Lifelines and the Mail…

February 24, 2017

I think I’m growing up knit-wise…I actually willing inserted a lifeline in this sock….before I screwed it up….I forgot my undershirt today, but I remembered I needed lifelines. No judgement, right:-).

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(A previous photo, before I learned about lifelines…next week, I promise). See all that yarn, that’s how it all began…with help from Putzer, Briannag is on deck, and Zeus-y is napping through the game;-)

So, I finished row 20, and showed off my other sock in class(that I need to remember to match,) and I got one-quarter of the leg done(or thereabouts). I remembered the lifeline, and forgot the photo….let’s see what I have so far.

However, I checked my mail this morning, as I’ve been waiting on books for almost a full week…(I have to give them a couple of days to start arriving), and our postal service believes they get President’s day off. I didn’t, but they did–I called unfairness, but I did want my test results. With an injured ankle, I still wanted to know how I did, so I paid for parking and hoped the ankle would heal.

Okay, I did well on the test and the results were posted before the weekend, but the school perfectionist in me wanted to know which questions I got wrong. The instructor did not disappoint. Unfortunately, the incorrectly keyed problem did not help me; however, finding the error in the statistics test probably did.

003How it all began….Zeus-y must help….

Alas, the next question is: How do you make a reading knitter or knitting reader happy? You deliver those knitting books by mail, that she’s checked for nearly every day–including President’s day, because she forgot there was no mail on President’s day….. Discussion of said President’s over–no politics beyond days off belong on my blog. But my knitting books arrive-because I don’t have enough irons in the fire  as it is.

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My mailbox gifts today…the postman may be forgiven….Prepare to be charmed.

So, the highlight of my day(perhaps my week), was the receipt of these books before I went to class this morning. In case I kept the books too small, I have picked Knitting on the Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter, by Nancy Bush. I’m working on her Knot Socks now. I also picked Zen and the Art of Knitting. By Bernadette Murphy. This looks like a fascinating read. I also received a non-knitting book–The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff. I’m prepared to be charmed.

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They beauty of working a pattern four times….I can re-use pictures when I didn’t just go re-take the….(minus the lifeline I was bragging about).

So, I finished one repeat of the chart, inserted a lifeline and received some books in the mail this week. I’m also onto the heel flap of the second Terpander sock. (No photo of that either, as I was slacking today).
I hope your week to come will be as charmed as mine…and if mine isn’t charmed, it’s because of an exam, not the knitting….

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Actually, I lost: Here’s the take from last week, Friday evening, I think…

The struggle is real…. See, I still have six more rows of forty stitches…. They’re almost done. I want them done on time(they will be), but I may run out of yarn in the meantime. At least on this roll…. I have some left from the other roll, and I will have to decide the best way to attach it(and hope it looks reasonable, but I think it’s gonna be close).

Back to the present…

It was close…so close, I technically lost. Luckily I did have some on the other roll and the blend doesn’t look too bad…I don’t think Lizzie noticed. She was mostly happy with the result and the warming birthday gift–though next time, I’ll have to make them bigger and let her hand them down to a mini-me. In the meantime, she’s got warm legs and a new purse and I’ve cast on the second sock….

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Cast on of new, but familiar purple socks….This is keeping my sanity hanging by a….nah….probably not after this week…

Yes, my purple socks are no longer suffering from second sock syndrome. I almost cast on the cowl I could use some days this February, but it’s been an exhausting week and I wanted something familiar. In addition, it was about time. Besides, I may be moving on to a hat this week for a friend, if she remembers the yarn. I’m half tempted to go pick out yarn for her and just make it. We’ll see what happens.

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Squib, snuggling a favorite sweater that I hope will one day match the Terpander socks I don’t have an updated photo of….

As for the pretty pink Terpander socks, I sought out advice on http://www.knittingparadise.com and was told my ladders(once I got a good enough photo of them) looked just fine. I’ve yet to start the second heel as it’s been a busy and stressful week. I’ve made it through three exams in two days and somehow still found energy to write this blog tonight….

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Current progress on the second sock…

I probably just need sleep, but there was Valentine’s day this week and my dear James treated me to dinner, and(I forgot to get the photo), not one book, but two–he really does know the way to my heart and keeping me up past my bedtime. And yes, it is the signed, hardcover first edition of Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb and it’s just as gripping as the others in the series. I love this series.

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Because if I took J.D. Robb to class, I wouldn’t get any studying done, at least, not until I finished the book. I might not even leave when class was done…

In the meantime, I’d better keep up on next week’s homework, and hope the article I have to choose from some specific type of journal with a specific type of format….but clear as mud to me is finally a correct one and I can get the summary done. Perhaps we should just have to read academic journals and keep a record of summaries of one of their articles as they are published–sounds like a better exercise than finding articles on any topic you want, only to repeatedly hear, “Not that one.” Alas, such are the woes of an undergrad…back to knitting and reading, right after I accomplish some more homework so I don’t have to do it all on Sunday.

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How the fairies hid my place markers from me…they don’t have to work very hard at this, you see….

“And, why did she take photos of the place markers?” Why, yes. Yes I did. The fairies finally returned them.

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For now, they’re safely tucked into the pocket of my knitting bag. I wonder how long that will last….

The Crafter’s Conundrum…

September 9, 2016

…to knit or to read…? Oh, dear. Perhaps that is the question after all. I know the simple answer…books on tape. I’m somewhat a fan. I do a fair amount of driving, so I can manage this, some of the time. However, I’m in school, so the question might be better posed as to study or to knit? Time is needed for both. So, how much? And, before you offer that helpful suggestion of books on tape again(which I do enjoy to some extent), let me remind you not all of the books are available on tape. Also, I’m not generally an auditory learner–I NEED to take notes if I’m listening, which means I’m writing instead of knitting then, too.

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Tonight’s helper is Scamp. I swear I was reading The Odyssey for class right before I took this…Briannag is snuggling a pillow in the background.

Now, I have devised some solutions for this, but it’s not a perfect world. Let’s go over what I have so far. Knitting travels to class with me. I commute and parking becomes a bear of a challenge each semester. So, I get to class quite early and have time to knit a couple of rows before class. Remember, two rows at a time will get you there…it just takes the entire semester.

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Another favorite pasttime…(I quilt, too.) But this is some knitting I could be doing.

I also usually set aside an evening a week where I take an hour to knit, guilt free. One must take a break from a psychology text after all, or at the end of a “Book” in The Odyssey. But this week was short on knitting time for one reason or another. There was a holiday(I’d rather just finish Monday on Monday instead of half of Monday on Tuesday, or skipping it altogether). Holidays throw me off. The time off is needed, but that’s when I attend a quilt retreat, or reduce the job load.

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My one allowed “belated” birthday present, because J.D. Robb doesn’t publish the week of my birthday(it’s in early August, in case you wish to assist with the petition).

Alas, I’m working on both patterns, and had some time set aside for each, but I didn’t get very far with either of them…. This week may be more of the same…allow me to show you my choices:-)…”Squeee….!” is involved. Sorry, but it the autographed copy of the original book, on both of them…and then there’s the knitting. Alas, I’m in the middle of (okay, two-thirds through) another engaging book with one and a half books left in the series. You can guess what I’m doing tonight, after I put down The Odyssey for the final time this evening(hopefully through another “Book”).

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Nothing gets a true Squeee! like this….look at these….ah, now to wait for the third in the trilogy to come out. The In Death book will be started very soon.

And yes, I will be looking into obtaining The Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid on tape, if nothing else then for reinforcements. However, the Developmental Psychology text has no tape, nor does Lisa Sandlin’s _The Do-Right_. I’ll come back to that one when I’m done mapping and analyzing it. (If you really desire to know if you should pick it up–though I think there was a reference to the detectives in The Girl Who Played With Fire, though it takes place in the south of the U.S.). It’s an interesting read, and a bit strange, but I admit that I’m curious to see how the main character carries out her dilemma.

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This week’s single sock progress…I may have gotten more done on the two at a time socks….
In the meantime, I need to get some of these school books on tape, so I can get more knitting done-that, or get to class earlier.

Do you ever just forge ahead when you have no idea what you are doing or getting yourself into?

This week has been a lot of writing, and a little knitting. I did get out of work way too early last Friday night, and have some time to knit the next seven rows up to the heel flap. Then I botched the set-up row and had to tink back eighteen stitches. It would be bad, but twelve of the eighteen stitches were knit 1, purl 1. The other six stitches were purl 2, knit 2, purl 2…I was a flicking, tinking fool. After a few stitches, I did figure out to simply hold the yarn above the work and work with it that way.

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Heel Flap, I have made some progress, despite the flicking involved.

That was the easy mistake. The other “issue”, since I have two pair of socks going at once right now, I’m hoping is just as simple of a fix. I did mention I tend to get in over my head from time to time, right? Allow me to provide you backstory…I was sent some sock yarn in acrylic in a knitting swap gift a couple of years ago. Having wanted to knit socks, I forged ahead and attempted to follow the advice of those who have gone before. The best advice came in two forms: One-Pull the first two or three stitches on each needle to avoid ladders; Two: Visit Silver’s sock knitting class online.

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My very first, still wonky pair of socks…only worn when I’m getting out of them in a couple of hours.

Silver has been quite helpful to this over-eager knitter in the past. The knit 2, purl 2 ribbing pattern still leaves a little to be desired on my first pair of socks, but I did it. Now, for a little secret. I dislike knitting the same pattern twice. With dpns, I simply do it to complete the set because I want the sock. $20.00 a pair encourages a girl to knit. As I forged on, I added purls; Then I added yarn overs and created lace work. Then I worked on creatures, where I sucked up knitting the same pattern over and over again. Then I added cables. But I had yet to venture off of my trusty dpns.

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Another knitting creation mentioned in the back story, created entirely on dpns…

 

But I fell in love with the patterns in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class. I am still pretty much an intermediate knitter. I may just now be moving into advanced. I am not, by any means a Master. I did not let that one tiny word stop me. After all, it’s just a word, right? Right, except when it assumes you’ve played with more than one style or are smart enough to look up how-to knit a style before you attempt to knit it. Does this girl do that? (Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh).

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The moccasin toe increase, before it was turned. (Those straight brown and black dpns are the ones Dear James bought me for Christmas 2014–with black and cream yarn…oh, dearie my.)

Don’t get me wrong, these socks started out simple enough on two dpns with four markers, creating a moccasin toe. I got used to where and when for the increases and went at it. Then I got to work a few rows even and remove the markers. I had no idea why, but the pattern said to, so I did. Then I shifted the stitches and was simply amazed. Now I do need to re-read the pattern, But I’m pretty sure it did not tell me one key detail. (It’s probably a detail they assumed I knew.) As I re-read the pattern…it tells me to cast onto two circular 24” needles. I guess I’d better go buy two circular 24” needles, as I have one long circular needle right now.

So, do you wish to see my folly? Of course you do! I have knit about 3 ½” of sock from the toe up on flat needles. I was hoping this would be my easier traveling project. It’s looking like I’m better off with the cable knit socks right now. I need to make progress on this sock anyways.

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Isn’t this the coolest toe? I may like this set-up after all…though I’m sure more folly’s will follow.

In this pattern’s defense I will say first; so much for reading the pattern from start to finish. Second, I’m glad it doesn’t utilize dpns at this time. I feel almost better about it. I will knit the cherry yarn with these later, after I bind off and stitch the toe of my purple socks.

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I love my trusty dpns…see;-). Progress is being made;-).

I’m still hesitant about circular knitting of socks. I think it will alleviate ladders, but this method allows for floppy needles I suspect the cats are going to love. I also never got why people knit on circulars if they just have to switch to dpns to finish off the project.

In the meantime, when I get ready to cast on the second sock, I’ll have to decide if I’m going to repeat this mistake or create my own new follies on circular needles. They will happen, stay tuned.011

Ah, my Rose Rib socks from sock knitting master class…simple, easy, open work socks…I miss the days;-). Maeve (left) and Briannag love to snuggle me as I knit.

Desserts, Books & Yarn…

February 26, 2016

Too bad the dessert was imaginary and Midnight Knitter already took: Yarn, Books and Roses, but this makes a reasonable title for a post….As I did make brownies, and now I will be dreaming of an imaginary dessert tonight as a result of a reading I attended for class. By way of an intro, there was knitting as well. There’s usually knitting. Now I have to find the poetry…Though the Chinese Lantern sounds like a great poem to turn this into a dessert.

Doesn’t it sound scrumptious? Doesn’t it sound like it should be airy and light, but decadent and sinful at the same time? I’m playing with ideas to create these, and I’m thinking rich custard for the sinfully gooey insides that light you up and make you fall in love again, even if it’s just with dessert. Then I’m thinking perhaps pumpkin flesh, shaved, to encase the custard…Then deep fry it, glaze or perhaps a caramel sauce poured over it with some Chinese characters or elements piped on the finished dessert. Wouldn’t it be great if we could fashion these to make a sinfully wonderful dessert like this? If you know of one, please put me out of my misery and help me locate it so I may try it, even if they make it differently than I’ve dreamed up. The author told me she simply made it up. She made it up well, now I want Chinese lanterns for dessert.

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The book is The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons by Heather A. Slomsky. It is a collection of short stories I didn’t expect to like. I like them, I bought it. I got the book signed! She was such a sweetie, too. I’m so glad I went. I wish I would have drug some friends and family along. I’m wondering if I should have gotten a copy for my Dad’s birthday gift this week. I still might, depending on how much time I have this weekend. I’m hoping it will make for an entertaining read between my favorite books. It has proven surprising, and now it has to make its way to my signed book shelf…I’m gonna have to get my brother started on making this with me…(Sorry to digress, I didn’t realize this was in my list of projects, but why not?). I haven’t found what I’ve wanted in the stores.

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Alas, we’ve talked about books and desserts–two items that probably should kind of go together more, just not all the way together, (no book looks good wearing dessert or coffee). I’m currently working my through Brotherhood In Death, which is also a copy for the signed book Book Shelf I’m commissioning as a birthday gift from my brother.

As I’m thinking of the In Death series, I’m reminded of a friend and recently former co-worker’s passing last Friday morning, that I learned about as I got ready for work last Saturday. It’s sad, but she will have many to remember her youthful beauty. She is today’s rose…blooming for a short time, sharing her beauty, only to learn her season is too short. I’m saddened for the family and friends through work. I still went on, but there were points a girl needs to let herself have a good cry.

Then she gets herself together (after doing her homework and writing Erin’s Lament as part of it) and she goes yarn shopping. Okay, okay, I’d already gone yarn shopping, I mentioned that last week. Then I was surprised by the return of excess taxes I had paid in. While most of them will pay for college in the summer, I decided I was getting some yarn I wanted this week. I went to String Theory Colorworks, recommended by My Tangled Yarn, and found myself some “leftover” or heel bases hanks. I obtained the sock tones I wanted to make a pair of socks I want to match a favorite shirt. Though I’m thinking I might give in and try to find that colorway for those Mandrake Vanilla Socks she’s working on. They look so pretty!

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But this week, remembering my friend and having tax money just burned a hole right into my pocket. My local yarn shop is probably a little bit thankful for this. Before my appointment and cancelled class on Wednesday, I stopped at the yarn shop and ended up with a skein of Dream Smooshy with cashmere–merino/cashmere/nylon in the Charged Cherry Colorway.

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It is Dream yarn…I thought I recognized that name. My Tangled Yarn is right, this is so soft. I sucked it up and paid for it. I think I will be glad I did. While I was shopping, I also mentioned that I was thinking of learning to make socks toe up, especially since I barely received 100 grams of the gray and aubergine yarn. My yarn shop promptly sold me one of her favorite two at a time, toe-up circular needles. Part of me can’t wait to try it. Part of me knows I need to knit the second sock of the pair on my needles right now. I was so excited about my yarn and knitting purchases, that when I was asked to write a skill poem for my Creative Writing class, I made it about knitting. I will save that poem for when I get some tweaking done with it, but I will be introducing my class to knitting in words, as well as sock monkeys;-).

Speaking of sock monkeys, we are getting there. The arms were completed when the college historically closed for a snow day(that I’m not entirely certain we needed, maybe a half-day). The tail was worked to about five inches during the fiction reading tonight. The tail needs to be finished and the ears and muzzle need to be worked. That will complete the monkey. Then I will need to decide on the hat and scarf. So far, its a go, but it depends on what my actual due date turns out to be.

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There is so much more I could tell you this week, but I’ll save some of it for next week, as I’ve just started planting seeds of ideas that a girl can only hope to come to fruition! In the meantime, I need to make some socks, sock monkeys and homework happen;-). Ready for the muzzle next…

 

 

…perhaps it’s the energy of expectations for a new year; perhaps it’s all that time spent inside drinking hot tea to soothe your cranky throat. Oh, heck with it, by the time I get to writing down the blog, I’m on to the wine. This is especially true if I’m taking on all that I can handle and more.

I’m going back to school, hopefully for an accounting degree-but that’s another story. I’ve started a new, slightly complicated knitting project, and I still have to sew down the underbelly of a mama horse. The horse will come, and is much easier than it sounds, but it’s not crossed off so it’s still on the list of things I haven’t done today. Part of me wants to be done.

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Knit 1, Purl 1 rib stitch…I forgot to complain about this. The longest consistent stitch in this pattern is knit 5. Focus, focus, focus…(what a girl gets for desiring a challenge…) Knot socks by Nancy Bush in Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd

I’ve started studying for classes and hope some of the classes go better than the books promise. I’ve become quite the book critic since I’ve returned to college. I have a How to Study class I have to take due to extenuating circumstances and misunderstandings. It’s partly my own fault, but I don’t like one of the books and feel as if I needed this as well as “How to apply for Scholarships” as an English requirement in my junior year of high school. Alas, that could be another blog, but I should get back to studying before I attempt any more.

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The purple yarn, that is one or two shades above black…it is knitting up pretty, but I need new glasses soon…

Allow me to segue to the knitting we came here to discuss. I got this pretty purple and brown and blue yarn that is one shade above black from Dear James for Christmas. One day, I will train him to buy the yarn I want. I do not want to take all the mystery out of it and make him a list, however. I told the shop owner I trust him. I foolishly thought he was paying attention as he wandered through the shop asking questions about sweater yarn while I was shopping the sock yarn. I also suggested it should match one of my sweaters/shirts I wear often. (I’d better pay more attention to what I wear between Thanksgiving and Christmas next year.) I’ve offered to teach this man to knit many times this Christmas season (fortunately, he hasn’t taken me up on it yet).

So, I got out the beautiful, purple(not black) yarn, and began to pick out a pattern for it. I was hoping for openwork, but couldn’t find the right one for this yarn, and decided on cabling. Perhaps if I make a pair of socks it has to be really cold to wear, he’ll consider buying me pastels next year. A girl can dream, right?

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(*Ack..horrid photo)…In Dear James’ defense, he did try to match a turtleneck I wear frequently.

Right, got it. Make the list or give him a sweater to take with him, maybe even the outfit. Better yet, my new year’s pay is in next week, I’m making a stop at the yarn shop. Okay, that’s settled. So, we’re down to a couple of patterns and I choose the one I think is prettier. I’ve found a wee problem with the pretty patterns. There’s nothing vanilla about them and classes start Tuesday for me.

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7 inches…to be or not to be…enough…here goes hours of knitting time;-)

I’ve made good progress and have knit a repeat each night this week, before I go back to school and studies take over my nights. I didn’t even stop for photos until I got to the heel flap. Yes, I made it to the heel flap. I work the next two nights and will focus on the sewing as it’s far easier to walk away from at work. I may get some more knit Sunday or Monday night, but I hope I haven’t hit a major snafu. When I got to the heel flap, the pattern tells me I should be at 8 ½ inches. I’m at 7 inches. I’m hoping my 76 stitches are enough to go around my foot when I’m done with this sock.

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Vanilla Latte socks that would be easy to knit between classes;-)

Part of me wants to check the gauge and is debating starting over(I’d only be ripping out a few thousand stitches and finding bigger needles). Part of me wants to cast on the black yarn (okay, you can laugh at me now) for a pair of Vanilla Latte socks I can do from memory to create a second pair of work socks big enough for comfort and gift the ruffled black-hearted socks to my niece for band concerts. Part of me wonders if I’ve totally gone bonkers. Then I reach for my wine and decide to figure it out later. Though I’ve noted the vanilla latte socks just might travel well for in-between class in case I’m ever caught up on my school work…or my brain refuses to function in a studying capacity.

Also, I did receive the knitter’s graph paper journal from: http://www.fringesupplyco.com/product/knitters-graph-paper-journal (where I purchased it) or the designer’s website: http://rowanmorrison.com/products/knitters-graph-paper-journal

I’m slightly disappointed that it is soft cover, but it is a good cardstock soft cover. I’d like a hard cover option, as I’m not gentle on many things. I like the information presented, especially as I sometimes have to educate a non-knitter on knitting information. I believe I like the paper, but I have not put it to the test yet as I have an idea for a design, but it is still percolating, and I didn’t want to rip out my pretty(not black) Christmas stocking yarn three or four times as I tried to make open work butterflies work on socks. I may sneak it in my bag with some colored pencils and doodle one day when my brain refuses to accept any further knowledge. I will keep you updated.

A Busy, Tired Week

September 18, 2015

…including some jealousy inducing photos

I spent most of today recovering. I sewed my tush off last week, and some of this week. Though I got a little confused on hexy placement for a moment, but this pattern is currently a little forgiving. I hope I can say these words later, when I really need them. Or perhaps I should stop placing hexies without comparing them to the template, and not my harshly drawn on graph paper suggestions. I wish I could show you more, but this photo will have to do, as its still in the super-secret stages;-)

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Scamp, helping me sew while investigating ceiling activity….Hoping I haven’t shown too much of the super-secret part.

I also received not one, but two new autographed hard-copies of books this week. Dear James teased me about how much of my book I would complete the night I received the newest book. The second book is a re-print of one I’ve already read, but I aim to get the entire series(so, its still exciting). Some of these turn into great birthday and Christmas gifts. Yes, my birthday was last month, but the book wasn’t released until this month. It has been worth the wait so far. I’m about a quarter of the way into it and I’ll be glad to get back into tonight. I’ve even considered adding time to my sunset function on my alarm clock so I don’t have to turn on my phone flashlight to finish the chapter…

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Did I mention this was the latest release of a favorite author!? 😉

I did end up finishing the other book I was reading on my day off. I even got up early in case a substitute teaching job opened this Monday or Tuesday. It didn’t, so I got to finish the book and the puzzle-which I did not get a photo of, as I’m still missing two pieces. I’ll find them, but I have to clean my dining room to do so. I haven’t yet, but I did check the mail again and found hexies in the post box. Boy has it been a happy week. Enclosed in the well decorated envelope were new cardstock weight hexies with new sayings this week. I took photos of them too.

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I love this kind of mail. This is half the reason I buy these on etsy.com

I also found myself fighting off a low grade fever. I should rest more, but I don’t notice its there until I’m committed to making tomato sauce with lots of fresh tomatoes or lasagna or even while driving to work. I hope I’ve fought off whatever bug has been working its way through me.

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Squib, snuggling up while I knit.

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Scamp, inspecting the knitting as well.

I’m not sure if its that time of year, or if its due to swinging my sleep schedule around for teaching(though I haven’t tested this system yet). I did complete a 1,000 piece puzzle, and I’ve knit another pattern round on the gusset/periscope of the sock. Allow me to show you what I mean. Please excuse the crazy cat(and dog) lady pile-up. I won’t mention which article of clothing Scamp even made herself comfortable on tonight. There’s plenty of pet activity in the photos.     007Putzer, seeking attention while I knit

Perhaps it was that I sat down and relaxed on the couch, or that I’ve had a busy week and spent much of my normal visiting time at home, sleeping, but all the pets seemed to want to help tonight. 011  Squib,  and Putzer helping me knit, Briannag looks jealous at the end, and Zeus is sleeping in the middle.017Squib and Briannag trying to claim my knitting for themselves…

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  I even made lasagna in the process, and had a great dinner, once I freed my lap of cats and put the knitting away. Yes, you may be jealous of the lasagna…I’m not sharing and not mailing, but darn is it good. Though with the addition of goat cheese and olives, I was looking for some artichoke hearts once I tasted it. It was still good, but I thought they’d make a nice addition.

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And yes, there was knitting. It seems as if it was a little of everything week. But the sock is making progress…perhaps more next week, though I still have to keep sewing my tushie off.