Showing posts from 2008

Getting a few things done...

Here's the wreath I made by twisting a few leftover Xmas tree branches around a coat hanger and anchoring them with tin ties.

Given the weather, it was a miracle that our visitors arrived more or less on time, their luggage intact. It has been wonderful to have another knitter around. My sister brought 3 pairs of loosely knitted slippers with her and we felted them in the washer. I've never had so much fun sitting around the basement. The slippers fit well, and will take the shape of our feet, but in the beginning they looked like they were made for the Cat in the Hat. I like them all, but especially the ones on the left. Which pair is your favorite?

I heard that a few of you tried making shortbread. How did it turn out? Is anyone willing to fess up in the comments?

I've finished the Lace Ribbon Scarf and sent it off to Ottawa with Christina. Poor thing. Her plane back across the lake keeps getting delayed in increments of 1 hour. Maybe we'll have her back for the night a…

Getting in the mood

I've come to realize that wherever you live in a cold climate, snow is a much bigger deal if you are dependent on a car. If you live in the city and rely on public transportation, snow can be a pain, but it's not all that bad. I bussed it to work for 20 years and I still laugh when I see the reporters on TV standing in front of the local freeway, commenting seriously about 6 inches of snow. I am coming to realize why they do it though, now that I am more dependent on a car. Snow really does throw drivers for a loop. You have to worry about the condition of the car, the tires, gas, etc. It's taken me 10 years to get this through my noggin, but I think I'm finally catching up with the rest of the world. 
We had some intense snow yesterday but we were OK as we only live 8 minutes drive from work and have 4 wheel drive. If we had to we could have slogged home on foot. Personally, I love the snow. I do. Today, the sun came out and we enjoyed a bit of shoveling.

Then we drove …

Short, Dark and Surreal


In Which Helen Tells How She Makes Shortbread Cookies (in great detail and without apology)

Someone will be interested in how I do this. If you are  not, then just blog on. 
Warning: butter is involved. In large quantities!

This is the one thing I still make around Xmas time. This recipe yields about 100 stars, diamonds, moons, etc.
I start with 1 pound of butter which I cut up into chunks and place into a large mixing bowl. I don't pay particular attention to whether it is cold or warm, but I think it's on the colder side when I do this...

These are fairly fine chunks. They don't have to be this small. Anyway. Then measure 4 and a half cups of your favorite white flour, about a half a cup of ground rice and a cup of sugar.  The faint of heart should move on now. If the butter is unsalted, then I add a bit of salt at this point.
An aside about Ground Rice: This ingredient is no longer available in North America ( if it is, then I want to know where) but it is not strictly necessary to the recipe. You can replace it with another half cup or so of regular flour. Don'…

It's all worn off...

... the effects of my wonderful October vacation, that is. My vacation glow lasted until Thanksgiving week, when I caught a bad cold, now more or less gone. I'm left with sore ribs on one side. Coupled with dark cold weather, lots of spreadsheet duty at work, and waking up in the middle of the night with a pain in the side, I became convinced that I'd be lucky to get off with walking pneumonia at best. Lung cancer, more likely. 
I've had this feeling before. I usually ignore it and it goes away, but this time it was quite severe, so I went to the doctor. After much poking and prodding and running up and down the hallway with something attached to my finger, the doc informed me that I have inflammation of the ribcage cartilage. 
Go home and take ibuprophen, you've been coughing too much.  I have Not been coughing.  Well, sometimes people get it without coughing.  What else makes them get it?
Well, maybe nothing at all, it just happens.
Could you get it from Rolling Like a Ball

The Dark Side?

I forgot the current nightcap (a plain blue one for a man to wear at night) in the car and now it's locked up in the freezing garage. I'll have to start another and retrieve that one tomorrow. Or Monday.

Mittens in the Mail

Primetime Knitter is a modest and shy soul, but I'm going to thank her here on the blog anyway. 
Sarah Southgate  of the RKG wrote me last night to let me know that Primetime's Target Wave mittens have arrived here in Rochester, NY. A good home will be found for them. I understand that we now have met our goal of 300 mittens for the schools. We can now stand proudly with the knitters of the 1930's
If any of you Rochesterians out there who are reading this, know any details of the mitten distribution to the schools, please do write something in the comments.  I'll see what I can find out at the Guild meeting on December 8th.
Many thanks, Marjorie for your contribution and  inspiration! Here's a summer's day for you. Wish I could give you a real one!

Noro Nightcap

Yes I did.

Can you recognize the 1840 Nightcap pattern in this winter hat? As Franklin suggests in the pattern instructions, there are many possibilities. I made a few modifications.

The yarn is some kind of Noro, knit with a strand of Be Sweet Extra Fine Mohair. I'll have to look at the tag to see exactly which kind. It's around here somewhere. Oh. Oh. Oh.

The hat is knit over 91 stitches. I tucked up the edging and hemmed it under so that it looks like it's peeking out from underneath the brim. I used the double knitting stitch on page 26 of Barbara Walker's First Treasury to knit a hatband out of some leftover Regia Silk sock yarn. When the band got to be about two inches wide, I knit the live stitches of the band onto the inside of the hat, along the edge of the folded brim, taking care to spread the finer gauge stitches of the band evenly around the bigger gauge knitting of the hat itself.
Knitting this hatband was very fiddly. The double knit stitch has two rows ove…

Moscow Knitting News

Here's a loose translation of an article from


Moscow Knitting Class Robbed

Two residents of Moscow's Northern District have been charged under article 162 of the Criminal Code (robbery). As reported on the website of the Moscow police department, a 73-year-old retiree and her daughter robbed an organization offering knitting classes.

The retiree and her 35-year-old daughter appeared at the office at No. 1 Yamskoe Pole Street and demanded the return of 10 thousand rubles (about $400) the daughter had paid for a program because she wasn't happy with it.

A secretary, who was alone in the office, suggested the women request reimbursement in writing, which would then be passed on to the management. Instead, the retiree took out a taser and attacked the secretary. The women left, taking a purse containing 34 thousand rubles (about $1200).

The police detained both women.

Hats, Hats, Hats

I'm up to 4 and a half hats by and have 3 to show here. They are all for a friend in Montreal, a librarian who first hired me as a student back in the dark ages of print indexes and rubber modems with receivers that looked like suction cups. She is now undergoing chemo sadly, but never mind. I hope these will cheer her up.

The first is a tidy little red number in Katia Mississippi 3, a fingering weight cotton acrylic blend. This should be very practical.

This green lace hat is more glamourous. The yarn is Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton. The woman in the yarn shop said, "I wonder why they call it "nautical?" and looked at me. I didn't say anything then, but now I know. I think it has something to do with it being a bit like rope, beautiful, shiny, shapely rope, yes. But nonetheless it does have rope-like qualities. It was a bit hard on my fingers, but it was worth it in terms of the texture, unlike some cottons which just lie there afterwards looking like washed ou…

Lost it

The first time I saw an email telling me about Daily Lit, I deleted it. The whole idea of reading a novel on email seems anathema, abominable, even blasphemous, doesn't it? Well, I've caved. I've signed up.
Essentially, Daily Lit is a service that sends you a few paragraphs of a book each day on email. You select the title (many are free) and tell it when and how often you want to receive installments. The default is daily. When you finish your daily bit, you can click on a link and have the next day's paragraphs sent to you immediately. 
I'd been trying to re-read The Pickwick Papers in connection with a translation I'm working on, but I wasn't not getting anywhere with it. The Pickwick Papers, that is. So I've signed up for Daily Lit and will see how it goes. No guarantees.
Unable to leave it at that, I just noticed that on Librivox, which provides free audiobooks from the public domain, read aloud by volunteers, you can now have a chapter a day sent to…

On the needles

I'm not as far along with my knitting as I thought I would be but this is not unusual. I thought I would finish the Heart and Sole socks at the conference and start another pair. I thought I would finish the cardigan fronts that I was working on and  cast on for the sleeves. No and no.
I did quite well with the cardigan fronts, finishing them off on the flight back from Charleston, but I left the printed pattern in my luggage and I couldn't remember what to do about the sleeves so I read a book, Virginia Nicholson's Singled Out: how two million women survived without men after the First World War.  This is a very interesting book, written almost entirely as a string of anecdotes. This makes it a good book to dip into and put aside. I keep flipping to the index and the notes were, fortunately, published with the book and not slung out on a web site somewhere. 
The print in my paperback copy is very tiny. I can't wait for my new glasses to come later this week. Anyway, thi…

Playing Hooky

I'm posting from the airport at Charlotte, North Carolina, on my way home from the Charleston Conference. This is the best connectivity I've had all week.
I was in Charleston for voting day, which was so exciting for everyone. I watched from my hotel room and went out into the lobby after 11 thinking it would be packed with revellers but it was dead quiet. I guess South Carolina is a red state. Anyway, I later had several exciting conversations about it with taxi drivers. People are really happy and hopeful.

To prime ourselves for our own presentation, my colleague and I went for a walk along The Battery. It was a beautiful day.

On the way back uptown, we stopped twice. First, we practically stumbled across the Unitarian churchyard.  We found it only by peering down a leafy narrow passageway and then daring to go in further. Annabel Lee of Poe's poem supposedly haunts this place...

Then we stopped at Knit on Wentworth Street. Of course we did. I finally bought volumes 1 to 3 …

Catching up

Wow! While catching up on posts I missed on my favorite blogs, I see that Prime Time Knitter has posted about mittens she is knitting for the Rochester Knitting Guild mitten drive! 
Thanks, Marjorie. Check it out.
Time is going by so quickly. I'm home for just one week before going to a conference and there's so much to do. A few too many things on the old to do list, ya know. 
Still. I do feel nice and relaxed after my vacation. I've started on my own pair of mohair/sock yarn socks and I'm on the second one of the pair. It's gotten cold here and I've gotten all my hand knit socks out to wear. They're not for everyone, but those of us who like to wear them, really like them. They are so cosy and comforting. 

Here I am using Red Heart Heart and Sole sock yarn, purchased at Michael's. It's very much like knitting with Regia.

What did I knit while away? Well, not as much as I thought I would. I took the Pine Tree Palatine with me in my hand luggage, taking the needle out and putting it onto a piece of yarn instead. Waste of time. Didn't touch it. 
Aside from finishing Michael's After Golf Socks, I knitted the back of a cabled cardigan using Stylecraft Freedo…

Home again, home again...

I'd been hoping to post more while I was visiting my Auntie Margaret in and sister Frances, but it wasn't convenient due to dial-up and a wonky modem. Wherever the past two weeks went, they went very quickly. I had a very relaxing time and feel ready to face the world. That might be a dangerous thing to say. Let me take it back!
I split my time away between Northumberland and London. First, let me say the the socks I made for Auntie Margaret and Michael were a big hit. Remember how I knitted in a strand of fine mohair? I finished Michael's the day before I left for London (Thursday) and left them on his chair a bit damp. As we set out for the Alnmouth train station, I noticed that he had them on the dashboard. He had spread them out there to dry with the intention of putting them on later in the afternoon after his golf game, at which point his feet would be cold and wet. Well, he was still wearing them when I returned 5 days later. Hmm. What better compliment could I wish …

Big Baby in the Big Smoke

We're in England this week. Down in the Big Smoke for the craft show, Origin, me an' Big Baby. I was last here in 1991. Back then, when you washed your face after a day out, the water down the drain was black with grime from the air. London was famous for it's smog, but no longer. Makes me feel like Rip van Winkle (not unusual for me, I'm finding). I've been wearing Big Baby, my February Lady cardigan, every day and she's proving herself to be very adaptable indeed.

Anyway, we've been all around, Big Baby an' me, notably to the posh craft show Origin at Somerset House. Here we are at left, leaving our mark in the crafting space. Passers-by were invited to write a phrase on a pice of translucent ribbon and weave it into a 3.6 meter high wire frame.  I contributed "Stitch by Stitch," not very original, but I wanted to keep moving and take in the rest of the exhibits.

My sister Frances and I visited during week 2 (the exhibitors change each week) …