About Me

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Six years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tweedling my thumbs in a Fetching manner

OK, I was going to have photos, lots of photos, to show you. Said photos would have been taken Saturday the 21st, when this was drafted.


My first pair of "Fetching" whipped up in no time at all from the leftovers of my brown Felted Tweed socks. It was deliciously chilly on Thursday morning, so I wore the gloves and the socks to work with my long brown silk ruffly skirt and a store-bought sweater in brown and cream marled cotton yarn that I bought at Burlington Coat Factory 7 or 8 years ago. I was tweeded pretty much to the gills!

I can't take a picture of the gloves, because the day before I began cobbling this post together, I gave them to a friend for her daughter to wear in marching band. You can't play the flute with frozen fingers. I'll make another pair for myself, probably next week. The alpaca feels *wonderful* on my hands. An experience I definitely want to repeat. And I certainly have plenty left; enough for one glove and quite possibly for both.

Immediately after binding off the first pair, I began again in the intended yarn [Cashmerino Aran] in the darker green. I sent those to my sister in Seattle for her birthday. Which is why this wasn't posted until now. I had one yard of yarn leftover from the first pair, which I used to embellish the package.

I made 1.9 pairs of "Fetching" for my best friend at work. Why only 1.9 pairs, you ask? When I got to the top of the second glove, I could only bind off about halfway around, and there was *nada* for the thumb. I felt a little foolish for sending off that last bit of the yarn in the mail, but I ate chocolate until the feeling passed.

There is some joy in Mudville, however, because I wasn't sure that I'd be able to get a pair out of one ball, so I bought three with the idea of making two pairs and having 3/4 of a ball for my stash. Instead, I will rob Peter ever so slightly ~~ not so much as you'd notice ~~ to pay Paul, finish C's pair, and knit the third pair one round shorter in the "body" to give to a petite friend. Or maybe just buy a 4th ball. It's Cashmerino Aran, after all, and unlike that whole rich/thin thing, I don't believe you can have too much of it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

If everybody else were doing it, would you do it too?

And the answer in this case is "apparently so".

Several of my girls sent this to me a few weeks back. And since I'm not quite sleepy enough for a nap, particularly after what happened last Sunday night when I tried it (asleep at 6:00 or so, awake at 10:30, up until 1:30, and awake for good at 4:00; not looking for a rematch), I guess I'll inflict it on my reading public.

Very much enjoyed LadyLungDoc's responses, which I just read, particularly #46. http://purlthis.blogspot.com/2006/10/its-all-about-meme-48-things.html

Also Elizabeth's. After which I looked up "meme" and then "sophonts". http://www.elizabethklett.com/knit.html

Where were we?

48 Things About Me(me)


2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not that I'm aware of. I think it was a generational thing. There were 2 Lynns and a Lynne in my calculus class (also 2 Daves and 3 Johns, in a class of about 15 people).

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? In church today. It was the annual sacrament meeting put on by the Primary children.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yes, and my printing, and my calligraphy.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Would rather eat peanut butter on crackers, or pepperjack cheese.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I hope so. It would be a little depressing to look at myself from outside and see no redeeming social value.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Several, not counting this blog. Daily gratitudes (but not recently), weekly newsletter to friends and family of the 5-or-so things I'm most thankful for, with backstory and commentary. I take notes in my church meetings and keep them in my planner. And then of course here, in terms of my creative work/play.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Not since I was three. The smell of ether still makes me queasy.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Are you meshugineh?

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Old-fashioned oatmeal simmered in apple juice, with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg and a dusting of cinnamon. No milk, no sugar. There were times when the children's father was in school that we ate oatmeal twice a day. This is the only way I enjoy it nowadays, except for oatmeal cookies, at which I excel. I do like MaltoMeal with brown sugar and milk. Go figure.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, I kick off my Dansko clogs (which I've now started buying on eBay) in the doorway to my room, and they stay there until I start to trip over them.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physical strength is what sons-in-law are for. Mental and emotional strength? I am normally one tough cookie.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? I tango with Ben and Jerry on a regular basis but also like most of the Blue Bell (a TX creamery) flavors.

14. SHOE SIZE? Eur 40; I have a high arch, even after all those kids and all this extra avoirdupois. After two surgeries for ingrown toenails on one foot and three on the other, it's barefoot or clogs, baby. I even dance barefoot.

15. RED OR PINK? Yes. And fuchsia and turquoise and plum and marigold and...

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My uncanny ability to zero in on the one man in the room who cannot see me, and fall for *him*.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I miss the man the children's father used to be, before time and chronic illness stole his compass and his backbone.


19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Red long-sleeved Tshirt, purple and black and red ethnic-print crinkle skirt (WalMart, summer 2005), plum tights, and my black cabrio "professional" clogs. [Does this mean that the backless clogs are amateurs?]

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Dinner was homemade chicken a la king, minus the peas, and mandarin oranges because that's what LittleBit was in the mood for. Dessert was her portion of the microwave tapioca that I made for our breakfast yesterday, that she only ate three bites of.



23. FAVORITE SMELL? Johnson's Baby Powder. It reminds me of a certain Marine that I loved, before I met and married ExH's 1 & 2.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? LittleBit's best friend, on the way to dinner with Brother Sushi last night. LittleBit had left her phone in the car on the charger when I dropped her off for her volunteer stint at the haunted house.

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? Eyes, and then mouth. And once I've filed that away, I start gathering clues about character.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? "I don't know her, but I'm pretty sure I'd like her a lot if we met. I've been reading her blog a long time." I copied that from Elizabeth's blog, and what she says about her source, goes for me about her as well.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? 1% milk.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? You're kidding, right?

29. EYE COLOR? Started out brown when I was little, became hazel as I got older. If I'm happy, they're bright green.

30. HAT SIZE? No clue; hat color, however, is unabashedly red, and worn with as much purple as I can lay my hands on.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Glasses. I had contacts 35 years ago, the old bad hard ones.


33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings; happy endings with lots of 30's style snappy dialogue are better, and happy endings with singing or ~~ even better ~~ dancing, are best of all.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Fall, when I can get it. This is TX. We have two seasons: February, and summer.

36. HUGS OR KISSES? I vaguely remember liking both. Hugs are definitely easier to come by.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Brownies. *My* brownies. Which are never the same twice.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Let's let this die a quiet death, OK?


40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Simple Abundance, the scriptures, Born Fighting.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? My mouse and a nearly-empty mug of juice to wash down the tapioca.

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? N/A; I only watch Gilmore Girls and am probably not going to buy season 6 and am not much impressed with season 7, except when the starchy Emily got herself arrested last week. That was hilarious!

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? The timer, announcing that the brownies are done. BittyBit hollering "Nana, Nana!" when she sees me walking up the sidewalk.



46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I am one of those obnoxious people that was given the "ten talents" and tries to keep them polished and shiny, and as a result I keep picking up more.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? A little town in Idaho, because the even smaller town that we lived in, didn't have a hospital.

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Stole it from Elizabeth, but could just as easily have stolen it from LadyLungDoc.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A new distraction

Perhaps not exactly a new distraction, in some ways a very familiar distraction, but a new-to-me distraction. I met a widower last weekend, at the unofficial singles' activity.

And I learned something interesting about widowers.

Widowers are looking for more of what they had; divorced men are looking to avoid what they had. Divorced people in general are looking to avoid more pain, frequently at all costs. This leads some of them to remarry quickly or often, and badly. This leads others to be excessively skittish about making another eternal commitment.

Therefore, as one of my daughters put it, widowers have a short shelf life, because they were [presumably] happily married and want to repeat the experience. They date-with-intent, they commit, they’re off the market again in a year or so; those men who make it past that first year frequently don’t remarry.

Women who really really reeeeeely want to remarry, keep their eyes peeled for widowers, which puts said men in the unenviable position of being the lone June Bug at a Ducks Unlimited picnic.

Which leaves me in an unenviable position, myself. How much flirting is sufficient to establish that if a certain party were interested, I would not hand him his head? How much implies that I’m a card-carrying member of Ducks Unlimited and that he should run like the wind, Daniel-San?

I think that getting a Tshirt printed up for BittyBit to wear to their next ward social [he's in the same congregation as Secondborn and her family] that says “Ask me about my Nana – better yet, ask her out!” might be just a little too much, LOL.

Do I deputize my son-in-law, who thinks very highly of the party in question? How much do I pray over this? How much prayer is appropriate before it becomes nagging? The last time I prayed for righteous male attention, I got the children’s father [and to be fair to him, for many years he was truly the answer to my prayers] so I’m understandably leery. I know there are no guarantees.

On the other hand, I am somewhat comforted to find myself attracted to a man who seems to be “normal”, whatever that is. Considering that the last three men of my faith who have asked me out since the divorce turned out to be loons in one way or another, it has made me question what I am sending out into the universe that men like that would pursue me. [Never mind the question of my own initial attraction to *them*.]

Saturday night I dreamed that I was in love and getting married. Not one of those embarrassing dreams that makes me glad I’m not responsible for what my brain throws together when I’m asleep, but one that woke me up to some deep truths.

I function rather well without a man in my life, *and* I do even better when I am suitably partnered. I don’t want a man that I have to chase; I do want one worth following. I would like, please God, another hand on the tiller and another pair of eyes in the crow’s nest.

Said widower will not be at the church dance tonight; he will be visiting family out of town. [He took a call at last week's activity; I eavesdropped shamelessly while appearing intent on my knitting.]

I will have a great time anyway; I will be with my acquired brother, I will be full of allegedly delicious Mexican food, and I will have my knitting with me in case the dance is less successful than usual.

And I will be planning what to wear to the *next* singles' dance.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Something for the grandmas out there. This is BittyBit with her Viewfinder. My sister had one in the 1940's, which I inherited when I came along. Edifying shots of bears at Yellowstone Park and Mount Rushmore. Now it's Disney Princesses and who knows what else? She's not supposed to take the cassette out herself. That's supposed to be a Mommy Job or a Daddy Job. But this is *my* grandchild we are talking about, and in this shot she is obviously thinking, "How fast can I pull this yellow thing out of the case after the flash goes off?"

I *love* this picture. Unlike Ado Annie in "Oklahoma", here we have a girl who *can* say "no". I want to blow this up to poster-size and give it to her on her 16th birthday, when she'll be officially old enough to date boys.

Best family story to-date: she calls Firstborn GiGi. And Firstborn did something irritating, at least from a not-quite-two-year-old's POV. So out of this precious mouth came the following:

"Gigi! *My* chair. Don't!"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

And Another Block of the Month Quilt Year Begins

Last Saturday, 60% of the girls and I, plus 33% of the granddaughters, high-tailed it to a northern suburb of BigD. If it's October, then a new series quilt must be beginning. The concept is simple: you pay $5 at the beginning of the quilt year, and you pick up the fabric and pattern for the first month's block. Return [in person] the next month with your finished block, and the second month's kit is free. In theory, it is possible to make 12 blocks toward a quilt top with a $5 investment; in reality, we each usually end up buying at least one other block because of illness or absence.

Above are Firstborn and Secondborn, respectively, mugging for the camera in a real "Romy & Michelle" moment.

Here they are again with BittyBit (Secondborn's kiddo), who is less than thrilled with the lot of us by this point.

And here are LittleBit and BittyBit, just before we all piled into the cars to come home.

Secondborn photographed this month's fabrics for me. I own the EQ5 quilt design software (Electric Quilt 5), and this is what the completed block will look like:

She was also kind enough to capture the fabrics as images that I can import into EQ5, and I'll probably get around to that if I can stop knitting or typing long enough. In the meantime, you'll just have to settle for a photo of the completed block (most likely on the day we have to show it off to collect block #2, if I know us). But this will give you a rough idea, for now.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tweed-le-de-dee! (Updated slightly)

With apologies to both Scarlett O'Hara and Tweedledum.

Not sure what this wants to be when it grows up, but into the stash it goes! Call me stubborn and a hold-out, but this is the first time I've been tempted to buy anything Rowan. It just never appealed to me before. But this, oh my! Soft as a baby's tush, and the perfect color to go with my new lace-embellished floral vintagey-looking T-shirt from WallyWorld.

I'm thinking socks, I'm thinking subversive, and I'm thinking I'll be having loads of fun researching a pattern online and probably coming up with my own...

And I just proved a wild-eyed hunch correct: that if I go into the "edit HTML" mode on my primary blog [that would be The Ravelled Sleave] and copy the code, it will transport nicely to *this* venue [that would be Tweedingalong]. ^5's all around!

Posted to this point on 10/1 to "Tweedingalong". Updated today with photos of the sock in progress.

OK, this is what I've come up with: the love child of "Thuja" and the Sock of Doom, femmed up with the merest hint of lace. I have inserted spiraling eyelets into the 3/1 seed stitch rib and am planning to reverse the spiral on the second sock. You can see the eyelets because we got creative and rolled up one of BittyBit's bibs and stuffed it into the sock.

My first thought on the heel flap was to do it entirely in seed stitch, to carry down the seed stitch rib into the foot. I'm inordinately fond of this seed stitch rib.

But then I realized that it would probably not make for a graceful heel turning, so I came up with this: an insertion of seed stitch into a stockinette-on-the-edges heel flap. A nod to tradition (cue Tevye) and a stronger nod to sheer bulldog stubbornness, LOL. Stand on your head to see what it will look like on my foot; the light was better this way. I was so pleased that we were able to capture the texture in this shot.

And here's a profile of the happy heel turning.

I mostly like this yarn. I like its softness, and I like that it's easier to get gauge with this yarn than with anything I've ever used before. Must be the alpaca. It knits up nearly as swiftly as the Swedish DK in my first outbound Socks of Doom. And I'm not having to dangle my project once or twice a round in order to untwist an overtwist in the yarn. I really really really like that!

What I'm not crazy about is the flatness of the stitches. They are beautifully, perfectly uniform, and they also seem verging-on-comatose. I'm used to a lot more sproing in my yarn, even if it drives me nuts.

But I may have just come up with a name for these socks. The Stepford Socks?

That's Two, Two Socks of Doom, Bwa Ha Ha!

My right foot, neatly and cozily enveloped in the Sock of Doom.

My left foot, sans today's medicine, because I forgot, because we had quilt class, pudgily resting atop my right foot. I wasn't kidding about the "cankles".

_Crumpet_, I bow to your stealthy sock-knitting skills!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Socktoberfest 2006

When did you start making socks? July-into-August 2006. Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? Taught myself after watching my Sisters of the Wool at KnitNight.

What was your first pair? Cherry Tree Hill, basic toe-up socks from Wendy D. Johnson’s article on Knitty, http://www.knitty.com/issuewinter02/FEATtiptoptoes.html modified to accommodate the quirks of my middle-aged ankles. Knitted on Crystal Palace 0’s.

How have they "held up" over time? I have worn them once, so far, and I could feel every blessed stitch in the soles. I’m waiting for next payday to buy some Eucalan to wash them.

What would you have done differently? Tried this 20 years ago.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed? The CTH is very froggable and forgiving. It was perhaps not the best choice for my first pair of socks. I used Juvel’s DK http://theravelledsleave.blogspot.com/2006/09/speaking-of-sock-wars-first-target-is.html for my first pair of socks for Sock Wars 2006, and I will be buying more. A very lively yarn, and a pleasure to knit. Currently using Rowan’s Felted Tweed for an adaptation of “Thuja” http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter05/PATTthuja.html as my oeuvre for Tweedingalong. Love how it feels as it moves through my hands, but the resulting fabric is a little “flat” for my taste. I’m more than halfway down the cuff on the first sock. I like the almost-instant gratification of knitting with DK yarn on size 2’s, as opposed to the “from here to eternity” experience of CTH and 0’s. I completed two pairs of socks for Sock Wars before being taken out by my assassin in Melbourne. The second sock was mostly Sirdar Denim, augmented with Debbie Bliss’s Baby Cashmerino for cuff band, heels, and toes.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? I did a slightly ruffled crochet cast-off on my first socks, and on the matching mini-socks for my youngest granddaughter. I love my Crystal Palace resin-infused bamboo needles. I am planning to make the next pair of socks using Magic Loop if I can score a pair of Addi Natura’s in the right size. [I did not enjoy working with my Addi Turbo as part of the needle rotation for my Elann Crop Cardi.]

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?) Well, until I did the flap for the Sock of Doom for Sock Wars 2006, and based on 2 pairs’ worth of experience, I would have said short row, those pesky double-wrappings notwithstanding. However, I *much* prefer the fit of the heel flap.

How many pairs have you made? One for me, a matching pair for BittyBit, and two pairs for Sock Wars. I am currently “unventing” pair #5 in the Felted Tweed.

Regarding Comments

I just rejected my first comment. I suppose it was inevitable, given sufficient time. It linked me to a page that was peppered with the F-bomb. Not something that I'd have chosen to pollute my eyes with, thank you very much.

As Thumper's mama said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." And as Ray Charles sang, "Don't you go a-messin' with my world."

In my world, women still talk like ladies.

Now if all y'all will excuse me, I've got to go put on my pearls and do a little dustbusting.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sock Wars (Finito)

My color-blocked Socks of Doomy Doomy Death arrived in the mail at work today. Pictures to be inserted later, quite possibly this weekend. In the meantime, here's a link to Crumpet's blog, with photos of how they look on *her* feet: http://www.crumpart.net/blog/?p=313

They were properly oohed and aaahed over by a bunch of the muggles at work. I'm planning to wear them tomorrow, even if it means that I have to shave my legs and wear a skirt.

She picked my absolutely most favorite shade of yellow, ditto the red, and the orange is poised nicely between the two. I've emailed to ask what yarn they're made from, because I would like to add some to my ever-growing stash. All I know for now is that they are DK wool and heavenly on my feet.

And now if you will all excuse me, I'm going to put on my jammies and work on my tweed socks, secure in the knowledge that the only socks I'll be finishing for the next year or so will be *my own*.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sock Wars, Round the Second

OK, you really can't see how pretty these socks are, and the colors aren't true. Sockinator sent me the stripedy yarn, which is Sirdar's Denim Tweed. It's charcoal, or possibly dark denim, depending on the light, and cream and the most lovely delicate pale pink, which causes the charcoal to "read" as purple, particularly in the fluorescent light of the break room at work.

I wasn't sure there'd be enough yarn to make two socks, as LadyLungDoc's tootsies are a bit longer than mine, so the "blue" yarn is Debbie Bliss's Baby Cashmerino in soft grapey wonderfulness.

I'm pleased to report that the yarns play nicely together. As you can see, when we photographed these on Sunday afternoon, I was sneaking up on the toes on one sock and ready to pick up for the gussets on the other. As with the yarn I chose for Sockinator, I used a size 2 to get gauge, and I actually did a better job with gauge on this one than on the first.

The Baby Cashmerino is *heaven* slipping through my hands, though it seems a little overtwisted to me. It doesn't look that way in the ball, but there's a visible skewing in the stockinette stitches that Pleaseth Me Not. The left side of each stitch is as upright as one of the guards at Buckingham Palace. The right side bellies out like a sail. Not so noticeable in the ribbing, however.

I'm glad I only bought one ball to embellish these socks, and not enough for a sweater. There was a Brown Sheep yarn that I used 20 years ago with the same problem, but it was a *single*. I got around that by working it up in Aran vests for the girls, three of which [sweaters, not girls] are still extant and will show up in another blog post in the near-ish future.

I also bought two balls of Rowan Felted Tweed for my Tweedalong project. I think I will need the 2's to turn them into a pair of socks. I haven't decided on a sock pattern yet. They go beautifully with my newest lace-embellished T-shirt from WallyWorld. And they will just have to wait patiently for me to be done with Sock Wars. [Update: I am going to begin "Thuja" from Knitty's archives to celebrate Socktoberfest.]

I had hoped to mail these off on the drive home from work last night, but I finished them after LittleBit's sectional practice for choir. They'll go out on the drive into BigD, if traffic cooperates, or else on the drive home tonight. I'm in contact with LadyLungDoc's target. I think I can take down *her* target before my socks finish swimming over from Melbourne.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Progress on the Lace Crop Cardi

Between the mailing-off of the first Socks of Doom to Sockinator in the Pacific NW after work on Monday, and the arrival of her target's sock-in-progress at 11:00 on Friday, I knitted down to the armhole joining and onward, ever onward to the first four of 18 pointy bindings-off of the Elann Crop Cardi. I like them.

I am making great progress on LadyLungDoc's socks. I expect to mail them off after work tomorrow and to resume work on the cardi as soon as dinner is out of the way. I have no idea how long it will take me to laboriously tack in place all the flailing ends of ribbon that are trying to escape their weavings-in, or to do the pearl [and hematite?] embellishments. I hope to be wearing this sweater in a week to ten days.