…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

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.

Dear Mom,

We talked about this. I believe I said “No dogs!”

Love,

Scamp

Dear Scamp:

I told you the dog would come back some day. I never agreed to no dogs.

Love,

Mom

Dear Mom,

I was pretty clear. No dogs.

Love,

Scamp

Dear Scamp:

Give her a chance. Furball hasn’t even tried to chase you yet.

Love,

Mom

Furball…our latest re-addition

Dear Mom:

She got in my bed, and snuggled with you. Not okay, Mom. Tink doesn’t like her either.

Love,

Scamp

Tink, pretending the dog has not returned

Dear Scamp:

You were on the stuffed animal shelf, sleeping. Furball thought I was lonely. You’ll be fine.

Love,

Mom

Dear Mom:

It’s my new safe place. And you were letting that dog in my room. I’m still not okay.

Love,

Scamp

Dear Scamp:

The inchworm torpedo was not a necessary addition to our sleeping conditions. The dog was entirely asleep when this happened. No more stuffed animal torpedoes aimed at the dog.

Love,

Mom

This poor inchworm bites the dust on a regular basis…both cats share the guilt…

Dear Mom:

It fell, when I stretched. That is my favorite shelf.

Love, Scamp

Dear Scamp: I’m sure it, and any other stuffies you launched, like that little dog I just found under the bed, had some help with their fall…maybe from a good right paw. Let the dog and I sleep.

Love,

Mom

Scamp…expressing her displeasure

Dear Mom:

Not In MY Bed. I said “No Dogs.” This is not the end of this.

Love, Scamp

Furball, caught by surprise from a sound sleep.

Dear Scamp:

Leave the dog alone. Let us sleep. You’ll be fine in the morning.

Love,

Mom.

Mom notes* Dear James has returned from nearly a year away working in Indiana. I held down the fort here, as best I could. Scamp would rather I simply remain her “emotional support human.” I wouldn’t put it past her to have me registered somewhere. Stay tuned for more cat-dog interaction. The dog has been very behaved towards both cats. Tink just doesn’t like anything bigger than her unless she needs human affection. No animals have been harmed, beyond their pride, in this situation…However, my money is on Scamp.

Getting There…

December 7, 2020

but I keep saying “One more thing…” First, I decided the to sew the elongated collar on. Then I realized I needed some extra room in the sides. These were easy fixes, but that’s a lot of quilted seams. I’ve been watching victorian and historical sewing videos…so finishing seams well is now a must. I decided to bind them rather than flat-fell them by hand… However, the dart seams may be felled.

Tink “helping” me finish the Quilted Serenity Jacket

I used the Serenity pattern byWendy Congdon of Truly Materialistic which can be found here.

Alas, I finished the binding of those seams, and I tweaked the right sleeve a bit so it would fit better (I hope). Though, I had to consider that when I was thinking of flat-felling these seams by hand, it could take me another week or two. This is how I bring in Spring…I work on projects I wish I could be wearing during the cold. When it’s finally done, warm weather begins.

I decided to just utilize some scrap fabric I had and bind these seams by machine once I trimmed them. It would look as good and stay true to quilting. There are a few imperfect parts…but this jacket is certainly getting there. I just have to finish sewing on this binding. What’s stopping me, you ask?

Attached Sleeves of the Quilted Serenity Jacket

Yes, I could just get back to work on it, but my significant other is moving back home after a year in another state, and this room is needed for him. So, my sewing area is moving to the basement, where we will find a way to negotiate space (that he won’t use till summer anyways). Alas, I need to finish packing a sewing shelf so I can haul it downstairs, wrap my niece’s birthday gifts and pack up my beloved sewing table. I also have to finish quilting that fantasy quilt on the frame…(a longer term project for one of my nieces).

Scamp helping to quilt the artful fantasy quilt.

Later this week, I’ll get things all set up in the basement, with only minimal interruption to my sewing. In the mean time, here is the current progress on this jacket…and soon I shall share the finished jacket perhaps with pockets–it needs pockets–and perhaps a Murder Mystery quilt with a guess as to whodunit. Until next time, Happy Quilting (and sewing)!

Hot Off the Needles!

October 14, 2020

It is done. I just have to weave in the ends and figure out where and how I’m going to block it. I also need to figure out how many more exercise mats I may need to block this. It may get done on my deck, under a sheet.  I don’t want the sun to fade the color, even though I think we have a rainy forecast for the rest of this week. I may not be able to block it until next week, anyways.

Find Your Fade v2 Shawl by Drea Renee Knits

But I’m excited. It is done, just in time for fall weather and cold evenings where I will wish I had a warm wrap, and now I do. Look at this! Look at my shawl! It’s just waiting for a wee-bit of weaving before I decide what to cast on next. It might even do some hiking with me today, before I block it. 

But I’m excited. It is done, just in time for fall weather and cold evenings where I will wish I had a warm wrap, and now I do. Look at this! Look at my shawl! It’s just waiting for a wee-bit of weaving before I decide what to cast on next. It might even do some hiking with me today, before I block it. 

I want to show you pictures of it blocked. Then I want to discuss patterns with you. For now, it is done! Check me out;-). 

Myself in my new shawl. Forgive the horrible lighting…this was taken inside at 3AM.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

My Latest Shawl

October 14, 2020

I Should Be Finishing…

October 6, 2020

I should be finishing, and knitting the last two rows of the Andrea Mowry’s Find your Fade shawl. But, I have a decision to make. I think I’ve made it, but I can’t be sure yet, so I’ll just chat with you about it. I finished the requisite number of rows, and somewhere along the line, I likely added stitches on the wrong section, or failed to drop stitches I should drop. Essentially, I’m not a perfect knitter. 

That yellow marker should be right at the edge…would you notice?

On the one hand, let’s say the done hand, I’ve been at this for five months. I have the requisite number of rows. It’s fairly long and likely to be perfect as is. No one will really notice that the spine doesn’t go all the way to the edge. They might even think it’s intentional. 

On the other hand, the keep knitting hand, let’s just say, what’s another week? I could still finish this soon. It’s only about a dozen more rows. It will look great if I make it right. No, I’m not ripping it back…it will still have design variations that I’m fine with. I’ve learned for next time, as there may be a next time. And, I have plenty of yarn left. Also, I could get creative here and set up another design variation. In the interest of keeping with the original…I think I’ll leave the colors as is. 

Scamp votes for snuggling with this shawl now…

But part of me wants to bring the first color in to finish off the last. If I knit this again, I think there will be one more lace section and one more garter stitch section to bring the first color in to join the last. I love the first color, and just didn’t get to use enough of it. The other option is that I knit this again with the first and last color becoming the middle colors, and the colors I have less of becoming the end colors. Even though they would use the same colors, the cool thing would be that I would have two entirely different shawls, with two different looks. We shall see what comes, as I’m still searching out the next pattern to knit…or size three cubics without hitting up a big box store in the cloud.

In the meantime, here is dear Scamp helping me photograph my dilemma. No, she won’t move from the cat hammock/quilt frame until she is sure I’m done here.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

It’s getting there…it’s coming along. This Find Your Fade shawl by Andrea MowryDrea Renee Knits has been a joy to knit. I got this pattern from Ravelry.com, see link above. Now, onto the shawl.

I was six rows into section twelve yesterday…today I’m twelve rows in. Only six more rows and then I color change to the last color. The next question is: Which shawl next? Is it for me or a friend? Do I use the same yarns I’ve used here? Should I start a parasol cover? Oh…the options…The other question is: How do I wear this shawl? We’ll see once I get it off the needles. I do have some ideas.

Just starting color seven!

However, I’m also coming up to doctor’s appointments, in which I expect some wait times–though they are getting better since everyone could be spreading issues no one wants. But I need a simpler pattern I can put down easily, and hopefully not mid-row… At 233+ stitches (because I’m terrible at keeping stitch count and do not care for this project), I don’t want to drive around with this mid-row if it so happens… Nor do I wish to sit in the office for ten to fifteen more minutes to finish the row.

Previous Progess

But for the first time in my knitting journey, I’m considering simpler garter stitch and vanilla latte socks a good thing. But, I’ve been dying yarn too. I want to use a skein of the mermaid tails yarn and really show it off… I have no idea what pattern (and no, I’m not likely to do hermione socks on ravelry). I will knit vanilla latte socks if nothing else pops out at me.

Update: I worked on the watermelon dishcloth at the doc’s office where I had a small skin biopsy (not for that problem, a smaller one that affects life, but should stay managable, I hope). I also had some time to knit away on my shawl as my kitties grounded me to the chair after my overnight stay, and I’ve moved onto color seven in the midst of a medium book.

I enjoy knitting this shawl when I have the time for it. I’m moving into a job that allows me the time for it. I also just added in color six, and while I might not pair these two yarns next to each other knitted again, I”m enjoying the effects and there is contrast.

Current Progress, adding the pink…

However, I’m noticing a bit of sadness…I want to finish it and wear it in time for fall–that will cause joy and excitement. Completing before fall is over is its own challenge as well. But there may be a bit of sadness in that the shawl is coming to completion, and I’ve grown accustomed to sitting with it, listening to books and knitting in the afternoon/early evening. I will enjoy wearing it, but I will be sad for a moment while I block it and decide on the next project and colors.

Previous Progress…this shawl has grown

I’ve also begun dying yarn, which I may have mentioned. I am in love with this process, even if things do smell a bit like wet sheep while I’m dying and the wool yarn dries. But I get the loveliest colors and skeins. I’m debating about knitting one up soon. Which one and which pattern is the question… Here are a few skeins I’ve done recently…and yes, I have more on my facebook page and website for sale. Enjoy.

Alas, until next time, Happy Knitting!

I just finished section nine of thirteen , and plan to move to section ten in the next few days. I’m working on the Find Your Fade version 2 from Drea Renae Knits on ravelry.com. This pattern is worth it…the lace work is not over done and that as well as the color changes keep you going. Maybe I will have a shawl in time for cooler fall temperatures.

Current shawl with new flowers peeking out.

Today’s look forward to it theme has been a new plant for the yard, Rudbeckia (I believe), and summer fruit. Blueberries won the day (and the yarn naming set-up, I believe). I also finished the garter stitch on the shawl…Photos to come. 

Last week’s progress on the shawl

I knit at this all week, the first sixteen to twenty rows of garter stitch utilize colors E and F intertwined. Once that was finished, I thought about showing you, but color F wasn’t being shown off well with so many dark, solid breaks from E in there. E is the purple and F is the speckled white with a lot of blue speckles and a hint of yellow. I love this yarn in the skein. However, it has more blue than I expected. I think it will still go well in the overall shawl, but it’s not my first love…until it shines. 

Most recent progress on the Find Your Fade shawl

Alas, tell me about your favorite summer fruit, as I only eat blueberries when they can be picked fresh on the side of the road (or from the local farmer’s market–for the next week or two), but I love fresh cantaloupe, too. Paired with some still fresh strawberries and we have a lovely salad. 

I also got four more skeins of yarn dyed this week, though two are still hanging to dry. I’ll show those two next week with other dying fun that I hope arrives soon. Until next time, enjoy the shawl progress and Happy Knitting!

Promised Progress

July 16, 2020

I realized I was fighting depression a short while ago. I’m still fighting it, and the appointment for the dreaded intake has been made. I’ll work to keep the difficult parts out of the posts, but the successes will be included. We all battle something each day. For now, it is giving myself something to look forward to, everyday. It’s a simple thing, but a cup of decaf coffee and microwave popcorn is something I look forward to. Today, I have to wait until the yarn is dyed.

 

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Bowl cozy/dishcloth requested by a friend…soon to be blocked. 

Yes, starting new projects can help, until you get too many in the works and are simply overwhelmed. I haven’t even really wanted to start new projects lately…or work on seemingly simple (but probably aren’t) current ones. Okay, enough. The yarn is ready to be rinsed, so the timer says. I’m hoping I didn’t felt it. Let me check this out and return to you as I work on this lovely shawl I mentioned… Must find the last photo of it (that doesn’t look like a thong).

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The beginnings of the shawl…color 3, I believe, of 7…and you might catch some interesting imagery…

Okay, I found a white spot…I didn’t want a white spot…I’m trying over-dying in the pot… This could get interesting. Let’s find out how forgiving Knomad Egg Shell really is. And now, back to the promised shawl…It appears I last posted in March, just as schools closed down for three weeks, and I hoped it wasn’t longer. I’m now a youth care worker in a foster care group home for ten girls ages 12-18…all there due to abuse/neglect. It’s a tough job and not for me. But right now, it’s attempting to pay the bills. Alas, let’s focus on the positive. Photos will be posted, those I have anyways, and taken from this point forward.

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From today’s yarn dying session…this will make more sense in the next post…

I have actually enjoyed creating this shawl. However, I’m in the maintenance phase. I prefer cuff down sock knitting because the foot goes quicker than the leg. I prefer to knit from the top end of a shawl because I like the sense of I’m getting there. Neither of my current shawls allowed for that. Instead, I get to a point of over 200 stitches, and just keep knitting.

I do love to knit, but at 233 stitches (or whatever my current count is), I need at least fifteen minutes per row. This is not a dishcloth I knock out while waiting for laundry. This is not six squares I need to chain piece or a simple monthly block (that’s never really simple). This is the real deal, and needed time to sit and knit. So, on my days off, I start the audio book (and am dreading running out of Agatha Raisin mysteries), heat the water for the coffee (yes, instant–no judgement allowed, okay), and pop the popcorn. And yes, I sometimes commit the sin of eating popcorn while I knit the shawl…I’m going to at some point once it’s knitted, and I dare you to find any butter stains… no, that’s just yarn variegation, trust me.

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Current progress on the Find Your Fade Shawl. I’ve only gotten in two rows of color E(5 of 7). I can’t wait to show you how this knits up…but some of it’s speckles match the previous shawl exactly. 

Alas, here is the promised progress on the shawl (better photos next time as I edit and get better shots of this and will have made better progress on the shawl. Later, I’ll review the yarn dying I’ve been up to this week, finally. I will also review how hard it is to get useful information on yarn dying, and may clean the kitchen to fix that. Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Also, please…comments and questions are very welcome–unless you are judging my coffee or popcorn or knitting practices. Play nice with me, and I’ll play nice with you;-). Thank you! 

I Do Finish Things…

March 21, 2020

I Do Finish Things…

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…every once in a white. Are you done laughing? It’s off the needles. It only needs to have the ends woven in, and maybe get some blocking. Right now, I’m not sure it needs it as it feels ready to wear.

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I was looking at shawls after classes ended last December, and I had an influx of downtime after finals. There is the post-exam relief, then the surge of “Now, what? I should be studying.” So, I hunkered down, decided this bodice i loved was not going to happen with this yarn, and started searching out shawls in December, 2018. In the midst of the Christmas season, I could not justify the expense of the most recommended shawl I had seen. 

However. I looked at the make-up and design of a few shawls, and said, I can do this. I then started with three stitches, as they all started with three stitches, and continually increased a stitch per row on most of the rows until I used five skeins of yarn. This reason was two-fold. I had ten skeins of yarn to use. My shawl could not be more than that. Secondly, I often didn’t remember how often many shawls increased, but knew I wanted this one to be longer in the back as well as keeping my shoulders warm. I’m a cya girl…and if you don’t like the term (insert arse above;-)). This shawl was designed to cover my arse. 

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Once I got to five skeins, over the course of a year, in which those around me estimated a five year completion time, I began the decreases and worked out how I would do them. They are not perfectly consistent, but no one is examining the decreases that closely. Once I get the ends woven in, I likely won’t be able to find what was what. The other beauty of this shawl, being an equilateral triangle for the most part (I have not yet measured it), is that I can just toss it on and not worry about which end is which. 

Now, the temps just need to rise above the rather chilly high of 35 this afternoon, so I can rock this shawl in pretty spring and fall evenings. In the meantime, the cats are happy to help me nap with it. Until next time, Happy Knitting. 

P.S. To see what it looks like on me, see my facebook page, Letters and Journeys.