Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Feet

I finished the experimental slipper socks.

The "experimental" part consisted of placing the foot decreases at the top, rather than the sides. This resulted in a little wonkiness, with the front of the cuff riding up higher than the back.

Guess there's a reason that the classic ways of doing things become classics (they work). Still, these babies are bright and warm and will be fine for padding around the house.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Demolition has started on the building that burned. My gut still feels a little tight when I look at it. It's cold and bright and dry today, and even from a block away there's still a tang of burnt wood in the air.

The new coffee shop is open, just outside of the cordoned off area. The owner was feeling almost as if she should have closed "out of respect", but I think the community needs a place to be able to drop in, and talk, and start picking up threads.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Now I need to go back to DC

Because I would really like to see these terrific quilts in person.

Some Favorite Things

We had a very lovely Christmas. The best part was having our dear daughter home for several relaxed days, and her very nice fellow joining us for dinner at "the in-laws next door" on Christmas Day.

So who needs gifts? But the gifts are nice, too, and these are some of my favorites.

Clockwise from top left: two adorable little hand knit sheep ornaments (Fair Trade from SERVE, Int.), a sweet print by an artist named Joan Arnold, Double Knitting by M'Lou Baber, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, and a calendar with pictures of cats wearing hats. I'd say that the family knows my (occasionally quirky) tastes pretty well.

It's worth clicking to make this bigger. The faces are so charming.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Have a Starter (?)

After flipping through various lace books, I think my first shawl for the "10 in 2010" will be rectangular, using the "Celandine" pattern from Mariannne Kinzel's first book, probably in sport weight or heavier.

That should be relatively easy, sort of a warm up lap.


My thanks to all who sent good thoughts to the town and the families affected by the fire. The kindness is much appreciated.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Sad Monday

Early Monday morning, a building downtown burned. Sadly, there were four people inside and none made it out alive. I didn't know any of them personally, but in a town this small you are never far removed. I know a sister, a cousin, and have an acquaintance with parents. My heart aches for them all.

The building is a total loss.

It's a wonder that the fire didn't spread farther, as it started sometime before 3:30 am.; but our part time police officer happened to be on duty and spotted the smoke and called the volunteer fire department. The guys were there in five minutes, with crews from surrounding towns arriving shortly after. God bless every one of them.

As it is, most of the downtown is blocked off.

There's yellow police tape running all the way around two blocks on either side of Main Street/Hwy 78 to re-route traffic, because there's some concern that the burnt building might collapse.

This makes it hard on the businesses in that area, though the ones at the ends are accessible and open, as I discovered today by stepping over the police tape near the bank. It might all be rather adventurous if no one had died. I really wish no one had died.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I haven't been knitting much, but

I've been thinking about knitting a lot.

ckknitter invited me to join a "10 shawls in 2010" group on Ravelry. First I had to think about whether I could really knit ten shawls in one year, and I thought probably not. But I visited the group and learned they set out to be a friendly, flexible bunch (no shaming if you don't complete the challenge, you just don't get a chance at any prizes). And I thought it would be fun to see what beauties everyone else comes up with. So I joined, with the mental reservation that I would just do what I could.

So now I have been thinking, "What should I do for the first one?" More specifically, who will it be for, in what shape, what size and with what yarn? What do I have in my stash with sufficient yardage (the game calls for minimum of 250 yards for eight of the ten, and 500 meters for the remaining two)? Will I go with an existing pattern, or just wing it?

I have until Jan 1 to think. Then it's time to cast on.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pure dumb luck

Every once in a while it works in your favor.

I decided that it was high time I made the second funky slipper sock, so I grabbed the yarn and my somewhat sketchy notes, cast on and got about halfway through the ribbing before it occurred to me that I really should have checked the first one to see what point in the yarn color repeat I started with.

Lo and behold:

Not a perfect match, but pretty darn close. I'm off by about one round. I think I can live with that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cutest Ornament Ever!

This teeny, teeny pair of mittens came in a Christmas card from the inimitable Molly Bee. They are so cute, and so amazing. Thank you, thank you! I feel honored to have them.

They are now on the tree, which went up this weekend.

Well, it went up, and then came down (Thank you Merlin), but at least it came down before anything was on it.

We decided it would be wise to only use unbreakable ornaments this year. The cats are still under close supervision. I don't know. We may be making them neurotic. Why would anyone bring in a great big (interesting smelling) bush, hang fascinating new cat toys all over it, and then sit guard with water spray bottles? It's perverse. Guess they'll have a lot to tell their therapists later in life.
Really, I wouldn't mind them batting a few ornaments around - it's the potential for climbing and tipping the whole thing over again that has us on guard. If there were a reasonable way to wire it in place, we would. But that's not a feasible option.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Well Finally

The blue, mesh-y scarf was one of those projects that seemed endless. And I'm kind of "meh" about the results.

I like the pattern stitch, but the garter stitch borders are sloppy. It might have helped if I had used a slip stitch at each edge. But part of it is gauge related. I used a large needle to get a more open effect in the middle, but that gave a looser gauge in the edges than I like. Would a different edge stitch have looked nicer, maybe seed stitch? I don't know. Suggestions?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

First We Shoveled The Driveway.

Then we raked off the roof, then we shoveled the driveway again. That heap is about half of what came off the roof. I know it looks as if "we" means Mr S, but I got a good two hours in myself. This is about half of what came off the roof.

There was also the sidewalk.

It's a pain in the butt, but it's pretty.

Monday, December 07, 2009


When they're not wrestling, they really are the best of pals.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Kinda Neat

Matt Yglesias posted a link to a list of 100 Best Last Lines from Novels It's pretty cool (partly because it reminds me of how many things I haven't read, and that maybe I should go and read some of them).

I, myself would move the Huck Finn up to #2 or even #1.

100 might be too many. When speaking of literature, a "best" list that includes Richard Brautigan and Margaret Mitchell is probably too long. On the other hand, I got a kick out of "Candy" rounding out the group at #100. I'm assuming the humor of that one is entirely intentional.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Downtown Stroll

The holiday greens are up, looking almost out of place in Monday's balmy sunshine. It's nice that most of the businesses are participating.

Even the "Old Stone Building" is festooned. This is the oldest commercial building in town, and until recently was a mess. The new owners have gutted it and are slowly, but carefully renovating it.

For the time being, you can see clear through it.

Here's my actual destination, the Pecatonica Grapevine. Kmkat asked about "Pecatonica". That's the name of the river running through town. It's about 30 feet past those cars on the right.

Inside, very cosy indeed. I treated myself to a sandwich, and Christine came by with a sample of banana bread for dessert. This would be a lovely "sit and knit" spot. So Elizabeth (and anyone else), just give a holler if you want to meet up.