was windy, but mostly sunny and not particularly cold, but as the evening came on that wind blew stronger and those temps dropped lower. By the time there were only the 2 of us plus dogs lying on the living room floor, it was down right mean outside. The perfect opportunity to try out a new heat source.

For 30 years, with only a brief 2 year hiatus in the early 1970’s, we have heated with wood. We love wood heat and I love being able to get rid of paper trash via the stove. But it’s hard work to keep the woodpile filled and alas - wood heat is also dirty. I dust and sweep and mop more than anybody I know and my house is no showplace. We always knew that there would come a time when wood heat might not be the best option. Events over the past year have hinted to us that this time might just about be right now. First - you can’t get house insurance any more if wood is your sole heat source. (They actually say primary, but you don’t have to use your primary heat source, just call it that.) Then, I had a lot of inner ear trouble last year and I am sure that downdraft smoke didn’t help any. Then there was the Heart Attack, from which BD is vastly recovered, but there you have it .... bodies change and circumstances change and our behavior has to change to fit it. And so, when an add for infra-red quartz heaters showed up in the August Sunday paper, BD was intrigued and we ordered one. It came on Wed and we plugged it in that night. Interesting. Of course, I haven’t a clue how expensive it’s going to be to run, but it really does heat the whole downstairs. The heat doesn't feel the same as a wood stove's heat, but in its own way it's a nice enough feel. In a way that’s clean and soot free and well - we shall just have to wait and see if it sucks up the last remaining pennies in our budget to run. I will say that last night the den, which is the second coldest room in the house, was nice and warm enough to be in without a sweater. The wood stove heat never penetrates to the den.

And so - Here it is, today, the day after Thanksgiving. I sit with my distended stomach and sugar furred teeth, clutching the caffeine-au-hot mug in my chilly fingers - thinking about my New Christmas Notebook. That’s the only real thing on the agenda, other than making sure all my rock spindles are ready for Tuesday and pawing through Christmas decorations in the attic. I am officially now only 1.5 socks away from December 25. Other socks may appear between now and then, but for sure the 1.5 left will be knit down to 0 left, over the next few weeks.

Hooray for holidays.

posted by Bess | 8:45 AM

2 Comments:

Oh, I wish I had read this before coming today. I can answer your question about the Joy perfume. Yes, they still make it and yes they still claim " The Most Expensive Perfume In the World" I know this because it is my ultimate favorite and when I use the "puppy dog eye's look"...I get it for Christmas ( not the perfume of course, but the cologne) yummy, yummy stuff! Love you and Thank you for today! You're the best!

By Anonymous Patti, at 10:30 PM  

Oooh, now I like the idea of a Christmas Notebook! What a fun tradition! I've thought of crocheted notebook covers too, but I wonder about the stretch-out-of-shape factor - what fiber would you use?

Gotta stop procrastinating, must shower and get moving....

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:22 AM  

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Thursday, November 24, 2005  

Ahh. I had hoped I would waken this morning full of literary zeal and flowing with eloquent words. Alas. I just woke up feeling lazy and rested and a lexicographically challenged. I can’t seem to get my inner stop-watch synchronized with the day’s schedule. I blame it all on not having enough guests for Thanksgiving.

Usually we have 12+ and a turkey big enough to satisfy the Haile Guys among ‘em. That means it has to weigh 22 lbs or more and that means it has to go into the oven around ..hmmm.. about now. This year, we have only 8 guests. Now that we are Post Heart Attack, there is only one gargantuan Haile appetite and that one is bringing us a rolled venison roast to sit beside the turkey, which is decidedly smaller than I am used to cooking. This is good since it fits in the roaster better. This is also good because I have more time to loll about on a holiday morning. But it is difficult to plot out one's steps when they are new steps and the extra lolling time has my brain on LayZ mode.

I’m feeling very clock driven this year anyway. Not like last year, when there were Things To Do for TheWedding, but because sometime in the summer a little desire was born, deep in my hidden Virgo heart, and it’s been growing all by itself, without any conscious mothering by my Virgo brain, till it’s a full blown ambition: To map out Christmas in a little notebook so that I can actually Do It All.

Well, of course, you all knew I had weird, overblown, ego-busting, urges. This is the girl who made TheWeddingDress, after all. And mind now, what I think All is may be nothing to many of you others, but the real urge behind my quirky little plan is prompted by the desire for Another Notebook. Last summer, while I was trying to come up with a project we could actually make in my Crochet for Knitters class, I hit upon the idea of a notebook cover. Of course, who wants a notebook cover? Well, I would like one, in Christmas colors, into which I could put all the steps that need to be done, and in what order, and by what date, to get to all the things I really want to do, during my favorite holiday of the year. I like sending Christmas cards but I don’t like feeling rushed with them. So - how early must I start writing them? How soon, in fact, ought I to begin looking for the cards I want to send this year? And what about knowing .... When do you go into the attic to look over last year’s decorations that you just stuffed away because you were sick of looking at them?

I adore those magazine articles that tell you how to schedule big events. You know the type .... they begin: 3 weeks before the party make out invitations...1 week - make menu, 3 days - shop for imperishable...1 hour - slip into your Versace and clip those Cartier pearls to your ears....spritz once with JoyTheWorld’sMostExpensivePerfume.

(Lawsee - do they still even make that perfume? Do they make that claim about that perfume?)

In short, I would like to sort of (lovingly, not psychopathically) ritualize some of the routines I so enjoy. And I’d like it all written down so I can refresh my memory each year and pick and choose among those rituals, the ones I’m in the mood for in any given year. And I would love to have another New Notebook to write in. A Special Christmas Rituals with Time Tables New Notebook.

We never did get around to making one at The Retreat - things go more slowly in a class, the bigger the group is - but I can do it in a smaller class, taught around here. And I can still use my notebook cover and my notebook which I bought to make the prototype. So, after all the heavy feasting of today, after the laughing loving chattering happy evening spent in the company of the people we love the most -or at least, some of them, I have this happy thing to look forward to. All of Friday to devise a DoItAll Christmas. It feels like I have a brand new game to play, or brand new book to read. I think it shall be such fun.

And when I am not playing Martha Stewart Christmas Planner, I shall knit on socks and watch P&P with GD, who never got a chance to come over yesterday.

But in the mean time, here is the happiest wish to all, for the best Thanksgiving you have ever had.

posted by Bess | 8:06 AM

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Ahh. I had hoped I would waken this morning full of literary zeal and flowing with eloquent words. Alas. I just woke up feeling lazy and rested and a lexicographically challenged. I can’t seem to get my inner stop-watch synchronized with the day’s schedule. I blame it all on not having enough guests for Thanksgiving.

Usually we have 12+ and a turkey big enough to satisfy the Haile Guys among ‘em. That means it has to weigh 22 lbs or more and that means it has to go into the oven around ..hmmm.. about now. This year, we have only 8 guests. Now that we are Post Heart Attack, there is only one gargantuan Haile appetite and that one is bringing us a rolled venison roast to sit beside the turkey, which is decidedly smaller than I am used to cooking. This is good since it fits in the roaster better. This is also good because I have more time to loll about on a holiday morning. But it is difficult to plot out one's steps when they are new steps and the extra lolling time has my brain on LayZ mode.

I’m feeling very clock driven this year anyway. Not like last year, when there were Things To Do for TheWedding, but because sometime in the summer a little desire was born, deep in my hidden Virgo heart, and it’s been growing all by itself, without any conscious mothering by my Virgo brain, till it’s a full blown ambition: To map out Christmas in a little notebook so that I can actually Do It All.

Well, of course, you all knew I had weird, overblown, ego-busting, urges. This is the girl who made TheWeddingDress, after all. And mind now, what I think All is may be nothing to many of you others, but the real urge behind my quirky little plan is prompted by the desire for Another Notebook. Last summer, while I was trying to come up with a project we could actually make in my Crochet for Knitters class, I hit upon the idea of a notebook cover. Of course, who wants a notebook cover? Well, I would like one, in Christmas colors, into which I could put all the steps that need to be done, and in what order, and by what date, to get to all the things I really want to do, during my favorite holiday of the year. I like sending Christmas cards but I don’t like feeling rushed with them. So - how early must I start writing them? How soon, in fact, ought I to begin looking for the cards I want to send this year? And what about knowing .... When do you go into the attic to look over last year’s decorations that you just stuffed away because you were sick of looking at them?

I adore those magazine articles that tell you how to schedule big events. You know the type .... they begin: 3 weeks before the party make out invitations...1 week - make menu, 3 days - shop for imperishable...1 hour - slip into your Versace and clip those Cartier pearls to your ears....spritz once with JoyTheWorld’sMostExpensivePerfume.

(Lawsee - do they still even make that perfume? Do they make that claim about that perfume?)

In short, I would like to sort of (lovingly, not psychopathically) ritualize some of the routines I so enjoy. And I’d like it all written down so I can refresh my memory each year and pick and choose among those rituals, the ones I’m in the mood for in any given year. And I would love to have another New Notebook to write in. A Special Christmas Rituals with Time Tables New Notebook.

We never did get around to making one at The Retreat - things go more slowly in a class, the bigger the group is - but I can do it in a smaller class, taught around here. And I can still use my notebook cover and my notebook which I bought to make the prototype. So, after all the heavy feasting of today, after the laughing loving chattering happy evening spent in the company of the people we love the most -or at least, some of them, I have this happy thing to look forward to. All of Friday to devise a DoItAll Christmas. It feels like I have a brand new game to play, or brand new book to read. I think it shall be such fun.

And when I am not playing Martha Stewart Christmas Planner, I shall knit on socks and watch P&P with GD, who never got a chance to come over yesterday.

But in the mean time, here is the happiest wish to all, for the best Thanksgiving you have ever had.

posted by Bess | 8:06 AM

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005  

So. Here it is. A day off. With a manicure appointment smack in the middle of the day - made when I thought I was going to work today - and irrevocable, in this busy holiday season - unchangeably set in manicure stone. (would that be pumice?) Because one can’t sit down at Thanksgiving table with grubby fingers, now, can one?

I am a-swamp with the desire to go shopping! I don’t know what I want to shop for. I feel the tug of a yarn shop, although I have lots of projects I’m enjoying working on, lots of supplies to start other projects, will be visiting a yarn shop next Tuesday, and have no $ to speak of. I have yet to make the first decision about Christmas shopping - other than perhaps - to do all my shopping in T-town this year. I did most of it here last year and found it refreshing and rewarding. I would like to buy Christmas Cards - that might be a reason to burn up $10 worth of gas. But can I be back by 12:15 and what about those last minute groceries I forgot to buy earlier in the week? Can you imagine it? We don’t have any cream for whipping in this house!!
Well. What a strange urge this is.

But whatever else is tugging at me - I am going to be back in the early afternoon, with pumpkin pies baking in the oven and P&P on the television. GD is joining me and I will knit away on the Camo Sock.

posted by Bess | 7:33 AM

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005  

Yes Jane, feel free to borrow the warden, whip and all. And thank you all for the kind comments on the NBP lace hem. I am so pleased with how the fabric behaved I almost feel as if it is already a finished object. Well. Hmmm. I should. It is. It’s a swatch!

And I haven’t done anything new on the NBP since - like casting on the body - because I am knitting on some Christmas socks. Once the spell of madness that is KnitEveryone3PieceSuitsForChristmas - I can do it! I know I can! had passed, though in a weakened state, I was able to select some appropriate Christmas knitting projects and begin working on them. I am 1.75 socks away from 2 pair, motoring down the foot of Camo Sock #1. It’s a man’s sock, so it will take a good bit of motor power, but nothing that can’t fit into a sweet long holiday weekend.

I wrote a long piece yesterday about gift giving that left me so depressed I have decided to never post it. Odd that I have this sensation of sadness just lurking about the edge of my routine, waiting to clutch my heart and wring it. I don’t usually grow weepy over the holidays because I don’t usually have too high a set of expectations they must fulfill. A few good friends and lots of food for one meal is actually enough for me. The sequence of Big Party with Days Off To Follow is a favorite of mine - one I often repeat in the spring time, when the garden is looking good. (since it hasn’t looked good since 2000 we haven’t had any encores lately, but we just might this year) For some reason, though, this year doesn’t seem to be pumped with that usual energy and excitement.

And of course, there are real changes this year. We shan’t have any little kids, for BH’s girls will be with their daddy this year. And my parents will be with my sister who has recently moved across country to settle a few miles from them. This is a good thing since I worry about my folks when they drive.

And there are other changes too. The county has given us all a 3 day holiday and this year I am closing the library the whole day before T’giving. This is a first and something I may not do again. Now that we have more staff I am actually considering closing only half a day before and on the day itself. But that will be for next year, when I plan to revamp the whole holiday schedule. This year, though, I get that whole day off and am ready for it.

Perhaps it is just that. Change always makes us nervous when we aren’t the one who instigated the change. I suppose my best course, then, will be to treat the changed routine like a road trip - with a destination - happiness - but with all sorts of unknown views outside the window, passing by, on my way. And if I can resist the urge to spend $ as a means of assuaging any feelings of angst - why - I ought to make it through the holiday just splendidly. Let us hope any weight loss occurs on the tummy and not the wallet.

posted by Bess | 7:10 AM

3 Comments:

LovelyLovelyLovely! :-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 4:22 PM  

OhMyGoodness! And to think that I was there when it was being born! Just look at what it grew up to be! It will be a beautiful sweater, I am quite sure. And about the Christmas knitting: Just Say No (to yourself).

By Blogger Jane, at 5:44 PM  

Beautiful!!!
Jane thinks as I do - we were there at the (new) beginning. Look forward to seeing the next photos of it.
XOXO

By Blogger Martha, at 6:50 PM  

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Monday, November 21, 2005  

From this









to this












with just a bath. Wet blocking instantly transfored the swatch into the softest open lacy fabric. No tugging. No stretching. Just the weight of the water.

It seems very happy all flat and smooth and open. I'll go with the 4 patterns, joined at the sides, but I may still put in a little seed stitch knitting between the front and back. I shan't do any knitting on it till the Camo Socks are done.

I wrote a long gloomy meander this a.m. about my struggles with gift giving but I'm not sure I want to post it. Not exactly sure how I feel, at the moment, and I don't want to be held to a position that's the fruit of momentary emotions and not really true.

Got to work and every computer was dead in the water AND the security alarm was on. Technology is not my friend today. But it was not an implacable foe either, since, obviously, I got it back up and running by lunch time.

How glad I have only today and tomorrow to work. whew.

posted by Bess | 12:10 PM

3 Comments:

With four months to do a sweater you've got plenty of time to swatch and plan and dream to make it as perfect as he deserves!!!

Take care of yourself - no getting sick and eating up your Thanksgiving with feeling bad!

By Blogger Amie, at 12:42 PM  

A sweater for your LD, eh? In 4 weeks? Nah! I've been working on the LoTech Sweat (ChicKnits) for my LD since September. I applaud your sticking with your decision about knitted Xmas gifts...take your time and enjoy the holidays. And Happy Thanksgiving (early)!

Hugs!

By Blogger Margaret, at 4:57 PM  

"Whip wielding warden..." Can I borrow that line? And post it on my mirror?

By Blogger Jane, at 5:47 PM  

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Sunday, November 20, 2005  

Wise wise wise, Miss Amie. I will take that advice and not ruin the rest of 2006 with a miserable frenzy of knitting. I haven’t any idea why I would want to turn one of my favorite pass times into ego busting obligation. Must be the .... latent type A in me. I am sure we all have a bit of a whip wielding warden buried deep behind our pleasure zone who can make guilt burgeon through the slightest crack in our self esteem. Anyway - I’ve patched up that fissure and am prepared to have a Merry Christmas Season.

And I dug out the two camo sock cuffs plus heel flaps and started knitting on them. They’d been on stitch holders for 2 years. How nice I get to start with the oppressive K2P2 rib already finished. That is appropriate holiday knitting.

Sorry I don’t have NBP pictures yet but I stayed home yesterday and sorted through the winter clothes and summer clothes. I’d been putting it off because the extra 10 lbs I’ve put on since 2003 has made the prettiest of my winter wardrobe too tight. I knew it, but I didn't want to actually have to feel the proof of it. But I had to decide what went into my tiny closet and what did not. And what needed to be cleaned, what needed mending, etc. Which meant I had to try everything on and sort it into piles. Ditto for the summer stuff. I always have some things to go to Goodwill every season. Not a lot, but some. And it always feels good to get that stuff out of the house.

There will be a picture tomorrow, though. As for today - I will loll, thank you. I am feeling a little achy today - as if I were fighting off Holiday Germs. If I do anything more interesting than sorting through piles of papers stacked about the place - it is likely to be watching old movies - and knitting on Christmas socks.

posted by Bess | 7:47 AM

1 Comments:

Your PreciousAngelBabyDarlingOnlySon very much deserves a handknit sweater by his MAma... for his birthday. He'll be 30 in March, and that's a landmark, and one that deserves a sweater made with nothing but love. Plus, it's four months away....

By Blogger Amie, at 10:46 PM  

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Saturday, November 19, 2005  

Sometimes, when you do what you are supposed to do, you are rewarded with instant, shocking, confirming revelations that leave you amazed, delighted and .... gleefully smug. That happened to me last night when I squeezed the warm water out of the NBP lace edge swatch and slowly opened it up upon a thick pad of terry cloth toweling.

Oh.
My.
Goodness.

I know that fiber blooms after being wet blocked, but I have never seen it do so with such instantaneous finality. That swatch opened up like a flower in a timed release film. And it got big, too. Big, loose, lacy, wide enough to make a beautiful hem, open enough to show off every bit of pattern, fluttery enough to make the most romantic breast heave a sigh of pure bliss. I’m still a little light headed about it all, as the possible exact steps to be taken next dance about in my brain.

I know I shall definitely use 4 pattern repeats across front and back - 8 in total. But do I leave them open like tabard hems? If so, do I add little seed stitch edges? How many extra stitches do I add, then? 4 on each side? Or should I leave off the extra knit stitch and knit it all in the round? Thoughts. Ideas. Decisions. I believe I shall let them all hum around inside the brain while I consider a new fiber arrow which has pierced my consciousness - tempting me to violate, once again, my Knit For Others At Christmas Rule. (Don’t)

Word has come to me from a most reliable source, that a certain LD reeeeeeeealy wants a sweater knit by his mother.

Hmmm.

I am no fool. I am no masochist. I really do know better. Alas, my ego is stroked. I have always planned to make him a sweater. There could be 4 weeks to knit between the time any order could conceivably arrive and Christmas Day dawns. I haven’t a clue what I might knit and know only that he prefers pullovers. I don’t care for bulky yarn. I am at a good stopping point with the NBP. Then, again, I haven’t a lot of spare cash lying around. But I also hadn’t any idea what sort of gift to give him. Guys are always so durn hard to buy for! Unless you get lucky, the only things you can think of giving them cost $10,000. They seldom seem to appreciate those little gifts that mean so much to one’s women friends. It’s as if they are programmed to always believe that there really is a Santa Claus and he really does intend to bring them the Giant Lego Set Battery Operated Stereo Enhanced Amphibious Jeep With Pop-Up Camper they saw in the Cabella catalog, complete with Craftsman Tool Set add-on. That, or else a boat.

In years past I could just buy my guys lots of high fat, high calorie food and put it in a box. For LD I can still get away with that, though Mr. Heart Attack will not be led astray by Mrs. Heart Attack. Besides, I have a good idea for Mr. HA and besides, I also have another good idea for him.

But I am wandering, now. The issue is ... for my very own PreciousAngelBabyDarlingOnlySon ...??? Who wants a sweater knit for him by his MAma? Oooooo. That is such a lure, such an opportunity for hubris to display itself - and lay its victim low. Such a temptation.

Shall I be strong? Shall I be brave and wise? Or shall I succumb and turn the pre-Christmas season into a frantic madness of fevered knitting?

Well. There is a weekend ahead in which to think, to ponder, to ... to decide. We shall just have to wait and see. As for a picture of the blossoming lace - That is such a wonder, I may succumb to further temptation and drive to town today, to use the scanner at the library to post one. If not - if I can stand strong, against the winds of amazement and pride - I promise a picture on Monday.

posted by Bess | 8:14 AM

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Friday, November 18, 2005  

Finished knitting the swatch and will block it tonight. Then I'll decide on what to do next - maybe start a new project - whispering words came to me about a particularly desired knitted object.... After all I have all year to finish the NBP.

I was suddenly swept up in a busy period at work yesterday and then stayed out late last night and overslept this a.m. Whew! Holidays - hurry to me!

Now - more cute quiz results.

HASH(0x8599620)
You are a Rose:

You are creative, sensual, passionate, and bold.
You pour your heart into everything that you
do. Alluring and gifted with strong sex appeal,
you very easily draw people in with your animal
magnetism.

Symbolsim: The rose has always been a flower
heavily loaded with symbolism. In general it
symbolizes desire, passion, beauty, and
enchantment.


Which Flower are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

posted by Bess | 1:37 PM

2 Comments:

Ahh... I'm a fairy princess, too!

And I'm a rose, and I'm in passionate love!

I love quizes...

By Blogger Amie, at 12:45 PM  

If you stop by No Idle Hands (www.knitsonthebus.blogspot.com), you'll see that you inspired me to acknowledge that I am a Traditional Princess -- and an Iris! :-)

I'm with Amie...I love these quizzes!

By Blogger Margaret, at 2:58 PM  

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005  

This came from Fillyjonk - who often has the coolest quizes.

I actually could have been several other princesses - but I'm happy enough with this one too. I mean - green velvet dresses are nice, but moonbeam dresses? Man - who could resist that! Besides, she's naked!

HASH(0x8cd0760)
The Fairy Princess
You are youthful, cheery, and exuberant with a
sunny disposition and a mischievous sense of
humor. You are very lively and are always up
for a good bit of fun. You have a deep love of
nature and animals.
Role Model: Titania
You are most likely to: Convert a pumpkin into a
useful mode of transportation.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)
brought to you by

posted by Bess | 4:57 PM

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It’s turning out that my NBP body will be the biggest swatch I have ever felt compelled to knit. I just can’t decide how to measure it - and really, now I come to write it down, I ought not be surprised. Lace is notoriously difficult to measure until it’s blocked - so.....

I shall finish out the second set of 14 rows, begin st. st. on the first 44 stitches, put a garter stitch and eyelet edging on the second 44 stitches and knit an inch or so, then take it off the needles, wet block it and pin it out. Only then will I take the measurements of this fabric, because only then will I be able to decide on numbers for the real sweater.

When I cast on this edging it was so wide and so stretchy it looked to fill up the whole 24 inches of Addi Turbo. A quick recalculation made me decide to knit only 4 patterns. This seemed very wide still, until I began knitting the second series of rows - when suddenly it seemed not just skimpy - but maybe - too small!!!! When I flatten it out it looks big enough but who can really tell unless it’s blocked. So - I have made an attitude adjustment, christened this collection of knit and purl stitches a SWATCH and am content to truly experiment away. I just keep whispering to myself "Debora Newton, Kristen Nichols, Nicky Epsteiiiiiin." They do a lot of swatch knitting too.

And now that I am just knitting a swatch - I can cast it aside and knit something else, like a real NBP sweater body and Begin Again! As I work with this yarn I grow even more satisfied with it’s odd color. It changes on me depending on the light I’m in, growing more olive or more gold with the varied refraction of the rays. It’s a sweet soft yarn to knit with, what I would consider a next-0-skin yarn, so imagine my surprise when two knitters I know told me it was to scratchy to wear as anything but outerwear! Well - sensitivity is relativity - thank goodness I am made of coarser stuff. I wouldn’t give up the joy of wool for a kingdom!

Tonight is finally the last night of my beginner knitter class. This whole fall has been crazy with stuff; health stuff, death stuff, election stuff, and it all impacted one or the other of us. It’s turned out that my 4 week class has been spread out over 9 weeks. Happily, we are all very comfortable with this - my students, because they feel free to rip and re-knit for perfection’s sake (something I never encourage, but do not discourage either) and me, because they are having such a good time it hardly matters when we get together. But this will wind up the official class. They had asked for another class - or more classes - but we’re getting awfully close to Holiday Time. We’ll discuss it all tonight - and maybe I can shuffle them over to Tuesdays.
So - a fiberly week satisfyingly packed with both learning and teaching. Pretty good for a fiber blog, hmmm?

posted by Bess | 7:27 AM

1 Comments:

Oooh, aaah - more ooohs.
Love-er-lee! And beautiful as well.
XOXO

By Blogger Martha, at 6:31 PM  

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005  

Ahh Amie - Starburst lace is in the second tresury - it's one I own - and alas, it's the one with written instructions not charts. But it's the one with the most patterns in it - thus, the most bang for the buck. My copy is the red one.



Here's the hem treatment - unblocked, of course, but taped flat onto the scanner bed. I'm on row 4 of the 14 row repeat. It's really nice enough as is - but I just want to be sure about what 2 repeats looks like.

The repeats are too wide to run two up the front of the sweater, (on me, that is - and at my age, I better know what looks awful on me) though I could put some sort of edge treatment after the hem and then run a single lace parasol up the center. It wouldn't flow as well as it would if I could have the repeat come up out of a center parasol, but it would work. I'll have to think on it - and decide, after I've decided on how may rows of the pattern I want. I'm so so tempted to stop right here - or rather, to stop with one.

And it turned out yesterday that I could have stayed home!! and knit!!! and watched more chick flicks!!!! There was this little voice telling me to call in absent but I mistook it for the devil and allowed stoopid dooty's scolding finger to push me into the truck and shove my foot on the accelerator so in the end I did go to work. But I Could Have Stayed Home!! Isn't that just the pits?

Ah well, I'll make up last Friday's holiday another time.

posted by Bess | 7:14 AM

3 Comments:

Would it work to have two repeats of the lace going up the front of the sweater? Or what about one repeat of the lace centered over the four at the bottom?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 AM  

Ah... what a lovely chick-flicky weekend! There's a thread on KR about P&P that has me craving the CF version... I may pop it in tomorrow afternoon... is it too soon to want GB gone again so I can have full tv control again???

Bess, darling, which BW Treasury is "Starburst Lace" in? I'm dying to knit something in that, and I may have to buy it for my birthday, so I want to be sure I get the right one...

By Blogger Amie, at 11:50 AM  

I was thinking something along the lines of the 2 lace repeats as well. somcething that gives it flair, but doesn't make you lose the shaping. something like
-\/--\/- where the -'s are st st and the \/'s are your lace coming up the front panel.

also.. I can understand your reservations about p&p. I wonder though what you thought about the bollywood version bride and prejudice? I wondered if it took it too far or was just enough different to be wholly entertaining.

By Blogger purlewe, at 11:56 AM  

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Monday, November 14, 2005  

A Chick Flick Weekend

At least, mostly chick flick stuff. BD decided suddenly to go visit a friend on Friday at dinner time. I knew if he went he’d linger through college football and he did so - not returning till after dinner on Saturday. He had to be in MD Sunday night and decided to leave fairly early in the afternoon which left me with hours of opportunity to watch smarmy and/or sweet videos while I knit away on the NBP.

Not everything was a chick flick, though I did get in a good viewing and a half of Love, Actually. The Colin Firth/Lucia Moniz scene is my favorite, though I love the one with Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson too - well, and the Liam Neeson one and who is that cute little boy with the pointy chin? I also like sappy Christmas movies, especially the ones intended for children. So I got in a good weepy weekend of viewing and knitting.

I’m struggling with the NBP design - because I will insist on knitting my own design - even when it’s just a plain sort of sweater with only a little embellishment. I’m reconciled to this aspect of my knitting persona, but that doesn’t shrink my dithering opportunities.

So. The issue is both one of design and of gauge. In St.St. the yarn knits up at 5.5 st. to the inch. But in the lace design I can get over 5 inches out of 22 stitches. Obviously 5 patterns across both front and back will make a fairly generous hem - maybe more than 50 inches across, onnacounta, once blocked I might even get more than 5 inches to a 22 st. pattern.

If I chose to go with the 5 patterns and made a sort of a-line tunic type of sweater I could still have the central pattern travel up to the neckline, only....

I don’t have that much yarn. I have about 1,350 yards. Fine for an ordinary sweater with some fancy cuffs and hem but not enough for a flared tunic, a design that must be longer than my usual and preferred sweater length.

Scratch the 5 patterns - go down to 4 - which is okay - looks nice. Scratch the central design. Okay it can be a sort-of-on-the-dull-side sweater though it sure would have been nice to put a design line down the center. I have a matching eyelash yarn that will make a perfect scarf for this sweater, giving me the line I'm looking for. Yes, yes. I can live with this.

Next design issue - how many rows of the lace pattern do I want to put in this thing? As can be seen in last week’s pictures, this is a very wavy lace. Since I want to take advantage of that I’ve decided to knit the lace hem flat and then join the body on a circular needle once I switch to St.St. I finished one complete pattern and like how it looks but ... I want to know if I’d like two complete patterns, 2 rows of the design, and that means I have to knit it, knowing I may then decide to rip it out.

While I am a process knitter - it’s still difficult to knit with the deliberate intent of ripping. I had to go take a walk yesterday while I cogitated so counter productive an action. That was no onerous thing, though, since the world was all topaz, amber, and citrine, fused to the copper floor of the forest. The autumnal fragrance of crackling leaves and moist earth wafted up and around me with each step and by the time I’d tramped down the home path I was resigned to knitting that second set of 14 rows. I will just tell myself it is a swatch - and somehow that feels less like knitting in retrograde.

So. I am resigned to a plain front sweater, and even thinking about a sort of t-shirt shape, with maybe a little indent at the waist. The math will be interesting since, to get the st.st. part right at the bustline I will have to go up from 178 to 220 stitches, the number I would have cast on had I knit 5 patterns of hem. That’s a lot of increases. I think I’ll put in a pair of garter stitch rows and a k2tog,yo bit of fagotting before I make the switch to st.st. I can do the increases in the garter stitches, where they aren’t likely to show. We shall just have to wait and see after 10 more rows of lace knitting.

I’m still enjoying this design phase and it shan’t be long now till I’m on the easy part, motoring up to the shoulders. Lots of opportunity to think about knitting math between now and then. Too bad it’s Monday.

posted by Bess | 6:31 AM

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Saturday, November 12, 2005  

Oh - Perfect, E! That’s exactly the feeling I have - that if I am not going to get any mail today, I ought not to have to work! I’m still chuckling at that observation.

So. It is Saturday at last and for the first time in a month I have both weekend days at home - and since the Mb+$Sheryl has cleaned my house I need only do laundry, my favorite household task, and play with my toys. These toys include the N(ew)B(eginnings)P(roject) henceforward called the NBP sweater till she has a real name. I’m not yet finished with sleeve #1 but I’m getting mighty close. Then there’s HeyBaby who has a stash of merino/tencel AND the brown and mohair blend rovings waiting, with kind patience, for me to spin them up. There is Knitting in the Old Way that I want to read again and the book for our library book club, Quilter’s Apprentice, which will be discussed on Friday. I feel a little like it’s just before dawn on Christmas Day and I am 8 years old.

I am also going to canvas the stash yet again to see what I might be able to knit up for the young darlings for Christmas. I know, I know, I swear every year I shan’t get sucked into the KnitEverybodyAGift vortex, but alas, I have never resisted it yet. And I’m on a tight budget this year so I’m looking around for Gifts to Give Without Spending Money. There are some tiny little gems hidden deep in the recesses of my stash containers. It’s just a matter of rooting them out.

There are a number of things I might write about today, but there is only one thing that truly engages my mind - and that is my prejudices about my favorite book: Pride and Prejudice. More specifically, my prejudices about how it ought to be translated onto film. This is a book I’ve read more than 25 times. I always find satisfying pleasure in it and even still sometimes discover little reflections of human nature I had missed in previous readings. I have enjoyed, to a greater or lesser extent, the knockoffs, the film adaptations, the projected sequels of this jewel of a novel but I always come back to the original. After purchasing the video of the 1992 BBC mini series for the library I knew I had to own my own set. It showed up as a most welcome Christmas gift from S the following year and I watch it frequently, though judiciously. There is always the chance that, even with a beloved favorite like P&P, I might grow jaded or cavalier and so I try to space out my viewing pleasure to at least every so many months.

The BBC production is one of the most faithful adaptations of a novel I’ve ever seen and the casting, acting, stage settings, direction, and music is about as perfect a film production as could be made. Even that most difficult of characters, Mrs. Bennet, was pulled off with veracity and though I found it difficult to see with what joy Colin Firth’s face was diffused upon hearing the true sentiments of his Elizabeth, that is a small complaint to make when one can look at the rest of CF throughout the 6+ hours of film. The dialogue was so skillfully lifted from the novel it satisfied even so prickly a stickler for accuracy as TheLibrarianQueen. One line alone, was left on the cutting room floor - I am sure for the purpose of time - when, at the end of the drama, Mr. Bennet chortles with glee after Elizabeth tells him it was Mr. Darcy who funded Lydia’s restoration to propriety. “...I shall offer to pay him to-morrow; he will rant and storm about his love for you, and there will be an end of the matter.”

That line has always seemed the perfect reflection of Mr. Bennet’s character and I was sorry it had to be left out. But I am willing to let a single line go in return for hours of viewing accuracy.

But now there is a New Version of P&P and I am staggered by the casting! The thought of Donald Sutherland uttering the above quoted words in his slurry, gravely voice leaves me reeling. Donald Sutherland?!? The Dirty Dozen guy? Klute? as a complacent, procrastinating dilettante? A man who spends his time reading books and laughing at his neighbors? And that flat voiced, flat faced, fashion model cum soccer player, Keira Knightly as the witty Elizabeth? Yes yes, she’s very pretty. She’s just what you’d expect to see flashing across the pages of Vogue or InStyle magazine. She’s exactly the type to play a Hip Chick with Issues, but convincing me she is more than a modern, hard edged beauty, that she is a woman of wit, humor and a clever tongue, no matter who is writing the dialogue, will be a mighty, if not impossible, task.

It’s difficult for any film actor to convince me he’s doing more than playing to type. If I’m in the mood for that type, pleasure will be mine, no matter what the story line is. There are, perhaps, less than a dozen actors who have ever convinced me they are doing more than being the class clown, or class drama queen, or whatever - with the camera rolling. Think about it - have you ever seen Robin Williams be anything more than a 9 year old with ADHD? Alright. A 40 year old. Jodie Foster? Uptight, pinched-lipped “troubled” girl with Daddy Issues. How about Jack Nicolson? Greasy leering mad man. Sometimes that’s funny. Sometimes it’s scary. Never is it acting. It is acting out.

When I cast my mind back for film actors who really swept me off my feet, right away I can think of two - both men - both of whom really made me believe they were someone else. Neither was a flashy star. They were familiar faces, but not marquis lights types. There is Tom Conti in Saving Grace - where he plays a (the?) pope who has lost his faith - and escapes the Vatican to go out among his flock. There comes a moment in the film when Conti sighs and suddenly he is the pope - not a short Englishman pretending to be one. I am transported.

The other was Ralph Waite in 5 Easy Pieces. This movie was made in 1970, but I didn’t see it till ‘73 or ‘74, long after Mr. Waite had settled into television’s Papa Walton, with his unshaven cheeks and overhalls. The movie was almost over before I realized it was the same actor I watched every Thursday night! Wow. Every movement of his body was different - from his duck waddle walk to his delicate hand movements. That is acting and when you see it you know you have been in the presence of something great.

The other actors in this film are obscure enough for me to have no opinions and thus no prejudices, though I am probably going to go into the theater wrapped in a cloak of cynical skepticism. Mind now, I shall see it as soon as it’s in our local theater. I will even go to the City if I need to, since I do so love the story and besides - I really must see how such a long novel is compressed into 128 minutes. And I will love looking at the costumes, the settings, the stately homes. And I will, I believe, be willing to have my mind completely changed. I mean - this is the girl who bought an Ashford spinning wheel after firmly deciding that the Ashford was the one wheel she didn’t want. I don’t mind being wrong - in fact - if another really fine version of MyFavoriteNovel (OrAtLeastOneOfThem) is out there on the shelves, I will be delighted.

And happily, since I know there is already the Close Enough to Perfect edition of P&P and I own it, if this is a disappointment I can shrug my shoulders and be really snippy in my criticism. It’s always easy to be critical. You ought to hear me go on about The DaVinci Code or the Ya-Ya Sisters. It is that security blanket knowledge that Someone has already done a bang up super duper job of adapting P&P to film that gives me the confidence to go see what I suspect will be a Thoroughly Modern Version - a consumeristic Hollywood version with Real British Actors with Real British Accents, shot in Gen-U-Ine English Mansions. Were this the first, or only, effort I might skip it, like I skipped oh, say, the film, Schindler’s List. Thank you, but the text version was a perfect artistic experience for me and I don’t want it sullied by someone else’s visual concept.

So there you have it. That’s what I am thinking about today. How timely that the NYT movie reviewer covered this movie today. How interesting that I was just sharing my own BBC version with GD last night. How luxurious that I am home alone right now, with hot oatmeal and raisins waiting for me, and a NBP sleeve, and cassette 4 just asking to be popped into the machine.

Guess what I’m going to do right now!

posted by Bess | 9:29 AM

1 Comments:

I'm at work, too. And I'm also one of those people who takes a low paying job in part because of generous holidays.

It feels unfair to me to have to work on any day when I don't get mail delivered.

The local schoolkids are out, but I think it's one of those in-service day thingies rather than an actual day off for Veteran's Day.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:47 AM  

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Friday, November 11, 2005  

You know, A, I don't think something so Alice Starmoreish in color would feel comfortable being called Parasol - I'm thinking maybe "Lassie" but then I keep hearing Timmy whistling and crying "Lassie - come home!" I might call it ET, though and then the subtlies of my mind would be revealed to all. Or Bell - wasn't their slogan "ET - Phone Home"? I could even use Belle. Adds another layer of obscurity to the name.

Well, it's too soon to name the thing anyway. I still have only half a sleeve knit. And M? I'll post the wee sketch I did of it soon. Maybe even today, since

I Have To Go To Work Today


Groan!

We all know that we idiot government people are willing stay in low payed public service jobs beacuse we get so many holidays - but I seem to always be working on them. Had to work on Columbus Day. I will be going in today too - I had to anyway, to meet with someone who is going to provide realia for a display we are putting up in December. The only day he could visit was today and I already had a noon meeting in town. I'd be really cranky if this were February and I didn't get another day off till May, but since T'giving is only 2 weeks away, I can be stoic about it - and take a day off later to make up for it.

I'm dithering right now, though, about going to see my sister in her New House this weekend, or staying home and being a rock. I am very (as in Very Very) tired. I haven't been home for a whole weekend in a month. I really need some down time. I really want to see my sister. I wouldn't be having this problem if I could take today off.

Rats. That's the trouble with circular thinking. You always come back to the place you didn't like to begin with!

Okay. I'll think about tomorrow.

At Tara.

posted by Bess | 6:21 AM

2 Comments:

Either Parasol, or perhaps Alice (in honor of her Ssscotttiiisssshhh color?)

By Blogger Amie, at 10:16 AM  

I can see the sleeves on you because you've shown a photo...but I admit to having trouble visualizing the whole sweater (I'm just not good at it!!) Still, I love the lace pattern. Yummy!

By Blogger Margaret, at 11:11 AM  

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Thursday, November 10, 2005  

That New Beginnings Project


This is Barbara Walker's Peri's Parasol lace - "An ancient pattern kin to Bear Track..." It looks to me as if it were knit in cotton on fine needles. Clever and pretty. What I was seeking was an interesting lace pattern that could be strung or stacked and that would give a scalloped edge along the hem of a garment.


Here it is, knit in wool, only one pattern deep. This is the cuff end of the sleeve - the left sleeve, since I'm leaving the lace unsewn on the inside edge. I'm planning on the scallop hanging over the back and palm of my hands. This is not a fashion statement I normally try to make, but it just looked so pretty when I tried it on I decided to indulge in a wee bit of trendiness. It lies beautifully flat, both on the table and on the arm, so I don't believe I shall add any sort of edge treatment to it. If it had curled I'd have put i-cord all along the edge.

I plan to put two rows of the lace pattern on the body hem and then decrease to the waist. Usually I wear short sweaters - I am very short waisted, no point in trying to do the tunic thing. It makes me look like a battleship in full sail. But maybe - just maybe - hmmmm Well. I shall see how I like the proportions as it knits up. 5 patterns across both front and back would equal 40 inches or so - a tad wide for the top of my hips - or maybe a couple of tads. But for a longer length sweater you can put in a little width.

Obviously I'm still at the planning stage. The only other thing I have in mind is to run one parasol straight up the center. See how it scoops down in the center - won't even have to fiddle around with bind-offs for the neckline front.

Cool. Now - what shall her name be?

posted by Bess | 7:10 AM

5 Comments:

sigh

Where's my time machine?

By Blogger Amie, at 8:14 AM  

I thank you for introducing me to crocheting steeks. I've engineered many a steek in my day, but had not yet done a crocheted one. This leftie had a great time in your class!

By Blogger Wendy, at 1:30 PM  

Is there room for me, Amie?

Thank you Bess. Thank you for everything, for sharing your energy, and for all the hugs, and for gathering me in.

By Blogger Jane, at 3:54 PM  

Beautiful words worth a thousand pictures. Thank you Bess.

By Anonymous Clara, at 3:56 PM  

What a splendid love-letter to the Retreat, Clara & the Retreatees.
Thank you for taking us back through it - the memories are still feeling sweet.
XOXO

By Blogger Martha, at 6:25 PM  

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005  

No Photos!

I’m sorry for that. But I have no photos of the retreat. I took the camera. But it had 200 speed film in it and I haven’t a flash. Yes yes. I am still clicking with an ancient Nikon manual and using the 1-hour place for my photos. I have photos, mind, of BD in his glory, being the Most Favorite Person To Sit Beside Or Shake Hands With last Friday, up in Chestertown. All that stuff was outdoors. But somehow, I just didn’t seem to have the wits to pull out my camera on Saturday afternoon and snap away up at Graves. Fortunately, many others had both wit and camera and there will be lovely pictures posted on the Knitters Review website as well.

Of course, I have my word paintbrush and will try to make lavish strokes with that. But where to begin. Due to the festivals on Friday I missed the first third of the Retreat, but what a day Friday was. It dawned deliciously golden, with sunshine beams slanting through the forest on golden autumn. We were on the road by 8 and tooling across the Potomac by 9. It’s been a very long time since I was on the Eastern Shore. My sister lived in Delaware and I used to have to really brave my Bridge Issues to visit her, but so long as BD is driving I can handle the Bay Bridge. This time across, though, marine activity offered delights guaranteed to distract the most fearsome bridge traveler: 2 regattas, 2 naval vessels and a container ship on its way to Baltimore. One boat race was at the thrilling stage of rounding the buoy so half the boats were scudding behind colorful billowing spinnakers and the other half were hauling them in.

Chestertown is one of those darling little water villages dotting Maryland’s many harbors - pull out a map and take a look. You begin to leave the plantation dock society of the south when you get into Maryland, and there is a lot of mercantile and urban history still clustered around the kayside. I always imagine $ when I’m in these little stone and brick hamlets. Mini-Annapolises they are. In Chestertown there is the Sultana boatyard, recrafting maritime history with skilled volunteers, both the boatswains and the financial development types. Friendly people enthusiastic about the life of the waterman, be he a sailor, a crabber, a fisherman, an oysterman or a chandler.

They had built a shallop, a copy of the one brought to the Chesapeake by the London Company to use in exploring the new English colony. Capt. John Smith took 14 men with him in the summer of 1607, and rowed 3,000 miles around the bay, exploring, seeking trading partners, and mapping the territory. It’s the dream of the many organizations involved: National Parks, National Geographic, Md, Del, and VA tourism councils, Chesapeake Bay foundation .... to create a National Water Trail, something like the Appalachian Trail, for boaters, canoers and kayakers. An opportunity to indulge in water fun, travel fun and history fun. Let us wish them all well. It’s an exciting idea.

My role in all this? Trophy wife, of course, of Mr. Jamestown, man with the knowledge of Jamestown life as written by those who were there at the time. BD’s encyclopedic memory of facts, events, dates and other historical tidbits has won the admiration of all and since he’s unaffiliated with any organization, with no institutional agenda, he’s often turned to as the arbiter of truth. I merely beamed and nodded and smiled and proudly pointed to the very Big Darling whenever anybody wanted to know who I was. It turned out to be an open door to lengthy praise of a man I’ve been proud of for 34 years. There is nothing so much fun as hearing lots and lots and lots of people say how wonderful your husband is.

We got home at a reasonable evening hour and I tried to do a little packing. The ubiquitous hair dryer, 2 pair of shoes - all those stupid things I haul with me and often never use. One of these days I will develop the confidence to travel sans hair dryer but that day was not Saturday. I was out of the house by 7 and at Graves by 9, in time to grab a little coffee and some bread with apple butter. Graves offers two things that I don’t believe can be beat anywhere. A view from your motel room door of the most gloriously checkered mountain side and apple butter to die for.

It was wonderful to see those animated faces, the familiar room full of wheels and knitting bags and more knitting bags. It was fabulous to hug long missed friends, not so long missed ones, and brand new ones. It was super to meet folk I’ve only spoken to via the net. It was a little sad to miss some longed for faces, but it was just great to be in the rewarding company of the knitting women.

But since I had missed the Friday night introduction session, there was a different sort of feel for me this year. I was more rested, since I hadn’t stayed up till half past too late the night before. But there were a lot of new faces that I was curious about. In a way I felt a little floaty, a little calmer, a little more invisible. The calmer was the best thing about this different feeling, because I’m usually pretty cranked up by Saturday morning. Clara’s wonderful lecture about yarn properties was even more calming. It was not only packed with information and well organized - she provided us with a little booklet where you could put in samples and write down comments about the different types of yarn - but it reminded me again how much I love this craft - I love its materials, I love its tools, I love its process and I love its practitioners. I really didn’t have to worry about trying to share some of my knowledge with them. I was already preaching to the choir.

This is retreat # 4 for me and I have always taught at the retreats, so for me, they are a different sort of experience than for those who come with no responsibilities. Mind now, I love to teach. I’m telling the truth when I say I am an info-conduit addict. In part I believe it is because I am so excited that someone else had the brilliance to come up with new ideas, ways, techniques. That Someone - book author, teacher, lecturer - was generous enough to share with me is such an inspiration I simply must turn around and share it with someone else.

But knowing that I am going to be on stage - that I’ve promised to deliver - that people have expectations of me, and rightfully so, means that my retreat experience is different from most of the others’. There is always a little bit of a question in my brain till after my class - a sort of “who did I think I was?” type of question. If I come across as relaxed or confident or in control, it’s sort of true - but not completely. Perhaps nobody ever moves with utter confidence through the classroom. So much depends upon the attitude, skill, and interest of the students. And the quality of the classroom.

Alas - our room was a little dark - and a lot stuffy. After the first hour, we moved outside to the porch, where the light was better, the air was fresher and having everyone in a line meant it was easier for me to walk up and down the narrow isle to see that folk got a handle on what I hoped they were learning. I know I never teach a class without learning more about teaching! Had I to do it over again, not only would we have begun the class on the porch, but I would have asked the students who had some crochet experience to sit among those who were utterly new to it. I would have spent a little more time preparing for left handed students, as well. I’d been so intent on putting together a project one might actually complete in this class I had not prepared enough for teaching lefties. To those I failed, I offer heart felt apologies.

Where I was successful, though, was in bringing the mysteries of the crocheted steek to so many knitters. Cutting knitting is such a horrifying idea, but it is such a useful skill. I was delighted to see the surprised delight on so many knitters faces as they snipped their swatch in two. I believe the provisional crocheted cast on was also a big hit with the students. All of them were kind and complimentary and I appreciated their encouraging words so much. We never did put together the 4 swatches into a little notebook cover, but we finished up in time to hit the vendors and by then, we were ready to shop anyway. Enough work - it was time for play.

4 vendors were set up in the main room that afternoon: Knitters Review Boutique, Spirit Trail Fiberworks, Stony Mt. Fibers and My Favorite Yarn Shop. As usual, there were temptations to make the mouth water, the fingers stretch and the imagination whir. Alas for me, $ have been scarce this fall so I was on a strict and limited budget, but I still found delights to keep me happy through the winter. Spirit Trail had some Shetland roving so soft I barely felt it when it slid into a bag for me and tugged my feet over to the cashier - booth babe Martha. And Stony Mt. had merino/tencil in that rich butterscotch color - the only earth tone I’ve ever seen in that particular blend. I love spinning m/t - and now I can get up off that vivid blue stuff, pack it up and send it to someone who will look lovely in it, and spin a color I can actually wear.

By dinner time I was beginning to get a feel for who was who and what was where. Particularly who was that adorable waiter - Nathan - with the huge blue eyes and broad shoulders. 20 years of just about the cutest thing I ever saw, by the end of the weekend there wasn’t a woman present who wasn’t making a mental list of daughters, nieces, and neighbor’s children who needed to be fixed up with this cutie. He was utterly fascinated by all the fiber activity - purchased his own set of needles and a copy of The Knit Stitch, and brought in two quilts made by Nannie Paine (ubiquitous family throughout these parts) with questions on how to take care of them. He captured my heart forever when, after the last meal of the retreat, J the PC gave him a pair of socks she’d knitted for him. “They’re like a symphony for my toes” he cried. Who wouldn’t fall for that line?

After dinner we returned to the main room for spinning, knitting and chatting. I love to snare new victims into the spinning web and had suggested to Clara that I just go ahead and make it official, this year. With Barbara Gentry and her spinning wheels at one end of the room and me at the other, we lured many an innocent thing over to the dark side. There were about a dozen women with spindles in hand, some with a little skill behind them, others brand spanking new. This was the first time I’d taught spinning to a group. Usually it’s 2 or 3 individuals and it’s amazing how quickly they see the magic of twist and catch on to the rhythm of the spindle. In a bigger group, though, one needs to be more systematic and specific. Since I’ll be teaching spinning to two large groups this coming spring, I’m glad I had a rehearsal as a group teacher. Though new spinners, like new knitters, really want to Get Going on Something, I’ll actually start the group spinners out with drafting the fiber, because I noticed that’s where there will be the widest difference between one spinner and another. Some folk are grabbers, some are clutchers, some will get hot wet hands, others will have dry slippery ones. Starting out with a pin drafted roving they created themselves will give their hands a confidence that’s sorely needed in those early stages. After that - why - the magic of twist is enough to capture every hopeful spinner.

A special thanks goes to Edie, who reminded me to have everyone wet set her plied yarn - the final magical step that takes them to the moment when all their contortions bear the blossom of fiber magic - beautiful handspun yarn.

I got several other good ideas on how to teach spinning to a group - but there came a time when I really had to shut down. My personal energy level has been low for a long time now and even the excitement of seeing a dozen new spinners wasn’t enough to buoy me up. I’m a lark anyway, not a night owl, and any time after 10 p.m. is late for me. I have no idea when I began my traipse up the mountain, but it was after 1 before roomie and I finally turned off the lights and went to sleep.

Sunday I slept in - so heavily that J didn’t even wake me as she got up to gather up the skeins from the dye workshop she’d taught on Friday. I managed to make it down the hill in time for breakfast, though. The morning program was a contemplative opportunity to set some fiber goals for the coming year. Clara handed everyone a sheet of paper and an envelope. We were asked to write down our hopes and dreams for the next 12 months and to address the envelopes to ourselves. Those who make it to next year’s retreats will receive their letters in person. The others get them in the mail. I was feeling particularly silly, and I had spent the greater part of this session working out on the front porch, with a future spinner who had not been able to take in the technique while in a group setting. So my goals were a bit on the goofy side, but there is some serious thought on that piece of paper too.

Back inside it was time to cast on our New Beginnings project. I, of course, had cast on already, at least, I’d cast on a swatch that would be a real cast on if it worked out okay. It didn’t turn out to be a real cast on - I had to Begin Again, but that time turned out to be a Real Cast-on. This is the baby diaper poo colored yarn that Wonderful A pointed out was actually an Alice Starmore Scottish (Scottttttttttissssssh) northern light color. As proof, she flipped open her copy of The Celtic Collection and what do you know - there it was, in a Real Alice Starmore Sweater. So. There.

Although the BW stitch pattern I’m using around cuff and hem tried hard to defeat me, particularly when it hid row 12 in row 10, I prevailed at the last, joined the stitches on the side, marked the underarm stitch and began motoring up the sleeve. I’m getting 5.5 st. per inch - exactly the ball band gauge! - and by now, I’m up to 71 stitches. only 3 more inches of sleeve to knit before I put it aside and begin the next one. I’ll devote a real post to this project sometime soon, for I’m enjoying it a lot.

My energy level was really at rock bottom by lunch time, so of course I dragged my bloated form up the stairs for a final retreat repast. It was at this meal that JtPC gave Nathan his socks, so we were all weepy and tender and sad to say good-bye throughout lunch. Those who didn’t have to meet public transport schedules lingered for a final trunk show from Spirit Trail’s trailer. I knew I was sans $ so I reclined, semi-somnambulant, in the main room, showing off Hey Baby’s paces to future wheel buyers. As the afternoon ripened, we peeled off, one by two, hugging, tearful, happy, relaxed, and probably all of us wishing it were a week ago with all this fun to look forward to - or next year, with another retreat just days away.

It was a softer retreat for me this year. Softer, quieter, as I said, more floaty. I’m not sure if the energy level was different because of a different mix of folk, or because I’ve had such indifferent health for so long, but it was less frenzied and more gentle for me and that was enormously healing. This was a real retreat for me and I am home now, refreshed and nostalgic at the same time. Thank you Missy Knitters Review. Thank you and thank you and thank you again.

posted by Bess | 7:13 AM

3 Comments:

Sweets,
So lovely to have seen you - as it always is.
I look forward to your KR Retreat posts (again as I always do): the words & descriptions make me float back to one of the best week-ends of the year.
XOXO
Martha

By Blogger Martha, at 10:44 AM  

I know.. this work stuff is for the birds :)

missing you already.

By Blogger purlewe, at 10:47 AM  

But if you're busy working on your new beginnings then I can't trick you into knitting the last bits of stocking so that I can knit on MY new beginning!!!

XOXOXOX

I can't get enough of that time with the girls....

By Blogger Amie, at 12:45 PM  

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005  

I'm back! I am writing up the report. I'm having a hard time pulling my brain out of relaaaaaaxing mode.

I want to knit all day on the New Beginnings project I started on Sunday.

Work? What is that? They expect me to do that?! go there!!!!!?!???

Sheesh!

posted by Bess | 8:00 AM

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Friday, November 04, 2005  

The Mini-vacation Retreat Weekend Boat Launch Celebration began yesterday at 1. My giddy excitement level was ratcheting up so high that I mislaid my glasses between the back door of the library and the front seat of my car. After 30 minutes I found them, in my purse, of course, so that I could leave them with SS, who makes my hands and feet smooth and elegant and also says admiring things to make me feel beautiful. Her boss, D,is as much fun as SS and besides, BH always schedules her manicure for the same time as mine so we can turn the place into a party. It is - too - utterly feminine, salt of the earth, plain folk girlie girl stuff. These women understand the value of a really beautiful purse. They are also hard working, entrepreneurial, and creative. They are fun and kind and they struggle with dignity. Sometime I will paint a more detailed picture of their world because they deserve to be honored.

So it was a great place to start a Happy Me Vacation. Got the car washed, gassed up the tank, bought WW friendly snacks to eat in the car (carrots and celery and apples) and picked up some things I want to pack for the KRRetreat. I’m still struggling with what to wear today, when it’s 80 degrees - but autumn colors. Everything that is light enough looks like summer. Everything that’s the right “look” is long sleeved. And BD swears he was told it was casual, even though the Governor of Md. is going to be there and most times that sort of event is not really casual. And my casual is sweats and jeans. And almost everything I own is too tight! Yes. These past weeks have added up to a terrible weight gaining 3 months but thanks to Tuesday's renewed vows to WW, , I have, so far this week, clung tightly to the regemin. In spite of the reception this evening, I have confidence I can make it through today without straying from the narrow path. I am determined to try - hard - and maybe succeed - with Saturday and Sunday. But Graves Mt.’s kitchen will try to thwart me. I know.

But if that is all I have to complain about - I certainly am the fortunate one.

There shan’t be time to post again before I leave, since I have to pack tonight!! But there shall be a full report when I get home.

Every good thing to every good one of you.

posted by Bess | 6:39 AM

2 Comments:

You have a wonderful weekend ahead of you!! Have a fine time at both events. You deserve it! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 7:55 AM  

Have a glorious weekend, both basking in BD's moment in the spotlight and in the fellowship of great friends at the retreat. Enjoy every moment of it gal!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 6:54 AM  

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Thursday, November 03, 2005  

The UYW’s are done - whatever errors are in them are now errors in multiple, since I’ve made the copies, collated and stapled, and packed them up. Finis.

Last night my students began the decreases on their hats. Both of them are not just proud of the lovely colorwork they’ve knit, but have had several opportunities to mystify and astonish their friends and coworkers. That’s the way stranded colorwork is. It’s actually more impressive than intarsia to the non-knitter. It’s one of the slight-of-hand joys of this glorious craft. Like spinning boucle yarns or putting in gathers in sewing, some of the most flashy looking things are the simplest. And since I know how much fun it is to be flashy, especially when there is still just a hint of “you’re knitting? My grandma knits” out there, I taught them both how to use double points last night.

Heh heh. Somewhere in the early archive of this blog is my favorite cartoon about double points, along with my off hand comments on how useful the skill is if you want to really keep people away. Rattle all those pointed sticks and you can have the subway seat to yourself. Truth is - I am a 2 circ. kinda girl. I seldom use dp’s except to carry 2 of them in my purse to knit up tiny swatches of yarns I handspin with the drop spindle when I’m at fairs. That’s because all my size 7 16” circs. are in sleeves. But even if you loose some of your double points you can still have pocket swatchers, so long as you still have 2 of them. That’s a lot of service for $5.99 worth of knitting tools.

My students were thrilled to get flashy! So thrilled they asked if we could extend the class another week. So we shall meet the next two Wednesdays and I’ll take them through the mini-EPS sweater. I always feel that students who have gotten through the basics plus the EPS can really knit anything out there. Besides, these two women are ... they’re just hugs waiting to be squeezed. I don’t know when I have enjoyed teaching this much ever!

And you will be relieved to know I have picked my New Beginnings Project! Yes! It meets several criteria - including the ones set by the HeadHoncho of KR. It’s for me. It’s a New Thing - not a guilt trip UFO. I’ll be using the canned pea green ( yes - that’s why it was on sale for $3.00 a ball - and it will look good against my yellow skin) Filliatura di Crosa 501. This will be a Flidas da capo. Only I’m not using the hollow oak cable. In fact, I want to make a replica of Flidas someday, but with a similar gold tweedy type yarn with garnetted flecks in it. But I do want to knit the same type of sweater - with a patterned hem and cuffs, and with the design flowing up the center front into a neckband. And with those circular set-in sleeves. This time I will WRITE DOWN THE PROCEDURE so I can teach it - since it is tricky but satisfying. I understand it, but only at a kinesthetic level. I need to translate my cellular knowledge into verbal information.

This yarn is a nice flat soft springy worsted weight. Smooth. It doesn’t want to be cabled - because the color is so strange. But it wouldn’t mind being lacy. Ahhh yes. Breaking up the color with blank space instead of making texture out of it with cables is just the ticket. I’ve found a 14 row, 22 stitch pattern in BW2 that will work just right. I’ve tried 5 times to cast on and knit that first row and every time I’ve screwed up, so there is now the matter of pride involved. I will not be defeated by a BW pattern!

But I struggled with it last night while my students steadily decreased the stitches in their hats. It was very good for them to see that we all must puzzle over New Things, but that it is a fun struggle - not a burden.

Today is a sooooooper good day for me. I only have to work till 1 and even that will be easy and fun work. I’m all caught up on the Important Stuff. Then I can get the car washed and get in a little exercise at the gym. I’m still working out at only the most gentle level, after 3 months of crummy health. A tad of grocery shopping will be followed by, oh yes sweet heaven, a manicure and pedicure, mmmmm.

Tomorrow we leave for the launching ceremony. Saturday is the KRRetreat. Yes Yes Yes! I foresee only happy good things in spite of what Mr. Horoscope said today. I will have a great weekend - I will I will I will!

And I hope you do too.

posted by Bess | 7:23 AM

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005  

The UmmYeahWells are still not printed. I wanted to give them one last read-over before I committed that many trees to my literary endeavor. Good thing, too, since I found 2 errors. I still don’t have sketches to illustrate every technique, and I’ll probably obsess about it forever because, after all, I am a Virgo and I can imagine perfection and I assume it is our job to at least attempt that goal.

Hmmm. For those of you who sagely pose the questions “What is it with the horoscope crap? How can 1/12 of the world's population all be doing the same thing, feeling the same angst, making the same stupid choices, all on the same day?”

In answer, I give you:

Cropped pants
Ponchos
Hummers
Politics

Honestly, it’s a miracle the magi could even come up with 12 types.

Anyway, I shall make the final tweaks and copy the valuable information, complete with it’s very own Queen Cartoon - the first in a looooooong time - and offer it up to my victims fellow KRRetreaters on Saturday, with instructions for folding them into interesting origami shapes when said students get home.

I am still pondering a mental inventory of my Stash from Heck-that’s-nothing (having seen photos of S’s stash I can not make any deeper claim of Stash-edness). I’m in search of a New Beginnings Project - something I knit for myself. (That’s most of my knitting, actually) Something I begin at the KRRetreat. Something I ... gulp ... have to report back on at next year’s retreat. I can just see myself, standing with a-Nother 16” size 7 circular, forever imprisoned in 6 inches of sleeve, gripping wrinkled pages covered with math equations, crossed out and re-scribbled half a dozen times, because I won’t knit patterns someone else designed, even if I will buy them. What the hey. You can always use another 16” size 7 circular needle, right? And if you start with sleeves you get a gauge swatch and a hopeful garment piece at the same time. That is, if fiber has hopes - which I am sure it must.

I have 3 drawers of color coordinated yarn, bought over many years, because I tend to buy colors I know I can wear, in little odd balls and skeins, on sale, from baskets that contain only one or two of each. The stifled artist in me knows that a Real Knitter could combine those odds and ends into a stunning garment worthy of a New York boutique. The secret Virgo egotist constantly whispers “You could do that.” The ditherer in me has yet to put pencil to paper, but she pulls the drawers out frequently and sighs at what might be. I wonder. Is this the time to plunge ahead? To use up a drawer full of pretty odd lots that coordinate well enough and would be so cool looking if I would just make that artistic leap?

I am sooooo tempted.

I wonder. hmmmm. I just wonder.

Or I could dig out any of those “Enough for a sweater” boxes of yarn and cast on a second Flidas - which I know can be knit in about a month of steady work. I really ought to replace her, though, none of those boxes of yarn are the right thing, exactly. I could alter the design a little, with a more feminine stitch, less woodsy than the hollow oak cable .... oh ... yes... a lace panel instead of a cable. Wouldn’t that be pretty? Hmmmm.

I really must go dig those boxes out of storage and take a hard look at them.

Or I could always knit myself a pair of socks. I have some Lorna’s Laces that would be pretty and fun to wear. And fast. And brainless. And completable. Besides, I just ruined a pair of hand knit socks by wearing them inside my 25 year old rubber duckboots. I had no idea the insole had gotten so rough. Sheesh. The sock can be mended but yuck. Who wants to mend?

Okay Okay - I have talked myself into spending this early morning digging out the Whole sWHEATer Boxes of Fiber (doesn’t that sound healthy?) and making a Decision.

I’ll close with a comment about my readership. I have statscounter.com code in this blog and can see how many folk visit (thank you very much for joining me so often) There is someone from New Kent County who visits almost every day. How I would like to know who you are. My parents once owned property around a little manmade lake, intending to build their dream home out there. I was about 9 or 10 at the time. I remember pouring over New House magazines with mama and we found one that Had A Tree Growing Inside It!!!! with a skylight and washed pebble floor so that you could water your houseplants - oh law, it was such a dream idea for this little woodsy romantic. In the end, they bought a house in the city - Daddy’s dream house, that suddenly went on the market at a loss because the new owner bought it and then got transferred out of town. That was a nice house too, though it had no trees growing inside. But it was walking distance from both the public library and the 5 and 10 store - where they sold penny candy - and where you could take your doll shopping and try on dresses before you bought!

But somehow, New Kent Co. always feels like one of “my” places. So, Mr/Ms New Kent reader - I wonder who you are. Hello and glad to see you.

posted by Bess | 5:57 AM

3 Comments:

Sketches - you're doing sketches?! Now I feel totally outclassed, I mean really, you do great sketches, and now your stuff is going to look so much better than mine. I am hanging my head in shame at not being able to do lovely sketches.

By Blogger Shelia, at 8:19 AM  

As per your usual, your post re wishes & the hopes that lie underneath struck home w/me. Like you, I am a wish maker - 1st stars, a found coin, b'day candles.
When I make soup, I usually place a bay leaf in the broth & then it's left there. I started a "tradition": if you get the bay leaf in your bowl of soup, you get to make a wish. Works for me ^..^
See you soon, hon.
XOXO
Martha
P.S. Shelia, your class will be great too!

By Blogger Martha, at 8:50 AM  

Stop that Sheila. These are purloined sketches of what a single crochet stitch looks like.

(Bess tickles Sheila so she starts to laugh)

You have magnificent handouts. I know it.

By Blogger Bess, at 11:08 AM  

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005  

The Umm.Yeah. Well’s are just about done. A tweak here or there is all that’s needed - and a few more clumsy and rudimentary sketches and I can go to press with them. I’ll have my copies this evening and can pack them away in the Knitters Review Retreat Box! Then I have only to knit up my demo swatches. My favorite is the cute little provisional crochet cast on swatch. I just love zipping the crochet chain off the stitches - but then I have to knit another swatch so I Will Not Zip any more swatches.

I never did paw through my stash so I still haven’t picked a New Beginnings Project and I haven’t any spare $$ this fall so I really must not buy anything new for a New Beginnings Project. I Must use Old Stash for New Beginnings. Absolutely. Must. And the weather is now saying 70’s the whole entire weekend so packing will be a challenge. A knitter’s retreat but it’s too hot for any of my sweaters? Sheesh!

I had almost forgotten that it is the First of the Month and that means all the cool monthly horoscopes with their hints and promises and tips. Here’s one tip I had never heard of - Make a New Moon Wish. For all my east coastie friends you are to do this tonight at 8:30 p.m. and for my further away friends you need only adjust for the time zone changes. Here’s how.

I love wishes. I’ve been making wishes all my life; on stars, on birthdays, at wells, even just when I’m taking a walk on a beautiful day. Wishes are really the first step in making Plans, and nobody loves Plans better than a Virgo, spawn the eternally hopeful sign - hopeful because one can always make Effort and Choose and devise Plans. But there’s no point in planning unless you want something and for that you ought to take a little time for wishing.

You’d be amazed at how many people haven’t got a clue about what they want. Oh - they might tell you they want chicken for dinner or they want more money or to be Rich’N’Famous. I’d surmise we’re all fairly alike in wanting to be healthy and loved and, perhaps as in the tale of Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady, we all want to have our own way. But specifically what we want often lies undiscovered, not just un-admitted. So a wish is an opportunity to discover what would make you feel Ricn’N’Famous or that you were getting your own way.

Hmmmm. What would I ask for if I had 5 wishes?

posted by Bess | 7:33 AM
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