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


Oooh! I love those cabled socks! Eye of partridge is my favorite heel stitch for yarns with color variations.

The meadow flowers are wonderful. We have the same wild sweet peas out here - pretty to look at, but no scent.

By Anonymous diann, at 10:39 PM  

I have a stand of obedient plant, too. It's just gotten more abundant every year (like my sock yarn supply). I think I'm going to have to impose some harsh discipline. It's disarmingly pretty, though, isn't it?

By Blogger cathy, at 1:46 AM  

I love the color of your socks. We don't see such tender green very often. The flowers are charming :)

By OpenID verachou, at 4:06 PM  

Your socks are are your flowers! Happy 4th!

By Blogger jane, at 5:21 AM  

Happy 4th of July! Hope you have lots of fun :)

By OpenID verachou, at 12:15 PM  

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Monday, June 29, 2009  

Summer of Socks progress and some Garden Photos

Knitting up front this time. I have completed the green cable cuff socks for BH.

Her birthday is July 24 so I'll wait and give them to her then. I really enjoyed this cable pattern but it's too small for my leg. I'd have to put in more stitches.

This is that decorative heel stitch. (I think it's called 'Bird's Eye' or 'Eye of the Partridge') It's very pretty, particularly in these lighter toned handpainted yarns.

BH wears a 6.5 narrow and has slender ankles so these socks are quite small.

I am knitting now on a pair of plain vanilla socks for BD. Beautiful dark blue yarn with a few other dark colors seeping in now and then, adding richness but not changing the overall hue. That is my upstairs sock, though. I may start working on a downstairs sock too.

That is it for knitting, but for your delectation, here are some garden photos. You must keep in mind that I have abandoned my garden for nigh on to 8 years. I had intended to plow it under this spring but a broken finger and lots of rain postponed that task till later.

I was once fond of claiming "I garden with invasive plants", largely because I thought it sounded clever, but also because it was true. I have always had limited funds and even at that I poured $$$ into the ground out back. To fill in the gaps I would let spreaders do their thing among the more prissy perennials. These sturdy things have several things in common. they come back year after year. They're resistant to diseases and insects. And evidently - they are all either lavender pink or vibrant orange:

This stand of ecanacia is a surprise - I had thought they had all died out. The double daylilies were a gift from a woman who used to live around here - I am not sure where she moved but I remember her vividly. She also painted silk scarves.

It took me forever to get sweet peas to grow in the garden but my goodness they have taken over now!

Double daylily - up close and personal.

Horse Thistle - most people would call this a weed - but its blossom is so pretty! I haven't the heart to dig it up.

Phlox - a gift from Penny Dudley lo these many years ago.

Sweet peas up close - alas - these are unscented.

Obedient plant has obediently spread all over the place.

A sweet scented favorite of mine - a native wildflower called Bouncing Bett

Yes. there are other colors of bee balm but this is the one that survives my humid hot summers.

posted by Bess | 7:15 AM


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Friday, June 26, 2009  

It's in the stars

Today marks a turning point within a professional situation that has a lot to say about you personally and your own sense of identity. You may be in two minds about how you should proceed but I suggest you dig deeper to find the source of your indecision. If you feel blocked, ask yourself if it is not your own self-imposed restrictions that may be getting in the way. It's one thing to strive for perfection, but recognize there is no such thing. Focus on your dedication to a great dream that fuels you forward even in the face of your most raging fears. Find your own sense of integrity and allow it to lead you forward in confidence of your own strength to see something through to fruition.

Sometimes one of these horoscopes is so uncannily on the mark I really begin to wonder if there isn't some hidden force trying to prod me in the right direction – a guardian angel, one of my departed beloveds, cosmic truth – I will not presume to say. What I will say is that I know that the above advice is something I truly need to take. I'm looking at a situation at work that I did not devise, that is not on my personal time table, an opportunity that I'm not sure I want to take on. I am finding all sorts of “less than perfection” excuses for avoiding making a decision at all. It has hung like a pall over my life for the past 6 weeks. It's one of those things that is laced with opportunity but which demands enormous amounts of work to bring to fruition. I'm glad to work hard, but I'm not sure this is the hard work I want to do.

It's funny how, not choosing, not deciding, not either leaping into this or politely declining, has made me deeply unhappy, somewhat frightened, and constantly anxious. Funny – since in this economy, most people are being asked to give up opportunities or at least post pone them and I have been offered several choices. It's time to search my soul and plot my personal course and quit imagining the expectations of others, and their possible disappointment in me, have such power over my choices and even my emotional state.

Hmm. Too Much Information. I ought to have said, above, that MsHoroscope hit the nail on the head today. Which she did. Or ... her substitute astrologer did. Ha! But I shan't erase the above either since this is my blog and I actually go back and read it now and then. I'll be glad, in my incipient senility, to remember what it was that had me so cranked up.

What is not TMI is that I'm motoring down to the end of those pretty green cabled socks. I plan to finish them this weekend. Photos on Sunday. I know the next socks I want to work on are the red lace ones .... the ones I had to rip out because the heel flap was too short. After that? Probably some deep blue socks for BD. Then there are two simple socks for me and then I will tackle my first pair of knee socks. Yes! I am going to explore calf shaping in socks. ... Or I may take a hiatus and knit a baby gift for the sweet girl who gives me manicures every other week.

Happy Friday!

posted by Bess | 6:19 AM


Hmmm! I have left comments on this blog and it looks like they didn't make it! Let's hope this time they do.

I'm so happy that your doctor's appointment brought good news and relief. Revisiting your youth and seeing today in the new eyes of your little neighbour are also good. Your week was hard, but it brought good things, which is what any of us can hope for. The pictures of your garden are absolutely beautiful. I wonder you can ever leave it ;-)

By OpenID verachou, at 3:56 PM  

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Thursday, June 25, 2009  

I'm back at last - with photos at the bottom

The past 10 days have been so demandingly busy I hardly have time to remember what I have to do next. I like to have plenty to do but this is not my idea of fun – this crazy busy time with nothing wonderful to show for it. This is frenzy for routine stuff, not scrambling around to throw a marvelous party or put on a fantastic production or preparing for some exotic trip. It's budget design, it's loading quickbooks with invoice numbers and then shifting funds from here to there to cover them. It's sitting, gratefully, but bored, in doctor's offices. Truly, not the stuff of read-worthy blogging. I'd have bored myself before I could finish a post, most days the past week or so and since the readership of this site is so low these days I'm likely to be the only one stopping by TheCastle anyway, there seemed little point in chronicling daily dullness.

Not that every moment has been so stultifying. There have been some sweet moments in the past 10 days , including a visit from a dear cousin who remembered not only being terrified of our grandmother's attic (for me, spooksville was the basement) but also being saved by my dad when she choked on a marble as she lay laughing on her back on my bedroom floor.

It's a funny thing about memories, because as she told me this story there was a slight tremor in my chest, a shaking from somewhere deep within ... who would have thought the memory lived in the body though if it had been so deeply buried in the mind I couldn't bring it to the surface even as I heard the story told? But I do remember a proposed overnight stay or weekend visit when I was very very young, a pre-schooler, I'm sure, that was suddenly canceled because my cousin began to cry and wouldn't stop. I am sure that was the occasion. My god – if parents knew how many ways children would risk their lives none of us would ever have gotten born.

In addition to seeing beloved family, we got super news at the doctor. BD does NOT have to have surgery on his good eye! The dr. said if he didn't have the proof of identity on BD's chart he would have thought a different patient had walked in the door. Happy happy news, that this could be taken care of with medicine and not invasively with knives and needles. There will be another surgery but it is less invasive and won't take place till late in the fall or early winter. Some things are such glorious gifts there really aren't words to describe how grateful we are for them.

I had a hot date last night too – with my neighbor, a rising 4th grader who simply had to introduce me to Transformers II – an animated crash and bangfest that was almost as entertaining as the audience. I remember when LD began collecting Transformers more than 20 years ago. Any of you remember the TV theme song? “Transformers....More than meets the eye!” The movie is everything a boy would love – trucks and fighting and a hot girl who changes into a robot. And a nerdy hero with the ultimate in weird parents who are still lovable, if embarrassing. The 20 somethings sitting both behind and in front of me, the target audience for the kissy parts, (my date and I closed our eyes at those bits) were primed for every battle, explosion and transformation. Truly, it was complete entertainment and my neighbors have invited me to come over and see the dvd of Transformers I anytime I want to.

Another magnificent treat has been the weather. Baring a Saturday of unimaginable heat combined with the sort of humidity that melted your face off, we've had lovely weather. Father's Day was simply beautiful – and combined itself with my cousin's visit ... after I'd vacuumed up 3 weeks worth of dog hair. Monday, the long doctor's day, was equally lovely if a little warmer. I've had several crack-0-dawn meetings that got me to work early enough that I skipped out early yesterday to just go home and enjoy perfect summer weather. It was so beautiful I took photos so, come join me on the lawn, in the deep emerald green of a perfect June afternoon.

Won't you sit with me in the garden?

A bit of rustic architecture.

Step into the woods for a bit of cool shade.

Or join me down this path to view Mr. and Mrs. B. Eagle

posted by Bess | 5:51 AM


Go, Sock Knitter Supreme! I, on the other hand, have to remember where I put mine when I tidied up last week...


By Blogger Marg, at 9:49 AM  

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009  

Summer of the Sock Spiritual & Snapshots

Yes. Well, I am feeling particularly silly I suppose but how's this for some lyrics? (Think Paul Robeson)

Go down, go down,
Way down in TheQueen's stash
Tell that
To let those Addi's go

Thank you Cathy for the inspiration. And here are the promised photos – since the $13 card reader from Walmart did the trick and now I can load pictures again. Here is the completed pair of socks, knit in the springy Spirit Trail sock yarn, in a wonderful pattern of knits and purls.

I hope you can see the difference between the sock knit on #2 needle and the one on #3. It's always difficult to photograph dark yarn.
This, alas, was a candidate for the frog pond – at least, half of it. I knit the heel flap too shallow, although I did knit it the requisite # of rows (I think. Now I will have to go count. This is the sock I knit while BD was in surgery a month ago)

See how it bulges out below the ankle bone. Not a pretty thing. Ugh. Those toes are not so pretty either, but both of them, sock and toe, can be fixed.
Here is the sock I am concentrating on now. This lovely yarn was purchased in July 2008 – a birthday present for BH. She will get the socks in July 2009. She has tiny tiny feet and slender ankles.

This is a First Sock, though – lots of knitting left to do on these. Can I finish them by next weekend? We shall have to wait and see.

posted by Bess | 6:50 AM


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Monday, June 15, 2009  

Play before Work

Every now and then I like to remind you that having Saturn in your sign has its good points. They come when you get some kind of pay off for the hard yards you've been putting in. And looking only SLIGHTLY ahead in your chart, I can see that one of those pay offs (or even two) are just around the corner for you. So remember the Saturn 2009 Rule: "Thy shalt not regret the hard work thy putteth in now, for foorsooth, soon ye shall prosper!" In other words - keep nose to the grindstone, rewards lie ahead.

Okay, MsHoroscope. I shall putteth mine nose to said grindstone.


Besides – I had the most perfect day yesterday to buck me up. The dry air followed us home from the mountains and gave us crystal blue skies, even if only briefly. It is grey and rainy again today. “40% chance of rain” say the weather dot com guys. I wonder – does that mean it will rain 40% of the day or over 40% of the scattered shower area. Right now it is what I might call a heavy mist outside. You'll come in wet, even though you may not feel any raindrops.

But yesterday! Oh! Yesterday was so beautiful. The air felt like a caress on my skin. Every living thing in the fields, forests or sky was busy about his business and chatty about it too. It was all chirps, tweets, keees, snuffs, peeps and croaks as we walked through the woods, down the lane, over to Roberts Landing. And yes – I got in my first swim of the summer before noon. That first plunge was chilly but it took less than a second to get accustomed and then the swimming was delightful.

There was knitting too – I did complete that pair of socks – the purple one with the pretty designs. I also took photos but the jack in the camera is truly disconnected, inside the camera body and I can't download anything at all now. I'll be off to see if I can find a media card reader that takes the old large size cards – I think I've seen pictures of them on-line but I am going to have to see one in person to be sure.

I also had to rip out an entire sock foot after I tried it on and saw I had made the heel flap too short. I know I made it the “normal” number of rows long ... as many rows as there are stitches in the width ... but it was still too short and the sock looked ridiculous. (took a photo of that too – you'll see, maybe tomorrow) So though there was one step forward, there was one step back too. Ahh well. Happily I am a process knitter and besides, D had the wisest thought of all – that it is fun to discover so many beautiful projects that are almost done!

So. Progress was made. And crossword puzzles were completed (BD and I do them together and laugh a lot at the puns, the puzzles and the silly definitions). A second walk was taken. Dogs were petted. Meals were consumed, all to the accompaniment of talk and talk and talk. Evidently we were as chattery as the rest of the animals here on the farm.

And now it is Monday and we must get back to werk – werkwerkwerk. But we have yesterday to remember and smile about and be glad for.

posted by Bess | 7:12 AM


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Sunday, June 14, 2009  

Cousins, Socks, KALs?

Oh La! Classic Queen post - long, wordy, gushing, interesting, (at least, to herself)

These are the things at the forefront of my mind right now - the wonderful visit we made yesterday (lots of driving through the lush Virginia countryside) and socks of course, because I have a ton of them to knit, and Knit-A-Longs.

Yesterday we left early to drive west from here - west along my favorite stretch of highway in the whole wide world, Rt. 60; west of Powhatan Courthouse. West west west to my favorite small town in all the world, Bedford Virginia. Mind now, I deeply love my little town, which is also a Virginia town, and an old one at that. But it is not Bedford. Bedford is the fantasy town. It's the small town people really dream of living in when the think "I'd like to live in a small town". It's got about 6 or 7 thousand people in it - which is enough to really do something. It's along a divided highway that's not an interstate. It is also not the only road through town (says the gal who works in a town with only one road through it and knows about congestion), for there are many other smaller roads that lead in and out. This means speedy driving but not congested horror driving. It's the county seat of Bedford County and is halfway between two bigger cities so there is the option of commuting. It's nestled at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mts. Intrepid walkers could actually walk up to the mountains, but the town just has some gentle slopes supporting its sidewalks.

The folk in Bedford have worked hard, and cooperatively, I am sure, to keep their downtown vibrant and active. There are shops and businesses and banks and grocery stores you can get to without having to drive into the thousand acre parking lots around walmart ... but there is a walmart too for those who need or want that option. It's just that it's out on that divided highway that's not an interstate. (460 for the curious). There is a Yarn Shop!!!!! in Bedford. Need I say more?

I know there are all sorts of houses in Bedford but I when I think of Bedford I see our cousins' houses - all 19th century and early 20th century set back in big green lawns. Our beloved Aunt Anna lived in one that faced the mountains and had a history with a scandal, which she shared with me one long ago summer morning after I'd spent the night (on real linen sheets, my dears). "They eventually moved over the mountain to Alta Vista, but I heard they were never happy".... oh la I can still hear her telling me.

Aunt Anna loved me and loved BD because we so adored her brother, BD's father. I had wonderful stories to share with her of his last years, the only years when I knew him. She gave us the blanket chest he made for her as a wedding gift in the 1920's. She knew we would treasure it and we do. It is full of yarn. Some things are truly truly sweet.

Well. goodness. I sound like the tourist bureau. I guess I am in a way. For sure, though, if I ever had to leave here I would fly to Bedford. And not just because it is the perfect fantasy small town - but because there are Cousins!! in Bedford. Cousins we love. Cousins who watched a precious son graduate from high school yesterday. Cousins who welcome us whenever they see us. Cousins who love us. Cousins with a wide green lawn on which a surprise awaited us! LD had driven up to see W graduate. There was a party and there was delicious food and there were more hugs and some hastily made plans for fun later in the summer.

And then BD and I drove home through the cool evening - dry in the mountains, dank and humid here in Tidewater - and got home to hungry dogs who wondered where we'd been. I am so glad I went. It was just the pick-me-up I needed. Thank heavens for Cousins. And Bedford, VA. If I can't live there, at least I can visit.

Well. All that gush drove thoughts of socks right out of my mind. Let me see if I can reel them back for a few brief words. I promise. Brief!

First off - there is that pair of socks I want to finish this weekend. I did finish the second sock, which was hanging on a size 3 Addi circular needle. I tried it on as I knit it and it was longer than the finished one. I had not looked closely at the actual knitting, only at the length on my leg and the fit around the heel. I am constantly growing bored with the last bit of sock knitting - the foot part - and knitting them too short and this was the case in the First Sock of this lovely purple pair. Sometimes I just wear the socks anyway. Sometimes I pull out the toes and knit a little more foot. Since this short foot actually made the whole sock a good bit shorter than the other I pulled out the toe, picked up the stitches with the now freed up #3 needle and began working on the toe. And that's when I remembered.

I remembered what I was thinking and doing when I began these socks. I had knit the first sock on smaller needles - a #2 or #1. And I had wondered if you could use this tightly spun bouncy sock yarn to knit a bigger sock without changing the stitch number ... because the pattern would look good with either men's or women's clothes. And yes. This stretchy bouncy yarn knits up a nice, if loose, sock that would fit a bigger foot. Alas, if one were hard on socks, as, for example, BD is, then I would have to recalculate the numbers. If one weren't too hard on them, as, happily, TheQueen is, one could wear this looser sock a long time. Since they're for me anyway I'm glad but if/when I write up the pattern, it will be for standard woman's sizing.


isn't there always a but?

I had to pull out the new knitting on the First Sock toe - because on #3 needles it looked simply horrible. I must now find a smaller needle (or pull one from another sock project) to finish up the toe of that sock. Which I will do. Because I will will will finish that pair of socks today!!

I'm also thinking a wee bit about a Summer of the Sock Knit-a-Long. I'm not actually much of a knit along type but I have joined one or two when I wanted a little extra support to keep me on task. Reporting back to Others helps me do DOOTIFUL things and while I love all my sock yarns and want all the socks they'll turn into, completing them still carries with it a hint of Dooty.

And so. And so. I wonder if anyone would want to join me in a KAL. I know One person does - the person who suggested it to me. I will ponder this a day or two more and then Make an Announcement. But now - the needles call. so does a lonely BD, who would like company with his breakfast. I am off. Happy Sunday.

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posted by Bess | 8:06 AM


Wowza! My mother-in-law is very disciplined and she shakes her head in disbelief when she sees my two or three knitting projects "on-the-go". I think she would faint at the sight of all those socks LOL! She just doesn't get us "creative" types ;-) Knit on sister! :)

By OpenID verachou, at 10:12 AM  

You're a woman after my own heart, Bess! If I don't start a project when inspiration strikes, it will never be right. Isn't it fun when you find almost finished projects you'd forgotten about?

By Blogger Diann Lippman, at 7:22 PM  

You continue to make me feel good about the (merely) four pair of socks I have in my socks box...!


By Blogger Marg, at 11:30 AM  

Holy cow, what a lot of socks and beautiful yarns! Looks like there's a lot of fun in store for you. :)

By Blogger cathy, at 10:04 PM  

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Friday, June 12, 2009  

Proof of Knitting (but you have to read the text first)

The solstice is nearly upon us. It is always a powerful time but this year, it is due to have extra special potency. It happens under the 'dark of the moon' just while the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron is reaching the peak of its 'second wave'. If ever there was a time when you could start to make your wishes come true, reach for your dreams and start bringing long needed change to our world... it's got to be now. Be ready for several months of amazing opportunity.

This is MrHoroscope's advice for everyone and MsHoroscope has this to say to me and my virgo sisters:

In the quite near future (in just over a week) the Sun will be moving out of your 10th House of Career and into the part of your chart where it's all about parties and schmoozing and having fun with your mates. However, don't use this forecast as an excuse to get the party started early. Rather, remind yourself that you only have a week or so left to really focus on your career, where it's going and where you feel it should be headed. It's your annual chance to focus on your career direction, so don't waste it!

Well – I would be glad of a break from the werkwerkwerk of my life but I am a little nervous about not having the sun shining down on my werk because ... I have a lot of it. This is the busy season in any public library and right now libraries are busier than ever (see this Today show broadcast) as people look for free Internet, free job help and free entertainment. Still and all – I can't change the stars and if I'm to be miss social butterfly starting in just over a week. Hmmm. The beginning of summer reading club.

Here is some happy news, though – I found that if I jiggled the cord in the camera's jack, I could get it to cough up it's photographs and send them to the computer. So – today there are photos (dim light, cloudy skies, muggy air, uninspired photographer) of the many socks I intend to knit this summer. Voila!

The lovely blue Namaste bag LD gave me one Christmas is stuffed to overflowing with sock yarn and sock projects. Most of the half completed pairs are in Ziploc bags, though I found some buried at the bottom of the bag when I emptied it.

On the left is a pair of Cherry Tree Hill Yarn red socks that are more than halfway done. On the right is a pair knit from Spirit Trail Yarn that are very nearly completed. This is the pair I'm currently knitting. I'll have to unpick the toe of the finished sock and knit the foot a little longer before they're done. The goal is to finish them by Sunday night.

Here is some Trekking sock yarn in blue, half way down the cuff of the first sock. This will probably end up as Christmas Socks for one of my guys. On the right is beautiful Paprika sock yarn from Canada - a gift from V. Must stitch up the toe of the First Sock and finish knitting the Second Sock.

On the left is an almost finished first sock for my cousin BH. I bought the yarn for her last birthday - July 08. I guess I'll give her the socks for her '09 birthday. She has small feet so I'll tackle these next. On the right is a pretty little pair of socks in another Spirit Trail yarn - a gift from the dyer - with a knit and purl cuff.

This was what was left in the bag. Bottom left is a pair of socks I knit for Mama. Alas, her diabetic feet have grown so wide that these are too tight for her. As knit they are too short for me. So - a picking I will go and then re-knit a longer foot. Continuing clockwise in a spiral there are two skeins of fabulously coordinating Spirit Trail sock yarn in an autumn hand paint and a green semi-solid. 800 yards altogether, these will be a fancy pair of something. Above that at almost 12 o'clock is more ST yarn in harvest colors. Coming down the right from 1 to 3 o'clock is some purple and pumpkin yarn I got at MS&W. It's Cherry Tree Hill end of the spin yarn and they'll be knit together in some sort of knee sock. The green skeins lying at 3 o'clock is that Sundara sock yarn. Below that, at 5 o'clock is the beginnings of a lace sock knit in Regia sparkle. I have some black of that yarn too but I guess it's hidden somewhere.

Curling up into the center is some mystery sock yarn I got in a sock of the month club years ago. I ended up not liking the pattern and frogged the first sock when it was almost done. I knew I'd never knit the second sock and its nice enough yarn to deserve a pattern I will complete. In the center above that is some soft grey ST yarn I also bought this year at MS&W to knit BD something wonderful.

posted by Bess | 6:51 AM


I'm a perendale too! I have a few knitting-related books in my amazon wish list too. I'm being very strong about it for the moment, but I can forsee a time when I'll click that "add to cart" button soon, not this week though, I've already ordered some Briggs & Little wool to knit my brother a sweater and my man some socks. Have a good day, mon amie :)

By OpenID verachou, at 10:52 AM  

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Thursday, June 11, 2009  

I had to take the quiz over at Potter & Craft in celebration of Clara's new Knitters Book of Wool. The truth is, I'm not any of the answers because there were too many choices for each question. These were just random possibilities. I took it again and came out a Finn and I know I could have been something else - shiny, maybe, or oh, cashmere.... though that's probably not technically a wool. Anyway, nice to have a graphic to post.

Speaking of Clara and Knitters Review and all - what do you think of the mink yarn she reviewed this week? Hmm. interesting sounding. But then I'm all about luxury and new yarns and such. There is a little discussion on the forums about it, but folks mostly seem wary about the animal's welfare - and certainly anything coming out of China is likely to be suspect because the country is so vast, so closed and so culturally different from us. Even if the animals are treated well, how does one know the people processing the yarn aren't political slaves? Still and all - the Great Northern folk are working directly with the producers and they're advertising this as a No Animal Was Killed product so ...

A global world is so full of surprises, pitfalls, delights and conflicts.

I'm motoring down the foot of a Second Sock this week - only about oh, 7 more rows of the sock left before it's time to begin decreases, but I see that the first sock is a little too short. That's the hardest part of sock knitting for me ... deciding when to start the toe decrease. I'm sure I measured the cuffs when I was working on the SS and knit them the same length but when I tried both on, the SS was actually longer than the first - and it's because the foot part of the FS is just too short. I'll rip that back and knit a few more rounds and will be done with a Pair of Socks (for me) by Sunday.

The real joke on me was that I found in each of the 6 pair of unfinished socks ... a beautiful $13 addi turbo needle. That is $70 worth of knitting needles - I am really too indulgent. I'm also thinking of an intarsia design down the back of a knee sock using that plum and butterscotch sock yarn I bought at MS&W ... knit flat and seamed along the calf and then knit in the round from the ankle to toe. That ought to be an interesting project... that, or an exotic floral stranded colorwork band below the ribbed cuff, with the rest of the sock done in textured cables.

This summer I intend to keep that enormous bag of sock yarn out in view in the living room so I'll keep plugging away at the already started socks - time to get these babies done.

I saw the Cookie A sock book on Tuesday ... Sock Innovation. and was impressed with the intricacy of her patterns. I'm usually willing to invest my sharp mental capacity in intricate knitting of little things like socks. When it comes to the shawl or sweater I'm a less inclined to get fussy with my stitches. In fact, I bought the sock book - and the Nicky Epstein book (unseen act of faith) from Amazon. free shipping. total indulgence strikes again.

So knitting is once again getting attention at TheCastle. Had a little with BD about tough things we are facing these days and that helped with the blues, adding to the uplift I get from daily walks with dogs and the realization that I totally miss my pre-school story hour kids and need a swoop fix. So things are not so gloomy, though we could all do with a little more sunshine and a little less rain. But people who live on farms never complain about rain. The rain gods might hear us and go somewhere else for the summer.

It is now time to take that walk so I'll bid you all goodbye for now. Ta.

posted by Bess | 6:56 AM


Great news for your husband! And I'm so happy your day ended better than it started. Fresh air is a cure for many things. Take care and you're very welcome! :)

By OpenID verachou, at 12:55 PM  

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009  

Better Tuesday

thank you M and V. Your sweet comments are very very welcome. And you know, as it often is in this funny old world, the day didn't end up nearly as pinchy and gloomy as it started out. The doctors did identify what was wrong with Ed's eyes and though it means More Surgery, it doesn't mean he has to choose between his eyesight and his heart – vision or life – but instead has an alternative route to better health. I did get back to work in time to make half a dozen crucial phone calls and get 2 or three important things moving further along the path.

Best of all I got in a grand walk with the dogs before work and by golly I am going to go take another one in 10 minutes. I can't believe the difference in attitude a little exercise can make. Once out on the long straight stretch along the west woods or standing beneath the huge willow oak by Jacob's gut, or gazing through the trees at the old corn crib, I could hear answers to problems and see Next Best Steps to take.

And so – it is my goal to take that morning walk every day it isn't actually raining in the morning. I have to do it by 7 o'clock or I will be late for work, though, and since I see it's almost 7, that's all I have to say today.

Except thank you for your thoughtful comments – funny how much good those little things do. Happy Tuesday to you.

posted by Bess | 6:46 AM


Here's a hug so that perhaps your Tuesday will be terrific.

By Blogger Marg, at 11:24 AM  

If only knitting could burn more calories :) I hope things smooth out for everyone in your world and that you will soon see calmer skies travel over it.

By OpenID verachou, at 10:49 PM  

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Monday, June 08, 2009  

Bad blogger. Blue Monday.

Sigh. June is turning into a very cranky month. There are the usual strains of winding up the fiscal year, with promises to Self that Next Year I'll be more efficient, tidier, and more structured. A Better System will be devised. There is also the tension of gearing up for the Summer Reading Club – all fun stuff but intensely people oriented – lots of school tours, newspaper announcements, etc. Add to this some pressure from higher-ups, valuable and exciting, but heavy, to expand library services into the more remote areas of the county. This comes with time tables and TTD lists. So, work is ... it is HEAVY.

On top of that, BD's body has not accustomed itself to the serious body chemistry changes that took place after his May surgery. His medications are not playing nicely with each other and we are having to make lots of doctor visits to get them to behave. Today is one of them and since all this is affecting his eyesight, I must drive him. I am glad to do this, but ... see paragraph above.

The weather hasn't helped with it's crashing thunderstorms dumping inches and inches of rain on already wet ground. The corn, planted twice, is underwater again – though some of the new shoots look like they'll make it anyway. Power outages, downed trees, that sort of thing, made last week even crankier – and I am just not looking forward to this week, though there is nothing on my plate I don't want to do . . . or even don't like to do.

I am also dealing with a couple of disappointments of a personal and familial nature, neither of which is momentous, yet, when taken with all the other things that are turning June into prune or gloom or whatever it seems to be turning into, deepn the spiritual blues, as they lurk in my psyche and prick me whenever I am feeling particularly down.

So. So. So what to do?

I think that the #1 thing I need is more physical activity. It's very easy to skip going to the gym and if ever there were a gal in need of endorphins gushing through her body, it is ThisQueen. I am feeling like the "before" pictures – flabby, clunky, and sloppy. And a scant 2 months ago, after 2 weeks of regular weight and cardio workouts I felt grand and powerful and happy. I think Dr.Queen is going to self-prescribe 3 gym visits a week plus regular walks with the dogs. In fact ... I think I'll head out now.

This must be the gloomiest blog post I have ever written – but be assured. If it were really bad around here I would fall silent – not blab about it. I only share the stuff that isn't too personal. And there is knitting going on – I am just camera-less ... one of the above mentioned disappointments – and look to be so for a good while. You will have to take my word for it. Socks are lengthening and when there are Finished Socks I will borrow a camera and take pictures.

posted by Bess | 6:17 AM


12 pairs of unfinished socks! Enjoy your centipede summer :)Socks are wonderful for summer projects because you can take them anywhere and they don't make you warmer as they don't sit on your lap as you knit them. I don't have any "hotness" problems yet because it's still so darn cold here!

By OpenID verachou, at 3:32 PM  

I feel better now -- I only have 4 unfinished pair!


By Blogger Marg, at 11:33 AM  

I have lots of socks to do, too, so I'll definitely cheer you on. :) Maybe that can help me stay motivated knitting wool socks even when it gets hot outside!

By Blogger cathy, at 10:33 PM  

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Monday, June 01, 2009  

Summer of the Socks

Oh my, M! Isn't that uncanny? I don't expect anything in particular on Friday but the situation with my dad and with all else fluid in my life is such that I won't be surprised if I feel either pressured or scolded. Here is what MsHoroscope has to say for today, though ...

If you're one of the Virgos who's been working and worrying yourself into the ground for longer than you care to remember, hang on in there! You are not quite at the end of the cycle yet, but today and over the next few day, you can actually get a bit of a reprieve - if you're willing to put in the effort to make it happen! Some wonderful alignments in your Well Being Zone suggest that if you book yourself in for some pampering, eg: a massage, some time off, a quiet dinner, or even if you just set aside an hour for a candlelit bath … you really will reap major benefits. Go on. You've earned it.

um. well. You all know I am one of those Virgos but there isn't time or money for booking massages or quiet dinners. I can have a candlelit bath – might even do so - but what I know I will be doing all week is conducting school tours. Every half hour from 10 to 2, from Monday to Friday, kids will be hearing about the summer reading club. Sadly, I don't have anything nearly as exciting as last year's bug banquet but we will have dancing, drawing, and drama classes throughout the 6 weeks of the program and if I can't make that sound interesting, well... let's just say I can.

Yesterday I spent a little time getting to know all the unfinished sock projects tucked away in the downstairs of my house. I am not sure what is upstairs. I will tackle that part later, tomorrow, at Tara. What I found were 6 pairs at least at the half way point and yarn to knit 6 more pairs.

That's 12 pairs of socks!!

I've been toying with having a marathon sock month this summer to see just how many of these I can finish up but with this many pairs in the queue and with so much grand sock yarn waiting in the wings, I'm thinking that this should be the Summer of the Sock. Especially since today is June first – not any sort of astronomical start of summer, but in Upper Tidewater Virginia, the beginning as far as matters.

So. The question is: How May Socks Can The Queen Knit In A Summer?

We shall just have to see.

posted by Bess | 6:59 AM