Weekender

What a nice weekend!
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We went to Kim’s yesterday for an afternoon of knitting plus a house-tour of the historic homes in Mt. Tabor. It was SO much fun, and a really lovely day.
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I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I would have liked, though, since I didn’t think to bring my good camera, and the little Elph in my purse? The battery died, so I only got a few.

And by “we,” I mean that Mom and I went to Kim’s, and met up with Leeann and Elizabeth. Because, even though Mom doesn’t knit, she loves the old-house thing.
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She snapped this picture for me, too, because my camera had died. Here are some more of her pictures. And some more.

Anyway, it was a lovely day. Great weather, lots of fun. Kim even gave me a pint of her homemade raspberry jam–how’s that for great hospitality? We had a WONDERFUL time.

Today was quieter.
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I baked my favorite apple cake. This is my best friend’s grandmother’s recipe (given to me personally, which was awfully nice of her, don’t you think?)
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The batter is very dry while you mix the cake…
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Until you add the apples. They provide LOTS of moisture.
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The whole thing is topped with cinnamon sugar before it’s baked. (What? Doesn’t everyone keep a jar of cinnamon sugar handy? Years ago, I took an almost-empty bottle of cinnamon and topped it off with sugar–instant cinnamon sugar whenever I need it. Since then, I periodically add more cinnamon or sugar to the mix so it’s always ready.)
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I do love this cake! Thanks again, Mrs. Green!

Ford

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1930 Ford A-Roadster. Lovely!

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Dawn’s Bag–For Sale!

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I got so many compliments on my bag, I decided that it would be outright selfish of me not to share it with the rest of you.

So, I introduce the pattern …

Dawn’s Bag

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I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

In college, my best friend had a fabulous bag. It was part purse, part bookbag, and entirely wonderful.

To be honest, I don’t actually remember that much about the bag itself. Was it leather or suede? Round or rectangular on the bottom? How big was it?

What I do remember though is its handle. Instead of ordinary handles, it had a series of rings attached to the top of the bag with one, long, connected handle threaded through them. The simple act of picking up the bag closed it. Putting it down and relaxing the handles opened it to get inside. Completely unique.

That, and they made the prettiest chime when they rubbed against each other.

Darn it, I wanted one! So…

MATERIALS
• Peace Fleece Worsted Weight yarn (200 yds/4 oz.), 3 skeins
• US 7 (4.5 mm) circular needles, in 24” length
• 2 cable needles
• 8 rings for the handle (between 1” and 2” in diameter, your choice)
• Crochet hook (optional)
• One yard of lining material (I used cotton, quilting-weight fabric)
• 12” zipper (optional)
• 1/2 yard interfacing (optional)
• Cardboard, plastic, or TimtexTM interfacing for stiffening the bottom of the bag
• Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

YARN SUBSTITUTES
Almost any similar-weight yarn that will wear well

SIZE
Bag 10” tall, 5” wide.

GAUGE
19 sts x 28 rows = 4”/10cm

Difficulty: Intermediate. Pattern involves reading a stitch chart, picking up stitches, knitting in the round, and very basic shaping. Also, sewing skills, if you choose to make the lining.

Interested?

You can buy it here on Ravelry!

You don’t have a Ravelry account? You’re in luck! Because you can also buy it HERE!

Highs and Lows

Chappy had a really great day today … mostly.

First, we took him to the park for a nice long walk. (Though we didn’t go near the stream this time.) We even walked right behind the building where his best friend lives. We didn’t get to see him, but Chappy very obviously SMELLED him. He was going nuts sniffing the path with much more enthusiasm than his normal walk-sniffing. We just hope that, next time Horatio goes for a walk and goes nuts sniffing Chappy-smells, that his Mom finds it as amusing as we did. Because, really, this is the closest my dog has come to his best friend in almost two years. (Sad, I know.)

Anyway, after, on our way home, we stopped at the farm on the way home.

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This is the farm that’s right up the road from where we used to live, and today was its fund-raising festival. We stopped on the way home and walked around for a while. We even saw Chappy’s favorite former-neighbors, and their daughter Jenny, who I went to school with. I haven’t seen her in ages, so that was really great.

Oh, and if you look at that picture, you can see a woman spinning. She’s wearing a long, period kind of dress, but spinning on a very modern Louet. I told her it was World-Wide Spin in Public Day but she didn’t believe me. Or, was skeptical, anyway. She wasn’t that friendly. She was selling shawls made from her handspun, though (which I neglected to photograph). Dad said in the car on the way home that mine are much nicer looking, which is kind of the way I felt. I think my spinning is a little better, too.

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The woman doing the bobbin lace was much friendlier. I’ve tried bobbin lace, you know, but it gets too complicated for me. Or something. Either way, I think it’s gorgeous, even if I’d rather knit my lace, thank you.

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There was a petting zoo, too, though Chappy wanted nothing to do with the goats. (I don’t blame him, he’s never quite forgiven them for attacking him.)

Anyway, it was a wonderful day. All four of us had a great time. Then we came home, ate lunch, and relaxed … and Chappy had a small seizure. There have been a few of these, though the first couple happened while I was at work so that I only had my parents’ descriptions to go on, and they thought that it was a problem with his hip or leg, not a seizure. The one that I’ve seen happened just before I left for work one morning, and the way his eyes glazed and the excessive drooling made me wonder…

Today, he was lying next to me while I did some editing and suddenly started rubbing his face with his paws, vigorously. My first thought, actually, was that he had picked up a bug of some kind and it had climbed into his ear or something (which certainly could cause that kind of “get it off!” reaction). But then he started drooling and shaking his back legs, too. The whole while, he was sitting up. He didn’t zone out, or fall to the ground. He was aware of what was going on … just … panting, drooling, and shaking.

Poor little guy. He’s fine now, though. And, as I say, in retrospect he’s had a couple of these before, and they’re very minor. I had mentioned this to the vet last month, and she said that as long as they didn’t become worse or more frequent, there wasn’t much that they could do. Or something. I’m just glad that he’s fine now.

And, really, he had a great day. Did I mention I gave him freshly-cooked chicken at supper?

Faceless

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Garden State Fiber Festival

The Garden State Sheep Breeders’ Sheep and Fiber Festival. Or the New Jersey Sheep and Wool Festival. I honestly can never remember the official name of this event, but whatever you want to call it, Mom and I went yesterday.

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Sheep-herding. (Don’t tell Chappy there were any dogs there, please.)

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Sheep-judging.

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An unfortunate Poodle-cut for this poor sheep.

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A very cute, very little, very young baby alpaca and his/her Mom.

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A clown, even!

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Some results from the photo contest.

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Some adorable felted pumpkins. I offered to buy one for Mom, but she said no (even though she does love pumpkins).

We also saw–though I took no pictures of–Risa and the twins, Kim, Jessica, Anne, and several other people we know, which made it particularly nice.

Mom and I got home around 2:30, I think, and were both exhausted. It’s frankly a little worrying. If three hours at a fiber festival and a little over two hours in the car can wear us out this badly … how exhausted are we going to be after Rhinebeck?

Today I’ve been busy with Sunday stuff–chores, mostly. Lots of laundry, some dusting. I finally got around to cleaning that full-length mirror I sometimes use for photos. I baked Dad an apple pie. I scrubbed the bathtub (something I should do more often).  You know, stuff like that.

I have been spinning, though not as much as I was during the Tour de Fleece. I bought some new fibers to try, too,

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This is a few ounces of various fibers from International Fleeces, including some authentic Stansborough Grey from New Zealand, the one and only authentic wool used in Lord of the Rings. I bought some fiber to spin, but also some lace-weight yarn. Enough for a shawl, though I’ve been missing my lace mojo lately.

Otherwise–working on my book (up to 30,000 words now). Thinking about writing up that bag pattern because I’m so happy with it–though that will mean knitting a second one to make sure all my notes work. (Gosh, a second bag? That’s just dreadful.)

One other thing we’re excited about? Mom, Chappy, and I made our reservations for our next trip to Martha’s Vineyard–next month! We haven’t been to the island in the Fall since something like 1998 and I can’t wait. We’ll be staying in two different places because neither of them had all four nights available. This is fine because we like both spots, but it will be interesting to see how Chappy handles changing hotels mid-trip. He’s never done that before, and it usually takes him a night to really settle in to a new place, so we’re hoping he’ll sleep that third night away! The one negative is that, the B&B we’ll be staying at that Monday night doesn’t have internet (yikes) or television so (double-yikes) we won’t be able to watch CHUCK that night. (Gulp.) We’ll manage, though… and, anyway, vacations are NOT about television.

Oh yes, one more thing. I know I’ve been posting less often lately and it’s mostly because I keep getting nasty notes from my hosting provider telling me I’m above my monthly limit. I still don’t quite see how that’s possible, but since I don’t know how I could possibly make this blog use less bandwidth, the only thing I can figure is that, if I post only a couple times a week, rather than almost every day, I’ll automatically be using less space. And that will have to do until I can figure out something more permanent. I promise, if you suddenly find that this blog is unavailable, it is NOT because I’ve decided to stop posting without telling you! It will entirely be a administrative snafu.

So … gonna go start the pot roast now.

Jilly

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Happy 27th birthday, Jilly.

(One of my all-time favorite pictures of her, all dressed for my sister’s wedding. She didn’t get to GO, mind you, but she wanted to celebrate just the same, and sat in her favorite, most-photogenic spot for the photo. That orange chair was SO perfect for her coloring.)

I still can’t believe she’s been gone for 12 and a half years.

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Bagging

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The body of my bag is done. Isn’t it pretty?

Okay, I know, you can’t really tell yet, but trust me. I’m very happy with the way this is coming along. I finished the knitting tonight, and then ran a row of crochet along the bottom, where the sides meet the bottom panel, to give it just a little more firmness, to keep it from stretching out quite so much. I like the more distinct line there at the edge.

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These are the rings I’ll be putting at the top, to thread the handles through.

I’ve been planning all along that I would pull off (somehow) the clips. These are drapery rings, and designed to string onto your curtain rod and then to hang the drapes with the clips. All I wanted were the actual rings, with the plan to attach them to the bag with knitted strips, somehow.

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But, now I’m having a “Duh” moment and thinking … why not just USE the clips and attach them to the bag that way?

Though… I’m not crazy about that “industrial” look. And I worry that the clip could, eventually, bite through the yarn and make a hole.

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It’s a tempting idea, though. Maybe if I put something sturdy, like ribbon, along the inside edge? At the very least, this will be handy for determining the final placement of the rings for the handle.

But … no. Those clips are SHARP, for gripping curtains and drapes firmly. They’d eat right through my yarn and eventually cause holes, don’t you think?

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So … I pried them apart and sewed them on.

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As to lining … I had a bunch of choices.

My creation

These were my four favorites. I was torn … right up until I tried folding them inside the bag and pretending to open it, at which point there was no question.

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I really love this fabric, too. Sunshiny and bright, and perfect for the lining. I made one, big section for the center, but made two outer pockets as well. (Well, outside the zippered, center section, but inside the knitting.) I like the security of a zipper because I like to know my stuff won’t fall out if I drop my purse, but it is handy for cell phones and car keys if they’re kept separate. I’ve toyed with the idea of sewing my original swatch on the outside, too, for a little extra touch.

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My only problem was that … ignoring the fact that I’ve seen countless purses and bags over the years, all with zippers whose ends extend past the edge of the bag … usually tucked in behind the lining … so that they open ALL the way, and the lining can be attached to the bag all the way around…

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I stupidly ordered a 10″ zipper … just the right length for the side of the bag, but … hard for actually attaching the lining. I considered ripping it out and replacing it with a spare, longer, brown zipper from some sweater or other years ago, but kind of patched in a work-around instead. It’s not perfect, but it looks okay and works, so I’m not complaining.

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The handle, as planned, feeds through the rings. I like the way it came out, too. I wanted it made of the same yarn, but I didn’t want to do i-cord because (other than being endless to knit this much of it), it’s not sturdy enough for a handle. Not unless you felt it or run a length of rope or cord or something down the inside to keep it from stretching. I originally planned on making a rope out of the yarn by twisting, plying, cabling lengths of the yarn together, but it ended up not being quite firm enough for the wear and tear. So, I took my three lengths of 2-ply (made from 4 strands of yarn in each ply–24 lengths in all), and braided them tightly. Love the way they came out.

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All in all? Very happy!

Annette

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This was my doll Annette. (Actually, both dolls were Annettes–they came with the name, but one was my sister’s, one was mine.) We both adored them when we were little because they were the perfect “little girl” size when they stood next to us, so we could do fun stuff with them, like pretend to take them shopping or send them to school, or anything that our Mom did with us.

Neither doll came with us when we moved, though. I guess they decided that, being in their late-30s, it was time to move on. Still, there are lots of good memories.

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How Rude!

Spammers, this is NOT the way to win my attention.

I think we can all agree that spammers are, well, annoying–like telemarketers used to be. They clutter up your comments and email with links for products and sites that usually have nothing to do with what you’re blogging about.

To be fair, some spammers at least try. They leave a legitimate comment about something you’ve posted–it’s just that their website link goes back to some site trying to sell you something. They’re at least trying to blend in, contribute, and aren’t being obnoxious about it. Spammers like that are okay in my book, like any poor wage slave just trying to make a living. Would I rather they weren’t passing out business cards in my living room, yes, but as long as they’re polite and don’t stand on the furniture, we can get along.

But, how about this comment I got recently? (Misspellings and grammar left untouched. The only thing I removed was the hyperlink because I’m not giving this person free advertising.)

Why have you taken out my post? It was very helpful information and i assure atleast one person found it helpful unlike the rest of the comments on this site. I’ll post it again. Sick of getting low amounts of useless traffic for your website? Well i wish to let you know about a fresh underground tactic that produces me personally $900 on a daily basis on 100% AUTOPILOT. I could be here all day and going into detail but why dont you just check their site out? There is a excellent video that explains everything. So if your serious about producing quick hard cash this is the website for you _______.

Oh, where do I start?

It’s rude. First, while I don’t remember seeing the person’s name in my spam filters before, it’s possible their comment got past the Akismet wall and that I saw it in the spam filter and thought, “Yep, that’s spam,” and deleted it myself. But, that’s my job. I certainly hold the right to delete any comments I wish from my own site–especially if they’re spam.

What does this person think they’re gaining by outright scolding me for deleting their comment?

Oy, the nerve!

Which, of course, is the number one rule for selling anything, isn’t it? DON’T BE RUDE. You never know who might be a potential customer. You never know who has power and who does not. There are countless fairy tales with fairy godmothers in disguise, testing good intentions.

But more than that, a comment like this is essentially hijacking my site for their own purposes (and doing it nastily).

If there’s anything I hate more than spam, it’s RUDE spam. No way on earth I’m letting this person’s comment through now, ever.

So, who is this person hurting? Me? I don’t think so. They’re only hurting themselves by burning bridges. Am I likely to ever have let one of their badly punctuated comments slide? Probably not, but I’m happy to have well-intentioned conversations. If they had tried to fit in or been a little nicer, there wouldn’t have been an issue.

Why … I mean, seriously, WHY … do you suppose they thought a comment like that was a GOOD idea?Why have you taken out my post? It was very helpful information and i assure atleast one person found it helpful unlike the rest of the comments on this site. I’ll post it again….” They insulted me for my management, and insulted all of you, my readers, for allegedly leaving unhelpful comments.

Sheesh.

I wish I really were a fairy godmother in disguise so I could smite them with some nice, genteel curse like warts or bunions or something really inconvenient like chronic writer’s block.

Okay, thanks for letting me vent! Please come and leave REAL comments and share your opinions!