Archive for August, 2006

Notorious D.O.G.

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Before I recount my latest canine-related misadventure and my predictably slow progress on Icarus, I just want to point out that my sister’s cookie recipes are the absolute best and if you haven’t seen her post from yesterday, take a look and get that recipe!

She was always such a great baker—even as a small child—that I myself never bothered to learn to bake. What was the point really, when she was (and is) so much better at it?

Besides, I was always the kind of kid who’d get bored halfway through a batch of cookies. You know, making those little balls exactly the same size so they’d bake evenly and all that.

So I’d just take the rest of the dough and make one really, really big cookie.

That cookie would never bake. Or it would, but the others would burn up in the meantime.

Hey, come to think of it, maybe the same thing happened with the United States. About the time they hit Ohio, one of the guys in charge of carving up territory said to the other, “Listen, dude, if we make all these states the same size as New Hampshire, we’ll never get finished. Look at all this land we got left! We gotta start making these bigger.”

At the end of the day, they made one really, really big state and called it California. And that explains why California—bless its big, beautiful, alternative, West Coast heart!—has always kind of “baked at a different rate” than all the other states.

Here on the home front, Miss Shelley, shown here giving you the “junkyard dog” hairy eyeball,

has once again been defending her turf. Unfortunately for both her and for me, she is apparently unable to discern the differences between an intruder like, say, a groundhog—which she can dispatch with almost frightening haste to his hoggy reward—and one like, say, a skunk.

If I’ve told her once, I’ve told her a thousand times, “Shelley, Shelley, the skunk always wins in the end. They’re the casinos of the animal world.”

But does she listen? Does she listen? No. No, I tell you!



I don’t have to take this crap. I’m going outside to see if I can rustle me up some skunks.

Last night, we’re sitting on the sofa reading, Shelley is outside on one of her routine perimeter checks, and the cat is on the phone to Homeland Security reporting us for “suspicious behavior” and requesting that the apartment be bugged by NSA—typical quiet evening at home—when Alex says, “I think I smell a skunk.”

“Ha, ha,” I say. “I’m sure it’s just that I’m cleaning the oven and it produces strange fumes.” Since I’ve never cleaned the oven before, neither he nor I could possibly know what it smells like, but my feeble attempts at housekeeping are a topic for another day.

“No,” he says. “I’m pretty sure I smell skunk.”

Just then, Shelley bursts through the dog door into the back hall and starts writhing about on the carpet, encrusted with dirt, foaming at the mouth, and running at the nose.

Skunked. R.I.P., carpet.

I grab her, hustle her into the tub, and yell to Alex for backup. First we have to give her a conventional bath to get the mud off, then we have to repeatedly apply a mixture of baking soda, white vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide to her muzzle to cut the skunk spray.

This procedure is met with an unfavorable response from the canine unit.

By the end of it, it is difficult to discern if the situation is better, or if we have just spread the stench around. Our olfactory systems have burned out. This is a small, but significant, blessing.

But there is icing on this fetid cake! I take my hand off the dog for a microsecond and she hops out of the tub and shakes violently, showering the entire bathroom with water and whatever remains of the skunk oil.

Good times, good times.

I could only go back to Icarus once I was sure that I wouldn’t contaminate him.
Nothing was ever said about flying too near a skunk, after all.

Real progress is being made, but you have to be very, very discerning to see it.

How like life!

If you have any peanut butter chocolate chip cookies kind words to raise me out of my skunk funk, please pass them along. I assure you, they will be richly appreciated.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

I have been working diligently on my new design that I can’t show you, so I guess that would be the end of that discussion.  (I do have to say here, though, that this whole “full time job” thing is really getting in the way of my knitting time.  Re-entry has been hard this year.)

But I’ve also been back at the wheel doing a little spinning, trying to finish up that lime superwash.


lime green sw on bobbin 8-30-06 

Another view, where you can see the single strand better:

lime green sw on bobbin 8-30-06                                OK, I admit, this second photo is a bit gratuitous, but I don’t have much in the way of photos today.  (That would be because the project I’m working on I can’t show you.  See above.)

I had an interesting offer yesterday from someone who would like me to make cookies for them every month and ship them (the cookies) to them (the person).  I was trained as a pastry chef and actually worked as a pastry chef for a while.  Although I don’t work in the industry anymore (long story), I do make wedding cakes, specialty cakes, and other baked goods/pastries for private clients.

This offer got me thinking about cookies and their general goodness, and then I thought about one of my favorite cookie recipes.  I decided that it would be fun to share this recipe on the blog today.  (Please note:  This is an original recipe of mine, so I’m not violating anyone’s copyright.)

So, without further ado, I offer you my recipe for

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) butter 

3 c. brown sugar 

3 tsp. baking soda 

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt  

1 1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter 

3 eggs 

4 1/2 c. flour 

4 c. (24 oz.) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.  Cream butter, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in mixer until light.  Add peanut butter, beating until well-blended.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour; mix until blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Flatten with fork in a criss-cross pattern.  Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cookies just start to brown on top.  Cool on a wire rack.

Notes:  This is a big recipe.  Use a 4 1/2- or 5-quart mixer. 

Adding the baking powder, soda, and salt to the butter and sugar when you cream them is a little trick I learned in cooking school.  Doing this really distributes the small amounts of these ingredients throughout the dough, and because all three are granular (like sugar), it doesn’t interfere with the creaming process.

I use a small ice cream scoop to portion my cookies.  It works great, is quick, and they all end up being the same size. 

Slouching towards Boston

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

The night before I flew home from Denver, the clouds looked truly ominous:
Uh, Captain, that don’t look like flyin’ weather to me.

But the next day was clear and beautiful. After the flight took off, the folksy Chuck-Yeagerish captain got on the intercom and said, “Way-ell folks, looks like we’re anticipatin’ a smooth ride ahead all the way through to Pittsburgh. (I had a connection in Pittsburgh.) So I’m gonna turn off the seat belt sign now, and feel free to get up and move about the cabin!”

Famous last words.

The turbulence was so bad that the flight attendant informed me that we weren’t allowed to have hot beverages.

I said, “Well, then, have you got any Valium?”

Worse yet, there was a guy two rows behind me who was keeping up an exhaustive running commentary on everything going on inside the airplane. Not much actually goes on inside an airplane, as it turns out.

Commentator: Why, lookee there! Those little screens are coming down for the movie.

Other passengers: (Complete silence.)

Commentator: Guess we’re going to have the movie now.

Other passengers: (More silence.)

Commentator: Whoo-hoo. Goin’ over some bumps there! Heh, heh.

Other passengers: (Tense silence.)

Commentator: Just like ridin’ a roller coaster! Except up in the sky!

Other passengers: (Increasingly tense silence, much like the quiet that precedes a violent outburst.)

As Our Mutual Friend nattered on, it became abundantly clear why we are not allowed to take handguns on airplanes. It has absolutely nothing to do with hijacking.

I kept knitting:
The implications of flying with Icarus are not all that comforting.

Close-up he looks like this:
No feathers yet…

The Commentator kept commenting. I put my earphones in and turned my iPod up. Kept knitting. Tried to think about cheery things like how much I like knitting with Alchemy Haiku and how cool Icarus is going to look once he gets some feathers.

Eventually, though, we started our descent and I was forced to relinquish use of my annoying-fellow-passenger blocker iPod. About that time, the pilot came on again:

“Way-ell, folks, we’re goin’ through some little rainstorms here in Ohio and it looks like the ride is goin’ to kind of deteriorate from here.”

Deterioriate? It was actually going to get worse?

At this point, a small child two rows in front of me started screaming, “I want down! I want my Daddy!”

I could not have put it better myself. What an articulate and sensible child!

Two rows behind me, The Commentator kept commenting.

I thought, “There are people in the third ring of hell who would refuse to trade places with us right now.”

The gratitude I felt when those wheels hit the runway is almost beyond description. The Commentator must have felt the very same way because he announced in a loud voice, “Well, well, well, here we are! Back on good ole terra cotta!”

Way-ell, folks, that’s right. Good ole “terra cotta.” But at a moment like this, why sweat the details?

I’m really glad I made it back, too, because when I finally arrived in Boston, Lorinda had sent me contest booty:
Gorgeous! Thank you, Lorinda! It’s good to be a winner.

More happy surprises were in store. When I left, our sunporch looked approximately like this:
Behold and quake in fear! I am the Sunporch of the Damned!

Without so much as a gentle prod, in my absence Alex had transformed the Sunporch of the Damned into this:
Architectural Digest hasn’t called yet, but personally I’m impressed by the sheer magnitude of the effort.

Bravo, Alex!

It’s good to be back home. Terra cotta never looked better.

Greetings from a UFO

Monday, August 28th, 2006

On Saturday I met my friend Deb at the local Borders for some knitterly camaraderie.  We had a lovely couple of hours:  knitting, chatting, and making fun of some of the more horrifying designs in the new knitting mags. 

Deb 8-26-06 

I worked on (and am continuing to work on) a new design which I am hoping to submit to Knitty.  Unfortunately, since I am hoping to submit it, I don’t feel I can or should offer photos on the blog.  So I offer you the following pictures and discussion of a UFO which has been languishing in a bag for several months. 

The yarn is Classic Elite “Studio” 70% viscose, 30% linen, which I purchased a few years back at The Studio in KC.  It was on sale, so I bought all I could of five colors.  The yarn has a beautiful sheen and is very soft; in fact, being a soft-spun single, it is almost fragile.  I thought for a long time about what to make with this yarn.  It had to be something multi-colored, since I didn’t have enough of any one color to make an entire sweater, but I did have more of the light green than any of the other colors.  What I finally settled on was a patterned yoke sweater in the style of a Lopi pullover.

Studio yoke sweater 

In fact, I stole the yoke pattern from a sweater in The Best of Lopi.  Of course, the gauge on this yarn is smaller than the Lopi yarns; I think I’m knitting it to about 5.5 stitches per inch.  (This is one problem with setting projects aside for so long–you forget the vital statistics.  You have to hope that you had the foresight to write them down somewhere.  Then you have to hope that you can find the place where you wrote them down.)

I was a little worried that translating the yoke pattern to a much smaller gauge would throw off the decreasing rate, but actually, it has seemed to work just fine.  Actually, in my case, it’s an increasing rate, because I’m working from the top down.

detail Studio yoke sweater

It took me a little while to get the hang of stranding with this yarn, since it has no elasticity whatsoever.  (I wouldn’t recommend that for a first stranding project!)  I’m still a little worried that the yarn really is too fragile for what I’m asking it to do, and that once the sweater is finished it will just pill and abrade itself into nothingness as it’s worn.  But it’s too late to turn back now.  Ripping this stuff out is just the kiss of death for the yarn.

But it sure is pretty, no?  Maybe if I can’t wear it I can hang it on the wall.

Trouble causer

Friday, August 25th, 2006

I’ve realized why I like Denver so much: everyone here behaves exactly like they do in the Midwest. It feels like home. Except with a lot more spectacular landscape. (Sorry, Missouri. You’re beautiful too, but it’s hard to compete toe-to-toe with the Rockies.)

Example: I’m at Starbucks yesterday morning and this guy orders a grande half caf/half decaf vanilla latte with soy milk. The usual complicated early 21st-century American coffee order.

As an aside, I sometimes wonder if we were better off when we just had the choice between the stuff that came in the brown carafe and the stuff that came in the orange carafe. You know what I’m talking about here.

But you had choices even then. Sugar or saccharine.

Or, if you cared to, you could add half and half from those small white plastic containers with the rip-off paper tops. The tops that said, “Needs no chill,” right there bold as day. Proudly pronouncing their close and profitable relationship with homogenization and sodium citrate. And everyone was happy and life was simple.

Except that they weren’t and it wasn’t. So now we have complex coffee. Back to my story…

The man gets his complex coffee, he takes one sip, and he says to the barista, “You know, I hate to say this, but this just doesn’t taste right.”

The barista checks the order, then says, “No worries, I’ll make you another one.”

Then the guy says—and this is what makes me feel all warm inside—“I’m sorry. I don’t want to be a trouble causer.”

He doesn’t want to be a trouble causer. Isn’t that lovely?

Here’s a man who has obviously understood the basic tenets of Midwestern psychology and world view: you aren’t entitled to anything, you should be grateful for what you get even if it isn’t quite what you wanted, and if you put others to additional trouble you should acknowledge that you are a “trouble causer.”

As Garrison Keillor once said, “Life is what you make it. Make the best of it.”

You may remember that I lived in New York City for 7+ years and that I loved and still do love NYC. But I must say that no one in NYC would ever say to a barista, “I’m sorry. I don’t want to be a trouble causer.” (Unless he was visiting from Iowa.)

They don’t mind being trouble causers on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. And much though I love the city and I carry it in my heart everywhere and every day, I never really got used to that. I never ceased to be shocked by the average New Yorker’s willingness to be a trouble causer.

None of that here in Denver.

You may have noticed by now that there are very few pictures in this post. That’s because I’ve been spending almost all my time at the Denver Federal Center, home of our National Archive’s Rocky Mountain Regional Office and an array of other federal agencies, among them heavy hitters like Federal Homeland Security.

As you go into the Federal Center, which could be more accurately called an armed camp a “compound,” there is a large sign that says, “Visitors Welcome!”

And this is so true. The feds welcome you with open arms by eyeing you suspiciously, photocopying your government issued I.D., searching under the hood and in the trunk of your car for contraband, and running a mirror underneath your vehicle to look for suspended ordnance.

I don’t know about you, but that kind of special treatment certainly makes me feel like an honored guest!

So I have extrapolated from the behaviors of the Federal Welcome Wagon that it might not be the best idea to take photographs of the federal buildings. Photography of that sort could easily be classed as “suspicious behavior.”

When push comes to shove, I just don’t think they’re gonna buy my story about a so-called “knitting blog” and the need for exciting visuals. And I gotta tell you, I don’t want to cross these federal agents.

Because you know and I know where they are going to search next. And I do not mean my backpack.

Besides, I think that one guy on the morning shift already suspects that I am one of the key authors of the notorious terrorist plot: “Operation Addi Turbo.” (See here if you missed the details.)

Icarus, for his part, is refusing to be photographed until he is, “given a pair of loaded dice and put on a plane back to Vegas.” Unbelievable. I had to sneak up on him while he was sleeping in his bag:
The flash woke him up, but the howling and bitching was muffled by the heavy gauge plastic.

I’m actually quite ready to go back home, even though I’ve had a wonderful time on the road and my research has been extremely productive. For one thing, I’m sick of eating this paltry combination
for lunch because I’m trapped at the archive where there’s no food source within miles and I have no kitchen in which to produce a real bag lunch.

I never thought I’d say it, but I can’t wait to start doing my own cooking again.

I can hear your collective gasp echoing off the Rockies.

It’s also just a tad bit lonely at the hotel in the evening:

Note absence of men, dogs, and all other carbon-based life forms. I’d even welcome a charmless cat at this stage.

Besides, when you are on the road, you constantly have to demand service of various kinds. You have to bug people for directions, you have to order complex coffees, you have to request special itemized receipts, you have to impose yourself and your semi-suspicious vehicle upon federal agents who don’t want you around, and so on and so forth.

By the strict Midwestern definition, you have to be a trouble causer. In spite of all the places I’ve lived and everywhere I’ve wandered, at the end of the day, I’m still a Midwesterner.

And there’s nothing I hate more than being a trouble causer.

Next week, from Boston…

Nicola, she is finished

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

I have to report that, though the I-cord edging on Nicola did not take as long as I had feared, it did take longer than I had hoped.  Nevertheless, I did not find it necessary to stick a pin in my eye this time, and I was able to finish the sweater last night.  (Well, the ends are not worked in, but that hardly counts after all that I-cord.)

Here she is:

Nicola cardigan finished                                                    (I apologize for the absence of a picture of me actually wearing Nicola, but it is just way too hot and muggy this afternoon to even think of donning a woolly sweater.)

A detail of the I-cord edging around the neck:

Nicola detail 

I had a hard time figuring out what sort of closure I wanted to put on the fronts.  I ended up leaving two “holes” up top where I didn’t attach the I-cord,

Nicola detail                                                   so that I could close the sweater with some sort of pin or clasp.

Nicola with clasp

shawl pin on Nicola                                                (This second pin is a shawl pin from Designs by Romi, and it is truly a beautiful thing.  That’s a big chunk of turquoise there.)

I can also just leave the fronts open with nothing closing them, and the openings between the sweater front and the I-cord don’t show at all.  Or I could find two cool buttons and attach them to each other in a cufflink sort of way and poke the buttons through the openings.  I feel quite clever about this hedging of my bets.

The stats:

Pattern:  Nicola cardigan, adapted from the Nicola pullover in Simply Shetland

Yarn:  Neveda Alpaca 70% wool, 20% acrylic, 10% alpaca

Yarn source:  Elann

Time to finish:  2 weeks and 2 days

Martini on the Rockies

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Words cannot express how much I wish I could claim that I came up with that pun, but alas, I cannot be so deceitful. Here in lovely Denver, Colorado,
there is a wonderful radio station at 101.5 on your FM dial (I do not know its call letters, but I’d put my money on KMRT) that goes by “Martini on the Rockies.”

Normally, I don’t have a lot of truck with commercial radio, but Martini on the Rockies is something else altogether. It’s as if you had a really, really cool friend who called you up and said, “Hey, baby, why don’t you come over and we’ll spin some discs?” But it’s on the radio. Available in your car!

Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger.

Anyone at all singing Mac the Knife.

Elvis Costello singing Let’s Misbehave.

And then, just to keep you on your toes, a little Chris Isaak or Sarah McLachlan.

At least eighteen times an hour, the DJs work “Martini on the Rockies” into their patter. But to me, the joke never gets old. Every time, I think, “How unbearably clever. I wish I’d thought of that.”

Martini on the Rockies pretty much captures my whole sense about Denver. It’s cool and mellow and sophisticated and witty and beautiful. Here’s the view from my room:
I am considering taking up residence here. I shall change my name to Eloïse and order every meal from room service.

There are abundant fountains,

prairie dogs that are disturbingly tame,

city parks that look like this,

and creeks with exploratory children:

It’s nothing short of idyllic. I really have no complaints. If it weren’t for significant sentimental attachments back East, I might see if they’d hire me on at the hotel or the archive and simply stay.

This research is good, and Icarus is coming along (though he misses his life in Vegas):
Beware! If you fly too near the sun, you’ll end up in the suburbs of Denver.

As they say on 101.5 FM, a martini is not a drink. It’s an attitude. What a cool (although almost totally empty and meaningless) thing to say!

Martini on the Rockies. Dry. With three olives.


The Fairfax fair

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

The baby judging last Friday evening at the Fairfax fair turned out to be not quite what I was expecting.  Although there were babies,

babies                                     we did not actually judge them.

Instead, we judged the aspirants to the Little Mr. and Miss Fairfax crown.  These were 4-to 6-year-olds who were dressed to the nines.

Little Miss Fairfax hopefuls                                       A few hopefuls waiting for their turn on stage.

I had two fellow judges:

fellow judges                                             Rob and Jesse, who will be a sophomore at the University of Missouri this fall and is studying nursing.

Our scoring sheet.

scoring sheet                                                            And you can see from this that we actually were to take points away if the kids were crying!  (Although thankfully none of them did.)

There was quite a crowd there. 

Fairfax fair crowd                                  (This is about half the crowd; there was a roughly equal number sitting on the other side.)

And this guy:

Buy My Pictures

There were also homemade funnel cakes, which looked pretty darned good.  I was lucky I didn’t have any money on me.  (Or unlucky, depending upon how you look at it.)

funnel cake

We finally picked our winners, and they seemed a little stunned.  (This little girl is indeed going to be in Rob’s kindergarten class this fall.) 

 Little Mr. & Miss Fairfax

All in all, it was a good time, and especially good to see a small rural town that is still a vibrant community, whose occupants seem genuinely proud of their tiny town.  Fairfax seemed idyllic that night–the rural America that we would all like to believe once existed and might still exist if only we were lucky enough to stumble onto it.

P. S.  I’m a little stalled on that I-cord edging for Nicola.  I picked up the stitches around the borders,     

picked up stitches on Nicola 

and started the I-cord, of which I have about 6 inches done.

Nicola I-cord edging

Now I’ll be sticking that pin in my eye.

Dateline Vegas, Chez Gail

Monday, August 21st, 2006

As you may have noticed, I really enjoy being on the road. I’ve always liked it. When I was in my twenties, I had a job that involved a lot of travel. I liked it then, I like it now.

Okay, maybe not the plane rides, but everything else: the red convertibles, the new sights, the cacti, new yarn shops… I even like living out of a suitcase. I like it because it cuts my clothes and shoe choices to a bare mininum so that it is very easy to get dressed in the morning. (Yes, I realize that I have just revealed that under normal circumstances, I have a hard time performing the minimal task of dressing myself in the morning, a task that even low-functioning individuals are expected to master. Try not to bring that up too often and when you speak of me, speak kindly.)

It’s true that I do miss


but on the other hand, as long as I’m out here, someone comes to my room every day and cleans it. I hear that’s how they do things in heaven.

And did I mention that I don’t have to cook?

Of course, some of the food and libations that you can get around the casino are not only not “home cooking,” they are downright dangerous. They sell margaritas by the yard here. I asked the bartender exactly how much margarita is, ahem, in a yard of margarita and he replied, “Forty-eight ounces.”

The guy next to me at the bar said, “Heh, heh. I like to drink a couple of these to get kind of relaxed.”

I said, “Funny you should mention that, because I like to drink of a couple of these to get kind of hospitalized.”

But back to my original point: there is, however, a downside to being on the road for a long stretch of time on your own. And that would be that you start to go just the tiniest bit insane.

Just the tiniest bit.

You know you are slipping over the edge when you start engaging baristas at Starbucks and cashiers at CVS in long, inappropriately involved conversations because you are so starved for live, human interaction.

Thankfully, knitting can come to your rescue. When I started to get a little weird, I just hopped in the car and cruised over to Gail’s Knits on Sahara. This is the place to be when in Vegas. Not only did Gail set me up with a fine little travel bag for Icarus, but she put me onto some Cascade Fixation:
Sarah, take note. I now have a respectable bag for my portable knitting.

Even better, though, I was welcomed into the little group of knitters who were hanging out at the shop. It was a better corrective than Prozac. And in such good company, I made considerable progress on Icarus:
Hello, I’m Icarus and I am notoriously difficult to photograph.

Revitalized and rehumanized, I drove back to the Strip in a much better state of mind. All thanks to the fine knitters of Las Vegas! And I gotta hand it to them, these people knit in temperatures that routinely reach 105 degrees. That’s some serious commitment to the fiber arts.

On my drive back, I saw a Chevy truck with a special Nevada license plate that read, “Nevada: Rich in Art.”


Let’s play a game, shall we? I will say, “Nevada,” and you say all the words and phrases that come to your mind in the next 60 seconds.

Did “rich in art” make the list?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Back on the Strip, I made it down to the Palace of the Mighty Caesar:
Rich in art. Or whatever you’d call that.

And leaving no Vegas stone unturned, I caught the Bellagio Fountain in full eruption:
Drought? What drought?

Alas, the time has come to leave Fabulous Las Vegas, but I will certainly never forget all the fine people I have met here and the good times I have had.

Viva, my friends.

Baby Judge

Friday, August 18th, 2006

My husband Rob has a new job starting this fall.  He is going to be teaching art at a small school nearby, and when I say “small,”  I do mean small.  160 kids K-12.  (The 4th grade has 6 kids.)  He is also, because everyone does double duty at these small schools, the librarian.  And because he is the librarian, he has an extended contract and has been at the school working all this week even though school doesn’t officially start until next week.

So, Monday or Tuesday, he was asked by the school secretary if he wanted to judge babies at the town fair on Friday night.  “People in town want to meet the new teachers,” she said.  Also, apparently, the new teachers’ spouses, because I am going to be judging babies tonight as well.

How in the world does one judge other peoples’ babies?  Are they going to give me some criteria to follow?  A rubric?  Do I take off points if the baby cries?  It’s great that the community wants to meet the new teachers; I give them full marks for that.  But this particular activity seems just as likely to make enemies of the townsfolk as friends.  What if we place the mayor’s baby dead last, for example?  Or worse, the president of the school board’s?  The pitfalls are numerous and hidden. 

Oh, Lordy.  Good thing we both have natural charm and good looks. 

I finished the first sleeve of the Nicola cardigan the other night.

finished sleeve of Nicola cardigan                                                    As you can see, I did decide to make these 3/4 length.  (My sister-in-law Pam agreed that this would be a good idea.  Thanks, Pam!)

The other emergent sleeve:

unfinished sleeve of Nicola cardigan                                           Not yet very emergent.

Here’s the I-cord edging on the sleeve.

I-cord edging on sleeve of Nicola cardigan

Did I ever mention that I really dislike knitting sleeves?  I don’t fall prey to second sock syndrome so much, but I definitely have second sleeve syndrome.  In fact, I believe I have first sleeve syndrome.  It’s unclear to me why I feel this way; no doubt it’s some deep seated moral or psychological deficiency, but there it is.  Yet I am pressing on with these sleeves.

The back:

back of Nicola cardigan 

I’m hoping to finish this weekend.  I’ll need to lay in some Honey Brown for that I-cord, though.

(OK, Rob just told me that apparently “babies” means children age birth to six years.  This is not reassuring.  Six-year-olds could actually be his students in Kindergarten.  Oy.)