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


Bess, congratulations on your blogiversary and on learning good lessons from your yarn diet. I did a similar thing for 6 months and came away with the same feeling - I do not have to buy yarn. I can, but I have great stuff at home, too. My yarn tastes are developing and changing and so I am much more into buying what I need for a specific project at the time I am ready to make it. It is a nice feeling to relax about buying yarn. I don't like to be frantic. About anything, even yarn. Happy
5th blog week.

By Blogger Linda, at 12:01 PM  

Happy Blogiversary!!

You realize we've known eachother now for like, 6 years? Wow!

Big Hugs,


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:14 PM  

So sorry for your finger injury! How in the world did you do that?

By Blogger Mary, at 3:32 PM  

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Thursday, January 31, 2008  


So stupid - how easily you can do damage when yor aren't paying attengion. Hurts like H***. I'm typing with left hand and index finger+thumb. But the true blogger doesn't let a little accdent get in the way of her intentions.
It's been a challenge trying to decide what were the most interesting or momentous or meaningful things to resurrect, but I am trying to keep ti the knitting theme and here is my second greatest knitting achievement of the past 5 years (Flidas being the greatest after learning to spn, which I did before I started this blog.)
Lots of folk were talking about doing this in 2007, but the resolution stiffened me a year earlier.
Here is the oath I swore:

Here is photographic evidence:

And here is what I gained from it, plus the backstory:
(warning - long post, vintage TheQueen)
The Year of No New Yarn, Fleece, or Fiber
and may it be a happy one for us all. I’m certainly expecting it to be. I have so many happy plans and ideas and thoughts and wants for 2007 I feel like this could be a year of 365 birthdays with Christmas thrown in as a bonus. I’ll share plenty of them here, but I feel that, in honor of spending one whole year on a yarn diet and only slipping up once - with sock yarn, there should be a recap, an assessment and a statement about my Year of Draconian Sacrifice on this New Year’s Post. Here it is and it's Classic Bess - long and without photos. But I think the subject deserves a full treatment.
In late 2005 I was suddenly brought up short by the realization that my stash, purchased with excited anticipation, was languishing in the den, all but forgotten, and that my shopping had become a sort of addict’s frenzy instead of the pleasurable satisfying of a desire. This vague sensation that I was out of control had the unhappy effect of preventing me from buying the things I wanted, like a Dale of Norway kit. This fear began to sap my confidence as a knitter ... "Oh, I probably couldn’t knit a whole sweater for me on size 3 needles". Instead, I’d purchase just a ball or two of something; you know, I can always make a hat from it. Yeah. If I am ever in need of a fifteenth hat.
It was time for drastic measures and thus was born the Vow Of No New Yarn, Fleece or Fiber. There’s a copy of it on the January 13, 2006 archive page, along with photos of me being sworn to it by our county circuit court clerk. It’s all very official and legal, with signatures and witnesses. I have the document in my office at work, framed and flanked by those photos. The idea was that I would knit only from my stash and for every ball or ounce of fiber I used up I could put that $ equivalent into the savings account for a Golding Spinning Wheel. Carrot and stick. Clever, no?
So. How did I do? What did I learn? Do I have a wardrobe full of handspun handknitted beauties?
First off - I would say I did rather well. I did slip up in August and buy some "guy colored" sock yarn for an auction item I intended to donate - and then did not, because there were already too many items in the auction. That yarn became Christmas Gift yarn and I feel only slightly disappointed about this one slip, because I really didn’t have any manly colored sock yarn and with my men that means Navy, Grey, or Brown. So, I shan’t say it doesn’t count - but I shall say, that one purchase counted for little and at least did not become a part of my stash.I right away cast on a sweater from the stash.
Alas, I haven’t finished it yet. It’s of my own design, a very deeply ribbed sweater that stretches gloriously - but clings just a little too close to my curves, which are more convex than concave these days. But diet and fitness are a wholly different issue and shan’t be discussed here. I shall only say finishing it will be a good exercise in seam sewing.
As the year wore on, though, it became apparent that I was far more interested in the carrot - that Golding Wheel - than the stick - knitting up my stash. Not that using my stash is a punishment, mind you, but my attention became riveted on That Wheel. The focus became laser sharp when BD said one Monday morning, after a weekend of discussion, "Well, then, order it today."Order it today.
Such simple words. Order a spinning wheel that costs as much as a used car or a semester of college tuition. Bring into my life something rare and expensive and precious ... to play with. There is, of course, more to the story, like my frozen lungs and elevated heart rate when he first said "Sure, you can get that wheel." I didn’t believe that one. Nor the other one, when I asked "Did you really mean I could buy the Golding wheel?" I mean, what’s the poor guy going to say?
"Nah, I was just messin’ with you. Psyche!"
He’s not a jerk. He’s Southern. He is genetically programmed to say to his womenfolk "Duz my puddy babee want that liddle ole wheel? Sure sugah, let daddy get it for you." This was not the first time we’d discussed Golding wheels, so he had an idea of what they cost. I heard the gulp when he answered "Of course I meant it."
It was only after he’d had a chance to explain to me how we could put a brass ring around my Ashford Elizabeth and that would create the extra momentum and I was just paying for all that carving and how did that make my spinning any better, any easier .... and, as I searched for the words to explain how much the beauty of that carved walnut moved me, I burst into tears and wailed that the carving that looked like Jacobean crewel work and our house was the same style and it matched the tile wa-all in the ki-kitchen - and then he said "Oh. I hadn’t realized it meant that much to you." Ah. It was after all that, that I believed it when he said "Order it today." Because then I knew he wanted me to have it as much as I wanted to have it.
And after that, my Year of No Yarn Purchases seemed to have lost a lot of its steam. With no more carrot, there didn’t seem quite the same push to knit up the stash. There was still the vow, mind you and I was serious about keeping that. My pride was involved. And I had already begun to feel the calm that comes from not "having" to buy More More More Yarn. But I was less focused on getting to know and use my stash. In fact, my dabbler instincts blossomed into a whole garden of teensy bits and weensy ideas, itty bitty samples and snips and snarls of experiments. Though I knit a good number of socks and hats, I didn’t finish another thing in 2006. Rather sobering thought - that.
There were a few moments during the year when it was difficult to Not Buy Yarn. At Maryland Sheep and Wool I passed on the bumps of Blue Faced Leicester that I so yearned for, even though the booth owner told me she was retiring and wouldn’t ever be back. Some of those fleeces were just as difficult to resist. But I had girlfriends, sworn to prevent me from buying any fiber, watching over me. And then, I was actually picking up my new wheel at the festival. I was able to resist.
Most of the time, when I found myself in a yarn shop or at a festival, I hung around the books and accessories. My library expanded a good bit this year - but probably not more than it would have ordinarily. It did take real grit and willpower to resist at Fall Fiber Festival, not only because I was watching J’s silks and sock yarn disappear like dew in the sunshine, but also because the booth across the tent from us was selling The Very Dale of Norway Kit I’ve been lusting over for years! The very sweater that got this whole NoFiberDiet started! Fortunately, I was knitting socks with J’s sock yarn and the bad weather meant she hadn’t brought out any of her spinning fiber. Whew! At the KRRetreat I just made a swift pass through the vending area and then left. No point in putting myself in temptation’s way when there were only 8 weeks left.
I had built in 2 caveats, back doors, out of this monastic fiberlessness. If I came across a bargain so fantastic only an idiot would pass it up, a friend had promised to buy it for me and hold it till 2007. I knew I’d think reeeeeealy hard before I’d ask a friend to spend her money on me. Fortunately, it never happened. I could also receive gifts of yarn - and I did. Beautiful yarn from L and J for my birthday and from BD, the KnitPicks Palette sweater kit. This was in late September and on the 30th I cast on the 300+ stitches on size 3 needles for that beauty. I’ve joined the sleeves to the body and am working my way up the shoulders - or I was up till about Thanksgiving, when I switched to Christmas Sock knitting. I finished Mama’s socks while I was visiting on Saturday and left her sighing blissfully in her gorgeous warm elastic hand knit socks - Mama with her tired diabetic feet - Mama who will get More Socks Soon! Maybe even for her birthday.
Since then I’ve given some thought to my next purchases, though, and strolled about the net looking at sites. Socks that Rock yarn is high on the list and J’s got some cream colored rare breed wool that really does want to be a winter jacket for me. The choices are many and varied.
What about that stash? That stash I was supposed to honor and love and care for and all that. And use up! What about that?
As I said in yesterday’s post, that poor stash had actually gotten worse over the past year. It was messy and sloppy and there had even been some m**h damage, discovered earlier in the summer. And so, I spent yesterday reorganizing my stash and putting it in protective containers, stuffed full of fragrant herb and cedar sachets. Any suspect fiber went into the trash bin. There are 6 22 gallon tubs with content sheets taped on the outside. (well - once I type up the content sheets from my handwritten notes they’ll get taped on.) There is an under-the-bed storage bin that is all sock yarn and leftover small balls. There are two shawls a-borning in my imagination. There is silk to be spun into beautiful lace. There are even More Bins, smaller ones, needed for inside the wardrobe, so that its contents can be labeled and retrieved as well. Everything I own looks well cared for. It looks appreciated. It looks loved!
Best of all, I’m not being driven by some frenzied need to buy yarn. I don’t have to buy anything at all today. I had thought I should have to make at least a small on-line purchase to mark the day. Instead, I want to go knit on what I have! And since I’m planning on doing more of what I want to do this year, I’m not buying any yarn today. Who’d have thought?
So. What did I learn?

* You can go a year without buying yarn, fleece or fiber
* Carrots are a good idea but be prepared to be hungry if you eat it right away.
* Be prepared for the emphasis to shift over 12 months. Lots can happen in a year.
* The idea isn’t to prove you can endure denial, it’s all about doing what you said you wanted to do when you bought that yarn in the first place.
* A big sweater on size 3 needles is not beyond my capabilities. (Yea! for this, since I want to knit a lacy sweater from that Austerman Barkerole cashmere/silk/merino on size 3’s)
* I really do love my stash and I need to take good care of it. (Sounds like studio talk to me.)
Am I glad I did this?
You bet! I’m really glad I went cold turkey on the shopping. It’s nice to go to Richmond and not have to go to a yarn shop. Or go. It’s the have to part that I’m glad to be free of. I feel like I can give myself the time now, to really decide if I want something - and when I want it. Yarn isn’t going to disappear like it did in the 1980’s. Even if it did, my stash is big enough to last me till the next knitting craze comes around. Besides, I know where the secret serious fiber world lurks and I can get there from here.
I think my relationship with yarn and fiber is healthier for having taken a breather from the shopping. I have a sense of peace about yarn now; a sense of freedom, even of wealth. It’s what I was hoping for when I made the vow last year. So - I guess you could say, not only did I keep my resolution, but my dreams came true.
May it do the same for you.

posted by Bess | 7:36 AM


I adore that handspun hat, and it has inspired me to make one of my own. :-)

Thanks for sharing all the fun pictures!

By Blogger Mary, at 11:01 AM  

P.S. I would love it if you would post that hat w/ picture as a project in Ravelry so that I can "favorite" it and remember it for the future....

Pretty please? :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 11:11 AM  

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008  

I've been pawing through the archives for this week's posts – and am boggled I have any readers at all – because there are whole months with nothing but long written posts without a single bit of photography to liven things up. Of course, I didn't have a camera till dear sweet M let me adopt her old camera in the fall of '06. The old way I got anything visual into the blog was to photograph it, take it to the developer and then scan it on the library scanner during my lunch hour. Then I could upload pictures. No wonder most of this blog is in black and white.

I was a little surprised at how many Big Deals I've had to overcome since I started blogging. I even thought that I'd make the Wednesday post a list of Things I'm Glad Are Behind Me, for, after all, Wednesday's Child is full of woe . But that seemed so gloomy and besides, if there are that many blows in a mostly happy life (i.e. IRS audit, motor cycle deaths, brain tumors, heart attacks, strokes, car wrecks, family members marrying guys in jail (living in gated communities), mean divorces, mean in-laws...) well, who wants to remind folk about gloomy things. I'll just say, "Oh! Well. No wonder I've been feeling so laid back, easy and unleashed lately. No disasters!"

Or is it that with knitting needles, we can overcome all disasters? Hmmm. A good thought, that.

Anyway, since this is a knitting blog, I decided to see how many pictures of Finished Objects I can dig out of the database of my life. It's shocking how few there are, but I've always been better at talking than doing. Here, in no chronological or systematic order are:
Great Falls Rib Sock
Lost and lamented Flidas
A tam knit sans pattern, just eyeballed

Oh I forgot about this - and I love it - I gave it away as a birthday gift but I want another. Felted bubble bag from Pursenalities.

Oooo. Cascade socks - I wear them all the time

Love this hat.
Hand spun, Hand knit prize winning hat - given away to someone.
Ha! A soon to be frogged Mountans of Hearts sweater. It's Brooks Farm mohair and it sheds to beat the band. I am NOT working that hard on something I won't wear because it leaves me covered in azalea pink fur. It's a good sweater design though - need to get a better yarn for it.
All my photos of TheKipFee are on and on ravelry but not on this machine and I'm through with contortions when it comes to illustrating this blog. Besides - I just knit that last year, so you probably already saw it.
Hmmm. I am so glad I have this record.
Happy Hump Day to you all!

posted by Bess | 7:10 AM


OK so, I love that comic about the VISA bill. I am in that pose so often...

About that Lopi model, the jaw is perfect!

Happy B=versary

By Blogger Alice, at 8:31 AM  

Doggone it, I don't want to be wishing for spring when it's still January! It does sound quite perfect, though. :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 10:30 AM  

One of my "un-resolutions" for this year is to be a better commenter. I THINK comments all the time, but seldom open the little window to write them.

By Blogger Catherine, at 10:49 AM  

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008  

Thank you my dear hearts, for the warm comments. I confess, I suffer deeply from comment envy – but I also admit – I'm not too good at posting comments myself, so, serves me right. Mary – do check out Best of Lopi for the fella in the cartoon. I really ought to make some more of them – especially now that TheQueen and BD sport new looks.

For a nature girl like me, there was only ever going to be life in the country and over the past 5 years I've waxed eloquent many times, over the sensual pleasures of living aux naturelle. But one day remains so vivid in my memory I can taste it – I can time travel back to that day and savor everything that is magical about the beautiful Virginia springtime. I may not always be able to remember it, though, so I am doubly glad I blogged about it. Here, my friends, in the deep dead of winter, is:

A Perfect Spring Day

Monday, April 28, 2003

What do you do on a perfect spring day? Stay in bed a long time reading Bullfinch’s Mythology of course, especially about Hereward the Wake, though Bullfinch mostly gives a Tristan-like story about our hero delivering a bride to his lord. There really was a Hereward who was much more interesting than that.

Then of course you want to go inspect the shoreline, riding on the spring tide. In March we often have what is known locally as a Blow Out Low Tide. This is when the wind blows so fiercely in combination with the natural low tide that it exposes parts of the river bottom you never see. Ancient skiff skeletons, lots of driftwood and the ghosts of piers, wharves, and docks rise up out of the muck and mud when this happens. But this time of year we get high tides that make your marshy shore into a dry launch. There may be a good bit of breeze blowing, making the bay choppy, but up against the marshes it is easy to paddle the canoe. Both young dogs, Priss and Socks, join you and you tempt them to jump out to run along the shore or swim the deep spots. They’re shedding their winter coats in big tufts and clumps. If you pluck one out, they’ll turn and look at their backsides in astonishment. But swimming and marsh leaping will go a long way towards grooming them back into welcome house guests.

A good dozen years ago BigDarling planted cypress trees along the marsh. One of springtime's sweet treats is to see how many of them you can find. The cypress is particularly distinctive in spring and fall. Its straight branches reach out like some western pine but the vivid yellow/green leaves grow along those branches like fur. Of course, all the trees are still in their spring green, though the poplars are growing darker as are some of the oaks. While you paddle up Jacob’s Gut Mr. and Mrs. B Eagle fly out to see who is trespassing on their territory, but when they see it is only their humans, they go back to their Sunday paper. You make it all the way up to the beaver dam before you lose Priss to some delicious woodland scent, but Socks stays with you the whole trip. Who would have realized just how much mistletoe had spread throughout the forest canopy? But it does love those black gum trees.

Since it’s probably lunch time when you get back from the canoe trip, of course you make grilled cheese and take it out to the garden. When BD asks if you want to walk out to get the paper you can’t resist - especially when you walk out into your PrayingPlace - between the woods and the second culvert in the lane - where the sky domes above you grander than any cathedral and the energy of the earth pulses so thrumingly, you have to get down and put the palms of your hands flat on the ground to feel it. If you are one of the fortunate, you sense that primal heartbeat, that power of life, in your very body - while the glory that is the blue sky pulls your arms up towards heaven in some ancient gesture of worship.

In late April the barley has beards that look like silver dashes atop the deep green of the heads and stalks. Soon they’ll begin to turn and grow into golden yellow heads with shimmery hairdos. Your dogs will disappear into that ocean of green because they know the ground is covered with fragrant furry things that are fun to chase. Suddenly, out of this landscape of green a brown body leaps high into the air, paws curved beneath, looking so much like a spring bok you once saw on the old Marlon Perkins show Wild Kingdom. Boing! Boing! There goes another, bigger, yellow body - not as graceful or leaping as high. Then Boing Boing there goes Priss again, turning in her leap so that her hind legs look like they’re going one way while her head and shoulders are going in another. Like so many kernels of popcorn, they leap up and up again and again, eyes alert, faces intent, hunting - or maybe, just playing. And you’ll stand there long moments, laughing every time you see another happy dog pop out of the sea of grass.

Since the day started so late, by the time you get back with the paper, read it, and maybe knit a few rounds on your sock, it’s nigh on to 4 o’clock. So you decide you really ought to put up the window screens or when it finally gets really warm, the house will fill with flies if you open the windows. Of course, the screens were taken out so late last fall that they got put away dirty, so you have to put on your rubber boots and scrub them down by the hydrant. And you forget to wear rubber gloves so your hands get icky with the spick’Nspan. The screens are huge and unwieldy, though not heavy. And your natural disctractability, sure sign of the ENFP, wants to say that you’ve done enough work on these screens, when you’ve only got half of them up. But you promise yourself that when you finish hanging all the screens you can take a hot bath - which you do - with all the toiletries that make it special.

The sun is so far down the sky now, your shadow makes you look as tall and slim as you always wished you were. You’ve got a little time to knit some more on your sock, stir up supper, and check your e-mail, which, sadly, has only gross adds for viagra and other more personal garbage in the junk mail folder and no loving messages from your friends. But by then, BigDarling is showered and the pizza is ready. Old-time Radio is on so you listen to that while you eat. It’s late, which you didn’t notice, because the day is bright for so long. And you go to bed and read some more Bullfinch, this time, the tales of the court of Charlemagne and laugh about what a wonderful day it’s been and make fun of the sound of foreign languages when they are heard by a non-speaker - and talk a little about what you’ll do the next day. Then sink into perfect blissful sleep.

That’s what you do on a perfect spring day. At least, that is what I did.

posted by Bess | 6:49 AM


Here's a Happy B-Day Hug, Bess Dear! I think the 'Sailboat' sketch is my favourite. :-)

Blessings for 5+++ more years,

By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 8:49 AM  

Happy Blogiversary, Bess! What a momentous occasion this is! Your drawings are wonderful! Great illustrations and quite humorous, too! Can you tell me where I can find the pattern to knit up that handsome man in the first drawing?

Love those gorgeous socks you just finished, too. Need to keep my eye out for that yarn....

By Blogger Mary, at 11:58 AM  

Happy Blogoversary and love to you dear Bess!

By Blogger Jane, at 12:07 PM  

Happy Blog Birthday! Wow, I just realized that BLD's 5th birthday is coming up, I think in March. We won't count that detour in 2007. ;-)

By Blogger Catherine, at 1:05 PM  

a very happy blogiversary to my blog's "little sister"!

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 1:35 PM  

Happy Blogday, Bess! I did enjoy your sketches in the "olden" days - I love the one about who's hobby costs the most!

By Blogger KathyR, at 5:48 PM  

5 years? My how time flies when you're having fun!! Thanks for 5 years of joy, and I am sure we are all looking forward to many more years of fine reading here!!


By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:22 PM  

Congratulations on the blongevity (sorry)! Your sketches are highly entertaining -- hope they make a reappearance once in a while. Since I've been reading, I did at least get to enjoy the story of Flidas. All the best!

By Blogger cathy, at 11:22 PM  

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Monday, January 28, 2008  

Like the Queen is 5 years old today. I've been trying to think of some nice way to celebrate five years of almost daily journaling. I'm not too good at coming up with contests and I am still a little too broke after Christmas to offer prizes. But I do want to celebrate in some way. I have grown so much since I began this blog, learned so much about knitting and writing and computers and digital photography. My talents (for yes, we all have talents) have had such an opportunity to flourish here. I've always wanted to draw and those digital-camera-less early blog days gave me the opportunity to get started. I've always been a diarist – of the Januaries of my life. I've never been able to keep it up throughout a whole year, at least, not till I went public with my diary and shared it with you, my dear, known, and unknown readers. I've made some special friends thorough blogging, and even those who merely lurk and read matter to me. You are all woven into the heartbeat of this exercise. I can't just let this day go by unremarked – uncelebrated.

Today's post is number 1590 and with such a trove of archival material, I've decided to resurrect some of my favorite bits of Queenly history. Each day this week I'll wax nostalgic and if nothing else, you can remember what you were doing back in those good old days. And so I begin with the cartoons of 2003:

This is one of my first and still one of my favorites – and if you own the Best of Lopi book, tell me – didn't I capture that man's handsome face well with just a few little fine point sharpie pens?

Another favorite of mine was this math magic sketch

If Bess gets 5 stitches to the inch
She has a 24" circular needle
She is subscribed to 4 knitting magazines
How many hours will it take to explain the 10 balls of cashmere on the VISA bill?

And the one about whose hobby costs more. (Hobby?!? Sailing isn't a hobby. Boats are for the whole family!!!)

I still get a chuckle out of these sketches even though I have shorter hair and BD no longer has that beard.

Although this is a going to be a week of dreamy trips down memory lane, I did want to share some current knitting content. Weekend FO's include:

Brown Sheep Brown Sugar Brown Socks


Nicky Epstein chenille roses and leaves. Made of Lion Brand Suede, which looks like acrylic chenille to me

I liked making this one the most.
And so – Happy Birthday and thank you for reading.

posted by Bess | 7:49 AM


Yes, I think once we move past the 3rd week of January, the hope of and chance for a blanket of white dimishes with each passing day. I, too, am like a little kid on this subject....

By Blogger Mary, at 10:26 AM  

Hmm, yes, well...I'm not sure about 'profound' -- but I am doing more in the realm of creativity. I've begun an online class at '', entitled 'Sumptuous Surfaces' -- design and stitch of a most delicious type! As for the CJ...well, my first draw was a dud. Nothing done...unless you count getting the creative juices flowing. As it is Week 3 without the task being finished, I am going to give up and choose another. Better luck this time!


By Anonymous Marg in calgary, at 8:30 AM  

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Friday, January 25, 2008  

“...Creatively, you're moving into 'profound' new territory.”

This is for you my Virgo sisters. Profoundly creative Friday, thanks to the stars and planets. And here is what the Creativity Jar wants me to do this week.

Happily that was the first slip pulled out of the jar. I pulled a few more out because I've already forgotten what most of these fun sounding ideas are. Since I have yet to finish Second Sock (though I have the rest of today to do so), and I am still knitting on Milan and a friend gave me enough Lion Brand Suede to knit some Nicky Epstein roses, I am glad this is not a knitting project. Still and all – I will have those BSBSBS socks finished by Monday.

We're in the disappointing part of winter, where it is cold and it is NOT snowing. We get lots of little spatters falling – sometimes even while the sun shines – but no blanket of white to shut us down and give us free days off. I probably sound like a terrible whiner, or at best, some sort of dreadful slacker, always seeking for days off – but I prefer to think of it as a sign of eternal youth, ever hopeful of being able to duck the burdens of Grown Up Life. At this point, I would be happy if the heavy snow fell on a Friday night and was all gone by Monday. I just want that white silence of snowfall.

We bid goodbye to Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, Octavia and Octavian and their bizarre mother Atia, and all the rest of the Rome gang last night. I dreamed about V&P, who were supposed to be my favorite characters and ... who were. The ending was predictable, for we all know what happened to Antony and Cleopatra. Too many orgy and individual sex scenes sucked up all the extra time they had to fill out the season's 10th episode. It really should have been done in 9, but I suppose their contract was for 10 and they had to fulfill it. Too bad when art has to bow to Other Interests.

I am so glad I found this series, though – and I haven't a clue what led me to it, since we don't get television reception and I don't read TV news. I would give the first season 5 stars and a bonus and I'd give the second season 4 and a half stars. And I'll be on the lookout for more movies with Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, & Max Pirkis in them.

And now it is Friday – beautiful, happy, get to stay up late Friday. Hope you get to stay up late, too.

posted by Bess | 6:49 AM


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Thursday, January 24, 2008  

Still no photos. In fact, last night there was not even any knitting, so if I want to finish up that sock this week I'd better get stitching. Instead I went to exercise class – what was supposed to be a Jazzercize class but turned out to be the toughest aerobics workout I've ever had. Mind now, I'm pretty out of shape, one reason I was determined to go last night, but whew! Mike – the very charming substitute teacher – kept me hopping for 30 minutes and then gave us 30 minutes of upper body weights while sitting on one of those exercise balls. I am feeling it all today. Not the sort of “Ooops. That was a mistake” feelings, but the “Oh my – how did I get so flabby” feelings.

He is on loan from Huntsville Alabama, up here for some extended family business. He also teaches on Tuesdays – which are out of the question days for me. I'm glad he'll be back next week though.

Today is my postponed board meeting and I will be so glad when it's over. It always looms even if the meeting is fun. Once it's over I feel like a giant weekend at work has arrived. Nothing to do but do it, for 3 months.

Lawsee I am dull today. Let us hope for better things, tomorrow. For now, I'm off to knit.

posted by Bess | 7:36 AM


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Wednesday, January 23, 2008  

Lotsa words. No photos

Oh La – it wasn't my intention to go into seclusion. I just got to doing other things and then suddenly it was Wednesday and I'm going back to work! So. Where to begin?

How about Rome – since we're almost done with that. Both BD and I think the show has lost a lot of its momentum. Part of this is because the most interesting and worthiest action in this story is over. Augustus is about to be firmly seated in the role of supreme ruler – all that's left is the debacle that is Antony and Cleopatra. Since that's the part of this history that is supposed to be the most laden with eastern decadence I am sure we'll be awash in eye makeup and costume. But I really wouldn't mind that so much. It's to be expected.

I don't mind, either, that they've made Octavia, the sister, into as much of a stupid slut as her mother, even though I can't find anything out there in real history that portrays them so. That role really belongs to Augusts' daughter and granddaughter. Making them manipulative, lascivious women moves the story along and pushes rivalries to the forefront in a smooth logical way.

My problems with the end of this show are twofold. I really like the subplot characters and the actors who portary them. Alas, their lives have been disastrous – which makes for a type of story, but not my favorite type. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them in every scene and just wish they had more fun. That's the sugarwater that runs in TheQueen's veins. We just have to accept that about her.

My other issues are with some casting – of Augusts the elder and Agrippa his general. I don't care for the way either of these actors are portraying the characters. Agrippa is played by Allen Leech who looks so much like Sean Austin playing Sam in Lord of the Rings I just can't see him as a hardened leader of Roman legions. He's entirely too loose jawed, baby faced and soft looking. Even when he grits his teeth to be stoic he looks like a chastised teenager, not a great general.

Far worse, though, is the very wet portrayal of Augusts by Simon Woods. There are offensively too many long, still, face shots of this very dewy eyed, moist mouthed, pretty man, leading your mind off to wonder if it was the camera man who was the one in love with him or the director, or was it the editor. Where Max Perkins, portraying the boy and teen Augustus, could also look petulant and pouty, he also looked and sounded as if he had a core of steel within him that would blossom into truly wise statesmanship if also utter ruthless tyranny. A better director might have wrung that same believable portrayal from Simon Woods. On his own, he couldn't produce it and he's The Pivot round which this story orbits. So very much of way too much of him, I'm afraid, has me growing antsy for the scenes to move along.

The first season is decidedly better than this second one and I hope they don't try to do a third. Most of the other emperors are too kinky for home entertainment – even in this day and age. I walked out on the 1980's movie Caligula – before I threw up. And since almost everything we know about these guys' personalities was written by people who hated them .... well – yuck. The emperor, Tiberius, well, he was a bitter old man when he finally took the throne. Who wants to watch 6 episodes of bitter old men? Quit while they're ahead, would be my wise counsel.

When it comes to portraying history, I'm often surprised at the real conflict between what we think and what we know. For example, this totally worthless bunch of loose moraled sybarites – well – we all know they managed over one of the most brilliant governments that ever threw its influence across a civilization. I wonder how they did that – gives you hope for Washington D.C., doesn't it? Also - the "republic" which is given such high esteem in this television show was not some high democratic regime giving justice and a voice to all. It was a decadent corrupt immoral oligarchy who had ruled by murder for almost a hundred years before Julius Caesar finally took a stand.

Oh La! I just realized that Simon Woods was the perfectly repulsive Mr. Bingley in that vomitaceous P&P from Christmas 05! Yikes. I really think he needs to go back to fashion modeling. Lawsee – all those wet mouthed, wet eyed men! Interestingly enough – if you go to the HBO website and click on the cast, I liked all the actors from the top down, till you get to Allen Leech. If I knew nothing else about a movie except that one of these actors were in it I would watch just to see how she did. I'd need more of a reason than just the actor, with the bottom two rows.

Knitting blog? Oh. Well. Yes. What can I say. I'm motoring down the foot of sock #2. It'll be done by the weekend, in time for another drawing from the Creativity Jar. There are More Inches of Teal Blue Stockinette completed. I finished the back of Milan and am knitting both sleeves at the same time. I must also begin a sample for a class I'm teaching on cables in the springtime. It will be a little clutch bag knit with glittery yarn, interfaced and lined with a pretty silk lining. Yesterday, while in the city I stopped by Ben Franklin and picked up some Patons Brilliant to work up the sample.

Yesterday was Mama's birthday and sister and I took both parents out to lunch. It was a positive experience and a joy to see so much of my family all at the same time.

And hey! It's hump day and I'm just now going in to work. I ought to be pretty happy. I am.

posted by Bess | 7:39 AM


I LOVED Rome...wish I was watching it again...have you seen The Tudors? Sock so pretty! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 7:52 PM  

I love your socks. That yarn is a real knock out!!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 7:47 PM  

The sock is beauteous!

Ok, so now I've added both seasons of Rome and The Tudors to my queue on Netflix. I really have to wonder if I'll ever get to watch all the movies I have on my list! But I put Rome up towards the top (and The Tudors, too ~ I remember wishing I had Showtime for this one, too).

Hugs, Jen

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:43 PM  

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Saturday, January 19, 2008  

Give me a 3 day weekend any time! Wooee! I am so glad to be home some more. I do wish this MLK and Virginia's Lee Jackson King weekend stuff (Only in the south, and especially, only in Virginia) happened in February, or better yet, in March, when there are NO holidays. I could then have felt comfortable about taking a 4 day weekend. The only other county employees working yesterday were the police. I could have shut the library down, but it always seems to me that doing so 2 weeks after all the short weeks we had at Christmas is a bit much to ask people to endure. Especially one week before high school exams start. So I give all the folk who would otherwise work on Fridays (including me) one comp day to be taken later in the winter to make up for working on a state holiday.

I'll use mine on Tuesday, because that's Mama's birthday and I haven't seen her for a couple of weeks. I'll be working out a plan with sister today – maybe we'll get the parents together – maybe not. It's always iffy but I like to pack as much into each trip to see them as possible, without exhausting them.

But today is cloudy and cold and the weather dot com guys are calling for snow late in the afternoon. I am going to clean the house and then knitknitknitknitknit. Here are photos of the creativity project – my BSBSBS. This Brown Sheep yarn was so satisfying to knit with. The dye pattern is lovely. I think it looks good in a pattern that creates diagonals and in just plain stockinette stitch.

Here is the finished project.

And because I am not done yet with those Romans – here are some visuals.
Would you trust this man with your daughter?

And just how did HBO get THIS

(movie star Atia - looks like a Playboy pose to me.)

from THIS

(Macedonian Queen Atia)

Lawsee! I know a woman who has this exact bone structure - and she is very queenly. Hmmm.

Ain't Tee Vee fun?

Happy Saturday

posted by Bess | 8:08 AM


Hi Bess,

Snowstorms are indeed wonderful -- if you don't have to be out in 'em! We had a bit of a one last night, but no rain chaser, so we're in true Winter Mode again.


P.S. I'm up on my new 'puter now, but need your e-mail address again, so couldja write me? Thanks!

By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 8:48 AM  

If you're open to trying a different browser, I've found that photo upload works oh-so-much better in Firefox than in IE.

Have a great weekend! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 9:28 AM  

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Friday, January 18, 2008  

Well, of course I had had a history emergency on Wednesday night – and dragged myself to work yesterday in the teeth of a fierce bad snowstorm – that turned to rain by 11:30, alas – but while it fell it was exciting. I had important work to do in the morning, but by lunch I had had enough – and went home to nap the afternoon away. Last night I slept the whole night through, but in between nap and bedtime I finished the first of the BSBSBS socks.

Alas - the photo loading function of blogger is having a bad morning. I'll load the pictures tomorrow.

posted by Bess | 7:29 AM


Sleet & freezing rain falling here. But I desperately need groceries so I may go brave it anyway....

I've heard great things about Rome, so perhaps watching it on DVD is the way to go -- I can fast-forward through the bloody stuff.

By the way, I read (translated) Caesar's Gallic Wars in the original Latin back at our old alma mater....

By Blogger Mary, at 11:33 AM  

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Thursday, January 17, 2008  

Dear Mary et al curious about Rome,

It is bloody and it is so far beyond what I would call an R rated show, that while not yet being an X I would be inclined to designate it, hmmm, say ... a T or even a U. But it is so skillfully photographed, so well written, so beautifully acted -even the Violence and Xrated stuff - that I, the Queen of Hiding Behind Her Fingers at the Bad Scary Things can watch all the episodes with equanimity. What is difficult for me is that I so like the sub-plot characters (read here "have movie star crushes on") and their fates are so buffeted by hard blows, that I am sad through a lot of this show. I can't watch two episodes in a row - it's just too sad. But it is also fascinating, so I'm back each evening eager for more. I am also reading Caesar and Christ, by Will Durant, our standby for any history emergency we might have in the middle of the night. And BD pulled his Loeb copy of Caesar's Gaulic Wars off the shelf and read that out loud to me, in the beginning.

The absolutely sordid life of Octavian's mother, as portrayed in the show, may or may not be true - certainly Octavian (btw, Max Pirkis does a stunning job with this role) wasn't lolling around in sybaritic indulgence as a boy – he was, in fact, raised in Spartan Macedonia and towards the end he was fighting in Spain with Julius himself. When Caesar died, he was in an army camp.

Still and all, one can forgive the show's more seamy indulgences because they set a tone that certainly blossomed, the harder Octavian, at last acclaimed emperor, tried to legislate away.

I would give this show 6 stars if there were some percentage greater than 100%. This is a winner all the way around.

Still pressing my nose to the window looking for snow.

posted by Bess | 8:03 AM


Dear Bess,

You'll be knitting togas yet! With some challenging cables perhaps?



By Anonymous Margaret in Calgary, at 8:30 AM  

That sock is gorgeous! The pattern shows off the yarn perfectly.

I've heard good things about Rome, but I just can't watch something so bloody....

By Blogger Mary, at 3:01 PM  

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008  

For my Virgo Sisters:

Think on your feet. Use your natural reactions. Resist the temptation to worry. You may be under pressure, but this is not a sign that you have made some terrible decisions for which you must now pay a price. It is a natural, simple, side-effect of being alive in a complicated world at a demanding time. You are actually doing exceedingly well. You cannot expect everything to be perfect or for your world to resemble some textbook example of 'good' organization. Relax. Juggle. Hope for the best!

Sounds good, hmmm? And I do chastise myself for not being BetterOrganized – all the time! I bet you do too. Best lighten up on ourselves a bit, no?

Not much knitting news today. The Milan jacket back is 2 inches away from being finished and the Brown Sheep Brown Sugar Brown Socks are one inch closer to a toe. I have learned an important thing, though – I can't watch episodes of Rome and knit at the same time. I had to rip out everything I knit last night because I'd once again added a stitch somewhere in the middle. I succumb to my destiny – and will knit that thing, mindless stockinette, only when I can concentrate – and when I'm not weeping over poor angry Vorenus's stupidity. I really do love this show.

Ooops – a little ENFP drift there. Look a roman!

But I do have a photo of the BSBSBS that's a little more true to color – so – before I go off to knit on this baby, here's a color shot.

posted by Bess | 6:43 AM


"I'm actually pretty sick of wounded protagonists altogether. "

Amen and amen. One of the reasons I read relatively little "modern" fiction is that so often it seems to be a parade of people who apparently don't understand cause-and-effect: in other words, woman sleeps with her boyfriend's best friend and then wonders why she wound up dumped. (I have next to no romantic experience and I could have seen that one coming a mile away!)

I prefer books where bad things may happen, but instead of DWELLING (or running away), the main character kind of squares his or her shoulders and says, well, what can I do to fix this?

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:43 AM  

Yep, I agree! Gimme a 'little grey cells' murder mystery any day. Stuff these days contains too much angst. Movies (if they're not full of blood and guts), even more so. I'm curling up with a good Ian Rankin right now!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 10:05 AM  

Give me Jane Austen any day! PBS' Masterpiece Theater (now renamed "Masterpiece") is airing a TON of Jane Austen programs every Sunday night for the next month (at least). I'm in heaven. This past Sunday was a version of Persuasion I'd not seen. Oh, and last week they showed a little Bronte' -- Jane Eyre. Sigh....

By Blogger Mary, at 4:30 PM  

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008  

My crowded busy week suddenly became a little less busy by smashing all the TTD of this week into next week's truncated few days. So – the wise good girl will do all of next week's ordinary chores this week, right? Or she might dawdle and fritter – but we will hope she doesn't. We will encourage her to budget time and resources and be Wise and Efficient.

Socks are being knit. A sweater is being knit. Books are being read – Under the Tuscan Sun – which is our book club book – and which I have been slow to pick up because I started to watch the movie, barfed and shipped it back to from whence it came. Happily, the book is starting out much more poetically and, I suspect, with far less of an agenda about how taking sledge hammer to multi-hundred-year-old European house can soothe the pains of a bad divorce. Let us hope that my first impression holds – because I am really sicksicksick of stories about wounded women finding sisterhood by playing the fool for European peasants. I'm actually pretty sick of wounded protagonists altogether. I don't feel the bond of sisterhood when I read about fictional character's troubles. Sigh. I am such a curmudgeon about fiction altogether. Give me a nice lusty historical romance or a good murder mystery – but these triumph through sisterhood books – no thanks.


Well. There. Obviously I haven't much to say today – I think I'll go knit.

posted by Bess | 7:45 AM


Isn't it amazing how often what we plan and what we do differ almost entirely? The sock I was planning to finish is almost where it was the day before but the scarf I'd been ignoring is almost doubled in length. Errands have been rescheduled for tomorrow instead of yesterday. But I had a long, wonderful day with my daughter.

I have some of that Wildfoote in the same colorway. Now you've distracted me again. Just have to figure out which box of sock yarn it's in.

By Blogger Larry, at 8:10 AM  

The sock looks great! You made great headway on it!

I had a knitterly day on Sunday, too ~ knitting lessons for two friends, and then worked on my shawl. Which is nearly ready to bind off.

Hugs, Jen

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:29 AM  

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Monday, January 14, 2008  

Are you 'werking' and 'dootying' your way through the
weekend, too? Or will
those socks be finished by Monday? ;-)

Well – turns out I was werkwerkwerkin' through the weekend. In addition to the usual Saturday housecleaning and laundry, there was a literary labor of love that took me away from other planned pursuits. BD is at the point in his latest book where he needs a proof reader. I am always amazed when he asks the queen of dyslexic non-spelling to proof his work – but I also know that a manuscript never hurts from a multiplicity of proof readers. Besides, I am a boat bimbo and a dabbler when it comes to 17th century English and history. I have some knowledge but I'm no expert. If there is something I don't understand, a phrase or an expression, chances are the average customer will struggle with this too. A tweak here or there to please me will, in the long run, be an improvement.
(my isn't she fussy?)

This book is way behind schedule, due to all those eye surgeries he suffered last summer. Time is of the essence, though, since it's a boater's guide (with charts and maps) to John Smith's Bay voyages – which mostly took place in 1608. He wants this thing on the shelves when warm weather arrives so that kayakers, canoeists and boaters can follow along with these epic explorations.

But there was time to cast on those socks – see?

This is Brown Sheep's Wildfoote sock yarn in a handpaint color called Brown Sugar. It's going to take daylight to bring out the rich burgundy/brown of this color - which I will have for you one day soon. I love it – the color and the scrunchy bouncy way the yarn feels when knit into a fabric. It has a different, less stringy feel to it than BS's usual sock yarn. I thought a little chevron stitch would make for an interesting display of those rich colors – and I am pleased with it. Putting in an afterthought heel just because I always knit heel flap heels.

There was also time to rip out a couple of inches of the Milan. I don't do that much flat knitting and I'd made the classic beginner's error of letting the yarn wrap around the needle between a purl and a knit stitch, adding another stitch when I came back down the row. That error has been corrected and I'll try to be a wee bit more careful with this in the future.

So, with reading, cleaning and knitting the weekend slipped away. I never did get a chance to tell you about the wonderful children's book I have almost finished reading.

This is a rich tale that affords opportunities for thought and discussion on several levels. It's certainly full of fairy tale magic – girl fans of Harry Potter ought to like this – boys, I'm not so sure. Of course, Swan Maidens were the first feminists – women who left their husbands and children to go off to work, albeit their work was magical self fulfillment and didn't necessarily bring anything back to the family. Lots of meat here for discussion on several levels. The conclusion is a satisfying balance of commitment and fulfillment – and of course, I like the hero – and I am always going to like a book where the male character is someone I admire.

This is a first novel by author Heather Tomlinson, and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for more.

Monday is here, though and I still have one enormous (GINORMOUS) home task left to do before the werkweek rears it's demanding head. Whew. Lots of juggling going on down here in the country.

posted by Bess | 7:00 AM


Aha, Dear Bess! You're not only a VirgoSoulSis, but also a SlySlipSis -- for I did that very thing with my first pick out of my jar! My first slip had me buying a 'grab bag' from a local stitchery shop, and making something from it. Alas, my post-Christmas budget is tight, so I slid the slip back into the jar and picked again. The 2nd item I picked worked perfectly, because I could use what's on hand. I figured that's a good enough reason to slip the slip!


P.S. Are you 'werking' and 'dootying' your way through the weekend, too? Or will those socks be finished by Monday? ;-)

By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:44 AM  

I love your creativity jar and am having fun seeing what you do each week. :-) So, hats for you are like socks me, apparently, and vice versa.... I hope to get to where you are with socks some day soon. Of course, that requires that I actually knit some....

By Blogger Mary, at 6:22 PM  

I love the idea of the creativity jar - so much so that I want to make 2 of them! one for ideas for myself and one for things to do with DS. . . I think the first "slip" I need to make is one that says "Make creativity jars"

Would that count?

By Anonymous Margaret, at 7:45 AM  

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Friday, January 11, 2008  

Yes. That really is the question, Sparkle Peacock. If I don't like the slip I pull out of the jar can I put it back and choose something different? After consulting the Oracle of Pleasure Deep Within – the answer is a resounding

The Creativity Game is not supposed to become some sort of scolding burden, but to be prompting and exciting and stimulating - it's supposed to be fun. The first slip I pulled out of the jar said “Make a Hat” and I had a deep powerful negative reaction to it. Now – I am likely to be the only woman in any crowd wearing a hat. I love hats. I make hats. I enjoy wearing hats. I will be glad to make a hat. But not in the next 2 weeks. True to Ms&MrHoroscopes, my world is ramping into busy and dooty and werkwerkwerk, big time. There isn't more work than I can do, and even do at least adequately, perhaps even well. But no matter what else is going on in the world, I must do this work. And much of this work is going to demand the same creativity I pour into my knitting, storytelling, and other artistic pursuits.

I can knit a pair of socks, (with creativity, thank you) using only the small happy unburdened portion of my brain. I knew instantly that I could not make a hat right now, with the same ease. Also, I'm enjoying making the Milan cardigan and don't really want to set it aside completely, during the next week or so. And I am still reading the “officially selected” children's book that I started for last week's project. (I read a bunch of other ones, but they were picture and easy books – I wanted to read a children's novel for the project and lucked out on a real winner. Will talk about that tomorrow.)

So I dropped the slip back into the jar. Some other time this year I'll knit a hat. And pulled out a different one. Right away I felt happy. I have lots of beautiful sock yarn. I can't wait to choose one tonight. Now the question is ...Do I have any more little sock needles lying about?

Happy Friday to you all.

posted by Bess | 7:09 AM


LOL! Great VirgoSis minds think alike...well, almost. I'm Mohair!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 8:44 AM  

I'm Angora too. I was thinking I'd probably be a camel or an oddball.

By Blogger erica, at 10:58 AM  

I'm angora too. Unfortunately, I'm also allergic to angora.

By Blogger Catherine, at 12:35 PM  

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Thursday, January 10, 2008  

Well now - this is just what I would like to be: soft, fuzzy, warm, light, and silky. This little button came from a Potter&Craft - who publish The Knitter's Book of Yarn, by Clara Parkes. It's part of a quiz that came in the Knitters Review newsletter this morning. You'll probably be able to find it here later today or else tomorrow.

posted by Bess | 6:51 AM


Ms. Horoscope knows us Virgos far too well, doesn't she?! I've taken to sorting my stashes because they have, once again, taken over my studio. I am filing, labelling, throwing out (!) and donating/sharing. It's a good feeling. Somewhere in the depths I'll find my painting table, my cutting table and my sewing machine!

Happy re-org! Hugs,

By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:56 AM  

Any dog-hugger is OK by me!

By Blogger cathy, at 12:14 AM  

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008  

Let's hope you've had a fun last month or so because Mercury's move now into your 6th House of Daily Work and Health means you can expect to party less and work more over the next few weeks. The good news is that if you've been letting things slide a little.... you can now expect to find the time and headspace you need to get back to attending to the tiny details of life. Clear your desk! This is also a great time to be making a 6 or even 12 month plan, if that's your thing. Certainly your ability to schedule is high, so don't waste it, if you know you need to live a life that's slightly less chaotic. Break it down - what do you need to do, what do you want to do, and when can you feasibly do it?

Well, MsHoroscope certainly nailed me and my January. I have had the most delicious fun, almost all fall, that only expanded after Thanksgiving. Easypeasy fun and indulgence minus the absurd Virgo guilt or even the normal guilt that usually prods people along to do their dooty. I have procrastinated some tasks, I've let my desk at work turn into a pigsty and I've eaten just about all the cookies I wanted to.

And now it's time to get down to business. I'm in the mood for it and evidently the stars are going to give me a productive push. Some desk clearing actually occurred yesterday, including a bank deposit. More of that stuff must take place before the weekend. A WW meeting was attended (where, thankfully, no added poundage betrayed my lavish Christmas) And happily, I LOVE to make lists and plans. There is a tremendous ammount of scheduling that I must do – and fast - so I rejoice to think that speedy Mercury is here to get me going.

But never fear – I will always have time for knitting –


and dog love.

posted by Bess | 7:12 AM


The square is scrumptious, especially after blocking. You're tempting me to join that club!

I've knit with Lion Brand cashmere blend, which was quite nice. I wouldn't call it bulky, though -- I think it was worsted weight.

I've not heard of a cashmere bra, but I've seen an angora lingerie set on display at a couple of the fiber festivals. Can you imagine?

By Blogger Mary, at 1:26 PM  

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008  

Happy happy Tuesday. This is the second Tuesday of the month so it's knitting night for me and this month I have Things To Show. First is my all but completed Great American Aran Afghan square ... just have to weave in the ends. I blocked it right away because I couldn't wait to see how it looked all nice and flat.

It looks flat, of course. And it is soft as a feather and pure joy to touch. I love fondling it and will have to be careful to keep it clean. I'm also wondering just how to store something that will be part of a 4 year or more, on-going project. I've been looking at archival boxes on-line, and at herbal moth treatments – because you are not supposed to store cashmere in plastic and I live in the Land-0-Moths in a house full of leaks. But my goodness – I like this yarn.

Cashmere is a new yarn for me. I've knit with blends before and thoroughly enjoyed them. But 100% is a new experience. When I wound this yarn into a ball, using my winder, I tried so hard to not stretch it that the yarn slipped off the ball and just became a tangle. Not a serious tangle, but certainly nothing I could knit from. I rewound it twice more, the last time sort of tensioning it with my fingers, and as it slid through that pinch of thumb and index finger, tiny little fuzz collected inside that pinch. I worried, then, that the yarn would collapse or pill or otherwise wear while being knit, but it didn't. Nor did it leave fuzz on my clothes or the needles. This is a good quality blend of long and short cashmere fibers.

It's also a DK weight. I live in the south, you must remember. I don't care much for bulky yarn to begin with, but I'm certainly not tempted by bulky cashmere. (think - that nice feeling Lion Brand or any higher-end blend) If I'm going to spend all that $$ on cashmere, by golly, I better be able to wear it without fainting from the heat. I was mighty glad to get to see all three weights of Hunt Valley Cashmere knit into that afghan when I was at their booth in October, so I could see how heavy those blankets felt. I might, otherwise, have ordered the medium weight and been sorry for it.

Of course, the real question is ... will I ever finish this thing? 24 squares knit one square every other month means it will be 4 years before it's done – IF I remain faithful to it. But then – there's nothing that says I can't just order up a couple of skeins sometime when I'm feeling flush and ambitious, and knit up a bunch of these squares. This one took about a week and a half – but I was knitting other things too.

Well. I am not obliged to make all 24 squares. I'm not really obliged to do anything at all. We shall just see what happens. The process is such a pleasure I will enjoy it no matter what. But I know this – sooner or later I'm going to have to have enough of this lovely yarn to knit myself a sweater. I am so longing to wear this all around my skin. I am seeing a cabled sweater but ooo a lacy cardigan would be fun too. Oh my. Am I going to become addicted to cashmere garments? How about a cashmere bra? Ahhhh. Delight!

Oh. Yes. Where was I?
Yes. Also to share this week at my knitting group will be teal blue stockinette. Who knows? I may be at the armhole bindoffs if I log off and start knitting. Sounds like a plan.

posted by Bess | 7:25 AM


Such a wise color choice you've made. ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 8:19 AM  

Bess, a very happy and creative new year to you! The GAAA square you finished is one of my favorites. Are you doing all 24 squares? In a several years, I've knit 10 and only have yarn for about 12 with the idea that I would buy yarn as I finished each square, which didn't happen as quickly as I'd originally planned. Your yarn sounds scrumptious! I also love your idea of the creativity jar.

By Blogger erica, at 9:36 AM  

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Monday, January 07, 2008  

Make the most of your mental freedom! That might sound like a funny thing to say but Mercury is now at the end of his latest visit to your Fifth House Of Fun - in theory, you should have been able to let your hair down mentally (so to speak!) over the past few weeks. Having fun was easier. Finding the time to take time out should have been a breeze. Expressing yourself and your inner child is still possible - but do it while you can, because in the very near future, Mercury will be making sure you focus on far more mundane matters.

This is from MsHoroscope and she is exactly right – I have had the most delicious few weeks of almost effortless days, with time aplenty to indulge in my hobbies, pleasures and delights. It isn't that I expect to be delight-less over the next span of time – a few weeks, I'm sure, not more, since Mercury moves about the sky so swiftly – but I know I have some WerkToDooooo. I really must start it today, in fact. I am indulging this morning with this blog post because I can still feel the breeze of Mercury's passing. By early afternoon I will be nose-to-the-grindstone active.

This glorious weekend, though, starting out with winter white skies, ending up sunshine blue and gold with gorgeous sunsets -
I allowed myself to savor as a sort of holiday sunset. The house was still holding on to its post-Christmas tree sheen so all I did was a little sweeping. Next weekend there will be dusting and vacuuming to do but I could let it slide this time. Instead I spent my time reading, writing, and knitting.


Proof there is knitting at TheCastle.

I've got the completed GAAA square drying on towels up in the bathroom – NOT a great place for taking photographs. I will have one tomorrow. I shan't get another skein of beautiful silky-soft cashmere until February – which is good for my pocketbook and also good for Other Knitting. My January project is this:

Milan, from Dolce Handknits – the designer's last name is Dolce ... isn't that sweet? How wonderful to have a useful name. I bought the pattern in Newburgh, IN at The Village Knitter – a darling store only one block from LD's apartment. I'm using some 6 year old stash, Brown Sheep Handpaint solid called Peacock (yes M, your favorite color) but I'm knitting the spur stitch band in the front with Brown Sheep Handpaint in English Garden. (see swatch)

I also didn't care for the hems on body and sleeves. I saw this sweater at the shop, knit up in the same Brown Sheep yarn, and they were just too thick for me. I decided to put that spur stitch along the edges instead and I'm very pleased with that. It lies flat enough for me.

I also don't care for the rolled edging on the portrait collar. I'm not even sure I can wear a portrait collar because I'm sort of bulky around shoulder and sternum and tend to look like those women from the oughts – the 1900's, that is - who pinned starched ruffles to their chests to give them the pouter pigeon look – - minus the corseted wasp waist. Not in style these days. The last thing I need is a big collar flying up from the bustline runway. If I actually knit a big portrait collar (what about a nice narrow one?) I'll edge it, too, in that spur stitch- or maybe knit the whole thing in it, for a flatter lay.

But that's a good ways off. I'm still doing row after row of stockinette. Lovely mindless relaxing rows of all knits and all purls. My needles are pointy tipped rosewood needles I picked up at a vendor at the 2006 KRRetreat. I don't remember who made them – not lantern moon – or who sold them to me, but they're nice to knit with and I'm moving along swiftly – about half way up the back.

And so. Something mindless and easy to pick up when I take a break from Werkin'Harrrrrd. Something soothing and relaxing and well, teal blue.


posted by Bess | 5:59 AM


I adore this idea. I am going to send it to my siblings. :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 10:54 AM  

Something that flitted across my mind,and then disappeared, and then re-appeared, is;
How do you come up with the ideas on the little slips of paper?
(The first slightly off-beat idea that really just now popped into my head was, "Make a snow angel." I think I'd better go do that tonight - we're supposed to get rain.)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:02 PM  

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Friday, January 04, 2008  

When we were building the new library building a lovely group of sibblings contributed a vast amount of money to have the children's room named after their parents, both of whom were passionate readers who'd raised their children to love and revere books. The following Christmas, the family devised a most splendid way to continue giving to the library, to honor their parents, and to keep close to each other even as the family expanded out across the country. One brother coordinates the project and each year in October he asks me for a list of about 30 children's books I want to add to the library. Each family member contributes $25 and the name of a person he wants to honor or memorialize with the gift, to the children's room, of a new book. This brother then makes up a bookplate naming the person for whom the book was donated. When the family gets together sometime during the Christmas season, they open up the box of books and each person tells the gathering a little something about the person he selected that year, to remember or to honor. I believe that even if some of them aren't able to be there, they send a letter explaining who was selected and why.

This beautiful ceremony has done much to keep a big family close. I know one brother has told me that he learned things about his sons he'd never heard, even though they were living right there with him. I love being a part of this special tradition and spend more careful time over that list of books than any other books I select for the library. This first week in January, the books are delivered, usually by the wife of one of the brothers. She tells me the story of who chose what for whom and then I get to open up the box of books myself and it is Christmas all over again. Each book somehow looks more magical, more special, more beautiful and full of adventure, promise, excitement, than the one before. For sure, they are all more wonderful looking than the books I purchase, shelf ready, and pop out on display.
These are books that I will lovingly catalog by hand, carefully aligning the book-plates in the front and then gently wrapping them in mylar dust jacket protectors. The picture books I will read as I catalog them, taking my own sweet slow time. The chapter books for older children I will skim and from among them, this year, I will select one to take home to read, because ...
the first colorful little slip of creativity to come out of the Creativity Jar
was this!

Happy and Creative First Friday of 2008 to you.

posted by Bess | 6:05 AM


It must be an angel, drawn to that big gentle sweetheart of yours! I like your creativity jar - simple, but colorful. Looks like confetti, but easier to clean!


By Blogger Amie, at 8:34 AM  

Gorgeous, Dear Bess, simply gorgeous! Both you and your latest knitting, that is. And oh, yes, I definitely think that was your Guardian Angel putting in an appearance!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 8:49 AM  

What a great picture of you both! I'm guessing late '70's? How fun to see that. :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 12:38 PM  

Definitely an angel. And Nope, Mary - 1986. In spite of the Dorothy Hamill haircut.

By Blogger Bess, at 1:47 PM  

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Thursday, January 03, 2008  

I had a dr. visit yesterday and took shameless advantage of my months of accumulated sick leave to go home afterwards, instead of going back to work. Whatever is waiting for me will still be there today. Instead, I got to spend the late afternoon of a beautiful bright day in my airy spacious living room knitting away on this.

And making up my Creativity Jar.

I didn't make it pretty – but I did fill it with colorful surprises. I'm very impressed, and so are the birds (Knit and Purl have some new friends who've come to live with them. They were bought as Christmas tree decorations but I can't bear to put them in the attic where they might suffer from the heat. They'll just have to join the flock instead.)

The dogs, however, are unimpressed.

The first sunset of the new year was so beautiful I had to try to capture it. Color that strong in January often presages a cold snap and it did sink into the teens last night. We're in for a couple of cold days followed by a warm weekend. How southern.

I'm librarian and curator of the family photos and letters now that we've sold my parents' house. It is my job to divvy up everything and ship it to the correct sister, niece or nephew. In pawing through the pile, though, I've come across one of those photos that it's nice have – to remind you that once you were very young and fresh and slim. And the sparkley stuff on BD's forehead must be an angel, don't you think? Hovering over us and all?

posted by Bess | 6:58 AM