Lynn's blog

John in his vest
Started: 11/02/06
Finished: 12/03/06
Materials: Brown Sheep Company Top o' the Lamb in Brownstone, trusty 24" bamboo #8 Clover circs, wooden craft buttons stained to match-ish
Pattern: Plain vest from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns

This went together very quickly, especially for me. It would have been done even sooner had I not dallied in blocking and finishing it. The side seams are almost obscenely tidy, and make up for the frankly sloppy shoulder seaming and the slightly off-kilter buttonholes. It fits perfectly.

I'm sort of between projects now. I've got a sweater for Josie on the trusty #8 circs, but I'm not liking the texture. I want something softer for a sweater for her--or for anyone, really. Romney is a bit scratchy for next to the skin. But I promised her that yarn, and the next thing off the needles, so I'm toying with making a large shawl for her instead, maybe in old shale. It'd be fine for that.

In the meantime I'm crocheting of all things a night cap, patterned after the ones girls used to wear in the 18th-19th century. Not the stocking-cap kind, more bonnet-y. Josie started wearing a wool cap to bed at night lately so I thought I'd make her a proper one.

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The Rolly Polly Policeman

Look in the archives for past episodes.

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The Candy Pirates

Look through the archives for past episodes.

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Presto the Magician

Look in the archives for other episodes.

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Samuel the Seal

Look through the archives for past episodes.

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Here's episode five:

Weasly the Wailing Whale

For the other episodes, look back in the Diary archives.

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I haven't done one of these in a while, so here is some linkiness for a Saturday:

Conservation begins at home. Of the top five industrialized CO2-emitting nations, citizens of the US can do the most on their own to reduce global warming. Translation: What you do DOES matter, whether it's turning your thermostat down or replacing all your light bulbs for compact fluorescents. Plus also? Massive money savings. It's more than a personal virtue, folks.

Which brings me to the latest TNH poll: How important is energy conservation to your family?

New diagnostic technique may improve breast cancer detection: "In a small study of 80 women, the technique — called 'elastography' — distinguished harmless lumps from malignant ones with nearly 100 percent accuracy." Best of all, it's a non-invasive technique--no painful biopsies with long waiting periods for results. The researchers need to look at a larger study group than 80, but here's crossing our fingers; this could save a lot of women a lot of pain, and lead to instant diagnoses of malignancies. Every day saved is life saved when it comes to cancer.

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Here is the next episode of the Cinnamon Bear:

The Inkaboos

(First three episodes here.)

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I have been meaning to do this since forever:

From now until Christmas, I'll be posting an episode a day of the Cinnamon Bear. Ask your mom (or grandma) and they'll remember listening to this old-time radio show every year at holiday time. It was originally broadcast in 1937. Because there are 26 episodes, I'll give you three today to catch up! I shoulda started earlier! Next year I will.

Episode 1: Paddy O'Cinnamon

Episode 2: Weary Willy

Episode 3: The Crazy Quilt Dragon

Each is 15 minutes long. To save each episode to your computer, with a Mac ctrl-click the link and choose "save as...", with Windows I think it's a left-click? whichever isn't the usual way you click with a multi-button mouse. This will be the first year I've actually remembered to get these files and play them for the girls, so I'm excited. :)

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It's not sticking here, but it's falling. I'm sitting here wrapped in a blankie wearing a sweater I knit a long long time ago (and that is still too big) watching the flakes float down. The girls are beside themselves, but disappointed it's not sticking. It's still early, though, and it's supposed to get very, very cold this week, so who knows...

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apple cranberry pie

Make pie! Yeah, I know, I am the world's worst photographer, but this really was pretty good. No recipe to speak of but this is how I'd tell you to do it:

Take your favorite apple pie recipe and leave out one or more apples. Make up the rest with leftover whole cranberry sauce. Top it however you like, with a top crust or otherwise. Cook as you usually would. I used a store-boughten crust and didn't have a top crust, so I put a "crisp" topping on it--butter, spices, rolled oats. Pretty good!

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How about an Amazon gift certificate? As many of you know, TNH is partly funded by the Amazon affiliate programs; anything you buy via this website from Amazon US, UK or Canada gives TNH a commission, at no cost to you. And it's not just the one item you may have clicked through on; it's everything you buy in that session.

Now Amazon is also giving affiliates commissions on the perfect gift that everyone wants--gift certificates! The link above goes to the US store; UK people, gift certificates are here, and Canadian folks, your gift certificate link is here.

So if you do a lot of Amazon holiday shopping--I do almost ALL of my holiday shopping there myself, they make it too easy to do it any other way--John and I ask you, this year especially with him out of work, to remember to buy through us. Thank you.

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As always I'm grateful for all y'all out there. :) I hope you're enjoying your day!

ETA: Right! I finally got control of the new camera and took some pictures to show you what I'm thankful for.


Pie! The crust is store-boughten spelt (I haven't gotten the hang of a homemade spelt crust yet) but the filling's mine, from scratch. I roasted the punkin myself last night, and I had enough filling for the pie and a little ramekin--pumpkin custard. psst: the secret to my pumpkin filling success is black pepper! It adds a little bite. I'm also thankful for John, whose hands those are. :)

door quilt!
door quilt detail 1!
door quilt detail 2!

Finished Objects! First up, it's the door quilt for the back door. I took an old mattress pad whose sides had ripped out, took out the elastic, trimmed it to fit the door and then sandwiched it between some blue and white gingham and a linen-like garden catalog print. I pondered how to quilt it without a walking foot on my machine and then opted for "prairie sashiko"--just a running stitch in yarn in a grid pattern. I bound it the same way and stitched a pocket for a rod at the top. It works, too--keeps out the cold from the back porch nicely.

scarf detail!

Another Finished Object! This is the handspun scarf that nearly kilt me. So far I've decided to keep it but I may change my mind.

goofy kids!

This picture pretty much sums the whole thing up. Goofy, cute little girls, picture courtesy Gramma. :)

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I'm not Phelan. Take care of that finger, girl!

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I'm against fluoridated water, which makes me a crackpot apparently. The argument against me is that fluoridation is a good way to make sure that poor people get fluoride for their teeth, and that fluoride doesn't hurt you if you ingest it. I say bollocks to that; fluoride is toxic when swallowed, and I don't like being medicated against my will.

Guess what? The American Dental Association are crackpots too, now that they've released a member advisory that fluoridated water should not be mixed into concentrated formula or foods intended for babies one year and younger. Their problem with it is the ingested fluoride will damage infant teeth.

How long have we known this? Since 1997.

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I'm just slogging through my week, there's no other word for it. John's job search is proceeding. My folks are here, too, which is very good but throws off my pace, such as it is.

What I seem to be doing well with is crafting. I'm flying through a sweater vest for John, just finishing up the left front. I finished the back last week.

I'm almost done with a door quilt for our back door, too. We have an odd little enclosed back porch, sorta like a mud room. It's long and skinny and un-insulated. Cold just comes pouring into the kitchen from that room.

We have had a series of accordion doors on it over the last 20 years. The first one lasted ten years; the next one lasted 5 years; and the last one less than a year. Ah, cheap Chinese crap, I love you so.

The area is too cramped for any kind of hinged door, and we just don't have the money to build a pocket door of some kind right now. Replacing the accordion door every ten months is not an option, and doesn't really keep out the cold that well.

So I took an old mattress pad we had, sandwiched it with blue gingham on one side and a rustic green-on-cream garden catalog print on the other, and quilted it "prairie sashiko-style"--navy yarn in a long running stitch, making a wide grid pattern. I'm currently putting on the binding the same way. I need a third packet of quilt binding before I can finish.

Now I just have to figure out how to hang it; it's HEAVY! And if it doesn't work out? It's a great throw.

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At our little UU congregation, we do a thing called Joys and Concerns. In "regular old" churches, I think it'd be called community prayer or something. A person comes up, lights a candle, and shares something good or something bad with the congregation.

This week I have both a joy and a concern to share. The concern is that John (who posts here as JJ) lost his job Thursday. Naturally, we're a little upset.

The joy is that he's started going through his contacts, letting people know he's looking, and the response he's gotten has been more than heartening. John has done a lot over the years to help others--people looking for work, friends down on their luck, or co-workers struggling to learn the ropes. He's been overwhelmed with offers of help. And that gives us hope that we can get through this.

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If you don't vote, you can't bitch.

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I'm well and truly into menopause. My cycle is fluctuating wildly, settling for a while at an odd but at least predictable 6 weeks and then swinging annoyingly into 3 weeks. I get weepy, anxious, depressed, frustrated, angry in turns for no obvious reasons.

And to add to my joy?

"Mom? Why do my nipples hurt?" says Josie. Hurt how? "I dunno, they just sorta hurt. And my chest is kinda lumpy." I'd already noticed her waist thinning a little and her hips rounding a bit. On closer inspection, it was pretty clear: Girl you'll be a woman soon. Her hair is getting oilier and she's starting to have meltdowns over little things. Based on my own age when I started, the ages of the other women in the family when they started, and her own recent changes, I give her two years tops to join us women.

I'm so not ready for this.

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Started: 10/24/06
Finished: 10/30/06
Materials: Handspun slubby 2-ply in various purples, pinks and blues, of various fibers--mostly wool with silk, mohair and a little angora bunny; my trusty circular bamboo 8's
Pattern: Feather and Fan/Old Shale

This was a quick knit, once I got the dang thing going, and it turned out nicely. I'm thinking of keeping it. (Update: I gave it to my counselor; it reminded me of her office.)

Now on the needles--the exact same trusty 8s, it seems I make everything on those except socks--is a simple, warm vest for John in good ol' Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb, color Brownstone. It's a really lovely gray shot with a warm brown, and will make a very nice vest. John's a vest kinda guy. After that's done, it's on to a cardigan for Josie in the blue-green Romney I spun earlier this year, though I'm thinking of doing a quickie something for LouLou first. She hasn't had a knitted piece from me in a while, and she could use a sweater actually.

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When we first started going to our little church (which is uncomfortable about being called a church but coming up with a different term is hard), the other parents told me how important the "archway" ceremony was to the kids. We make an archway across the aisle with our arms and sing, and the children walk underneath and down the stairs to religious education. It must be true, because LouLou is in the other room making little toilet paper ghosts and singing to herself:

Go now in peace, go now in peace
May the spirit of love surround you
Everywhere, everywhere you may go!

It's making me smile.

I will be SO glad when Halloween is over. The kids are driving us, well, bats! Josie found out this year that traditionally people made their costumes, rather than buying them. Well! then we had to make costumes this year, too. I think I gave birth to a traditionalist. She assembled both her and Lou's costumes out of our extensive dress-up collection. The only thing we bought was make-up.

LouLou is going as the Halloween Fairy, dolled up in every fairy-like item we have, and Josie is going as a ghost. She's wearing a white shirt, the white pinafore from her pioneer dress, and a white veil over her head. Someone asked her if she was a particular ghost; she looked down at her pinafore, looked up with that "bright idea" look she gets, and said "yeah! I must be the ghost of Laura Ingalls Wilder!" (That's for you, Phelan. ;) )

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--The real world?:

So, when was the last time you were beaten up at work? Or a bunch of mom's at the park decide to assualt another mother so they can record it on their cell phones for later viewing entertainment?

Yet, this is the abuse that some insist that children need to experience as an integral part of childhood. I want strong, capably children, but is leaving them in bad company unprotected the way to achieve that end? I don't think so.

Me neither. But then I'm one of those oversheltering, smothering homeschoolers...

--On a happier note, Halloween printables!

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Daylight savings time is ending. Set your clocks BACK an hour tonight. If Daylight Savings is so freakin' fantastic, why don't we just permanently set the clock and forget about it? All this fiddling makes me crazy!

thus endeth my semi-annual rant. ;)

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I don't know if it's menopause or the heart stuff, but I am so cold all the time these days. Sometimes it's just my hands, but lately it's been my core--my torso--to the point that I sorta pull in, round my shoulders, gather myself to myself. Then my chest starts to hurt and I think, "uh oh," but working with my counselor on Wednesday we realized I was just COLD and my chest hurt because I was all hunched in.

Right now I'm thanking my lucky stars for my huge kitchen window. It's a sunny day here, cool but sunny, and the light and warmth is just streaming into the kitchen. I've got my back to it, and I'm just soaking up the heat. I've even turned up my shirts to let my bare skin get the sun (no worries, nothing naughty exposed). aaahhh. At night I've been sitting in the TV room with my "Warm Up Lynn" blankie over my shoulders and another over my knees. And in the shower I am practically bathing in the hot water tank.

It's weird. Why am I so cold? I thought menopause was all about the hot flashes, and I've had a couple of those, but this constant chill...

Suffice it to say I've ramped up my knitting efforts. I'm surrounded by wool, so there's no excuse for me to be cold.

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--Is the sexy costume thing for women driving you nuts this Halloween? If you don't mind four-letter words, this fake commercial for Girls's Costume Warehouse is hysterical. Again: THERE ARE FOUR LETTER WORDS IN THE COMMERCIAL. If this is a problem for you, or you're at work, don't click. And the whole costume thing makes me crazy. "Sexy pope! Sexy lobster!" [via]

--The ozone hole over the Antarctic is bigger than ever. Human-produced gases are destroying the ozone that protects us from the deadlier forms of solar radiation. yay team. [via]

--The Sierra Club reminds parents to watch out for lead in Halloween toys and props. Hat tip to Asha.

--And while we're on the subject of children's health, mumps is on the rise in the US, with nearly 6,000 cases reported this year. The average age was 22, and the majority of cases were in women. Calls for vaccinating against mumps more aggressively are out, which leads me to ask: do you vaccinate your kids?

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I have been swatching...and swatching...and--well, you get the idea--with this slubby stuff I spun earlier this year from some batts I got at last year's OFFF. The colors are various shades of purple from mauve to lilac to eggplant, a soft periwinkle blue, and bits of other oddments. It's mostly wool but there's some angora, silk, and possibly something like soy silk or tencel in there just to confuse me.

This stuff evaded all efforts to be made into something. I swatched on big needles, smaller ones, open patterns, closed, garter, stockinette, in the round, lace--nothing. It all sucked.

Finally in desperation I actually cracked open my pattern books. I don't like using patterns; I hate having to drag a book around or copy off the pattern blah blah blah. Annoying. So imagine my joy when I found a pattern in Scarf Style that barely qualifies as a pattern. It's just a length of feather and fan in fancy yarn.

But! it was just what was needed. I cast on and viola! apparently this yarn wanted to be a feather and fan scarf, because it's working up nicely. I'm not sure if I'm keeping it for myself or if I'll put it in the gift pile. What gift pile, I don't have a gift pile going at all this year. I have a pair of socks waiting for my mom when she gets here next month and that's about it for the gift pile. True, I don't have a scarf, but this stuff fought me so hard I'm not sure I trust putting it round me neck.

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--Can We Call It Re-goodie-ing? is Parent Hacks's solution to the seemingly endless stream of little plastic crap toys that enter the house. Know what I mean? Trinkets. My mom is always saying, where did all this crap come from? Damfino. We sure don't buy it. This isn't a half-bad idea.

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--A reader at Get Rich Slowly asks JD, Why Bother with Personal Finance? After all, some of the stories he tells of people trying to be responsible don't end all that well...

--Oh, to be a poor little rich girl: Parents harass a hapless high school coach. Why? Because their little darlings are sitting on the bench. It's like the old saying goes--these people were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

--Firefox 2.0 is here! joyous squeal!

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Started: 10/20/06
Finished: 10/21/06
Pattern: Super Simple Tea Cosy in a bigger gauge that the generator doesn't provide. (Sorry!)
Materials: Clover/Tahki Bamboo circ #8, sport/fingering weight 2-ply Wensleydale in an eyepopping yellow and pink colorway, spun from roving bought at Black Sheep Gathering 2005. Oh, and the cording has a strand of green DMC perl cotton, which you really can't see in the picture but which just makes the thing "pop."

This yarn has been sitting in the bin, slowly getting whittled away as Josie's cut little bits off of it for various projects. It was promised to her for a shawl, but slowly we both came to the realization that Wensleydale, as beautiful as it is, is not a garment wool. She gave me permission to use it for something else.

What possessed me to buy this roving in the first place, I cannot say. These are not my colors. But now, spun up and knitted double, I couldn't be more pleased. It makes my English teapot look like a giant peach. The sheen and texture of the Wensleydale is just right in this use. And now I have a second tea cosy and can wash my old one, which is getting pretty ratty indeed!

My new dilemma: I don't have anything on the needles! And I need a knitting project. Oh--well...there is the never-ending pi shawl. Because I'm so uninspired, perhaps that's the project I should be working on...

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I've been putting craft-related stuff that I do over at; this was to have been my site for my knitting and spinning students, but since I'm not teaching any more, and no one goes there (fewer than 20 people a day, compared to thousands here), there's not much point. So I'll be folding all my knitting and spinning stuff into TNH, where it should have been all along, and redirecting over here.

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