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


How funny -- thanks for including us in your reverie as your mind darts from one topic to another! That never happens to me!

Love the Holly House. I have a holly that's tall and skinny and dying because of shade and drought, but maybe I'll spare it from the axe, if it will turn into something like the one you depict.

By Blogger Mary, at 4:16 PM  

:)Speaking of Christmas movies, I already started off the season by watching White Christmas (on my birthday, no less!!)
Watch yours in good health!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:21 PM  

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Thursday, November 30, 2006  

Oh! Tomorrow is December 1!!!

Official First Day of the Christmas Season here at TheCastle.

Now, Christmas is one of those enormous amorphous nebulous things that can thrill, disappoint, crush, delight, exhaust, sweep, or uplift a soul. It just all depends. It depends on your health; on your income; on your state of mind or your state of marriage. Mostly, it depends on where you are on your quest.

For the most part, I LoveChristmas. I love the smells. I love the stories. I love the opportunity to shop, a lot. I adore the music.

* * * * * * * * *

Well. How about that. I was here gushing all over the paper (metaphorical digital pixel paper) and multi-tasking like I a good ENFP and reading other people’s blogs and I just sort of slammed to a halt. Whatever inspiration that was in me dried up like a Virginia Garden in July. (still wet, you know, with humidity, but dead dried out too)

I don’t know what I was going to talk about ... maybe Christmas movies. Yeah. I’m going to order in all my favorites, that aren’t already in the library collection, from NetFlix and drive poor DH crazy.

Well. Blankmindedness abounds today. Let me see if I can dig up a photo or two. (cop out blogging, hmm?)

Okay - in honor of Christmas, here is my favorite Christmas place. It’s a giant holly tree down in a little hollow on the Ellis’ place, along Farmer’s Hall Creek. Because it’s sheltered on all sides it’s grown taller than any holly I’ve ever seen and it is always covered in berries. It’s so tall that it’s lower branches start about 15-20 feet up its trunk and bend down to the ground so it forms a little playhouse.

I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of it front on, but this is what it’s like inside the Holly House.

Happy December Eve to you all.

posted by Bess | 7:41 AM


Heh, heh, (hunched over, rubbing my hands together). My evil plan is working. Mwooooo-haaaa-haaa-haaaaa! ;-)

I'm impressed with your ingenious yarn bra, (I bought some of those things at a yarn shop this summer -- I should have bought tomatoes instead!). And I'm even more impressed with all your ambitious sock knitting!

By Blogger Mary, at 2:33 PM  

I have to get back on the WW plan also - the thing is it isn't that hard to do -- in fact it isn't all that many changes so why the heck am I having such a time getting into it again?

Sorry to hear about your mom - wish I had some wise bit of advice for you but you know better - remember I am the one knitting a mobius for MIL to keep her busy and happy ;)

I know I know I am just a sick human being - but humor was always my families way of dealing with tragedy.

By Blogger rho, at 9:44 PM  

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006  

Whew. Good thing M gave me that camera. Otherwise there wouldn't be any posts this week. It's a scramblingly busy time around here. Mostly fun busy; some catch up. I've also been trying to do the following:

  1. Get back into exercise routine
  2. Rededicate to WW before I hit the Dread Number
  3. Knit Christmas Socks
  4. Read Book Club Book
  5. Remember what I'm supposed to do at work
  • Subset of #5:
    Newspaper Project
    Buy new computers
    Annual statistical report
But then there are photos. Here's my status as a Christmas Sock Knitter as of Monday Morning.

Impressed by the clever recycled yarn bra thingee....

Here's a closer look.
Yep. It's a tomato bag. And that is Woolese sport wt. and No. I wouldn't be using it if I hadn't already started using it. It's okay. And BD likes how it feels. That's good enough for me.

Happy knitting to you all.

posted by Bess | 9:46 AM


Oh Bess, I remember walking on your farm with you and Ed and checking out the mistletoe! Another fond memory is the day I came out to work on wedding plans and look for your christmas tree. Fond, fond memories!
Miss you two terribly especially this time of year!

By Anonymous Patti, at 10:51 AM  

How very cool that you grow your very own mistletoe. Was Ed able to get it down from the tree?

By Blogger Mary, at 12:41 PM  

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006  

Slept late today so I haven’t much of a post. In fact – no post at all, but here are some ChristMistletoe photos straight up from the farm.

posted by Bess | 9:42 AM


Lovely description, both in word and in photograph. I wish I could find my old software disc that came with that camera -- it comes with something called "Photostitch", where you can stitch together pictures, like the ones you show here, into one long panoramic image. It's pretty cool. You can order it from Canon, if you're interested.

By Blogger Mary, at 2:36 PM  

Hi Bess,
I thought I would respond to Mary's post. You can get the Photostitch Program or one simular to it from CNET is a very safe site that carries downloads and consumer reports for past and current technology. I never ever buy any Electronic device or download any program until I have gone to CNET to check it out. Give it a try!

By Anonymous Patti, at 3:52 PM will find several Free Downloads there, that are completely safe. I lay my name on it!

By Anonymous Patti, at 3:53 PM  

I concur - I trust CNET too, right up there w/ Consumer Reports. Nice to know that Photostitch can be downloaded from there.

By Blogger Mary, at 12:40 PM  

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Monday, November 27, 2006  

The days have been so warm and the nights so cool we have thick great fog banks covering the world every morning. When it finally gets light you have to wait till past 10 to find out if it will be a sunshiny day or a cloudy one. On a sleepy Sunday morning that doesn’t matter. You can crawl back into bed and wait for a heavenly decision. On a slightly bloated Monday after the Holidays you have to pay attention, because you are going to have to drive in that stuff. Best to leave a little early today.

But yesterday - ahh yesterday was a glorious beautiful day - a perfect last day of a holiday day. Made me wish I was retired so I could stay home all the time - and then wonder if I savor and appreciate and notice all the sweet things about being home just because I’m still working and have to leave it 5 times a week. One of those circular ponderings that get you nowhere, I realize. Fortunately, I don’t delve into that sort of question very often. Since there is no solution, there can be no point in devoting precious time to it.

What I did devote time to was a stroll with BD out to Robert’s Landing - and this time I took the camera. So, without further ado here is a 3/4 panorama of one of our magical places.

posted by Bess | 7:50 AM


Bess, Dear...what a beautiful job you are doing on that sweater! And a wise decision not to take it to the ER...Bless you, I know what you're going through now; my own dear Mom was up and down the last year of her life (or so) too. Hugs to you and yours, and prayers,


By Blogger Margaret, at 11:42 AM  

So sorry your mom is not well again. Here's hoping she'll rally for the Christmas holidays.

How exciting to see the sweater joined! And I'll be interested to read your reviews of your new books!

By Blogger Mary, at 12:29 PM  

Oh jeez, my twin in Virginia, I don't know what to say except I know that it sucks. You are handling it well, but of course you will, it is your job. It still sucks, and no supportive words change that. One foot in front of the other, that's how it's done.

That sweater is amazingly gorgeous. I may never live anywhere that a sweater like that could be worn, but I love the artistry involved.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:52 PM  

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Sunday, November 26, 2006  

Well, I slipped on over to Richmond all right. To the hospital. Mama’s back in again, with pretty much a relapse of what she had before but worse. Friday was spent in the emergency room till just shy of 10 o’clock, when, at least Arby’s was still open even if all the salad bar places in town were not. Saturday, with electrolytes replaced and a steady drip of potassium, she was improved and I came home in the afternoon. This time, though, she will go home to a rehab facility first, till all her meds play nicely with each other. She’s too frail and so is Dad, and they are both too stubborn and too shy and too old, to get in the sort of nursing care she needs, so we shall take the patient to the care.

I have also sent out the APB to the far-away sisters. Even though I think Mama will get over this present bout of illness, could make it through the winter or even for several more years, I don’t know how much of the real person inside is going to come back to us, nor how long she’ll stick around. It seemed to me that if they want to visit with the real mama, they ought to not put it off any. One sister has already booked her flight.

I had taken only Christmas socks to knit on, which proved to be a pretty good decision. Stranded colorwork, with all those different balls of yarn, in beside an ER bed? I shudder. I’m at the toe decrease on a sport weight woolease powder blue sock I started so long ago I can’t really remember when I knit it. BD tried it on and was so delighted with it that I know it will be his. LD can have socks from the nice brown colored Regia yarn I got for my birthday.

I think, until I get the Christmas socks finished (speedily knitting on the mate for Mama’s, a little slower on LD’s. BD’s can be wrapped unfinished) I will set The KipFee aside. I’ve knit 5 rounds of the united sweater - 4 body decrease rounds. It looks lovely. Here are a couple of photos:

I will send a request out to the Universe for the totally cool inspirational perfect you got it wow ain’t that clever math solution to the sleeve caps. By the time I finish the Christmas socks, who knows, the answer may have come.

I did check out Euney Jang’s (sp?) Totally cool(yadayada)solution in the Winter IK. She steeked the sleeves themselves! Now that is so so cool! I wouldn’t have thought of it and I don’t want to do it this time, (because I want my own TCIPYGIWATCMSolution) but by golly - I’m going to do it on a sweater sometime. I love clever math people.

On the way home from Richmond yesterday I stopped at a B&N where I got a chance to gaze at Nicky Epstein’s latest book. Lawsee. I so vibrate to her knitting drumbeat. I’ve already ordered it for the library but I believe it will be on my short list of things I want for Christmas. It’s exactly the kind of thing I can ask BD to get for me and he’ll be so happy to be so successful at gift shopping. We’ll both be happy. I also took a good look at Victorian Lace. VL is VeryBeautiful. And different enough to not overlap Meg Swansen’s Gathering of Lace. But I didn’t buy it either, since I put it on that same library order. I don’t have to own that book, just have access to it.

Of course, I wouldn’t have stopped at B&N if I hadn’t intended to Spend Money and I did. Along with a present for a girlfriend and a beautiful Advent Calendar, I picked up two books for me: Traditional Scandinavian Knitting by Sheila McGregor (Gotta love that Dover company. This was only $14.95!) and Luxury Knitting, by Linda Morse. I’d heard of the first one but hadn’t seen it before. I’d leafed through the second one once before and given it the go-by. This time, though it struck a chord and I had to bring it home. I’ll give them a close inspection this week and let you know what I really think about them ... but I’ll say this. I wanted to rub my face in the picture on the front of Sheila McGregor’s book.

So. It's the last day of the holiday. I'd be sad if to see it end except there are interesting developments coming to the library this week. And the carpet cleaners were in over the weekend. I can't wait to see what they've accomplished. I am thinking Miracle!

Good knitting to you all

posted by Bess | 10:50 AM


Glad you had a nice one! (From someone who lives in a 905 ft² house!)

By Blogger Mary, at 12:48 PM  

I like that "who wants to borrow a nightgown" idea! I loved reading about your day, as always, and knowing you is another thing I'm thankful for.

By Blogger Jane, at 6:44 AM  

It sounds like a wonderful day. Hubbo is getting a bug I think - has chills and our house now officially qualifies as a sweat-lodge I think - it is almost as hot as his moms house. Can't wait for pics of the sweater. I take it you don't have cable - I love our Internet connection thru the cable -

By Blogger rho, at 12:18 PM  

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Friday, November 24, 2006  

Among many wonderful things about hosting Thanksgiving dinner is that when the meal is over and the kitchen is squared away -your house is so beautifully tidy and clean. And in my case, it feels so spacious. My house is not very big. It’s not particularly small either, unless you compare it to the super homes popping up in vinyl villages on rural lanes that used to link farm houses to main roads all across Virginia. It's maybe 1700 square feet plus a really big back porch. I’m grinning as I type this because I believe that standard these days is 2400 sq.ft. Oh well. I think girls might still like to read the Betsy-Tacy books too. I'm just an anachronism, I suppose.

Anyway, what is wonderful, (as I pause to cry, “Hey! Look! A bird!”) is that my house is clean. Really tidy clean. Lawsee how I love a clean house. I didn’t really do any more than I usually do to clean the place up, but when you pull out all the leaves on the dining room table and bring in both card tables and the extra 9 chairs, this place gets mighty crowded and mighty tiny. But when you put them all away again - wow! I live in A Castle! I have that same wonderful feeling in January when all of Christmas goes back into the attic. Perspective. What a treat it is to experience perspective.

We had a happy bunch for dinner yesterday. Friends from the city joined us along with BH and her girls.

I purposely didn’t do anything other than shop before hand because I wanted to savor the rainyday pleasures of Wednseday. Besides, the more I thought about Thanksgiving dinner, the more I realized that it was just another dinner like the ones I cook all the time .... only a little bigger. Stuff takes bigger pans and more hours in the oven, and we have bread on the table - and we actually sit at the table - and I can ask the little girls to make jello. It may be that I am the only person who thinks that jello is as important as turkey at Thanksgiving. But mostly Thanksgiving Dinner is just dinner blown up. And the oven does all the serious work. I just push the pans in. Oh. Yes. Because I didn’t bake any deserts. Thank you Episcopal women!

We were all sorely feeling the absence of P - especially D, who got a tad bit weepy around the eyes. But we drank a toast to her speedy return to health and the east coast. And happily, she called after dinner, but before people had begun to peel off and everyone got a chance to speak to her. P - you stay there and Get Well! and then Come Home!

Though it was a very wet day, and now and then actual rain fell from the sky, it wasn’t the nor’easter we had on Wednesday. One of the great traditions of our T’giving day is the walk between dinner and desert. There’s a flurry of pushing dishes into the kitchen and moving some of the card tables out of the dining room, but then we don coats and hats, or sometimes no wraps at all, for this is the south, after all, and then we move on down the lane in the orangey golden glow of sunset. The vista is majestic, as broad and encompassing as an ocean view, but more varied, since there are trees and fields and ancient crumbling house ruins that echo with the mysterious memories of times gone by - a world no longer with us - a farm hand chicken coop barn loft many children back yard with a well and a privy and a smoke house world that's becoming 100 years ago fast. Each year those ruins sink closer to the ground. One day they will become the earth and only my faded cataract filmed eyes will see them in the photo album of my mind. But for now I can offer them up to my precious friends who live in the city or in new developments where streets are smooth and the grass all came from a sod farm.

One of the intermittent showers was falling as we began to have our fill of the savory dishes so we postponed our stroll and ate desert instead. The little girls were playing with a pile of hats I’d gotten from an auction. The hats are almost all too small for me - I wanted them for the hat boxes. But they fit the girls and we had quite a fashion parade upstairs. In the end I gave each girl one of the hats, but first the assembled company all needed to have a go at trying them on. By the time we’d all done or Cindy Crawford routine, the rain had stopped and we took a blustery stroll out to the mailbox and back. Jacob’s Gut was swollen to twice it’s width from all the rain, but not a dog was interested in testing the waters.

Though the walk helped gravity rearrange our dinner some, I believe all of us save the children, who wisely only eat till they’re full, needed some more un-bent recreation so we sprawled on sofas or cushions on the floor. People flowed about the house talking or picking bits off the turkey or feeding snippets to the dogs until I said the fatal words. “Who wants to borrow a nightgown?”

Like theater lights flickering, that seemed to remind everyone of how good pajamas and nightgowns feel after consuming a week’s worth of minimum daily requirements in a single sitting. The tenor of the conversations shifted. People began to stand - to wander towards the front door - where, what the heck, there were the coats - the car’s just outside. Lawsee my nightgown would feel sooooo good. Within 30 minutes everyone was gone. It took another hour to get the house back to that surprisingly tidy state described above. By 8:30, BD and I were in bed with books which kept me interested for about 5 minutes but I believe held his attention for the rest of the evening.

Fare-the-well Thanksgiving. You get easier, but sweeter, every year. Can’t wait to see you again, next year.

posted by Bess | 6:45 AM


Happy Thanksgiving, Bess! Stay warm and dry and forget the WW thing for a while.

By Blogger Larry, at 9:18 AM  

Hello, dear heart -- and Happy Thanksgiving to you and BD, LD and GD in your lovely little corner of the world.

Hugs from the Canuck

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:23 AM  

Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Bess!
Of Course you know there is a touch of sadness covering me today. I am Thankful I am here with the Grandbabies...however...I am missing what has become my favorite holiday tradition...Thanksgiving in Champlain! Love to you all, I am with you in spirit!


By Anonymous Patti, at 11:31 AM  

Heh, heh -- my evil plan to talk everyone into going on that Interweave trip is working! Join me!

Congrats on joining the sweater -- can't wait to see pictures! You should stop by Eunny Jang's blog ( and ask her about her shoulder decreases -- she's often very responsive to commenters, even though she gets 200 comments per post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Blogger Mary, at 11:53 AM  

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Thursday, November 23, 2006  

There’s joy in Mudville today! I have my old hotmail back and it’s as welcome as any prodigal could be. Even though the page hung, once I’d rebooted and logged on, there was that familiar old blue screen. Not that the other one wasn’t blue too, but this one actually loaded. I feel like I got a gift. Top it off with the fact that this is a holiday and people are on the road or watching television or doing something besides internetting, and even dial-up does what I would call “works”. I Am Thankful.

And it really is Mudville around here, for yesterday was one of those grey rainy blustery snuggle inside with your dogs and your music and your best friend reading to you and your knitting. We’ve had several of these grey fur days this autumn, but I haven’t yet had a chance to take full advantage of any. I’ve been on the road or at work when the world closed in with its weather that says “Stay in bed. You have no responsibilities today.” Yesterday was the first chance I’d had to actually do that: To sip a 3rd cup of coffee while BD and I worked the Sunday paper acrostic, with dogs across the foot of the bed; to walk from room to room enjoying the colors as they shimmered and shifted in the silver rainfilled light; to sit with my back to the wood stove while Schubert’s Great Symphony resonated in my chest. BD had to get up and play along with the last movement, causing Jack to sing along with the high notes. Yes, Margaret. I did choose this magical place and even if I never get past clunky local internet service I am, and always will be, grateful for the blessing of living where I want to be.

On the knitting front there is important news.

[Drum rolllllllll]

I’ve joined the sleeves. Yes. the KipFee is a single unit now. I’m taking photos. I’ll load them, probably tomorrow a.m. before I leave for ... before I slip on over to Richmond. I’ve done 4 rounds of decreases - bites out of the body - and have 4 more to do. I also did just a wee tad bit of the rest of the SweaterMath which I offer to you now.

* * *

After I finish the sweater bites I’ll have 9 more inches to knit to get to my shoulders.

Row gauge is something like 8.5
8.5 x 9” = 77 rows

This is too bad. The pattern calls for a row gauge of 9 rows per inch and if I were hitting it, I’d have 81 rows to do all this in - but there you have it. That’s my gauge and I can’t change it now. The good news is, I’m knitting this to fit based on my body and my gauge. My body and my knitting don’t have to fit someone else’s pattern.

So. I have 102 stitches in the sleeve and they all have to be gone in 77 rows.

If I decrease 4 stitches in each decrease round (2 out of each sleeve, front and back) I need 25 decrease rounds plus or minus a fudge round.

This is good. 77 / 25 = 3

This means I can (if I want to): *decrease 2 stitches per sleeve for 1 round then knit 2 rounds without decreases. Repeat from *.

I am thinking, though, that this may make a pointed sleeve cap.

So. If I want the top of the sleeve cap to have say, 1.5 inches worth of knitting (12 stitches) I could subtract them from the initial sleeve total.

103-12=91 Ick. Odd numbered remainder. Don’t like that.

I’ll add one more stitch to that inch and a half, because then I have a nice even 90 stitches.

Alas, 76 / 22.5 (1/4 of 90) is 3.4 and I would have a heck of a time figuring out that row repeat.

Besides, I’m still not confident that one flat round at the top will give me a beautifully rounded sleeve cap. And I am thinking that instead, I’ll decrease 2 stitches on each sleeve every 4th round till I am getting near the end and then decide what to do.

In theory I know what to do since I’ve done this twice. But I can’t remember what it was that I actually did. Not mathematically, that is. What I did was knit till I got near the top and then filled in all the blank spots with stitches; some straight knitting, some short rows. The thing is, both of those sweaters were knit in plain flat yarn, not stranded colorwork.

And I believe I’ll go look at the Winter IK 06 issue because there is this - which is another knitted sleeve cap miracle. Maybe she has ideas I can use. I’m still flirting with a shoulder heel sleeve cap.

And there you have it. A tour through the echoing chambers of my mind.

The last bit of knitting news is a wish. I want to do this! Oh I would love to take this trip. Yum!

On a more holiday theme, if you want a good Turkey giggle, check out this blog. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

posted by Bess | 7:41 AM


Sorry for all your computer and email troubles -- that can be truly frustrating. My guess is that Windows Live mail beta is trying to compete with Gmail (Google's free, web-based email that everyone seems to use and love, although I haven't tried it yet -- I like downloading my email to my own computer rather than having to rely on a web browser to get it). And frankly, I don't trust anything "beta" released by Microsoft. Anyway, here's hoping there's a faster solution for you soon. You should poll any neighbors that use satellite to survey its reliability, especially during bad weather like today's.

Extra men at Thanksgiving, huh? Are any of them single? ;-) (Kidding!) Have a great holiday!

By Blogger Mary, at 1:39 PM  

"There is a thick red band to the east this morning. The sky is an pearly unlit grey sheet overhead."


The above is the reason you live where you do. You've made a choice for a lovely, peaceful environment...and with that choice comes -- like high-speed internet services. You were fine before the Internet, and you'll manage without it...if you get my drift...

Happy Thanksgiving!


Marg the Canuck

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:11 PM  

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006  

As you all know, I have the grandfather of computers and am on dial-up from home. I beg pardon for grousing about this so frequently while seeming to do nothing about it. The other factors which feed into my technical situation down here at the end of the lane involve Other People with issues that are not really mine to discuss. It is sufficient to say only that I am likely to be in this situation a fairly long time. The local wireless company’s new tower is on the far side of Newlands. Verizon is still laughing at my request for DSL and were down right rude when we asked them to boost us back up to 2400. Family them, I say. Satellite is not really my choice - though I am not ready yet to discount it altogether.

Stupidly, a few weeks ago when hot mail was taking forever to load I clicked on the “try the new Windows Live Mail Beta”. As a format for e-mail, on high-speed, with a computer running Windows XP, well, it’s not a bad program, although I never could find the contact groups I’d set up - an important one being the one with all the sisters and nieces and nephews that I use for helping spread info about the parents.

But. If I thought hot mail loaded slowly - I didn’t know slow. Windows Live Mail didn’t load at all most times and when the front page loaded, the messages lingered in betalimbo half the time. I would glance up from my 40th solitaire game and realize I’d been sitting an hour waiting for my e-mail. The sad thing is ... I would sit another 15 minutes after that. For the first time ever, I brought knitting into the office to work on while my e-mail loaded. I am talking Pathetic.

So. Today I was looking at the half loaded beta mail page and saw the little button labeled Options. Clicked on it. What do you know. After about 10 minutes I had the option to go back to Hot Mail. Clicked again. Answered their little survey. Told them I had no problems with their program other than the glacial movement between pages and the fact that I had to drive 13 miles to actually read my e-mail. Clicked the final button. 20 minutes ago. It is still grinding away. It’s still a white screen with a revolving world. Still promising to open up a page. (I always think asphyxiate page as the program slowly strangles on dial up phone lines.)

The long and the short of all this verbiage is that I am home for 5 days and I probably won’t be able to read any e-mail and I think that sucks. Bummer.

But that is all the complaining I intend to do and even that was somewhat by way of explaining why I might not answer you for a while. The rest of the world is ... well, cloudy, but bright and I Don’t Have To Go To Work Today! And my house is half way ready for guests. And I am going up to Vauter’s Church to buy rolls for tomorrow. I would be buying desert, too, except one of the ladies offered to give me a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting that she doesn’t think is nice enough to put into the sale. I am laughing at this. I bet it’s perfect and if not, I don’t know a man yet who wouldn’t much rather have a cake with any cracks filled with frosting more than a photo-op cake with every layer the same width. And we’re having more guys than gals for dinner tomorrow.

No knitting news but I suspect there will be some quiet moments today and I’m gong to join those sleeves. I feel pretty confident about this shoulder technique. I’m sure I’ll like how the sweater looks. I find myself thinking, though, a lot about knitting sleeve caps, before I drift off to sleep or when I’m doing other, sort of buzz-off types of things. Why not knit a big shallow shock heel as the sleeve cap. How would I go about joining it to the sweater body shoulders?

Owww Owww! Too much engineering! My brain feels hot!

Okay. Enough. I will keep you posted as I move on up TheKipFee. In the mean time - enjoy your Wednesday. Knit on.

posted by Bess | 7:56 AM


I, too, cannot remember a rainy Thanksgiving, although there's been one or two snowy ones.

Your sweater math is mind-boggling. If I ever need help in that department, I know who to call!

By Blogger Mary, at 2:53 PM  

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006  

There is a thick red band to the east this morning. The sky is an pearly unlit grey sheet overhead. The wind is rushing out of the north east and has that bit of dampness to it that heralds a winter storm.

We’ve had lots of different weather for Thanksgiving over the past many years, but I can’t remember a rainy one since I grew up and I can’t actually remember a rainy one as a child. It’s just that my childhood memories are rather selective, while the events of my adult years carry with them the feeling of items checked out of a catalog. I suspect that’s because I had more to do with cause than effect once I grew up. One tends to remember the things one chooses to do and children have so little choice in the big things they tend to treat all our lofty decisions and arrangements as just so much white noise.

Anyway, it looks like rain for Thanksgiving. The weather dot com guys say it will rain. I have a small house and 10 guests coming. This will be ... interesting - but I plan on being Confident.

There is knitting news today. I have finished the circular knitting of the 1st, but knit second, KipFee sleeve. It is time to do TheMath. Since I have you all here, captive to my meanderings, I shall talk about TheMath now.

  • My sweater body is 320 stitches
  • 60 in front and 160 in back.
  • Right front will be 80 stitches in from the steek stitches
  • 8% of sweater body stitches = 25
  • I start loading that 8% onto holders after 68 right front stitches are knit
  • There are 128 sleeve stitches minus the 8% leaving 103 sleeve stitches to knit next, joining sleeve to body.
  • Knit 134 remaining back stitches and load the left front 25 stitches onto holders
  • Repeat for left sleeve

Note. I am putting 2 stitches more in the front than in the back because that is where there is more of me

Total stitches on needles = 476 plus 11 steek stitches.


But I begin decreasing in the next round - 4 stitches from the body in every round where the sleeves join till it = 60 stitches on each front half and 120 stitches across the back.

That’s decreasing 2 stitches in back for 7 rounds
2 stitches in front for 8 rounds.

Oh. And remember. All the time I'm following the color charts. I plan to do all the decreases so that a dark stitch shows on top, whatever pair of colors I'm knitting with at the time.

Knit straight a little bit (at least 2 rows) while sipping wine and figuring out the sleeve decreases.... which I will think about tomorrow.

At Tara.

posted by Bess | 7:43 AM


so elegant!

By Blogger Mary, at 7:27 PM  

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Monday, November 20, 2006  

Not quite so sleek, with their knitted cashmere lining, but brown and leather and they look very sharp with my winter coat.

posted by Bess | 2:04 PM


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For years and years I ran the library as a part-time director. It was a tiny little library with one other part-time assistant and it was open about 45 hours a week. Aside from one pre-school story hour a week and the summer reading club, we didn’t offer any programs. I worked Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday mornings for 9 years. Eventually I gave up the Saturday mornings but it was still 2 more years before the county funded a full time library director. That’s 11 years of steady work that didn’t earn me any pension, which is one reason I have to work till I’m 65. Not that I thought I’d ever quit working, but this pension track sometimes has the feel of a trap to it.

Time passed, though and we built a bigger library and offered more events and programs and projects ... and checked out and put away more books!! ... and finally got more staff and my job changed from smiling at people behind a desk and whispering conspiratorially that they just had to read this book to network management and human resources coordinator. And guess what. I’ve been working part time since August!! At least, I haven’t put in a 5-day-in-the-office week since then. Many of those days out of the office involved the general promotion of the library. There have been meetings and conventions to attend. Then, I had some vacation and there were government holidays and suddenly here it is Thanksgiving week and I’ll be off for 3 glorious days! Somehow, though, that idea of doing more in less time tickles me.

Or have I been promoted out of usefulness and into a pointy haired boss?

No matter. What I have is a Clean House and a 22 lb. turkey in the refrigerator and 10 guests coming for dinner on Thursday and I hear there is a bake sale at Vauter’s Church on the 22nd and I know the women baking and I believe this year I will purchase the desert, not bake it. Or not. I don’t know. Pumpkin pies are important ingredients in a Thanksgiving dinner. But with BD off sugar and with me over my WW goal .... somehow even if I’m offering desert, there’s something about making it that feels ... not good. So. Yes. I think I’ll let those nice Episcopalian ladies make my desert this year.

The Clean House took most of yesterday because I didn’t want the holiday to end and my guests to leave and that ubiquitous large paper grocery bag full of unsorted mail and ImportantPapers to get forgotten in the back room for another year. You may know that to which I refer - all the stuff that’s piled up on the dining room table, or the desk, or the kitchen counter: this month’s power bill, that slip of paper with the really good dry-cleaner’s name on it, the directions to your girlfriend’s new house, the article you really wanted to read before you threw the magazine away, the other bills, the October bank statement. That’s the sort of stuff that you would ordinarily get to on Friday, because you have the day off, only it looks so dreadful when you realize that company is coming and they’ll see what a disorganized slob you are! So you scoop it into a grocery bag and put it in a corner somewhere. And of course, you forget about it till you get the late notice from the power company... and then you can’t find it and it’s not till you’re rooting through your yarn stash that the bag you thought held the unfinished scarf you didn’t knit for your dad for Christmas actually has Old Papers in it. Important Old Papers. And a letter from your girlfriend!

Anyway. I didn’t want that experience again this year, just like I don’t want to bake the pies. So I sorted through them, put the bills in my purse, the new addresses in the address book, the articles I want to read by my bed and the trash - the bulk of all that paper - in the trash can.

And that is why there is no knitting in this knitting blog post. Rest assured - there will be KipFee progress soon.

posted by Bess | 7:45 AM


So, did you find a pair of sleek leather, non-isotoner gloves? And if so, where? ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 12:56 PM  

Sadly, the only place I've been able to find soft leather 3/4 length gloves in fitted sizes is at Saks Fifth Avenue. I've never looked at Franco's, however he may just have them there too. the other choice is to buy them from a Vintage shop or to ask Patti, yes that would be me....if she has a pair that would fit you. I have several pairs of beautiful Vintage glvoes in all lengths . You can take you pick of any of them, I would love to give you a pair.

Me ;)

By Anonymous Patti, at 12:56 AM  

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Sunday, November 19, 2006  

Ahh, Mary. I know better than to visit a yarn shop when I have only 6 weeks to go on TheVow. I did come into the city via Libbie, Cary, Huguenot and Midlothian turnpike, so I had to grit my teeth as I crossed Grove, so close to the Knitting Basket and I deliberately got in the left lane as I passed the old Stony Point Shopping Center, where Lettuce Knit is. My folks don’t live out as far as the county seat so I almost never get to Holly Springs. In fact, I’ve only ever been once, though it’s a delightful shop and has beautiful rovings. Happily, I’m still in love with The KipFee and am not too tempted to actually buy anything right now. Not so close to Christmas with so many socks left to knit. Till January, I’ll content myself with looking at catalogs. Lord knows I have enough of ‘em.

And thank you Caroline - I do sometimes think about writing, well, if not a novel, at least a sort of James Herriott sort of collection of tales from my little world. Who knows. Maybe someday I will. I certainly can get nostalgic about Times Gone By - and tender as well. Besides, the people are all so precious to me, because of their quirks far more than in spite of.

I will confess, though, that I did stop at a mall on my way home. Partly, I’ll admit, because it is a mall and it is something I don’t get to that often, but partly because I needed a pair of new leather gloves. My old ones were badly worn and it just won’t do for a girl to go through the winter without leather gloves.

My obsession with leather gloves goes back to high school; to a specific moment, when I opened my yearbook, that freshman year, and saw the photo of Brenda Bullock in winter coat and sleek leather gloves, clutching her sheet music. It was one of those classic fashion statements. She looked like an adult; confident, independent, serenely capable, not a gauche and yearning teen. She looked timeless, as well, and I am sure, if I dug out that old yearbook, I’d still think so. Somehow, I felt that if I could just get my hands on a pair of sleek leather gloves, I too, would be a capable, confident grown-up. I promised myself I would never again go through the winter in fuzzy wet mittens or orlon (or whatever synthetic, thus cheap) gloves.

This obsession was fueled by the scene in Betsy in Spite of Herself, when she comes out of church to find it snowing and Tib takes off her lavender kid gloves saying “...dampness isn’t good for kid.” I mean, imagine knowing, at 15, that dampness isn’t good for kid gloves. Imagine even having kid gloves when you’re 15! Our gloves came out of a bin full of one-size-fits-all and even if they don’t match who’s looking. I had even been known to wear socks on my hands, like Jo March and her sister. (Literature played an important role in shaping both my core values and my behavior.) So. When two fashion role models have fine leather gloves, it’s a sign.

What I didn’t know was how hard it was going to be to bring elegant leather gloves into my life. First off, my mama was always more interested in fun clothes than chic. It was she who cursed her daughters with horrible knitted hats sewn all over with big quarter sized sequins. We called them maid hats, because the women waiting at the bus stops, who came from ‘cross the river to clean houses each day, wore them. We managed to consign them to the lost-and-found at Westover elementary school till the last sister went on to high school, when the secretary asked my mother if they were hers. “They’ve been in the lost and found since your daughters started coming to this school.” Mass marketing culture aided and abetted my mama’s fashion decisions. It was 1967. We were sinking into the mod squad hippie synthetic lycra rip-stop nylon era. Elegance was out. Goofy was in.

Then, of course, there was the expense. I haven’t a clue what fine leather gloves cost in 1967 but I plunked down $ for a pair yesterday. I remember the first pair I finally slid over my hands cost the better part of $25, at a time when minimum wage was still in the $2 range. I am not sure I would give a teenager a small, easily lost accessory that costs 13 hours labor at her after school job. I’m not sure I would have spent my own money that way either. In fact, I know I wouldn’t, for as a young girl I was obsessed with fashion quantity. I wore a uniform to school and pined for variety, color and rapid change. The first year I was out of uniform, I made a point to wear a different skirt every day of the month. I sewed and could indulge myself, but I shudder to remember that I really did have a skirt made out of fake fur.

Worst of all was actually finding a pair of good leather gloves, after I decided that there was no good reason to bypass a simple luxury just because I didn’t grow up with it. By this time, leather gloves; elegant, thin, fitted to your hand leather gloves, not work gloves or stuffed with fur to keep out the cold gloves, were so far out of fashion even Vogue and Bazaar had stopped running ads for them. Slender arms and tapered fingers, encased in form fitting leather, sometimes showed up in promos for jewelry stores but I suspect they were vintage clothing by then. For the most part, gloves had gone functional. Gone was the glass counter, with the woman in a navy blue dress and prim white collar, who pulled out the stick and measured your hand before pulling the tray of sleek leather gloves, overlapping like shingles, in warm black, brown and navy blue, from the second shelf down and laying it reverently on the counter top. Self serve Iso-toner bins full of gloves that were too tight for my hands became the closest thing to leather gloves at even the poshest department stores. Gone, too, were the selection of lengths. My preference is for three quarter length, both as a look and to block any draft up my coat sleeve. Now and then I can find them, but usually I have to settle for something just slightly longer than matinee length.

Of course we all know that fashion is a cyclical thing and nothing stays out of style forever. It will come back in some altered shape, even if it’s corsets for the budoir. Never doubt it. One day you will consider how to make a bustle work with your new suit. Or your daughter will. Happily, leather gloves are once again marginally available. I wish there were more choices of style and length. I am willing, now, to compromise and buy the ones that are lined with thin knitted cashmere, instead of thinner and sleeker silk. They’re warmer. I also wish the ones with the rabbit fur trim had also come in brown, because I am just chichi enough, just enough my mama’s daughter, to have popped for them too. Probably it’s for the best though. Christmas is coming and I’ll soon be spending for others, not self.

So there you have it. I can’t seem to go through the city without going to a store. Like Aunt Rene and Virginia Powers and all the rest of those dear old things, when I slip on over to Richmond I’m probably going to slip on into the dressing room and just try that little number on ... just to see how it looks, you know. Or I will buy leather gloves. If it’s winter and the dampness of the past few years have ruined the pair I already have.

And then, perhaps, I shall come home and knit myself a pair of serviceable snowball mittens.

posted by Bess | 7:35 AM


Eloquent! So when are you going to write that novel?
Have a safe and good trip!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:17 AM  

Oh boy, Powhatan! I hope you got a chance to stop in at Holly Spring Homespun! Although, that just might be torture, since it's still the Year of No Fiber. Hope you had fun!

By Blogger Mary, at 12:49 AM  

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Saturday, November 18, 2006  

I’m slipping over to Richmond today.

Oh. I love to type that. I can hear Aunt Rene saying it. I can hear Virginia Powers. I can hear Clarice Blackwell. Long gone women of my early years here in the country. Women who, if they were not aunts or cousins, were as good as. These were the women who waited for men to come home from Europe or the Pacific. These were the women who ran the fund drives for hospitals and libraries. They raised my husband’s generation - half way between me and my parents. They rode the buggy to school in the teens and watched electricity come to the country in the thirties. They arranged weddings, some hurriedly, some leisurely, all elegant and cousin filled. They baked lemon chess pies and bought Pendleton Suits at Anderton’s department store. There was one special suit which Virginia Powers wanted to buy, but first she asked Aunt Rene to go see if she thought it was the right choice for her. It was so right that Aunt Rene bought it instead. They remained best friends for life. Clarice, on the other hand, was satisfied with the fashion advice of whatever clerk happened to be at the register whenever she stopped in - which was almost daily. As widows, they were all in love with Rev. Corey, who’s wife left him for someone more interesting, even though he had the most mellifluous voice, and was tall!

And they all yearned to go to Richmond as frequently as possible. They shopped at Miller and Rhoads, Thalheimers, Montaldos and Berry Burke. They stopped at Cokesburry to look at the latest best sellers. They bought costume jewelry for their daughters at The Jewel Room and the real stuff at Schwartzchild’s. They went to the metropolis whenever they could wangle the car from somber husbands who would shake their heads and mutter that you didn't see their mothers running off to Richmond all the time. Hence the term Slip over to Richmond - which sounded as if they were not going much further than the Minor post office, or maybe Watts Store at Millers.

And even though I grew up in Richmond and even though that old Richmond of downtown is long gone, and even though, as BD says, I’ll actually be going to Powhatan County, I still think, even if I don’t say it, that I’ll just Slip over to Richmond. I’ll remember those Dear Old Things. I’ll remember my youth. I’ll go. Today. To see the folks.

posted by Bess | 7:59 AM


Your basket turned out fantastic - and your description and pictures of the weekend were perfect -- I really really have to learn some make-up tips to give me some color - now you know why I say that under caucasian is a picture of me - is there anything whiter in the world?

By Blogger rho, at 12:04 PM  

THAT is extremely cute, but since I am doing Christmas on my butt with a remote in my hand, I am off the hook. ;-)

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:21 PM  

Thankee darlin's - for the compliments. Catherine - you simply have to make yourself the knitting bowl ... one of the last items in the 2nd book by CB. Even on your butt with remote in hand you can knit presents for yourself. Felted presents!!

and a hint. If you do decide to give the Cat Bordhi books a try ... just obey her instructions. They're much tighter than the 2 circs book, which was a little more complicated than need be. The mobius instructions were flawless.

By Blogger Bess, at 8:45 PM  

Oh yay -- it looks great! Hey, I ordered Cat's 2nd mobius book -- it should be here in a few days, I hope. And for anyone who wants to see the "before" of Bess' bowl, go here:

By Blogger Mary, at 12:48 AM  

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Friday, November 17, 2006  

Here's my felted basket with Cat's mobius handle and rim.

I'm totally in love with it. There may be many felted baskets given as Christmas gifts this year.

posted by Bess | 8:44 AM


So very well described photographed and described. It's so nice to read different viewpoints of the weekend. They all come together to form a more complete picture, I think.

By Blogger Mary, at 6:22 PM  

Brava Bess! Oh, you make me feel like I'm getting a big hug.

Back at you, sweet one.

By Blogger Jane, at 8:06 PM  

Dearest Bess,
Ah, what a lovely & love-filled KR Retreat post.
Thanks for taking me back to the fabulous week-end - it was terrific.
XOXO to you.

By Blogger Martha, at 8:30 PM, I'm here losing my mind at work and you're there doing all that. We must make up for this at MDS&W. As for getting drunk at MDS&W, I'm set on going and on scooping up Sue Woo in Charleston, and we will arrive ready to party.

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:31 PM  

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Thursday, November 16, 2006  

Be careful what you wish for - for you might get it!

I'm back from the 5th KRRetreat and this time I had a digital camera - and I'm so tempted to just show you photos instead of painting word pictures. Like this one - an example of what helpless knitters do when they have to put their needles down and get some fresh air.

Or this - when they stumble down the mountain for a morning cup of coffee:

I mean - how good does it get? Knitting at breakfast!

I had thought I'd do something of a photo tale - with pictures of what it looked like as I drove away from home, of the beautiful house J and husband are building, of the snakey mountain roads out of Virgina and the busy cities along I95. But though I took a lot of pictures - they don't quite tell the whole story. Perhaps that's just as well - it will take a gazillion minutes to load as it is.

BD - of princely demeanor – drove me up to J’s house on Wednesday and promptly drove off with my coat – so I was particularly grateful for the wonderful weather we had all weekend. Mostly it was 65 and even the rain that fell on Sunday was brief. We took J’s papa out for dinner to celebrate his birthday plus 1 at a darling little restaurant in Sperryville, VA. Cuteness in 3-D; that’s what Sperryville is.

J was the grownup in the car, driving and handling that big trailer like a Radio Flyer wagon, allowing me relax and [try to] knit. I had the blue sock and the KipFee sweater sleeve and after I’d made 3 mistakes on that sleeve it went back into the bag except for show’n’tell moments. That's how most of my knitting was throughout the weekend. Sporadic, error-filled, mindless. Happily - it's what I'd expected - no surprises.

We got to Jeronimo just a little before dinner and were welcomed by all the extension students. I suspect we were the last to arrive – though. Certainly we were if the swap lounge was anything to go by. There were fabulous yarns and stacks of books and patterns laid out by Thursday night and the stash only grew over the next few days.

The Swap Lounge after much picking over.

The freebee yarn'n'books was surpassed only by the Dulan knitted gifts. I'm not a charity knitter but man - look at this haul!

Dinner and chatting filled the evening, with a brief intro by Cat Bordhi, who gave us a demo of the mobius cast-on. I’ll confess. I’d already figured out the cast-on – it was that first row of knitting that had me stumped – in spite of the very good photographs in the Second treasury of magical mobius knitting

I slept like a baby Thursday night and was up bright and early – but not as early as Jane – who beat me to the balcony, armed with camera in an effort to catch the sunrise.

We were visited by this fellow:

Batman is his name. He is just a neighbor, but he stopped by to test J's bed and I heard later that he delivered room service breakfasts of mice to some of the other retreaters. Breakfast was at 8:30 but you could go down around 7:30 and get coffee – a welcome routine for those of us dawn prowlers.

That mobius class was really really fun. I fell in love with Cat’s 3 twist mobius knitting bowl when I visited the Knitting Sister’s shop in Williamsburg a year ago. It was lust at first sight and I right away bought the book, yarn and needles to make my own. As I said – the cast on wasn’t my problem, and in fact, I could have figured out the first row if I’d just sat down and done it – but I just couldn’t seem to discipline myself last year to act like a Nike ad and Just Do It!

What a treat to have Cat walk me through the steps – steps that make perfect sense once you’ve taken them.

The afternoon was free time, and swap lounge shopping time and take a walk time. I wish I’d taken the camera with me, for there were some pretty photo ops of tumbling streams and turn of the century farmhouses. While I was gone the weekenders were arriving, adding to the swap table, registering for rooms. Mary drove up with two knitting sisters from Richmond. Dinner was a buffet, after which we gathered at the big meeting building, ostensibly to introduce ourselves but also to knit and chatter and spin and ….. do those things we do when we do what we do.

I'm just sorry I didn't photograph some of the outstanding works of art that people had knit and then brought to share with us. Just check out Clara's report in the Knitters Review Newsletter

Saturday was a repeat of Friday's breakfast - good sturdy food, lots of coffee, dreadful skim milk instead of cream. That was my only serious complaint about the food. There was no cream, half'n'half, evaporated milk ... something that made your coffee the right color, the right taste. Fair compensation for the insipid coffee was some of the AB-So-Lute-Ly best lasagna I've ever tasted. So good I had seconds of lasagna instead of Real New York Cheescake.

Teva Durham taught the Saturday class on short row shaping. There were about 40 people in each class on Saturday and I can tell you – that’s a big group of people to teach anything to. The first part of the class she discussed things you could do with short row shaping; things she’d discovered; things she’d tried. She had samples to show us too – of those slanted short row Fair Isle stripes or what looked like dragon skin along the side of a swatch that could be a sweater too. I wish the whole class had just been her talking about all the “What if’s” she’d explored as a knitting engineer. But there you have it. I am a process knitter and don’t have to produce something at the end of the class. I am glad enough to experiment around with a fiddly little bit to see if it does what I think it might. Others aren’t so happy with that and want something to take home. For them was a pattern for a pillow top or, if you only cared to knit part of the pattern, a soon-to-be felted bag. There were a number of them by the end of the weeken; proof that Not All Of Us Are Alike. Thank goodness, hmmm?

After another carb-filled lunch we had a chance to shop at the marketplace. J had skipped the Saturday class and with S and M’s help had her Spirit Trail booth up and ready for business by 1:30. Also present were Moorhouse Merino and ….. dear me. I forget the name of the shop that also set up for business and I’m too lazy to go look them up. Besides, I bought some gorgeous rosewood circular needles with delicate pointy tips and smooth (for wooden needles) joins, from them. That’s what counts.

Where I got those fabulous needles

Spirit Trail Fiberworks

True to my No Fiber Vow, I just peeked inside the sale room and then left. It broke my heart to pass on the hand dyed lace weight in the basket at the Moorhouse table or to shrug nonchalantly at J’s new border Leicester blends. Sigh. I did get some great shots of other colorful purchases, both on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday afternoon people scattered about the resort in small intimate groups. New friends were made. Old ones were reunited.

That night was a more relaxed gathering at the main building where S gave a spinning lecture and those not inclined towards learning the craft could knit or chat softly or look at their purchases or contemplate their mobius or short row project or just soak up the fun.

Sunday, after an even richer breakfast we gathered once again to ponder and contemplate our knitting future. Those of us who were present last year had written a letter to ourselves, stating our hopes, dreams, plans for the coming year. I remembered that I had written something pretty silly, but I hadn't thought it was as goofy as it actually was. Among my goals were:

Get drunk at Maryland Sheep and Wool
Lose 15 lbs of stash before I lost 15 lbs of weight.
(funny, I did neither!)

This year I was a little more thoughtful. I have also already forgotten what I wrote, except that I'd like to spin one sweater's worth of wool and knit it into said sweater.

Another Sunday tradition is the New Beginnings project. It's to be something new. Something for you. The idea is to invite your new friends to cast-on or knit a stitch into your project, adding their energy and love to your knitting. I had a sort of project last year which I never did get around to - other things intruded. And this year I am still not dealing with "new" very well. I figure I'll have an Old Ending project instead - for I intend to finish The KipFee before next fall.

The crowd began to thin out a bit as some folk had to leave for early flights, though the main group lingered for lunch and that magical moment when you get that Second Chance to Shop. I got the biggest kick out of people and their natural inclination to gravitate to the colors they’ve chosen in the past!
We love what we love, no?
Oh Orange and Green Girls – here are our Thanksgiving Table colors!

Oh Blue and Lavender Ones – come love our wintry sunsets.

But even the best weekends are subject to that grand master – TIME. A flurry of good-bye hugs, promises to write, to read, to stay in touch, and the 2006 Knitters Review Retreat was a sweet memory.

J and I stayed an extra night because hauling that trailer through the Virginia mountainside in the dark was not something even the intrepid J was willing to tackle. Bright and early Monday morning we revved up and drove off … to Montgomery Mills!

Here's Jen standing outside the mill shop.
This riverfront factory is a supplier and reskeiner for wholesalers, Henry’s Attic among them.

They also have a retail show room, and though J offered to buy me anything my heart truly sung to, I’m glad to say I stayed true to my vow. Nothing came home to Champlain other than these photos.

And so. I’m back, surrounded by the home family of dogs and darlings. Cozy grey skies are spilling streams of rain onto the leaf strewn lawns. Everything savors of that End of Autumn time – the last breath before holiday frenzy closes in. How wonderful that the KRRetreat can linger, fresh in my memory, to remind me that calm awaits, and knitting is always in the basket.

posted by Bess | 5:07 PM


So glad you had a wonderful time. I'm so excited to find out from Jenn that there is a fiber fest close by that she'll be at in July. Can't wait to read your account of the weekend.

I too can't believe it's nearly Thanksgiving. My mind is still in early October. We're heading to Kansas for Thanksgiving, the longest car trip together for us (6 1/2 hours) since we've been together. It will be tons of fun though, I love car trips.

By Blogger erica, at 4:45 PM  

Dear Bess,
Meeting you was one of the truffle-like treats for the weekend.

But I thought our retreat attendance came with enrollment in the Fiber Purchase Protection Program!

By Anonymous NutmegOwl, at 10:34 AM  

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Lawsee! It's just so good to be home. I can't believe how sweet it feels to wander from one room to the next, surrounded by friends and evidence of self as expressed through my physical setting. I think it’s wonderful to have the thrill of a total yarn-&-friend immersion, something I wait for months and months in eager anticipation to experience, and then I get the utter fabulous joy of sinking back into familiar loving home. Sometimes life is almost too good.

Dial-up internet, though, is almost never good. At its best it is excruciatingly endurable. I promise promise promise - my KRRetreat post is coming, along with photos that make it impossibly slow for my fellow DUI users. But others have already posted about the rich melange that is 80 knitters all together with 2 teachers and 3 vendors and somebody else fixing dinner in the kitchen. You can look here, or here, or here. I’ve loaded up about half the photos and written about 2/3rds of the text. I promise to get at least a partial report up sometime today.

And one of these days I’ll get organized/irritated/wealthy enough to upgrade both system and service. Just ... not today. I’d rather knit.

And do you realize that Thanksgiving is 1 week from today? And do you know how many people are coming or how far you are traveling? I am not usually so oblivious to the passage of time. What happened this year? Ah well. The good news is that the county is giving us Wed and Thurs off!! 5 days at home. Sweet, no?

Okay dearies. There will be something of a post this afternoon - avec photos. I’m off to work on The KipFee.

posted by Bess | 7:24 AM


I won't be much help, but I can sympathise. Every once in a while there is a delay -- the photos don't show up, and you tihnk you're crazy, and then there they are. Or not. I usually give up and upload again, but that's something you'd want to do on your speedy day-time computer, right? I can't wait for your Retreat Report!

By Blogger Jane, at 10:06 PM  

Hi Bess, I have the answer for you in regard to aligning the text and posting the images. If you are allowed to use your own html tags I can help. The problem is this...if I try to show you an example here it will not show correctly in this comment. I will send you the HTML code in an email. it will make things so much easier and will really add pizazz to how your page looks. I'm
glad you had a grand time.

By Anonymous Patti in Oregon, at 10:56 PM  

Oh, Blogger and their photo issues. I could write a book. One thing that has helped me considerably is to switch to a different browser. I realize that that's harder than it sounds when you're working on an aging computer over dial-up internet -- downloading the new browser could take you days! But, many of my photo issues went away when I switched to Mozilla's Firefox. The frustrating, infuriating disappearing photo issue that is so prevalent when trying to publish via MS Internet Explorer has all but been eliminated for me now in Firefox.

I've stopped trying to align text around pictures which never does what I want it to do, and doesn't look the same in different browsers anyway, so that's why I put all my pictures in the center of the post with a caption and move on. Any further descriptive text goes above or below the pictures, rather than trying to get it to work correctly on the left or right sides of the pictures.

I will be interested to see what Patti in Oregon sends you regarding HTML tags -- would love to learn more about that stuff.

By Blogger Mary, at 12:20 PM  

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006  

Yes yes yes! I'm back. I am writing my report. I've got photos!!

But I want help and blogger help is so complicated it's beyond me at the moment.

The photo posting program here on blogger is very easy to understand. I'm not always happy with where the text lines up but I can live with it. here is my problem.

Sometimes the photos show up in the blog and sometimes, I get this message.:

After clicking "Done" you can change your post and publish to your blog.

Then I click "done" and there is NO PHOTO!

Why is this happening?

Inquiring minds - like these - want to know

Be back soon with my Retreat Report.

posted by Bess | 4:55 PM


Bess, have a wonderful time. We want a full account so that we can all live vicariously through you.

By Blogger erica, at 8:15 AM  

So, I suppose I'll need an appointment to see the sweater? See you tomorrow!

By Blogger Jane, at 8:25 AM  

Naughty Jane. I'll ask KipFee to check her schedule! ;>

Nah - you can see it anytime you want.

I promise, Erica - I'll have Photos! And Words!

By Blogger Bess, at 10:38 AM  

You gotta know I'm psyched! My mind has been a whirl of "I need to bring this...", "I need to bring that...". I am bringing my laptop, so you're welcome to use it.

By Blogger Mary, at 11:41 AM  

OK, have been gone long enough...I miss your updates!

Miss you, love you, hope you had a great time!


By Anonymous Patti, at 3:17 AM  

Oh, you are so nice, though I don't really think I believe it (most especially the comment about perfectly proportioned! not!).

It was a wonderful weekend, and a wonderful trip. So nice to have 15 hours of uninterrupted chatting time in the car with you!

Hugs and Hugs, Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 4:28 PM  

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006  

So. It’s lift-off day. At 1 o’clock I will be officially Going To The Retreat. The best news is that Mama’s feeling better. She had a rough start last weekend, but a staunch and capable sister has run interference for her all the way and when I talked to her last night she sounded more confident, more relaxed and more energized than she’s sounded in a long time. I can go off to play with a lighter heart now

But there is a lot of other good news. First off, M is coming. A last minute cancellation popped up and M was free. I’m so thrilled she gets to come and it will be fun folding her into my own particular group of knitters gathering in Walker Valley, NY and knowing she’ll also be making her own circle of friends. You can’t help but make friends at this event.

And then - I get to spend hours visiting with J, sharing plans, recent discoveries, and dreams. We met at the first KRRetreat. It was instant bonding. Across a crowded room. (giggle) Sounds like a romance, but it was a soul sister click. J is one of those heart-stoppingly beautiful women. Perfect skin, perfect proportions, fabulous hair. I am one of those women who lug the entire make-up counter from Macy’s even on a visit to my parents, who already think I’m beautiful. One of my goals in life is to finally travel minus hair-dryer. I am not there yet. Be assured. My hair dryer is going to New York with me. But I can’t help laughing inside at J’s comment, once, upon seeing my cornacopia of make-up: “oh. I just use this cream for moisturizing”. That’s it. That’s her entire make-up routine. Sigh. But there you have it. Gifts are distributed, not concentrated, and we each have our own.

New for me, this year, will be going as a retreater and not as a helper. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do something like that, because I am such a Virgo. But all the slots are filled in the worker-bee category so this time ‘round I’m forced to be entertained and pleasured and duty-less. How’s that for a twist? But no kidding, I had serious doubts I could have fun just being pampered and first. I’ve accepted my fate now and will practice my prima donna tricks until I come off as a True Queen and not just Like a Queen.

After much nail-biting I have decided to take the KipFee sweater along. I may not take any yarn - because I know that I make mistakes when I knit in a crowd and I don’t want to make any whoppers on the KipFee. The thought of traveling to strange and distant places with all those many balls of yarn to keep track of makes me dizzy. Or I may take just enough colors to get everything to the point where I join the sleeves - and then pack it away except for show and tell. And not for the Friday Night show’n’tell either because that event is just too long for me. I am always exhausted if I stay up for the whole thing. Midnight is not a familiar hour for me. I will, though, host a private viewing later in the retreat - for anyone who wants to see a KipFee in the flesh - er yarn.

Other projects I’ll carry along are:

The woolease (yes I have been known to knit with woolease) sock I began umptydumpty years ago that has commandeered a set of #3 Addi Turbos!!! I will finish it up and make its mate and they will be LD’s Christmas socks. An honest and realistic knitter would stop there. Along with the yarn and needles for both classes I’m taking, I will have more than enough knitting to keep me busy all weekend long and on the drive up and back. But I, alas, am a fantasy day-dreamer knitter who loves to fool herself. I will take along at least 2 other sock yarns - Mama’s second sock of Spirit Trail yarn, some Regia for BD, and the half knit display sock for Spirit Trail’s booth. That one I may actually finish in time for her to use it at the retreat. I’m on the gusset right now.

I’ll take a drop spindle along and one small bag of fiber to work with. I have a little blue faced leicester - it looks like enough to make maybe 200 yards of a fine yarn. And some ordinary corriedale just in case someone wants a drop spindle demo. Maybe.

But that’s it - and frankly, that’s enough.

I’ve been to the bank. I’ve bought food and water for the journey. I’ve gassed up the car. I’ve about half packed my suitcase. Probably have too many clothes but I still have time to winnow that down. The idea is to take only 2 bags. One for clothes (and books and the ubiquitous hair dryer) and one for knitting. Well, 3, because one has travel food in it. And maybe an empty spare bag for bringing home New Things. I shan’t bring home any yarn but I may buy a book or more needles or other tools. One never knows. But I really do want to keep the load down.

Yep. Looks like things are in hand. I shan’t have a computer myself at this retreat, but if I get around one I’ll surely pop in and share the news. Otherwise, see y’all next week.

posted by Bess | 6:26 AM


Oh, what a cool colorway that would be -- "Lichen in the Woods" or something like that.

I'm so excited for your retreat! Especially now that there will be pictures so I can live vicariously through you!

Don't forget to bring the camera cord to recharge it -- I would recommend plugging it in each night when you go to bed so it'll be fully charged the next day. Or else plug in the charger w/ extra battery and have that ready to go.

Have tons of fun! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 11:29 AM  

Please do bring your sweater for Show and Tell!

And the lichen is so beautiful. What a treat...

By Blogger Jane, at 4:11 PM  

Have a great time. What a beautiful opportunity to get together and just knit and talk and learn. Wow.

By Blogger Zippianna, at 7:05 AM  

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Monday, November 06, 2006  

No knitting news today. I had a splendidly wonderful day getting ready to be OOO (Out Of the Office) for a week. One of those days when you accomplish in an hour what takes a day ordinarily. Then I came home, fixed a great soup and fell asleep at 8:30!! Who knew?

Anyway - I'm going to go knit a while before work and maybe there will be Another Photo later today - certainly there ought to be one tomorrow. Then my darling KipFee will just have to nap a while. I'm sure while I'm gone she'll think of all sorts of ways to make the shoulder math easy.

Thank you all for your kind words about the KipFee. Jane - I had thought to leave her at home because she's too complicated to knit on in an electrified crowd - but then again ... I might bring her for show and tell. It's certainly a thought. I still haven't packed anything or bought anything or gone to the bank. Oops. No. I did buy some flannel pajamas for the cold Nawth - and for our own cold winter.

But just to show you that I'm still enamored of my darling new Digital Camera!!!

I stumbled upon this lichen growing on a stump right at the entrance to the East Woods Path. I think the colors are magnificent - vivid yet not blaring. The rust was a little more lively than the photograph. I hope I can remember this next time I'm thinking of a colorway.

I'm thinking two greens, a cream, a rust and a steely grey.

posted by Bess | 2:54 PM


Wow, the sweater is really moving right along and looking great!

By Blogger Mary, at 12:10 PM  

That sweater is gorgeous...but are you really going to use the scissors on it? I'm not sure I could cut a sweater...even though it enhances the beauty! Good luck!

By Blogger Robin, at 4:39 PM  

Oh yes. I'll cut it. I've cut a lot of knit fabric in my life, so this isn't nervewracking for me. I've even helped someone just cut away armholes that needed to be fit better by crochetting a new edge and then cutting away the excess.

Cutting this won't just enhance the beauty - it will make it something I would actually wear. This sweater will be Very Warm.

By Blogger Bess, at 5:19 PM  

Bess, your sweater looks beautiful. Every time I check your blog, you've made so much progress. I can't wait to see it on.

By Blogger erica, at 5:56 PM  

I can't wait to see the sweater (and you) at the Retreat! It's stunning!

By Blogger Jane, at 6:44 AM  

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How's this for a progress shot?!!


Here is a pretty sunset in the forest. Views from my front door.

posted by Bess | 9:52 AM