"Respect the earth, live in harmony with nature, spend time with your family, be good to your neighbor, and value the dedication, skill and care of the craftsman."


May 26th, 2017

My husband has been employed for a week now. He says the factory is cleaner than our house, and they had several days of training instead of just sending him in to start on the machine. They decided today that the machine they put him on is too heavy for him and will be moving him to a safer spot next week. That level of concern is unusual in a factory.

He’s getting up at 5:00 a.m., and I’ve been getting up with him to make his breakfast and his lunch. Last night he had tournament and slept on the sofa, and I woke up just in time to see him off. Since I’m about to leave town for a few weeks, it’s probably good that he can manage by himself.

I’m hoping he sticks with the job. This is the third one he’s started in the nearly three years he’s been out of work. He’s not exactly celebrating, but he wasn’t that cheery about the CNC class he was taking, either.

I’m enjoying the uninterrupted work time, though I have actually logged fewer hours than normal this week. I’ve had errands and visits and phone calls and stuff. But I did get all the blogs out two weeks or more.

We’re minding #1 daughter’s dog for the weekend and #2 daughter will be arriving tomorrow.

Further Road Trip Knitting

May 25th, 2017

Yes, I’m packing for Paris, and putting a reasonable amount of thought into it. But the question of what knitting project to take is more difficult. I’ve started two lovely projects in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, which is quite a wonderful yarn. It’s made in separate pieces, so all the pieces are small.

I’m doing this charming matinee coat in duck’s egg blue.

The pretty shrug below is made in one piece, though, and is all stockinette and rib. No pattern to keep track of.

So which should I take? Or maybe both. There’ll be a fair bit of time in the car up to #2 daughter’ place, and I can leave one project there if it seems that there’s not enough room in my luggage for both.

Lambspun Organic Cotton Baby Blanket

May 21st, 2017

I completed the baby blanket made from Organic Cotton from the lovely Lambspun yarn shop in Ft. Collins. It’s half Copper Mallow Flowers and half Forget Me Not. Very soft and highly textured.

The pattern is also from Lambspun. It’s quite simple and easy. The yarn is so highly textured that it demands a simple pattern to show it off. It takes two skeins, but those two skeins will make a generous blanket.

Minky Blanket

May 20th, 2017

I saw this idea at Pinterest: a reversible blanket with Minky on one side and quilting cotton on the other.

#1 daughter and I got all the office furniture out of the room that will be the nursery. We had good talks and got a fair bit done, and then I came home and made this blanket for the nursery.

It should be a very nice nursery.

Diseases of Civilization

May 19th, 2017

The phrase “Diseases of Civilization” has unfortunate implications: that people in the great civilizations of Asia, Africa, and South America are too barbarous to be able to acquire diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The preferred term now is “lifestyle diseases.” Either way, these are the ailments that are brought on by the modern Western diet and way of life.

The book I’m reading quotes a doctor from a century ago writing with consternation about diseases that were increasing. In those days, of course, diseases were going away. Smallpox, cholera, all those horrible acute diseases were being conquered by hygiene and new drugs.

But the new chronic diseases were mystifyingly on the rise. There were theories about the reason modern life led to these strange conditions, but the reasons were uncertain.

The author points out that it’s impossible to prove with human trials that sugar is the cause, as he believes. First, everyone in the U.S. eats sugar. It’s almost impossible not to. You’d have to have trials lasting decades, and you’d have to figure out how to make sure the control group didn’t consumer sugar. It’s completely different from smokers and nonsmokers.

But you can look at populations. The Pima, the Marshallese, and similar populations which had no diabetes or heart disease, then were introduced to sugar and within a generation had 50% plus diabetes. Without the slow increase in sugar Europeans had, they didn’t have a chance to adapt. Even with our adaptations, our bodies can’t be healthy with the levels of sugar intake we have. But the latecomers to the sweet feast show the effects much more clearly than we do.

This is pretty convincing.

Nonethless, I have been eating a lot of sugar lately. I don’t drink sodas or put sugar in my tea. I don’t eat processed foods with hidden sugars. But I have been eating ice cream and cookies and even doughnuts in ridiculous quantities. That is, three or four servings of sweets a day — about 12 teaspoons. Twice the current recommendations.

The average American eats more than 22 teaspoons of sugar per day.

I think I will be getting strict again when I get back from Paris, about a month from now. It’s two weeks till I leave, so this is very spurious reasoning. There is no reason that I should be preparing for my two weeks of unlimited pastry by eating dessert with every meal now.

We are surrounded by sugar all the time. The marketing is intense. The foods themselves are designed to make us want more. But, as Melissa Hartwig points out, nobody is tying us up and forcing us to eat Oreos. There is responsibility here. And it might be easier to abstain than to try to eat sweets in moderation.

Do smokers when they think about quitting start smoking extra cigarettes in preparation?

Trump on Exercise

May 16th, 2017

Don’t you love British news? Actually, they have good and bad news like everyone else, but they have that courteously snide delivery, like butlers on British TV. Check out this story from the Daily Mail:

  • President Trump believes that all exercise is ‘misguided’ with the exception of golf according to a recent story
  • He also believes that a person ‘is born with a finite amount of energy,’ like a battery
  • Most medical and health experts disagree with both of those opinions 

The actual quote from the New Yorker: “Other than golf, he considers exercise misguided, arguing that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy.”

Yeah, most medical and health experts disagree with that. And also ordinarily well-informed people.

There’s a quote from Trump Revealed that sounds very similar: “Other than golf, he considers exercise misguided, arguing that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy.”

In fact, this sort of looks as though it must be the source.

Obviously, Trump is wrong. But this is also the guy who fired the Director of the FBI in the middle of an investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia, threatened said director in a tweet, and then disclosed highest-level classified information to Russian functionaries.

This latest bit of drivel is just that: the latest bit of drivel from someone who says a lot of stupid and/or unbalanced stuff.

Maybe he doesn’t really believe that a human body is like a battery and exercise drains it of juice. Maybe it’s just an off-the-cuff remark he made once, because he does that. On Twitter. On TV. In meetings with Russians.
But maybe we should all redouble our exercise in protest.

Mother’s Day

May 14th, 2017

#1 daughter took me out for brunch yesterday and gave me a sassy card and an equally sassy mug.

We tried three different places before settling in at Rick’s, enjoying a table on the sidewalk, essentially in the parking lot. We had tried a place on the square and been buffeted by the Farmer’s Market, and a place on School Street with an insanely long line and another on Block Street, also with a line out the door.

Apparently our town needs more brunch spots.

In any case, having restored ourselves with lots of saturated fats and simple carbohydrates, we went to buy fabric for the Baby’s quilt. See the pretty assortment above.

See below the bed that the Good Ol’ Boy’s mama and I will be buying for the Baby.

Yes, we are going all out madly feminine.

Sweet Life

May 7th, 2017


Life is sweet.

Today was a gorgeous spring day. I went to Sunday School and to church, enjoyed seeing my friends there and hearing inspiring thoughts, and then cam home to a wholesome lunch.

I took my book, my knitting, and  dessert of gelato and espresso out to the patio and relaxed. Everything was deeply pleasurable, from the breeze to the rosebuds nearing bloom to the satisfyingly rich espresso to the wit of the book to the sweetness of the gelato.

Sugar, when it was first brought into the mainstream of culinary life, was seen as not just a delicious ingredient, but also as something very nutritious and wholesome. It made people fatter, which was considered a sign of health — and the quick calories were beneficial in the short term to the starving masses. It was a miracle food, combining with the other new tastes of coffee and tea to bring artificial stimulants to a waiting world.

For centuries, access to sugar was limited by its cost and availability. As cheap sugar developed and made its way to new populations, it brought in its wake dental decay and diabetes. Sugar, with its quick energy, might be impressive in the short term, but in the current enormous quantities it leads to the diseases of affluence.

Now, sugar and salt and cheap fats provide just about all the flavor we find in the foods we buy.  We’ve grown accustomed, maybe even addicted, to the artificial stimulation.

Giving those things up and switching to real food is the solution. I’ve been fairly successful… but I still crave sweets, and enjoy them.

Entrelac Chalk Bag

May 7th, 2017

#2 son has a girlfriend. This is the first girl he has acknowledged as a girlfriend, the first one he has told us about.

He has asked me to make her a chalk bag for her birthday and I am enjoying the project.


Frankly, I’d have chosen girlier colors. Her favorite color, though, is forest green, and #1 son thought that dark blue would be good with that. “And yellow?” I asked. He disapproved.

So I’m going with these sober colors, and an entrelac pattern. I’ve owned entrelac sweaters, but I’ve never knitted entrelac. I looked at a tutorial online and knitted up a ring of triangles.



Next, you knit a rectangle along the side of each triangle.


Then you add a rectangle off the side of each of those rectangles. You continue in this way, with alternate rounds of left-leaning and right-leaning rectangles.

The result is a basket weave-effect fabric.

So I’m having a Netflix binge and knitting this up for the GF.

Once it was big enough, I cobbled together a flat bottom for the bag. I feel like this will be more interesting, since I’m felting it. I just picked up stitches along the straight edges between the stitches of the final rectangles, and then decreased regularly to a point.




Then I picked up stitches along the straight cast-on edge at the top.

At this point, it seems as though it would make a very pretty, cozy hat.


I knitted a couple of inches for the drawstring channel.


At this point, I squirted some soap onto it, tied it up in a pillowcase, and washed it in hot water.

I don’t felt often enough to be able to predict what will happen when I do. There’s always a good deal of suspense. In this case, the felting destroyed the 3-D woven effect and created a sturdy checkerboard instead.


I lined it sketchily with a super-bright scuba knit.


Then I sewed a channel for the drawstrings and chained said strings. I think I would like to replace those drawstrings with leather for sturdiness.


I like the look, though.

30 Days to Paris

May 5th, 2017

The 30 day countdown to Paris begins today. I bought a couple of guidebooks, naturally, and that’s about it.

I haven’t been to Paris since I was a child. I remember the Eiffel Tower, but otherwise I recall seeing boys play cricket, eating glace au citron, drinking a Shirley Temple, and walking through parks.

Maybe we didn’t go to touristy places, or maybe I forgot them all. I was six years old and my father had just died. Before that, I was such a little girl that I don’t remember the visits at all.

Here’s where we’ll be.

Possible yarn shops to visit:

  • La Bergere de France: 88 Rue Lamarck, 75018 Paris, France
  • Cat’Laine:19 Rue Saint-Marc, 75002 Paris, France
  • Lil Weasel: 1-4 Passage du Grand Cerf, 75002 Paris, France
  • La Droguerie: 9-11 Rue du Jour, 75001 Paris, France
  • The Idle Tea, Tea and Knitting Salon: 8 Rue de la Butte aux Cailles, 75013 Paris, France

Bookstores may be less enticing since my French is weak.

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