I Have A Finished Object! . . . Uh, . . . No, I Don’t . . .

I finished “The Assassin’s Daughter” shawl, using 3 skeins, but it was too small for the way I like to wear my shawls.**  But, I have 7 skeins total of that yarn, so I frogged out the top border, and I’m adding another two skeins (5 skeins total) and I’ll see how that goes.  If that’s still not big enough, I’ll go the whole 7.  Since I’m increasing two stitches every other row, and I’m adding to the top, the number of rows I can get out of each skein diminishes the more stitches I have on the needle.

I’ve been taking a leaf from the lovely Miss Bernadette Banner‘s book and attempting to suss out how a garment is made just by looking at a picture of somebody wearing it.  In this case, it’s that interesting olive green shawl being worn by Kathy Hipperson in the below video as she sits chatting with Ms. Banner in the pub.

Regular subscribers to Ms. Banner’s vlog might recognize Ms. Hipperson as the actress who interprets “Mrs. Crocombe” in the English Heritage “How To Cook the Victorian Way” videos.

In some of the comments, people were wanting to know about the olive green “sweater” she was wearing and how to get a pattern for it.  It’s actually not a sweater.  It’s a shawl with the ends crossed over her left shoulder.  My informed guess is that it is rectangular in shape, about 24 inches wide and at least 60 inches long. It’s done in garter stitch with a braided cable (3 sts x 3 sts x 3 sts) down the length, probably off center, i.e., closer to one edge than to the center.

It’s made from bulky weight yarn and worked on very big needles (possibly 9.0-10 mm/US13-15).  It would be pretty easy to copy once you had your stitch gauge. Knit a 5 inch by 5 inch swatch in your chosen yarn, with your chosen needles, measure the number of stitches to the inch, x 24 – 30 inches to get the cast on. Then allocate 9 or 12 stitches for your cable with a purl-stitch gutter on either side to give the cable a little more definition.  Put markers on either side of your cable. The cable stitches are worked per standard braided cable with 5 rows between crosses. The rest is garter stitch, and how hard is garter stitch? she asks rhetorically. . .

Of course, now I have to see if I’ve got enough yarn to make one for myself. . . . Sigh.  But it would be a fairly straightforward project, and bulky yarn in garter stitch on bulky needles goes quickly.

** There are two schools of thought about shawls.  Some people like to wear their shawls like a scarf or cowl, up around their neck.  Others like to wear their shawl around their shoulders like a cape.  Obviously, you wouldn’t want such a big shawl if you were wearing it around your neck.  On the other hand, a larger shawl would fit around your shoulders better .  Since I belong to the latter school, I’m going for a bigger shawl.

Par For The Course

Friday night, we had a little cold snap and Saturday morning, we woke up to this — We only got a light dusting, and with a low of only 32F /0 C, it wasn’t cold enough for snow or ice to stick to the sidewalks or pavement.  The snow quickly melted, but it was picturesque while it lasted.  I understand other parts of the country have not gotten off so light.

In the knitting news, I know I should check my work for mistakes every inch or so, but I got to watching YouTube videos and made a (very noticeable) mistake on one of the borders and didn’t catch it until about four inches later.  Not gonna lie; swearing happened.  Fortunately, I was able to just frog that corner back to the mistake and fix it, and didn’t have to frog the whole durn thing back that far.   It’s my latest pattern, ( it’s a 3-ball shawl, and I’m on the third ball).

I’ve been watching episodes of the BBC’s “Digging for Britain” on YouTube.  It’s a show about British archaeology.  The presenter is a lady with a very posh accent .  She’s a bit precious but bearable.  However, we’ve already met a couple of former Time Teamers.   In Britain, you can’t hardly turn around without tripping over something historic. They’ve got Celts and Romans,  Angles and Saxons and Jutes (oh, my!), Vikings and Normans, kings and castles.  What do we got  out here in the flatlands?  We had some Clovis folks wandering through once or twice, hunting mastodons and leaving their trash at a nearby lake, then zip for the next 11,000 years — nothing but buffalo and prairie dogs and the odd Comanche.  My town’s only been here since 1891,.   I’m so jealous.

 

 

Of Castile Soap and Startitis

Yes, I have it.  Startitis.  Starting new knitting projects when I have (many) other UFOs languishing in various stages of completion.  I wanted some TV knitting, never mind I have such an easy knit shawl (my Malguri Morning shawl) that’s almost finished.  What do I do?  I write another shawl pattern!  It’s another shawl inspired by C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner books that I’m calling “The Assassin’s Daughter.”  If you’re familiar with the books, you’ll know the character’s name.  If not, spoilers!  It has a little 5-stitch knit-as-you-go border (five being the basic number of an ashid).  It’s a simple pattern, suitable for beginners.  It uses the five basic knitting stitches:  knit, purl, k2tog, ssk, and yo stitches. The body of the shawl is garter stitch.

My skin and hair are so dry, a fact not helped by our “semi-arid” climate and lack of humidity.  (Our groundwater percolates through limestone so it’s very alkaline, also.)  It seems ridiculous to wash with regular name brand soaps that strip your skin of its natural oils, and then buy more product to slather on to replace the natural oils the soap stripped off. I’ve started using Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap, which has an olive oil base.  I’m using both the liquid and the bar.  I’ve been shampooing with the liquid, and showering with the bar, and so far I like the result.  I got some of the organic hair cream.  I’ve only used it the once, but so far it has really improved the texture of my hair.  After my illness in 2018, when I had to cut my hair so short because most of it fell out, when it grew back, it was even coarser than it had been, so coarse, in fact, that it felt like Barbie hair. (Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!) The ends split even worse than before.  Hopefully the hair cream will help with the split ends.  You work the cream into the damp hair, so maybe it won’t flake or coat the hair too badly.  We’ll see.

So far, the new year has been very tame and quiet, which is just the way I like it.  I’ve been chillaxing and taking it easy, which is also just the way I like it.  So far, so good . . .

 

 

Books Read in 2019

163. Precursor, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-re-read)
162. *After-Swarm, Sriduangkaew, Benjanun (novella)
161. *You and I Shall Be As Radiant, Sriduangkaew, Benjanun (novella)
160. *And The Burned Moths Remain, Sriduangkaew, Benjanun (novella)
159. *The Owls of Juttshatan, Sriduangkaew, Benjanun (novella)
158. *Then Will the Sun Rise Alibaster, Sriduangkaew, Benjanun (novella)
157. *And Shall Machines Surrender, Sriduangkaew, Benjanun (novella)
156. *The Guilded Cage, Charles, K. J.
155. *The Rat-Catcher’s Daughter, Charles, K. J.
154. Inheritor, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-re-read)
153. Invader, Cherryh, C. J.
152. Foreigner, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-re-read)
151. *The Lady’s Secret, Chambers, Joanna
150. *Gentleman Wolf, Chambers, Joanna
148. *Henley Manor, Osborn, Jaclyn
147. *Smoke and Mirrors, St. Clair, Vesper
146. *Black and Blue, St. Clair, Vesper
145. *The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings, Morton, Lily
144. *Accepting the Lance, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
143. *Enemies Like You, Chambers, Joanna and Martin, Annika
142. *The Unwritten (graphic novel), Carey, Mike and Gross, Peter
141. *Still Waters, Gabriel, Alex
140. *Nightmare Magazine, Issue 82, (July 2019), Adams, John J. ed.,
139. *Wyrd Sisters, Pratchett, Terry
138. *The Dark Days Club, Goodman, Alison
137. *The Scottish Prisoner, Gabaldon, Diana
136. *Seven Stones to Stand or Fall, Gabaldon, Diana
135. *Wickedly Dangerous, Blake, Deborah
134. *Seonag and the Seawolves, MacGriogar, M. Evan (short story)
133. *Lord John and the Plague of Zombies, Gabaldon, Diana
132. *Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Gabaldon, Diana
131. *Lord John and the Custom of the Army, Gabaldon, Diana
130. *Lord John and the Hand of Devils, Gabaldon, Diana
129. *Lord John and the Private Matter, Gabaldon, Diana
128. *Wolfsong, Klune, T. J.
127. *Unnatural Issue, Lackey, Mercedes
126. *Reserved for the Cat, Lackey, Mercedes
125. *The Wizard of London, Lackey, Mercedes
124. *Phoenix and Ashes, Lackey, Mercedes
123. *The Gates of Sleep, Lackey, Mercedes
122. *The Fire Rose, Lackey, Mercedes
121. *Reticence, Carriger, Gail
120. *Competence, Carriger, Gail (re-read)
119. *Imprudence, Carriger, Gail (re-read)
118. *Prudence, Carriger, Gail (re-read)
117. *Poison or Protect, Carriger, Gail (re-read)
116. *Mrs. O’Leary’s Boarding House: Aliens Only, Halsey, W. F.
115. *The Color of Magic, Pratchett, Terry (re-read)
114. Coraline, Gaiman, Neil (reread)
113. Northwest Smith, Moore, C. L.
112. Transcription, Atkinson, Kate
111. *Hither, Page, Sebastian, Cat
110. *The Fifth Gender, Carriger, G. L.
109. The Wild Wood, de Lint, Charles (re-read)
108. Tales From The Inner City, Tan, Shawn
107. Good Omens, Pratchett, Terry and Gaiman, Neil (re-read)
106. *The Lightning Struck Heart, Klune, T. J.
105. *Today I Am Carey, Shoemaker, Martin L.
104. *The Corinthian, Heyer, Georgette
103. *Wanted, A Gentleman, Charles, K. J.
102. Tales From Outer Suburbia, Tan, Shaun
101. *The Man With Two Left Feet And Other Stories, Wodehouse, P. G.
100. The Arrival, Tan, Shaun (graphic novel)
99. *Hell or High Water, Cochet, Charlie
98. *Manners and Mutiny, Carriger, Gail
97. *Waistcoats and Weaponry, Carriger, Gail
96. *Curtsies and Conspiracies, Carriger, Gail
95. *Salt Magic, Skin Magic, Welch, Lee
94. *Enemies with Benefits, Martin, Annika and Chambers, Joanna
93. *Lark and Wren, Lackey, Mercedes
92. *Tribute Act, Chambers, Joanna
91. *Brat Farrar, Tey, Josephine
90. Fortune’s Favor, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella)
89. *The Soldier’s Scoundrel, Sebastian, Cat
88. *The Lawrence Browne Affair, Sebastian, Cat
87. *The Ruin of a Rake, Sebastian, Cat
86. Shout of Honor, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella)
85. The Little Paris Bookshop, George, Nina
84. *Brilliant Devices, Adina, Shelly
83. *Magnificent Devices, Adina, Shelly
82. *Her Own Devices, Adina, Shelly
81. *Lady of Devices, Adina, Shelly
80. *Romancing the Inventor, Carriger, Gail
79. *Cast In Honor, Sagara, Michelle
78. *Cast In Flame, Sagara, Michelle
77. *Cast In Sorrow, Sagara, Michelle
76. *A Gentleman Never Keeps Score, Sebastian, Cat
75. *Cast In Peril, Sagara, Michelle
74. *Cast In Ruin, Sagara, Michelle
73. *The Damnation Affair, Saintcrow, Lillith
72. *The Ripper Affair, Saintcrow, Lillith
71 *The Red Plague Affair, Saintcrow, Lillith
70. *The Iron Wyrm Affair, Saintcrow, Lillith
69. *The Underwater Ballroom Society, Burgis, Stephanie, editor
68. *Cast in Chaos, Sagara, Michelle
67. *It Takes Two to Tumble, Sebastian, Cat
66. *Cast in Silence, Sagara, Michelle
65. *Unnatural, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
64. *Seasons Pass, Chambers, Joanna (reread)
63. *Enlightened, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
62. *Beguiled, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
61. *Provoked, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
60. *Merry and Bright, Chambers, Joanna
59. *The Ruin of Gabriel Ashley, Chambers, Joanna
58. *Once Burned, Frost, Jeaniene
57. *Night Shift, Harris, Charlaine
56. *Day Shift, Harris, Charlaine
55. *Midnight Crossroad, Harris, Charlaine
55. *Cast in Fury, Sagara, Michelle
54. *Any Old Diamonds, Charles, K. J.
53. *Tea With the Black Dragon, MacAvoy, R. A.
52. *The Omega Objection, Carriger, G. L. (re-read)
51. *Summage Solution, Carriger, G. L. (re-read)
50. *Marine Biology, Carriger, G. L. (re-read)
49. *Threshold, Hawk, Jordan L.
48. *Widdershins, Hawk, Jordan L.
47. *Band Sinister, Charles, K. J.
46. *The Hollow of Fear, Thomas, Sherry
45. *A Conspiracy in Belgravia, Thomas, Sherry
44. *A Study in Scarlet Women, Thomas, Sherry
43. *Poison or Protect, Carriger, Gail
42. *Cast in Secret, Sagara, Michelle
41. *Cast in Moonlight, Sagara, Michelle
40. *Think of England, Charles, K. J.
39 *A Case of Possession, Charles, K. J.(reread)
38. *The Magpie Lord, Charles, K. J. (reread)
37. *A Gentleman’s Position, Charles, K. J.
36. *A Seditious Affair, Charles, K. J.
35. *Cast in Courtlight, Sagara, Michelle
34. *Cast in Shadow, Sagara, Michelle
33. *Inside Job, Willis, Connie
32. *The Tea Master and the Detective, de Bodard, Aliette
31. *Waiting on a Bright Moon, Yang, Jy.
30. *A Fashionable Indulgence, Charles, K. J.
29. *The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, Carriger, Gail (reread)
28. *The Parasol Protectorate: Timeless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
27. *The Parasol Protectorate: Heartless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
26. *The Parasol Protectorate: Changeless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
25. *The Parasol Protectorate: Blameless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
24. *The Parasol Protectorate: Soulless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
23. *How To Marry A Werewolf, Carriger, Gail (reread)
22. *Romancing the Werewolf, Carriger, Gail (reread)
21. *Competence (The Custard Protocol, Book 3), Carriger, Gail
20. *Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, Book 2), Carriger, Gail (reread)
19. *Prudence (The Custard Protocol, Book 1), Carriger, Gail (reread)
18. *An Unnatural Heir, Charles, K. J.
17. *His Consort, Calmes, Mary
16. *An Unnatural Vice, Charles, K. J.
15. *An Unseen Attraction, Charles, K. J.
14. Chanur’s Legacy, Cherry, C. J. (re-re-read)
13. *An Enlightenment Story: Unnatural, Chambers, Joanna
12: *An Enlightenment Story: Seasons Pass, Chambers, Joanna
11. *Enlightenment Series: Enlightened, Chambers, Joanna
10. *Enlightenment Series: Beguiled, Chambers, Joanna
9. *Enlightenment Series: Provoked, Chambers, Joanna
8. Chanur’s Homecoming, Cherryhh, C. J. (re-re-reread)
7. Chanur’s Venture, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-reread)
6. The Kif Strike Back, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-reread)
5. The Pride of Chanur, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-reread)
4. Alliance Rising, Cherryh, C. J.
3. *Introducing Mr. Winterbourne, Chambers, Joanna
2. *Mr. Winterbourne’s Christmas, Chambers, Joanna
1. Merchanter’s Luck, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)

* Ebook

Tiptoeing Quietly Into A New Year

First time in a while that my mom has cooked for Xmas. (Friends keep inviting us over.)  Her stock broker always sends a ham for the holidays, and she put the tree up one last time.  It’s shorter than usual because last year, a while after all the other Xmas decorations got put up in the attic she found this piece of pipe, didn’t realize what it was (part of the central stem of the tree) and threw it out.   But then, the whole tree is easier to reach now. . .

We had dear friends AS and LR over for Xmas dinner.  AS and his late wife and their two girls are long time friends of our family.  My folks were “third grandparents” to their girls (who are now both married and have children of their own). Both he and LR are involved in the Music Department at Texas Tech University (percussion).  We ate in the living room on the “good” mahogany table and chairs my folks bought in 1947, the first year of their marriage. (The dining set  that has chairs that don’t desperately need to be reglued* like the one in the den.)  We ate under the crysyal chandelier my dad also put in.  It was lovely.

My mom put up her giant economy size manger scene again this year on the mantle that my dad both built and carved way back in the early 1970s, just after they bought the house.  The manger set figurines are all ceramic.  Back when one of our family friends had a ceramic business out of her house, my mom cleaned all the greenware, painted them and had her fire them.  It has shepherds, kings, sheep and camels, as well as a two-piece babe and manger.  She did an exquisite job. (She had the manger set finished before my dad got the mantle finished. . . )

The lady, JM, who lives across the street and who puts my mom’s paper up on the porch every morning of the world has been diagnosed with colon cancer.  This has been a hard blow for my mom.  This is the lady who helps my mom out with things like putting up her Christmas lights and getting things down from and putting them back up into the attic and all the other stuff I used to do for her until my knee problems.  JM is going to have to have chemotherapy, radiation therapy and then they’ll do surgery.  Just judging from the treatment regimen they have planned, these next couple of years are going to be pretty tough for her.  She is such a lovely lady and  has been so good to my mom over the years, and mom and I are pretty upset about the situation.

The elderly Hispanic man (widower) who lived next door to my mom died about a month ago; the house is vacant, and I expect it will be sold.  We will hope whoever buys it intends to live in it rather than rent it out.

I treated myself to a new monitor for Xmas.  It’s another Acer just like the other one I got last summer, so I no longer have one bigger monitor and one smaller one, but two the same size.  The color is better than on the one I replaced, also.  I had to reconfigure the arrangement of stuff on the desk slightly, but it works out just fine.

In the knitting news, I’m working on the test knit for the ball-jointed doll sweater.  I’m doing it in cotton thread and it’s coming along.  Just the sleeves left to do.  I’ll do a hat to match like I did on the other one.  Then Wishu will finally get his sweaters.  Once I get the pattern proofed, I’ll put it on my knitting patterns blog.

I’m doing another Foreigner reread.  If you are not familiar with the series and like SciFi, especially one with a very well imagined alien world/culture, check this series out.  The 20th book in the series comes out January 7th, and I’m eagerly awaiting it.  The 21st book is in the process of being written.  This is probably the fourth time I’ve reread the series, and it stands the test of time.  I get new insights and notice new things every time I reread them.  I’m on the fifth Foreigner book in my reread.

Total books read for 2019:  163.

Books read in 2014: 109
Books read in 2015: 151
Books read in 2016: 125
Books read in 2017: 92
Books read in 2018: 85

*It is a fact of life here in the flatlands, with our dearth of humidity, that sooner or later any furniture made of real wood will shrink as it dries out and any glue joints will need to be reglued.  The chairs in question are Windsor style and are iffy to sit in . . .  I could probably reglue them but it would take a while and make a mess. . . .

Happy (as much as can be expected in an election year) New Year 2020!

May you and yours be safe, healthy, and near.

May you and yours be fed, clothed, housed and free from want.

May this be the year the world’s downward spiral FINALLY begins to at least level out, if not start to trend upwards. (Yes, I am a wild eyed optimist. . . )

The Snowman

I know for the Brits in the crowd, this is probably a yawn, but I wanted to share this magical video with those who may not have ever seen it.  It’s been a favorite of mine for quite a while now.

The song:

We’re walking in the air
We’re floating in the moonlit sky
The people far below
Are sleeping as we fly
I’m holding very tight
I’m riding in the midnight blue
I’m finding I can fly
So high above with you

Far across the world
The villages go by like dreams
The rivers and the hills
The forests and the streams

Children gaze open-mouthed
Taken by surprise
Nobody down below
Believes their eyes

We’re surfing in the air
We’re swimming in the frozen sky
We’re drifting over icy
Mountains floating by

Suddenly swooping low
On an ocean deep
Rousing up a mighty monster
From his sleep

We’re walking in the air
We’re dancing in the midnight sky
And everyone who sees us
Greets us as we fly