Saturday, December 28, 2013

Into the Closet

Last post I showed you the gifts I gave- but I also was the fortunate recipient of some cool crafty gifts.   My mom noticed a lack of couch cushions in the library (I threw out the old ones- they were disgusting).   And so she gave me some new ones she had made (the quilted one) and a couple more she had been given- cat and yarn themed, even!
And look at the colors! They're a great match for the couch.  My mom has a really terrific eye for color. 

And then my sister, who has some kind of magic superpower for finding things in secondhand shops, scored an absolute treasure trove of knitting books. 
No less than four fabulous books on lace knitting, a book on traditional Fair Isle, and another book of patterns.  This is going to provide years of knitting inspiration. 

And then my dad joined in on the crafty action with a card case.  Index cards in fact (which we were low on and needed more of...he may be psychic too).
But where is the craft connection, you wonder?  Look more closely:
The case was an advertising piece for the Franklin Process Company- the calendar is from 1934.  The Franklin company was a yarn dyer- weavers would send natural thread to them for dyeing, and they would return it in the ordered color wound onto rods ready to load into the commercial looms.  A rather cute piece of textile history.  I've put it on the shelf in front of my recipe box, but a bunch of the index cards are already planned to be used for notes on a space battle (in a game we'll be playing at New Year's).

It's been rather an odd holiday week.  Having Wednesday off, then going back to work on Thursday and Friday has me all turned around- I don't know which day is up.  Today, Saturday?  Still, I've been moving along with various projects. 
The last of the bulky-weight hats is done:

Once I cast it off, I experienced a state of mild confusion...I don't have any knitting deadlines!   Quite odd.  While I was trying to organize my thoughts and decide what to do next, I cast on another sock.   It always helps the thinking process to have my hands moving. 

I pulled out a couple of skeins of Panda Silk (wool/bamboo/silk blend) that I had in stash and cast on a toe up version of the Sagittarius socks- still having the pattern in memory was convenient and I also wanted to see it in a solid color- a good choice, as it's even more stunning than it was in the multicolor yarn. 

I actually sort of do know what I'm doing next- there are a couple of sweater WIPs that need to be finished up-- but they're not all that portable, so having a pair of socks on the needles is never a bad plan. 

Also, since I was home today with (surprisingly) no commitments, I was determined to try and get some house projects moving.  I got a start on one off the Lost Projects list .  (I'll show you that one later- I've got to wait for glue to dry, and I'm not altogether sure it's going to work anyway.) 

I did get one small project completely finished, however.  Technically, it's not a lost project, as it's only been on the list a couple of weeks.  But I figured that heading it off before it became lost was a worthy endeavor.  Plus, it's really annoying having most of my work clothes in a pile on the chest in the bedroom.   See, my closet had a small structural failure. 
See the bracket bend over double?  That hook is what used to hold up the west end of the clothes rod in the closet.   This, of course, is a classic case of procrastination not paying off.  My husband told me that bracket was pulling out of the wall 6 months ago.  And I knew when I originally put up the darned bracket that it wasn't as secure as it ought to be.   The problem was, the wall on the right had no studs located where I could easily put a support on the wall.   And while the other end of the pole does have a stud and I did put a support on it (which is the only reason both brackets didn't pull out), it was a crappy plastic support.   Add to this my laziness in not putting my summer clothes away in the cedar closet downstairs when I got the winter things out (I just crammed everything into the upstairs closet thinking I'd deal with it later)--well, the results were predictable. The whole thing collapsed with an almighty crash in the middle of the afternoon a few weeks ago. 

Being as I had knitting deadlines for Christmas, I didn't jump right on it.  But the whole lack of functional closet space has gotten old fast.  So I did hit the hardware store for some replacement rod brackets last week, and this afternoon I tackled the job in sensible steps.   First I found the inconveniently located studs and installed some cross-bracing, so I'd have something solid to mount the clothes rod hardware to.  (This was accompanied by a certain feeling of chagrin, as it was what I knew I should have done in the first place.  Can't complain too much, however, as the crappy original job did last 7 years.)   Then I measured, re-measured, checked levels, and finally mounted the new (and much stronger) hardware.   The rod had to be cut to length- the room taken up by the bracing meant it needed to be shortened.  And finally I straightened the bent bracket and re-mounted it, moving it over a stud for additional security.  Overkill, since I wasn't planning on hanging clothes from it again, but I figured that since I had to move the bracket anyway, I might as well do it right.  Really, there's a remarkable amount of fussy measuring and fitting for even a simple job like this one.  But the in end I got a functional closet.   
Of course the job wasn't complete until Biscuit had inspected it, and pronounced it satisfactory. 
Either that, or he was dismayed that I'd vacuumed up all the cat hair along with the drill droppings, and is now planning to start over covering it with fluff. 

I'm torn between being pleased it's fixed, and annoyed because if I'd done it this way to begin with, I'd never have had this problem.   It is very gratifying to have had all the tools on hand to deal with it, however.  Now I just need to keep up my momentum, and knock some more projects off the list while I have the chance....we'll see if that plan survives contact with the enemy!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

All is Revealed

Not that it was all that much knitting this Christmas.  However, I started with a pair of Fetching mitts for my sister.  Yarn is Patons Canadiana, which is heavier than the pattern calls for...but then we run to big hands, so having the mitts come out bigger was really what I was after.  And...I apparently never photographed them.  Drat. 

Second project was a pair of socks for my mom.  These were made in Berroco Comfort Sock, which is an acrylic/nylon sock yarn, and by far my favorite of the wool-free sock yarns I've tried. 
I was very pleased with them- pattern is Small Capitals from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. 
And last- and most astonishing, is a pair of WanderingCat's Sagittarius socks for my sister- in a skein of yarn my sister gave me (hey, this kind of behavior should be encouraged!) from Deep Water Dye Works.  Very pretty stuff, and lovely to knit. 

The colorway is called Pensacola Bay, and I told my sister she should imagine she was wading in warm tropical water every time she puts them on. 
What was astonishing about them, you wonder?  They are fast.  Seriously fast.  These socks?  Were a ball of yarn on Thursday night.  I grafted the toes on them Tuesday evening.  I didn't even have to stay up late.  The only remotely comparable pair I've had were a pair of short plain socks I knit at a music festival- to do a pair of patterned socks in 4 days flat (two of which I worked, and could only knit in the evening)- that's unheard of.   And I had to add a pattern repeat (72 stitches around is pretty much the minimum that will accommodate the feet in my family, and I don't like to go up in needle size because I like a dense fabric for long wear).  
The only downside is it's going to give me an inflated idea of how much knitting I can get done in a short amount of time next year! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I keep thinking of things I must blog about, usually at some completely un-useful time, like when I'm in the car, and then being startled when I get online later and realize, nope, haven't written that post either.   So, let me run down the list:

Department of New Yarn:
I received my order from Wandering Cat Yarns just after Thanksgiving.  And just the packaging was so pretty, I decided to save it and open it at my knitting group so there would be more than just me to appreciate it.  For example:
It came with an adorable card...and, see?  A pawprint stitch marker.  Awwww....

And the yarn itself inspired a round of impressed petting and serious lust among my fellow knitters:
My photo really doesn't do it's gorgeous!  Of course now I want to cast it on- cast it all on!

Department of Holiday Preparations:
Holiday prep is going about as well as can be expected.  The last bit of baking is in the oven, boxes that needed to be shipped have been shipped (late, but what else is new?), and all shopping is complete and wrapped.  Despite the best efforts of my stalwart know what is less useful than a cat helping with your wrapping?  Two cats.  And I'm given to understand that curling ribbon is very, very exciting.  I did not get any photos of this activity, being rather too busy trying to rescue the wrapping and gifts.   Biscuit was miffed.
Curling ribbon, yum, yum!

You notice what I left out here?  Yeah, that would be the knitting.   Which is actually fine, given my usual known propensity for putting more on the knitting list than is actually humanly possible to accomplish.  Since I have learned to accept this and divided my knitting into an "A" list and  a "B" list (that's the wildly optimistic part of the list), it's not really a problem.  Thanks to the Lost Projects, I wound up demoting one project to the B-list, and the rest is completely probably doable.

Speaking of B-list, the last chunky hat didn't make it in time to be collected at the knit-a-thon, so I'll have a starter for next year's holiday knits. 

And that brings me to:
Department of Lost Projects:
This hasn't been the sweeping masterpiece of efficiency that I hoped it would be (I knew better, but hey, optimist here.)  But I have made some progress.  I was astonished and pleased when I went to look for replacement buttons for a favorite jacket and found:

Identical buttons to the missing one still being sold.  (The top one is off the jacket, the two below are the new ones.)  How awesome is that?  So I got just the two and sewed on a new one plus the one I'd snipped off to take to the store with me (it was loose and needed to be re-sewed more securely anyhow).   And that was one.

And for my next trick, I tackled the glove liners my husband has been asking for- he loves his knitted wool gloves, but on windy days, they just aren't warm enough.  This is the project I bought rip-stop nylon for- not once, but twice!- and hadn't gotten to in over a year.   It went surprisingly quickly once I remembered (from my last foray into glovemaking circa 1993) that all the fiddly little sewing is much easier to do by hand than on the machine.  It didn't hurt that I've done enough hand-quilting since then that my hand-sewing is a lot faster and neater than it used to be either.  They look kind of funky- being liners, I left the seams on the outside so the inside would be more comfortable on the hand, and I had to put darts in the side-seams (the pattern was written for a stretchier fabric), but they came out fairly well.   I'll see how they wear- I'm considering a layered concept for a future pair of gloves.  For an encore, I darned up a hole in the gloves.  (Another pair of gloves is going to become a priority for next year, I'm thinking.)

The first piece of rip-stop nylon that I mislaid hasn't turned up yet, but I'm expecting it any day. 

So- now it's time to go back to knitting on my A-list project, dreaming about promoting the B-list one back onto the Christmas list, and wondering if I can fit in another lost project without losing my grip on the other two.  Hey, we all have to have ambitions, right?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Valley of Lost Projects

It was positively embarrassing.  My parents were visiting last weekend and my mom and I went into the sewing room.  Which was trashed, admittedly, but that's not the embarrassing part.  No, I was horrified to note the piles of projects which I had decided to do.  Planned to do.  Obtained materials for.  In at least one case mislaid the materials so thoroughly I had to get more materials.  (Naturally as soon as I finally do the project the original materials will turn up.)  But, piles of materials- and I had never started the projects.  Gah.  I hate when that happens.

So this week, I resolved that holiday knitting or no holiday knitting, Something Must Be Done.  First off, there were the couch cushions.   Way back in the summer we had an Unfortunate Occurrence involving cat pee and the couch.  We washed everything of course, but getting it scent free enough that the cat does not pee on it again is a tough proposition.  After duly considering that the cushions that came with the couch were possibly as old as I am- or at least old enough to be president- I decided that replacing them was justified.  The seat cushion was easy if expensive- just a new piece of foam.  The three cushions that lined the back were harder.  There were no pillow forms the right shape and size, but coincidentally I noticed that the plastic bags of fiberfill were exactly right.   So I got three of them, and they've been sitting in the sewing room ever since.

So, I started by taking the casing off one cushion to use as a pattern.  (Note the original pattern of the upholstery.  File under, reasons this couch will be reupholstered one of these days Real Soon Now. )
Then I sewed up the long sides of the new covers, leaving the ends open.
Then I opened one end of the bag of fiberfill and stuffed it into the cushion, still in the bag.  I had no idea how this would work- but to my delighted astonishment it was even easier than it sounds.  I whisked the bag out of the casing, leaving the fill behind.  Piece of cake.

I whip-stitched the end closed, and then it was ready to stuff back into the cushion covers- or at least it was once I replaced a broken zipper on one of the covers.  Not to mention some awkwardness as Cookie climbed on my lap in the middle of this.
And at last- three bags of fiberfill and a small pile of fabric out of the sewing room and back on the couch where it belongs.

For my encore, I'm tackling the pile of mending. Several things repaired and put away already, a couple more I have officially given up on and will be tossing out.  But the sewing room already looks marginally better.  Still a long way to go, and I've been switching off other projects with holiday knitting, but at least I feel like I'm making progress.

And the cute cat photo of the day:  Cookie, the library cat, contemplates great literature.  "Hey.  Can I eat it?"
I'm so maligned.  I've sat on Shakespeare, you know.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Yarns

Thanksgiving, with its long drives and socializing is always a productive knitting time for me.  I was somewhat hampered this year by the feline contingent, who responded to the cooler temperatures by trying to sit on my lap whenever I wasn't standing up.    However Biscuit does also like the quilt, even if it lacks a person under it. 

Cookie also tried to get his share of the hot cat-on-lap action, but when I failed to sit in an appropriately receptive posture, he had to take steps.   In this picture, I'm attempting to look up how long the turkey needs to cook.  Naturally the page I need is under the cat. 

Jake?  Jake is a charmingly well-behaved gentleman cat, and restrained his demands to nighttime cuddling.   I have a feeling he's going to pick up the other two's habits as time goes on.

And yeah, knitting.   So I continued zipping through the available bulky weight to the tune of a couple more hats.   Finished the second Thanksgiving day, on my way to meet and eat with in-laws.

And then I switched off with some mittens, to break up the string of hats. 

While out and about, I took a look at kids that I saw, trying to see what the in style of hat is this year, and I saw a lot of boys wearing solid-color slouchy hats.  So I figured I'd try my hand at one- we
need a variety, after all. 

Not very interesting-looking, but I'm moderately pleased with the design.  I started with a really long Judy's Magic Cast-On, and left one side on a spare circular, while I started knitting in the round in stockinette on the other side. When I got to 3-plus inches, I purled a turning row, then knit another 3 plus inches and then knit the stitches off the spare needle together with the working stitches.  The result is a wide double-thick band that goes over the ears.   And because the two thicknesses are knitted together, it stretches evenly, with no difference in stretchiness due to the cast-on.  And I extended the length a bit to get the slouchy effect.    It was pretty quick to do, but I'm going to really need plain knitting for something before I do another one!  Not the most interesting knit. 

And of course there was also Secret Holiday Knitting.  Of which I cannot speak at this time.   Speaking of the holidays, I'm thinking I may have to shut myself in the sewing room and ignore the door rattling and meowing to get my wrapping done this year.  I tried to wrap just one little present a couple weeks ago, and the help I got was nearly insurmountable.  Take a look:

I'm definitely going to need to put things safely away from little paws if the wrapping is going to last until the intended recipient gets it.   (This one was fortunately rescued with only a slightly chewed bow.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013


One secret project done, and yesterday I industriously knit on the socks (I've turned the heel on the second one so the end is in sight.)  But then I had to cast on something new since today was our charity Knit-a-thon kickoff.    It works like this- since we all know it's coming, we set aside various hats, mittens, scarves and the like.  Kickoff day, we all get together, eat snacks, swap yarn we're tired of, and pile up the completed donations, admiring each others' work.   Then we spend the afternoon knitting more.  In December, we'll have the closing party, where we all bring the things we've finished in the last few weeks, eat more snacks and there will be a drawing with various yarn-y prizes for the participants.  Snacks, you note, are very important to this process.

So.  I had to cast on something new and this is the time of year for bulky projects.  Fortunately, I had a brand-new skein of cheery yellow and I cast on an Unoriginal Hat, as something nice and speedy.   I didn't quite finish before the party broke up, but that's just as well since I had forgotten my camera.  Cookie helped hold up the hat like a pro so I could take a picture.  Heck, he could do it in his sleep.
(Yes, it's really that bright.)

And then, having discovered that I had several more skeins of bulky weight lurking in the stash, I promptly cast on another hat.    Biscuit somewhat reluctantly assisted me in photographing this one.
(I don't know what the look is for, he's keen enough to have his photo taken with knitting when it's his idea.)

Jake cunningly relocated out of sight until all this annoying flashy stuff was over.    Don't worry, pal, you'll have a chance to help show off the knitting next time!  After all, there's going to be quite a bit in the next few weeks!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Day is Coming

Thanks to a sudden cold snap and veiled references elsewhere, the calendar has sneaked up behind me and yanked yet another month or two out from under my feet once again.  As I ponder planned knits and the many knit-worthy people in my life who deserve them, I have become abruptly conscious of the lack of days remaining before Significant Dates happen. 

This has persuaded me that a certain amount of focus about now would be a good thing.   So, I have been making progress on the next pair of socks:
These are in the new Cascade Fixations cotton-elastic sock yarn.  It's very elastic, and when I first started the socks, I wasn't sure I liked it.  But I adjusted to the elasticity quite quickly and am quite pleased with it now.   It's a bit heavier than other cotton-elastic yarns I've used, so the socks won't be lightweight, but it knits up gratifyingly quickly. 

And then I got a WIP out of time-out and had a serious talk with it about its behavior, and cast on another project (which seems suitably intimidated, as it's been going fairly smoothly) but they're both gifts, so I'm keeping them tucked beneath the cloak of secrecy for the moment.

In other yarn-related news, Wandering Cat Studio is running a sale to finance some upcoming vet bills.  I could claim that I was touched by the sight of poor Tux wearing his veterinary cone, but the truth is, I scored a skein of Wandering Cat Yarn in a contest last year, and loved it to bits.  So I seized on the excuse, threw caution to the winds, and will have some new yarn (oooh!!!)  to show you Real Soon Now.   Do check it out- you won't blame me a bit!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Socks of Summer

Thanks to our local sports team (the Sox, of course) and a long conversation with a friend on the phone, the cotton socks are done at last.  I love it when a plan comes together.  Though I can't believe they took this long- especially since they're short. 
That lets me move on to the next pair of socks on the needles, since I somehow wound up with three pairs cast on at once.  (That would be the random crazed casting-on I've been indulging in these past weeks.)
And then this weekend we had a board gaming marathon and house party.  As I am wont to do when socializing, I picked up needles occasionally through the weekend, resulting in another hat and mittens.  Yet more colorwork.  Strangely, despite the simplicity of the pattern, I did way more tinking back on this hat.  Possibly because I was simultaneously plotting the ignominious defeat of my opponents on the game board at the time.
That was in between watching Biscuit, who came out and participated in the party way more than he ever had before. We've often lamented his timidity, because of the three cats, he's the one who is most interested in People Doing Things.   But when company would come over, he'd flee under the bed, apparently under the illusion that almost anyone might be a Cat-Eating Monster.  As the years have gone by, and he has failed to be eaten...not to mention that a good many of our friends are cat lovers, and will pay attention to him given the least encouragement...well, he's evidently turned the corner.   He watched.  He let people pat him.  He jumped up on the couch between me and another guest.  He even checked out a guest lap.  There were still hints of nervousness, but altogether, he seemed to enjoy it.  (Of course we did have to keep a closer eye on the food, because Biscuit's increased boldness meant that he was less inhibited about things like, say, sampling the cream cheese left open on the counter....)

Cookie was his usual social self...investigating all the various bags that came in, greeting people and assessing their state of thumbs and whether they might be willing to employ those thumbs in opening cat food cans.   Jake came out and made the rounds occasionally, but generally seemed to regard the company as a mild inconvenience to his nap schedule. 

And speaking of People Doing Things- the Norwegians have come up with an idea that is either insane or sheer genius, I'm not sure which.  Yes, they aired a 12 hour program of live knitting.  See stories here and here.  I love knitting, but I'm not sure that watching other people knitting for 12 hours would necessarily be my thing.  Of course, there's nothing to stop the people watching at home from knitting along companionably.  Thanks, Mom, for alerting me to this entertainment innovation!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Diamond Colorwork Hat Pattern

Materials:  Medium or heavy worsted yarn, two colors.

Needles:  US6 /4 mm or size to get gauge.  Circular or DPN- hat is knit in the round.

Gauge:  5 st/in

Sizes:  Small (19.2 in circumference)/Large (21.6 in circumference)

Instructions:  Cast on 96 (108) stitches.  Join in the round, being careful not to twist. 

K1 tbl- knit one through the back loop
MC- Main color
CC- contrast color

Ribbing:  Work in twisted rib for 1 ½ inches.  (K1 tbl, P1) repeat.
Before start of pattern:   Knit two rounds in MC.
Pattern rounds:  Work pattern from chart, repeat 8 (9) times.  Switch to MC after chart ends.  When hat is 6 (6 ½ inches  long (including ribbing), start crown decreases.
Note:  When you reach the last stitch of each round, slip it as if to knit, pick up the first stitch of the previous round as if to knit, pass the last stitch of the current round back to the left needle,  and knit it together through the back loop  with the last stitch.  The last stitch will be on top of the first stitch of the previous round.  This will add a little bulk at the end of the round, but will eliminate a jog in the pattern.

Crown decreases:
Round 1: K10, K2tog, repeat
Round 2 and every even round:  Knit
Round 3:  K9, K2tog, repeat
Round 5: K8, K2tog, repeat
Round 7: K7, K2tog, repeat
Round 9:  K6, K2tog, repeat
Round 11:  K5, K2tog, repeat
Round 13: K5, K2tog, repeat
Round 15: K4, K2tog, repeat
Round 17: K3, K2tog, repeat
Round 19: K2, K2tog, repeat
Round 21:  K2tog, repeat
Cut yarn leaving 8 inch tail.  Thread on needle and draw yarn tightly through all remaining stitches twice.  Knot, and weave in all ends.

Pompom:  Wrap both colors of yarn double-stranded around a 3.25" stiff piece of cardboard 50 times.  Tie tightly around the middle of the bundle leaving long tail (for fastening to hat).  Snip through all loops, and trim uneven ends to make rounded shape.  Thread each end of the tail through the top center of the hat, tie, and weave in ends. 

Alternate colorwork patternAfter seeing the first version, I thought I might like the smaller row of diamonds on top, so here' s the chart for that version.  In the larger size, there's enough real estate for two rows of the small diamonds without interfering with the decreases, so one could do a row of small diamonds on each side if preferred. 

Link to print-friendly pdf of pattern.

Enormous thanks to the charming and talented Valerie of WanderingCatStudio for test knitting this pattern.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Love the Whooshing Sound of FOs Being Completed

My husband and the Red Sox deserve some credit for all these- he's got me listening to games on the radio with him...otherwise known as prime knitting time.   I told you I'd finished another set- this one is hat, mittens, and scarf.  I went to take a photo, but at the last minute, Biscuit had to inspect the way it was laid out. 

After a few adjustments were made, I was allowed to take the photo without a large fluffy cat obstructing the view.  (By 'adjustments' I mean removing the large fluffy cat.)

Fortunately, Cookie was willing to supervise in a paws-off fashion.  I really didn't need more help. 
He likes the afghan my grandmother made me.
In the middle of the week, I did a couple of pairs of mittens.  These were actually worked concurrently because I didn't have a pair of scissors handy and it was easier to cast on another pair than get up off the couch in the middle of a DVD.  This either makes me lazy or efficient.  (You can guess which adjective I prefer!)
And then we went down to see a game on the weekend with friends- the little theatre in their downtown was showing the World Series on the big screen.  For that I needed something with contrast that I could knit in low light...hence, another variation on the diamond colorwork pattern.  I will note that contrast doesn't help as much as you would think when you repeatedly mess up the pattern.  But a subsequent game on the radio let me finish.
In this one, I moved the row of small diamonds over the large ones--but because I was making a larger size, I actually wound up putting two rows of small diamonds there.  One of these days I'll do a hat with two rows of diamonds arranged symmetrically above and below the larger motif.   But not today. 

There's going to be at least one more game in the World Series, so I'm thinking maybe I should focus on those dratted cotton socks.  It would be nice to finish those off before I spend a lot more time on the next two pairs of socks I've cast on...I did mention I'd been casting on like a crazy person a lot, right?  We'll see what comes out next.  These days, the project I'm working on seems to have more to do with what yarn is within reach than any kind of plan.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fits and Starts

It seems like things have been moving slowly with a lot of backtracking lately.  However I did finish the lavender hat and a pair of mittens to go with. 
I was talking design with Valerie, and I mentioned that if I'd been planning this, rather than making it up as I went along, I'd probably have put the first row of small diamonds above the larger motif, rather than below it.  I didn't feel like futzing with diamonds in the decreases, so I just switched back to the solid color then.  But when I was done, it looked unbalanced.  Hence the pom-pom, to add a little touch of the contrast color at the top of the hat.  I don't usually do a lot of pompoms, as I never much liked them as a kid, but this is a small hat- perhaps a younger child will find it fun. 
Since then I have been casting on in a frenzy- and not always been happy.  I tried a brioche scarf, which I've never done before. 
But I quickly decided that I couldn't do it in a solid color- I'd go berserk.  Maybe I'll try it again in a nice variegated yarn.  So I cast on a lace pattern instead, one that has patterning on both sides.  I'm not sure this one is going to last either.  But for the moment I'm persevering, as I wanted to have something a bit more challenging on the go. 
There've been bits of sweater, and more of the cotton socks, and I've cast on another pair of socks--in flagrant disregard of my only-one-project-of-a-kind-at-a-time rule. Which I've been breaking right and left.  And then there's another hat and mitten set which I don't have a photo of yet, so I'll have to show you later.  But what has taken priority--and a heck of a long time--has been the last two bookcases for the library.  
Here they are awaiting trim.
We did the house addition in 2006, and built all the bookcases around the outer wall in the library that year.  (In retrospect, I'm amazed we got as much done as we did that first year.)  Since then we've built two more sets of interior bookcases that have wrapped around pillars, and added decorative grills to the bottoms of the bookcases to hide the baseboards.   But it was always part of the plan to add two more bookcases on the interior wall, and this evening we got the last one up, and anchored.  (Each bookcase has four L-brackets that are screwed to the bottom of a shelf on the horizontal, and through the back of the bookcase to studs in the wall on the vertical.)   I should put in here, that while I did some of the work, the lion's share of the credit belongs to my husband, who designed the bookcases and did all the woodwork. We stained, polyurethaned, assembled and mounted the bookcases together.  

And not a moment too soon- the history section is bursting at the seams, and we really need the additional shelf space. 
Biscuit and Cookie found the whole project fascinating...first the mysterious power tool noises from the garage (from which they were barred), then the people outdoors staining things, and then the final assembly, polyurethane and trim, which they were able to supervise at close range in the library.  (Fortunately the polyurethane smells nasty enough that they stayed a safe distance away from it while we were doing the final finishing.)  Biscuit supervised every part of the project.
Cookie only came up to look things over in the final phase.
While Jake mainly ignored it...but he did join me for some quiet knitting once the work was done. (It was very sweet- he's been rather tentative about laps, so it was nice to have him give it a try.)
Aside from carpentry and knitting, there's been a lot of other annoying odds and ends, like scraping all the old tired adhesive off my windshield and remounting my toll-tag (I've only been holding it up and waving it at the toll booths for 6 months.)   And disassembling the vacuum, cleaning it out, and replacing the belt.  Yes, now it sucks, just like it's supposed to.    And, of course casting on projects, frogging them or losing interest, and starting over.  Hopefully I'll have some things that are more than cast on rows to show you soon!