Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

And Another Thing…

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 9:04 pm on Friday, October 21, 2005

I almost forgot. Yesterday the local weekly newspaper came out with a photograph that I took. Front cover, above the fold, and in color!

Milford Cabinet, Thursday, October 20, 2005
My First Photo Credit

The paper is The Cabinet, published out of Milford, NH. If you want to see it for yourself, you can find this issue on newsstands through next Wednesday.

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Heels and Hugs

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 7:21 pm on Friday, October 21, 2005

Socktoberfest Update

Sock Experiment 5 (SE5) is moving along rapidly. Sensational Knitted Socks is proving to be an excellent book. The instructions for the basic top-down sock with heel flap are a bit different than the Simply Splendid Socks from Cool Socks, Warm Feet, but the differences are good ones.

The heels are turned with a few short rows – but many fewer rows than the Simply Splendid Socks, and worked in such a way that you don’t do any wraps, but you don’t get holes! The sides of the heel flap are done in a narrow band of garter stitch, which made picking up the stitches for the gusset a breeze – and no holes here, either! Finally, at the top of the gusset on either side, you’re actually instructed to pick up two additional stitches. This eliminates the holes that often occur there, but which aren’t accounted for by most sock patterns I’ve seen.

I’m still glad I have both books. Each one has tips, techniques, and sock part instructions that the other doesn’t. I’m probably going to mix-and-match techniques from each in the future. But right now, Sensational Knitted Socks is a winner.

At this moment, except for a meal break a while ago, and the time I’ve spent working on this blog entry, I’ve been knitting steadily for at least 4 1/2 hours. (You know that feeling you get when the work has been flowing so well you lost yourself in it, then you finally stop for whatever reason and you feel like you’re coming out of a fog? That’s how good this knitting session has been.) The first sock is half done (heel turned, working on the gusset). I’ve tried it on and the fit seems good. I didn’t take a picture, though, because I’m approaching the part where the fit could go bad on me, and there’s too much of a chance that anything I showed you would have to be frogged. So rather than show a photo of false promise – no picture at all!

Wearable Hug News

Wearable Hug 12 (WH12), aka Bridgette, has found her new home. As I was approaching the end of the last skein of Homespun, I read something that made it clear to me who she belonged to, and the presentation was made last night. The energy that was knitted into Bridgette as she accompanied me on many Knitting Around and Extreme Knitting adventures was entirely appropriate for the recipient – the spirit of fun, of good food, of natural beauty, and of bridging a time of transition.

The karmic blessing was given when I made the presentation, and the giftee told me that her confirmation name was, of all things – Bridgette.

24 hours later, I’m still getting a shiver when I think of that.

I’ll be focusing on SE5 for a while – I’m trying to complete a pair by the end of Socktoberfest, after all! So WH13 will have to wait a bit to cast-on. Given the way fate plays a hand in the Wearable Hugs, however, I’m sure that’s quite all right.

Oh, and no, I’m not going to skip over number “13” as bad luck – there are many people for whom “13” is good luck, and I’m sure that will be important to whomever WH13 is meant for!

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Socktoberfest Quickie

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 4:13 pm on Thursday, October 20, 2005

Just a quick update today. I’m working as hard as I can on Sock Experiment 5 (SE5), trying to actually finish a pair before Socktoberfest ends. After all, there’s only a little over a week left, ack!

SE5 Progress Picture
Sock Experiment 5 Grows
I’m going to have to make a strong effort to forsake all other knitting so that I can make the deadline. (I know, there isn’t really any penalty for failure here – I just want to do this right for myself!)

On size 4 dp’s, the Micro-Spun is knitting up nice and soft, and the Baby Cable Rib has decent stretch to it. The 2’s I used for my first try made too stiff a fabric to stretch, drape, and shape to the foot properly – I’m convinced that was my main problem with the fit in the toe-up socks. I may try toe-up again with Micro-Spun and size 4’s to see if it works better.

But not until after I finish this pair.

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In an Asian Garden; and, Other Tales Told by Bottle Caps

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile — folkcat at 12:30 am on Thursday, October 20, 2005

No Two Tales Alike

As promised, the Craft Goddesses got together again Tuesday night to assemble our bottle cap charm bracelets. (We were only missing CG Vicki, who had other obligations but plans to be back next week.)

CG Folkcat – “In An Asian Garden”

Long before craft circle time, I began by working on preparing my charms and dangles. I told you about a lot of it yesterday, when I described making dangles of pressed glass beads, and seed bead and wire dangles in the shape of leafy fringe. After I did all those, though, I took another look at my bottle caps and realized I had something else that needed attention. Here in my Asian Garden, the backs of some of my bottle caps that said things like “Samuel Adams Beer” and other such non-tranquil, non-Asian concepts.

I pulled out some scrapbooking craft papers in appropriate colors, and a couple of mini-punches shaped like lizards, frogs, and leaves. With that and some Aleene’s Instant Decoupage medium, I made quick work of creating mini-collages to disguise the offensive labels. I failed to take a photo specifically of my collage work, but you can see some of it peeking through the bracelet in the first picture.

Asian Garden Details as Worn by Folkcat
“In An Asian Garden” – Details as Worn by Folkcat

Come Tuesday night, and the toughest part was making sure all the multitude of pieces I was attaching to the chain bracelet base were evenly spaced out – and would fit. Once you get more than a few charms in place, the chain becomes quite unwieldy and difficult to manage while you’re also trying to juggle open jump rings, two pairs of pliers, and the next charm you’re putting in place. Every one of us dropped our bracelets a few times while we were working.

In An Asian Garden Bottle Cap Charm Bracelet
“In An Asian Garden” – the Completed Work
I’m really pleased with the leafy effect I achieved with the wire and seed bead leaf fringe dangles. Coupled with the pretty pastels of the flowers in my images, there’s an overall sense of a tranquil retreat in a natural space.

I had made several dozen dangles on Monday and Tuesday with pressed glass beads in them, with the thought that they’d wind up in the bracelet, but by the time I reached this point, I didn’t feel they were needed. I only used a few specific ones that supported the overall theme – some carved bone Asian butterflies; some pressed glass flowers in a lovely matte AB purple; and two rose quartz turtles.

CG Judith – “Done Shopping”

Judith’s big theme was inspired by her collection of fake credit cards. You know how, when you get a credit card offer in the mail, they’ll include a fake one? I’ve never been sure what the marketing strategy there is – maybe it’s just to get the “product” into your hand somehow, so you can feel what it’s like.

Anyway, Judith’s been saving those cards for a while with the notion that there must be something to craft from them. With the bottle cap charm bracelet, she found that something.

She cut the cards into strips, rounded the corners, and drilled holes for jump rings. Her images all reflect a theme of money. Given that the “credit cards” are cut up and would no longer be usable, her title for the piece is “Done Shopping.”

Done Shopping as Worn by CG Judith
“Done Shopping” as Worn by Judith
Among the additional charms that Judith linked into the bracelet are some small clusters of plastic beads, and some alphabet tags from the scrapbooking department at the craft store. She chose to spell out the word “SHOP” twice.

A Closer Look at Done Shopping
“Done Shopping” – Detail View

CG Bea – “By the Sea”

In some ways, this project was a bigger adventure for Bea than for Judith and I. Bea has always been primarily a needle-and-thread seed bead worker, and very seldom has she ever worked with jump rings. In a bracelet like this, however, she’ll get plenty of practice!

CG Bea Practices Handling Jump Rings
Bea Practices Her Jump Ring Handling
Bea’s theme is “By the Sea”. And she’s talking about, down on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, apparently, since her bracelet includes many marine-themed images, dangles, and charms, but also “gold” coins, roulette wheels, and other pieces of gaming paraphenalia.

By The Sea - a Work in Progress
“By the Sea” – a Work in Progress
While Bea didn’t actually finish her bracelet on Tuesday night, she did make a lot of progress, and you can get a good sense from this picture of her theme and the overall look.

Final Assessment

Judith’s instructions, which we were something of a test case for, worked. They are clear and give the novice everything they need to know to successfully complete the bracelet.

While the bottle cap charm bracelet is definitely not my style, I found myself fascinated by it as an art piece. Creating such a bracelet with a theme absolutely appeals to me. Who knows, if I make enough of them, I may just start wearing them now and then just so I can show them off!

My next “theme” is likely to be “Wine Taste, Beer Budget”. I need to collect an assortment of many different brands of beer caps for that one, as well as images related to both beer and wine. I have a couple of charms already – little grape clusters. And of course, there are the wine bottle beads I bought at Target a week or two ago.

The Final Test

Did we have fun? Heck, yes! And in the end, isn’t that all that really matters?

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Socktoberfest 2005 Back On Track; and, Easy Apple Crisp at Bargain Prices

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 7:46 pm on Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It’s ironic that as I typed that title, the local tourist train could be heard outside blasting its whistle as it approached the nearby crossing.

Socktoberfest 2005 Lives On!

It’s amazing the number of people who have jumped on the bandwagon for Lolly‘s simple little idea – to have a knit-a-long for Socks in October. 255 participants at last count, and more than one yarn company or store has taken notice and donated prizes to be given away – drawing to be held October 31st. Talk about the power of blogging! If you want to participate and be eligible for the drawing, you must sign up before October 19th – so dash on over there!

As for me, after seeming to stumble through much of last week, I’ve found myself to be quite productive again for the last couple of days. Most important, I seem to finally be finding my way with Sock Experiment 5 (SE5).

I really wanted to love the toe-up sock. But I just couldn’t make it work. In the end, I decided that the size 2 needles were making too stiff a fabric, and I just couldn’t get a proper fit around the ankle and heel.

So back to the top-down sock it is. But I didn’t want to just repeat my previous Sock Experiments and make another pair of Lucy Neatby‘s Simply Splendid Socks from Cool Socks, Warm Feet (for all that they are, indeed, both simple and splendid). Been there, done that – you know how it is.

So I poked my nose into the more recently acquired book, Sensational Knitted Socks. I did a gauge swatch with the Lion Brand Micro-Spun on size 4 needles, and liked the result much better. And here we are, a couple of inches into a Baby Cable Rib sock.

SE5 Re-Born
Baby Cable Ribs – Not Related to Baby Back Ribs
I feel much more confident about Socktoberfest this time. Top-down is a tried-and-true technique for me, and I still get my novelty factor from using Micro-Spun yarn and from doing something other than a simple rib and stockinette pattern.

I think I’d prefer if I could do these in all one color, but I don’t have the resources to buy more Micro-Spun yarn just now, and my first attempt seemed to prove that I wasn’t going to get a full sock out of a single skein. So color-block I must, whether I want to or not.

At least this combination suits my standards for oddball color mixing and eye-popping brightness.

Autumn Cravings Satisfied

It’s been a while since I had any cookery to write about. You can visit previous recipes in the archives of Folkcat in the Kitchen, my cooking-blog-that-was.

Today’s recipe isn’t an original one, but it’s a goodie. With the fall season, Gryphon and I have been developing a hankering for apple crisp. Now, every supermarket worth its salt offers pans of pre-made apple crisp. But that always tastes, well – far from homemade, that’s for sure.

Making our own is the only way to go, then. And it’s really a simple process. Today, I used the basic recipe from my treasured 1975 edition of the Joy of Cooking* as my starting point.

The worst part about making apple crisp (or pie, or applesauce, or anything else like that) is the peeling, coring, and slicing of the apples. Once you have the right gadget, though, you’d be amazed how quickly you can process a pile of fruit.

Buying a good, hand-cranked, apple peeler/corer/slicer can set you back about $30. And it’s probably worth every penny if you cook with apples a lot.

If you’re a yard-sale bargain hunter, though, keep your eyes open. This is the sort of gadget that people often get, either as a gift or because they think they’ll use it, and then wind up selling unused in the original box because they didn’t do a thing with it after all. Gryphon and I had just this luck this summer, and we scored the apple gadget below for $5 – untouched and in the original container. As you can see, it appears to be the identical twin of the machine in the upper picture, which is available at Amazon for $29.95.

Yard Sale Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer
Yard Sale Bargain
There are three things to look for:

  1. – good, cast metal construction. You want this to be heavy enough to stand up to the wear and tear of repeatedly cranking apples through.
  2. A suction base. We’ve had one with a clamp-on base before, and never had a kitchen table or countertop with an adequate edge to screw the thing to. We always had to fudge it by clamping to a heavy cutting board that we hung over the edge of the counter, which was still not a stable enough solution for comfortable use. The suction base on our new model has been like heaven by comparison.
  3. If buying used, examine the blades for the corer/slicer and the parer to make sure they haven’t rusted or corroded. Improper storage can lead to damage even if the device is new in the box.

One of the beautiful things about apple crisp is that the apples don’t have to be the most pristine in the bin. This means that a savvy shopper can often score a good deal on what I call the Distressed Produce Rack (DPR) in your local supermarket. This is the rack, table, or bin where all the produce that’s on its last legs gets “Reduced for Quick Sale” – its one last chance before it has to be thrown in the garbage.

This time of year, it’s common for us to find apples on the DPR. So, with our apple crisp craving in mind, we popped over to the store today to see what we could find. I was prepared for the possibility of either apples or pears, and if I didn’t score on the DPR, we could still afford to buy just enough fruit to make one batch of crisp without breaking the bank.

A Bargain Package of Apples
Such a Deal!
We picked over the offerings, rejecting a package or two that had mixed some oranges in with the apples, or that had very visible bruises over too much of the fruit. The package we settled on had 5 apples totalling 2 1/4 pounds, in a mix of varieties: 2 Galas, 1 Fuji, 1 Cortland, and 1 Golden Delicious. Since the best flavor often comes from mixing your apples, this was perfect!

The recipe in the Joy of Cooking calls for 4 cups of pared and sliced apples, which would be about 1 1/3 pound unpared. I went ahead and processed all 5 apples, knowing it was going to give me around 6 cups of fruit. Since this still fit within the baking dish (8x8x2 inch Pyrex square), I was fine with just making a generous batch. And since the fruit was aging already, I didn’t want to leave any unused to go bad on us.

Toppings for fruit crisps can vary a lot. (I won’t even open the discussion about the differences between crisps, crumbles, buckles, brown betties, cobblers, and all the many other types of baked fruit desserts that often get confused together.) The recipe from the 1975 Joy of Cooking is a simple one, calling for only 3 ingredients: 1/2 cup white flour; 1/2 cup packed brown sugar; 1/4 cup butter (add 1/2 teaspoon of salt if your butter is unsalted). I use a biscuit mixer to cut the ingredients together quickly. You don’t want the butter getting soft and making the topping greasy.

The Joy of Cooking calls for a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. With the extra heaping pile of fruit I used, I wound up going about 15 minutes longer before I was satisfied with the doneness of the dish.

Homemade Apple Crisp
Homemade Apple Crisp – So Easy, and Nothing Tastes as Good!
As you can see, I didn’t wait long before scooping out a serving for myself. The only thing that could have improved it is if I’d had a good quality French Vanilla ice cream to scoop on top of the hot crisp.

I made the basic recipe this time, but there are lots of variations I could have thrown in. There’s no cinnamon in this batch, for instance, and that’s an almost cliched flavoring for apples. I could also have sprinkled in one of my favorite applesauce flavorings, Chinese Five Spice. A little vanilla extract would have given some nice body to the flavor as well.

If I’d had access to some additional fruits, like blueberries or raspberries, I could have sprinkled them in among the apples. If I’d made a pear crisp, I might have used a little almond extract and added ginger or nutmeg instead of cinnamon.

Crisps are always a tasty dessert. They will always impress your guests, and it’s hard to screw them up. And they’re one of those very modular concepts that I like so much. Just learn some basics about how much topping to what quantity of fruit, and trust your own instincts about what flavors work together. It’s hard to go wrong.

Folkcat’s Tip: You can save a lot of money by buying produce from the Distressed Produce Rack, but be careful! Since the fruits and vegetables already have some age on them, you should be prepared to use them the same day you bring them home – certainly no later than the next day. Examine the choices carefully and leave behind any that are too badly bruised or damaged, or that have begun to show mold or decay. (It happens!)

If you can’t cook with the items that day, at least be ready to prepare them for storage in your freezer. More than once, Gryphon and I have come home from the market with five pound bags of carrots that we immediately teamed up on to wash, peel, slice, and package in 1 pound units for the freezer. By stockpiling produce bargains this way, I can often shop in the freezer and come up with all the ingredients I need for a fresh soup or stew on a whim.

* – There is a more recent edition of the Joy of Cooking which came out in 1997. I have that one, too, but I found it hugely disappointing, and I seldom take it off the shelf. Many of the classic recipes I had come to depend on in the 1975 edition were gone, and others had been altered for a supposedly new, busier lifestyle that had less time to cook.

My favorite Brownies Cockaigne, for instance. In the 1975 edition, the recipe carefully describes a specific order and process for putting the ingredients together, which resulted in a far superior brownie with amazing texture and flavor. They even told you how to cook the batter in different pans depending on whether you want a cake-like or a fudgy brownie. (I like fudgy.) In the newer edition, the recipe is still called Brownies Cockaigne, but the process is reduced to nearly one or two steps and is, essentially, a simple one-bowl brownie batter.

The 1997 edition also removes much of the content that explains why different processes and techniques do what they do to food. I find this inexcusable – the reputation of the Joy of Cooking legacy is that it’s a source for learning how to cook, and why to do it certain ways.

Bottom line – I still consider the Joy of Cooking to be an essential reference for anyone who cares about cooking and food, an absolute must-have. But search through used booksellers, either online or off, and find the 1975 edition. You won’t regret it.

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I’ve Been Left Dangling

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile — folkcat at 5:19 pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Last week, we created bottle cap charms under the tutelage and guidance of Judith Bertoglio-Giffin. Tonight, we assemble the bracelets.

The bracelets will include the bottle cap charms, of course. But the best look comes when you add a multitude of other charms and dangles to the design.

I spent the last two days making a large assortment of dangles to include. My bottle cap designs mostly feature flowers, many of them exotic, in shades of pink, and purple. There are also two images of Japanese women, and an Asian postmark. So I decided my theme is “In An Asian Garden”.

I began scouring through my beads for anything that would work, then strung them on headpins and made wrapped loops at the top.

Assorted Bead Dangles
Many, Many Beaded Dangles
You’re seeing champagne-colored glass pearls; Czech pressed glass beads; acrylic beads; plastic wonder beads; some rose quartz turtles; and carved bone butterflies.

I liked what I came up with, and the colors were right. But I wasn’t feeling the garden theme enough. So I decided to make some leaf fringe dangles with wire and seed beads.

Seed Bead Leaf Fringe Dangles
Seed Bead Leaf Dangles
I’ve made about 14 of these for the bracelet, using bright chartreuse 28-gauge wire and Czech 11/o transparent lime green seed beads.

My hands are feeling it now from all the wire twisting. I need to go finish cleaning up the living room for craft circle – the girls get here in less than an hour!

Check back tomorrow for a look at the finished bracelet. Thanks for visiting!

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Too Much Water, Too Little Time, and a Felted Cat Aborning

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 3:17 pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Computer Woes Resolved

No haiku today – just can’t seem to gather my thoughts that way at the moment.

We never did figure out why my offline blog editing software, Zoundry BlogWriter, was failing to load yesterday. Nevertheless, the problem is fixed – it turned out there was a more recent release anyhow, and Gryphon installed it for me last night. So I’m back at full blogging capability.

NH Flood Report

The waters have receded a lot here in New Hampshire. The pictures I posted on Friday, however, turned out to be nothing compared to the water levels on Saturday, which seems to be the day the rivers crested. For comparison, here is the water level on Friday, at which time it was already massively higher than usual:


And here is the same location on Saturday.

2005 Flood Crest, Wilton
High(er) Water

But that’s not the most surprising picture I took of the flood waters on Saturday – oh, no. I went around the corner from that dam to check the water under another nearby bridge, and was astonished when I looked upstream and saw a group of kayakers coming down the Souhegan River. Talk about the right place at the right time!

Kayakers on the Souhegan, Wilton, NH
Riding the Rapids – Where There Aren’t Normally Any

What’s amazing about that is that the Souhegan River at this spot is usually a very shallow waterway, showing almost more rocks than water. There are very seldom circumstances that would allow watercraft of any type to pass here.

I was on the ball enough to realize that the local weekly newspaper, the Milford Cabinet, might be interested in the kayaking pictures. I’m sure their staff was out taking photos of the high water, but I was the person lucky enough to see this event. I e-mailed them, and was asked to bring in a disc. The result – they’ll be running one of my pictures of the kayakers (not this one, but another that I considered the best of the lot), in this week’s edition of the Cabinet! So watch your newstands on Thursday for my first published credit as a photographer, LOL!

Fiber Content at Last

In knitting news – I actually have no real projects on the needles at the moment. I do plan to start a new pair of socks for Soctoberfest – I feel like I’ve dropped the ball there. But I’ve been so busy with recovering from last week’s cold; working on charms and dangles for my bottle cap charm bracelet (check for a post later over at www.chantraphile.com ); and running around in cold, damp weather in spite of my cold to take pictures of flooding.

Otherwise, I’ve been feeling guilty about all these piles of felting wool I have stacked around my studio/living room. I have really been off of the needlefelting for a while, and it’s just been sitting gathering dust.

Yesterday, though, I was suddenly inspired to start working on a piece I’ve been wanting to make – a small figure of a cat with a chenille stem armature. A few hours later, I’d come up with this:

Half-Finished Needlefelted Cat
Embryonic Felt Cat
Obviously, this is in the Works-In-Progress category. And I had to set it aside so I could get back to work on bead dangles for my bottle-cap bracelet, some of which you can see under the cat. But I’m pleased with how it looks so far. Somehow, shaping a critter out of wool seems to come naturally to me.

There will, of course, be more pictures and updates as the cat approaches completion.

That’s about it for today. It’s my craft circle night here, I need to go spend some time getting the studio ready and making sure my project for tonight (the bracelet) is ready to work on. Thanks for visiting!

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Folkcat’s Frustration

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 6:49 pm on Monday, October 17, 2005

Computer woes plague.
My editor will not load.
Folkcat unhappy.

Charmed, I’m Sure

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile — folkcat at 5:00 pm on Friday, October 14, 2005

Sorry I haven’t posted earlier this week. I’ve been feeling very rundown from a cold this week. It’s weird, it seems like half of blogland has one – makes me wonder if cold viruses have found out how to travel the Internet.

I’m feeling… maybe not better, but at least different, today. The cough has evolved from a “nagging little scratchy throat tickle” cough to a “you thought you were going to swallow or breathe there, didn’t you, but instead we’re going to dump this gob of crud into your throat and you’ll cough and it will hurt” cough. And when the cough kicks in today, it is hurting. Fortunately, basic cough suppressant syrup seems to be keeping that down to a minimum.

Before the cold hit hardest, we had Tuesday night and the Craft Goddesses. This week, Judith taught us how to make her Bottle Cap Charms. (That link will take you to Bead-Patterns.Com‘s listing of the instructions for this project, which you can purchase there. You’ll also find listings there for Judith’s assortments of graphics to use in the charms. as well as patterns for many other types of beadwork projects.)

The full roll call for the evening included Craft Goddesses Bea, Vicki, and Judith (and myself). CG Vicki also brought along her daughter Nina, who had been intrigued by the project when her mom mentioned it. I was thinking of calling Nina a “Goddess in Training”, but as you’ll see, she quickly outshone all of us! I think she earned full Craft Goddess status that night.

Nina and Bea Making Charms
Nina and Bea Work on Their Charms
Judith had supplied us with sheets of graphics to choose from, and several of us had found some of our own. You can literally use any image that will fit into a 1″ diameter circle. I created a sheet of graphics taken from my own photos of flowers and insects, and I shared copies with the group.

Bea Crimps the Sides of the Cap
Bea Crimps the Edges of the Cap
The fussiest part of the project is probably when you take pliers (hardware ones – your good jewelry pliers will get scratched!), and fold the edges of the cap over the image you’ve inserted. This is not a project for those who are fussy about perfection – no amount of time or care will ever make these charms perfectly round. But the irregularity is part of their, well….charm, I guess.

Judith Drills the Charms for Hanging
Judith Drills Holes with a Rotary Tool
Originally, Judith would file the paint off a side of the cap and solder on a ring to hang the charm by, but she found there were issues with stability and durability that way. As it turns out, so long as you hold them carefully, the caps are easily drilled with a rotary tool or a standard power drill. A drill press is even better if you have it.

Nina Prepares to File the Hole Smooth
Nina Prepares to File the Hole
When you drill the holes, there is always a small rough edge. You’ll need to file this so it doesn’t snag or cut you or your clothes.

Folkcat's Bottle Cap Charms
Folkcat’s Finished Charms
By the end of the evening, I had 15 charms made. The flower and insect images are from my own photos. The Asian ladies and postmark were from Judith’s offerings. Next week, we Craft Goddesses will work on assembling our charms into bracelets.

Remember I said that Nina outshone us? That’s because she’s the only one who had a finished bracelet at the end of the first evening!

Nina Models Her Bracelet
Nina’s Bracelet On
Her secret was simple – she didn’t spend the whole evening jabbering away like the rest of us did!

Nina's Finished Bracelet
Nina’s Bracelet Off, and Fully Displayed
Great work, Nina! The rest of us can only hope to do half as well next Tuesday.

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High Water, Low Danger; and, Socktoberfest Mis-Fits and Re-Starts

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 4:26 pm on Friday, October 14, 2005

Waters rise slowly
but we are safe, no danger.
Tempt not fate, knit on.

A voice mail from my brother yesterday made me realize that, my family being located in various spots across the country and only knowing that I live somewhere in New Hampshire, they are worrying about whether Gryphon and I have been affected by the flooding.

The good news is, we’re in Wilton, NH, which is a bit east of where the worst problems have been happening. If the rain had taken a different path, though, it could just as easily have been here.

To illustrate the effect the endless rain has had here in Wilton, Gryphon and I went today to the Burns Hill Rd. Bridge over the Souhegan River, about a block from our home. (This was also the first bridge in the 11 Bridges in 140 Minutes quest.)

Folkcat Knits by the Swollen Souhegan River
Knitting Around at the Souhegan River
The water flow over the dam today is massive and fierce, reminding me of a mini Niagara Falls. For comparison, here’s what the river looked like at Labor Day. Much less water – the dam, which was highly visible then under a mere trickle of water, almost can’t be seen today.

Swollen Waters in the Souhegan River
What a Difference a Few Inches Makes
And yes, that’s Bridgette, aka Wearable Hug 12, being Knitted Around again – now at a flooded river. She’s building up a skein-load of energy, isn’t she?

As to Socktoberfest – I’ve completely frogged the remains of SE5, and I’m having to re-think my approach. I love the toe-up sock a lot, but getting the heel and ankle right is going to be tricky.

I’m considering picking a sock pattern from my new Sensational Knitted Socks book and using one of the self-striping yarns in the sock for a top-down pair. I’ve proven myself capable of knitting a competent sock that way, and it’ll keep me in the Socktoberfestivities with less frustration.

I haven’t abandoned the micro-spun sock, though. SE5 will be merely on hold, and I’ll call the top-down socks SE6. I’ve actually swatched anew for SE5 with size 4 needles instead of size 2, in the hopes that I’ll get a fabric with more ease to it. First impressions – it does have a softer hand to it, and may have enough ease to make for better fit. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know.

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