I took on two full time weeks in a row, which became adventurous this week. There are some decent stories, but not many I care to share yet. Besides, while I’ve gotten little done knit-wise, I have gotten past the center and begun creating a little tail.

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Check out this little tail…isn’t it cute? 

The tail is so neat, I’m looking for opportunities to knit. (I’ve just been too tired after working all day and writing notes. I get a day off Sunday, besides a fair amount of cleaning, there will be sewing and knitting breaks. All are needed…and there may be a dinner out involved.

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My dear monkey likes to help show this off…soon, the dog will help as well, as she’d rather sit with her head on my lap and snuggle if I must knit when she needs love.

In the meantime, allow me the indulgence of one pet dog story. I give the chow mix mini-walkies each night at my boyfriend’s before returning home. One night, we decided the pit-lab mix needed to join, or at least get a potty break before I left for the evening. So, I attached the double leash and began mini-walkies…corner to corner of the yard. I was ready to take them inside, my good deed done for the night, when this dog simply stood there, looking at me, then looking down the road. If I gave her an inch, she gently tugged me a foot until she was in the street. As I gave in, (because I’m really a big softie), I thought maybe she wants to find the street light in the intersection. Checking there were no cars, I led her in that direction. She kept going, on the leash, and I wondered where she would pick to finish her business. She talked me into the whole walk, as “mini-walkies” was a foreign concept to her. (Yes, I know. I have just been ‘had’ by a dog). We’re both better for it. 

She’ll likely help me pose the shawl as it grows. Until next time, 

Happy Knitting!

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Five More Minutes…

June 21, 2019

Not five more minutes of knitting, unless I’m in that sweet spot. I’m rarely in that sweet spot right now. So, instead, I feel slightly like a petulant child who is asking “Are we there yet?” It’s this way on both of the projects, unfortunately, for me.

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Front of sock Twisted Stitch Socks by Ann Budd

In the interest of not sounding like a petulant child, I’m focusing on the positive. Sometimes, all you can say to repeats of “Are we there yet?” is “Five more minutes.” I picked up on this line while I was dealing blackjack and carnival games. If the cards went south, and they usually did, players would begin asking, “How long until your break?” After a dozen questions a night, you stop thinking and start answering, “Five more minutes.”

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Back of Twisted Stitch sock by Ann Budd…the middle of that back cable row is about five more minutes from finishing that row…

The parents get it. Anyone who has ever used this line gets it, and when they do it’s funny. A few are too drunk to get it, and in five minutes when they ask again end up saying, “You said that five minutes ago,” to which I repeat five more minutes. (If they are that drunk, explanation is often useless). Alas, I don’t wish my shawl or socks to look like drunken knitting, even if the ladders do at this point. I’m hoping they can be blocked out.

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Forgive the fuzzy picture…I’ll take this better next week, and about a quarter of the way left to knit is my five more minutes point here. 

In the meantime, here’s the latest, and may your knitting not require the response of “Five more minutes.” 

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

Choices Made Easier

June 14, 2018

 

Cornhole boards…nothing says summer like cornhole boards…My niece wants to bid on them at Art Reach. They are not yet finished.

How do you choose whether to knit or quilt or paint Cornhole (Bean Bag toss) boards this week? The easiest way to make this choice is to run out of yarn after a tough row, and to get a last minute email requesting the Cornhole boards be painted.

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Close up of my progress…try not to count the stitch mistakes, please. They shouldn’t be noticeable in the end.

I got my second repeat of row one  on the Indian Cross Scarf finished, and hoped I had enough yarn to finish row two and maybe row three. I was pretty sure I was going to the yarn store this week. I just finished row two for the second repeat and found I had about sixty inches of yarn left. That’s sixty inches to cover 216 stitches + 7/9 extra stitches, which I’m not redoing. I had won the yarn chicken battle, but I would not win the war. The skein is out. As for the extra stitches, this is exactly why decreases were invented. I’ll recount before I start, after I pick a good join, and divide that number by 216 to figure out how often I need to decrease to keep it even. I also have the option of finding the stitches where I knit 9 stitches into 8 and decreasing there, but I think the even decrease will be less obvious.

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Current progress on the Indian Cross Scarf.

I also decided I had only three choices for the yarn chicken loss, but they’re not great choices. I could use another yarn, but I don’t have any cotton and acrylic, and I want these yarns to look close. I could knit with an entirely contrasting yarn…but I didn’t work that in from the beginning, and it won’t provide the effect I want. The third choice is most satisfying all around: I can buy more yarn.

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Same brook, different view. Such a lovely little space.

I decided to walk into the yarn store today and get more yarn, so I could pick a join, knit this up over the weekend, I hoped, and finish this to present at quilt retreat. The yarn store was out of this yarn color and didn’t have any good substitutes since I still have close to a third of this scarf left to knit. Luckily I had kept the label and she’s ordering another skein for me.

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I can’t think of a better place to read, knit, or relax right now…at least not within driving distance.

However, in the meantime, I’ll show you some pleasant places for future knitting between appointments or after exams when I don’t wish to study. I stumbled across the mini brook in the afternoon as I decided to prep for a writing appointment, which I moved to the gazebo, fountain and now brook area of my school’s campus. In the future, I may be found knitting there…or at least sneaking some photos…I think it will change as the year goes on, I mean…Look at this beauty.

Only two boards to paint, but I had to include the horn and unicorn hair artist, Jessica, posing with her work.

I also ended up with two Cornhole boards to paint this afternoon, once I confirmed my partners in crime were willing to lend me space. I may still be a little high on spray paint fumes, but it’s worth it so far…And they’re not done. Whatever you think of them, they’re not done yet. I’ll post that in the next couple of weeks when I can get better photos of the finished boards.

Bring On the Toes…

December 21, 2017

That’s right, I’m at the toes…I may have four disappointing rows of stockinette stitch(I’ll find out when I recheck the pattern,) but I hit my goal to be at the toes tonight, so I can get these knit up by the weekend…I know, I know…get back to the needles.

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Do you see these babies;-)…they’re ready for toes!

I found the painting I thought I’d misplaced…my boyfriend knew where it was, which is good–because I don’t have time to make another…and while it would likely be better, I wouldn’t feel that way, until it was done. Instead, I would stress. But I’m feeling pretty good today, for two reasons.

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Almost there, can’t wait to gift these babies…Fraternal twins…

I got one gift finished this afternoon, and while I wish I’d done it a little better, and if I’d known how my week was going to turn out, I’d have focused on this one more. Alas, that’s not how it goes around here…but, but, back to the knitting…and some tears…I picked up Maeve’s ashes yesterday, and received a paw print they didn’t tell me about. It was sweet, as I watched six other people bring their mostly healthy and still alive pets to the vet and pretended to be okay. I’m not, I nearly lost it while running my errands, but we’re each allowed a little crazy (or normal grieving) at yuletide, right? I bake a little when grieving…here’s some of last night’s haul.

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Oatmeal cherry chip cookies…scream now if you really, really need these…perhaps I can message a recipe. Though I will need to send some to a fudge gifting friend.

Okay, okay, back to the knitting…so the emotional roller coaster of this week will be complete…

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We’re almost there. I think my favorite part is the gifting;-). (except for when I get to put them on my feet;-)).

See what I mean. Now I have to go knit the toes, and get these done in time to gift and hope her feet still fit them. Afterwards, which socks do I focus on? (Yes, I remember I need to get back to the hat for a friend, and I will), but do I go for the stealth argyle in teal and purple or create mock cables with burgundy and black…which matches a favorite shirt;-)? Decisions, decisions…but enjoy the gifting process this year, and the family that chooses to be with you. Happy Holidays…and to those who think I should say different, I say, “If your holidays aren’t holy, you’re doing them wrong.”

 

Knitting in Public…

April 27, 2017

…while making short progress. I did it! I got the darned paper done. It might even be a good paper. I hope it’s a good paper. I constantly feel as if my grade is suffering in this class. I often feel like my grades are suffering (especially if I don’t have a cushy, solid A that lets me fail the final exam and still obtain a B in the class). Alas, I hope it’s enough to get me a better grade, but I likely won’t know until I take the final anyways, so I’llst have to wait and see. Yes, Finals week is coming up. So, what’s a girl to do?

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Look, look, it’s almost a periscope!

She takes her knitting to the pub to wait for friends to share a couple of beers and enjoy some karaoke(How does one spell Karaoke?). My former sister-in-law got up and sang. I haven’t found a good song that matches my voice since I got up and tried Martina McBride’s “When God Fearing Women Get the Blues,” while I did a stint in the Navy. (This song doesn’t even come close to matching my voice or style, by the way). There shouldn’t have been enough beers in my system then and there weren’t enough beers in my system now to get up and give a song a memorably bad rendition of singing. We’ve considered Toby Keith to match my voice, but I don’t really listen to country much, and there are only a few of his I would be okay with doing. I may have to get up and do classic rock, one of the ones where people are guaranteed to join you in the singing.

I’m willing to perform, the singing voice is another matter. I’ve heard it can be trained, I’m just not sure how that’s going to work;-).

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The front view and right side up!

However, I ran into work friends, and figured out which ones were chatty and which were downright affectionate with a couple of beers in them. I also made some memories with my friends(who are both former sisters-in-law–they divorced my brothers, not me;-)). So, I finally got to the part where I get to turn the heel(I might even get that part done today if I keep at it), and I snuck in two more rows of the Terpander socks this week.

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The back view, upside down…(yes I know there are rotation buttons, but I’m going between kindle and laptop, so forgive the technical difficulties, Please;-)).

So, progress has been made, but I really need to get back to the studying I’ve neglected in favor of progress;-) and nights out with friends where I knit to the heel turn (while waiting, I might add).

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Now to pick up stitches and get on with this bad girl, just in time for summer;-)…
Now, for the update. I did get some studying done, but I had time before class and diligently worked on the heel turn, simply choosing to move my knitting bag very carefully since the stitches would be straddling two needles the entire time. I got it finished this evening with only a few more minutes of effort and I still have time to study that chapter and review the next over the week…Wish me luck on finals and summer classes(possibly).  We’ll find out whether I’m studying or knitting and quilting and working on a book this summer.

Shh…don’t tell. I haven’t worked on the Terpander pattern all week. I may have to make that up in the morning. Instead, it turned into a crazy, busy week, with assignments that didn’t go well and a strong realization that I need to do something different. I’m still knitting, and there were knitting in public opportunities, but Sunday night was intense, to put it mildly.

So, Monday, James and I went to the humane society to walk a dog. We left without the dog…I’m not sure that happens. I don’t walk dogs here on a regular basis as I don’t have a farm with unlimited income. I’m still considering the dog. I almost decided to go right back for her, but she wasn’t classified as senior, and the humane society has gotten very particular about what dog would be right for us. We do have a good number of cats…but we have two dogs from breeds not great with cats, and they have come to realize the cats are in charge, they’re just allowed to share the furniture.

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The charmed twister bag I thought I was making progress on…until I re-read the directions…

Alas, I do not have a new dog, which might be an excuse for not getting much knitting done. However, I also had a test this week, which is the real reason I didn’t make much progress on my socks. (At least that one holds up till Wednesday morning. Then there was this charmed twister bag pattern…and the little twister tool…and progress was made on the bag.

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Up Close and Personal (exclusive) with the heel flap…see those color variations….I do love this yarn;-)

I was still working on the knot socks before classes and between classes….I just didn’t get much time for them this week. I decided I needed to be more social and reach out to friends. I still haven’t gotten into the group that knits at a local pub. I may have to start visiting there more.

Perhaps that will help with the progress. However, you’d be proud of me ladies and gents. I met up with a friend at a local pub called The Cabin, and had some delicious pizza. When she told me she’d be there in five minutes, I finished my calendar entries and went inside to wait.

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The whole thing so far…(lifelines I haven’t removed yet and all)

I wasn’t sure if she meant five minutes, ten or twenty, so I took my yarn inside to knit while I waited on her. She’s used to seeing me with the yarn bag as I often knit until the start of class. We had a good visit, I tried a new beer, Curmudgeon, though it wasn’t curmudgeonly at all, but I can’t think of a better name for it off hand. Then again, perhaps it was, because it’s like it’s that old imposing guy who’s really a big teddy bear underneath. It is beer with molasses, but not as sickeningly sweet as the honey blood orange blend, so what more could I ask? Aside from a taller glass. It was 9.8% alcohol, so it came in a cute little six ounce mini-pilsner glass. I get it, but I was a little surprised.

Then again, curmudgeonly types may be best in small doses. The beer was good. It was worth every tiny ounce;-). The knitting progress was one row as Crystal was prompt. Sorry about the lack of knitting in public photos…one day I’ll remember to drag my friends into this fun. ) Then I set the knitting aside and dove into  Cheesy bread sticks and Italian Veggie Pizza and forgot my troubles for a bit. Some days, there’s nothing like a bit of beer and pizza with a friend, even if it moves your study time into your knitting time.

Must Knit Faster

December 1, 2016

The third of four socks is done, but I chose not to cast on the fourth sock. I think I will take a break from the purple for two reasons…1) I wish for a simpler pattern and 2) I need to get a gift done. I should be careful about this, as it is a Christmas gift, but I don’t have to say who the recipient is and I’m not sure they’ll guess…I hope.

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Zeus, snuggling me while I knit…

Stop me now ladies and gentlemen…we all know these are famous last words. But They’ll still be a mystery while I’m knitting them up and I likely won’t photograph them completed until both are done…P.S. I’m still not sure I can get them done in time. We’ll find out.

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Side project…I finished half a repeat and have begun the increase for the gusset.

I cast them on last week once I cast off the purple socks. I’m wishing I’d left them on the size 2 needles, but then I’d be casting on another sock before Christmas. Time does not allow. In fact…I need this gift to be done before Christmas. Hint it’s not socks; still it is knit in the round. I’ve got another inch to go on this first knit 2, purl 2 rib…I want it done. I also have to get a good amount of sewing in.

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Shh…the sewing I was talking about…yes, it’s bright.

In addition, I’m still writing another paper this weekend and revising one, perhaps two. The second revision will depend on a Monday afternoon meeting. In the meantime, wish me speedy luck with recycled denim on aluminum needles. I’m really wondering if I would be further ahead to cut this off and re-cast on the size 2 needles. Oh, the conundrums.

Early Halloween Activities

October 21, 2016

This week, I actually accomplished a good amount of knitting, but I also worked in some Halloween activity with my little as well. We went to a haunted house that is not at scary…Not at all. I’m not scared, repeated the 8-11 year old boy who just isn’t scared by the haunted house. (I didn’t get his name).  That is, until the guide sneaks behind a panel as you’re going on about not being scared, and jumps out at you unexpectedly. The effect: “I almost peed my pants.” Made my Tuesday night, especially since I’m a helper, and I’ve taught, and I realize what it takes to keep a big group of kids happy for more than five minutes, even when they’re all supposed to be working on something (but you have limited supplies)…like inflatable ghost balloons and decorating pumpkins, abstractly.

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My second favorite part of the socks…the periscope look. My favorite part is sewing up the toe (Nevermind, it’s wearing them–but these are for a gift.)

I don’t think I got a single photo of the ghost balloon, but you’re welcome to click the link above. If you’d rather jump in both feet first, don’t say I didn’t warn ya;-). You take a water bottle, cap off and pour in one-half cup of vinegar. Then you take a funnel, cap the bottom with the white balloon, and fill the balloon with one tablespoon of baking soda….Oh, oh, oh…you draw a ghost face on the balloon first…with a sharpie of some sort (preferably not the smelly one we used). So, now that you have a ghost face balloon with baking soda added, and a water bottle of vinegar, you are almost there….Most of you can likely see where this is going, right? Oh, you didn’t do this as a kid? Drat…well, stick with me, it gets more fun. Now, you take your parts, and slowly put them together…first you put just the band of the balloon(the end you tie), on the water bottle lip/edge/mouth(whatever you wish to call it today). Then you pinch the area you will tie off. Next, you slowly let the baking soda fall into the vinegar and watch your balloon inflate.

Where was this idea when we were huffing our lungs out blowing up balloons for birthday parties? My mother refused to pay for helium, even when it became semi-affordable. Alas, there was knitting, I promise. However, I have to make an extra trip to get photos…drat. There was also applique, and I might be able to get photos here…pending the camera….

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See, it looks like a cross between a periscope and an alien face!

In the meantime, I need to check dinner–chicken parmigiana, made lighter (I think–though its mostly the way I’ve always made it…perhaps I just bake more), and get some progress shots of the socks…

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My latest applique Quilt…It will pop soon, I promise…Not that I want it to literally pop…but…

The socks are coming along well…I’m starting to get excited (at least for the purple ones)…for the pink ones, I’m not quite ambivalent, but I’m cautiously excited, so perhaps I am. I’m ambivalent in that I love seeing and quantifying progress…but as I get closer to the heel, I realize I’m going to have to do four cable row repeats instead of two with two knit repeats….Have I lost ya, yet?

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The toe-up Terpander socks….the other side is simply knit right now…though I get to start bringing the cables in Sunday(I’m not likely touching these before Sunday).

Allow me to explain. I’m working from the toe up, and the foot is generally easier to knit as the bottom is knit only. This pattern, when it gets to the ankle and leg is a cable all the way around creating an eight stitch rib on each side. The rib is the easiest part of this pattern. There may come a time when these socks become solely holiday socks, so I can focus entirely on the cable patterns. They get a little intense. But in the meantime, I shall enjoy the knitting of the feet.

 

Another Busy Week…

September 23, 2016

I wish I could say I hit the knitting harder this week. In retrospect, I probably did. I don’t feel like I got much done. However, I did some shopping. Shopping makes up for lack of progress, right? Right! So, let’s see where the pendulum falls…

I’ll be honest, I expected to be bored in my Literary Analysis class. “You’ve been doing this for years, since high school, you just didn’t know it.)” So working through the likely familiar steps would be boring. Now, we are doing literary maps (that are meant to prove we read the book) and coloring in a writing intensive class. We’re finally getting to some writing this week. I’d rather submit five to ten pages a week on the steps or a book review, than do a literary map, which is a memory tool at best. For once, I’d almost rather be bored.

I’d rather find my own allusions and figure out how to do each of these steps, not try to guess which detail (or how many unnecessary details) will prove to the instructor (who is too busy to keep the book’s characters straight) I read the book. I’m explaining the book to my fellow students, who she has thoroughly confused. Today, my literary map was “too big.” Though it was written in print by the instructor, that we could “feel free to up-size,” if our creativity demands it. When have you guys ever seen me take on something small?

Okay, enough about the pissy instructor who managed to piss me off all week. Let’s get back to the knitting. Here’s the purple sock. I’m getting closer to the heel. But it’s the fourth week of classes, I wanted to be knitting the heel flap.

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My current progress on the take me to class sock…

And now for the kind of sad, but fun part. I stopped progress on the cherry dream Terpander socks this week. They were being knit on Addi Turbo Rockets in size 2. The pattern was designed for size 1. Since I have a small bend in one of the needles which the shopkeeper became aware of, I likely cannot exchange the size 2’s for size 1. The toe is looking a bit big already. So, I need to downsize. Funny thing, Dear James was just asking me what would happen if I did this as he left for work this evening…I launched into some of the “knit-ese” I can share with you guys.

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The brand new knitting needles that will make this Terpander pattern all that it was meant to be…(Dear James claims he won’t understand…Just something else for me to show him later)

First, let’s start with what I like about the Addi Turbo Rockets in size 2. They are smooth. When I am knitting a simple knit and purl pattern, they’ll fly. I may mean that literally. So, what would I improve? In flying, while cabling, I have to be very careful and very firm with all needles so not to drop yarn or stitches. I’ve been constantly wary of dropping stitches as I knit on my more relaxed mornings. I’m not a mindful or relaxed knitter. I knit to relieve tensions of days like today. Since I didn’t have much money to go buy another set of Addi Turbo Rockets in size 1, well, maybe I did, but I wanted to try something else, I went to Knit Picks, and decided to try their needles.

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I have a plan…stay tuned, we know how plans work…;-)

I bought their fixed circular needles in 40”(which the pattern requires in Majestic Wood. My boyfriend has already dubbed them black. I also bought two new skeins of yarn.I haven’t decided which pattern I want to knit with these colors…check this out.

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I’m developing a plan, and may need more needles. These are entirely me, but likely my winter knits this year…I see myself as booked with knitting, classes and quilting this fall.

I’m torn between the Half-Stranded Socks by Anna Zilboorg or the Stealth Argyles by Eunny Jang. Both require two colors, both are beautiful in their own right. So, do I want stripes that sometimes look like diamonds or do I want beautiful curvy reversed socks…(they sound so fun). Both patterns are included in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class.

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Squib helping me with the quilting…mostly inspecting, but he’s not above running off with cool, small toys…that are not “cat toys,” whatever-that-means.