Twins bound by a love of knitting talk about knitting and more.

Archive for the ‘Work in Progress’

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Dear Ellen,

dsc02329.JPGWith apologies to Monty Python, I am ready for something different.  Six hats in a row kept me busy, but I’m eager to see some other shapes.  So, I’ve gotten back to work on the Sweater from Down Under — just the sleeves and collar band remain.  And I’m working on a shawl that I cast on in Jamaica.  I’m calling it the Primrose Shawl.  It’s based on the Primula coffee cloth pattern in one of my lace books.  It’s downstairs or I’d tell you which.  You may have glimpsed it in my post on Jamaica.

dsc02330.JPGdsc02331.JPGThese cushy cabled socks are coming along well.  I hope the spiraling panel of twisted stitches stands out well when I block them.  I think it will.  I’ll get project pages up for these (and those hats) soon.  Yes, I’ll write up the patterns. I won’t promise in which year!  I’m working in Socrates, one of my favorite sock yarns.  It’s a merino, alpaca, bamboo and nylon blend.

dsc02333.JPGFinally, I’m casting on tonight for Spiraluscious by Anne Hanson…love her stuff and wanted a fast knit to go along with the socks, shawl and sweater that would use up this soft ball of Moorland.  It’s a great blend of mohair, alpaca, merino and acrylic.  Another great buy from the going out of business sale of a local shop.  Don’t feel sad for them…she had owned the shop for a long time and said she wasn’t forced to close financially, just wanted to close and move on to something else.  I did some major stash enhancement, but that was a while ago…and didn’t count against my stash diet in force till Sock Summit.

dsc02314.JPGdsc02302.JPGdsc02291.JPGdsc02274.JPGThe house is progressing too…you can really picture what it will look like completed. We decided to do a coffered ceiling in the living room.  It was cool to see how they framed it and then finished it out with dry wall.  The interior of the panels will have the very palest of blues…a tint you won’t be sure is actually there.  The rest of the ceiling will be in dove white. The big guest room (most likely yours) has its walls now too.  And we’ve got decorating ideas in mind for it to capitalize on it’s size and sunny feeling.  dsc02315.JPGdsc02313.JPGWe have water in the dry bed creek…and they’re digging wells to make sure there’s water in the house too.  When you visit, I want to be sure you can shower.

Love, Jan

Finishing Off 2010 Along with Assorted UFOs!

Dear Ellen,

dsc01752.JPGdsc01755.JPGYou may remember my Woodland Vines sweater — the one I started in the summer and thought I’d finish in a few weeks?  Well, it sure got sidetracked during the fall, but in a bout of slogging through 2010 projects on needles, I finally moved forward and finished it up.  I had completed the knitting a month ago, but dsc01757.JPGdsc01758.JPGthen it sat in a chair waiting for blocking.  The pictures take it from blob, to blob hanging on dress form, to blocked blob (note yoke detail!), to finished product!  At least it’s finished dsc01762.JPGexcept for finding the right 11 buttons and sewing them on.  I’ve ordered a few different alternatives from some etsy vendors and am confident that I’ll be pleased with at least one of them, so I’m hoping to be completely finished very soon.



dsc01765.JPGdsc01768.JPGTGIF is also a finished object now.  All it was waiting on was a decision on whether or not the button solution was adequate or not.  If so, I needed another means to actually secure the sweater for when I wanted it closed as the current solution means buttons are only decorative.  I decided to add a frog (as opposed to deciding to frog) of simple I-cord to use when needed.  When it’s not needed, it can fasten in the back.  I’m pleased…but may revisit the buttons if I find others as perfect in size and color, but far lighter in weight.  The knitting is now finished, I’m waiting for the toggle to arrive in the mail, but you get the idea.  I’ll post final FO pictures of these two once the buttons/closures are completed…maybe even with me wearing them!

dsc01741.JPGdsc01737.JPGI also finished up the headband for my friend at work — it’s very fun.  Not what I would normally wear on my head, but I do kind of like the neck band option.




dsc01759.JPGdsc01751.JPGdsc01753.JPGI have three WIPs remaining and I’m committed to not casting on anything new till 2011.  First is the Sweater from Down Under.  I had set it down for quite a while, but picked it back up just the other night and am making progress again.  Second is my Simple Lace Scarf…a little more progress there as well.  And finally, those nasty Noro socks.  It’s really hard to get motivated to knit them with my dislike for the knittability of the yarn.  Beyond my earlier complaints, I’m now finding knots — and knots that do not keep the color changes consistent.  Grrr!  I only have part of a single cuff left so it should be finished this weekend if I would just grit my teeth and get it over with.

dsc01756.JPGAt least I have some inspiration to get me motivated to move through these projects…Christmas gift goodies from folks like you and Dale!  Looking through the books (especially Wrapped in Comfort by our good friend Alison) will make me want to get some new projects going and I’ve sworn no newbies till the UFOs are done!  With the Knitwear Design Workshop I’ll have my head full of all the new projects I want to design myself!  There are a few other inspiring goodies in the picture…including HiyaHiya Puppy Snips, a Debra’s Garden whorl pendant needle gauge, Yarn Dots, a magnetic measuring tape and a very nice hand knit face cloth.  Our readers can guess which of you gave me the face cloth.  It’s looking like 2011 will be a great year for hand knits!

Love, Jan

P.S. Have you noticed how our spam volume seems to have jumped?  Does this mean we’ve arrived???

Restocking the Project Basket

Dear Ellen,

dsc01520-1.JPGIt’s hard to believe that a few weeks ago I thought I was going to finish up my TGIF and my Woodland Vines and be without a project to work on.  Ha!  I still haven’t finished either one of them!  And I’ve gone on to start plenty more.  The TGIF looks pretty much the same as the last time it was shown.  I’m still screwing around with the buttons.  I redid the button band and am much happier with it, and I thought I found the perfect buttons.  They’re large antique bakelite in a muddled green color that sets off the color of the yarn remarkably well.  The problem is that they’re shank buttons…and heavy…too heavy for knitted fabric.  I’ve screwed around with them and figured out a way to mount foam discs on the back to provide stability by sinking the shank into the disc.  That didn’t help their weight though.  With four of those mommas on one side it was pulling all lop-sided.  SO…I took off the top button and closed the buttonholes.  I had six buttons to start with, so that meant I had three to put over the bottom three buttonholes on the other side.   So now they’re decorative buttons.  I’ll place some kind of an I-cord or sash closure on it after I figure it out.  And then I’ll get a picture of it…for now you’ll have to look at the photo I included of progress on the Woodland Vines.  It’s about 70% done.

dsc01523.JPGdsc01524.JPGAs to those other projects.  I’ve got two more pairs of socks going.  One pair is for Dale.  Each one takes a long time because he has size 13 feet.  They’re a simple, but enjoyable knit.  The yarn is a nice merino-cashmere blend, so what’s not to like?  The other pair are the ones I’m making out of that Noro sock yarn I whined about a week ago.  I finished the first one, but am finding it hard to motivate myself to cast on the second one.  I’ll get to it though.

dsc01527.JPGI also started a simple lace scarf based on an Estonian lace stitch pattern in an alpaca lace weight that I bought at the Estes Park Fiber Festival about 2 years ago.  It’s really lovely to knit and the reason I got tempted into buying the lace weight yesterday.  I cast on enroute to Australia — the little project bag has aboriginal designs on it and was purchased at the National Museum in Canberra.  dsc01530.JPGWhile in Canberra I bought a sweater’s worth of lovely Australian sourced and milled blue faced leister.  To make it a truly Australian sweater I cast on Fiona Ellis’ Cables and I-Cord Sweater from the Australian knitting magazine Australian Knitting.  (They are very innovative with their titles.)  I don’t plan on doing the I-Cord part though.  And I’m knitting it seamlessly in the round vice in pieces.  It’s bottom up.  I’m about  3-4 inches into it.

dsc01526.JPGI’ve also knit up almost a ball of Knitpicks Risata in a serial swatch to try out stitch patterns for a sweater for Dale.  I included a bit of stockinette to check gauge.  I showed it to Dale to see which fabric he might like.  You guessed it.  He wants the stockinette.  Oh well, please the customer, right? I chose the Risata because Dale wanted cotton.  I convinced him that a blend of cotton and wool would be better.  It has some polymide and elastic in it too.  Knits pretty nicely, so it will be good brainless knitting — and a lot of it.

dsc01525.JPGdsc01515.JPGI’ve finished the swatches for Master Knitter Level I.  Well I have finished the knitting.  I still have to block them.  I also have to write my essay and knit the color work project, but I think there’s a reasonable chance I can finish in 2010.

dsc01518.JPGdsc01517.JPGAnd finally, I have two projects I have to get onto the needles if I’m to finish them in time for their gifting destinations.  One is a headband made out of bulky weight yarn to copy one with which the Chief Petty Officer in our office fell in love.  It should only take an hour or two and maybe another to make a flower to embellish it.  I’ll make it out of the purple yarn.  The burnt orange is for a newsboy style cap for my flag writer as a farewell gift.  She’s transferring in a month, so that one gets priority.

dsc01534.JPGI did finish a project.  It’s a simple little neck warmer out of the leftover sock yarn that I had used to test knit your Hat for Warm Necks and my Scrap Babies preemie hat.  I’ve worn it all day to keep my swollen neck* warm.  It lives up to its purpose.  So, in all these weeks I finish one tiny project…and now have 3 sweaters, another to come and a few smaller projects to keep me off the streets. I guess I don’t have to worry about running out of things to knit after all.

Love, Jan

*Sinusitis and strep throat have joined forces to enlarge my lymph glands.

Rapid Fire Catch Up

Dear Ellen,

dsc01192.JPGI have to be honest…if I wait till I have time to tell you everything, it will be forever before I get another post up, so I’ll do the very abbreviated Cliff notes version and at least tick off the events that have happened recently.

I went to Philadelphia to take part in Vision 2020 where all the delegates worked to craft an agenda to advance women’s equality and signed a declaration of same.

dsc01199.JPGWe celebrated sale of the townhouse in Vienna and getting the construction loan approved for building our future home at Fair Winds.

dsc01202.JPGWe had a great time with neighbors while passing out candy to the neighborkids on Halloween…(note that Alexandria sticks with Halloween, not Beggar’s Night).

dsc01431.JPGI traveled to Australia on business. That’s where I am now.

Yes, I have been knitting…no, I don’t have pictures…but I did finish the first gigantic sock for Dale, have started a Noro sock yarn sock (note to self, NEVER buy Noro sock yarn again — the colors are great, but good grief it is SO unpleasant to knit with!), am halfway through a beautiful, simple, Estonian lace patterned scarf out of handspun lace weight alpaca.  I did buy a sweater’s worth of BFL both sourced and milled in Australia for one of my fine souvenirs.  Pictures to come…really.

Love, Jan

What’s Nupp?

Dear Ellen,

dsc00863.JPGI loved your little froggy visitor and had to show you a toady friend I discovered on our  last trip to Fair Winds.  I helped him escape Ruby out of harm’s way.


dsc00997.JPGWe made it back to the farm this weekend as well.  And we spent our first night on our property!  Dale was resistant at first, but I think if you were to ask him now, he’d claim it was his idea.  We had a wonderful time.  dsc00996.JPGdsc00999.JPGWe stopped by the mercantile (I love that our future county has a mercantile) and picked up a pair of bib overalls for Dale so he can avoid constantly having to pull up his jeans.  He loved them…I may have a struggle to keep them on the farm!  We got a lot of work done both days and spent a delicious night by the fire listening to the insects, looking at the stars and roasting marshmallows.  dsc01009.JPGdsc01010.JPGHere Dale is searching for an honest man ridiculing my baby Coleman lantern.  However, I proved that by using it, it is possible to knit by the campfire, though I ended up correcting a few issues the next day.  We will be camping again soon…Dale went out and bought another sleeping bag and a blow-up queen-sized airbed at the sale at Sport’s Authority today — a sure sing that he’s hooked.  A portable camp toilet is on my wish list, though I managed in the woods just fine.

dsc01021.JPGdsc01020.JPGdsc01018-1.JPGThe knitting I was doing is the Annis Shawlette from  I’m calling it my Crescent Beach Shawlette because the pattern has a lovely crescent shape to it and the colorway is Ocean Memories which brings back college memories of visiting the ocean at Crescent Beach, FL when I was a student at UF.  Man, I’m flying through this pattern!  LOTS of fun once you get the first few rows out of the way.  And this was my first experience with nupps, so I had a bit of dsc01023.JPGexperimenting and learning to do.  For instance, I found that you can’t be too inattentive when you are completing the nupps.  The first stage is easy, in same loop *K1, YO* three times, K1 so you end up with 7 live stitches in one loop.  Coming back on the purl side you purl all 7 loops together.  dsc01024.JPG(Thank goodness for pointy tipped lace needles!)  My issue was that I tended to either realize I was at the nupp a loop too late (I kept trying to purl the first loop of the nupp as its own stitch) or I managed to drop a loop during the operation.  In my defense, remember that this was knitting by the campfire!  No worries though, I corrected my occasional dropped loop or extra stitch in the daylight by dropping back a row to redo or as is seen in the photos, by doing a bit dsc01025.JPGof stitch collection after the fact.  Very easy — I just found a bit of the same color repeat from the end of the ball, wove it in to catch at the back of the nupp, brought the needle to the front at the top of the nupp where the loops are collected on the single purl stitch, caught the loose loop and returned dsc01026.JPGthe needle back through the same hole pulling the top of the loop through to the back and then securing the yarn end.  All better. I only have 15 or so rows to go and it’s all easy stockinette short rows.  These introduce the nice crescent curve to this shawl.  A fun knit and fast.

dsc01017.JPGMaking progress on my Hsssssy Fit Mitts too…they’re Stephen West’s Diamondback Mitts.  I’m making them for a friend’s brother — he’s been just great helping with challenges her family has had and works outside in all weather, so thought they’d be a nice way to show him some appreciation.  I love the pattern, but am thinking I’d reverse the rows of main color so that the cabled stitches are in the second row vice the first row of main color rows.  As it is now, the cable stitch is worked over some already stretched stitches as they’ve been slipped over the contrasting color.  The look is fine, it works fine, I’m just curious to see if the stitches look a little more even that way.  I’ll have to see.

dsc01027.JPGdsc01028.JPGTGIF is temporarily finished.  I say temporarily as I think that in about 30 minutes I’ll be downstairs ripping out half of the shawl collar/button band.  STUPID mistake on my part regards buttonhole placement.  The distance of the lower buttonhole from the bottom edge is way out of proportion with the width of the button band itself.  I knew it and yet decided it wouldn’t matter much and pressed ahead to include sewing on buttons.  And I decided I needed four buttons — which places the top button a little too high to let the shawl collar open like it wants to.  dsc01030.JPGOnce again, I should have trusted my instincts when the warning in my head popped up in the first place.  After living with it for about a week and a half, I know I have to go back and do it right — three buttons, better placement…and maybe a different bind-off.  I may not get back to it for a few weeks though…I’m trying to stay on task with Single Skein September knitting.

It will be another crazy week at the Pentagon.  Luckily only 4 days thanks to the holiday!  Hope you had a great Labor Day and have a great week.

Love, Jan

Woman On Subs

Dear Ellen,

dsc00888.JPGdsc00887.JPGdsc00889.JPGI realize that this post must have had you immediately wondering why I would make mention of my luncheon habits , but actually I was referring to the tour I took last Friday of the mighty warship USS PROVIDENCE (SSN 719).  dsc00936.JPGPROVIDENCE is, of course, Allen’s submarine.  I flew up to the city of Providence* on Thursday evening and on Friday did some business at the Submarine Base and then Allen gave me a tour of his boat. **  I was so proud — mostly of the fact that I didn’t fall down any ladders, but also of how well Allen is obviously doing on board as the Supply Officer.  We spent the rest of the evening walking around New London, having pizza and laughing at funny web sites like Regretsy, The Man Repeller and Texts from Last Night.  Ah, a great mother/son evening.*

dsc00896.JPGdsc00898.JPGThe next morning I drove him up to his mechanic’s house in Hebron so he could pick up his 1973 Innocenti Mini who had been in getting a new fuel pump.  We took pictures with the mechanic’s red minis (larger and smaller!) and then headed out for breakfast and to see me off at the airport.  A very nice visit.

dsc00942.JPGWhile on the flight I started a new scarf.  You may recall that I made a Sparkly Scarf for Ava several months ago — and mom Katie made the comment that she so wanted one too.  She’s not going to get an identical one, but I’m taking the leftover yarn and making her a Lamina with the same beads. It may have to be a pattern repeat or two shorter than the pattern calls for, but it will be plenty long enough to be a nice accessory. And with all the sweaters I’ve been working on, I need some snack knitting!  I’m calling it Katie’s Sparkly Scarf because I am so creative.  dsc00941.JPGIf you look at the cast on edge, you’ll be able to see a bunch of live stitches on a stitch holder.  The instructions called for a provisional cast on so you can knit half in one direction and then return to knit the other direction (after picking up live stitches and unraveling your provisional cast on).  I figured, why not just use a toe-up sock cast on and put one half the stitches on a holder so you don’t have to screw around with any of the silliness of the waste yarn and all.  I expect it will work out perfectly.  Stay tuned.

dsc00905.JPGdsc00924.JPGdsc00935.JPGI’ve decided to go ahead and post pictures of the sweater I made last year for Allen.  (Remember, I was going to submit the pattern for publications, so couldn’t put pictures up?)  Well, I never submitted it as I decided it needed some tweaking before I would do so. Plus I’m going to knit something similar for Dale, so will use his as the submission…someday.  It will be different enough to qualify as a different pattern.  I learned a lot from making this one for Allen and am quite pleased with most of it, especially things like the applied I-cored neckline, but there are other areas that need adjustment (like shoulder width, scye depths, that kind of stuff).

dsc00944.JPGdsc00945.JPGdsc00949.JPGToday has been a quiet day.  I took the dogs for a nice long walk and enjoyed just being.  We’ve got wild grapes all over everything along the trail that the dogs and I follow.  dsc00951.JPGSome honeysuckle and wild snapdragons too, but mostly wild grapes.  The dogs pretty much ignored the flora and me.  They were far too involved in conversations of their own.  I love how much they like each other.  I could have used more nap time, but the day was pretty good regardless.

Love, Jan

* Sorry for all the bizarre new spam we are sure to get.
** Notice we fully capitalize the names of our naval vessels like PROVIDENCE (in order to make them appear even more powerful).  We do not fully capitalize the names of cities like Providence.  It’s a Navy thing.
**For you landlubbers — NO, not you laplanders! — we call submarines “boats” and we call ships…well, “ships.”

Monkeys Off My Back

Dear Ellen,

dsc00883.JPGI set aside Woodland Vines for the day and concentrated on finishing up Tropical Gorillas and moving forward on TGIF.  As nice a pattern as Cookie A’s Monkey Socks is, I am glad to say that my version is complete.  I seem to have hit the point where if socks are on my needles for more than 3 or 4 weeks, they start to bug me.  Somehow I should be able to finish them faster than that!  I do realize that work on the Vine Yoke Cardigan was a major distraction from working on the second sock.  It only took me two days once I decided I needed to take a break from the cardigan and get moving on a few other WIPs.  (I seamed the shoulder and set in the sleeves for the dsc00884.JPGGirl Friday Sweater too…tomorrow will do the side seams and sleeve seams and maybe pick up the eleventy million stitches for the shawl collar.)  In any case, these particular monkeys are off my back now.  Ironically I’m already thinking of a second pair of these.  They’re great socks!  If I can block them out a half size larger, they’ll be a Christmas present for SIL Chris.  If I can’t, oh too bad…I’ll have to keep them! They’re already too big for either you or Patty!   😉

Love, Jan

Colors of Nature

Dear Ellen,

dsc00831.JPGdsc00868.JPGLast week I shared some beautiful blues from Fair Winds.  This week we have sunny orange, red and feathery white.  I also found a gal with the most silky golden hair.  Plenty of yellow, dsc00875.JPGdsc00874.JPGdsc00873.JPGdsc00876.JPGgreens and browns, and lacy whites were around to inspire as well.  Also a view of what an aunt must see when strolling through a lawn.  (Max, Ruby and I took a trek through the corn.)

It was a very tough week with some announcements that will radically change my directorate — whether I agree or not, I’ll find a way to support.  The part I am most disgruntled with is the lack of communication that there was between the decision makers and those of us charged with leading the affected groups.  I’m thankful we went to the farm today where I was able to forget it for a while.  Just being in nature was calming.  (Chopping and burning helped too!)

dsc00877.JPGdsc00878.JPGAnd I finished the knitting of sock number two of my Tropical Gorillas.  You can see I’ve got my chimney in place so I can do Lucy’s magic graft tomorrow and have a great new pair of socks.  That makes me smile.

Love, Jan

Perpetual Motion

Dear Ellen,

dsc00802.JPGdsc00826.JPGTimes like the last several weeks make me cherish my knitting. More and more it serves as a means to slow myself down just a bit so that I can process all the activity going on in my life.  And lately that has been a LOT of activity including two trips to three different places (St. Louis, Fayetteville — where I stayed at the Very VIP quarters on post — complete with kitchen staff — and Tampa), weekend visitors 3 weekends in a row, a mid-week visitor, and multiple work crises (some real, some concocted).  While I haven’t been able to knit as much as I’d like to, I have done quite a bit — and I seem to be gaining speed, so I do have some progress on two projects and a new project well underway.

dsc00861.JPGdsc00827.JPGdsc00828.JPGTropical Gorillas are about 75% done, having rounded the heel and picked up the gusset on sock  number two.  TGIF is blocked and ready for seaming thanks to Ruby’s fine assistance.  All that remains once seamed will be the extra large button bands and shall collar — picked up along the entire front edge and worked in ribbing.  dsc00858.JPGAnd I cast on Woodland Vines, my version of Ysolda Teague’s Vine Yoke Cardigan in very woodland colors — the Briar Rose yarn I bought at Yarnover (remember?).  I have to say, it is putting the completion of the others at risk because it is such a fun project to knit.  The construction design is brilliant. It is knit side to side in mostly garter with some patterning at the yoke and hem to keep you interested.  And you knit the sleeves as you go round with short row raglans.  It’s crazy I tell you, crazy!  And it knits pretty quickly, so even if the others stall, I should be back to them soon.

dsc00792.JPGSeveral of our visitors were our children.  Allen was here a few weekends ago and I took Allen in to work with me…we snuck a picture outside the Pentagon.  He was down for some interviews and I had fun showing him around and showing him off.   Marie and Heidi were here this weekend…and guess what!  Marie has picked up knitting again!  dsc00862.JPGShe’s working on a cute little baby bonnet and doing pretty well for having not picked up a needle for about 2 and 1/2 years! Hearing she wanted to try knitting again was almost as good as if she had said she was working on a different kind of baby project.  Not really that close, but still.

dsc00852.JPGdsc00834.JPGdsc00831.JPGWe did make it up to Fair Winds yesterday while the girls create-your-own-range-google-chrome-7202010-34933-pmbmp.jpgdsc00853.JPGslept in.  We cleared brush, burned brush, watched fuzzy caterpillars, were amazed by the height of the corn, mused over the possible additions for our future kitchen (wouldn’t that be a GREAT stove!!), and had our eye caught by the colors of the surrounds.  I personally found it very reassuring to know that 24 hours a day we can acquire live bait via vending machine down at the local grocery.  Almost as good as a vend-o-mat for those late night munchies, I should imagine!  We decided we would go a different way for our end of trip treat and headed over to Maplehof’s for ice cream before heading back.

dsc00829.JPGWe’re hoping for a quiet week.  I’d be happy to have an empty guest room for a few days at this point.  Plus we’d love to avoid the excitement nature sent our way this past Tuesday when hurricane force winds hit very suddenly.  We had some minor damage to the townhouse in which we’re living, but the neighborhood was hit much harder.  We lost some really beautiful trees.  The one in the photo (and several others nearby) caused the George  Washington Parkway to be closed for quite a bit until it could be cut up and moved off the road.  Fortunately, no one near us was hurt.  I hope your week is filled with good fortune too!

Love, Jan

Ohio Weekend

Dear Ellen,

dsc00734.JPGI did a quick trip to Ohio this past weekend.  It was very good.  I really enjoyed the drive back as I had great company in the car with me.  Ken had just finished his workshop at Trinity University, so I picked him up and we headed west.  The first two hours were filled with great conversation.  Our nephew is quite the thinker.  I don’t agree with his positions on everything, but you can follow his logic and our core principles seem to be pretty darned close.  We get into differences when we work on the execution of those principles.  I think I’m a bit more bounded by the experience that comes with, well, experience, so I’m a good bit more pragmatic in my final views on various policies and actions.  We did have to break off the talk so he could do some homework.  He drove the last couple hours which gave me a chance to make some progress on sock number two of Tropical Gorillas.  I’m about halfway down the cuff now.

dsc00733.JPGdsc00736.JPGOnce in Ohio I had a great steak dinner with Tim and Patty (and Ken!).  Ken had to leave after dinner, but then the three of us stayed out on their porch for a while.  I love that dsc00735.JPGswing.  Tim and I fed the chickens some table scraps and obligatory photos were taken.  In the morning I headed south so I could meet Terry for late breakfast.  We had a short visit, it was good to see him, but the conversation wasn’t as easy as with Ken.  Not awkward…but not bubbling along.  We were both fine with that.  We looked around for Radio Shacks after eating.  I had forgotten my phone charger and my phone was stone cold dead, a condition which leaves me feeling very uneasy.  We drove around to several locations, only to find they had closed.  In fact, many of the places around there were closed — and it’s not too far from where you lived in Hilliard.  After I dropped him off I did find one and it was right next to a PetSmart.  That gave me an inspired idea for the next phase of the trip — a cat for Mom!  How better to take the attention off of you than by injecting a new pet into the equation?  No, I didn’t get it right there, I just decided that as soon as I got to Marietta I would drag Mom out to get one.

dsc00744.JPGdsc00777.JPGAnd so I did…I tried to talk her into pedicures first, having wanted to maximize the time we had just the two of us, but that was a no go.   She was quite eager about the cat though.  We went to “We Luv Pets” the Marietta knock-off version of PetSmart and bought all the gear and stuff and then picked out a kitty.  Rather, she met the one cat that they had remaining in the adoption center and decided she was the one.  She was hiding in her litter box at the store.  (The cat, not Mom.)  And it bothered me a bit that she might be making a mistake since the cat was so shy and I was concerned about it warming up to her, but the girls working there said she was really very loving, but seemed to hide whenever more than a few people were around.  dsc00782.JPGdsc00785.JPGThat made me feel better and I have to say, I think she’ll work out quite well. When we got back to the apartment she immediately hid behind the couch.  After letting her be for about a half hour, I got her out so Mom would stop fretting and put her in Mom’s lap.  She settled right in and hid back under Mom’s arm.  Then she gradually opened up to the goings on in the room.  When John came in she went right back behind the couch.  Smart cat.  In the evening when he left, she came out again and ended up sleeping right next to Mom.  She stayed out the next morning too…and proved she knew where her litter box was and was very dainty in using it properly.  And she really was very loving and dsc00780.JPGvery insistent on Mom petting her.  When John came in after breakfast, she hid again, but then came out and settled down with him around too.  Evidently she likes being the center of attention.  This last shot was not cropped at all…it is the result of her wanting her “close up!”

At first Mom wanted to immediately name her “Tessie II”, but now she’s going to wait to see her personality fully emerge and will probably name her something else.  I personally like “Jinx” or maybe “Felix” even though she is a female.  She’s very slinky, has an incredibly long neck and very triangular face for an American Shorthair, so I suspect she’s got something else in her genes.  On the second day she was earnestly into grooming and stretching and just luxuriating in surrounds that didn’t include barking dogs, ferrets and little kids poking fingers at her.

dsc00787.JPGdsc00788.JPGI left around 2:00 PM, got home around 8:00 PM, did a bit of knitting on TGIF and we turned in.  Yesterday we ran up to Pennsylvania to meet with the architects.  Left with a tad bit of sticker shock, but not too much.  The fact that the current quote includes the wells, the geothermal, the 1,000 ft. driveway, the septic field and other stuff that’s not technically the house made it better.  We do need to get the Vienna townhouse sold if we want to comfortably break ground this fall though.  dsc00789.JPGWe picked up a fabulous birthday cake from Musser’s grocery and headed back to DC where I got birthday wishes and a dress form from Dale.  I also enjoyed opening my box from you via Nana Rose.  LOVE the little pouch out of the skull and cross bones fabric and even more that you remembered me saying how much I liked that fabric.  The larger bag has some really finely crafted construction — she’s quite talented.  Thanks for remembering!  (I’m counting this as my thank you note!)

Enough for now!  Love, Jan, your older, but younger at heart, sister.