Upgrading to New Year 2.0

Upgrading to 2017

I don’t know about you, but I am completely upgrading to the new version of Year 2.0: Version 2017. Because, trust me: 2016 has GOT TO GO.

All in favour, say AMEN.

Goodness. I ought to have put my earplugs in first. Enthusiastic, much, eh?

At first, I wanted to say that 2016 sucked, big time. Trouble is, it didn’t. Suck, I mean. Well, okay, maybe it had its (long, protracted, get-me-outta-here) moments of deep and powerful Suckage; but it wasn’t all one big Dyson. There were days, sometimes several in a row, even, when one felt the air was clear enough to do that breathing thing.

Those days were a true gift, in and amongst all the loud, clamoring, drama-filled, over-the-top days (and some nights) of sheer Overwhelm, Overdone, and Out-of-Control Nail-Biting. The Drama Llama not only came to visit, she took over the entire guest room and guest bath, plonked herself down at the head of the table, and asked Dusty to fetch her slippers for her, as she was too busy eating the dark chocolate I had bought for myself (for medicinal purposes, of course).

I am pretty sure I saw Dusty gave her the feline equivalent of the Impolite Finger, re-adjust his tail to cover his eyes, and continue to go right on snoring. I believe at the moment, he is planning his speech for Sunday’s Kick the Year Out On Its Arse and Its Little Drama Llama, too ceremony.

The Usual End of Year Project Report: Part One

I finished ONE knitting project this year. Despite its lonely status, I am pleased with the outcome:


Ruth’s Leafy Fingerless Mitts

The yarn is handspun, and was finished in 2016, so that counts as a FO as well.

The sweet little mitts were a gift for a very special person, my friend Ruth. Ruth is one of those folks people are drawn to: deeply good, deeply kind, as well as funny, knowledgeable, and wise; she also has great stories from her own life to tell. I wanted something special to give to her, her being the special person she is.

I love how these mitts came out. I wore them for a couple of days before giving them to Ruth, and I have to say it was a wee bit difficult to part with them. Good thing I know the yarn spinner. She has more yarn! And more cute buttons! And she still knits! (Yes, I do have more of the yarn. And yes, I do still knit. Just not, apparently, finish said knits.)

I might even have my own pair of cute mitts by the end of 2017, who knows?

I have two other knitting projects I have been steadily working on, a pair of socks, and the endless Little Red Cardi. The socks are an unbelievably tiny-for-me 9 sts to the inch, so they may not be done until we have a new president. No, not the one coming up. The next one.

Up next time: Quilting Projects Report

You will have noticed a lack of photos in this post. Explanation coming next time. OF COURSE I have a story to tell about that. I always have stories. 🙂

Also next time, or perhaps the time after that: I have some news for you. Let me get my head together about it, and then I promise to share. Is it bad news? Good news? Good Grief, I have no idea. Not yet, anyway.

HAPPY 2017!


yeah, I wrote that. Just now, in fact.


Posted in Knitting | 11 Comments

Good Grief. I Finished Something.

Yes I did! I actually sort of finished something. Well, OK. I finished one part of something: I finished appliquéing the tree to the quilt top! WOOT!


It’s so colourful and happy: Hooray!

I also ripped out about 90% of the basting stitches. There are a few places where seam allowances were wonkified (technical term) and raw edges show, but a bit of needle and thread action at a later point will clear those right up.

Lately, I have been breaking big projects like this one down into sets of major tasks, and writing down those individual tasks in my Doomed-To-Do List. I like to celebrate the completion of each of these steps in my projects, seeing as the completions of the projects themselves happen so rarely. So: Hooray for Progress! Again, I say: WOOT!

HOWEVER: This was not the productivity I was looking for.

It is now Saturday, 7 days before Christmas Eve. My List of To Do or Doom is whining at me, tapping its watch and thinking of unkind words to say to Yours Truly.  Despite my one step forward above, more unfinished tasks intended for this weekend are yelling at me from the List of Doom. I have not done the laundry, nor finished cleaning the Great Room so we can finish decorating the tree and fireplace tomorrow after church. I haven’t gotten in touch with my Rav friends, nor called my mother.

I also, quite frankly, did not even Achieve Lunch. My one cup of coffee from this morning is three-quarters full, and I have warmed it up twice so far. (And I am about to head into the kitchen for WarmUp Number Three.)


Beau-ti-mous Blanket Stitching and a few inches of basting stitches to take out


I  was also hoping to make the quilt sandwich today, and to work on some family gifts, but Stuff Happened, it’s after five PM already, and I haven’t touched gifts nor quilt yet. It’s not like I have been sitting here with my bonbons and bunny slippers, either. I have done several other rather needed things today, but nothing on the list, see, nothing that I planned to do. And somehow…somehow not getting things done that I had planned on doing makes me feel grumpy and unproductive.

Granted: It is probably silly to feel unproductive after unpacking and sorting through five (large!) boxes of winter clothes from the basement. (Yes! I did! I will take a celebratory Woot Lap for this!) And guess what: I found sweaters! my favourite down vest! two great winter skirts! and my beautiful blue fancy dress!–but The Grumpified Sandi says that doesn’t get me any closer to crossing things off the existing List o’ Doom. (Shush, Grump-éd One.)

I kind of want a do-over. ONE WEEK until Christmas Eve, and all that. (Somehow, I have a feeling I am not alone in wishing this…)

Onwards and Forwards and
All Anyone Can Do is Keep Going, Right?

Right. The good news is that it is not even 5:30 PM yet, so I still have a few hours in which to accomplish things today.

Next Up for The Advent Tree Quilt

I have the backing and batting ready to go. Once I finish the few bits of raw-edge mending that need doing, I am going to take a fabric pencil eraser to a few spots where the markings show too much, and after that, I will press the top into submission.


Twinkle, Twinkle, Prairie Star…

Then comes the Sandwiching, and the Basting, and then the Quilting. And finally, the Binding. (Hm. I haven’t even thought about the binding yet. Sew bias binding from the scraps of all the many fabrics? Use a wide satin Christmas ribbon of some sort? Oooo, maybe candy-cane striped binding on the bias! Pondering must happen.)

Once all that is done, I can sew on the vintage buttons on which the wee ornaments will hang, and stitch on the pockets for ornament storage. And make a hanging sleeve or tabs or something. (Tabs. I like that idea.)

Will it be done then? Let’s get there first and see how it looks.

Look what I made for you!
A little slideshow tutorial showing you
how I made the pockets for my Advent Tree Quilt:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Why, yes, I do feel rather clever now, thanks for asking.

Yes, this is an Advent Calendar Christmas Tree Quilt. Yes, I know it is December 16  December 17. I would like to finish the basic bones of this by next week, hopefully in time to be able to celebrate the last few days of Advent with my little happy Advent Tree on the wall.

One can dream.

Knitting? What’s That?

OH….yes. I remember now. Knitting.

I have also Done Knitting in the past week or so. A sock that now has a toe. Some more rows on the Red Sweater.

We can talk about the Knitting later, OK?

Be kind to yourselves. That’s what you advised me to do in your comments, so I am turning that wonderful idea right back at y’all. Thank you for all that you do for me!

Also: Merry! I love the holidays. xxoo


Posted in Appliqué, Making Things, Quilting | 12 Comments

Adjectives, verbs, nouns: A curated collection 🎁

After the semi-blizzards of the past few days, yesterday morning was a glorious surprise: one of those crisp-cold sunny blue days of winter, where the snow sparkles and all things white are almost too white to look at head-on.

I know that I could write “snow that sparkled like candy sugar”, or “snow sparkling with the fire of a thousand/million/gadzillion/universe-full of diamonds” like all the other kids do, but c’mon, people. Have we no new ideas, no original thoughts, no individual quirks of tongue? Part of being a writer is to capture (and perhaps even keep) the attention of those reading, methinks.

If I wanted to capture the attention of folks likely to be my readers, I might say something more along the lines of “sparkling in all the star-shine hues of swarovski crystals scattered by an unseen hand upon the landscape”.

Or something along those lines. Perhaps something with fewer words, and maybe less schmaltz, even.

If I just use the same imagery everyone else is using, isn’t my writing sort of a strung-together plagarism of quotes off the internet, rather than a reflection of my own personal style and ingenuity?

Yeah, deep thoughts today. So deep that I set my mighty brain to use this morning browsing Christmas-themed apps for my iPhone. ::waggles eyebrows::   Impressive, yes?


Speaking of the Day of the Fat Man: Like any other self-respecting knitter/crocheter/sewist*/weaver, I am working on holiday projects, in addition to my daily struggles with red yarn and stockinette stitch. This year, my mantra has been If You Really Loved It, You Would Finish It.

Thus, I have been creeping along on my Mallard Duck mini-quilt:

It’s too bad you can’t see most of the hand quilting…bad camera person, no donut.

Click to embiggen!

As well as making good progress on my Advent Tree quilt:

And, of course, working in the dark of the guest bathroom on the usual Secret Things.


Zoë: I don’t see any presents in here…What about you, Dusty Bro? Find any stocking stuffers yet? Some organic catnip, maybe, or perhaps a set of those most excellent felted mouse toys like we got last year?

No, I do not have a photo of the Secret Things In Progress. My family, my close friends, my wife, and, as you can see, even my cats all read this blog. They are probably doing so with extra diligence near Christmas, in the hopes of me having a Stupid Moment and writing a post—complete with detailed photos and source linkages—about that One Special Thing intended for THEM. (Sorry, Mom. I am currently out of stock of Stupid Moments. However, I am expecting a delivery of New Improved Stupid Moments any day now.)

I like how the two quilt projects pictured above, in particular, are biting my arse. No, really. They are arse-biters in that they are just a bit beyond my current level of expertise, forcing me to look up good tutorials on the web for what I don’t know, thus ensuring that I learn new things.

Some of this stuff, like the blanket stitch I am using to secure the edges of my appliquéd Advent Tree, some of it I already sort-of knew, but only in a brute force sort of way. This time, I actually searched out examples, step-by-step tutorials, and instruction on the finer points (turning inner vs outer corners, amongst other topics). This time, I wanted to finish the project actually KNOWING how I did things, instead of just cruising along, guessing and improvising along the general correct direction.

Click to embiggen!

Blanket Stitch, I have conquered Thee.

The best Blanket Stitch tutorial I have found covers everything, including how to turn corners, how to turn an inside or an outside point, and more. However, what works for me may be noodle soup to you. The most effective way to find any sort of tutorial (in my  experience) is to do a search on Google Images for whatever it is (“blanket stitch how to go around a point”, or “blanket stitch step by step”, or the thing I seem to forget most often, “blanket stitch how to start”). I find it easier to look for an image that makes sense to me, or looks as though it addresses my question, than to read through two-line text descriptions and click on five or six until I find one I understand.

Peace and hugs on this cold winter evening.


Granted: Chez Wiseheart is not quite at the point of singing O Tannenbaum yet, but we’ll get there.

P.S. I apologise for the wacky formatting, and the weird sizing of the photos. WordPress “upgraded” their editing interface, and you should have heard the cursing this past hour…

* I am told by my sister that “sewist” is now the favoured term for one who sews. Apparently, some people did not like being called the back-end of a plumbing system, as in “sewer”. Who knew?

Posted in Appliqué, Knitting, Quilting, Writing | 5 Comments

Red sweater

One paragraph, I am saying to myself.

Just write one paragraph. (Technically, this is paragraph two, I believe. Whatever.)

I will say a couple of things.

First: If you don’t know this from personal experience, then allow me to enlighten you: Depression is a horrible way to spend a weekend, let alone an entire, rather gorgeous, season, particularly every knitter’s favourite season: Autumn. The season of mitten knitting, sweater knitting, and holiday gift knitting. It’s our peak season, we knitters, and like knitters everywhere, I watched Ravelry fill up with every sort of Knitted Thing imaginable as the leaves “put on their party clothes” (as the Yarn Harlot would say) and gradually danced their way to the ground.

Second: Being too depressed to blog, when one has been a blogger almost as long as anyone has been a blogger, is just plain super-sucky. Days upon days of waking up (in the middle of the night, in the morning, after a nap) thinking, Today I can do it. I can write a post. Put up a photo, even. Doesn’t have to be eloquent; just has to be words typed into my laptop. I know that if I write a word or two or twenty, then perhaps that will punch a hole in the walls that depression erects around one, walls that start out as soft, sheer curtains, and end up made by that third piglet, the one who loves the smell of well-mixed mortar and properly aged bricks.

Before I know it, another day of excuses, interruptions, and procrastinations goes by. Without a blog post.

Be gentle on yourself, friends say. Hard to be gentle on one’s self when the demons of depression left me feeling as if I do not know myself any longer. But for love of friends, for love of you, Gentle Faithful Readers, gentle shall I be. Anything to ensure that this isn’t the last post for another three months.

(Shhhh. Yes, I know I have officially passed the one paragraph mark. Don’t tell.)

There, for example, is The One Photo, accompanied by two of its friends, as promised. That is my Mirabel Cardigan, the one I started just over a year ago. (I got lost in eight inches of five-point-five stitches per inch, 287 stitches (or something like that). I am happy to report that the eight inches have been completed, as have two short sleeves (as shown above: they even match!). Over the Labour Day weekend, I joined the fronts to the sleeves to the back, all in proper order, all facing the proper way, albeit by the third try. Since then, and since this photo was taken, I have worked another couple of inches upwards, encountering both neckline and bust shaping in due time.

I wanted to finish this in time to wear over a white blouse on Christmas Eve, but I am not going to hold my breath over it (and neither should you!).

I am going to stop now, before I really want to stop, on the theory that I might feel better about blogging if I could resign myself to shorter, less tome-like posts. I am going to break blogging courtesy rules this once and not do the work of linking every possible thing I could link. I am also not going to allow myself to second-guess everything I have written and edit the life out of my words, as I often do when I am not feeling my best. I hope you understand. 

Thank you for still being there. Post a comment; let me know how you are doing in the pre-Christmas chaos!
I almost never listen to music these days, for a variety of reasons. However, I got double-sized Big Girl Panties and, before I began writing this, I searched for holiday music on YouTube. Dulcimer Christmas Music, a playlist by Jane Fountain. Gorgeous. Not too saccrine-sweet, not too happy-happy, just lovely, complex-but-simple tunes played on one of the most glorious instruments on earth.

“Things are looking up,” says one-year-old Ben. “Because when you look up, you might ccatch the food that falls off the counter before it hits the ground!”

Peace. I hope to see you soon. 

Posted in Animals, Goblins of Winter, Knitting, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Summer Vacation, with Chickens & Ben’s Ring of Mordor: Part 1

Overheard in a Syracuse kitchen earlier this week:

J: Thanks for doing that, I really appreciate it.

S:  What are friends for?

J:  Running out to the feed store for chicken poo medicine, apparently.

You need to have the sound on for the true chicken experience. That makes chickens NSFW, I suppose. And that’s  J talking, btw, not yours truly.

Hi there. Me again. I intended to have a late July post for you, and then my summer vacation happened. Here’s the first installment of my adventures.

In which my 7-month-old kitten has a near-death experience…

By now, you folks know that I tend to write about everything and anything sooner or later, so if this story bores you, c’mon back for the next post, because overall, I do not exactly lead a boring life, now do I?

Back to the kitten with a near-death experience. Right. Yes, Mr. Ben gave us quite the scare there for a week or so in late July.


dreaming dreams of scurrying bugs

See the shaved belleh? See nasty incision scar? Out of nowhere one day, Ben started having breathing trouble, trouble as in his chest was making wet, crackling sounds at the same time as his breathing sounded like he needed a set of gills. I grew up with a sister who has severe asthma, severe as in regular stupid-thirty a.m. trips to the ER severe. So when I heard the same sort of sounds coming from my five-pound kitten, nanoseconds later we were in the car, cat carrier with unusually quiet mini-cat in tow, on the road to the 24/7 animal ER.

The triage tech took one look and hustled Ben off to the back, where she plopped a tiny oxygen mask on him, and pulled the only vet out of a room (where she was treating another patient) so she could examine Ben. We found out later that the vet listened to his breathing, and without even reaching for her stethoscope, immediately gave instructions to clear the decks–divert all incoming clients to another ER nearby until further notice, send anyone in the waiting room with a non-critical animal to that same ER, and prep Ben for surgery NOW.

I am eternally grateful I didn’t know that was happening.

X-rays showed an “abnormality” in his GI tract, an abnormality that looked suspiciously like a linear foreign object around his intestines.

A linear foreign object, for those of you playing along at home, is the medical term for long, thin, flexible stuff. Like yarn, for example.

Every cat-loving knitter’s worst nightmare, in other words. I was flooded with horror, guilt, and other terrible feelings I have no name for.

I deliberately put Ben’s post-hospital picture at the beginning of this story, to reassure you that the story has a happy ending.

Surgery showed a thankfully linear-foreign-object-free intestinal tract, squeaky-clean, in fact.This was confirmed by not one, but two very thorough exams, inch-by-inch examinations by two sets of fingers and three sets of magnifier-enhanced eyeballs. (I love these people.) No chest fluid, no lung problems, airways and GI tract completely clear…

Oh. Wait. What is THAT?

I really do not like hearing, “I have no idea what that is, I have never seen anything like it before”. Not when it’s me, and even less so when it is one of my furballs.

Near the intersection of the stomach outflow valve, and the duodenum (tube leading to the small intestine and lower GI tract), the vet found a fleshy bit not shown in the anatomy books. This fleshy bit was actually forming a solid ring around the duodenum, a ring that seemed a bit too constricting to be doing anything particularly helpful. Puzzled, the doc took pics, and while Ben was on the table, had one of the senior techs do a quick survey of the internet literature to see if there was anything helpful online. (Which, if you think about it, is a pretty awesome use of technology.)

The internet didn’t have any obvious answers. The ring wasn’t supposed to be there, and as it was clearly up to no good, snip, snip, snip, went the surgical tools, and no more ring around the tubing.

The next day, Ben was breathing better, and we felt very relieved. As time went on, however, Ben wouldn’t eat. He was in the hospital for four days, and on the third day, we were told to “prepare ourselves,” as Ben was declining. We were numb with anticipated grief. M and I took turns visiting him every day for hours, cuddling, talking, singing, petting, and offering food. He would perk up when we were there, and get very depressed when we weren’t there. Finally, not knowing what else to do, the doc let us take him home, “to get better, or not, Ben’s choice now” as she put it.

Within hours of coming home, Ben made his choice clearly known: Ben was gonna choose to chase himself some big, juicy bugs, yessirree by golly. Took him a few days to recover enough to eat the bugs, but our Ben bravely submitted to round-the-clock meds of various sorts until one day he sat in front of his food bowl and chowed down like the little champ he is.

I love kitten stories with happy endings.

O.K. –rubs hands together–

Next up: In which my corset was not struck by lightning.

Posted in Knitting | 4 Comments

The Welsh Gardener

I got up early this morning, determined to Be A Responsible Home Owner and do some much-needed weeding and shrub-trimming in the front yard before it got too hot. Quick but satisfying breakfast (Melody’s Maple Granola, yum), soul-empowering Morning Coffee, gardening clothes, and, because I like to sleep without my toes being bitten off, (somewhat abbreviated) cat worship x 5.

During the mainlining enjoyment of Morning Coffee, I wandered over to the window to peek at the outdoor thermometer:

IMG_3963 (1)

I do believe that thermometer reads about 110 degrees F. YIKES.

Oh, come ON, Mother Nature. Give a girl a break. It’s 8:30 in the morning, for dog’s sake.

Le Magnifique Gardinier Français across the street is probably peeking out her front window, shaking her head, muttering polite malédictions at the imagined scourge that is American laziness. Her Welsh husband, the embodiment of I Will Stop Doing All The Things When I Am Dead, will no doubt come knocking on our door, asking in his charming Dr. Who accent if he might help me out by trimming the Monster Sentient Shrubs by our front door.


Shamelessly cowering inside, I silently creep up to take a photo of the Monster Sentient Shrub from behind…

Yes, he is in his late seventies, if he is a day. Yes, I am sure he has arthritis/bad hips/bad back from the way he walks.

Yes, this is the same delightful Welshman who did not let any of that nonsense stop him about a month ago when I came home to find him mowing my lawn.

Oh, the shame of it. Here I am, at least twenty years his junior, married to a gal thirty years his junior, both of us more than able to mow a smallish lawn, and I pull into my driveway to find this gent halfway through mowing our lawn in the 80 degree F heat. To my chagrin, he wouldn’t let me finish the job; he shooed me inside, and proceeded to not only finish up the front lawn, but to mow the side lawns and the back lawn as well.

Oh, and he weed-whacked the edges so they were tidy as the TARDIS’s front doorstep.

I tried offering him cold water, tea (hot/cold), or juice to drink, and a fresh loaf of M’s trademark sourdough bread as a thank you. He politely refused all of it, and blushed at my stammered, repeated Thank You’s.

So you see, I really do not want a repeat of The Welsh Gardener Saves the Day. It is just too humiliating to think that we didn’t do the work ourselves simply because it was “too hot”. (Our Welshman is not stupid. He has lived a long life of farming and construction work, and looks spry enough to chase Tessa around the block. Methinks Not To Worry, as Our Welshman can clearly take care of his own lovely, generous self.)

I will let you know if I go out to fetch the mail and find my front yard suddenly looks like a cover photo for English Garden magazine. (OH FOR DOG’S SAKE, look at the headline smack in the center of this cover:)


The cover copy reads: “Hearts of Gold: Generous Gardeners who conserve, care, and share.” Good Grief.

Full disclosure: The thermometer in the first photo above is mounted on the wall outside the back patio doors. For part of the morning, it sits in the baking heat of the full sun. Thus, the temperature it gives is always several degrees higher than the actual outside air. Still: It’s somewhere over 90 degrees F. At eight-thirty in the morning. IT’S HOT.

Yarn, Anyways

I know that there are many spinners and knitters who prefer not to handle wool over the summer months (something about “sweaty palms”), but I am not one of them. I have been rediscovering the magic of wheel and roving, spindle and top, after not spinning much of anything for over a year (baaaad year, apparently). I am spinning for at least a half-hour a day lately, sometimes more than that. I’m also trying to knit a little each day as well.

I have a goal, you see: I want to Finish Something. I want to Own a Finished Object: Something that started out as a wad of fluff, perhaps, or maybe as glorified string. I want something to post on my Ravelry project page so that it doesn’t look as though I have abandoned the whole idea of making things and run away to Barbados. (Tempting, I admit, but knowing myself, I wouldn’t be able to bear the plane ride without knitting in my hands, sticky wool and all.)

My current project is a test of my skills in spinning-to-spec: I have a hank of yarn that I bought in some fascinating locale, delicately scented (no doubt) with the aroma of Sheep, and it is gorgeous:


3-ply California Variegated Mutant yarn, by Mt. Airy Farm (and yes, there is a bit of blue sparkly spun into the plies!)

Naturally, I have no idea where I got this yarn. I do have the label, however, informing me that this luscious skein is from Mt. Airy Farm in Marshall, VA. A closer glance at the label, and I’m thinking, no wonder this is so lovely, it is 313 yards of smooshy 3-ply California Variegated Mutant yarn,  “from our flock located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains”.  Is it, now? (smush, smoosh, smooose)

In the same bag as the yarn I stored a bump of wool that looks to be a close relative of the CVM yarn: the same soothing light mushroom color, the same softness and smoosh. Unfortunately, it has no label, and as I have no idea where I bought it, I don’t have Clue #1 if the bump belongs with the yarn, or just got shoved into the same bag.


Mystery Bump of Woolly Virtue

That is a really magical bit of woolly, right there. And the yarn is really nice yarn. There is only 313 yards of it, however. But…I am a spinner. I bet I can make a yarn out of that bump of puffy fibre, a yarn that will be fairly close to the other in feel and grist. I snipped off a little sample of the yarn, so I could see what I might be getting myself into:

IMG_3970 (1)

At the top of the photo is a snippet of what the finished yarn looks like: plump, bouncy, smooth, with just a slight inconsistency in grist to keep things interesting. The three individual plies are immediately below the finished yarn on top, and above the loop of finished yarn at the very bottom of the photo. The first thing I noticed was that the three plies are different from one another: the bottom one is tightly spun and a bit thinner than the others; the middle one is super-lofty, and looks as though it has barely been spun at all. The third ply (second from top in the photo) is somewhere in between the other two in loft, grist and twist.

So. All I have to do, it seems, is spin three plies, each about the same in terms of number of fibers drafted, but different in terms of how loose or tight the actual spinning twist is.

(“All I have to do”. Sure thing.)

I started with what for me would be the hardest part: Spinning that middle ply, the lofty, airy, barely-spun ply. I can spin a fine yarn with a tight twist any day; but one with hardly any twist at all? That requires a level of skill in setting up the wheel and maintaining consistent control over drafting that I feared I did not have.

Aside from the bit of yarn at far right that needs to be put through the spin cycle again, well, it looks as though I am more or less in the right neighbourhood.


The actual yarn sample is draped over the bobbin at left–see the loop with the knot above the bobbin’s core?

Apparently, as long as I am present to what I am doing, and listen to what the fluff is trying to tell me, I will be (more or less) all right.


~ A River Is A Person, too…at least in New Zealand, it is.

~ This, from Ursula K. LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea… Haunting and wise and beautiful.

Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying, life:
Bright the hawk’s flight
On the empty sky.

Posted in Knitting, Recipes, Spinning | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Pattern #2 Posted: Baby Hat!

Hang on, folks!
Technical difficulties with posting the pattern…..
I will fix it asap.
The blog software sent this out a day early.
Life is soooo fun sometimes!



AAANNNNDDDDD…it should all be fixed now! Please let me know if you have any troubles downloading the Vine Lace Baby Hat II. (link repeated just in case!)
Thanks for your patience! 



Once upon a time there was an adorable tiny preemie who needed a baby hat, as do all new babies. I designed a pink lace confection for her, and  called it the Vine Lace Baby Hat.

Pink_Vine_Lace_Hat (1)


I put photos on my blog on Knitting Daily, and folks loved the wee hat! I wrote a pattern for it, but it was very basic, and Interweave asked me to write a “real” pattern for the  magazine.





photo by Joe Coca, I believe


I knit this one in a heavy yarn, and it was modelled by the new baby son of an assistant editor (at left).

Soon, I began seeing these little hats all over the place, which made me happy.

A few years later, and I started getting emails that the pattern was no longer available, could we please have more sizes, that sort of thing.


Again, I completely re-did the pattern, find one major error in the middle of the lace pattern (apologies!). So, the new version had corrections, new photos, and new everything.

That new version is now up on Ravelry, Vine Lace Baby Hat II. Free, of course.

You can also download it here for free, clicking on the caption or the photo itself:


Thank you, Elwood, for being such a great model for my Vine Lace Baby Hat II.

As usual, should you feel inspired to leave a token of your apprection, the Tip Jar is open 24/7.

Enjoy. Send me pictures if you make something really cute for someone really cute!

Posted in Knitting | Leave a comment