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


Gorgeous! I was enjoying the pure blackness of the inside of my eyelids while you were taking that picture! ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 9:35 AM  

Wow!! What marvelousness right in your own backyard!!
Makes me wish we were living on our farm already. ;)

By Blogger Carolyn, at 11:37 AM  

My mother would have described that second photo as 'sky-blue pink, with a shot of ginger'! Lovely! And if you've had to take warning, may it be just stormy enough that you had to stay home and do fibre-y things. ;-)


By Anonymous Margaret in Calgary, at 2:46 PM  

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Thursday, November 29, 2007  

Red sky in the morning, Sailors take warning

Oh man! The world was so pink today I had to try to capture it - this is what it looked right outside my door.

Yup. Black and pink. So I had to go out and see what the back yard sky looked like!

posted by Bess | 7:03 AM


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The next few days are going to be so packed I don't know if I'll even be able to post at all – and somehow I can't seem to put really interesting words to monitor today either. The happy news is that I got the ginormous statistical report done for the state yesterday. Thinking it was due on December 1st I spent Monday and Wednesday with my nose to keyboard. There were some other things with 12/1 deadlines but I couldn't remember what they were so I called the wise goddess in Richmond and asked ... and she said the statistical report was not due till 12/17!!
You can't imagine how delighted I feel to have it done early! Of course, I could have done it the first of November ... nothing changed between then and yesterday except that I actually sat down and did the job. Something like that is such a temptation to put off – sort of like income taxes.

I just saw the cutest shawl on J's blog – knit from Le Gran mohair – Classic Elite's classic. It reminded me that I have some in the bottom of my stash. In fact, I have rather a lot of mohair, now I think of it – some of that silk/mohair blend from K1C2. Hmmm. Thoughts. Thoughts.
But mohair dreams can wait. I am knitting the foot of the last Christmas sock at the moment and after that I plan to rip out the gauge swatch for the Merino Stretch sweater and cast on a smaller color swatch. I'm still pawing through the stash looking for a 4th color. Something eye-popping but coordinating. Not the vivid teal blue wool/mohair blend from Brown Sheep.

Lawsee – I'm too boring for words today. See you when the brain can concentrate again. Ta.

posted by Bess | 6:04 AM


I love Love Actually. It is my second favorite Colin Firth movie, Pride and Prejudice being the first, of course. I think I will watch it tonight!

By Anonymous Angela, at 4:24 PM  

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007  

Well. I got remarkably little done yesterday on my (not to me) surprise day off – which was sort of the point, but being an 87% Virgo, I feel a little like I wasted perfectly good Productive Time. Instead I watched the Pursuit of Happiness in the morning – a little slow but hey – it's Will Smith – and Love Actually in the afternoon with a precious girlfriend who hadn't seen it! I thought I might knit through that since I've watched it half a dozen times, but I couldn't find my glasses and I didn't want to interrupt the flow of that cute film to go hunt them down.

I did spend a little more time thinking hard about those 3 colors I'm planning to marry in the Merino Stretch sweater. I think it needs a 4th. I'm not sure what – but I'm leaning towards the brighter greens or a deeper burgundy. I have something I might use only it's betrothed to another project – Bricca the Aran – languishing in another of those BigBlueTubs. I've certainly got a lot of greens of different hues, values, and tints. Just a matter of deciding, which, alas, I can't do this morning. I've missed haircuts so many times this fall that I'm beginning to look rather shaggy. The only appointment I could get this week was at 7:45. Ah well – at least that will give me an hour at the gym before work.

Best be off! Happy Hump Day to you all!

posted by Bess | 6:52 AM


Thanks for the link to Clara's latest post -- how inspiring was that!

By Blogger Mary, at 1:37 PM  

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007  

Imy stash!

I am so glad I have lots of yarn and fiber to experiment with, to explore, to create with. Ever since I saw this again,

I have been wondering what I could combine with that Merino Stretch to make a similar sweater. I've been swatching textured stitches and though I haven't settled on the exact stitch I'll use in the body, I'm pretty sure I can find something I like soon. What to use for collar and cuffs though... that has been on my mind. Today I have a surprise AtHomeDay (surprise to you, not to me, I planned it a few weeks ago) and so I pawed through the BigBlueTubs
and came up with these!

The red multi you have seen before. It's Insprations Yarns merino and it was a gift from M. I am so going to enjoy wearing a sweater with her yarn it it. Although it's enough for a hat or a scarf, I have never been able to commit to either of those ephimeral accessories. I've wanted this yarn knit into something I could wear all day long. Now, each time I look at my hands, I'll be able to think of M.

The cantaloupe colored yarn is some Classic Elite Waterspun. I bought it years ago thinking to knit one of those Viking Knits cabled sweaters. Of course, I didn't check gauge or the yarn size in the book. I was completely captivated by the color. The swatch is nice – and my goodness, this makes good cables – but it's way bigger than any of the patterns, so the yarn has languished in storage. Huge quantities of it were knit into a baby blanket for a little girl who is now 3 years old. But enough is left to make ribbing, and to offer a rich frame for stranded colorwork in red multicolored yarn.

Houston – we have ... well, not lift off, exactly, but we have progress. When I am finished with TheLastChristmasSock I will DoTheMath for this sweater.

Thank you, one and all, for the kind comments about my Thanksgiving posts. The five day holiday certainly was full of lots of good human experiences – love and friendship and nourishment and thoughts and creativity. I did get in a full day and a half spinning and knitting with R. I had the chance to do some serious spinning – almost finished half a pound of Border Leicester. I've knit the cuff of that TLCS mentioned in the previous paragraph. I got all my tubs moved out of the living room and at least into the room they're confined to till my studio is built some day in the golden and near future...
and at least I know where the property tax bill is – the one that is due on Monday. And there is $ in the bank to pay it in spite of the meager farm income. I truly am blessed. I am even going to get all my obligatory library paperwork done by tomorrow evening and be able to waltz into December with a light heart.

Now I want you all to go and drool over this space – a studio to inspire. Yeah C! You have lead the way – I am going to follow.

Hugs to you all.

posted by Bess | 8:42 AM


What a wonderful account and what wonderful photos of your parents! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 9:56 AM  

Ah, a vicarious visit with my own family...thank you!

By Blogger Jane, at 12:51 PM  

Thanks for sharing the sweet and the bittersweet. Lovely memories.

By Blogger cathy, at 5:50 PM  

I loved reading your memories of Thanksgiving. Your parents look so sweet, it's obvious where your sweetness comes from. :)

By Blogger erica, at 4:59 PM  

Dear Heart, what a lovely account. Your Mama reminds me of my Mom, who passed away Jan. 21/04 at age 87...esp. her smile and her hands...

I took both quizzes and came up 'Passionate Pink" and 100% Virgo! Ahem! Of course, I was born on Sept. 8, which is celebrated as the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin...Mary, of course! ;-)


By Anonymous Margaret in Calgary, at 9:27 PM  

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Saturday, November 24, 2007  

Your Passion is Red!

You've got that spark - a good dose of intensity, power, and determination.

You do whatever you want in life ... to hell with what anyone thinks!

With so many interests and loves, you're always running around doing something new.

You have fire in your eyes, and it shows. Bet you're even wearing something red!

align="center">What Type of Passionate Woman Are You?

I liked the “How Virgo are you?” quiz just a little better than this one, but since I am wearing red, I thought I'd put this one up in today's post anyway.

Yesterday's visit with my parents was extremely powerful – and love-full and nostalgia-full and oh just extremely full altogether. It was a very beautiful autumn day and it was an easy drive, sans traffic, since I wasn't going to a shopping center. Much of the story of yesterday is not really mine to tell. Suffice it to say that their respective relocations, to different places, after 60 years of living together, has been a great challenge for my parents. Each, in her or his own way, has made progress through this tremendous and difficult situation. Sister and I have had to navigate with caution and care and sometimes, with boldness, as we steered them to safety, if not to some desired outcome. Sister and I, are good, but we are not miracle workers and we can't turn back the clock.

But turning back the gaze, to look over all those hours the clock has already ticked, was the order of the day for me. Alone in a car for 2 hours, driving through back country roads that I know well enough that it's safe to let my mind wander a bit, gave me an opportunity to remember, to watch the flickering scenes of past holidays shared with my parents, now showing in the theater of my mind.

From my earliest days there were Thanksgiving Apple turkeys whose heads and wings and tails were cut from shirt cardboard. Mama would draw them for us and we would cut them out and color them. They were the first moment of Thanksgiving, back in the days before people started putting Christmas out just after Labor Day. Back then, nobody put up a tree more than 2 weeks before Christmas so Thanksgiving got the full benefit of your attention, your gaze and your holiday spirit. We knew Christmas was coming. We knew there were only a few more weeks of school left, but they were dangerous weeks, filled with 3 more spelling tests, 3 more chances to flunk arithmetic, and 21 more homework laden opportunities to fail. Really, childhood is so difficult – it's the hardest period of your life, no matter how rosy it looks in hindsight.

So we really did soak up the joy of that Thanksgiving weekend. In addition to the apple turkeys there were paper napkins, with their embossed flowers and scrolls, just right for coloring. In fact, all my early Thanksgiving memories are scented with the smell of Crayola Crayons – one of my favorite fragrances – one I wish the Crayola company would sell to a good perfumer. I'd love to walk around smelling like a brand new box of Crayolas.

Later, when there was a boyfriend, Thanksgiving was a chance to eat two gigantic meals in the same day. I actually wanted to do that back then. Laughed at carbs and calories and fat grams! Later still it was the first holiday long enough to justify the tedious bus ride home from college. And then it was a chance for cousins to gather at Grandma's and pretend to be adults. Or another sister, visiting from Delaware, and I would drive up on Friday with our children to visit the Grands and pick at their extra pumpkin pies. After a while the big spread shifted to my house and daddy had the opportunity to get lost in Hanover County trying to take the new 288 across the James.

Well. We are dealing with something new and different these days, but it doesn't stand that these are not good things – good days. Getting Mama out at all is a feat worthy of bragging about and Daddy had on his charming hat and made not a single whiny complaint about anything. He was even good natured about crawling in and out of my low-rider Nissan Sentra. It really is a teensy car and asking two cripples to fold themselves into it and out of it and back into it and back out of it can only be justified by the sort of afternoon we got to spend together yesterday.

We went to the Brick House Restaurant in Midlothian, which, happily, is under new Greek!!! ownership so I had a fabulously delicious Greek salad (dressing on the side, so only 4 WW points, thank heaven) and the 3 of us shared a desert of Kataife which we thought sounded like Cadaver when the waitress pronounced it, so we giggled till tears streaked our cheeks and later, after it was served, and proved to be delicious beyond belief, made horrible cannibal jokes and stuffed our mouths with napkins while we laughed some more.

Just before darkness slid across the sky the full moon rose and lit my way back home. For the longest time I was still awash in the joyful feeling of having so many blessings – though somewhere past Elevon, deep in the country, where my own road begins, I grew a little weepy for things that are gone forever. But a few tears are good to water the garden of your soul – and there were dogs waiting for me at home, and BD with his warm hugging arms – and a warm fire in the stove.

Today is another cold crisp blue and golden day. R and her daughter J are due here sometime this morning. Knitting will be taking place – and spinning. It is still the sweetness of a holiday weekend and my wish is that yours be as full of sweetness and of giggles as a Kataife!

posted by Bess | 7:35 AM


Such a beautiful post, dear! It sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and lots of nice adventures ahead.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 9:04 AM  

Sounds like a lovely day! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 12:23 PM  

bess! Thanks for that. You're such a diligent blogger! I'm not nearly as good. :)
I've been thinking about you guys a lot since your last email, and I really miss living closer to family. Grands probably told you, but I"m applying to the Peace Corps. Part of my application is on my blog, if you want to check it out. If I get in, I'll be leaving shortly after I graduate, so let's all try to think about how to get me home for a couple of weeks in the spring or directly after graduation.
OK- that's enough of that. Anyway, I just wanted to share this site with you:
Her fern leaf sweater is pretty cool, and I've found a few others of her designs floating around. Thought you might be interested in checking her out!


By Blogger k., at 12:19 PM  

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Friday, November 23, 2007  

Well. Thanksgiving has come and gone – at least the food part has. Our table sat 8 yesterday and there were lots of yankee jokes, prompted, as usual, by the moot discussion about where the Real First thanksgiving was - since we all know it was at Berkley Plantation on the James. It quickly degenerated to blonde jokes and other bad puns but we were all tipsy enough to laugh at them by then. This year Ed told my mother's favorite joke, about which one the rich man married.

It was a balmy day though - 71 or more - we were all in t-shirts or tank tops and if my shorts hadn't all been in the attic I'd have put them on too. I'm not sure if that was the reason, but I was utterly laid back about everything. I'd wakened at the ungodly hour of 3:30 a.m.!!!!! thinking it was 6:15 and by 2 o'clock I was just sort of floating along saying "what's happen'in man?" like some aging hippie. Every thing made it to the table at the same time and we made short work of our plates. Only 3 guys took the long walk into the evening sun - I turned back with the old ladies and the girls came back early because one of them has been having some foot problems. The trouble with not getting the big walk is that dinner just sits there making it impossible to bend the body into a chair unless one changes into elastic waist sweat pants ... which I did after a while. A cold front came in just as dark was settling and the three intrepids returned drenched by the accompanying shower. Today it's colder - more like autumn is supposed to be and I bet this knocks a lot of the leaves off the trees.

After dark, when we got to talking about history - another fine Old Virginia Custom - we raided the Essex Public Library for the newest Pocahontas DVD, which had just come in on Tuesday. It had been filmed partly at Henricus Park - where one of our guests works - and he'd made it into several scenes. It's so nice to have a librarian in the family - they have such a collection of cool things and and sneak you in after closing time. Like those movies about getting locked into the museum. The last guests departed long after the hostess had fallen asleep and she remembers the clock saying 11:00 p.m. when she turned out the light. But we know how well she can tell time, don't we?

Today I'm off to Richmond to visit with my parents. I hope to take them both out for lunch, so sister left Mama's transfer chair (which she usually keeps in her car) at Mama's apartment. I won't get to see sister, but she's coming down to see us in 2 weeks so I'm not feeling too bad about that. And we got in a long talk on the phone yesterday. Saturday, R and her daughter (and maybe her husband) are coming and I know BD will wheedle to keep daughter till Sunday. I plan to devote Real Time to knitting and spinning on Saturday. I have 2 spinning projects inching along slowly right now – a Border Leicester on Bella and some alpaca/silk on my drop spindle. I'm actually a little more dedicated about spinning the alpaca/silk. I'm trying to spin a handful of roving every day. Sometimes I do more, but that little 15 minute bit is slowly eating into that soft cloud of fiber. I'm not quite through a quarter pound of it and I have a whole pound to spin. I'm surprised at how much fine single fits on my little Meilke spindle. I finally measured it and it looks to be spinning up at 30 wraps per inch. The Border Leicester is thicker and could possibly end up a worsted weight sized 2-ply. Both are destined to become lacy somethings.

I'm also still swatching with the Merino Stretch – and finding that it is important to know your comfort zone for the number of stitches in a pattern repeat done in just knits and purls in a dark yarn. I think 12 is mine – the 22 stitch diamond is not a happy stitch pattern to knit in this yarn, though I suspect if it were knit in an oatmeal colored wool with a little heft to it, it would be pure joy. Trying to see the pattern in a dark yarn is always a challenge but in this odd blend of synthetic and natural fibers that stretches out the wazoo – well – there you have it. When it comes to knitting – it's all subjective. It's got to make the knitter happy first.

So, my friends – may your Friday be just what one wants it to be. May joy fill your life.

posted by Bess | 7:10 AM


Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Bess, from the Great White North! May your day be just lovely.

In your post you wrote, "Spell check says the correct word is uncluttered and I'm trying to figure out why I refuse to cooperate with that." Hmm. Well, I think it is because (in typical North American fashion) we have tried to turn a noun (clutter) into a verb. Technically (move over, Lynne Truss!), we remove clutter until a room is uncluttered...But I agree, the 'de' has power in it!


By Anonymous Margaret in Calgary, at 10:14 AM  

Have a wonderful, delicious and cozy day with loved ones, Bess. I'm so admiring (and a little inspired by) all your productive cleaning and rearranging and DEcluttering. ;-) I sorely need to do that, myself, as yarn and fiber are taking over my living space, and I can't find everything anymore. Maybe I'll do that over Christmas?

By Blogger Mary, at 11:45 AM  

Oh, but -- egads! Up at 3:30 am??? Only time I do that is if I have an early plane to catch, and then I sleep on the plane! ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 11:46 AM  

Actually, last night, I finally rolled over and went to sleep at 3:30. Just as you were waking up. Night owl, I am.

Okay, enough of my comments! Have a great day!

By Blogger Mary, at 11:48 AM  

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Thursday, November 22, 2007  

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, at this wee early hour of the morning. I woke up today after a sound sleep, made possible by hours of heavy manual labor on Wednesday. 6:15 - the clock said, and I was a little surprised I'd slept the night through. It was only after the coffee was brewed and the dogs were inside that a second glance at the clock told me it was not, now, 6:30, but 3:30!! Oh well, I'm up now.

I spent yesterday playing Hercules as I finally decluttered my house. Or at least – I consolidated the clutter into one room that has some hopes of being deculttered itself within the next millennium and maybe next week!

Hmmm. Spell check says the correct word is uncluttered and I'm trying to figure out why I refuse to cooperate with that. I believe it is because uncluttering feels like things might have been a little messy but certainly not so serious that it was interfering with an ordered life. DE cluttering connotes so much more – as in DE struction and DE tonate and DE stroy. My house needed DE cluttering! Big Time – as these before and after photos show.

Note... even the magazines are in their Princeton files!!

this painting is from my mother's Matisse years. We were both of us in love with him in the late '60's.

La! I love before/after photos. Of course, stowing all that clutter required serious furniture moving and fortunately, I had help there. But first I had to take the dogs out into the delicious (DE licious?) November morning.

Then it was shift and lift and tote and shove and almost all my furniture is heavy 19th century stuff and now and then we squeaked by with ½ an inch to spare. But we finally got a little office corner for me set up in LD's old bedroom, and carved out another little spot for my six giant blue tubs of fiber. And a bed for guests, though only a twin bed. And got the pie safe off the back porch and upstairs where More Stuff can be Stuffed. No photos of this yet, because, in spite of finding a place for all the Big Heavy Marble Topped furniture, we still have mountains of Other Things to put away.

And after playing stevedore, I put on my maid's cap and cleaned. Scrubbed and dusted and vacuumed and mopped till the rest of my house grew worthy of those Clean Windows of 2 weeks ago. BD noted that the house is so tidy it echoes!

So. Now it is turkey day and mine has to go in the oven in a few hours. We have only 9 coming for dinner tonight and the bird is much smaller than usual. This one will probably fit in my roaster! We will sit down at 2, feast till we're full and then some of us will get to take a walk and some will stay snug in the house. It's supposed to be 71 today – I'm sitting here in tank top and PJ bottoms with no fire in the stove.

Yup. Thanksgiving in the south. May yours be full of friends and laughter and love. May you spend it flush with thankfulness and joy.

posted by Bess | 5:16 AM


Oh, to live in your town and be near your fabulous library! Lucky citizens of Tappahannock! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 10:27 AM  

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007  


A Knitting Breakthrough

Well! My life has suddenly filled up with events and activities – (who was I kidding about a long slow slide into Christmas?) and they are All Good but they demand energized planning interspersed with careful rest periods. Oh la – I'm already writing fiction!

But the exciting news is that I've figured out, at least, and at last, what to do with this Merino Stretch yarn!! Yippee!!! It's such a nice yarn – soft and extremely bouncy, but, as I've said earlier, it's really textured like Cascade Fixation. It's lumpy. Mini-lumps but lumpy. It will be happy in a knit/purl pattern. Even with something as tiny as this diamond pattern
(sorry it's such a bad photo – I'll do some more swatching and give you a better look with an outdoor shot tomorrow) you can see this yarn is perfect for Guernseys, for patterned stitching, but not so much work as cables. For something like this

Or this

Or this

all compliments of the wonderful Kristin Nicholas and these books...

It knits on size 9 needles to give you 4 stitches to the inch in stockinette stitch. I don't have much in the way of #9 needles so I may have to purchase some, and being very $hort of ca$h these days, they will probably be KnitPicks needles.

Just getting to know this fact about this yarn (that I so much of - so I don't have to buy any) has lifted my spirits. Especially since MsHoroscope told me yesterday to watch it!

“At the start of next month, there is going to be a tough link from the Sun, to Saturn, the planet of parsimony who is currently languishing in your sign. This suggests you’re headed for a situation where your eyes or your desire are going to be rather larger than your wallet or the room on your credit card. And so this forecast, dear Virgo, is what they call in the US “a heads up”. Make plans now re how to economize well, and be financially smart, and you should find that the start of next month slips by without incident”

I mean, ain't that the rottenest thing for us Virgos as we head into the Christmas season? Bummer. :D Just call me QueenScrooge this year. I've even overspent at the library – not more than we can actually pay, but with no cushion and no room for any network issues. Not till January, when our next State Aid check comes.

(but oh you should see the wonderful books and audios and dvds we've filled our shelves with – magical wonderful fantastic things to enjoy and savor and wallow in)

Okay – last day of work this week. Best be off and getting ready for it.

posted by Bess | 7:26 AM


Socks are always good as a little project when you haven't made up your mind on the next big one. And then you can reward yourself for cleaning with a little knitting. :)

By Anonymous Cathy in Va., at 6:15 PM  

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Sunday, November 18, 2007  

Well. The Sunday Stroll photos are in a flickr badge on the sidebar - enjoy my friends.

Recently I had my vacuum cleaner repaired and the man put a new docking system in for the bags. Now none of my expensive vacuum cleaner bags fit the machine. Too Bad, huh?

I can live in dog fur another day and pick up some new bags tomorrow. What I haven't been able to do is decide on my next knitting project. What frustration. Nor have I cleaned up any of the clutter in the living room where we'll be eating Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Sigh. What to do? What to do???

Ugh. I have about one more hour of daylight left. Guess I'll go see what I can do in the way of decluttering.


posted by Bess | 4:12 PM


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Friday, November 16, 2007  

Ahh who knows, Margaret – I'm still thinking it's saying it wants to be a Flidas, just not sure if it wants to be so before Christmas.

What I know is that Schoeller Stahal Merino Stretch does not want to be stranded colorwork. It's the stretchiest yarn! And it's very textured for an ordinary plied yarn. It looks and knits a lot like Cascade Fixation, only it's a lot softer on the hands.
(It also looks grey -under flash - indoors - in the wee dawn hours)

Silly me – after going on about the ball band being all in German, I forgot about the difference between European and American needle sizes and cast on using an American #6 needle. That's why the knitting looks so weird. I'll see if I can find a nice #8 or 9 and do a little more swatching before I make up my mind about this yarn.

I think it would make a very good looking sweater, especially if you wanted something that fits snuggly. It stretches about 87%!

2 inches unstretched
2 inches stretched

If I were a svelte teen I would make something cropped and ribbed and snug. What I'll make for someone soft and short waisted and fluffy ... we shall just have to see.

Three cheers for Friday – may yours be swift and pleasant. And may I remember to go buy vacuum cleaner bags!!

posted by Bess | 6:31 AM


Or maybe that yarn doesn't want to be Flidas? Just a thought... ;-)


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 8:47 AM  

I have heard yarn vendors recommend Tresseme' (sp?) hair conditioner for softening up scratchy yarns like Noro Kureyon. Surely it can't hurt to try it on the Flidas yarn?

By Blogger Mary, at 11:55 AM  

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Thursday, November 15, 2007  

Ha! I thought there were some Victoria fans sisters out there. Isn't it nice to see it back again? Hope you had a chance to read the link to the MediaLife article. I like the direction they seem to be taking, with more articles about women who strike out on their own to follow their Bliss.

So – I am blissfully pawing through my stash on a hunt for my next project. For some reason I'm reluctant to start on Flidas2. I don't like any sort of production work and I have a sneaky suspicion that recreating something smacks a little of re-production. Or it may be that the yarn just isn't soft enough – maybe I didn't wash out all the manufacturer's oil or maybe I did get it all out and I'll have to deal with its present state of scratchiness – maybe soak it in fabric softener. That future state of wetness doesn't prompt me to wind any of the skeins into balls and cast on – even to swatch.
Though the holidays are looming, I only have one obligatory sock left to knit. (and yes, the obligation is all mine, not imposed from outside – it's my conscience that's pointing its demanding finger at me.) I'm in the mood to knit something for myself. I'm in the mood to knit a somewhat, but not too mindless sweater on nice easy medium sized needles.

One possiblity is a collection of 12 balls of Schoeller Stahal Merino Stretch – a very interesting merino/acrylic/polyester blend I picked up last year from the Knitters Review Retreat stash table. It's a sort of fade-into-the-background neutral dark olive green – probably looks sort of dark grey on a monitor. It's exceedingly stretchy, has a very nice soft hand, the merino really conquers any plastic feel. The ball band is all in German except for the Made in Italy stamp. It claims to get 4 stitches to the inch using # 6 needles, which is good since I can't find a single #7 needle anywhere! I'm swatching it now with a set of lovely #6 Addi Lacetips.

To such a dark neutral yarn I could add a little oomph with these 2 skeins of Brown Sheep Handpaint in a color called Strawberry Fields. Especially if I did something with flowers – something like these ideas from More Sweaters by Lise Kolstad and Tone Takle-my favorite colorwork knitters of all time.

(thank you ladies, for the charts)

Or with this lovely merino handpaint from Inspirations Yarn. Only maybe something more geometric.

But that Inspirations Yarn would go very nicely with the leftovers from my Decadant Shawl – I am thinking here, of a long stocking cap – which would need something with more crimp and grip than either of those silky mohair yarns. - Maybe matching mittens and hat ...

There is also some alpaca in grey that really ought to be knit into a Pi shawl. But before I knit that shawl I want to make a triangular shawl out of this:


It is swatching time. Seeya later!

posted by Bess | 7:21 AM


I used to subscribe, too, and was sad when it ceased publication (I don't remember the redesign as being particularly jarring, though...I guess I'm as interested in Art Deco as I am in Victoriana)

I got a card over the summer saying they were coming back - I got that issue in the mail a couple weeks ago and yes, it's as good as I remember Victoria being.

Here's hoping they have many more years of publication, and no jarring changes to the formula. (I do not understand that, in the media: if something works and people like it, why on Earth change it, and risk alienating your "base"?)

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:45 AM  

I never subscribed, but a former neighbour used to share her copies with me. It was a delight, and I was sad when it left the scene. I found it a couple of weeks ago on the stands here, and am just thrilled! Such inspiration! :-)


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 11:26 PM  

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007  

Look who's back!

While shopping last Friday I was stopped cold in my tracks – in Foodlion, no less – by the sight of the loved and familiar logo, lavish Christmas tree and slick cover of an old friend.
Now you know my hidden secret. Behind my sleek, modern, intellectual facade is a mushy puffed sleeved, Mary Jane shod froufrou of a woman with a feathered hat. Throughout the 80's and 90's I loved this magazine with it's fiddly photos and cluttery pages. I cooked many of the recipes it offered, dreamed of a life of bliss and bought a number of their books for the library. I don't care if A. Victorian society was actually stuffy and probably smelly, and B. I myself will never decorate a house with all that fluff. Something about its images stroked an aching chord in my heart. The garden articles inspired me to create a froth of flowers in my own back yard. This is where Emilie Tolley got her start .. or at least stoked her fame. And even if I am never going to wear a bustle or elbow length gloves - I like it that someone is photographing them, sharing them, remembering them.

For several years I subscribed to the magazine, but around 2003 a new editor came in with a New and Improved Modern Vision. Gone were the soft colors and floral images. Gone were the curved silhouette of clothing and furniture. In their place were harsh colors, sleek straight sides and even block lettering in the title. It was a post-modernist coup – a murder in the magazine room – and it was the end of Victoria. I know I quit buying it and I am not surprised it went out of business in less than a year.

I kept all my Christmas issues because I am a Christmas Sap. I don't have any of the May in England issues, but it's no surprise to me that when I finally got to go to England – it was in May.

Well. Good luck to the new publication and its editorial staff! May we all enjoy a little froufrou now and then.

posted by Bess | 7:41 AM


Oh, Dear Bess, the shawl is indeed lovely! And suits you to a tee. Brava!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:09 AM  

I am slowly, but surely, catching up on blog-reading. How does being away for 9 days, two weeks ago, put me three weeks behind???


LOVE the decadent shawl!!! Gorgeous! Your colors! I'm so glad you took the plunge and bought that yarn that so clearly had your name all over it. It's perfect for you! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 11:44 AM  

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Monday, November 12, 2007  


I have fulfilled my Stitches Vow - that I should complete something made of yarn I bought last month at Stitches. Now I can go back. Here is the Decadent Shawl - hanging on the clothes line ...

And wrapped around me. Pay no attention to the messy room or fuzzy focus. It is but a mere reflection of the shawl.

And yes ... just in case you wondered ... those are clean windows and here is a view through one of them!!

I'm pretty pleased with myself. Yup. Yup.

Now ... what to do next ....

posted by Bess | 4:53 PM


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Sunday, November 11, 2007  

Whew. I slept 9 hours straight last night – 7 is my usual and sometimes I wake up in the midst of that – but the pressure was off yesterday, I drifted off to sleep in my chair after dinner, woke up, took a soaky bath and went to bed at 8:30.

I am officially finished with responsibilities.

Well. No. That's not true. Responsibilities abound in any life and besides, we're moving into the prime holiday season. I just feel like everything I have to do now is easy to do, will get done quickly, is something I've done before and will be fun. And I feel like there will be weekends that unroll like a ball of yarn dropping from your lap – with no kittens about to tangle it up. Yes. I plan to knit. And watch the new episodes of Vicar of Dibbley and take a long walk in the autumn golds. Blissfully.

The Friends dinner on Friday night was a success on every front except the WW points – since the restaurant threw in the most decadent and delicious appetizers – bacon wrapped scallops - I did unwrap mine, and crab balls that melted in your mouth – guy sized crab balls – I counted them at 3 points each and I ate two. The Antiques Roadshow was like a big party at the library – which is my favorite use of the library. We already had a lovely art exhibit in the meeting room so the place looked elegant, and so many folk who never come in at all were there yesterday. Several people who brought in an antique to be appraised were so excited they called husbands or wives or sisters to bring in something else. Everything about it was fun and dozens of people begged us to do it again. We didn't really wrap things up till nigh on to 4 o'clock.




It was fun.

Glad it's done.

I came home to the two happiest men in the world.

Tomorrow I will have a Finished Object to share. Hooray for TheQueen.

posted by Bess | 7:07 AM


I love you, Aunt Bess. :)

By Blogger k., at 1:04 PM  

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Friday, November 09, 2007  

Everything we have to do for this weekend has been as done as it can get done. BH - who is the Friends president now (yea!!!!!) will meet me this a.m. and we'll get our nails done, go do some shopping, work out the last procedural details of the Antiques Roadshow.

The library opens at 1 and I have to work today - but part of that will be arranging furniture, making badges for the volunteers, being sure my office looks like I am a professional - not a professional slob.

At 5:30 I change my clothes, go pick up one of my elderly friends who needs a ride and go to the restaurant. And we are off!

There won't be time for a post tomorrow but I'll be back on Sunday.

posted by Bess | 7:03 AM


It's also possible to go multiple years without washing one's windows. Not that I know about that first hand or anything.... ;-)

The decadent shawl is looking lovely. :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 1:38 PM  

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Thursday, November 08, 2007  

Isn't this the way of the world. I go for months without any company at all and then in one week plus a day I have three different and most wanted guests. After R&J left on Sunday, my stepson B showed up for 2 days and tomorrow P will be here for the Antiques Extravaganza. I'm so looking to some time with P – for we're always catching each other on the fly and with a group. This weekend I get her to myself a bit!

Work is hectic as we push through these final 2 days. Tomorrow we'll have our Friends dinner with Emyl Jenkins as our guest speaker. Saturday morning we're hosting an Antiques Roadshow at the library and lawsee I hope we've sold lots of tickets, but we're also selling tickets at the door for the first hour. Woops. Reminds me. I am supposed to take some by the radio station. Lawsee – and the treasurer's office. Okay well – there you have it. More things to put on the TTD list.

But happily the responsibility for this function is spread across several strong shoulders. And as far as I can see, after Saturday – I don't have a responsibility left other than ordinary going to work stuff. And holidays. Happy Sweet Home-filled holidays. Can't wait.

And joy – oh joy – I have Monday off!!! And in honor of the one veteran I know really well, my dad, I am going to wash my windows. He was the one who ordered all the frenzied housework in my childhood – he'll be proud of me. Or he'll laugh at me. Regardless of his reaction though, it's a daunting task that doesn't always get done. It is possible to go a whole year living in a house with unwashed windows. You just don't look at the dirt. Amazing how easy it is to do that.

Wee bit of knitting content.
I'm binding off the first ruffle on my Decadent Shawl.
All that will be left after that will be to pick up 64 stitches, double 'em, and knit 10 rows of garter stitch and I will have a real live FO that isn't a sock. Just in time for Tuesday Night Knitters. (and fulfilling my oath to finish one thing I bought at Stitches before it rolls around next year)
Early Birds at the Knitter's Review Retreat ought to be showing up at Seven Hills Inn in Lenox, MA. Sigh. This is the first retreat I've missed, so I'm hoping everyone will write lots of fabulous details and all incriminating photos will be posted.

Okay – off to do a pleasant family chore.


posted by Bess | 7:08 AM


Shucks. Forgot to run the spellcheck.

By Blogger Bess, at 7:36 AM  

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007  

Photo Heavy Post

How right you are, Cathy. I am a very lucky woman.

I am also an ADD blogger today. I am trying to settle into a post and keep flitting from writing about the Interweave Knits winter issue or writing about the stash I intend to post on Ravelry and actually posting the stash on Ravelry. Guess I ought not say anything at all if I can't figure out what I want to say today. Stuff is going in in my brain and my heart this week and it makes me unable to focus, sinking into daydreams, fluttering about.

Okay – let's open up this little bin of yarn:

Oh my! Right on top – Birthday Present sock yarn from J, the genius behind Spirit Trail Fiberworks!
And in this bag?
Hey! Addi Turbo Lace needles – burried in a lace sock-to-be
Some Shibui sock yarn from Ewe Knit Kits (dot com) in Va. Beach.
Bag O Shavings –
moth proofing pottpourri I'm still putting into little bags
Another Spirit Trail yarn – the one I knit my first design sample in – the zigzag sock pattern offered in Spirit Trail's sock club.
Lisa Harding silk and wool blend halfway knit into fingerless mits.
I hate that cable pattern though. Doesn't do nuffin' for that yarn. Gonna rip it back and knit something else.
La – that silk and wool stuff I bought in Culpepper –
it's from New Zealand I think. Another cable failure – a 2Bfrogged hat.
Oh! A gift skein from A! In honor of our own Miss Priss
Interlacement sock yarn that Kelly didn't want! Yum.

More Spirit Trail yarn - just wait till you see what I'm going to do with it!!

Odds and ends.

Lawsee! This is my smallest tub 0 stash! How will I ever get all the rest of that stuff loaded!!

posted by Bess | 7:00 AM