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


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Monday, October 26, 2009  

As Promissed

Here's the photo of the blue lace edging turning a corner. The yarn is merino so it wants to scrunch up right now but it will flatten out when it's blocked.

Here's a closeup.

The color is somewhere between the two photos - a little brighter than the first but not quite so loud as the second. And I am sorry to say - although I have been as proud as punch with how the pattern has worked out so far - I am now at that Daunting Moment when one finds a - gasp - Math Error. Although I believe I have followed this pattern exactly - I have discovered as add the edging to the short side of this shawl that there are two extra stitches lurking up ahead! This is the cast off part - the part that I couldn't have done wrong or the center part wouldn't have worked out. These were live stitches too, so it's highly unlikely I would have skipped a stitch. At the moment I can't figure out what I did wrong. I just haven't felt the love enough to go back and Count Carefully. I will. And if I can't figure it out I will rip back some of the edging and do a little fudging. But dang. This is a mystery.

I expected, if I did anything mathmatically incorrect it would be along the long edges, where one picks up selvedge stitches. But when I hit the first corner with no math issues I figured I was home free.

Well. Guess I figured wrong. Ah well. I'll leave it till tonight - who knows? the Knitting Fairy might come along and fix it for me while I am at work.

Happy Monday to you all.

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posted by Bess | 7:20 AM


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Sunday, October 25, 2009  

Where have she been?

Thank you my friends, for the compliments. Honest and true, this is an EASY -no - an E A S Y pattern. And I'm pleased to say I've rounded the first corner (my first knitted on edging corner) and am heading to the next one - should get there today. Photos in the next posting.

But where have I been? ahh well. I have been playing on SparkPeople's website. Sent there by my friend Bossy Little Dog's bossed around C, after she heard me whine and complain about how fat I'd gotten over the past few years. And I have been sucked into the vortex. And they have a weight loss blog feature where, as you have learned to expect from MsLoquacity, I have been pouring my heart out about fat grams and that other kind of fiber we all know about and oh this and that. And alas, there is really time only to make one long loquatious post a day in most people's lives, so I have neglected TheCastle dreadfully.

In order to fill up the empty roomsof TheCastle, I will offer up my SparkPeople blog post of today, so, unless you're interested in that part of my life - not much point in reading further. Just know, I will photograph the thrilling blue lace corner today and post it tomorrow.


Goals goals goals

I have had the worst time coming up with goals for myself – with health and fitness and body and weight and dress size goals, that is. Oh – it is easy to say I want to be fit, I want to feel better, be stronger, look better - even that I want to get off blood pressure medicines. But what does that actually mean? Where is the measurable objective I need to get where I'm going. (ha! can you tell I work for the government?) And, can I even get there? I might be at my optimum weight and still need blood pressure medicines.

For that matter, how will I know what my optimum weight is?

Mind now, I am a classic ENFP on the Myers Briggs scale. For me it's the journey, not the destination. But worse than the fact that I never seem to have any goals is how easy it is to stray off the path on any given journey because the classic motto of an ENFP is “Hey! Look! A Bird!”

I can't think of anything I've ever wanted badly enough to say .... “By ___date I will achieve ____”

This doesn't mean I haven't wanted things and worked hard to get them. I spearheaded a million dollar building project and it happened. I had the fanciest garden you've ever seen because I worked 20 hours a week for about 5 springs and summers and in the end Wow! You can see the results on the Queen's Garden link in my sidebar. But there was no ticking off the items on the checklist about that garden. I just dove in and worked my little heart out and one day I looked around and thought “hey, this garden is too beautiful to keep to myself” and invited 100 people to a party.

I know that if I enter into something with joy and passion and concentration I will go far. It's really the only way I know to achieve something. Yet, like having 100 guests in my garden, I would like something I can point at to say “Hey – look! A goal – achieved!”

So. I've really been thinking hard and eventually, digging deep into my past I found a goal I want to achieve. For 20 years I stayed slim and trim and I had a great wardrobe. As time passed and the dress size went up, I held on to one special dress – one beautiful simple classic cotton sun-dress that, when I wore it, always made me fell like a princess – like a beautiful woman. I know I weighed about 143 lbs. when I wore that dress and so I have set that weight as my target weight. But the goal? The goal is to be able to wear that dress again.

I ought to be able to get there by mid-May, so I've set a single goal of wearing it on Mother's Day 2010. I may be able to wear it sooner. I am sure there will be other victories along the way – both Scale Victories and Non Scale Victories. But, like the day I had 100 friends in my beautiful garden, I will know I have arrived when I can button up that wonderful dress and wear it someplace. And when I wear it, I'll have my photograph taken and post it for all the world to see. .

posted by Bess | 9:35 AM


Well, maybe the knitting is repetitive, but that sure is beautiful. (By the way, re Stitches, I'm not planning on going this year. Too far, when I've already got piles of stuff to knit.) Oh, and a belated Happy Anniversary!

By Blogger cathy, at 3:11 PM  

Love the Blue Lace, dear heart! And the photo of "you" knitting something orange, wearing an orange shirt, trying to blend in with the pumpkins in the patch...ostensibly to pop out and "BOO!" someone? ;-)


M in M

By Blogger Marg, at 1:12 PM  

Wow! The shawl is beautiful and an inspiration to keep trying to learn how to knit lace. Thanks for sharing, Ramona

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:41 AM  

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Monday, October 19, 2009  


This is the Melon Shawl from Victorian Lace Today and that's about all I'm going to say except - it's easy - and no more boring than your average shawl or scarf (La! 62 repeats of the same pattern? Ugh!) and it's beautiful and .... I am in love with knitted on edgings.

You can see the dog hairs in the edging. Eh. They can be plucked out.

I am in love with fagotting.

posted by Bess | 7:48 AM


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Sunday, October 18, 2009  

Thank you, V, L, K, and M. It really is an adventure - this twining of two lives over a long stretch of time. Sometimes there is this wonder that I, the ethnic Yankee catholic, could mesh my life with BD, the old Virginia episcopalian - I the Heinz 57 American, he the Pawpawdidindoitlikethat southerner - somehow found common ground. At other times, well, it was as if we both were escaping from Wrong Backgrounds into the custom fit of the life we've created for ourselves. But most of the time I just count my blessings and move on from there.

Today though I will be merely moving into the attic to dig out some warm clothes. Cold Weather and Wet has whomped down upon us and suddenly there isn't anything to put on besides tank tops and shorts. Last spring I did a major clean out of a lifetime of clothing but it's still daunting to me to venture into the darkness that is my attic. And it is dark because of one of those Challenges that M referred to - since there are now no functioning light fixtures up there and I must carry up a camping lantern .... but we won't talk about that, right? (oh where are the laughing smiley faces when I need them?)

And in the afternoon we will go to a wake for my dear friend L who died a week ago. There will be lots of people there because she was truly beloved and we'll all be smiling because she left us with more of happiness than of anything else.

Oh la! And I promise to post a photo of Blue Lace somewhere soon and let you know where it is.


posted by Bess | 8:12 AM


What a lovely story! Happy anniversary :)

By OpenID verachou, at 8:56 AM  

I will never tire of hearing this lovely story. Happy Anniversary

By Blogger Linda, at 4:10 PM  

Many congratulations to you both for another wonderful year together!

By Blogger KathyR, at 4:13 PM  

I am thankful that you're my friend too, Dear Heart. And that you and BD are survivors of the Great Challenge and Blessing that is Marriage. May you have many more years together in health and happiness!


By Blogger Marg, at 10:11 PM  

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Friday, October 16, 2009  

It's Anniversary Time Again

You have heard it before, but I never get tired of this story:

Long long ago there was a cheeky teenager, just past her 19th birthday, who was studying music at a big city university. One Friday, as she walked into the orchestra room, the flute player spun around in his chair, looked her straight in the face and asked her if she wanted to drive to North Carolina with him the next day.

“Sure” she said, desperate for anything to do on a weekend, when most of her friends split for home, leaving her to rattle all alone in a monolithical dormitory. Besides, he was one of the really good looking guys she and Robyn had decided were “cute enough to take us out”. And he had such a voice - deep sonorous basso profundo with the most delicious country southern drawl - not hick, in fact, very cultured, but oh so Southern. And startlingly blue eyes. Blue like autumn skies. And he was big - not fat or anything - just big with a big aura, a big presence. Nothing hesitant or shy or effacing. This was a man, not a boy, and he was inviting her to spend all day with him.

“Right.” he said. "Meet me at my house tomorrow at 10 a.m." and he gave directions to a row house in the Fan district, a few blocks from school.

Poor thing. Little did he know that he’d just arranged a date with his exact opposite in the GreatClockUniverse. She was no ditherer. No lingerer. No procrastinating late comer. She was an EarlyBird - always 15 minutes before hand, sometimes more. For this important assignation she was a full 30 minutes early, knocking on the dark and silent door of his first floor apartment.

“Stood up!” she thought. “Impossible” Nobody stood up this girl, no siree. And she stomped the four blocks back to school, snatched her fiddle out of her locker, slammed the practice room door shut and began to saw away, muttering imprecations, curses, indignant affronted descriptions of what is expected in this world, and other dark and damning words. But ...She was also innately fair and as she scraped away at Kreutzer, she had to admit that the man had said come at 10. Perhaps he was out filling up the gas tank. Or perhaps he was renting a trailer. After all, the purpose of the trip was to retrieve his piano, waiting for him in his old place in Chapel Hill, NC. And so, at 10 o’clock for sure, she rounded the corner of Lombardy and Floyd and there he was, waving an arm, smiling happily and calling out “Hey Baby!”

She crossed the street and he invited her into his apartment. He offered her a beer, and though she hated the stuff - still does, in fact - she was also aware of what is cool and for a still-teenage girl at college, drinking beer at 10 a.m. was truly cool, so she said yes. He was back in a flash with a mason jar full of the most delicate, most mellow drink she’d ever tasted. His own home brew. There were gallons of it in his little bachelor kitchen. Now, be it gallons or pints, this stuff was potent and it was only moments before she was definitely in the mood to be entertained. And entertained she was, with music, books, ideas, and talk talk talk, tumbling out of this delightful man with his shelves full of books, boxes full of sheet music, head full of poetry in three different languages and kitchen full of nectar. Best of all, he was happy. Neither cynical, sarcastic nor jealous of another’s musical ability or progress, he was ready to share, to learn, to listen and to admire. In the highly competitive world of performing arts, here was someone with a blend of such innocence and courage there was nothing to do but laugh with pure pleasure and maybe fall in love a bit.

After a while the two of them tooled off in search of a U-haul place. Across the Lee Bridge at an Esso Station on Cowardan Ave., where Caravatti’s Junk Yard used to be, he stopped and went in to arrange a rental. Minutes passed and when he returned he stoood right in front of the car and grinned at her through the windshield; one of those beaming, sunshiny “Ain’t this Grand?” grins. And as she stared up at him, suddenly he turned into an old man, still standing there, still grinning. She blinked. Gawped. Stared again. She looked down at her own hands and they had turned into an old lady's hands, the skin papery and spotted with large brown freckles, sunk down between the tendons. They were her grandmother’s hands. And she thought “My god. I’m going to be riding around in a car with this man when I’m an old lady.”

For some reason he had decided to rent the trailer in NC. Probably the Richmond outfit didn’t have what he was looking for. They motored on down I95, past the tobacco plant and warehouse district of south Richmond, past Petersburg, through Emporia. They talked the whole time, chattering, discovering, opening, sharing. At one point he said “well, there’s a lot you don’t know about me” and she thought “oh boy, there’s a lot you don’t know either”. And at that, there were some surprising points of contact. He had graduated from the same high school her dad had gone to. She had played a concert in Chapel Hill that he had gone to hear. He had taken lessons in Winston Salem while she had been a student at the School of the Arts. At Herndon, NC they stopped for lunch at a Kentucky Fried Chicken place. She had never been to one. In fact, fast food then consisted almost entirely of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, milkshakes and fries. Fried chicken was a real treat and, of course, to a 19-year old, it didn’t threaten the diet doom it was to present later on.

The October skies had been gray all day but they grew heavier and more threatening as evening approached. Rain began to fall. At a Carolina gas station he picked up a small box trailer and two ice cream sandwiches. “How did you know ice cream is my all time favorite treat?” she cried and, to his question of “Then don’t I deserve a reward?”, she answered with a resounding kiss. Of course, this was in the days when, first off, girls worried about being thought forward or even worse; fast! It was also at a time when she was very wary of anything that would cause boys to sidle away from a touchy feely woman. Of course, this was no boy. 28, he’d told her. But when it’s the right guy, with the right gift, only a kiss will do.

It was harder to be chatty on the long dark wet drive home. Especially when the passenger was one of those Superior Morning Persons. For an SMP, darkness means it’s time to close one’s eyes. She still didn’t realize she was dealing with one of those Stubborn Night Owls. SNO’s think SMP’s are silly, especially the types who creep out of cozy warm beds before the sun is actually above the roof tops of the houses across the street. All those delightful discoveries were waiting up ahead for them. On that day, in the hypnotic glare of headlights on raindrops, she grew pretty drowsy. “I like to drive. Go to sleep” he told her and eventually she did.

It was too late to get back into the dorm when they reached Richmond. She’d known it would be and had signed out for the weekend. He gallantly put her up for the night. She was there the next day when other friends came around to help shove the piano down the narrow hallway and into the apartment. It was well into the afternoon before she made her way back to her place, to pace the dormitory halls till her girlfriend should show up and she could tell her the exciting news about the upcoming nuptials.

There have been many more rambles, in half a dozen different cars, since that October 16, thirty three (now 38) years ago. In 1991 the two of them took the trip to North Carolina all over again, even to starting at 1617 Floyd and to looking for some sort of U-haul place on the south side. They found the KFC in Herndon had moved a block but it was still serving up the original 11 herbs and spices recipe. They even went off on a ramble today, the two of them, getting older, but not yet quite as old as the geezers in her vision.

But that is the story of my anniversary. We also celebrate a lovely wedding anniversary in April. It’s important, but not more important than October 16, when my favorite cute couple started out on life’s journey. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I even had a life before that day, although I can tell stories from that Mesozoic Era. It’s as if 10/16 were my real birthday; the day I began living my grown up life. BD, who had a head start on me, says he feels the same way.There are a lot of stories in my bag of tales, but this one is my favorite.

posted by Bess | 7:27 AM


Thanks for sharing your beautiful story about your friend. She sounds like a wonderful person who was lucky to be loved by so many. Last summer a dear friend of mine died way too early and we all still greatly miss her. We cherish our memories and know she also is having a great time wherever and everywhere she is now. Knit on--Ramona

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:35 AM  

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Sunday, October 11, 2009  

Oh la. It has just been ages since I've felt chatty enough to post. There has been a general struggle to get back into werk mode after my NYC fling. It seems I forgot how to be an employed person while wallowing in the excitement of Life as a Sophisticated Tourist. And then I returned home to find a beloved friend had taken a sudden turn for the worse. She was diagnosed with the C-word in late July and on Friday she stepped through the portal and went on to her next journey.

It was the most beautiful death I have ever witnessed, full of peace and rest and comfort and surrounded by the sweetest family and many devoted friends - devoted and kind enough to be sure to visit but not to crowd around the family at the last. She had had no treatment, was on no pain killers and seemed to be in no pain, merely drifting away in a beautiful blue and pink and bright white aura.

Honestly, if you could choose a way to leave this world, this is one of the best around - with some months to make sure everything was in order, have a last beach vacation, be with all your immediate family and then ... just let go.

Oh Lucille, I will miss you so much, but oh my goodness, I bet you are having a grand time where you are now.

Speaking of death at the beginning of a post sort of leaves all the rest of what I might have said today relegated to irreverent, if not irrelevant, only of course L would not have thought so. And yet, posting anything else without mentioning something as big in my life would be ... well, in some sort of way, dishonest. Besides, L was a knitter - one of the knitters who actually lured me back into the fold. She had more of the most amazing sweaters I have ever seen. The last 8 years or so she had stopped making them because, as she said, she already had so many of them, but she continued to knit little gift bags that she filled with sample cosmetics and donated to the local woman's shelter. She had a network of traveling friends (including me) who would scoop up hotel soaps and shampoos to bring home to her.

But her knitting really was noteworthy. Entrelac, fair isle, patchwork - she did it all. And she was always graciously interested in whatever I was working on. Her eyes would twinkle and she'd remember some long finished project that she had stitched some long ago winter - for she had seen 92 of them! She had many memories.

So it is alright to post, not just about L, but about the life of this knitter, here on this knitting blog.



I am in the midst of a surprise project that I don't want to talk about. Not yet, anyway. And it has sucked up my knitting time in a way that has crowded out every other knitting thing - including the Cashmere Lace Shawl for TheQueen.

Of course, Her Royal ENFPedness would have found a way to Not Complete that shawl in a timely manner anyway - after all - that's what we do, we ENFPers. We mourn completion and let UFO' s linger on into the future so we don't have to say goodbye. Eh. Our curse. I will get back to it once I come to a clear understanding of what I am going to knit for Christmas gifts. I am contemplating socks, but when I think about them ... lawsee ... there are so many of them this year. 4 for sure, possibly another, and then ... another pair? Oh la! and a pair for P? 7 pair of socks between now and Christmas? I don't think so. Could I switch to hats? Hmm? there is no such thing as Second Hat Syndrome.

Well, I am still undecided about what to knit for Christmas, which, my dears, is only 74 days, 17 hours, 56 minutes & 13 seconds away!! But for sure, everyone else on my gift list is getting this white fruit cake soaked in spirits.

I gave them last year and they were such a hit that I plan to make Lots of them this year. Little cakes, not too damaging, no matter how many calories in them, because they are small. I believe I made 12 of them last year but this year there will be More.

In fact, I believe I shall go dig out some cookbooks and see what else this turning of the season prompts me to make. I have a little pie pumpkin. Perhaps pumpkin soup would be just the thing on a brisk October evening.

And knitting. Yes. Soup and knitting - a fitting way to say farewell to my dear friend Lucille.

posted by Bess | 6:35 AM


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Wednesday, October 07, 2009  

Knitting Occurs

I'm just dropping in to assure everyone that I am knitting on things but they are Gift Things and I don't want to show them off here. As soon as Gift Knitting is knit I will start posting information about the Life -0- TheQueen.

posted by Bess | 8:43 PM


I love the sound of a sweater with a luscious alpaca boucle collar and cuffs!

By Blogger cathy, at 10:45 PM  

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Monday, October 05, 2009  

Fall Fiber Festival 2009

I wasn't sure I'd even make it to the festival this year but at the last moment I had wheels and a clean house and a tiny bit of cash I'd saved in the Spend It Like a Man jar. (I'm so tempted to call this the SILeMan Jar but that's a little mean, now, isn't it?) I knew I was going to buy something but I wanted to buy something unique and happily, I found it.

Boucle yarn, yes but not just any sort of boucle yarn.

It's Alpaca boucle!!!

I bought 8 ounces - just shy of 800 yards. Not enough for a sweater but I don't know if I'd want a whole sweater out of it. I am thinking of a shawl, perhaps one of those dropped stitch shawls. And then I thought ... shimmery opalescent silk ribbon or thread carried along with it and worked into a fringe. And then I remembered the tan Adrienne Vitadini alpaca yarn upstairs in the upstairs stash. The stuff I bought for $15 a bag last fall at Stitches. A tan swetaer with creamy boucle collar and cuffs?



Lots of ideas. Here is a glamour shot. Alpaca boucle with silver.

Of course, there were lots of cute animals at the show.

And even cuter dogs - which we all know are not animals, but a superior form of human.

And while I'm adoring this precious dog I want to reccommend a movie. Mist
the tale of a sheep dog, a live action movie narrated by Derek Jacobi ( a major crush of mine with such a voice). I watched this on Saturday and fell absolutely in love. Yeah yeah, it's a sort of human story that anthropomorphises dogs, but it is so well done. This is a family watch. And there is a whole TV show devoted to Mist... check here.

There were true materpieces in the skein and garment show. This was the hardest one for me to resist touching:

This was inspiring - I have GOT to make me some fair isle gloves on tiny needles with super fine yarn.

This was the most inspiring of all and had I been the judge, I'd have given it the Best of Show.

Just look at that fringe!!

It was a beautiful day with blue skies and perfect outdoor temperatures, but this year the crowd seemed mighty thin, so I hope for the dear and faithful vendors, that there was a lot of money being spent. I love this little festival and hope to be attending it on into the future.

posted by Bess | 6:58 AM