Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Done, and Done!

I have two big projects to talk about. The first, and smallest, is the Candle Flame Shawl:

The details:
Pattern - Candle Flame Shawl, free from Knitpicks
Yarn - Cherry Tree Hill Fingering Silk, two hanks (666 yards each)
Needles - Size 4

Notes: I really enjoyed this pattern. It's a 36-row repeat, interesting enough to keep knitting on, and repetitive enough so I didn't do any tinking. I love the yarn. It's so soft, strong, and has rich colors. But it's natural tendency is to tangle. Winding it was a major pain, and pulling from the center, I ended up with a few major entanglements. I think I prefer wider rectangular shawls. If I had been paying attention and noticed the 16" finished width, I probably would have added in another pattern repeat. The finished project is soft with a very nice drape.

The other project is my husband's Ph.D! He defended his dissertation yesterday, and he's all done! Wow! He studies animal behavior, specifically monkeys, so I made these shortbread cookies to celebrate:

Writing: I have some Chapter 1-6 changes to make.

Reading: Persuasion. I'm also listening to Sour Puss on audiobook. It's one of Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy mysteries, which are generally pretty cute.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

It's not easy being green...

Well, I took a break yesterday from the Candle Flame Shawl (15 inches to go!) to bust out this:

That's the Child's Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, in Knitpicks Elegance in Grass. I went for the jaunty mismatched button thing again, but this time, I think it worked much better. I did an extra 3/4 of an inch after the decreases were finished, purely by accident, and liked the effect because I could now turn over the collar. It's size 0-6 months, for Butterbean, and two under two skeins (less than 220 yards) of the Elegance. I used size 5 needles this time, and gauge turned out about right, with a nice fabric. I like the Elegance--it's lovely and soft to knit with, the colors are vibrant, the stitch definition is quite nice, and it has a bit of "give" to it. I've said before how much I like this pattern, and I was thinking about its versatility. The last one I made had a very different look, and this time, the accidental collar made me think about other possibilities. Instead of seed stitch borders, maybe ribbing. Or rolled-edge stockinette. Maybe a v-neck. I may play with this pattern a bit more.

Stefaneener, I have added 'snoofling' to my 'words I must use as often as possible' list. That's so cute! Thank you, Rain :)

Reading: Marie, I plan to read mostly whatever I'm reading to Butterbean, just for voice recognition, but I do want to pick one more rhythmic children's book to read regularly. Maybe Oh, The Places You'll Go.

Writing: Done with revisions! On to Chapter 7!

Cooking; Not much. Baking cookies today.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A long time ago in a land far, far away...

That's about when it feels like I started the Candle Flame Shawl :) It's looking gorgeous, if I do say so myself, but it's only gotten longer since last I posted a photo, so I won't post another photo till it's done. So, here are cat pictures instead.

I'm not sure where this plastic rose came from, but Geronimo claimed it from the table, and I decided he could have it. We tied a ribbon to it so we can swing it around as kitty entertainment, but he quite enjoys just laying on his flower. He's very secure in his masculinity.

Mirando loves shoes, and often naps near/on them. It doesn't look comfy, but he seems to sleep well there.

Knitting: On and on with the Candle Flame Shawl. I still love the pattern, but shawls are loooooooong. I've also felt not quite halfway done, since I hadn't attached ball #2 yet (which I did yesterday), but upon measuring, I found it's 50" long (the pattern calls for 70"), so I'm not only farther along than I thought, but I should have enough of this lovely yarn left to make a couple of scarves. I'm a bit impatient to finish the shawl, as my list of "stuff to knit for Butterbean" is *really* long :) I may start a placket-neck pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (yup, String Bean, that's where the booties came from!) out of some Knitpicks Shine in Sky leftover from Picovoli, since that's a gender-neutral enough color.

Reading: Persuasion. I'm having a little trouble getting into it this time. Not sure if it's that I've just finished reading four Jane Austens and I'm ready for something else, or what. I'll give it another try tonight, and then I might pick something else. It's about time to start reading aloud to Butterbean, too.

Writing: I've called an end to the revision madness. I know there are things I'll need to work on, but it's time I started Chapter 7. And the whole thing will undergo revision at the end.

Cooking: Not much here. I've had a bit of a cold, so lots of soup and such lately.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Spring Cleaning Part II

Yes, it's nearly autumn, and I have just resumed my spring cleaning. Or maybe it's nesting. I last posted about spring cleaning in May, before morning sickness derailed the whole project. At any rate, since we never throw anything away and our apartment has very small bedrooms/little closet space, there's no room for a baby in the apartment at the moment, so I'm trying to attack one area at a time to get rid of junk we don't need. Yesterday, I collected my entire yarn stash from various corners and organized it into the two Rubbermaid tubs that had had yarn piled haphazardly in them. I made room for one of the tubs in the closet (the other is an under-bed) and put away the piles of books I have everywhere. I definitely accomplished something, but there's a lot more to do. I kind of wish we could have those Queer Eye guys come and throw away our junk and tell us how to make the most out of the space we have.

When I was organizing the yarn, I also tackled abandoned WIPs to reclaim the yarn. This was super-fun in the case of the Sirdar Snowflake baby blanket (that stuff is a nightmare to frog...and to knit with). I also had started a sweater made with Cascade 220 held double. When I wound (thankfully only one ball) the yarn, I decided to "save time" by winding the two hanks together IN ONE BALL. Do you have any idea how insane that is? Or how long (almost two hours) it takes to unwind and recreate two balls??? Ugh. But you can't beat the feeling of accomplishment.

Blogger says no photos today, which is too bad. I have really funny cat pictures to share.

Knitting: Working on the Candle Flame Shawl. I'm more than halfway to 70"! I will probably not be able to resist casting on for another baby project soon, though.

Reading: Persuasion.

Wriitng: My deadline for finishing Chapter 6 revisions is Wednesday.

Cooking: I made this Stracciatella Gelato yesterday, and it was fantastic. I made a couple of changes necessitated by ingredients I didn't have. I used 2 tsp vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean, and I used 2% milk instead of whole. The recipe didn't specify an amount of chocolate to use, so I used 1 cup of Ghirardelli chocolate chips (the double chocolate ones), which I melted in a glass measuring cup in the microwave (this was perfect for then pouring into the gelato). I'm sure it would be even creamier with whole milk, and I'd like to try that sometime. The "chocolate chips" turned out beautifully. That's the part of gelato in Italy that was great--the non-uniform chocolate threads throughout the gelato, and this method of pouring a thin stream of melted chocolate into almost-solid gelato was perfect. We were trying to remember if it was like the Italian gelato, and we think it might not be quite creamy enough, hence trying whole milk next time. It firmed up better than I've ever had ice cream firm up in my little countertop unit, and the texture was excellent. It's really not that hard to make, either.

I also made stuffed zucchini. I got a large zucchini at the Farmer's Market and stuffed it with breadcrumbs, tomatoes, spinach, and parmesan. It was very nice paired with fettucine tossed with pesto.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Free Pattern - Baby Bunny Hat

This simple, rolled-brim stockinette baby hat is made with super-soft angora. I used the yarn leftover from making the Angora Baby Booties from Last Minute Knitted Gifts for the contrast color, and one full ball of the cream. Total yarn needed is less than 80 yards, and this could obviously be made as a solid-color hat.

(Yes, the baby hat *is* being modeled by a decanter of Scotch. There were no baby models available.)

Above, the hat with "matching" booties.

Yarn: Valeria di Roma Angora (100% angora), 55 yards per ball.
CC - Red - less than half a ball (or leftover from Angora Baby Booties); MC - Cream - one ball
Needles: Set of four dpns - size 5
Size: Newborn to three months

Cast on 91 stitches with CC. Divide between three needles, with 31 stitches on the first needle and 30 on the second and third. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist. Work 1.5" stockinette stitch. Break yarn. Attach MC. Work additional 3.5" in stockinette.

Decrease Rounds:
Row 1 - k1, (k2tog, k8) 9 times (82 stitches)
Row 2 - even
Row 3 - k1, (k2tog, k7) 9 times (73 stitches)
Row 4 - even
Row 5 - k1, (k2tog, k6) 9 times (64 stitches)
Row 6 - even
Row 7 - k1, (k2tog, k5) 9 times (55 stitches)
Row 8 - even
Row 9 - k1, (k2tog, k4) 9 times (46 stitches)
Row 10 - k1, (k2tog, k3) 9 times (37 stitches)
Row 11 - k1, (k2tog, k2) 9 times (28 stitches)
Row 12 - k1, (k2tog, k1) 9 times (19 stitches)
Row 13 - k1, k2tog 9 times (10 stitches)

Break yarn. With a tapestry needle, pull the end of the yarn through the remain stitches twice. Pull tight. Weave in ends.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Congratulations, it's an Hourglass!

I have to entertain myself somehow while waiting the two more weeks until the ultrasound, so I make up cheesy post titles :) I had some things going on, which is why I missed a couple of days posting, but then I got really stubborn and decided I was NOT going to post until I had finished Hourglass Sweater photos. And, now...I do! My photographer was unavailable, so I don't have modeled shots (the bathroom mirror shots didn't work out at all). So here it is, hanging in the atrocious hallway lighting, then reclining on the pappasan chair in natural light, then with a closeup on the neckline/raglan edge:

The details:
Pattern - Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, 2nd largest size
Yarn - Jo Sharp DK Wool in Seashell, 12 balls (had at least half of the 12th ball left)
I enjoyed this pattern quite a bit. I like the folded-down edges instead of a border to contain the rolling of the stockinette (which, you may be able to see, is still trying to roll, but I haven't washed and blocked yet). It was a fun knit--make sure to look up the errata, as you should with ANY pattern in this book. The sweater is very close to off-the-shoulder on me, so if you want a tighter neckline, you might want to consider some modifications. I didn't do the whole pick up stitches on cotton yarn to sew down the neck edge thing, and I was just fine. It seems like that was a pretty paranoid instruction, since you increase three times on the part that will be folded over so it'll match the number of stitches six rows down where you're attaching. As long as you go one stitch at a time, I'm not sure how you could end up with too many or too few. Whatever. I also used a 16" circular for the sleeves. I just hate 12" circs, and I can't justify buying them when I have dpns and 16" circs. The smaller sizes would need to either start the sleeves on dpns or use a 12" circ, but the 16" was fine for mine, if a bit fiddly for the first couple of rows. I was so excited on this project that I suddenly understood Kitchener Stitch! I've always hated Kitchener Stitch. I forget where I am partway through, and while following the instructions in LMKG, I also realized I've been doing WRONG since I started knitting, so it always looked wonky. I'm not sure if it was the LMKG instructions or that the 98th time is a charm, but it just clicked. It was a beautiful thing. The yarn...I'm not sure I'd recommend it. I'll have to see how much it softens with washing. This is NOT merino, people. I ended up getting two bags on sale at WEBS, but I'm not sure I'd pay full price for it. It's strong, and there were only a couple of knots in twelve balls. I definitely think Holly's sweater will be much more cuddly than mine.

Stefaneener - I hadn't even thought about the cats being able to hear the baby. With Mirando's super-cat hearing, that wouldn't surprise me! Or that they make good labor companions--they were always very sweet and concerned while I had morning sickness. Okay, Rain, the wedding ring test says girl, too :) In fact, I found a quiz with all the old wives tales about gender, and it was 84% certain I'd have a girl. It'll be fun to see whether they're right! Yajb, welcome and thank you for the link!

Other knitting: I also made a Manly Hat for a friend. I'm posting the pattern. It's so easy, it's almost not a real pattern, but I love this as a "guy" gift, and it's usually well-received. Back to the baby angora hat and the Candle Flame Shawl.

Reading: Nearly done with Emma.

Writing: I have got to STOP revising and just move on. I need to save something for the next draft. I think I'll just zip through (read: slog through 100 pages) just to make sure there's nothing glaring, then get on with the show. Otherwise, I might revise forever.

Cooking: Wow, there is NOTHING to report here. It's been warm, I've been busy.

Free Pattern - Manly Hat

This pattern is based on one I stumbled across somewhere for a child's hat. I have made this hat three times; once with Mountain Colors 4/8s wool in Mountain Twilight, once with Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in charcoal, and most recently with two strands of Jaeger Baby Merino DK in indigo. (Notice the manly colors.) It's fairly stretchy and will fit a wide range of head sizes. The bottom can be turned up or pulled down to cover more of the face and ears. The Jaeger hat is VERY WARM with the doubled yarn, and I made it for a friend moving to Canada (Hi, Tim!). I did NOT make him wear the hat in the August heat so I could get a picture, and the cats declined to model, but here it is reclining on the pappasan chair.

Yarn: Any worsted or heavy worsted yarn (or even doubled DK)
Gauge: 4 stitches per inch in pattern
Needles: 16" circular needle, size 9; dpns, size 9

Cast on 92 stitches. Place marker and join, being careful not to twist.
Row 1: k2, p2 to end
Row 2: k1, *(p2, k2); repeat from *; end k1
Repeat these two rows until the hat measures 9" from cast-on edge, ending with Row 1.
Decrease row: ssk, p2tog to end (switch to dpns when needed)
Work Rows 1 and 2, then Row 1 once more.
Decrease row: ssk, p2tog to end
Knit one row.
Cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Using a yarn needle, pull yarn through remaining loops twice. Pull tight to close top of hat. Weave in ends. No blocking required.

Optional matching Manly Scarf:

Cast on 20 stitches. Work Rows 1 and 2 until scarf is desired length. Bind off. Weave in ends. For a wider scarf, cast on 32 stitches.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ode to Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Just kidding about the title--I have other stuff to talk about, too. Annie, my husband and I have both had family cats all our lives, and we've NEVER met cats with this much personality! They are really something else. I've had a "girl" vibe for a while, and my husband and I keep saying "she" and "her" about Butterbean. I also keep almost casting on for cute little dresses (and Reid, from knitty.com), then remembering that I can't do that yet! When we talk about baby names, we sort of half-heartedly go through a few boy names, but concentrate on girls'. I hope if it's a boy, I don't give him a complex.

Just when you guys thought I couldn't get any more "crazy cat lady" than I already am...I think Mirando might know I'm pregnant. I've read about dogs knowing their owners were pregnant, but not about cats, so I may be imagining things. Here's the thing: Mirando is a really snuggly cat. He hops up on the bed between us and just snuggles away. It's really sweet. For the last couple of months, he's been hopping up on my side of the bed in the early morning and snuggling up to my belly. It's not something he'd ever done before and now he's doing it every day, but they do go through phases, so it could be a coincidence. One morning, Matt looked over and said, "Huh. It looks like Mirando is snuggling with Butterbean." And it kind of does!

Knitting: Still going on Hourglass sleeve #1. Thank you for the link, Holly! Yarnthrower and Rain, thank you for the reassurance. I know it won't be noticeable, but staring at the "line" halfway through every round makes me unable to NOT see it :) I will definitely try the paired m1 increases next time I do something like this, though.

Reading: Mansfield Park. I'm also listening to Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews sometimes when I knit.

Writing: Good stuff happening here. 29,000 words, and let me tell you, it's a trip to look at the bottom of your Word document and see that you're on page 56 of 100. That's right! We're in the three-digit word count. I have one more scene to add (I know, it's always "just one more scene") to carry on a new character, and then I think I'm ready to start Chapter 7. I should breeze through the whole thing to check the timeline and make sure none of the characters/subplots seem too thin.

Cooking: I made Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream tonight, and let me tell you, it is GOOD. I spun off from this Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream recipe, which I almost made, but then decided that peanut butter ice cream with no chocolate in it was just wrong. I thought about making a batch of the Peanut Butter Swirl and one of chocolate and then swirling them together, but it seemed much easier to just add chocolate to the PB recipe. And what peanut butter ice cream is complete without some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? And if you get the big bag of the miniatures, you'll have a lot left over. Yum. This is also husband-approved, despite the reduced-fat quality. He really likes what I call "pain-in-the-butt ice cream", where you have eggs and there's cooking, then everything has to cool and it takes FOREVER and produces loads of dirty dishes. I love just chucking milk, sugar, and some sort of flavor in the ice cream maker, partly because I'm lazy, but I was also the weird kid who preferred the ice milk to ice cream at the local ice cream shop, and the first time I had frozen custard (I am not a Wisconsin native) I almost threw up, it was so rich. But this recipe is just so good, and I would make it again. Three eggs seemed like a lot, but it didn't seem overly rich to me, so I doubt I'll tamper with it. And I know this is awful (again with the laziness!), but I didn't feel like refrigerating it for 6-8 hours, so I stuck the bowl in the freezer and stirred every ten minutes until the mixture was cold, and it worked fine. I would also probably use a bigger bowl to beat the eggs and re-use it for mixing the whole thing.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

3 cups 2% milk, divided
3 oz. chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
20 Reese's mini peanut butter cups, quartered (1 heaping cup)

Heat one cup of milk with chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat until chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Beat sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl until frothy.

Gradually whisk hot milk into egg mixture, then pour back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter. Pour into a large bowl and let cool 10 minutes. Stir in remaining two cups of milk and vanilla. Chill thoroughly.

Process in the ice cream mixture until nearly churned. Add peanut butter cups and continue to churn until desired firmness. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze.

Monday, August 07, 2006

As the sands through the Hourglass...

I finished up the body of Hourglass Sweater over the weekend. I toyed with the idea of adding a bit to the length, but I ran into a weird tape measure paradox. I'm hoping to wear this at least early in the fall, so I made a larger size, and I was thinking I might want it to be longer to serve as an interim maternity kind of sweater. The body length is written as 15 3/4". When I measured from my armpit to where I thought I wanted the sweater to end, I got something ridiculous like 18". But when I got the bright idea to measure a sweater that has about the same length as I'd like for this one, I got 15" from armpit to the bottom. huh. So I just went with the original length. Here it is so far:

Here's a closeup of the increase/decrease "seam." It's kind of bugging me. I did the increases and decreases as stated in the pattern (ssk/k2tog and kf&b), and I feel like it looks unspeakably sloppy. This might be my execution, or I might prefer less visible increases. I don't feel that the decreases look as bad. I guess this is where a seam would be on a not-in-the-round sweater, so it probably doesn't matter. Any thoughts?

I like this pattern. I am a bit nervous about the sweater's fit, since the book includes a great photo of the sweater laying flat on something, but not one of someone actually WEARING the sweater. (Knitting book pet peeve #427: Skip the artsy crap and show someone wearing the sweater so I can see the length, hang, ease, etc.) We'll see. I'm excited to be using up quite a bit of my impulse sale-buy tan yarn, with the added bonus of getting a sweater at the end.

Annie, that's really interesting! I'll let you know Sept. 1 :)

Reading: Mansfield Park. Rachel, I haven't read Anne of Green Gables in ages! I have to dig out my copy.

Writing: Revision this week.

Cooking: I made the Doughnut Muffins yesterday. Mmmmmmmm.... They are pretty easy to make and just fantastic. Tender crumb, lightly spiced, and the cinnamon sugar really makes you feel like you're eating a doughnut. I'm curious how these would be made in mini muffin pans. Maybe even more doughnutty. Anyway, Matt loved them. He's used to my whole grain-fruity-reduced fat muffins, which he likes okay, but he thought these were delicious. They are particularly nice with a cup of coffee. Notes: I only got 21 muffins out of this, not 24, using a 1/2 cup measure. I originally got 18, but did some batter reorganization and managed to create 3 more. Also, I was a little mad that I had over 1/2 cup of melted butter left at the end. What do they do in the original recipe, soak the muffins in butter? I brushed pretty liberally and didn't even use half. I would definitely only melt one stick of butter next time, and probably reduce the cinnamon sugar by 1/3 or so as well.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Where have all the mousies gone?

The kitty TV has been shut off...we came outside this morning to find that THEY MOWED THE GRASS!!! So, the field mice have moved on. Geronimo is sad about this. See the Extended Paw of Deep Distress?

And here are the boys hanging out together. After all, there are still birds, the occasional squirrel, and people walking their dogs.

The a/c is working just fine, but Mirando thinks we could turn down the thermostat a bit. These are two of his favorite summer spots. Geronimo mostly hangs out under the bed when it's hot.

Uh oh, Stefaneener, I may just have to start keeping a notebook to write everything down on. Sounds like it might be awhile before I have more brain function :) I seem to have lost my coordination, too, but that may be nothing new. Yesterday, after tripping over the same thing for the third time in an hour, I asked my husband, "Have you noticed I've been pretty clumsy?" And he said, "Yes, I first noticed it ten years ago (when we first met)." Hmmm. I may paint my toenails today, since I'm starting to appreciate that I may not be able to see/reach them for much longer.

Knitting: I think a steeked version of the French Press Cozy is a great idea. It would be a nice, stress-free first steeking attempt, I think. If it goes wrong, it won't take all that long to re-do. For anyone interested, here are the specs:
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted (Silver Sliver and Red Baron) - Less than half a skein main color, very little of the contrast.
Needles: Size 6 dpns (set of 5)
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch
Height: 10" (mine is a bit short, closer to 9")
Circumference: 16" (you could shave an inch or so off if you were going to have a slit for the handle
I cast on 88 stitches (2 coffee cups on each dpn) and after it was the height I wanted, I did three rows of k2tog all around, cut the yarn and pulled it through the remaining 11 stitches (NOT pulling tight so there's room for the ball on top)

Other knitting: I'm on the last set of increases on Hourglass Sweater, and still going on the Candle Flame Shawl.

Writing: Nothing new to report. I hope to have all revisions done by the end of next week.

Reading: Mansfield Park. Has anyone seen the film version of this that has Lady Bertram as an opium addict? Really awful adaptation. I don't remember the BBC version being much better, either. And I'm not just being an Austen purist--I actually quite like the Emma Thompson Sense & Sensibility, even with the changes that are made (and for a two-hour version, changes are going to have to be made, obviously). I felt it was in the spirit of the book. And I even liked the Gwyneth Paltrow Emma, though she's not my favorite actress. But I don't think they've ever done Mansfield Park right on film, unless there's an older version I haven't come across.

Holly, Matt's pretty stubborn, so I'll have to see if he really refuses to read Book 7. I think curiosity and HP addiction will triumph over stubbornness. Rain, I don't think 1,000 pages would be uncalled-for :) It's been such a long wait, and it has to last a long time! It looks like both Book 7 and Movie 5 might be out next summer...wow, that's a lot of Harry Potter all at once. I've seen the film Chocolat, but I've never read any Joanne Harris. I will have to add her to my list. I'm not sure if it's pregnancy hormones, but I'm in a comfort re-reading place right now. First, the Harry Potter, now Jane Austen, and I'm thinking it might be time for the Thursday Next series again. Maybe it's to do with preggo brain, and I sort of know I won't process something new properly. Not sure.

Cooking: In my very first weird pregnancy craving, I made pancakes for dinner Thursday night. I had been feeling a bit left out with no cravings except an increase in my fruit consumption.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


It's actually cool enough this morning that we have the windows open, and I can sit out on the porch without getting heat stroke. The cats are enjoying the novelty, as we've been shut up in the (now working!) a/c for several days. (By the way, Tim, so jealous of the Calgary weather...) In addition, the morning sickness is gone, right on schedule (I'm 16 weeks today). And thank you, Snowdrop! So I'm having rather a nice morning on the porch with a bit of espresso. The cats are being entertained by a man walking his dog down below, and even more so by a family of field mice snacking on the tall grass directly below our porch. I have a great shot looking down over Geronimo's ears to a mouse, but blogger is being mean to me today. Mirando can obviously hear/smell/sense in his own special way the mice, too, since he orients towards them and follows them as they move. Frickin' amazing. Rain, our cats always crack us up, so I'm glad you enjoy them, too! They're such characters.

Ha! Blogger finally let me upload the photo. I'm not sure if you can see the mouse...if you drew a vertical line from the top of Geronimo's left ear, the mouse is about in the center of the photo.

Knitting: Thank you to everyone who said kind things about my French press cozy! StringBean, I do think a slit in the side would be good, but I wasn't motivated to do all the purl rows of knitting it back and forth, and we don't have a problem getting the cozy on and off, so it'd be cosmetic. The steaming coffee mugs are really growing on me, and anyone's welcome to swipe the motif :) StringBean, I *loved* Shel Silverstein as a child, and I think I still have that poem memorized! My husband's been putting the cozy to almost daily use with his coffee habit, so I feel it was well worth the effort.

I've made more progress on the Candle Flame Shawl. I am going to LOVE this when it's done. I am so glad it's for me and not a gift, because I don't think I could part with it. I love the colors, I love the silk, I love the pattern. And Holly is ahead of me now on the Hourglass Sweater, despite my math impairment (which Holly assures me is a symptom of "preggo brain" and will go away eventually), so I will have to get going on that, too. I do promise that I have not been deliberately sabotaging Holly's sweater so she won't beat me in finishing, which is sad, because it means that my brain is really incapable of basic math. Has anyone read Flowers for Algernon? I have a queue of about 18 (boy, I exaggerate a lot, don't I? It's really 3-4) baby things to make for Butterbean after that. I think Christmas knitting will be whatever I can fit in after doing my shawl and sweater and Butterbean's stuff. I have a feeling the Butterbean knitting will get out of control once I know if I'm knitting for a boy or a girl (4 more weeks!).

Reading: I finished Sense & Sensibility, which I hadn't read in a while. I usually re-read all my Jane Austen once every year or two, but I think it's been longer this time. I'm on Mansfield Park now. I go back and forth over which Austen is my favorite. I think it might be P&P, though that's not really original. Rachel, you be proud about your emotional involvement with the HP books! Maybe we should start a support group for after we've read Book 7. I read Book 6 on a plane (note: Matt and I share the HP books. We generally get day-of-release delivery from amazon.com, and I read the book first because I read faster. Then the British version comes a few days later from amazon.co.uk and I read that while Matt reads the U.S. version.) because it turned out we were flying out to CA on the Saturday the book was released, so I bought it in the airport. And I read it ON THE PLANE, trying not to sob embarrassingly loud. After he read it, Matt announced that the series had ended at Book 5 and he would not be reading Book 7, he was so mad at JK Rowling. We'll have to see if he sticks to that :)

Writing: I'm back to this, which is lovely. Working today to finish revisions.

Cooking: Nothing at all. I may try a new kind of ice cream soon, and I very much want to make these Doughnut Muffins but it's too hot to have the oven on. Maybe first thing in the morning.