Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

No Coconuts For Me

Filed under: Holidays,Knitting — folkcat at 1:47 pm on Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Holding Pattern – It’s what I’m in, but it’s not a bad thing. By “Holding Pattern,” I mean that things are continuing much the same as last time I wrote – all of yesterday.

As I noted then, I expected to spend the day knitting Socks for Folkcat, Pair 1, Sock 2 (SF/P1S2), and that’s exactly what I did. SF/P1S2 is now within an inch of turning the heel, which should go quickly enough, and then I knit four inches of leg before binding off.

I’m so far along, in fact, that I’m going to choose my next sock yarn and take it along to Knitting Around at Panera tonight, just in case.

No pictures yet, I want to wait until I can model both socks for you. Which could be as early as tomorrow, and certainly no later than Monday.

Nothing more exciting than that to write about, I’m afraid. Except that today is National Macaroon Day. For me, that means I’ll be buying some macaroons at the local supermarket bakery and eating some later. And no, I don’t mean coconut! Can’t stand coconut. Nope, I’m a huge fan of almond and marzipan and such, so it’s Almond Macaroons all the way – yum!

Adaptable Crafting

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Knitting — folkcat at 12:49 pm on Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It’s a slow week Chez Folkcat & Gryphon. Gryphon keeps busy with his two jobs; I, on the other hand, am feeling achy.

At least I have a lot of flexibility in what I do. Yes, I get disappointed if the crafts I hoped to do on a given day don’t happen. But I always have something else that may fit better into how I’m feeling, so it’s rare that I get to the end of even a bad day and feel that I didn’t accomplish enough to count.

I suspect that my concept of assigned “Days” for crafts may go out the window this week, as I work on what feels good rather than what I scheduled myself to do. Which is okay – the neglected crafts will get their turn again.

Today, for instance, the overall achy feeling in my muscles is making me think unkindly towards my normal Wednesday Quilting Day – all that getting up and down from chairs, cutting fabric, going to sew it, back to the ironing board to press the seams, rinse, and repeat. The layout of my spaces means that cutting and ironing happen in one room, and sewing in another altogether. All that movement is feeling like a bit much for me.

On the other hand, the sock I reported on in yesterday’s post was finished last night. It fits extremely well, feels comfortable even on my twitchy and sensitive toes (non-confining, but not loosey-goosey), and I dare say, I may find that this Barefoot Diva can actually stand to wear a fully-enclosed sock if I make more like this.

So today’s big project will not be the next set of squares for my Bento Box wallhanging, but instead, I’ll cast on for Socks for Folkcat, Pair One, Sock Two. And I imagine I’ll be quite satisfied with my progress at the end of the day!

I’m off, then, to pop an Aleve for the achiness, and have some lunch before I pull out the next ball of my Regia yarn and get that new sock going. Hope you’re having a productive and happy day!

Knitted Socks As Foes

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 3:47 pm on Tuesday, May 29, 2007

No, not FOs. Foes.

First, let me just show you the photo of the peaceful aftermath of this weekend’s battle.

Socks for Folkcat, Pair One, Sock One
Socks for Folkcat, Pair one, Sock one

Yarn: Regia Patch Antik Colors, #5758, Needles: US Size 1.5 Brittany dpns.

Toe-up, short-row toe and heel.

These socks have given me complete hell so far, but I beat them into submission over the weekend. Without going into specific details, the toe was knit, frogged, and re-knit about 5 or 6 times. The toe, mind you, that had worked successfully without incident for both pairs of Gryphon’s socks.

During the course of those attempts, I tried two different gauges on two different sizes of needles. When the toe finally worked to my satisfaction, I tried to introduce a stitch pattern on the top of the instep, and gauge went from 9.5 to 8 stitches per inch, instantaneously adding 2 inches to the circumference of the sock.

At that point, I severely re-grouped, re-measured my foot, re-considered my approach, did some Googling and reviewing search results, came up with a different way to do a short-row toe and heel (link opens a PDF file), and tried again.

Thankfully, this time it worked. I’m doing a simple, plain vanilla k2p2 rib for these socks, the short-row toe worked, the short-row heel (done the same as the toe) worked, and I’m in the home stretch on the ribbing for sock one. I don’t mind that the sock is simple – the yarn is cheerfully colored enough to stand on its own.

The only flaw I find so far is that the corners of my short-row heel left tiny gaps, despite my efforts to pick up extra stitches and knit things together there to close the holes. I’ll decide if I want to do anything about it when I try them on after they’re done.

That’s all I have time to say about it. And you know, that’s all I really want to say about these socks. Other than, “I won, I won! Neener-neener-neener!” (Touch Wood!)

Mini Post

Filed under: Blogfriends,Daily Life — folkcat at 3:40 pm on Friday, May 25, 2007

Well, today is simply getting away from me, so I’m not going to take time to say much here. I want to thank everyone who’s been offering such nice compliments about my Weavette squares and quilt squares. It’s one thing to think for myself that the things I make are pretty – it’s quite another when someone outside yourself agrees. So, thank you!

Thanks also to the many comments and e-mails from those who are kindred spirits in Tea. It’s nice to know I already have a community of like-minded friends in my new Tea Fancy. I think I need to go brew a cuppa…

Before I do, though, my wishes for a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend to all of you. Gryphon actually has Monday off from both jobs, so I’ll probably not post until Tuesday. Don’t know what we’ll do yet – we’re not outdoors people, and there’s a prediction of scattered thunderstorms on Monday – but we will at least take the day at our leisure and enjoy it. May you all get to do the same, no matter how you choose to spend it!

Hot Days, Cool Crafts

Filed under: Knitting,Sewing,Weaving — folkcat at 3:09 pm on Thursday, May 24, 2007

The weather is turning hot again here, which means I’m cranking the A/C as cold as it can get and staying indoors. I just don’t tolerate the heat well. But then, since we have no yard, and I don’t like most outdoor activities anyway, I don’t have much need to cope with it. So I’ll stay indoors, contentedly crafting away.

Like I’ve done all week so far. Monday and Tuesday were spent weaving the rest of the Weavettes squares I needed for my pillow, then sewing them together. Here are the results.

Weavettes Mosaics

I love how you can see the variations of color that I got throughout that length of handspun.

It’s not easy to get the seams straight on these, especially if your tension on the weaving was a little loose. I did somewhat better on the right hand piece than I did on the left hand one. But I figure that once I seam these together into a pillow, that’ll sort of straighten itself out. Sort of. I know, it’ll probably still look a little crooked in some spots, but I’m okay with that.

Meantime, though, the final pillow assembly may be delayed. Being my first time working with the Weavette looms, my calculations for the finished pillow size didn’t account for the way the fabric draws in after you pop it off the pins. My 2 and 6 inch squares actually come out a bit smaller, making the entire piece less than expected.

I had thought that I’d be getting a 14 x 14 inch finished pillow with this arrangement of squares, but in fact, it’s more like 12 inches. Oops! Good thing that 14 inches wasn’t a hard and fast plan.

Crafting as an Intuitive Process

It’s not so much that I went into this saying, “I want a 14 inch pillow,” as “This is a cool arrangement for the squares, I wonder how big it will be?” Obviously, based on my original calculations I thought the answer was 14 inches. Instead, it’s 12. So now I get to ask myself, “am I okay with 12? Or do I want to make more pieces and get to 14?”

I’ll let you know what I decide.

Quilting

Meanwhile, here are the Squares of the Week for my Bento Box wallhanging.

QIP - Bento Box, Squares 9 thru 12
QIP – Bento Box, Squares 9 through 12

This is my favorite fabric pairing so far.

I now have three sets of squares done, and there are three more to go before I figure out what my final arrangement will be for the wallhanging. Look at me go! A year ago, I don’t think I’d have ever believed I’d do any quilting, let alone an entire finished piece like this.

New Socks

No picture, because I’m only about a dozen rounds into the first toe. But I finally figured out my gauge issues on a pair of socks for myself. (Quick summary – Using Regia yarn, knitting socks for my feet, I started with US size 1.5’s as I had for Gryphon’s socks, and found the fabric looked like netting to my eyes. Wound up going down to US 0 and a 9.5/inch stitch gauge, then had to re-do all my calculations because of that. Put the project aside while I did more brainless things like hairbands.)

My issue now is that the only size 0 needles I have are from that Susan Bates set of “sock needles”. So, while they’re perfectly functional as knitting needles, they are also a full seven inches long and made of metal. I already wound up frogging half my work yesterday because I spotted a dropped stitch about 14 rounds back, which probably wouldn’t have happened except that the long needles get in each others’ way, and the metal is so slippery.

That, then, will be tonight’s Knitting at Panera project. But I’m probably going to stop at the LYS on the way, and see if I can find some shorter birch or bamboo size zeroes. I can knit on what I have, but I’ll be happier with the right needles for my work style.

I’m using the same basic toe-up pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks that I used for Gryphon, but I’ll probably pick a different stitch pattern. I’ll post a picture when there’s enough to be worth looking at!

Best. Tea. Ever.

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen — folkcat at 3:10 pm on Wednesday, May 23, 2007

ingenuitea_edited.jpgOkay, let me tell you right up front – today’s post is going to sound a bit like a commercial. You see, I just got this freakin’ awesome new toy – the IngenuiTea dispensing teapot from Adagio Teas. I’d read about it on other folks’ blogs, and it sounded pretty incredible, but Gryphon and I didn’t do anything about it for a long time.

Then, a few weeks ago, we caught an episode of Modern Marvels on the History Channel that was all about Tea. Both of us came away from that show with a new interest in trying to drink more, and better, tea. And I remembered about the IngenuiTea, and decided to try to find one.

I do have a good resource for teas locally – The Cozy Tea Cart in Brookline, NH. We stopped by there one afternoon, and came away with a gold mesh tea infuser for Gryphon that sits inside your mug and lifts your tea leaves out when you’re done steeping. It works well, but I was still stuck on a desire for the IngenuiTea.

After exhausting all attempts to find one at a local shop, I resolved to buy one from the makers at Adagio Teas. There, I found an interesting deal – you can buy the IngenuiTea for $19 plus shipping. Or, you can buy the starter kit, which includes an IngenuiTea, four ten-cup samples of tea in little tins, and a nice little book all about tea – varieties, history, brewing techniques, and more.

The cost for the starter kit with all those goodies? $19.

Yup, exactly the same as the IngenuiTea costs without anything extra.

Obviously, my choice was to go with the starter kit. You can even buy it in different varieties – I chose the Green Tea kit, which includes samples of four different green teas.

So, why all this fuss and bother about the IngenuiTea? Can’t I just use a simple infuser like Gryphon bought, or even a classic tea ball?

Part of it is that I’m a gadget freak, and the IngenuiTea is a gadget. Part of it is that I’d seen such good reviews of it on other blogs. But a big part of it is that, based on everything I’d read about how it works, I thought I’d be able to brew a better cup of tea.

The concept is simple. The IngenuiTea is a clear tea pot, with a built-in mesh strainer. You put your loose tea into the pot and fill it with 16 ounces of water of the appropriate temperature. You can actually see the tea brewing, can evaluate the color of the resulting tea (important if you’re getting a second, or even third, brewing from the same leaves – you know you’ll get good flavor if the color is the same).

Then comes the magic of the IngenuiTea. When your tea has reached the proper strength, you take the pot, and set it on top of your mug. This opens a little valve on the bottom of the pot, and the tea drains out directly into your mug. No muss, no fuss, no dripping, and no tea leaves floating around in the tea you’re drinking. And if you’re like me, and like to get multiple brewings from the same leaves, you can just keep the tea in the pot and add water again.

My IngenuiTea just arrived today, and I didn’t waste any time trying it out. I scooped a couple spoonfuls of the Gen Mai Cha into the pot, and added water. Gen Mai Cha is a green tea with the addition of toasted brown rice and popped corn as extenders. Originally a peasant brew (tea was costly, extending it saved money), it’s become popular for the flavor the rice and corn adds.

After the recommended three minutes, I drained the Gen Mai Cha into my mug. The aroma was heavenly, and the flavor!

Oh. My. Gawd.

Simply the best cup of tea I’ve ever had.

The flavor is still with me now, even after eating lunch and drinking other beverages. I can’t wait until I have my next cup of tea, and I can’t wait to try the other three samples – Citron Green, Pomegranate Green, and Hojicha. Each smells fresh and wonderful. Then I have to decide which of the other incredible sounding teas – they have dozens on their website – I want to try out next time.

I’m so impressed with the IngenuiTea, I’ve added a link to the company over on my sidebar. Go, check them out – if you like teas at all, you’ll love what they have to offer. Additionally, as a customer of Adagio Teas I have the ability to send anyone I like a free $5 gift certificate. If you’d like one, just drop me an e-mail at fiber (AT) folkcatart (DOT) com with the e-mail address you’d like to receive the certificate at. Or leave a comment, that works too.

Edited to add: When you ask me for the gift certificate, be sure to tell me a first and a last name – Adagio requires both for the form I fill out. Thanks!

In case you couldn’t tell, I am very excited about this. I’m hoping that being able to drink better tea so easily will help to wean me off of diet sodas. I loves me my Pepsi Jazz, but in the end, I know it would be better if I could get away from the artificial ingredients.

Sometime ago, I had also given up my beloved evening ritual of a little snack served with a nice glass of wine. The main reason was cost (decent wine isn’t cheap!), but my doctor had expressed concern about even that small amount of alcohol, too. (I am a borderline diabetic, under control with meds and diet, and a slight hypertensive. I suppose she had a point.)

Now, though, I’m envisioning a new evening ritual – heat the water, load the tea leaves into the pot, light a candle, lay out my tray with a nice cheese and some crackers, or perhaps some fruit, and relax with an amazing tea.

I’m a durned happy camper right now! And likely to become a massive tea snob. I’m already feeling disappointed in the Panera Iced Tea I usually drink at the Thursday Night Knitting Around…

End of Commercial Message. Normal Crafting Resumes in Tomorrow’s Post – I Promise! Look for photos of my Weavette Pillow made from my own handspun yarn, and this week’s quilt squares!

Giant Marsupial Rats

Filed under: Blogfriends,Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Rats!,Weaving — folkcat at 2:06 pm on Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bet that got your attention, huh? The funny part is, I didn’t make that up just to make you look – I have a genuine reason to refer to “Giant Marsupial Rats”.

One of my Very Good BlogFriends, Valerie, is currently traveling around Australia visiting family and friends. She’s been able to stay somewhat connected while there, so there have been very interesting posts of her adventures, complete with photos of Aussie wildlife.

She’s also been very sweet in thinking of me while she’s there, and has sent these postcards. That’s a kookaburra on the left (kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, eatin’ all the gumdrops he can see…). The creature on the right, however, is the source of this post’s title.

Postcards from Oz

Valerie posted about her visit to Rottnest Island, and the creatures known as Quokkas, in her post here. The quokkas are cat-sized marsupials, and as friendly as squirrels in a city park. (Read – they come up to you and beg for food!) Dutch settlers thought they looked like rats – and they do, somewhat, including a long, naked tail. This is what gave the island it’s name – Rottenest, or Rat Nest, recently shortened to Rottnest.

I think Valerie knew how much I’d love the idea of a friendly, giant, marsupial rat. After all, we’re a very rat-friendly home here. We even have our own versions of rats’ nests!

Sable in her Den
Sable’s Den

Sable is still fond of the tissue box we gave her for the Rattie Birthday celebration. These days, it lives on an ottoman near the front corner of my chair, just beside the table that their cage rests on. She’s taken to spending most of her daytime sleep hours (while I’m home to supervise, of course) curled up in this box, under the celestial throw that they also like to crawl around under.

We’ve always kept a tissue box inside the cage for nesting, too. That’s a favorite spot for Star. I caught her sleeping in it at the same time I took the photo of Sable above, but I don’t think Star was too pleased to be disturbed for the picture!

Sleepy-eyed Star
Star on a Knitted Blanket

That’s a garter-stitch knitted washcloth, aka Rattie Rug, folded up for a nice cushion. Fear not, Star was not irretrievably disrupted – moments later, she curled back up and is now snoozing comfortably.

Handspun Monday

It’s not always about actual spinning, it turns out. Some days, it’s about making things with my handspun.

I’ve mentioned last week about the Weavettes looms that I purchased at NH S&W, and showed pictures of my rapid progress in weaving squares on them. Most successful so far is the pink/orange/red handspun yarn, which is coming out a lovely, heathered tweed in variations of light and dark.

I am definitely going to make a throw pillow from these squares. Each side will have four 6″ squares in the corners, separated by central vertical and horizontal bands of 2″ squares. That will make a 14″ pillow, a size I can easily buy a readymade form for.

I found vintage weaving loom books on the web in PDF format, and picked up a simple texture to add some interest to the whole thing. Half of my squares will now be done in plain weave, but half in texture, and I’ll mix them half and half on each side of the pillow.

Here’s a comparison of the two weaves – plain on the left, textured on the right.

WIP - Weavette Squares, Plain vs. Textured
Weavettes squares – plain (l) and textured (r)

All my plain squares are done – 4 large, 13 small. So far, I’ve got 2 large textured squares, with another in progress, and 8 small ones. Not much further to go, and I can start sewing these all together.

Cooking

The idea of doing more stir-fried meals is definitely catching on for me. On Sunday, I improvised a very nice Beef with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce (with red pepper strips for added color), which Gryphon couldn’t stop giving me compliments for all night – and into the next day. Positive reinforcement like that will go a long ways towards making me want to do this again!

And I already have – last night, even though Gryphon was at work, I made a nice big pile of Tofu, Asparagus, Snow Peas, and Water Chestnuts. Kept the sauce simple on this one – just soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, with a little toasted sesame oil as a finishing touch. Would have loved some ginger in it, but I didn’t have any in the house.

Had a large bowlful over rice for my dinner, and packed up two more sizable servings that Gryphon can take for his meal at work over the next day or two. It’s got me eating better, and it cuts down the number of work meals that Gryphon has to assemble for himself – making it a little easier for him to manage both the full-time and part-time jobs together. Win-win all around, I’d say!

Pattern! Fluffy Ribbed Hairbands

Filed under: Downloads - Original Knitting Patterns,Knitting — folkcat at 1:02 pm on Monday, May 21, 2007

I did, indeed, spend most of my crafting effort this weekend on knitted hairbands. I had settled early on a stitch pattern (a modified Shaker rib) and a cast-on number that worked. There was much experimentation with different yarns and needle sizes.

FO - Knitted Hairbands
Seven of Nine

These are the seven finished ones that weren’t on my head at the moment of photo-taking, and there’s another hairband still on the needles, for a total of nine.

The first ones I knit are rather longer than the later ones. I was paranoid about making sure they’d stretch enough to fit my head, yet still stay on. And they do stay on. But at first, I was knitting to about 22 inches, and my later ones are ranging from 16 to 18 inches, depending on the yarn.

I’ll probably stop the concerted effort when I finish the current hairband. But I imagine that, anytime I find myself with an odd bit of yarn leftover, or another yarn catches my fancy, I’ll cast-on for yet another hairband to add to the wardrobe.

Quickly, here’s my “pattern” for my Fluffy Ribbed Hairbands:

Materials – any smooth-finish yarn. Mine ranged from fingering weight (sock yarns) to DK and sport. While it may be tempting to use fun furs or other novelty yarns, they just won’t work well – you have to be able to see the stitches easily to work this pattern.

Needles – I used size 4 through size 8, depending on the yarn. For sock yarns, I used the fours. For most DK or sport, I used 5 or 6.

If you’re not sure about your needle and yarn choices, knit at least 3 inches in pattern with your yarn and see if you like the results. The hairband should be soft and springy, with a fair bit of stretch along the length. If it’s too tight, go up one or two needle sizes.

Special StitchesK1 in stitch below. This is simple. Instead of putting your right hand needle into the stitch on the left hand needle, put it into the stitch just below that one – the stitch from the previous row. Pull the working yarn through just as you would in normal knitting, and drop the stitch off the left hand needle.

The Pattern

Cast on 8 stitches.

Row 1 (set-up row): Knit
Row 2 (and all remaining rows): *K1, K1 in stitch below*, repeat between *’s to last two stitches, end with K2.

Keep repeating Row 2 until you reach 16 inches or so (for an adult head). You can also test fit as you go. Just hold the cast-on edge along with the needle end, and try to slip it on your head. If it’s too tight, keep going for at least another inch.

Bind off loosely in pattern. Whipstitch the two ends together, and cut the excess yarn. Wear, and enjoy!

Friday Wrap-Up

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Daily Life,Gryphon,Knitting,Sewing — folkcat at 1:58 pm on Friday, May 18, 2007

Yesterday, Gryphon finished up his first week of working at the new part-time job in addition to his full-time job. He’s really liking the new position, and they seem to like him as well. We also seem to be managing the household chores and his sleep so that this is doable, at least so far.

Gryphon’s spirits have been much improved by this, too, and that’s always a good thing. He and I tend to feed off of each other’s emotions – when one of us is down, we’re both down. If you believe in biorhythms, our emotional cycles in our biorhythm charts are almost exact matches. One of us is a day ahead of the other (I forget which). Talk about closely tuned! It makes things good when they’re good, but when they’re bad, it can get really bad if we’re not careful.

Fortunately, right now things are good, and outside forces like having enough income and being able to catch up on the bills are helping to keep them that way.

Cooking

I’ve been eating a little better. At least, occasionally. Not long ago, I saw a repeat of an Iron Chef America (ICA) episode where the secret ingredient was tofu. I watched in fascination as the two chefs created a huge variety of different dishes with bean curd. Every one seemed quite easy to do.

I’ve eaten tofu before, and actually like it. It’s one of those things that fell off my radar a number of years ago, though. All my desire to do home cooking vanished when I had my own store to run, and by the time we closed the store, Gryphon was working a second shift job, and there was never a meal we ate together other than breakfast. Dinner these days is mostly eaten by myself while he works.

Inspired by the tofu episode of ICA, though, I picked up a brick of tofu, a little broccoli, and some water chestnuts, and improvised a stir-fry dish. We already had soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, minced garlic, and toasted sesame oil in the house as standard condiments. I made a pot of rice (we love our little rice cooker!), and had a delicious meal.

It was successful enough that I’ve repeated the idea a couple of times already, refining the sauce ingredients, varying them some. I even got adventurous enough to get the peanut butter out and make a peanut sauce! Clearly, I’ve retained enough memories of how Chinese cuisine goes together to be able to create simple recipes on the fly. This has been another morale boost for me, and certainly, I’m eating better than I have in a long time.

Weekends are the one opportunity for Gryphon and I to have dinner together. I’m going to make us a stir-fry dinner this weekend. I’m thinking we’ll pick up a nice little piece of beef, and I’ll improvise a Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (another cupboard condiment). Yum!

Quilting

As for crafting, with my improved mood I have been working on some projects other than the Weavette Squares and the Embroidered Rock. Wednesday was Quilting Day, and I made the next four squares in my Bento Box wallhanging:

QIP - Blocks 5 through 8

I don’t think this fabric pairing is as successful as I’d like – both fabrics are a little busy. It was darned hard to find good light/dark pairings in the oriental prints, and this project calls for six pairs altogether. Still, the fabrics do complement each other – they share some common colors, and both have similar styles and shapes of flowers.

Besides, in the final assembly they won’t be all in the same block like the photo above. They’ll be mixed in with other fabric pairings, and almost certainly there won’t be more than one of them in any given four-block.

Here’s what they look like with a couple of the squares from last week. Already, you can see how the busy-ness of the pink fabrics is toned down when they’re side-by-side with the other squares.

QIP - How the Two Fabric Combinations Work Together

Knitting

In knitting, I’ve taken on a new project. I cut my hair a couple of weeks ago – not any sort of shocking change, I just do it now and then when I get annoyed with pulling it back in a ponytail. When it’s short, I like to wear a hairband to keep it out of my eyes. But the hairbands you can find in the stores are A) usually pretty ugly, and B) mostly made for a slightly smaller head than mine, making them too tight.

I had a Duh! moment this week when I realized I had all these odds and ends of yarn in the house, plenty of needles, and two clever hands – why not knit my own hairbands? I poked at a couple of patterns on the web, and decided I could do just as well making my own.

Here’s a completed hairband (top) and one in progress (bottom):

WIP & FO - Knitted Hairbands

I’m using any DK, sport-, fingering- or baby-weight yarn that appeals to me. The stitch pattern is a modified Shaker or Fisherman’s Rib done across 8 stitches. This lends a good stretch to even the most non-elastic of the yarns I’ve used (Sockotta, for instance). From the results I’m getting, I think I could even use Perle Cotton or butcher’s twine and get a nice, elastic hairband.

Oh, and here’s a terrible, took-it-myself-in-the-bathroom-mirror, picture of a hairband in use.

FO - Pink & White Knitted Hairband

I’m wishing I’d thought of this ages ago. The knitted hairbands are more comfortable than anything I ever found readymade in the stores. They may not be the greatest stashbuster, because they use so little yarn, but then we all seem to have those tiny quantities of one yarn or another that we just can’t bring ourselves to throw out. This project is perfect for those.

I’ll try to write up the official, oh-so-complicated, pattern sometime soon. It’s just different enough from other hairbands out there (at least the ones I found) to be worth making available, I think.

I suspect these will be my “big” project of the weekend, as I aim towards creating a full wardrobe of hairbands to choose from. I look forward to finally tossing the old, tattered ones I’ve bought over the years. Hooray!

Here’s hoping you have a satisfying, crafty weekend!

Big Fish

Filed under: Daily Life — folkcat at 1:51 pm on Thursday, May 17, 2007

About a month ago, I posted about the aftermath of the torrential rains and flooding here in New Hampshire. The most notable story I shared, the one that I considered a benchmark for the sense of awe at just how much rain we got, was about what I came to know as the Wilton Town Hall Trout.

At the time, I studied Google Earth maps to try to determine where the fish, found on the road behind the Town Hall, could have come from. My speculation led to a pond at a small nature preserve, uphill from the site. It still seemed preposterously unlikely – the road between took some dips that even the heaviest of gully-washers would have had trouble cresting – but I knew that ponds in the area are stocked by a local fish hatchery, and there wasn’t any other obvious source.

Last week, the local weekly newspaper revealed the truth. The fish, a two foot long steelhead (a “sea-run species of rainbow trout”) came from much closer. Seems that a fisherman who lives across the street from Town Hall had a good run that weekend, and the steelhead, along with two other fish, was being held in a cooler in his driveway. When the rain poured down, his driveway became a mini-river, the cooler was knocked over, and, well, the rest has entered local legend.

It’s good to know what really happened. I can’t help but feel a little loss with this truth, though. Until I saw this article, the Town Hall Trout was a little like the tales of trees impaled by wisps of straw and houses being deposited unharmed hundreds of feet from their foundation by a cyclone. Now, it’s just a fisherman’s catch swept down a driveway. The image still invokes a sense of “what the?”, but knowing the real source of the fish removed a tiny touch of magic and wonderment from the world.

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