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


Shrek. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

By Blogger Catherine, at 2:20 PM  

Yes, "Shrek" is good; don't go for one of the sequels. Alternatively, if you want an older one, try 'Aladdin'; Robin Williams is very good as the genie. Then again, there's very, very old -- a classic, like 'Cinderella', 'Snow White' or
the classy and once-revolutionary, "Fantasia" -- definitely a good one to knit by!

We just got a snow dump overnight last night; we needed the moisture, but I'd have preferred rain...given that April is only 2 sleeps away!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 5:02 PM  

You have to watch the Shreks in order, and the 2nd one is the weak link. The first is fabulous, and I have been told (I haven't seen it) that 3 is as good as 1.

The summer switch was turned on here, the humidity is back and my hair is frizzed. I'd take rain, but all we get is heat and hair-frizzing humidity.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:43 PM  

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Sunday, March 30, 2008  

Spring Doldrums

If I were the only slug around here I would just accept my shortcomings, but most folk around here seem to be dragging a bit this week, so we can blame it on the season - which teases us with balmy days and then slams us with frost, sprinkles us with pollen but sends empty clouds, and plonks income tax smack down in the middle of it all.

Anyway, I hadn't meant to just fall silent, but not one of the muses has inspired me with literary flow. I'm not even working on a knitting project I like. I'm knitting those birthday socks and while it's nice yarn, it's full of breaks. I don't mind working in ends on my knitting, actually rather like it, but I hate how the breaks interrupt the rapid flow of sock production. Thank goodness they're almost done.
And since I am so fractious and I already know what I want to start knitting next, I am glad the Creativity Jar offered up this brainless activity for this week:
Watch a cartoon movie
I haven't watched a cartoon movie in ... well, so long I can't remember when. I'll check out the library section first, because we do have some on the shelves – and then I'll go down to the local video rental place and see what they have. I suspect it's going to be an old one, because I'm not too fond of the animation that's popular right now. Too harsh, too angled, and something, not sure quite what, but there is a meanness underlying too much of it these days.

Oh. I remember. We watched Pocahontas sometime before 2000.

And on the needles, next week, will be another knitted clutch, this time in a cotton rayon blend in the prettiest vivid blue. I like these purses because they're quick and beautiful and I am going to make the blue one as a sample and then make myself a lime green one for spring. There's just enough sewing in them to make the change interesting.

Tomorrow is BD's BD and if I'm going to have birthday socks for him, I best get knitting. But for my knitting friends I want to share this sweetness. When he was coming out of surgery 2 weeks ago the doc asked how he felt and he said “Great! I have on my lucky socks”. Christmas socks knit by TheQueen. It's so nice to be appreciated.

posted by Bess | 6:57 AM


Clearly, doctoring is in the the third generation! Blessings upon him, and upon BD, whose sight I am sure will be healed to the best of his ability, God willing (I will add prayers too).

Sounds like it's been quite a week. Hugs to you both,

By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:08 AM  

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Thursday, March 27, 2008  

It's a small world of bacon kept at 6 degrees. Bacon is 6 degrees away from coincidence. 6 small worlds are a degree more than bacon.

Let me tell you of some coincidences.

But first – a long story about a wee little girl and a hero.

When I was 2 I fell on a toy and crushed the left iliac artery at the base of my torso. The skin didn't break so there was no bloody mess to alert folk. It bruised up pretty badly, though so Mama took me to the pediatrician who tut-tutted it and sent us home. I grew listless, then limp, then began to die while the dr. and the dad insisted my mother was overreacting. “Do you know more than a doctor?” beat her about the head. In desperation, she found another doctor who, upon looking at me, hissed mutterings about incompetents who should lose their licenses and of course, right away began treating me. He opened up the skin, mended the injury, sewed me back up and at this point, my own memory of him kicks in. I had to go see him frequently and have my wound checked and dressings changed. What I remember was a giant about 12 feet tall who I knew was going to rip about 6 miles of very sticky white tape off my already tender body and then, after a few moments, wrap me back up in more of that evil sticky tape and send me home. At the point of actual memory I am sure I thought this would be my fate for the rest of my life.

We lived in the new post-war starter suburbs of Richmond and drove in on Monument Avenue to get to Stuart Circle Hospital where the Giant Man With Tape had his office. About 2/3 of the way in the street went from asphalt to cobblestone and the musical hum of the tires on the stone were the first intimation that we were going to the Dread GMWT. I would begin to cry. Daddy would begin to sing goober peas. Everyone would work hard to sooth the anxiety. It never worked. To this day, if I'm coming in to Richmond from the west end on Monument Ave., when I hear that hum, I feel like crying.

I can also remember the visit when he didn't rip white tape off of me and from that moment on I liked him very much. He was our pediatrician long after we moved to Chesterfield – probably till we were all grown up. I know he was the doctor who diagnosed my sister's rheumatic fever. Yup. He was, and has remained, in family legened, the hero who saved my life.

Fast forward to this a.m. - after a second mini surgery yesterday for poor BD – and the doctor is finished with him and I notice that he is Dr. P. B. the III. And though the name isn't an uncommon name, it is a Virginia last name and he's a Richmond doctor with that name and he's the III, so what would you do? Of course I had to ask, “Was your father a doctor too? A pediatrician? Well. He saved my life when I was a toddler.”

And now I am sure he is going to save BD's eyesight. Small, not too uncommon developments required a little more intervention but everything was all big smiles this morning so we are still feeling way too confident and relieved to grouse about little inconveniences or delays. If my darling is forbidden to read right now – at least he'd already gotten his last book off to the publishers the week before surgery. And I have shelves of audio books in the library.

But to top up the coincidences, while sitting in the waiting room, PD, one of my beloved retired library volunteers who had moved to Richmond walked in – another patient of Dr. P.B.III – son of Once Dreaded, Now Revered GMWT, who also saved my life. PD, who reads my blog and thus, can keep up with life at the library!

Hello Penny!

It's a small world – and perhaps in Richmond, and eastern Virginia altogether, it's a very very small world. Thank goodness it's so full of such great people. In addition to these great folk, our dear friends D&P put us up last night, when we finally finished up with health matters. Love ya D&P !

I hadn't taken the Birthday Socks because we thought this was just going to be a quick run in and out check up sort of visit. We didn't even have tooth brushes! Well, that is, we went and bought them. I had taken along my Cherry Tree Hill socks and I'm half way down the cuff of sock #2. The birthday is on Monday, though – and I'll get back on those socks tonight.

More stuff is going on, but this post is long enough. I have to go in way early tomorrow but there could be real posts, with real photos, this weekend – this Happy Birthday Weekend. Ta.

posted by Bess | 3:54 PM


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Sunday, March 23, 2008  

Happy Easter to you all.

( for instructions click the picture)

Whew! It's after 5 on Sunday and I haven't blogged yet! This weekend got away from me big time. I'll have to see if I can scrounge around and find someone else to blame for this long silence.

There's housework, of course. The house had slid into pitdom and couldn't go another day without serious attention. But I can't blame anyone but me for that since I didn't clean house last weekend and 4 dogs plus a King in a Castle in the Country can't go more than 2 weeks unattended.

And then there was a wedding shower for a local bride from down on the flats – where every guest except two were family or family to be. This was a sweet event full of sweet women. I am not being sarcastic here – or denigrating. This was the real thing. Sweet women who have had ups and downs and intrigues and all the rest – but they're still sweet. So was the English Tea, complete with scones and raspberries and a cheesecake that tasted like the top half was mostly butter, while the bottom half was all chocolate.

And shopping. I don't have a single spring colored thing that is fit for this cold spring we're having. I have hot weather spring colors and cold weather winter colors but no cold weather spring colors. I just can't bear to wear rust or dark brown tops for one more day. Two lightweight cotton blend tops in leaf green and a medium azalea pink that can serve as either blouses or as jackets – with a bit of a swing cut to the back - and two complimentary tank tops did the trick.

And today there was a Project that I had to do. I didn't want to do it and I had to do it and BD made me do it and I sulked and crabbed and glowered like the 9 year old brat I felt like – but I got it done. There is only taxes left to do in that category. If I could get that done by Friday I would be ready to celebrate.

But there are some chatty bits of news in my life. For one thing, BD can now see movement through that newly lensed eye. And when we were in Richmond on Friday I found a reward for being such a Good Girl. We strolled down Carytown (from Malvern to the Byrd Theater is 1 mile) and stopped in the Chop Suey II boostore where I made a bee line to the knitting books. They had a nice little shelf of maybe a dozen books. I sat on the floor, pulled out a volume and opened up to this!

Yep. The very day after I pull the Dragon Charting project out of the Creativity Jar I find ... Charted dragons!

There were two books, both from Rowan, both from 1991, the hey day of British intarsia knitting. Kim Hargreaves and Annabell Fox – both classic British designers.
The books were priced right, at the bottom of the Internet used book market prices. This was, and still is, my favorite of all the knitted look and here is a wealth of inspiration for me to play with. Yes. They both had dragons in them. Yes. They came home with me.

As for my own knitting, I'm working down the foot of birthday sock #2. In fact – I still have a little daylight left. I think I'll sign off now and go knit a bit.

posted by Bess | 5:30 PM


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Friday, March 21, 2008  

Thank you, everyone, for your kind wishes and good juju. BD is doing well and we're off again today to visit doctors. I'll work on Birthday Socks while we linger in waiting rooms. This will be a short trip (we think) to the city, but afterwards we're going to prowl around some bookstores and I must stop at an office supply store. And then it is The Weekend!!

This week's task from the Creativity Jar is to “CREAT OR COPY A CHARTED DRAGON YOU CAN KNIT”. I never was much of a speller but I believe I can create a charted dragon. I have a wonderful Dover coloring book of dragons – all line drawings, since you are supposed to fill in the color. I'm going to copy knitters graph paper onto one of those mylar sheets you use with an overhead projector and let that be my charting guide.

I have to confess, I tend to cheat with the jar – paw through it and pick the activity that spurs my imagination and energy rather than to obey the whims of chance. Besides, most of the activities are knitting or spinning and I'm full up on knitting and spinning projects. The BFL is slowly filling bobbins and the socks are inching their way towards gift wrap. But I want to make some more of those cabled clutch purses – at least one for me in the lime green Knitpicks cotlin and one for a sample, in the shiny Beroco cotton/rayon blend. That one is a Bloomkitty Blue but I need daylight to capture the true color. Maybe I'll get a photo up of that this weekend. I'm hoping this yarn will give me the dressy look I want, without looking like a sweater.

Now it's off to the city!

posted by Bess | 6:27 AM


Sock-wise, Go Bess Go!

Eye-wise, may BD's healing be swift and uncomplicated.

Birthday-wise, may BD have a great one!

And Happy Easter to you both. :-)


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 6:36 PM  

Great news about BD's surgery! May his recuperation be an easy one.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 7:37 PM  

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Thursday, March 20, 2008  

We've been in Richmond for 2 days while BD had cataract surgery. This is the last of the eye procedures he was scheduled for after all the retina surgery from last summer. It turns out that the more his eye got manipulated last summer, the more that cataract grew. He also had developed some pressure in the eye and was taking glaucoma meds, so they planned to put a valve in to relieve that. He had to wait till that poor eye had had some R&R before he could have this surgery and then he needed both doctors to be on hand to take care of it. But the day finally came.

Mechanically, everything went well, and since BD has the most sober of cataract doctors, and since he smiled when he checked BD over on Wednesday, we feel confident things are good and will progress well. We go back again on Friday for More Checkups and his schedule of treatment will be determined at each visit because his was not the usual cataract procedure. But it is done and we are glad and so grateful. I know a lot of you have been rooting for us and I'm mighty thankful for your support.

Of course, there is nothing like waiting in doctor's offices for cranking out Birthday Socks for Himself. I made these socks a wee bit wider than I usually do so I was worried I might run out of yarn. I couldn't tell if this was a partial skein or a full one - it had been dug from the stash. In order to knit them in relaxed pleasure instead of anxious worry about running out of yarn, I knit the heels and toes in a slightly thicker Regia solid navy blue. I also knit an afterthought heel in hope filled determination that if/when those heels begin to wear they'll be easy to replace.
Still a lot of #2 sock to knit, since I spent half of last week knitting with the B.U. yarn, but I have till the 31st to finish these.

posted by Bess | 6:35 AM


I'm jealous of your yard - not just the fact that you actually have land, but my daffys are only just starting to bud, not a single bloom amongst them.

And I love the images of Socks on the bed and Socks on the marsh - silly gal.


By Blogger Amie, at 5:01 PM  

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Sunday, March 16, 2008  

Typical Queenly Rambling Long Post – knitting at the end

All my dogs are bedhoppers, but Socks is the one who loves to spend 20 of the 24 hours in a day up on the big bed. She has a steel bladder or perhaps she goes into suspended animation, but getting off the bed is her least favorite thing to do in the world. If we're not careful when we both are going off for the day, she'll become NinjaSocks and turn invisible and we drive off leaving her inside where she can .... get up in the big bed, of course.

But not in March. Not when the carp are running. Carp are huge bony mud feeding fish that swim up stream each spring to spawn. Though our water is not salty at this time of year, we're still tidal and these slow moving fish often get caught in the tide pools left behind as the Rappahannock recedes into the Chesapeake Bay. That's when the mighty hunters – er – fisherdogs stalk the marshes, coming home late at night, covered in black mud, dragging trophies which they guard all the next day.

Usually, Socks begs at the door with the most pleading brown eyes, but not when the carp are running. She's out there in the rain right now, across the yard, hiding in the forest undergrowth, gnawing away or else daring her sisters and brother to come close. She never growls, never says much of anything, but nobody is coming near her prize. The joke will be that the moment she does move, another dog will take her place, proudly declaring “I'm the grandest dog in the marsh.”

We had my favorite story teller at the library yesterday with a program for St. Patrick's' Day – all leprechauns and giants. We had good turnout too, especially considering the competition was a traveling circus in Montross. Afterwards, Gary and I went out to dinner and caught up on all the news. He's my story telling mentor and it was good to get pumped up by him again, as I've been decidedly sluggish this year about my own seedling career. I have only one job lined up for this summer and only one in the fall. And even with the energy sparked by seeing Gary again, I am still inclined to give things a go this year. There is some deep down resting going on in my soul, after 5 years of very demanding effort and I think that is as good as making progress in other areas of my life.

Plus all that technology I have to accomplish – and which, I am proud to declare – at least, on the home front - I conquered. The dvd/vcr player is now talking to the television – and though I can repeat what I did to make it work, I can't see why that particular sequence of button clicking made it work. Happily we only watch movies on the television, and my spinning and knitting videos, so it doesn't matter if nothing else on the thing works. We don't get TV reception down here, and actually, we don't want it.

The first of the completely green things this year are the rambling roses. I have two, a Japanese escapee whose name I used to know and a red single with white center that could be used to lock up criminals, it's so thick and wickedly thorned. They have taken over the deep northwest corner of what used to be my garden, but is now a tangle of weeds with flowers beneath. I'm okay with losing that corner, so long as I'm losing it to roses. Today's sweet soft rain will make it easy to dig up some of the daffodils that are so crowded they'll never bloom. I'll plant them along the lane to fill in gaps, now, while I can see the empty spots.

As for that dreadful birthday sock – yee gads. It looks like a blue sock that had bleach splashed on it. The orangy peachy splotch looks like a question mark. But while we were shifting the technology around in the den on Friday night, look what fell out of a bag ....

Yes. BlueGuy colored sock yarn. Well, with a teeny streak of pink but I will tell him it is red and I am sure it won't matter. I put the ButtUgly sock cuff on some loose needles. I actually may keep that for myself and wear it with the bleach question mark on the front. Or maybe not. I've lost a week of knitting, though so I'll have to scramble to finish these by the end of the month.

Ahh, but I hear rain dripping off the eaves – a good day for knitting.

posted by Bess | 8:27 AM


Well, I have to admit, that is one strange looking color pattern. I don't think I have ever seen one turn out that way.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 5:12 PM  

Seriously weird pooling there. Heavens and I like those colors, too. The colors of a barn swallow, well, almost.

By Blogger zippiknits, at 11:35 PM  

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Saturday, March 15, 2008  

Penny wise, pound foolish

This is a sock cuff and this is ugy.

This is what you get when you try to save $1.40 and buy a discontinued color from KnitPicks. No wonder it's discontinued – it's not just unpopular, it's flawed. I wanted a nice blue mix for some socks for BD and on their website you see only that the skein has been discontinued and is discounted. Not why – and one tends to figure that means it's unpopular or else the dye is difficult to get/make/reproduce. This isn't called “seconds” which is the market place code word for "defective, but still works". I may still have bought the yarn, but I wouldn't have been so horrified to see what grew on my needles.

Oh well. Foolish me. I'll knit the socks and overdye them – since I'm already down to the heel on sock #1. But whooee! Ugh Lee!

More disaster shots

This has been a very cranky week. I've been trying to come to some technology decisions and since I'm not a geek – just a dabbler, an end-user – these are the most difficult types of decision for me to make. I made them – but oh, la! Now I have to do some more convincing – since there is a committee that is part of this process. And this type of work is going to go on intermittently through October. We'll be glad we did it – but it ain't easy.

In addition to that, we bought a new dvd/vcr player and now can't find the television manual and can't figure out how to program it to talk to the player. So we are frustrated there too – which is much worse than being ambivalent at work.

So – to wipe away the misery that is geezers trying to learn technology,
live to you,
from the house of the blinking 12:

Spring flowers!

In the house

Overlooking the riverbank

Beneath the eagle's nest

Beneath the plum blossoms

By the shed

posted by Bess | 10:35 AM


The worst thing for me, is that the start of DST is coinciding with the start of the spring tree pollen season.

So not only am I tired from losing an hour of sleep (and having to get up in the dark), I'm tired from allergies. And cranky. And not wanting to work.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 11:43 AM  

Hope the shock of DST wears off soon. I don't like getting up earlier, but I do like having a little more golden sunlight left at the end of the day. Thought I should let you know that I mentioned you on today's post. Hope that's OK.

By Blogger cathy, at 11:35 PM  

Having DST this early here means that once again, I get up in the dark. I was just beginning to enjoy getting up at dawn, when They took it away. We still have snow here, so it's no real use to farmers...sigh.


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:09 AM  

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008  

I HATE Daylight Savings Time

I see most of my friends are also suffering from hideous, horrible, weee can mek you betterrrrrr, socially engineered day light savings time. Most of the folk I love to read have not posted since Sunday, and while some I am sure have legitimate reasons along with this suck-o messin' with your mind – I lay the bulk of the blame on springing forward into world wide jet lag.

Well. Where did Hunk-Ra come from?

Happily, it is hump day and I got something difficult and important done yesterday. I have many more difficult and important tasks to do at work between now and October. We're doing a 100% overhaul of all technology at the library, from Internet connectivity to furniture to web page to staff education. Sometimes it weighs on me, but other times we soar through surprising issues like pros.

At heart I love technology – which is the closest I think most of us will ever come to magic. But I struggle with its sophomoric constant change. Change = Progress is much like the artistic trap of Different = Creativity. Neither are true. It only looks like it is the same from the outside. Creativity contains the different. Progress contains change, it doesn't equal it. Within each there is discipline, structure and an organic reason for movement.

Oooo – in true ENFP fashion, lemme jerk you over to look at something that is creative and unique and beautiful. Check out the needle art on this blog!

And here are some photos of stash enhancement from TheCastle including some birthday socks
that I've ripped out already – cast on too many stitches. It's KnitPicks superwash which is a very soft yarn. Not sure I would use it again unless it was for bed socks. I'll be interested to see how well it holds up. There is nylon in it. But I like a bit of scrunch in my sock yarns. A tighter twist and a sturdier feeling wool. This would make great baby sweaters, though. Oooo. And baby blankets.

These will be cabled socks for moi.

These are intended for more clutches – either as kits for students or as gifts at Christmas. One green one will be mine – for springtime – once the birthday socks are done.

Happy Hump Day

posted by Bess | 7:46 AM


Hooray for stormy weather! I'm always a little let down when they're over. We've had a few this winter but now I think it's going to be sunny for a long long time.

Have a good time spinng at the museum!

By Blogger Larry, at 9:49 AM  

Oh, we had some wonderfully spooky weather on our weekend trip to Maryland, too. It was great fun, but I was also glad we were safely tucked away inside instead of fighting to do anything outside.

I'm about ready for spring, but I think we still have a few more muddy weeks ahead.

If anyone can explain why were got pale (almost cream, actually, if I'm being completely honest) carpet in a house in a county with ORANGE clay where dirt should be, I'd be happy to hear it. :-)

By Blogger Nerdy Knitter, at 9:16 PM  

Puddles with whitecaps -- what an image. :)

That Shetland sample looks like some beautiful fine spinning!

By Blogger cathy, at 1:09 AM  

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Sunday, March 09, 2008  

We got weather. Oh my we got it!

I love extreme weather – I'm always glad to feel the enormity of nature – so yesterday certainly was a glad day. First off, it was the second day of heavy rain. We've been dry for a long time, just over a year now, and I dread going into the drought season knowing the ground is already dry. Day long soaky rains are deeply needed – I can hope we get at least another one this month ... but, what say in about 2 weeks, not right away.

The rain came down so hard it not only blew in under the front door but under the side opening where (someday) I'll have the French doors into my studio. Once the rain was gone there was wind. Or mayhap I could say WIND.

You know it's windy when even the puddles have whitecaps. It was so windy I was actually a little afraid out in the yard, stirring up the leaves so they'd be blown away, and when I went out to feed the dogs a little later. I let them all back indoors once they were done because they were as uneasy as I was, out in there in all that Nature. We got so much wind the power eventually went off, but only for 45 minutes and even that was before real darkness set in. We didn't have to have a candlelight dinner, or read by lantern at the kitchen table. (metaphor – we don't have a kitchen table)

What I really noticed was how GREEN everything has suddenly become. March green is the most welcome of all, though May runs a close second. Nothing makes my heart sing, my body thrum, like the gigantic movement of winter into spring. I like winter. I like the snuggle up, hunker down, shut-it-out cuddlesomeness of winter. I haven't grown weary of winter in 20 years. When I know spring is on its way, I'm a little blue – because I still have, left over from childhood, that sense that if it's sunny outside, I should be out there, not indoors, knitting or spinning or reading a book or daydreaming. The end of February tends to pinch me a little, taunting me that in Virginia, spring really begins March 1, not March 21. But once it actually kicks in – that vibrant wild energy filled time of year – I really do like spring, second best to autumn.

Today I demonstrate spinning at the local museum. Isn't it a good thing I have been practicing, hmmm? Still not quite completely satisfied with how the neppy oatmeal wool is turning out but not exactly unhappy enough to reject it.

I did find some simply perfect Shetland top just begging to become a Shetland shawl. One of these days – when I have an empty bobbin.

posted by Bess | 8:36 AM


Wow...those are pretty yarns!

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:50 AM  

Your handspun is gorgeous! I could see a nice tweedy olive green working with those other colors....

By Blogger Mary, at 9:26 AM  

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Saturday, March 08, 2008  

I finished spinning a second skein of the gold Cotswold x CVM fibers

This is the fiber I tried to spin double drive last weekend with so little success. Though the two skeins are basically the same size – about a DK weight – they really look different. I can't tell if it's because my fingers are more practiced now or because of the double drive set-up, but the difference is visible to me. They feel very similar and I was unable, on this grey rainy day, to photograph the comparison. Knit up it isn't going to matter. I'm very pleased with the yarns.

Altogether I have about 200 yards of brown, red and this bronzy gold. I'm not sure if I want to add a 4th color – the red would work with the oatmeal CVM colorwise, but that fiber has lots of neps in it and it's proving to be difficult to spin into something that I think would compliment the fabric the other yarns make. I may just cast on and do a little stranded colorwork with the red and brown and see if anything even shows up. They are both so dark that the color differences may not be enough contrast. But if you can see pattern work with these colors I may stick with only 3 colors. Or I can paw through my stash to see what else I might add.

Today I am supposed to go off with BH to look at boats. If you have ever read Hagar the Horrible you know about BoatGuys – always on the quest for the perfect boat – having more chance of finding the holy grail. But the weather is pretty rotten for prowling around boatyards. We shall see. One of these days I have to fold that laundry in the baskets in the upstairs hallway.

posted by Bess | 7:33 AM


Hooray for more spinning! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 9:37 AM  

Just before I dash off to fold laundry, I'd like to say that your yarn is gorgeous all lined up like that. Beautiful spinnings!

By Blogger zippiknits, at 5:40 PM  

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Friday, March 07, 2008  

This has been a stressful week, mostly because I haven't felt focused and there was a lot of work to do. The work got done and I don't think there is anything onerous on the schedule today. I suspect the stress is because I haven't been exercising and I believe my body is so offended it has decided if it can't feel good, the rest of me can't either. I am not one of those people who doesn't like exercise. I love it. My only issues with exercise have to do with time. I also like to:

come home before dark
play with fiber crafts
have a clean house
read books
watch good movies
cook – as opposed to prepare 10,000 meals
And then there is the job
Oh, and the blog of course.
Oh yeah – and then – I don't live alone. BirthdayBoy likes companionship too.

So when do I exercise? I know I always feel better for exercise. I am always shocked that I quit doing something that makes me feel better. But from time to time, I do quit, and this winter was one of those times. Sigh. Time to reverse that bad behavior. Let us hope, then, that the coming week is not only stress free, but sweat eee.

This week I tampered with the jar yet again, because a BIRTHDAY is coming up at the end of the month and SOMEBODY asked for “anything you knit”. Now – I know HusbandSpeak and I know that means:

No sweater, you already made me one
No vests (no time for that anyway)
Any color at all, as long as it's blue

I also knew that two of the slips in the jar say:

The two ** mean I have 2 weeks to knit them, which is a good thing since I had to order some guy colored blue sock yarn this week. I won't be going near a yarn shop any time soon and all my sock yarn is NotBlue colored. That yarn ought to be here by Monday so I can cast on then and in the mean time, hmmmm. Wonder what other lovely roving I have buried in the stash?

La – how does the early morning fly by so fast.

Gratuitous photos of birdthoughts and more spinning.

posted by Bess | 7:33 AM


Love the clutch purse, and the cables and the button, and the silk! Lovely! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 7:44 AM  

Bess, Dear, thank you for transporting me into Spring! We're a bit away from it here yet. :-(

Love the clutch! Must try that some time, as I love to cable, and have lots of stash bits that would work -- including the silk!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 11:55 AM  

Love that clutch, especially with that lining! Gorgeous!

By Blogger Catherine, at 1:34 PM  

It's really a beautiful little purse. Thanks for sharing it and I hope that you get to teach that class.

By Blogger zippiknits, at 2:31 AM  

That purse is Gorgeous with a capital G.

And I was getting ready to ask you what on earth you mean by "the peppers like to sing" (singing peppers? I know Bess's home is magic, but really, the veggies sing? Without aid of cartoon animation?) and then my eyes cleared and I read it properly.

I'm going to make coffee now.


By Blogger Amie, at 7:46 AM  

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008  

For Catherine

Here is flooded Farmer's Hall Creek, where the turtles like to sun and in the evenings, the peepers like to sing.

Here are a few other proofs that spring is on its way.

I finished up that bobbin of brown wool last night. It's drying right now and I haven't any photos. HeyBaby is ready to spin up the rest of the golden CVMxCotswold that I didn't finish over the weekend. That's the fiber I was spinning double drive with such poor success. DD spinning is something for my future. I have plans for this fiber that involves speedy production. I've also decided against the green merino/tencil. I'll stay with the oatmeal CVM. I promise – more spinning photos soon.

I am nothing if not a fractured ENFP and along with socks, sweaters and spinning, I have had this project in the works. I have (dwindling) hopes that I will be teaching a cable class this spring and I needed a simple project for students to make. I love knitting large swatches and I've always thought what lovely clutch purses they would make – but I've never gotten around to making one. Till now, that is:

This shows the color best but the flash washed out some of the detail.

This is a better view of the cable and trinity stitch filler.

Here is the inside.

It's a piece of heavyweight pelon (what they're calling buckram these days, though it's not) wrapped in a piece of silk dupioni (My favorite fabric). The whole was whipped to the edges of the knitted piece which was then folded in thirds and the bottom third's edges were stitched to the middle third's. The top third creates the flap.

The button is fake, as you can see. The purse snaps shut. I would rather have used magnet closures, but I was shopping at the local WalMart.

I'm pleased with how this turned out and there is another swatch knit in a glittery yarn but it's still in its swatchstate.

A birthday is coming at the end of this month and the BirthdayBoy has requested Anything You Knit – which, since he also said he already had a sweater, why would he need two? – and besides, there isn't time to knit one – Socks it will be. Of course, he only likes black, blue, and subtle stripes of black and blue socks so I must do some shopping asap. Or asat rather, as soon as today. Thank goodness for Internet shopping.

Happy Hump Day.

posted by Bess | 6:02 AM


Oh, we have turtles too, in the lake near the house. I love it when they gather in a group to sun themselves on the bank.

By Blogger Catherine, at 11:22 AM  

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008  

Yesterday was a turtle warm day. 71 degrees! Driving home in the early afternoon I had to stop where the creek crosses our road and just stare at all the shiny turtles, sunning themselves on anything protruding from the water – stumps, limbs, logs. They cluster along their narrow perches like so many ladybugs in your window – but at the first sign of curious gawking humans, most of them slide into the water. Only a few of the boldest will wait it out, clinging to the warmth of the sun with daring do.

More, even, than the spring peepers, I love the turtles who sunbathe in Farmer's Hall Creek.

I'm helping BD with some editorial work and my spare time is quite limited this week. We're 7/9ths of the way through this project and after that I can get back to spinning. Maybe Wednesday night. Nothing is in a state worthy of a photograph but there ought to be Things to See by the weekend.

Happy Tuesday.

posted by Bess | 7:30 AM


Oh, Bess! I know it comes down to choices, and I've currently chosen to stitch rather than to practice my spinning...but one of these days! For I know that it was discipline and practice that got your hands and feet to produce that lovely yarn. :-)


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:14 AM  

I am thoroughly enjoying this spinning jag you're on! I'm glad the Murphy's oil soap washdown seemed to do the trick for your wheel. And I must chuckle that like me, you've got a lot of fiber in one particular color family. The other day I wanted some orange-ish colored fiber to spin on one of my spindles and opened up my little tub of fiber and all I saw was teal (!), (and the occasional green, purple, white or natural brown). We like what we like, don't we?! :-)

Regarding that green top -- I believe I have read/heard that for top and for long, crimpless fibers like alpaca, that spinning from the fold is one recommendation. I've yet to try that myself on the spindle, but I did pick up a little llama roving yesterday with my new spindle, so may give that method a try....

Keep on spinning! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 7:17 AM  

You're an inspiring lady, Bess dear! I have an empty bobbin and an angora blend near Fiona... hmmmm.....

By Blogger Amie, at 7:26 AM  

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Monday, March 03, 2008  

I washed HeyBaby down with oil soap, then gave her a general tune-up – tightening screws and oiling everything that likes oil, soaping the bits that like to be soaped instead – (wood on wood). She felt so much better and the rest of the day she whirred and purred, and never squealed. I experimented around with the drive bands too – I keep two on her – one, a short circle of rather thick cotton for using the smaller whorl and the long linen band she came with, which I tied to fit the double drive option. I've hardly ever spun with the Elizabeth set up for double drive and I don't remember anything I've read about it, but I thought I'd give it a (erm. Excuse the pun) whirl. Or better yet - two whirls. I see I'll have to go back and read more about double drive spinning. I couldn't get the take up tension right and after a while the bobbin stopped winding on at all. I got only about 60 yards of the gold colored Cotswold/CVM.

Next I loaded the shorter band onto the smaller whorl, went back to scotch tension and spun this lovely brown stuff.

Obviously the hands are getting their groove back.

I confess. I don't have a clue what this fiber is. I have so much brown roving and it's all nice – I have CVM, a low grade of merino, a higher grade of merino that was processed too roughly so it's full of neps, and some brown wool roving. All brown. All chocolate brown. All similar in color but definitely not interchangeable. This one though, wants to behave nicely so it's what I shall use. And yes yes yes. Agimw – I will label bags of fiber from now on.

I'm not sure how the dark red and the dark brown will look together so I pulled out a wee bit of oatmeal CVM, but it's not really a great match. The green merino/tencil top is the best color match for the two blended colors but it's prepared as top which demands a really different kind of spinning – and one I'm not so great with. I am seriously thinking of carding some up into rolags.

Momentary pause while I give that a try.

Well – we shall have to see – First I have to finish the bobbin of brown and the rest of the gold and then I'll knit a bit with those 3 colors and then I'll decide.

I will be thinking of spinning projects all day.

posted by Bess | 6:09 AM


As a novice spinner who tends to spin fine-gauge singles, I've had ends break and get buried a few times. I've sometimes had good luck with a Vicky Square suggestion to rub a toothbrush gently across the bobbin to raise the loose end. Doesn't always work, but worth a try.

By Blogger cathy, at 12:15 PM  

Oh Cathy - that's a good idea. I even remember seeing someone do that once. Thanks for the tip.

By Blogger Bess, at 7:02 AM  

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Sunday, March 02, 2008  

It's a good thing my standards are low when it comes to handspun yarn, because the little skein I spun and wet set is .... fine for me, probably horribly uneven for anyone else. Knit up it will suit my purpose, which is good enough. I have also decided I'm going to wash my Ashford Elizabeth down with Murphy's oil soap today. The wheel is probably quite dirty but I am mostly hoping the moisture will soak into the wood and make it swell up a bit. It's so wobbly it drove me crazy with it's rhythmic squeaks. I also lost an end in the singles yesterday - something I've never had happen before. The bobbin was winding up so loosely (I think because of the overall looseness of the wheel) that when an end slipped out of my fingers and wound onto the bobbin I couldn't find it!! Had to just break the yarn where I thought it might be and start spinning again. There was a break when I did the plying, but it was easy to fix.

I find it fascinating how people have different “natural” yarns – either tight or loose, thick or fine. I almost never spin tight yarn and my natural yarn is almost always a DK weight. One reason I wanted the Golding was that it had so many ratio possibilities that I could create some very fine spun yarns without having to treadle forever. I have some lovely Cotswold on my Golding right now - yarn I'm much more satisfied with than today's sample - and I don't want to ply it from a center pull ball. I want to ply it with another bobbin full. The Golding bobbins are expensive so I don't have any spares lying about - just 2 regular sized ones and the huge plying bobbin.

Red yarn with a hint of green.


I've decided the chocolate brown merino is likely to be too dark to pair with this yarn, even though it would go splendidly with the gold. So I am going to look for something else in my stash. I have some oatmealy colors that would work with the red. I could do 2 bands of 2 different colors each in my mitts. Or, I have a merino/tencil top in a lovely medium pea green. Unfortuantely, it's combed, not carded, but it would go with both colors. Got to think on this and get back with you tomorrow.

Happy Sunday to you all.

posted by Bess | 8:31 AM