The Human Tape Measure

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I was knitting along on my Tea Leaves Cardigan, at a point in the pattern where I had to knit back and forth in stockinette stitch for thirteen inches, when I stopped to consider how much I had knit.  I didn’t have my tape measure with me, so I asked Paul how much I had knit.  Paul has an uncanny ability to look at something and say what its measurement is.  He said, “It’s 10 inches.”

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Don’t ask me why I bothered to get the tape measure.  Just to prove it to you I guess.

Then I plugged right along, got the body done and a sleeve started:

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It looks very uneven and sloppy but that is because my dress form is a size negative 2 and I am not.  But you get the idea.  Just sleeves and button bands and I’ll be done.  And sewing on buttons. (ugh)  I can’t tell you how much I love the color.

In the mean time, I got obsessed with two patterns in the new Interweave KNITS magazine.  The Second Story Tee , which I started yesterday:

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I’m making it with Cascade Cotton Rich DK and hope that it will be a nice spring/summer top. See?  Looking forward to spring and summer….

And the cover pattern, the One Way Tee which I will make with this great dk weight yarn that I got at Fibre Space when we went to Virginia last year:

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But this one will have to wait until after I knit Paul’s slippers.  He’s walking around in these and I’m kind of starting to feel bad:

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(and it wasn’t until I sought them out to take that picture that I realized how big the holes are….!)  And seeing how winter is not going to end any time soon (more snow last night, more snow tomorrow, very windy and cold today), it might be nice for him to have a new pair.

Oh, and I just finished listening to Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.  It was very good. Sad.  But good.

Tenth Verse, Same as the First

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More cold and more snow.  More cold and more snow.  More cold and more snow…..

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You can’t even tell we have a pond anymore….
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We recently watched a whole bunch of episodes of Alaska State Troopers.  It should have made me feel better about this weather we are having.  In some places in Alaska, they have much colder temperatures, more snow, and hardly any sunlight.  For a really long time.  So why am I complaining about a couple of months, one of which the average temperature has been 12 degrees when it is supposed to be 38?

The other day, when it was only 15 degrees, I took the doodlebugs outside to play.  It was sunny, so it felt warmer.  By the way, the threshold for how “warm” it has to be to go outside has gotten lower as the winter has gone on.  Early in winter, temps in the twenties seemed too cold.  Now, if the temp is in the teens but the “real feel” is in the twenties, we’re all good.  And I’m telling you, those snowsuits keep them so warm, they are sweating when they come inside.  Anyhow, back to the other day…..Miss Ladybug stopped playing to ask what I was doing – I was just standing in the sun, with my face tilted up and my eyes closed.  I told her I was trying to get some vitamin D.  The sun felt so good and I realized how little time I had spent in the sun these past couple of months.  She also asked me recently when summer was coming. I told her not soon enough, but I would settle for spring arriving pretty quickly.  On the plus side, it is not pitch black when we wake up, it’s still light out at 6pm, and in two weeks we’ll be changing the clocks.  So spring can’t be that far.

But meanwhile, and as usual, the knitting helps.  Having something warm and wooly to work on makes things nice and cozy.  I’m plugging away on my Tea Leaves Cardigan….

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It kind of looks like a jumbled mess right now.  When I separate for the sleeves, you’ll get a better idea of what it looks like. Also, can I just say that I love this color?  But then again, purple is my thing.

And I’ve started working on another pattern to publish. I’m breaking all the rules and giving you a teeny tiny sneak peek:

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Are you staying warm?

Crème Brulee Cupcakes

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FINALLY I made some cupcakes from this great book 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 decided on the Crème Brulee cupcakes because they were the easiest and I love, Love, LOVE crème brulee.  First was making the cupcakes.

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Then while those were baking I made the custard, for the custard buttercream:

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That is a totally un-appetizing picture, but it was really yummy.

Then while everything was cooling, I made the caramelized sugar for the top:

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Supposed to be three different golden colors, poured three different times as the sugar got hotter.  I started pouring too soon.  But it’s ok – it tasted great.  Then I had to crush it so I could roll the cupcakes in it:

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The next morning I made the buttercream, to which I added the custard:

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Also a not terribly appetizing picture, but again, tasted so good I could have just eaten that without a cupcake.

Then assembled the cupcakes.

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My piping skills leave something to be desired.  I needed a larger fluted tip, and a piping bag that was not a plasdtic Ziploc which sprung a leak.

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But it really didn’t matter how they looked.  They were hands down the best cupcakes I have ever made.  Maybe even the best cupcakes I have ever tasted.  Hands. Down. So. Delicious.

Paul also loved them and said, “You should make these and sell them.  To me.”

Since we cannot have 18 cupcakes in the house because we will eat them all in one day, I brought them to the knitting classes I taught on Saturday.

The Chevron Scarf class:

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and the Mobius Cowl class:

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Rave reviews from everyone there too, and another comment that I should sell them.  Hmmmmm.  A fifth job to explore.

1. Babysitter

2. Knitting teacher

3. Shop girl at the yarn shop

4. Knitting designer

5. Baker?

The Knitting Helps

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I’m not going to complain about the 0.9 degree weather with the minus 30 wind chill today.  Or the snow that is expected tomorrow.  Because all of that is such old news.  Who needs old news?

But I will clarify that in my last post, no one seemed to realize that the pictures of the heater I was showing you at the end, were because the pipes inside the baseboards froze and burst.

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Two holes in the pipe and so lucky that nothing flooded and we caught it quickly.  And boy was I ever thankful that Paul knows what the heck he is doing.  What could have been a several hundred dollar emergency call to a plumber, was a $30 piece of copper pipe that Paul replaced himself.  Whew.

And lucky me, I got to help by taking the million and one heating element thingys off the old 6 foot long copper pipe and put them back on the new 6 foot long copper pipe:

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I’m really terrible – such a complainer and grumpy about the boring-ness of it all (after all, I could have been knitting).  Paul is very patient.

And this morning we woke up and discovered the need for this (again):

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After we thought we had all our bases covered, another frozen pipe (inside a closed closet) that, again thankfully, was caught even earlier and this one didn’t burst.

But here’s a good thing about the snow…..

This is Jake in Virginia, who hardly gets to see snow and loves it soooooo much….

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Isn’t he just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen and makes your frozen face melt into a smile?

Also, on an “inside day” with the doodlebugs, they practiced counting by making tarts for the Queen of Hearts with play-doh:

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And so all this boring, monotonous, every day, all day cold stuff is helped a lot by the knitting, which I’ve been doing a lot of.  I finished my Heaven and Space shawlette and gave it a cozy blocking by the fire:

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(I have no idea what happened but all my pictures on the dress form came out crooked.)  I am mostly happy with it and a tiny bit unhappy.  I love the color. I love the pattern – easy and great for tv knitting.  I really liked knitting with the yarn, Cozy Soft.  However.  The yarn is 75% acrylic and 25% wool, which means the fabric will not really relax like I want it to.  I wanted it to look like the pattern picture, but even though I stretched it out flat, the acrylic is making it scrunch back up and get all wavy and bumpy.  While this looks ok, it looks “only ok” and my preference would be for it to lay flatter.  Next time, which there might be, because I really really like this pattern, I will use wool.  Or wool/alpaca blend, because I love alpaca and it would be so cozy.

I also made a sample Homesock for an upcoming class:

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I made a pair for my sister for Christmas.  They are funny looking when you aren’t wearing them and look like they won’t fit, but they stretch right out and fit nice and comfy and snug.  Sized for toddler to adults!

And then I started my Tea Leaves Cardigan, which I’ve had in my queue on Ravelry for a long time and have always wanted to knit.

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(I know.  Shocking that it’s purple. But it’s an awesome, deep, heathered purple.)  It is a top-down sweater and I will be teaching a class for this as well.

And last night I taught a colorwork fingerless mitts class:

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Although teaching a full mitten would probably be more appropriate.

Two classes to teach this weekend and I’m hoping to finally make some cupcakes!  Stay tuned….

Frozen

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It. Is. So. Darn. Cold. And Windy.  So, you are getting more complaining.

Sunday at 5 pm it was two degrees, but minus 33 with the wind chill.  It had stopped snowing and we didn’t get much but it was blowing and drifting around like crazy.

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Definitely a weekend for staying inside…. after a quick trip to the grocery store where we saw this:

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It’s about time they put “about”.  People can get pretty crazy about your item count.

When we got back home, we stayed in.  Because It. Was. So. Cold.

I made Martha’s Parker House Rolls:

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Oh. My. Gosh. So. Good.

And Smitten Kitchen’s Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic:

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Also, Oh. My. Gosh. So. Good.  It has three ingredients.  Chuck roast (I used shoulder), A 28 ounce can of tomatoes (I used crushed) and whole, unpeeled garlic cloves.  So easy.  I also added a few carrots and some onion.   Because we like them.

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That was our Valentine’s dinner.  (Although Paul says I’m his Valentine every day. So sweet.) It’s really hard to take a nice picture of pot roast.

I also did some knitting with the Gilmore Girls:

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And by the fire:

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And finished my Heaven and Space during Downton Abbey!  Ta-da:

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It will look nothing like this when it is blocked.  I’ll show you that next time.

I also got to finish reading my current book:

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Excellent.  I loved it.  The writing is great.  You can get it here: All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

“See?” I said to myself.  “The cold isn’t so bad.  Didn’t it feel great about getting a book finished and finishing a knitting project?”   “Why, yes.  Yes it did.” I said back.

Then, we woke up today to this:

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In a part of the house we close off a little and don’t keep as warm.  But not this cold.

So we did this:

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And got this:

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FROZEN PIPES.

Easy Cabled Scarf and Going On and On about the Cold/Snow

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My Easy Cabled Scarf pattern is now for sale on Ravelry!

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USD $2.50

That is the last pattern for a little while. However, I have another hat pattern in mind, and another cowl.  AND, my Aunt Kathy suggested mitts to go with my Bulky Twisted Rib Hat, which was a great suggestion.

So, this Easy Cabled Scarf:

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I. LOVE. IT.  First of all I love the yarn I used, Cascade Cloud.  It is 70% merino and 30% alpaca, so you can’t go wrong there.  It also has an unusual construction in that it is a chain yarn.  The strand of yarn looks like a tiny knitted i-cord (or a chain) and that gives the yarn a nice texture.  It is an aran weight yarn (also known as heavy worsted) and knit with size 11 needles, which means the fabric is fairly drapey and nice and squooshy.  I have scheduled a “Cables!” class at The Spinning Room (March 21, 12-2pm) to teach how to knit various cables by getting started on this scarf, as well as learning to cable without a needle. Second of all, I love that using the size 11 needles makes it a fairly quick knit.  Mine took a day and a half.  Although, you can’t go by me because I knit pretty fast these days.  Especially when I’m on a mission.  Your mileage will vary.  Let’s just say it is probably quicker to knit than your average scarf. *And a special thank you to Yvette who braved the cold with me today to take the final pictures I needed of me wearing my scarf!

If you decide to knit any of my patterns, I would LOVE to see the results.  Please post them on Ravelry or you can email me a picture:  lizatlizytishknitsdotcom

So, that’s it for pattern news.

How about me going on and on and on about how cold and snowy it is?…..

I have decided that I really need some snow pants:

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Trudging up Grandma’s back hill through the 15″ snow to make a path for the Doodlebugs so they could sled (1 time for Miss Ladybug, 3 times for Mr. Doodlebug) made this very clear.  They did well trudging on their own when it was flat:

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Luckily this week the sun was out, so despite temps in the teens, it wasn’t too cold to get outside for some shoveling-the-yard-then-pushing-each-other-over-then-burying-themselves-then-eating-snow.

One of the days, after we came inside, we made craft stick/bottle top catapults and measured how far conversation hearts would launch:

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So much fun! Great fun to see how far they would go and great practice for them to read numbers, especially the twenties/thirties/forties.  They loved the idea of launching them and then eating them.  We were following the 5-second rule, in case you were wondering.

Today, it got all the way to 7 degrees, after starting out at minus 7.  AND it was very windy.  So it was wonderful running all my errands, making my 8 different stops into the warm stores and back out in to the frigid cold.  I was so happy to get home.  It’s going to be cold all weekend and we are supposed to get 6 or more inches of snow Saturday into Sunday.  While this is painful to think about and makes me want to complain even more, it will be great for sitting here in my comfy cozy chair under my knitted woolens, knitting more woolens:

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I don’t plan on leaving the house.  Might even bake some bread and cook a pot roast.

P.S.  My new favorite thing:

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Mechanical pencils from Staples.  I never use pencils when I’m making notes on my knitting patterns because you have to sharpen them, and there is never a sharpener around when you need one (or you have to go to a store to buy one because you can’t ever find the one you have but never use because you never use pencils).  I always use a pen, scribble out my mistakes, and overall make a general mess of things.  But then Deirdre at The Spinning Room had these in her pencil cup and I fell in love.  Best things ever.  No need to sharpen.  There is always lead there.  Even extras in the handy dandy holder under the eraser.  And how cute are they with the cute patterns and cute colors? Meanwhile, Paul, a mechanical engineer with an intimate knowledge of mechanical pencils wonders if I have been living under a rock.  (Deirdre, I’m bringing back the one you so nicely gave me after I made such a big deal about how great they are.)

Bulky Twisted Rib Hat

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My latest design, the Bulky Twisted Rib Hat is now for sale on Ravelry!

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Very exciting to have another design published.   Thanks to all of you who purchased my very first pattern, the Easy Cozy Cowl.  AND a thank you to Deirdre, owner of The Spinning Room yarn shop, for hosting a knit-a-long for the cowl at the shop!

Here is some behind-the-scenes goop on the hat pattern…. I enlisted Paul to take some pictures of me wearing the hats, since I thought it would be good to have pictures of someone actually wearing the hats, in addition to pictures of the hats on Styrofoam heads.  I’d actually prefer NO Styrofoam heads, but I wasn’t terribly confident in my ability to show off the hat well, so I left them in.

I went out on the back deck and stood in the snow (as in, stood in snow and stood while it snowed) because natural light is best for pictures.  Paul stood in the doorway, nice and warm and dry.   We took A LOT of pictures.  After the first few, there was a tiny bit of sighing from inside the house as I requested more pictures from this way and that way and up here and down there.   I’m not terribly comfortable being the one on the pattern pictures, but it’s got to be done because I don’t think Paul wanted to be the model.  And because I’m not terribly comfortable with it, I’m going to show you a bunch of them here, so I get used to it. (I did delete all the ones with my eyes closed and hair flying across my face.  Maybe next time I’ll show you bloopers.)

A picture of me in hat #1:

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But it didn’t really show the little side detail pattern.  So, another, from up higher, and looking away:

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But that seemed too dark, so another, with the pattern showing better:

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(This one made the pattern picture.)

Then hat #2:

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And up higher, looking away:

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(This one made the pattern picture too.)

I clearly need some modeling tips.  And probably some make up.  And some sleep, apparently.  But there you have it – I sacrificed my total uncomfortable-ness to show knitters how the hat actually looks on someone, and then I put all the pictures on this blog.  Might as well just do it quick and all at once.  Like a Band-Aid.

I love my new hat.  (My favorite is the mauve/purple-y one.)

Next up is an Easy Cabled Scarf…..(which also has a rather unimaginative, yet descriptive, name.  I’m working on more creative names…)

Two Things

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1) It’s snowing.  Again.

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2) I’ve been knitting:

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Heaven and Space by Martina Behm.  I love her designs.  In all of my wondering what the heck I’ll work on next, I went with something new to teach as a class.  But, I did pick out yarn for Paul’s slippers.  And for the Tea Leaves cardigan, which will also be for a class, and which has been in my Ravelry queue forever.  I can’t show you the colors yet because they are still at the yarn shop, waiting for me to purchase them.

And now I’m off to finalize my new hat pattern and my new scarf pattern!  I hope to release them this week!

Knitting Quandary

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The 8 year scarf is done! In actuality, it took me 10 days.  I swear it seemed soooooo much longer than that.

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Brooke’s Column of Leaves Knitted Scarf.  That is not the greatest picture, but you get the idea.  A nice, lacey, accessory scarf.  This was knit with 220 yards of DK weight yarn – others may want to use more yarn to be able to wrap around your neck again.  The yarn, Llambrosia, is just wonderfully soft and warm.  So, I’m happy with how it turned out, despite the 8 years it took to knit.  And it will be an upcoming class at The Spinning Room!

And in direct contrast to that, I designed and knit another scarf in a day and a half.   It was with aran weight yarn, size 11 needles, non-lace and a very easy pattern, but whose counting those things?  Sorry, no pictures yet.   I’m hoping to get my hat pattern and my scarf pattern finalized in the next several days!

Now, I’m in a bit of a quandary about what to work on next.  Projects for upcoming classes, like a top down sweater and a slipper-sock and a shawlette?  My knitting-for-others list like a hat for Paul, felted slippers for Paul, a hat for my mom and scarf for my mother-in-law?  Finish my Charleston Tea cardigan from last year?  Finish my Cocktails for Two socks?  Design something new?  Start something new just for nothing in particular?  There is no easy answer.  I don’t even know how to prioritize.  I want to do them all.  Now.  This is one of those times I wish I had 8 arms and 87 hours in a day to get more knitting done.  If you are reading this and you are not a knitter, please know that this is totally normal.  For a knitter. This is what all knitters go through.  I swear.    [side note: I had no idea quandary was spelled “quandary”.  I thought it was “quandry”.  I wondered why my computer kept auto-correcting my excellent spelling.]

In the mean time, let me distract myself from making a decision, by telling you some other things, like this mini-disaster that happened:

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That there would be a broken double pointed needle in the middle of a row of knitting!  Ugh.  I was knitting along when I heard a tiny “click” and then, everything felt a little loose.

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You might be able to see, just to the right of the break, a dark spot.  I think it’s a knot in the wood and that’s where it became weak.  I’ve used these needles for some time, so I guess it was bound to happen.  Good thing needle packs come with 5 needles and I usually only use 4.  Nevermind the fact that I have about 10 million sets of double pointed needles and it’s not like I would have been unable to find another.  That, and I work in a yarn shop in which needles are pretty handy to buy.  Luckily, I was able to not drop any stitches and get them all on to another needle.  Can’t really show you all of this sock, either, since it’s one of my sock circle socks and I don’t want the person who owns it to see it in detail.

And how about a little bit of Valentine cheer?   This is the window at The Spinning Room, which Christine diligently changes and knits for each season:

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There is a space in there for that penguin’s sweetheart, which Christine is working on now.  How adorable is that?  And yes, those chocolates are knitted too!

All right, enough distractions.  I’m off to resolve my quandary.  Stay tuned.

The Real Super Bowl

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THE GAME was on last night. We are not football fans.  We never watch football, except for the Super Bowl.  And even then, we only 1/2 watch it.  We prepared for our usual not-really-watching-but-we-like-snacks evening thusly:

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The rolled, stuffed pizza dough was my adaptation of something that was supposed to go in sliced French bread.  However the butter just oozed out of the pizza dough and it wasn’t as good as we had thought it would be.  But, did I ever tell you my favorite way to cook bacon, thanks to Ina?:

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Sooooo much easier than in a pan, and sooooo much less messy.

But really, here is my idea of a super bowl:

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A YARN bowl. (Credit for that joke has to go to Paul.  He’s full of yarn jokes.  I don’t always remember to pass them along to you.  I need to keep a little notebook with me to write them down.  His suggestion.)  I did some knitting after the eating.  Then at 9pm I went upstairs and watched Downton Abbey, so missed all of the hullabaloo at the end.

And by the way, I think the scarf is almost done.  It has taken 8 years to finish and it seems the more I knit, the less long it gets.  Yes, I know that’s impossible, but it seems like it.  Stay tuned for the finished, blocked pictures.

However, earlier in the day was this:

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To bring to an afternoon of spinning with friends.  On the way there, we saw these two:

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Just licking the road.  (We saw their friend, behind the fence a little ways up, looking wistfully at his free friends.   Then we saw some neighbors who were going to knock on the owners’ door to let them know.)  A very pretty day for a drive, and a fun afternoon.

Here is one of the wheels at Laurie’s house:

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Wow.  I think it’s called a great wheel.

I worked on this pretty Bitsy Knits 100% Merino mill end roving in the South Sea Isles color:

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And today, there is this:

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16″ expected.  I’m so glad I don’t have to go out.  Maybe I can finish the scarf-that-won’t-end.