…perhaps when I’m not talking to others. I should be taking a quiz, or beginning dinner right about now. I’m in college. I often need to be doing something else. So, how do I do it? I have to make a choice.

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My nieces and nephews pretending to be camera shy;-).

I have to choose to make time to knit. I know I’m going to play on facebook, or quilt, or knit, and sometimes, I’m going to have to take a walk, and spend some actual time with my boyfriend and talking to him, not just shushing him while I concentrate on sudoku games. And some weeks, the fourth of July holiday is thrown in and you visit with your family for a bit.

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Drama Llama Lizzie, hiding from her own Drama…

Somedays, adding in work, that is a lot to juggle. I spent most of my breaks studying for a quiz today, and I need to take that quiz tonight, but I got in one row of knitting while I watched a little tv and chatted with dear James. I did also tink back four rows, maybe five from last week, and went a little farther than I planned to, but all is working out now, so far. I have some wonky thread to work with for a bit. But it should knit up fine.

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Sock progress with pre-curled yarn for stitches…

I’ve been told some won’t use this wonky yarn, but I need to, as there will be pieces left when I’m done with these socks. I’m also told you can soak the yarn, but these were knit and purl stitches before, I think they’re just pre-formed. I’ll have more issues with the tangling of yarn, than I likely will with the curvy, sporty yarn. They’ll come, just slowly for the next few weeks.

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They’re still pretending to ignore me…had I said cheeseburger, they would have run for dinner…

Until Next Time,

Happy Knitting

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I’m sitting here tonight thinking on the knitting I haven’t gotten to yet this week, and wondering just how much progress I can make on my sock before I need to write up and publish my blog. Maeve chooses this moment to take advantage of my open lap and hops in for a snuggle. Maeve loves snuggles. Briannag has been bugging from the couch for snuggles every time I cursed the book quiz I need to finish before the regularly scheduled class time next week.

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The current amount of progress….this is just a sock to be, the cuteness is below;-)

It has been a week of ups and downs, the ups were not always enough to compensate the downs, but only if I dwell on each day separately. I do not have class so early next Wednesday that I need to change my sleep schedule from overnights to days; however, we also miss out on a review, and the instructor is providing a book based exam. I have cursed anything book based in the entire class. It’s often confusing at best. However, I’m focusing more on the ups, and listening to Bon Jovi’s song “Have a Nice Day” as I contemplate my week.

The biggest up was dinner with my oldest niece at Bob Evans-nothing fancy, but she’d never been there. Part of our goal is to go places she’s never been. We’re considering finding the best burger served at each place we dine at and are keeping a commemorative journal of our dinners. She even told me she wants to be a food critic when she grows up, amongst her twelve other jobs she may or may not be able to accomplish via freelance work. It was a great dinner. (Phones were not present at this event, except to make a quick note to pick up a journal, which we did). Photos were not taken either.

In the meantime, how far do you think I can get? I promise to get photos too.

001Scamp’s immediate nosedive into the knitting bag…

Now, I retrieved my knitting bag from its home in the chair, where it is tied shut to keep curious kittens out of it. This is a requirement, as you’ll notice Scamp immediately made a nose-dive into the bag when I set it on the edge of the couch and placed my pillow in its proper back-supporting position.

Once I snapped the photograph and shooed Scamp out of the knitting bag, I began cursing at the sixteen dropped stitches I needed to pick up. Diligently, and patiently, I slipped them back on the needle one at a time. I resisted the urge to overwork the knitting using two needles. Some days, I feel I’ve become quite good at returning stitches to their rightful needles so that I may continue my work.

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Putzer inspecting the sock

005     Squib not letting Putzer hog the sock to himself

Then I set about the business of knitting, and does long fibrous strands moving across needles create an interesting diversion for the most discernible curious creature. The couch suddenly became full of furry felines, wondering if mom would let them play with some of the yarn she only gets out on those special days.

011I do mean full; Zeus takes up nearly half the couch on his own

Then I continued to knit and purl and created uneven eyelets to connect the two socks, and decreased the one extra stitch I’d managed to pick up, likely before I dropped the sixteen cream colored stitches. The extra stitch was on the black yarn side of things.  However, I knit away, and while I hoped to get two inches of progress in, I think I got closer to one and a half. I didn’t measure before I started though, so I can’t be certain. We can only guess if I have room for before and after shots, or if you are so inclined to check last weeks blog. In the meantime, while I won’t be finishing this sock in the next week, I will be diligently continuing to knit it.

012Briannag, or Miss Whiny about attention, boycotting the knitting. It takes up too many of mom’s hands…

I’m hoping it provides some sanity in the cursing of the book exam. Its said to be open book, but I have experience with this book, open book is as much of a curse as closed book with poor wording. Alas, I have made progress with the sock, and I had a great time at dinner with my niece. Those will be my focal points this week. After all, once you get past the periscope, its all simply perspective. For the rest of it, I’ll enjoy a glass of wine and take the semi-immortal Bon Jovi words of the world getting in my face to heart and say “Have a nice day!” I sometimes wonder if they substitute other words for nice.

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Briannag joining the party after she smells the wine mom poured…

Where have I gone? What have I been doing? I admit it, the knitting has suffered a small hiatus. I think I’ve averaged four rows a week out of sheer gumption. So, what has kept me from knitting beyond a new job and a schedule change? A quilted bookwrap I’ve been sewing by hand…

The bookwrap has gone everywhere with me this spring and summer and visited the ball parks, the new job, the short but frequent breaks…you name it, I’ve taken it, except out to dinner. Because, like knitting, sewing and food do not get along. Now to explain a little more about this bookwrap, because no one wants to just hear a simple description of black and white text info. I will include pictures below.

I saw this pattern in a magazine, and I thought it was neat. But I thought the hexagon too simple and I’d promised a friend a hand-made item this year. And well, I’m looking into making quilts for my nieces. I decided I would see how much work this would really take. I requested her favorite color-purple, and she liked octopi…let the adventure begin.

I began to cut and shape and draw the octopus after studying those with top-hats and a monocle. My friend has always enjoyed quirky creations. I began to cut fabric and sandwich layers and decided on a quilting pattern. I began deciding on a wave pattern, since the character was on octopus and the background was a purple batik with bright blues and yellows and pinks running through it. It almost reminds me of the deep ocean where this octopus would likely dwell.

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It took a little time to quilt, and I didn’t have to baste much, if any, as the finished quilt was 17”x9”. The project traveled well with a small circular frame in which the waves began to look like octopus arms, and so, I essentially quilted an octopus on this quilt, who was tipping his hat, and reading a book. It felt appropriate.

Once I finished the quilting, I cut out and pressed under the seems of the octopus, and I proceeded to applique him using a whip stitch. It was a first attempt, and I was jumping in both feet first. Later, when I researched sewing the binding, I realized I could have made a blind stitchch work. I considered a ladder stitch, which I often use for closing pillows and blankets, but I went with the whip stitch. We’ll say it looks like his tentacles for the most part. 001

Now, I have an octopus sewn on, with facial characteristics, tipping his hat–though my niece, Jessica outspokenly states he should be wearing the hat. There is no room for said octopus to wear the hat, but she’s 13, and that’s her only complaint. The octopus is also reading a bright turquoise book with yellow flannel pages. I’m happy with it, though its not total greatness, the recipient shall enjoy it….Now I just have to get it to her before she encounters these pictures on the internet;-)

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I am still knitting and will have to keep at this sock. I am one-third of the way done with the first leg and suspect if I devote a little time to this sock each day off, it will progress once again. I’ll take sewing/quilting to work as its easier to accomplish on short breaks and some of my other quilting projects have to stay secret. I may write down my musings and translate them to blog fodder later, after Christmas;-). Scamp will still help me some. She has throughout this process, but I photographed the quilted book wrap at the park today where I held my birthday party.

Or perhaps half of the fun is accomplishment…And don’t ask me tonight about changing the pattern. I think the fatigue of a bug has left me addle-pated. Read on to find out what I mean…I hope. 010

Almost finished…one more row…then the next set…Toe Up Travelers by Ann Budd

 

I enjoy every moment knitting and snuck some in time class knitting this week on a particularly complicated row. To be honest, I started the row just before class and didn’t finish it before class started. So, in the midst of taking notes, I had a complicated row of cabling and knitting through the back loop six times. Half of the fun is getting there, which I’m working on now.

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Forgive the shadow…What would this sock look like if I inverted the pattern?

The other half of the fun is the sense of accomplishment from getting there. I got within one row of finishing the repeat this afternoon. However, class was cancelled and I felt simply worn out. I came home and decided to try to nap. Not only did I find I could sleep, I found myself going hot/cold. I really don’t like getting sick. So I took most of the night off, and slept, and sewed and worked on a little homework.

 

However, serious concentration is out the window, so that last row is debatable if I should get to it or not. Part of me says I could do it, part of me says read a book and go to bed. Okay, okay; you talked me into it. Mostly, because if I let it wait, I won’t get to take the photo I want. Instead, I just went ahead and knit up that last row, and voila! I’m one-third of the way done with the foot.

 

However, as I look at this pattern, I want to knit the second part of this round upside-down and turn this repeated triangle of meandering twisted stitches into a diamond…This could get interesting to see…Stay tuned, folks. 

Complicating Things

January 4, 2019

The shawl is progressing normally…to the point that if I take another photo before we get any further, you’ll wonder if I’m reusing last week’s photos. I’m making progress, and plan to take it to school to knit before classes. In the meantime, I thought I had better make some progress to knit these socks. They’re going to take on a life of their own, and since they’re far more complicated than what I’m used to, and I like complicated.

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Toe-Up Travelers by Ann Budd…she loves complicated patterns, but can you blame her?

In the meantime, I thought I’d better get some solid knitting in before classes start. Knitting in public invites conversation, and with these socks, there is no talking to me during the knitting. I’m going to get good at ignoring dear James. I guess I’d better keep that shawl nearby if I wish to talk to others while I knit. Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Cheating on…Socks…

December 28, 2018

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Briannag thinks I should only cheat on knitting with snuggles for herself.

It’s been shawl knitting all week. I’ve meant to work on the socks, but at home, I’m applying for jobs, thinking about things I should be doing or piecing quilts (or finding that I had not sewn all of the half-square triangles yet–the knitting equivalent of 1” of 1×1 or 2×2 ribbing is done, but you need 2”).

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2nd skein of yarn almost used, was hoping to get through it…but not bad progress.

So, the socks are complex, but the butterflies on the horse’s butt are calling (quilting again), and I’m in movie mode. Especially now that the tv is hung and working. Dear James’ TV went out last week as I planned to stay home and watch Hallmark movies. In the meantime, I’ve kept myself busy knitting this shawl, and snuggling the cat…and some fiction writing, but I’m just getting that ready for class. Perhaps next week, I’ll have made some effort on some socks. Wish me luck.

Until next time, Happy knitting!

New Cast-Ons…

December 20, 2018

Who doesn’t love a new cast on?

The beginning of my new shawl…with Briannag’s help for modeling. (If I let her wear it, she might decide it is hers.

I needed something new after the post classes slump and having time on my hands (in which I should put down the needles and clean at some point, but that’s not why we are here). I did two cast-ons. I frogged the 216 stitch sweater vest with various sets of stitches throughout and opted for a simpler shawl. I’ve based mine off of a couple of free patterns and am hoping for the best, but I’m just knitting as I go along increasing on the same side of either row. Currently, this is my television and chatting with others knitting.

Beginning pattern work on the new sock

I also cast on a “Twisted Stitch” sock. This sock is in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class. It’s lovely, but this one will likely only be knit at home. This chart is pretty intense and requires concentration. It won’t be easily memorized for some time. But check these out…Now I must find some comedy or a good podcast (because the television went out last night at the height of Christmas movie season and we won’t have it playing shows or movies until Sunday, likely).

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Beginning of the toe, when things begin to straighten out

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Contrasting Colors No More

November 29, 2018

It’s a little sad, but I may have a second opportunity…and this recipient just may be worth a little more cost in the yarn. But first, I have some exciting news: I am being published in The Central Review, Central Michigan University’s undergraduate literary journal! It is one simple poem entitled, “My dear Exploder (Yes, I Meant to Say Exploder),” and the release party is tomorrow night at 6PM. I’m excited and may make this short, because I still need to practice my delivery on this poem, and figure out where I’m stopping and starting and where to pause and if the tempo changes. Okay, time to take a deep breath. I can rehearse the reading later.

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My photo for the publishing op part of the Central Review publication.

In the meantime, I’m working on the Indian Cross Scarf, because I gave up on the yarn company bringing in the right color green. I settled for a lighter color blend and do not love the lack of contrast. Wendy, the recipient, however thinks it looks just fine.  So, I will continue knitting and see how it comes out and if I have enough lavendar, or if I will return for more lavender, some turquoise or a darker purple to bring the contrast back and play with variegated colors. In the end, whether things go well, I think I’ll have a lovely scarf. Tell me what you think, ladies and gents. Until next time,

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The current progress on the Indian Cross Scarf from One Skein Wonders (they measure skeins differently).

Happy Knitting

1/3 of the Leg is Done…

November 8, 2018

I’ve made it one-third of the way through the leg part of the sock this week. I finished two full repeats of the pattern and have actually begun on the third one today. Honestly, I am supposed to be studying, writing a research paper and working on a “case” in Excel. I hope I didn’t share too much of my headache with you. I just want to go to sleep this week, but I have meetings and other fun events.

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Current Progress of the knitting and an indoor fountain at our University Center
I do get the bonus of listening to Central Michigan’s marching band practice, and I can see their practice field from the University Library, so I can watch them practice as well. It’s more fascinating to watch the color guard practice as the poor marching band is mostly stationary, blowing into metal tubes to make some great noise. It makes me want to stop and wander outside to watch them…Then I remember the temperature is too cold.

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Better shot of the fountain and more even shot of the knitting…

In fact, I need to start asking around for some cool photo ops inside campus buildings or find a nice spot in my home to turn into a photoscape…I’ve almost got an idea….We’ll see what comes of it, as fall is here and winter seems to be on its tail this year. For now, I have four more repeats to knit with these socks, then I can start the heel. But before I get to all that, I should probably get back to the research.

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Close up of this week’s knitting. I can’t wait until these socks are done…perhaps next week I’ll include a photo of the shirt I wish to wear them with.

Until next time, Happy knitting!

I don’t know if I have the hookups…All the Mackinaw City photos are on my phone. I obtained a new phone Tuesday so I can talk to people I need to in the way they communicate. Apparently, email and text messaging are now outdated. Who knew? Alas, my batteries on my camera also died. So, I fortunately figured out how to take photos on my phone, almost right after I turned it on and figured out how to call with it. I realize calling is outdated too, but sometimes, you have to have a real, truly old-fashioned conversation. If you’re lucky that will clarify things. Alas, there was some knitting.

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The drained brook…reveals its secrets to creating a lovely stream…The little guy in the bottom right corner will be back in a moment.

Mostly before classes…progress has been made. I’m through the first repeat and nearly half-way through the second. I took these photos earlier this afternoon when I needed a break from studying, and found time to continue knitting this evening as I went to a poetry reading by Eva Christina Zeller. This may have been the most fascinating poetry reading ever, as she read her poems in German, and Mr. Robert Fanning, Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Poetry at Central Michigan University, read her poems in English. You can read more about Robert Fanning here.

Flowers holding onto life as I continue to knit warm socks…

Forgive me, if I start writing poetry about knitting, or quilting, or crutch club…but that’s another class…and crutch club is soccer for kids who need crutches…It was begun at a camp like no other, Bay Cliff Health Camp, A Place Apart, where I have also knit. They can tell you about it far better than I can, though I’ve worked there twice and dream of going back to visit often…to work or play, I’m never sure. But I’m supposed to be here about the knitting. So I shall tell you of today’s finds, and warn you the photos will be coming inside soon–there’s a distinct chill in the air.

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How cool is this…That special painted rock simply made my day…that and hearing some good poetry being read well. My day is complete.

Today, as I approached my bubbling brook to obtain an inspiring photo of my work, I noticed the brook had been drained. It was a bit disappointing, as it’s a sure sign of freezing temperatures, yet it was neat to see the rock layers of the brook. As I took my photo with the flowers still holding on to life even in this chilly fall, I noticed a colorful structure on one of the other rocks and found some fun angles to take photos of my knitting there as well, once I realized the colorful structure was a fun painted rock. It so brightened my day to see this rock, and I simply decided I needed to pass this on to cheer up others who need it. Until next time, Happy Knitting!

 

Semi-Well Traveled Knitting

October 18, 2018

It’s official. My knitting has not been to more parts of campus than I have. I didn’t know that was possible until the unthinkable happened last week. On Thursday, I was sure I grabbed my knitting bag for class. When I got to class, no knitting. No biggie, it should be in my car. When I got to my car…I either found it and took it into the Library and University Center with me, or I dropped it the night before…I don’t think I stopped at either place the night before. But I got home later that night, remembered that I couldn’t find my knitting, and went searching for it.

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sunset shadows at one of my favorite brooks…

It was, of course, nowhere to be found. Friday morning, I called the building lost and found where I have class on Thursdays, in case I left it in class or in the hallway outside of class. I even drove back to the class area to check the bathrooms the next day. I still could not find it and it was not yet logged on the CMU Police and Public Services as found. I thought about calling them for it, but looked through my car again, and checked the likely spots. I was somewhat beginning to worry, but three inches of knitted wool does not have much value to a thief.

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Far more shadows than I realized…but there’s my lovely socks

I had to wait out the weekend, and I remembered on Monday to look again. I went to the lost and found where I have class. The lady was very nice, but my knitting had been turned in over the weekend.  I checked lost and found on campus for my knitting when I got home that evening. There was a red, white, and blue bag listed as found. I emailed them listing the contents of the bag, not remembering what was left in it. On Tuesday morning when I left for campus, they had not emailed me back. Right after class, I drove to the Campus Police and Public Services building and asked about it…It was there and awaiting my pick up. After a minor search there, mostly for people that were already there, I was reunited with my knitting. I’ve only been able to finish the row I was working on since then, but I’m glad to have it back.

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I knew I should have taken that photo earlier, but I wanted to get the transition portion done. 

I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for burgundy socks. I want to keep knitting them, but homework must be done, too. In the meantime, I’d better get some pretty pictures of the knitting and get back to the homework. Until next time, Happy knitting!

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I’m not sure there is a better study break out there…Better photos in light next week…

 

The Cuff Is Almost Done!

October 4, 2018

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The trees are beginning to turn here…

I wanted the cuff to be done today so I could start the next section of the pattern. Unless I start on it right now, I will not be able to make that happen. I have behaved (somewhat) and worked on homework for the last three hours. Making sure quotes are correctly attributed can leave me feeling a bit off…so a break is deserved. However, that break is likely going to be in the form of reading, for another class.

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I couldn’t resist the balancing rock…I didn’t do this, but I did nestle that tiny one in the top. It looks like a slightly grumpy rock with eyelashes…

In the meantime, you guys are here for the sock knitting. I think I’ve finally figured out the cuff pattern. I only have one more row of each to finish before I begin the slightly more complicated actual leg pattern. It’s more complicated in that it adds in yarn overs and simple knit two togethers or slip, slip, knit stitches. It’s easier in that I’ll have less groupings of threes, less knit two together and knit the first stitch again then slip both off. I got worn out just thinking about it. The pattern is Ann Budd’s own Mock Cables and Lace.

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Did you ever notice that on some trees, the tops turn first?

I also do not have to knit through the back loop anymore. This may be a good thing, but now I have to remember how to knit…kidding…there was some standard knitting in these twelve rows. Next time, nevermind…unless I fall in love with a pattern, there won’t be a next time. However, once I got used to this cuff, I almost started enjoying it. It’s easier to enjoy when I’m knitting alone, but I was knitting before class, and made a fellow student laugh when I suggested I needed to teach the instructor not to talk to me while knitting. I’m not sure this instructor is trainable though…at least he’s fair, so far.

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There are still a few flowers on campus

Alas, back to the knitting. I’m still waiting on the tatami yarn and hoping it comes in soon. I’m also planning to work on repairs as it gets chillier, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do them. Until next time, Happy knitting!DSCN4127

Update! Do you see this? I had a bit of wait time before and during the reading tonight (which was quite entertaining). I got the next two rows done and can start on the beginning of the pattern next time I pick these up.

Ta-Da! They really are, finally, off the needles. However, they are far from being done! Most of my brilliant ideas happened when I began to knit sock 2, or after some experience. I did finish the teal, and left about 5” of yarn to sew up an imperfectly cast on toes…I have a feeling I may be adding purple to the toes…but we’ll find out if I ever actually finish these. It’s tempting to drop the bag in the pile on the table and leave it.

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Front view of the socks…

I know, I know, Finish it, already. In my defense, I took the tapestry and chenille needles (to reinforce heel and toes on sock #1) to class and then left them in my car. (I really don’t know how that happened), so I started playing with the new cast on. If you look at the photos of the bottom of the feet, the second sock may look more dense (Not sure my camera is that good, though.)

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Back view…it may be hard to tell which is one or two…

I decided touching up would wait as it just got cool enough to start wearing wool socks again. Ah, yes, Fall, or Autumn, season of repairs and reflecting…it is arriving soon. I had to catch one last glimpse of summer though.

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Late summer flowers, so cute (and I don’t care if they’re weeds…they weren’t weeded out)

In the meantime, I decided to cast on my next pair of socks and to start knitting “Mock Cables and Lace” by Ann Budd, fresh out of Sock Knitting: Master Class. I’m two full rows in, three with the cast-on, and I realized, I’m not sure how to set up two at a time, cuff down socks on circular needles. When I see a 40” circular needle used, I expect to knit two at a time. Once I get them cast on correctly or set up to work with me…I’ll be fine to follow the pattern(I hope). In the meantime, I have to find the DVD or hit Youtube videos really hard until someone who has done this before explains it to me;-).

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I still need to finish this babyit would be nice to do before Quilt retreat…

Alas, I may also hope to find the Tatami cotton blend yarn back in stock, or may have to find a substitute brand and knit dish rags out of the new skein when it comes in, as October is coming;-), and I want those attached strings, finished and cut off, this time;-).