Things, Stuff, and Monmouth Hats,

My blog friend Shoreacres sent me a link to a poll being taken to see what people called those kind of hats I make and where they live. That got me sidetracked onto Monmouth caps — you know how that happens.  In pursuit of more information on these historical hats, I turned up this website which details one knitter’s version of how you make them.

The Monmouth caps (at left) were interesting to me for two reasons:  (1) They use only the knit stitch, since the caps were popular between the 14th and 16th centuries and the purl stitch did not come to Europe until the middle 16th century.  However, even in the earliest versions, a row of purl stitches is found on the caps at the point where the hem is “creased” i.e., the bottom edge of the cap, and it is thought that this was accomplished by turning the work around and knitting around the inside in the opposite direction (using the Columbus method*) to produce a row of purl stitches. (2) The brim is turned and hemmed in just the same way as I hem the “brim” of my toboggan caps.  Knitting every stitch produces what is called stockinette stitch, which has a fierce tendency to curl/roll, and I suspect that hemming the brim was developed as a way to prevent this.

You will notice that the cap above has a little loop hanging from the brim.  That’s because there is a “button” at the point of the cap.  The loop is put over the button so that the cap could be hung from a belt.  The Monmouth caps were knitted overlarge in woolen yarn that is then “felted” or “fulled” by washing it in very hot water with soap. This causes it to shrink down and makes it waterproof.  Of course, for chemo hats, you have to use hypoallergenic yarn, which means acrylic, which won’t “felt.” This is just as swell, actually, because knitting with woolen yarn makes my hands itch.

I was thinking about doing a modified version of this cap (without the “fruit loop”) for a chemo cap for men.  I was also thinking about doing one for women where the brim was made on a larger needle and on the row after the hemming row, switching to a smaller size needle for the crown  — and maybe do about an inch of ribbing while I was at it.  This would cause the brim to stand out like the one at left.   I wouldn’t make the crown as tall, though.

I think I’ve perfected the pattern for the toboggan hat with inside ribbing, which I’ll post soon. Watch that space.

The fat(cat)boy got taken to the vet and got his shots.  Needless to say, he was not amused.  (I swear that cat is a fur factory.  I brushed him and brushed him the night before, and he still shed vast clouds of hair all over me, the vet tech, the vet, and the examining room.)  He is in my bad books at the moment.  Guess why.   The solar eclipse is on August 21st, which would have been my dad’s 95th birthday.  It will be about 76% total here.  Close enough for government work.


*Columbus method – going east by sailing west, i.e., doing something in an  arcane and/or complicated, and/or counter-intuitive manner, especially when there is a less complicated, less difficult, more straightforward way to do it.

Like An Owl In The Daytime

Exactly so.  I’ve not been being conscientiously diurnal lately and have let my schedule slew round to where I’m up at night.  It just naturally does that. It just seems right to be up at night when it’s quiet and cool — or cooler, anyway.  My mom is convinced it’s unnatural, and that there’s something innately wrong with it, or me.  I have this theory that the time of the day you’re born at has an influence on whether you’re a “lark,” a morning person, or an “owl,” an evening person.  Most babies are born in the early hours of the morning.  They rest for hours after to recover from the effort, and then they’re awake  I was born just after noon.

My mom is definitely a lark, is convinced that it’s natural and normal to be that way, that everybody in their right mind should be like her, and can’t understand why anybody would think otherwise.  In other words, she’s human, bless her.

Of course, when I was working as a medical transcriptionist, I turned this natural “night owl” tendency of mine to my advantage.  Hospitals are going 24/7, and medical transcriptionists who work for hospitals are needed 24/7.  But, the whole rest of the world is on day-shift —  spouses’  jobs, children’s schools. For people with families, working nights and weekends is hard.  Nobody wants to do it.  Employers offer “shift differential” and “weekend differential” extra pay as an inducement.  Still, its very hard to get people to do it unless they don’t have kids and/or their spouse also works nights, or they’re single.  But here’s me, with few real demands on my time, perfectly willing to work nights and weekends.  Make extra money to be up when it’s my natural tendency to be up anyway?  Sure.  You bet.  I worked from 9 o’clock at night to 5 o’clock in the morning, and had Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or Wednesdays and Thursdays off for almost 20 years — and loved it.  I volunteered to work holidays (holiday differential). Pay me extra for working when nobody else wants to work?  Yep. I’ll take it.

So yesterday I crashed out about 12:30 p.m. and slept until about 8 p.m., and dreamed about 90 mph the whole time, long involved dreams. Bobbed to the surface.  Went back to sleep, again dreaming at a furious clip.  I dreamed about my little grey girl when she was a kitten.  I dreamed about my friend JT.  I dreamed about bats and driving places at night.  Long, convoluted dreams.  Woke up about 3 a.m., and knew by feel that I’d slept enough and wouldn’t be able to sleep any more for a while.

So I lay in the bed and read some more in the book I’m rereading, The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wrecker.  The fact that it’s a reread tells you right off I liked it enough to want to read it again.  It’s a story set in turn-of-the-century New York City, and overtly it’s a story about the immigrant experience, European Jews on the one hand, and Syrian Christians on the other. It’s a very realistic and historically accurate story, except for the two main characters.  One is Chava, a golem, and the other one is Ahmed, a jinni.

A golem is a creature out of Jewish folklore, made of clay and created to serve a master’s every whim.  But Chava is a very special golem, a masterwork.  She has hair and fingernails, and is able to pass for human.  She was created for a man named Rotfeld to be his wife.   So what happens when Rotfeld dies of a burst appendix within hours of awakening her?  She’s a golem without a master.  Now what?

A jinni is a creature out of Middle Eastern folklore, made of fire and magic, free spirits who ride the winds of the Syrian desert, able to assume any form they desire.  But Ahmed has been imprisoned for an unknown amount of time in a copper bottle.  It is Arbeely the tinsmith who unwittingly frees the jinni from the copper bottle he’s repairing.  But Ahmed is not totally free.  He wears an iron bracelet that he cannot remove which prevents him from assuming any other form but human, and which curtails his powers.  Now what?

So, you have the story of a golem without a master, and a jinni without his freedom in turn-of-the-century New York City, and how both come to terms with their fates.   It’s a fascinating story.  Wecker treats each character as a kind of zeitgeist of their respective source cultures, and uses them as a lens to study those cultures, the immigrant experience, the human condition and gender roles. This book resonates on so many levels.  If you like historical fiction and don’t mind it with a heaping dollop of fantasy, then you’ll like this thoughtful, well written book.   And that’s our book report section for today.

OK.  Time for the knitting news.  I had a bit of a hiccup on the toboggan cap with ribbing that I was working on.  I was at the part where you “hem” it — picking up each of the stitches of the provisional cast on and knitting them together (k2tog) with the working stitches when I dropped a stitch. Didn’t realize I’d dropped it until I had gotten a quarter of the way around the hat from it.  Wondered why it looked funny just there, and realized what had happened.  (That little blue padlock looking thingie in the picture above is a stitch marker I’ve used to grab and hold the dropped stitch to keep it from laddering (6) any further.)  I had to “tink” (where you unknit work a stitch at a time) everything I’d done up to that point, pick the stitch up, then continue.  Grumble, grumble.  So glad I caught it, though.

So here’s that same hat nearly finished, doing the decreases by which you knit the top closed. I’ve decreased the number of stitches to the point I’ve had to go to double pointed needles because it’s too small to fit on my 16-inch circular needle.  More of those little padlock thingies, stitch markers because in order to do the decreases, you have to divide the 90 stitches you’ve had on your needles since the start into 9 groups of 10, and do “ssk, knit to the next marker”until you’ve only 9 stitches left.  Then you snip the yarn, pull the yarn end through each of the 9 stitches and drawstring it closed, and secure the loose end.

So I finally finished it this morning and I mostly like how it turned out.

However, I’m going to try again, and this time alter where the ribbed section falls.  The “hem” is 4-1/2 inches deep.  Instead of 1 inch of stockinette, 3 inches of ribbing and 1/2 inch of stockinette, I’m going to try 1/2 inch of stockinet, 3 inches of ribbing and 1 inch of stockinette, and see if I like that better.

Here’s what the inside looks like.  The ribbing makes it fit much more securely on the head.  But the ribbing is too far down and makes the turned edge look weird.

I’m trying again using that “Moda Dea Dream” yarn that’s half acrylic and half nylon that I got a whole bunch of when AM brought that huge plastic bin of yarn in.  The yarn is an ersatz angora and it is very FUZZY!  I’m using the black, which is going to be problematic, not because it’s so FUZZY, but because when you knit with black yarn, it’s hard to “read” the stitches, because black.  This must have been really old yarn, because one of the skeins that had a paper band on it had a price tag of 43 cents.  However, acrylic and nylon last forever.  That white stuff in the picture is the string I’m using to do the provisional cast on around. The yarn is a lot easier to knit with than I was afraid it would be, it being so FUZZY and all.  But it’s every bit as soft as angora and not the least bit scratchy.

I’m going to leave you with this blast from the past from the legendary Peter, Paul and Mary because its sly silliness.

So Far, Still OK

Monday, mom and I went out to the cemetery where my dad is buried.  The cemetery people had put out little flags by the headstones of all the veterans, and all those who had vases attached to their headstones had fresh artificial flowers.

In this cemetery, all the headstones have to be flat and flush with the ground. If you buy a plot there, you have to agree to that condition.  You can opt for a brass vase that mounts onto the headstone and is removable, but you are not allowed to have any kind of a marker that sticks up.  This is so they don’t present any obstacles to the big riding mowers they use to keep the grass cut.  The cemetery is owned by the funeral home which has facilities including a chapel and viewing rooms on site.

My mom brought her whisk broom, a pitcher of water (which fell over and spilled in the car) and paper towels, because last time dad’s marker “had stuff on it.”  I suspect that the mowers they use suck up and bag all the clippings.   Mom was also perturbed that the grass “still” hadn’t covered the grave, but his grave is shaded by cedars on one side, and a large tree on the other.  Bermuda grass doesn’t grow that well in the shade, mom.

Later we went to IHOP and had our usual.  I still have to eat carefully and be sure I only chew on the right side in order to protect the membrane over the bone graft where I had the tooth out. Anyhow, it was quite tasty.  Owing to the amount of acetaminophen (325 mg) and ibuprofen (600 mg) I was taking four times a day up until Monday night, it was important to have food on my stomach when I took my next dose.  I’ve been pretty much pain free (touch wood) though, which is a great blessing.  Probably because the teeth on either side of the one that was extracted are also root canals of long standing.  All my jaw teeth are.  I’ve got more root canals than I have live teeth.

I had a dentist appointment this morning to check on my tooth extraction site and the bone graft.  When I got in the car to go, my eyes fell on the odometer, which read “8888.”  At first I thought there was something wrong with the display, but nope.  Actual mileage.  What are the odds?  Anyway, it reads 8913 now, after going to my dental appointment and back, and to knitting group and back.

Tomorrow, mom is picking me up and we are treating ourselves to a pedicure.  This is a really nice place we go to.  Not only do they trim your nails properly and attend to your cuticles, but they remove callus and rough skin from your feet, do an exfoliation of your lower leg, and then massage this wonderful lotion in.  It’s heavenly. They will also paint your toenails with the color of your choice, if you so desire, but we skip the polish. My mom keeps polish on her fingernails, but I haven’t used polish of any kind in forever.

I found this neat map the other day that gives you an idea about latitudes and what’s where.  It’s a map of the US and Canada superimposed over a map of Europe showing what parts of each country are at the same latitude.  You’ll notice that the bottom of the US is at the same latitude as North Africa, and that Britain and most of Europe are at the same latitude as Canada.  In fact most of Britain is farther north than Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario.  And, but for the grace of the Gulf Stream, the norther two-thirds of Europe would have a much colder climate than it does because it actually is quite far north.

I’m So Hungry for Pizza . . .

. . . But I mustn’t.  Still too soon to be eating anything that “chewy.” (I like lots of meats on mine!)  Still restricted to soft foods and to “babying” that side of my mouth. But then, that’s why God gave us choppers and blenders.  I need to get down my blender and run some “chunky” soup through it, and then microwave it.  I need to get my food chopper down and make a “spread” with chicken and onions and black olives and pickles and mayo, and eat it on bread instead of crackers.  Maybe tomorrow.

Wrote up the pattern and posted it for what I’m calling the No Frills Toboggan cap (at right). Most of it is dead easy — stockinette stitch knitted in the round.  The tricky bit is the heming of the bottom, and the decreases.  But, if you know how to do a provisional cast on, a k2tog and an ssk, you’re home free on this hat.  Elegantly simple.

I’m already working on another pattern that will have a braided cable band around the widest circumference of a beret.   You knit a braided cable band, then pick up stitches on either edge of it to work the bottom and top of the beret.

I was having a hard time sleeping there for a while, but now I’m sleeping better.  Last night I had a couple of these long, “story” dreams like I have, that just seem to go on and on, and are fairly coherent in terms of “plot.”  The gist of the one I remember from last night:  I was going to get married, and my mom was all excited. She was in her “mother of the bride” dress, and I had this long, beautiful white wedding gown with long fitted sleeves and an elaborate hairdo.  The wedding was happening in this long, narrow church, and this was the first time my mom had ever met my prospective groom — only I had to ask one of the wedding guests what my groom’s name was, so I could tell my mom when she asked who this was I was marrying, because I hardly knew the guy! (He was cute, though, blond and handsome.)  He was just starting out as a preacher, but I am not “preacher’s wifey” material, and made that plain at the start.  It was really more of a marriage of convenience as we were going to share a house, and I was going to work all night as a medical transcriptionist, and he was going to be a preacher by day, and we were only going to see each other in passing.  It was, to say the least, a strange dream.

I’ve got to go empty the dishwasher of clean dishes, and empty the sink of dirty ones. . . and that will probably take the last of my spoons, so I’ll be crashing out after I take my evening dose of antibiotic and pain meds.

Owwies Ahead

I got in to see the dentist this morning about the loose crown, and we talked over the situation. If the tooth had to be pulled (it should have been pulled 3 years ago), I was going to ask him to recommend someone who could do a dental implant. Turns out he does them himself. He has an opening Wednesday morning — yeah, like tomorrow!

So, bright and early tomorrow morning, my mom is picking me up and he will remove the roots — there’s not enough of the tooth left above the gum line to actually pull it out — which was the problem with the crown (there has to be some tooth left to put the crown on — besides a glob of cement, which is basically what it’s been sitting on for the past 3 years!) Then he will do a bone graft at the same sitting, because it’s a molar and my molars have big, long roots.  Without a bone graft, the tooth socket will be too deep and too wide to hold the part of the implant that goes down into the jawbone.  Fingers crossed the graft will “take”.

In four months, assuming the graft “takes,”  he will implant the shank gismo into the jawbone bone, and then at some point after that, he will put a tooth on it.  That’ll be a total of 3 grand, please. Thank you very much.

My pantry is already well-stocked with soup, oatmeal, and fruit juice, but on my way home, I stopped at Walmart and bought a 12-pack of high-protein Boost.  I have put some ice-fingers* to freeze in the freezer.  My Kindle is well-stocked.  I have DVD’s to watch, and TV knitting** to do.  I’m finishing up syncing my MP# player as I type to listen to calming music during the procedure.

I probably won’t be doing much of anything for the rest of Wednesday but sleeping.  Fingers crossed, ya’ll, that the graft takes, because if it doesn’t, we will have to pursue other, less satisfactory options, like a bridge.

*ice-fingers — half fill a snack size plastic baggie with water and squeeze out the air.  Put it in the freezer and let it freeze.  wrap it in a wash cloth (to protect your skin) and apply to the affected area.  When the ice all melts, put it back in the freezer and refreeze it.
**TV knitting — the pattern is so simple you don’t really have to pay too much attention to what you’re doing.

As Time Goes By

Regular readers of this blog may remember that I acquired another first cousin twice removed in August of 2015, and baby clothes were knitted right and left in preparation for her arrival.

Please allow me to be a proud cousin.

Here she is at 10 months old preaching to the choir:

And here she is at 20 months running loose at the zoo:

Her name is Raelyn, and she’s cuter’n a bug.  “MeeMaw” is my first cousin EJ from whom this little perpetual motion machine is twice removed (granddaughter).  Authentic Texas accents provided free of charge.

Happy Mother’s Day

To all those in the crowd who have given birth — I started to say, “to all you mothers out there,” but somehow that sounded a bit off color (– or maybe it’s just me).

This is what my mom got for mother’s day.  It’s another Curved Shoulder Scarf like this one, but in a wine red metallic thread.  I think it turned out nicely if I say so myself.  Naturally, I thought of several modifications, so the next time through I’ll do up the modifications and post the modified pattern on my blog.  It’s actually a pretty quick knit, all things considered — like the fact that you do 21 repeats of a 12-line lace motif, but that goes fast as you only cast on 9 stitches for it.  I made two in four evenings’ worth of knitting.

I gave the other one to our dear family friend CK who had mom and me over for dinner last evening, for a delicious meal.  She just happened to be wearing a blouse that had that same peach color (which looks very good with her skin tones), and she has some gorgeous turquoise jewelry, so that colorway is perfect for her.

I spent most of yesterday futzing with a 1 Tb Western Digital external disk drive to use for an external backup device. I had a 500 Gb external drive, but it was too small.  (After my latest computer revamp, I have two hard drives now — a new 1 TB drive and  the old 500 Gb drive . . . ) First I had to back everything up individually by category on my set of six memory sticks, which took forEVer!  Then I switched out the backup drives and redid what and how I backed stuff up (every time I changed something)  That took some time, too. While I was waiting for files to transfer, I worked on the — are you ready for it?  — Dance Like An Egyptian Hat.

My version
Original version

It is Fair Isle knitting, which I had to learn to do, which means I’m working with two colors live and realtime, holding a color in each hand, and I had to learn how to “catch floats“.

It starts with a provisional cast on, and after a bunch of stockinette knitting, it has a row of these dancing ladies, which I modified from one I found that was put up for grabbies on the interwebs to anyone who wanted to play around with it.  Naturally, I modified it.   I added in a row at the top of her skirt so I could fix the design on it, and evened out the proportions of her arms by making the up-turned arm shorter in the upper arm and the down-turned arm longer in the forearm.  Then I made a  reversed version.

The hat will have one band of the lady facing left and a second band of the lady facing right. These will be interspersed between some rows of alternating stitches in each color for a checkerboard effect.  The brim is wide, and rolled by turning it under and knitted the provisional cast on back into the hat with a row of K2togs. It will have a standard hexagonal decrease on the top.  It’s slow going for the moment as I’m not used to holding my yarn this particular way in my right hand, but it’s fun.

This yarn is so shiny it’s hard to see the turquoise foot of the dancing lady.  You’ve got to knit 27 rows of stockinette before you even get to the two-color work because the dancing lady is 17 rows high and you’ve got to have enough brim to turn under and have a little bit of plain grey on the bottom edge of the hat. .

I’ll be taking step-by-step pictures of the process to post with the pattern on my knitting blog.

I’ll have enough yarn to do one where the variegated yarn is the background color, and the grey yarn is the contrast color.  That will give it a rather different look.  Oh, what fun.

At right, those long loops of yarn on the inside are the “floats” where the yarn not currently in use is being carried along behind the background color until it’s needed again.  When there’s a long “float” you have to secure it so they’re too short to get a finger through them. That’s a neat little maneuver.

Tomorrow when I’m out and about, I’ve got to see if I can find the new Pier 1 store and see if they still have bowls like I’ve been using (below left with the hat on top), and get two more.  Good thing I got that bigger table top for my computer, eh?

Here’s a little mood music:

Busy, Busy

I’ll start out with the knitting news, because there’s not much else going on.  The Carrie Fisher Memorial PussyHat is done, and I had enough left over from that skein and a skein I made another hat from to make a second CFMPH, which is about an inch shy of being finished.  It turned out nice, and I’m pleased with it.  Need to print up the note that goes inside.

I finished the simple beret with that Red Heart Unforgettable yarn in the colorway “Parrot,” which is as cheerful as all get-out.

I also did what the pattern calls a “Curved Shoulder Scarf” which may be a gift, or maybe not.  Haven’t decided.  It’s in that same “Parrot” Unforgettable Yarn.  It’s a variegated yarn, what they call “self striping” — except I think this ball is a little pinker in the warm end of the spectrum and not quite as orange as the one I made the hat out of.

I still have the Nako Beret to finish.  Maybe tomorrow — assuming I can find my roundtoit, and I have the patience to sit down with the video and learn grafting.

Right now, I’m doing the Curved Shoulder Scarf in the Metallic Wine colorway of the Paton’s Metallic yarn, which is going to be a gift.  It’s turning out really nice.  I need to finish it up tonight.  I’d like to do some more little scarfs and shawls like that.

Muddling Through

I finally decided that I wasn’t going to get around to finishing that last lap robe, and it’s already so hot out that I don’t even want to visualize the concept, never mind make one.  Wednesday, in a mighty burst of energy, I did four washer loads (wash, dry, fold up, put away – except for the microfleece blanket that is still in the dryer needing to be folded up, and the stuff that’s on hangers, which is still hanging on the clothes rack in the laundry room.).  Then I ran my comforter through the “air” cycle on the dryer, got out my clothes drying rack and put my comforter over it and Fabreezed it within an inch of its life, and left it to air in the only clear space at that end of the duplex, which is right in front of the front door.  I bench pressed my sewing machine back up on the closet shelf, folded the table up and put it under the bed. Now I’m exhausted and have a big spoon deficit besides, figuratively as well as literally. (All my actual spoons are in the dishwasher — since my silverware drawer contains two complete place settings for 8, I apparently consumed a lot of stuff that had to be eaten with spoons this week.)

My mom keeps getting on my case about drinking so much sweet tea, but here’s the thing:  1 teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories.  My little scoop holds four teaspoons.  The tea pitcher I use holds a gallon.  When I make tea, I use 5 teabags and 3 scoops of sugar for a whole pitcher of tea.  That works out to 192 calories per gallon of tea. and it takes me a day or two to drink the whole pitcher (and it’s usually half watered down by ice when I do — That’s another thing she’s on my case about, me not drinking enough water . . .).  One of those little bottles of white peach juice that’s supposed to be so good and healthy for you (and which contains high fructose corn syrup, I might point out) has 160 calories in 10 ounces!  I can belt one of those babies back in 30 seconds.  So, compare 15 calories in 10 ounces of my sweet tea to the 160 calories in 10 ounces of the peach juice.  So, a 16 oz glass that’s half full of tea, with 8 ice cubes in it (and the ice cube trays I use, 8 ice cubes = 1 cup of water by the way), and no, I’m not drinking too much sweet tea.

I think part of it was that my dad’s tea was never sweet enough for him unless about half an inch of sugar had settled out of it into the bottom of the glass — I do not exaggerate —  and every time I say “sweet tea” that’s what she thinks of.  She puts saccharin in her tea, which is made from coal tar, BTW, commonly manufactured by combining anthranilic acid (used among other things as a corrosive agent for metal) with nitrous acid, sulfur dioxide, chlorine, and ammonia, and that’s so much healthier for you. (Yes, that’s right.  Chlorine and ammonia.)

Anyway, the mystery of the knocked over sidewalk light was finally solved.  I’d look out and see it was knocked over, go out and put it back on the little peg, look out a while later, and it was knocked over again.  This went on for days.  It may have either gotten accidentally kicked, or the yard guys may have hit it with the strimmer while edging the sidewalk, but the end of the stake got a crack up one side.  Duct taped that sucker.  Sorted.  One of these days when I have the energy, I need to redo the edging bricks.  And weed.  But there’s no point in weeding until I get some bedding plants.  I want hardy perennials that do well in partial shade because that bed only gets sun during the first half of the day.

Inexplicably, I have two volunteer rose bushes.  A tenant a couple of tenants ago loved roses and had a rose garden in that bed, and these are probably growing out of the root stock of tea roses he had planted whose grafts died.   They are probably this one really hardy species of red climbing roses (“Dr. Huey”) as that is what is very commonly used as a root stock for tea rose grafts.   Anyway, there’s this little one (above) and the big one closer to the porch, with the hose/pipe for scale.  Neither has bloomed yet so I don’t know for sure they’re red climbers.  Maybe I’ll luck out and they’ll be pink climbers, or white ones.  Who knows.  I might get some cinderblock pavers this time if I see what I want at a good price, to put by the faucets so I’ll have a place to stand to turn the water on and off.  I probably better start watering.  I need to buy a couple weed and feed things this time.  If I can get the Bermuda grass going, it will strangle out most of the weeds.  If I thought I was going to live in this duplex for more than a couple of years, I’d be more pro-yard than I am.  Also if I had more spoons . . .

In the knitting news, I’ve tackled mosaic knitting, which is a form of two-color knitting that uses slipped stitches.  This is a hat with a rolled brim that I’m working on.  The base yarn is variegated and the contrast colors are white and black.  I think it’s turning out nicely.  This is not the same kind of color work as Fair Isle, which is a bit different, and not actually what I’m into.  If I want to follow diagrams, I’ll do needlepoint, thank you.

I found this and I want to use it in a “Dance Like an Egyptian” hat.  I’m kind of into pillbox hats now, thinking about how to do one.   I might do one with three rows of these on the brim done in two color work.  I have some ideas, but I have to finish the above hat first, and maybe do another hat I’ve been thinking about.   Don’t know.

Found this the other day, and just about went orgasmic over it.  I believe I can get enough detail out of it to work out how it’s done. Just too cool for words.

My next thing is going to be learning how to do two-color work while holding both colors in my left hand at the same time.  Goalz.  I haz dem.

The next item on the agenda, however, is lunch.  I think I hear some chicken noodle soup calling my name, and maybe some toast and peanut butter . . . . .

We’re having yoyo weather, as you can see, except what’s showing as “today” below is actually yesterday.

Of Noble Regency Detectives and Dragons

The newest (#12)  Sebastian St. Cyr novel by C. S. Harris comes out on 4 April.  I have it pre-ordered and am currently in the process of rereading up to it.  If you love Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, you’ll love these books.  They can be read piecemeal (each can stand alone) but I’d read them in order, as the characters evolve, grow, and change through the series.  Rich settings, well-rounded characters, engaging, nail-biting plots.  The setting is period accurate and each book has a satisfying emotional payoff, but enough hooks that you want to read the next book in the series to see what happens next.  Harris anchors her plots seamlessly into the historical context of Regency England — the way it really was, warts and all — while providing page-turning action, adventure, a dash of history and a lovely touch of tasteful spice.

Also on 4 April, the newest book in the Foreigner series, Convergence, comes out.  Got that sucker pre-ordered, too.

In other book-related news, author-illustrator Jackie Morris, who writes and illustrates the most  beautiful books, has a new edition out of Tell Me A Dragon.  She is giving away copies, choosing from the descriptions of dragons in the comments on her blog post. So here’s mine.

“My dragon has iridescent white opal scales with gleams of turquoise, violet, and teal as the light strikes it.  Its eyes are luminous turquoise and as deep and vast as the space between the stars.  Its opalescent wing membranes taper on the trailing edges to near transparency like the skin of soap bubbles.  It can change size from small enough to sit in the shell of my ear to brontosaurus huge.  It has a slender, gracile body, a long, sinuous neck and an even longer, snake-like tail that coils expressively when it speaks. Its claws are made of ivory and it has long, raptor-like claws like an eagle for perching. It is nocturnal and loves to bask in the light from the full moon and to fly by starlight.   It has a bitonal voice that is spidersilk soft, resonant and melodious.  When it speaks, it speaks slowly, thoughtfully and in a slightly sibilant manner.  It is particularly fond of singing long, quiet, wordless songs with slowly undulating and involved melodies during which its bitonal voice harmonizes with itself.  Its snout is rather long, and it can gape its jaws very wide. It lives on sadness, grief and pain, which it sieves from the air like a whale shark as it flies through the night with its mouth agape, and exhudes calm peacefulness and comfort in its wake.   Its food supply has become rather overabundant of late, and it is, alas, becoming a bit tubby from overeating.”

Seriously, if you have children in your life, you need to get them her books — The Ice Bear is magical.  The Seal Children is lyrical.  The Snow Leopard is wonderful.  If you have a tween girl in your orbit, she needs to read East of the Sun and West of the MoonThe Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow is for anyone who enjoys a beautiful, peaceful story with elements of fantasy.  But the bestest, most magical, snuggle in and reading a story together book ever is Tell Me A Dragon.  Give this book to people with babies so they can start them early.

Well, Michael’s had another coupon and another yarn sale, and I can say, I am in no danger of running out of yarn any time in the next five years.  Also in the knitting news, the green cotton hat is done and the blue cotton hat is 2/3 done.  I’ll finish it tonight. I got more cotton yarn at Michael’s last night, some variegated colors for summer chemo hats.

Also, I got a ChiaoGoo size US 2 (2.75 mm) 60-inch circular needle and yesterday at knitting group, I knitted the teal 9-Bladed Pinwheel shawl (at right) off the bamboo needles and onto the ChiaoGoos. It’s the first time I’ve worked on that shawl since my Dad died.  That was the knitting I always took over when I went to sit with him so mom could go out.  It’s such basic TV knitting — knits and yarn overs — it’s practically brainless.  Easy to pick up and put down and requiring little to no attention.   I had gotten it out to show a couple of weeks ago.  That poor shawl has been a UFO* for about 6 years now.  I started it two houses ago when I lived in the duplex off Quaker, before I moved to the apartments I was living in when I moved here.  As you can see, it has the fat(cat)boy seal of approval.

I also got more skeins of that Paton’s metallic like I used for this hat.  I got a beautiful deep purple and a deep red, two skeins of each.  I already had some, and this will be enough that I can make two hats out of each of the colors.  They’re small skeins and there’s not enough in one skein to make a hat, but three skeins will make two hats.

I also got two more skeins of  the fuchsia Caron’s Simply Soft with the metallic thread like I made this hat from, and another larger skein of a nice teal blue color.  The metallic thread doesn’t show up well in the picture, but it gives it a nice sparkle — not enough to be glitzy, but just enough to give it a little pizzaz.  I’ll be making some more chemo hats from those, too.


*UFO — UnFinished Object.