A Cold List

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Today, for you, is a cold list.  That is, a list because I have a cold and I’m tired and can’t come up with anything else.  NOT because it is cold outside.  Because it’s totally not.  A balmy 66 degrees which feels hot compared to the 20 degree weather we had recently.  Anyway, on with the list….

1) Paul finished the puzzle without me:

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It was hard and it took him a long time.  (I was doing Jigidi puzzles….)

2) I finished this:

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Turn a Square by Jared Flood.  Easy hat.  I just realized the back is in the front.  I can see my jogless stripes technique.  Can you spot it?  If not, that’s a good thing.  They are the elongated-type stitches up there running from the brim to the top.  A great technique for making sure you don’t have big jogs in your stripes, which happens in circular knitting.

3) It is called Turn a Square because of this:

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4) Christmas knitting was seriously hampered when I didn’t feel like knitting and instead felt like watching a million re-runs of The Pioneer Woman and playing Jigidi.

5)  But I did start this:

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6) I’ve been obsessing about making cupcakes from this book that my mom gave me for my birthday:

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 Robicelli’s: A Love Story, with Cupcakes: With 50 Decidedly Grown-Up Recipes

I’ve been reading and re-reading the instructions for how to make French Buttercream. It’s a many-stepped process including using a candy thermometer and pouring hot sugar into egg yolks slooooooooowly.  But “they” say it’s the absolute best buttercream ever and I just have to try it.

I was going to make the Crème Brulee cupcakes this weekend.  They look so yummy— you put vanilla custard into the aforementioned buttercream.  And you make caramelized sugar to crumble on the top.  But…. the thing I said about knitting in #3?  Same thing about cupcakes.

Then today I was going to try and rally to make but then I realized I didn’t have enough butter. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds.  That’s because all the recipes in the book make 24 cupcakes, not the usual 12.  Oh, and the cupcakes take another half pound. Plus, I’m tired, so now would not be the time to try the aforementioned many-stepped process.

Maybe I’ll try making them this weekend. You know, after that huge day of eating coming up, that I am making sweet potato casserole and pie for, with the all-kinds-of-leftovers for days.  It will be a great time to make 24 cupcakes and eat them.

7) HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (I am thankful there are still people reading my blog….)

My Latest Obsession

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Surprisingly (or maybe not), my latest obsession is not knitting related.  It’s not my obsession with getting all-the-things knitted for Christmas.  Or my obsession with a new yarn, Llambrosia, at The Spinning Room yarn shop, which I’m picturing 80 things I want to knit with it.  Or my obsession with wanting to knit about 80 of the patterns in the new Wool People 8. (Ok, there are only 17 patterns, but I want to knit a lot of them).

This obsession is Jigidi. An online jigsaw puzzle website.  Thanks to Bea for introducing it to me!  I think.  I’m totally addicted and it’s a complete time suck if I’m trying to knit all-the-things for Christmas.  I was skeptical at first, wondering how one could do a jigsaw puzzle on the computer/iPad.  Oh, but you can.  Here is the latest one I worked on, appropriate for the season!:

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You just click and drag, or drag with your finger.  It times you, and by the time I finished this one, it had taken my about 2 1/2 hours.  I don’t know if I’d do one with many more pieces because they would get really small on the screen.  And now that I have the screen open, because I went there to get the link to put in this blog post, I’m trying really hard not to click over and start a new puzzle.  Your lucky I care about this blog and your desire to read it.  I seem to have abandoned the one on our dining room table, in favor of the comfort of the couch and the lack of glare from the dining room light.  Paul may be on his own to finish that one.  (It’s really hard, too, which may or may not be another reason I abandoned it.)

Earlier this week I had an unexpected day off since one half of the Doodlebug duo was sick.  So, I knitted and had tea:

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Started on this:

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Can’t tell you what this is yet.

Then took a break to do this:

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In other knitting news, yesterday I started this:

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….a hat for my nephew.

Later in the week, when everyone was healthy, we played outside in the crisp winter autumn air. Running around helped keep us warm and we saw this:

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Later that day, after her nap, Miss Ladybug and I somehow got into a conversation about wearing bibs.  I think Farmer Pickles was sitting at the dollhouse table and she mentioned he was not wearing one.  I asked her how old you had to be to not wear a bib anymore and she said, “Fourty-four.  Because that’s how old my daddy is.” (Just as an FYI, before her daddy turned 44, I never saw him wearing a bib.)

Ok, now that you have a blog post to read, I’m off to Jigidi….  I have some time to get a puzzle started before I head to work at the yarn shop!

Owl Hats and Apple Pie (Because they go so well together…)

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Saturday morning around here was cooooooooold.  The pond even started icing over:

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….and the grass was crunchy.

So it was a perfect day to teach my Owl Hat class – to make a nice cozy hat for kids or adults (the pattern is called Chouette):

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I love it when a class goes well.  Most of the time they go pretty well, especially because I’m a nut about making sure I’m prepared and stress out about not forgetting things.  But sometimes, due to various circumstances, a class gets derailed a little, or just doesn’t go as smoothly as I had planned.  But on Saturday, the Owl Hat class went very smoothly and everyone commented that it was a great class and they were just thrilled with how their hats were coming out.  Sue came to class with more than her homework done and therefore was able to finish her hat by the end of class….

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(Sorry about the blurry picture.)  So adorable.  And she’ll be making another, teeny tiny one to give to her due-in-March granddaughter.

Here is almost everyone’s progress (someone had to leave early):

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Then there was my test pie.  I decided that in addition to a sweet potato casserole, I would bring a pie to Thanksgiving dinner.  Since I’m still not terrific at pie, and I had heard about a new crust recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (found an online version here), I decided to make a test pie before making one for Thanksgiving.  This recipe has vodka (!) in it, which is supposed to help with the flakiness. (The alcohol cooks out.)

Right about here in the blog I was supposed to put pictures of the sticky dough (because of the vodka and water), the lots of flour needed to roll it out (because of the sticky dough) and the yummy apples and raspberries with browned butter and vanilla.  But I was so wrapped up in getting all the steps down that I forgot to take them.

So, you get a picture of the pie in the oven:

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The cooked pie:

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And after it was cut into, since I forgot to take one of a piece on the plate:

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Looks pretty messy because we ate it while it was still warm.  And, boy was it tasty!  The crust was definitely crisp and flakey.  And sweet since I sprinkled sugar on top.  The inside was yummy too, although I still have to figure out the secret to the crust sinking with the cooked filling so there is not a huge gap.  Maybe there is no secret.  Maybe it just does that.  Paul and I both gave it two thumbs up and I will definitely make one for Thanksgiving!   If you are interested, I used the vodka crust recipe above with Martha’s Brown Butter Apple Pie recipe and added raspberries.

Not much knitting news to report except I worked on this:

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And I’m hard at work on my next design!

Not Quite Ready

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Last night this happened:

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Can you see it? (No, it’s not that I need to take down the hummingbird feeder…. but I do.)

It turned into this:
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I think winter is “ok”.  Not my favorite season, but I don’t mind it terribly.  But I’m not quite ready for this yet.  Mind you, it didn’t stick to the roads and it’s expected to be gone by the end of the day….but still.

Good thing I’m doing lots of knitting.  It will keep me warm while I’m knitting it, and keep those warm whom I’m giving it to. (Was that grammar correct? Who. Whom.  To whom I’m giving it?)

First up is that I finished the modified Trellis Scarf and the modified Irish Hiking Scarf.  But I can’t show them to you yet, since they haven’t been blocked.  That’s on my list for today.

Then, in one short day, I made this Hannah hat for my niece Erica:

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Now, last year I asked her mom if she thought she would wear it, and she wasn’t sure, so I didn’t make it.  But this year, I decided to just give it a try because it’s darned cute and maybe she will love it and then maybe her 14-year old friends will all love it and they will want Erica’s aunt to knit one for all of them.  Which I would do.

And I’m working on this too, which I can’t really show you:

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And I finally blocked my Duane Park Triangle:

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I love it.

In other news, I got a new teapot:(Tea Forte Pugg Ceramic 24oz Teapot – Cherry Blossoms)

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Hooray!  I’m sure you were wondering….  But now I can knit the Festivity Tea Cozy.  Maybe in 41 days (after the Christmas knitting is done).

Matchy

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I did something.

….I knit this:

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You might be thinking, “Big deal Liz.  You knit a lot of things.”  But, not only did I make it, I DESIGNED it!

…to go with my High Plains poncho:

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It is a very basic cowl, and my first stab at designing.  I thought my poncho needed a little more coverage up top if I was going to wear it as an outerwear garment.  And I didn’t want to just wear another cowl that I have, in fear of my outfit looking like I was just wearing everything I’ve ever knitted all at the same time.  I wanted something that would match my poncho but blend in so it wouldn’t take away from the pretty lacey bit of the poncho.  So, I used the same yarn and worked the ribbing that is in the poncho onto the cowl.

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I made this to match my poncho, but it’s a great, basic cowl to go with anything and keep you cozy.  Next:  Writing up the pattern, having someone check it over, knitting it again to make sure it’s right, and publishing it, since maybe you will want to knit it too!

(And taking better pictures so that it doesn’t look like it’s a different color in every picture.  The middle picture is the most accurate.)

Keep Knitting

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As it is getting deeper into fall, Paul and I are having a sort of contest to see how long we can go without turning on the heat.  We are using the wood stove but so far haven’t turned on the heat, which means the house hasn’t gotten below 55 degrees yet.   That’s our turn-on-the-heat threshold.  It was close once, at 57 degrees.  Silly.   But also, who knew on November 8 we’d have this…..

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AND this?:

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So nice to see some color sticking around when everything else is just getting brown.

While I was hoe-ing and raking that garden up there this morning, the only thing I could think about was, “I hope this doesn’t make my hands tired because I really need to keep knitting.  That Christmas list won’t knit itself.  Why in heck is this taking so long???”

I did get something almost done since my last, frantic, post (it helps when you wake up at 4:15am and can’t go back to sleep):

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Slippers that are humongous right now but will be felted (shrunk) to fit.  I’m not saying who they are for.  You might be getting a lot of that as the knitting list gets worked on.  Or some cryptic descriptions with no pictures.

Off to work on that list now, in between laundry loads and house cleaning.

OR, I could do this:

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A much better idea.  Just KEEP KNITTING….

A List and a Realization

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Before I go to work at the yarn shop today, a list:

1) On one of the last days before it started getting dark at 2pm, Paul and I went for a walk at Thacher Park.  So pretty.  We always say we should do that more often but only do it sometimes.

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2) I have a pile of things that need ends woven in and blocking:

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If you are keeping track, don’t ask what the red one is.

3)The wood is all stacked.

From this:

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To this:

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Apparently three cords does fit in one side.(I had my doubts.  Paul didn’t.)  And we are hoping what’s on the right will take us through the winter.  (We both have doubts about that.)

4) Doodlebug activities this week included collecting pine cones in grandma’s yard:

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Then sorting through them to find teeny tiny, medium and humongous ones:

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5) I started another Christmas gift, inspired by the Purl Soho Trellis Scarf, just different:

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(Different stitch count, different needle size, different yarn type. Same stitch pattern.)

5)  But then I got distracted by this, because I stumbled upon it when looking for something else:

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I really want to start them.  But I’m not.  I have a long Christmas knitting list and there are only 47 days until Christmas.

Ok, I just counted that out on my calendar and very calmly typed it out but now I’m a little bit freaking out …. I just realized there are only 47 days until Christmas!  You may not want to be thinking about Christmas right now but in the world of a knitter with a Christmas knitting list, that’s not many.  I actually should have started thinking about it in August.  Now I really have to buckle down.  And I have to stop getting distracted by things not on the list.

Time

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We set the clocks back an hour this weekend.  Apparently that was the end of daylight savings time.  I never know the difference – just that we have to move the clocks back or forward.  Every year, for the whole the day before we move the clocks, Paul walks around saying things like, “It’s 5 o’clock, but really it’s 4 o’clock”  or “It’s 11pm but really it’s 10pm so it’s still early” as a way of gearing up for it.  Then the whole day after we change the clocks, I walk around saying, “It’s 11am but gee, it feels like noon”  or “It’s 11pm but really it feels like midnight so boy are we going to be tired tomorrow.”  Every year.  We annoy the heck out of each other and there is lots of eye rolling going on.

In between all that, on Saturday, time really few by as I taught knitting classes at The Spinning Room all day. First up was a four hour Lace Shawl class.  Two people worked on circular shawls and two worked on 1/2 circle shawls and learned about knitting lace and blocking lace.  A fun class and here are 3 of the 4 started shawls:

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In the bowl are chocolate/white chip cookies I made because I promised them as a treat for taking a four hour class!  They were yummy.

Then in the afternoon it was a two hour class (the first of two sessions) to start a Colorwork Christmas Stocking:

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They learned to knit with a color in each hand, and work with a colorwork chart.  In a month they will come back and learn how to put in an afterthought heel.  A fun, fast day!

Then….. in no time over the weekend I’ve gotten 32″ knitted into this scarf, which will be a Christmas gift:

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This picture shows about 9″.  It is a modified Irish Hiking Scarf, made with Berocco Pure Merino (a really nice, soft yarn).

AND I finished my charity knit-a-long hat using a pattern called Kitty’s Kap:

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On Sunday morning, we were up early (although it felt later….) and I made a quick trip to our CSA’s farm stand to get a few more sweet potatoes:

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On my drive there, which is about 3 miles from our house, and further up “the hill”, I passed some snow.  I’m not ready for that yet.

I made Orange-Sage Sweet Potatoes with Bacon in the slow cooker:

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But I didn’t have sage so I put in the same amount of dried rosemary. Big mistake.  And I knew it was going to be, right as I threw it in the pot, but then I couldn’t fish it out.  Despite the pretty strong rosemary flavor, it was still very yummy and I will make them again.  With sage.

And now for something completely unrelated…. here is our peanut butter jar:

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Probably looks a lot like yours.

And, here is my mother-in-law’s:

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Did you ever see such a neat and tidy peanut butter jar?

Just Pick One

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In the last post, I was all over the place with my knitting.  Worked a little on this, a little on that, got distracted with something else, and on and on and on.  Then Paul gave me a kick in the pants and said, “Just pick one and finish it!”  Hmmmmmm.  Interesting thought. So, I did.

I finished my Duane Park Triangle:

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AND then I finished my Outbound Mittens:

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Both not blocked.  When I block the shawl, I will post more pics because you really can’t see the lacey bits very well right now.   And also, remember the fussy applied edging I was telling you about?  (Which did take me about 10 years, as I thought it might.)  Here’s a little explanation:

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The stitches to the right of the orange marker are the edging stitches.  The count varies but it’s an average of about 10 stitches per row, in an 8 row repeat pattern.  The stitches to the left of the orange marker are the remaining 32 body stitches to bind off (I started with 179 stitches).  So, when knitting an applied edging, you end up “binding off” one stitch every other row by knitting two together (the last edging stitch in the row with one of the body stitches.  Let’s do some math.  There are eight rows in the edging pattern repeat. That means there are 4 stitches bound off for each pattern repeat (1 every other row).  Which means I have to do the edging pattern 8 more times to bind off the remaining 32 body stitches. That’s 64 edging pattern rows, with an average of 10 stitches in each row.  Which means I needed to knit approximately 640 more stitches to bind of 32 stitches.  Then do the math with the 179 stitches I started with.

See why I dread that type of edging a little?  You kind of feel like you are at the binding off point, but not really. And you kind of feel you should only be working 179 stitches, but not really because you have to add an edging.  It messes with the whole knitting psychology of nearing the end (but not really) of a pattern.  But, it’s VERY pretty! Stay tuned for the those after-blocking pictures.

And I’m ignoring the in-my-face-right-where-everyone-no one-will-see-it wrong stitch:

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Also, today is Halloween.  I think I’ve said before I’m not a big fan of Halloween.  When I was younger I always had trouble figuring out what to dress up as, and just in general I don’t love all the spooky, scary things I guess.  Wow, I sound like a wimp.  But I have been enjoying seeing Miss Ladybug (aka Cinderella) and Mr. Doodlebug (aka Thomas the Tank Engine) get excited about it.   They are at the age where it remains to be seen if they will put on their costumes and/or wear the things they are supposed to wear on their heads (a crown and an engineer’s hat).

And in the spirit of Halloween, I rallied and made them a sticky spider web to throw things at:

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….. which ended up being too high and no matter how hard they threw the tissue paper blobs, they couldn’t reach it.  And the method to move said spider web almost failed, but they still had a great time:

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It was an especially great thing to do on a rainy day!  There was so much jumping-up-and-down excitement for about 45 minutes that they tired themselves right out.

Then we painted with q-tips:

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And on a nicer day we went for a pretty fall walk to the park:

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Now I’m off to prepare for two classes I’m teaching tomorrow and to organize my holiday knitting list.  Can you imagine the blog fodder those two things alone will produce???

Knitting Alignment

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It’s that time again:

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If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that I dread this every year.  Stacking wood.  B.O.R.I.N.G.  Most of the time while I am doing it, I’m thinking that perfectly good hours/weeks/days (seemingly) are being wasted and some perfectly good knitting could be getting done.  But then Paul says something like, “But this is good quality time we get to spend together.”  Like he did this past Saturday afternoon, after seeing me for about an hour a night during the week because it was a crazy busy week for me babysitting, working at the yarn shop late and teaching a class late, and not seeing me Saturday morning and early afternoon, because I had another knitting class to teach.  How could I not continue to stack wood until there was no more daylight?

And speaking of knitting that could be getting done, mine isn’t.  My knitting has been all over the place lately. I start working on one thing, decide I should really be working on another thing, then decide I should really start a few more things, then decide I need to make a list of things to knit for Christmas gifts and start some more things.  So, essentially, not much has gotten done.

The Spinning Room is having a knit-a-long to knit hats to put on their tree for the Victorian Holidays village tree decorating contest,  and which will then be donated to Halos of Hope.  So, I started one:IMG_4103

I also put a few rounds on a travelling sock (for The Spinning Room travelling sock group) but I can’t show it to you because I think the person whose sock it is reads this blog.

I worked a little bit on the edging of my Duane Park Triangle:

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But I got distracted when I stumbled upon this very cute teapot cozy pattern:

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I was so happy that it had two sizes.  Most of the patterns I have seen were one size, and too big for my little 2-serving teapot.  So. Excited.  I wanted to start it immediately.

Then the next day:

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I broke my teapot. (Let’s not talk about the fact that I just went and rummaged through the garbage so you could see the broken teapot….)

And also, I’m totally obsessed with this knitted ottoman! (click there!  I can’t put a picture on the blog because of copyright rules.) The only deterrent so far is the need to purchase three standard size bed pillows and a twin sized comforter to stuff it.  I just don’t have extras lying around the house.

Meanwhile during my busy week…. I tried to get a picture of myself wearing my Wheaten wrap:

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It was really aggravating (five tries later…) and next time, I will ask someone to help me.  But you get the idea.  I still really love it.

So what could possibly be a cure for all-over-the-place-knitting?  Something to calm the mind?  Something mindless that will make all the knitting thoughts align?….

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Or…….stacking wood.