Friday, January 31, 2014

pelt run

Back up to Quakertown today, to pick up the finished pelts while the weather was cooperating. It's a small window this winter! I was amazed by all the ice floes on the Delaware River.

In most spots it was bank-to-bank ice but the places to pull over and take a picture on the river side highway are limited. I had to settle for one with my favorite bridge, "Trenton Makes The World Takes" (known locally as the Trenton Makes bridge). Sadly, as with most cities, it's no longer accurate but you've gotta love the sheer chutzpah of the statement.

The pelts are beautiful, as always. Bucks County Fur, the tanning company, is a hole in the wall, tucked down an alley behind houses. It's a lot of fun to read the names on the processing list while I am waiting, and recognize fellow shepherds from all over the country. Such a small universe, served by a very limited number of businesses. I was gladdened to see some new, younger faces in the plant this time. It gave me hope that the business will be around for a few years to come.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

wonderful woolens

Clara Parkes nailed it in this week's edition of the Knitter's Review:

"Never have handknits seen more action than they have in the past two months." 

Yep, pretty much. Some of my hand-knits that haven't seen the light of day for years are being pressed into service. Part of it is the fact that my commute now requires me to get dressed up in a bit more than the hand-me-down Carhartt jacket I used to wear. But the other part is that it is hella cold right now, so cold that it isn't good enough to just jump in the car and blast the heat, and nothing does the job like wool.

Just home from work, wearing my graduated-dyed gloves and
my Colonnade shawl, which I have since overdyed (obviously).
Who cares that they don't exactly match?

When we went to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden two weeks ago to see the Knit Purl Sow display, I was wearing my Magdalin hat with matching (for once) Sugar Stick scarf, and fingerless Estonian mitts. My younger (non-nephew) brother came up behind me.

"Hey, crazy lady," he laughed. "Do you like to knit or something?" Well, I was on my way to see an exhibition of knitted flowers. It wasn't exactly a secret. His mirth only increased when he looked at my feet and realized I was wearing hand-knitted socks as well.

Very little, in my life at least, is more satisfying than wrapping myself up in a treasured item that embodies not only pride of craft but also good memories of its creation. It only gets sweeter when my loved ones do the same with items I have knit for them.

And the fact that it is keeping us warm and comfortable as well? Icing on the cake.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I received one of the best text messages ever last Friday afternoon from my sister-in-law, about my little Brooklyn nephews.

Apparently, my nephews tackled my brother as soon as he walked in the door from work that night.

"Who do we know who knits?" they demanded. 

"Hmmm," my brother replied. "Let me think about that..."

Once I had my assignment, my wheels started turning in overdrive. How to adapt a hat so it will be a success for a six year old beginner? An emergency trip to Michael's later, I came up with some bulky yarn and 16" size 11 circular needles.

Note to Michael's: enough with the goofy yarn already! Between that damn ladder ruffle "yarn" in a zillion colors and a bunch of fun fur (people are still knitting with that? that much? really?), I had a hard time unearthing some solid bulky yarn that wasn't Homespun. I may have had to dig into the totes under the shelves, but I'll never cop to it.

After my convert pupil was done skating and I could measure his head, I cast on 52 stitches, did a quick inch of k2p2 ribbing for a brim, and let him take over. He only needed a bit of help to remember what he had learned a few days ago, then he was off to the races. I figure that he can knit around and around to his heart's content—no need to turn around at the end of a row—and hopefully that will be in the ballpark of a hat, which I can finish off for him in a couple of weeks using double point needles.

Obligatory mug of post-skating hot chocolate at hand.

My boys' response: "MOM!!! Did you turn him?"

Nope. Someone else did it for me. But I was thrilled to hear that he knitted all the way home, and in front of the TV the next day. He'll have a hat's worth of knitting in no time flat. And what better way to create a new enthusiastic knitter than letting him make exactly what he wants?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

photography class

I am at it again, trying desperately to improve my photography skills and feel like I am worthy of my camera. Or just to finally understand what the h#$@ the f-stop is, and why I should care about it. This is the fourth or fifth time I have taken a class to try and learn such things, and it obviously hasn't stuck yet, but hope springs eternal and all that.

Extremely artistic picture of a bubblegum jar.
Can you see how much I learned about ISO?

My friend Eileen signed up with me for a class in our town. I texted her five minutes after the class start to let the teacher know I was running a bit late. She responded that she was still at home, under the impression that class didn't start for another hour.

We are the only two in the class. The instructor obviously has his work cut out for him.

Extremely artistic picture of photography equipment.
My understanding of aperature should be quite evident.

It only got worse when I started asking extensive questions about how to optimize pictures of yarn, which is when Eileen really hit her stride.

It remains to be seen if the poor man actually shows up for our class next week.

Monday, January 27, 2014

mystery short rows

The shawl catch-up plan almost worked. Clue 1A was completed by Saturday night as hoped, despite all the skating and guests, and the row count even worked out. I forgot to take a picture though, so you'll have to picture the striped part all by itself.

Clue 2B, the mostly brown part, is where the wheels came off a bit, and I am not quite finished with it. I chose the asymmetrical clue B over the symmetrical lace clue A, because I am trying to work out of my comfort zone, and promptly ran into trouble with the short rows. I just finished Carol Feller's class on Short Rows at Craftsy. (Really great class, and best of all, it's FREE!) Well-equipped, or so I thought, to handle any short row problem my knitting life could throw at me, I promptly stumbled at working short rows in garter stitch. When I went to the trouble to lift and work my wraps as you should in stockinette, I ended up with big obvious stitches at the turns.


Turns out, the best way to work a short row in garter stitch is just to wrap the turning stitch and don't bother lifting and working it on the return. The wrap looks like the purl bump on a wrong-side row, and when worked across the row, the wrap is virtually invisible. Much quicker than all that work lifting!

I hope to finish up Clue 2 tomorrow. I already took a peek at Clue 3, which was released this morning. Both of the clues are lace panels, so it looks like I will be doing a lace section next.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

adult skate

I knew when my friend Amy read yesterday's post, because I got a text soon afterwards:

"Are you having adult skate soon?"

She appeared a few hours later, after she had finished her chores for the day. The true definition of adult skate: fun after you get your work done! The shadows were getting longer but there was still a bit of daylight left.

The older boys were already off to various activities and so that left Terzo, who was happy to strap on his skates and join her. I must confess that I am turning into more and more of a wimp where these "potential for harm" activities are concerned. I used to participate with abandon, but my sense of adventure has abandoned me.

Terzo talked her into playing ice hockey with him, which she graciously agreed to. I was out taking pictures until Dusty became too much of a nuisance. He would stand behind me and edge up, then take off in pursuit of the puck as soon as he determined that I was keeping a closer eye on the lens than on him. I took him inside and readied hot chocolate while my husband lit a fire.

The boys cross country team may be joining us in a day or two. I'd better lay in more hot chocolate.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

skating party

My husband texted me this picture yesterday morning, from the back of the pond:

Which could only mean one thing on a Friday. Time for a skating party over the weekend. Cold snaps can be good things after all.

The older boys invited their girlfriends, and we sent out the call to all nieces and nephews. The little boys from Brooklyn, who had never skated before, took us up on the offer.

Determined snow flurries this afternoon meant the zamboni (which doubles as our shearing board in the spring) had to be pressed into action.

But all the kids were soon swooping and swirling and slipping away.

Sometimes gracefully...

And sometimes painfully (though I have to give my nephews props: they never cried and never gave up).

Skating continued until Dusty interrupted the ice hockey game. Once the puck was recovered, he had to be sent to the penalty box, a.k.a., the house, to prevent any further interference with play. Which went on until it was dark, and time for hot chocolate and warm fires and dinner and board games.

I can't think of a better end to a winter's day, unless it involves knitting, which I am off to now.

Friday, January 24, 2014

mystery knit-a-long update

I haven't been updating on the mystery shawl because, well, there isn't a whole heck of a lot to say, except for that my worst fears about doing a knit-a-long are coming true.

Given my crafting attention deficit disorder, I had the very real fear that I would be left in the dust as the clues piled up and I fell ever more woefully behind. Lo and behold, it is so. I started Clue 1, but then I had to finish my homework for my Vogue Knitting Live classes, then attend Vogue Knitting Live, then recover from Vogue Knitting Live.

In the meantime, I decided that my original color assignments were not ideal for the pattern. The garter stitch bands needed to be worked in the darker color, because garter stitch and variegated yarn are usually not friends. Likewise, a lighter yarn will show off stockinette and patterns better. Exceptions exist, but these are good general rules of thumb.

So I ripped out my meager progress, switched the colors and started again.

At the same time, all those ends from the color changes were bothering me. I needed to figure out how to weave them in as I went, but I could not make any of the techniques work for me.

And then Clue 2 came out. All I could think of is Lucille Ball in that episode of I Love Lucy where she is working the chocolate packaging line, and then they turn up the speed of the conveyor belt. No option to stuff yarn in my mouth, either.

Here's where I am, as of tonight:

Halfway through Clue 1A, and much happier with the yarn assignments, but a long ways to go. Yes, I probably should be knitting instead of blogging.

Part of my holdup has been figuring out what to do with all those ends. I made a little video on how I handled it, and hopefully someone will find it helpful despite the occasional lack of focus.

If I can just finish Clue 1A tomorrow (along with dinner guests and other miscellaneous obligations) and Clue 2B on Sunday (along with the annual church meeting, a huge track meet, baseball tryouts and a youth group outing) then I should be good for the next clue release on Monday.

Yeah, I know. I'm basically screwed.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

why is this not as fun as it used to be?

Guest blogger Secondo graciously agreed to let me use a blog post, title and all, that he wrote last night as a school assignment.

For the topic of this blog, look outside! We have over a foot of snow which would make any elementary-schooler happier than an all-day marathon of Spongebob. So why am I inside?
If you were like me, from ages 1-10 you were ecstatic about snow, even if it was just an inch or a flurry. Every morning during winter I would wake up and run to my window hoping to see a foot of snow that the weatherman somehow had missed on his radar. Needless to say, most mornings were a bitter disappointment. However there was that rare day that I would open my eyes to see the ground covered in the most beautiful thing imaginable: snow! I would run downstairs, yelling for my brothers to wake up, and quickly slide into my snow pants, mittens, hat and a big puffy snow jacket that my Mom would make me wear. Grabbing a shovel, I would rush outside and begin shoveling the driveway. After over an hour of hard work beside my brothers and Dad, the driveway would be clear.
Now, the only thing to do was run around in the snow like a fool; start to make a snowman but give up because it's too hard; dive into the snow and make a snow angel, only for it to be ruined when I got up; run around some more; get pelted by a snowball in the face; cry for five minutes; throw a retaliating snowball at my brother; get hit in the face again; cry some more; make a huge fort in the big piles of snow from the shoveling; stock the fort with insane amounts of snowballs; make the fort impenetrable; stand guard for an hour before I realize that nobody will be attacking my fort; feel like an idiot; run around some more to clear my mind; run to the irrigation pond; figure out its frozen; run inside to get ice skates; skate on the pond until I hear a crack and then get too scared to skate anymore; go inside to change my mittens; snow football!; trace the word HI in the snow so that people in airplanes can read it; stand there for a while waving at planes; nobody waves back; disappointment; try to sled on a tiny hill; no fun; run inside and beg Dad to drive me and my brothers to the golf course where the really big hill is; succeed; get to the huge hill; sled down it; WOW!; repeat this for an hour; decide to sled down really steep icy hill; go about ten feet down; flip off the front of the sled; face plant; tumble down the rest of the hill; cry as my Dad held ice to my bloody nose; go home; drink an amount of hot chocolate that was previously thought of as humanly impossible; try to go outside again; throw a fit when my Mom said it was “too dark” and “too dangerous” to go outside; more hot chocolate; eat a huge dinner; awful sugar crash (from the hot chocolate); almost immediately fall asleep in my bed.
I was as happy as everybody else that the snow was coming down and that we were going to get some time off of school. On the ride home however, I was not at all pleased with the snow because it doubled the time I had to spend in that stuffy, cramped van. I also heard stories of buses going off the road and people getting seriously injured in car accidents. It was around then that my dad veered off the driveway in the plow truck after hitting a huge patch of ice. Thankfully, he was okay, but I realized then that snow is not that beautiful substance it used to be.
For hours my brothers, Dad, Mom and I fought the blizzard, but the snow we would shovel off the driveway would just be blown back on the asphalt. Somehow, even with the snow falling at a rate of one inch per hour, we finally cleared our very long driveway, as well as the small parking lot for my Dad’s doctor’s practice, unaided by the help of the plow truck which even now is still a foot deep in the ground. Now I see snow not as a beautiful element, but rather as a dangerous matter that requires a lot of manpower to deal with. This is rather sad, but this is why I’m writing this blog. However, I still have a love for snow. It still stands as a stronghold for imagination and creativity. Snow can be dangerous, but without it there would be no skiing or snowboarding, no snow cones, nothing to look forward to in the great season of winter.

Terzo had to invite over a friend so he had someone to play with.
Secondo, clearly, is over it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

white out

I think everyone was caught a bit unawares with this storm. We didn't even have time to hear the "name" repeated ad nauseum so we would all know what winter storm we are all suffering in. The totals just kept creeping up and up every time I checked.

This was my first time in a long while to suffer through a commute in poor weather conditions. It took three hours to get home (normally a forty-minute commute) so plenty of time to listen to all the NPR my heart could desire. Turns out all my heart desires is about two hours.

I got home in time to join the shoveling brigade, because the plow is temporarily out of commission. DON'T ASK. There were 4 shovels and 5 shovellers, so Secondo was dispatched on his break to bring the rabbit into the basement again. On one of my breaks I headed back to check on the sheep.

The boys were just fine. Plenty of hay, plenty of shelter.

My iPhone was running out of juice, and I zoomed in to capture them in the shed.
Along with the snow, it looks like a watercolor effect was added on Photoshop—
but I didn't do anything to the photo.

The girls needed some attention. Primo explained in his recent 4-H presentation on "Getting your Farm Ready for the Winter" that farm animals require 50-100% more nutrients via feed during extreme weather conditions, depending on the animal's natural climate.

Wool sheep are pretty well adapted to handle the cold and snow; if you look at the picture you can see a layer of snow on their coats that indicates they were happily spending time outside the shed. As as result, I suspect they are closer to the 50% requirement, but seven of them are (hopefully) pregnant, which does place more demand on their systems.

So I filled their hay racks, tromped a path out to the water tank for them, and then thanked our lucky stars that the water heaters are working just fine for now. At least something is working just fine!

Monday, January 20, 2014

trees in winter

A scene straight out of Sleepy Hollow, full moon and all.

Back up a bit though...

All a trick of the ice! Taken at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden yesterday.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

knit, purl and sow

My parents, my husband and I spent the night in NYC, while my brothers headed back to their houses. Terzo spent the night with his younger cousins at my brother's house in Brooklyn, so we had to go and pick him up this morning.

Since we were in Brooklyn, I insisted on being taken to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to see the "Knit, Purl, Sow" exhibition, especially since it was fairly close to my brother's place. It is closing this week, and I didn't want to miss it. From the exhibition description:
"This exhibition brings together three artists with great technical skill who are also heavily influenced by the natural world. The lush surroundings of Brooklyn Botanic Garden provide the perfect context for these botanically inspired works.
"Stitching gives familiar forms new emphasis and meaning. Some of these works meticulously render plant anatomy, depicting the structure and function of flowers, leaves, and roots. Other pieces take nature into the abstract to express growth, change and evolution." 

The exhibition was breath-taking. We came up to the conservatory where it was housed (and we were happy to get out of the cold, no lush surroundings at the garden today)...

And upon peeking down into the shorter glass structures, saw part of the exhibition from above. (Plus ourselves taking pictures with iPhones.)

The same tiger lily scuplture, from underneath.

The artists' use of texture, both through the yarn chosen and the patterns used, was incredible. This artist in particular mixed yarns very effectively throughout pieces.

The same thing with stitch patterns! The way they were used lent incredible depth and interest.

Other artists used color instead, especially variations between shades and hues.

This was the only flat piece. The t-pins used to mount it were an especially clever touch.

All of the other sculptures were 3-D and used proportion to pull you into the structure. From the front:

And the side. Sorry it is slightly out of focus. As Gale Zucker would say: "Pixels are free!" I should have taken a few more.

I also wish I had included a person for scale. The sculpture was about 4 feet in diameter.

What cannot be conveyed by these pictures, and what was especially surprising, was the motion. The ones in the photo above in particular were hung or mounted in such a way that they could spin, twist, tremble, wave and dance. Just like the living things they were modeled on.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

VKL Day Two

We started the day off right: through Times Square while it was still civilized. In other words, before the hordes of tourists arrived. Because being here for almost 24 hours, I am practically a native.

My mom and I split up today. I had Franklin Habit's all-day class in color work.

This is the sign that greeted us at the start of his class and I knew we were in for a good time.

And it did not disappoint.

I managed to meet up with the always awesome Paige Sato, from Seaman's Institute's Christmas at Sea program, for a quick cup of coffee after an excellent Norah Gaughan lecture on stitch development at lunch time.

Another great action-packed day and I am saying that without any irony. The evening was my dad's Christmas gift: dinner and a comedy club night with all his kids and respective partners, no kids of our own. Like real grown-ups. And now we are off to bed. Like real grown-ups.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Vogue Knitting Live Day One

We're here in NYC! Train in, with my borrowed roller bag, I felt quite urban.

We are so spiffy with our knitted scarves.

I started to write this blog post with a bunch of pictures that look like this:

And a few more that looked like this:

But then I took pity on you, my gentle readers, and decided to knock it off already. 

Suffice it to say that my mom and I are having a phenomenal time. Really excellent quality classes and lectures so far. Take anything you can from Josh Brinegar, Gale Zucker, Brooke Nico and Amy Herzog. We are learning a ton, and we haven't collapsed. Yet. Though there was a close call around 4 pm in Advanced Lace Knitting, when my brain temporarily turned to fuzz.

Not really too much of a surprise around all this yarn and all these knitters, not to mention a extremely ambitious schedule. Onto Day Two!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

the night before

Vogue Knitting Live, that is. I am such a knitting nerd, and happy to own it.

The priority was getting ready for my classes of course. PRIORITIES, people.

Knitting class supplies floating in space. Very artistic.

All homework done (luckily just one class) and supplies accounted for.

Now to figure out what the heck I am wearing, because it is New York City after all! Plus knitting celebrities!

I am going to try and blog from the show, but no guarantees as Blogger and Apple do not play well together. Plus the hotel is super stingy with their wifi, and it is only available in the lobby, not rooms. I will do my best!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


This weekend I am going to Vogue Knitting Live in NYC with my mom again. I am all kinds of excited. I have a blockbuster lineup of classes and lectures, completely disregarding my advice from last year not to pack so much in. But in addition to lace with Brooke Nico and colorwork with Franklin Habit, how can I resist squeezing a lecture on knitting to flatter by Amy Herzog? Or photography tips by Gale Zucker?

Answer: I can't. So here we go again.

I have started to pack, so I pulled out my one semi-fashionable handbag which I had carried last year to look the NYC part... and discovered the Fix-a-Stitch set I had purchased last year! I had completely forgotten about it.

The Fix-A-Stitch tool is a clever little plastic gizmo in several sizes, better than a crochet hook for repairing certain stitches because, unlike using a crochet hook, you don't have to drop your stitch and pick it up from the other side if you are switching between a knit and purl stitch. You just slide the stitch down to the hook at the other end, and you are in business. The videos on the website do a much better job of explaining.

Best part of all: it is made in the USA. Also, it's an awesome, impossible-to-lose (well, almost impossible) shade of pink.

The discovery was just in time, because I found a glaring error on the front button band of my Downton Abbey knit. Fellow Downton Abbey fans know that this past week's episode was particularly distracting on two counts: (1) the amazing house party costumes, and (2) the horrendously awful plot twist. So it's no surprise that I messed up something as obvious as a garter stitch band. I am going to have to take a closer look at the lace panels to make sure there are no errors lurking there as well.

A few minutes with the fix-a-stitch, dropping each stitch down and weaving it back up properly, and the problem was corrected. Hopefully the vendor will be at VKL again this year. I am going to see if she has the laceweight one as well, because I am already regretting not picking it up now that I remember how useful a tool it can be.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

starting off right

It's not always easy to swallow, but it's a fact of life: one little thing can start your day down the path of happiness instead of doom and gloom.

(The corollary, of course, is the Sneaky Hate Spiral, as so perfectly expressed by the brilliant Allie Brosh. TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS POST, if only for the great representation of the primary rage tube and its critical role in your happiness.)

This morning, I managed to fit in a run before work. Only two miles! But it was a great start to the day and everything proceeded nicely from there. I still haven't figured out how to work in the farm chores, however. The only answer seems to be waking up at 5 (gulp) am. Luckily my ever-patient husband has picked up the slack and done them but we will have to work out some sort of system so we can both get a run in. Hopefully it does not involve waking up at 5 am.

The other thing I managed to start was the Mystery Knit-a-Long Shawl!

Nina pointed out that I failed to identify the pattern, in case anyone else wants to join the fun—I don't think it's too late! It is the "Follow Your Arrow" Mystery Knit-a-Long by Ysolda Teague. The whole thing is very clever and (I think) unprecedented. Every clue set, five total, is actually two clues which perfectly build upon each other. Participants choose variant A or B per clue, and the merriment continues from there. Depending on how you define merriment, of course.

I chose variant A from Clue 1. My mom chose variant B. Mystery already! And I am only on row 15.

Monday, January 13, 2014

mystery knit-a-long

Sounds so, well, mysterious. What could it be?
Knitting while watching CSI or Sherlock Holmes?
A knitting murder mystery? (They do exist!)
Sitting in a dark room knitting? Also known as knitting at the movies, while watching something you weren't really interested in in the first place (i.e., any Chipmunks movie ever made...)
 Answer is: none of the above.

A mystery knit-a-long is one in which clues are released over a set period of time. The participants are told what yarn and needles they will need, but that's it. You are expected to just follow along and see what develops.

The result is usually a shawl, usually with quite a bit of lace in it.

I have never done a mystery knit-a-long before, mostly because I was not a huge one for shawls. But my short time in an office has shown me what valuable accessories they can be, both for warmth and jazzing-up-an-otherwise-dull-outfit purposes.

So I convinced my mom to do it with me (not hard, she has the appealing habit of usually being up for whatever craziness I propose) and found some yarn in my stash that it seems will work nicely together.

I am trying really hard this year to use up yarn that I already own. My stash inventory a few weeks ago revealed the unsettling news that I have enough yarn for no less than 17 sweaters. Seventeen!!! At my current rate of two per year, Terzo will be in college before I finish them!

The yarn on the right is extra special, because it was a birthday gift from Patty and her sister Chris. I will be thinking good thoughts all through this mystery, regardless of what I eventually produce.

Which by the looks of the first clue, released today: will be a shawl. With quite a bit of lace in it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Yesterday afternoon was spent at Primo's indoor track meet. If you have never been to an indoor (aka winter) track meet, it is the sporting equivalent of a three-ring circus. Without animals, unless you are counting teenage boys, in which case: tons of them.

I get it: an indoor track takes up a lot of space, and you need to utilize every spare inch. So you have high jumpers at one end, shot put at the other, long jump in the middle, masses of kids running around and around and around the track on the outside (because being indoors, it is shorter than an outdoor track), barely any room for spectators along the edges, and utter chaos prevailing throughout.

And the odor. Thank goodness the photo isn't scratch and sniff. You can only imagine the gallons of sweat pouring off every athlete, especially the ones that were going outside in the pouring rain to "warm up" and them coming back inside with steaming wet clothes.

On the smell-o-scale, it is along the lines of "dear lord, I can barely breath for the humid stench."

It brought to mind a recent e-mail from my mother, with an explanation she had unearthed of the origin of the term sweaters in the US. In Britain, they are known as "jumpers" but somehow that term has never crossed over the ocean. The yankee name is allegedly derived from their original use by team athletes in competitive sports, who dubbed the striped team-colored garments "sweaters" in homage to the effect they had on their physiology.

So yes, the smell could have been worse. I have nothing but sympathy for the poor woman (and you know it was a woman) whose job it was to launder those articles of clothing, especially in the days before deodorant. Nylon singlets today are bad enough.

Friday, January 10, 2014

icy conditions

I arranged with my new employer that I will have Fridays off. I know it sounds all “geez, can’t this woman even work a full week already” but I am still working for my husband, not to mention the farm, so I need one day a week to make calls to insurance companies during business hours, try to get farm business done, etc. Today I planned to run up to Quakertown to pick up the finished pelts; the tannery is only open on weekdays.

But nature had other plans. We had a decently-paralyzing ice storm during rush hour this morning, causing so many accidents and impassable roads that a four-hour round trip was not advisable.

Hmmm, if I am handed a few free hours, what on earth should I do with myself…

Of course.  I have been stalled on this second sock at the heel forever. It is a bit trickier than a standard flap-and-gusset heel, as the number of needles involved demonstrates, though it is awfully clever. In case you are interested, it is the “Forethought Heel” from Charlene Schurch’s great book Sensational Knitted Socks, and makes the most wonderful bulls-eye effect when using self-striping yarn.

The couple hours of silence meant I could work out the heel in peace. I am hoping to take it along as a purse project when I am at Vogue Knitting Live next week, in case I have any down time. As if!