My current work in progress:

Rona, by Alice Starmore, knit from Alice Starmore Hebridean 2-Ply, using 3.25mm needles.

Archives for December 2008

More Miscellany

You may have noticed that there has been no knitting content here for the past week or so. For the past week I’ve ceased all work on my blog project, the Hanging Garden Stole, to concentrate exclusively on a stealth project that has a deadline. I’ve actually felt a little guilty about having no knitting content on my blog, but it can’t be helped. I’ve got a couple of projects to complete that have a definite deadline and I need to concentrate on them exclusively for a while until I feel comfortable about my ability to meet said deadline.

So for now you will be getting an assortment of blog oddities. Bloggities, if you will.

This morning I made an appointment to donate blood at a work blood drive this week. I will confess to you that for the past several years I’ve ignored the regular blood drives at work. I used to donate regularly, as often as I was allowed to. I have AB negative blood, and they always seem to want that. As many of you know, I work in a large federal building, and a Red Cross bloodmobile comes every two months.

However, in the last year I was donating, I had a number of very bad experiences that caused me to stop donating at work. All of these bad experiences were, I’m sorry to say, due to the appalling lack of professionalism displayed by the volunteers staffing the donation. They would be so busy chatting amongst themselves, flirting with each other, and singing and dancing along with the radio, that they would not pay close enough attention to the poor slobs donating. The last three times I donated, I came away once with an arm black and blue from wrist to shoulder,  once with an arm with blood vessels popped from elbow to shoulder, and once slightly bruised from fainting dead away while trying to get the attention of one of the volunteers because I knew I was going to faint. (I tend to do that after donating blood.) I did call the local Red Cross chapter and let them know each time, but I think they were so short on volunteers that there was not much they could do.

So when the notice of this week’s blood drive came out, I ignored it as usual. But I found out via email this morning that in a federal building that has approximately 5,000 employees working in it, they had only 21 people make appointments to donate blood. So I sucked it up and made an appointment for Thursday morning. I figure it is the least I can do. Pray for me to survive, won’t you? 😉

Hopefully there are some new volunteers since the last time I donated . . .

WendyKnits sez:


“Rock on!”

Lucy sez:


“I am mortified by Momma’s behavior.”

The WendyKnits Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Two words: lowered expectations.

Once upon a time, I was very gung ho about doing everything “right” for the holidays. Christmas cards written and sent in early December, gifts wrapped perfectly, tree and decorations up, many varieties of cookies baked, etc.

Several years ago, I stopped obsessing about holiday preparations and just did what I felt like doing. Basically, I took the pressure off myself.

This year, no cookies have been baked. In recent years I’ve only made cookies to bring to the office holiday party, and the only reason I did that was because our office director (who recently retired) planned the party and I participated out of respect for her. I’ll not be going to the office party this year (it’s tomorrow) — I’ve got a fair amount of work I need to complete this week and don’t want to waste the time.

No decorations this year. I’ve got a fake tree but since I got a new tv and stand a few months ago, have no place to put said tree, so it will stay in the closet.

I did manage to wrap the gifts yesterday. So now I’m all set for the holidays.

This may not work for you but it sure as heck does for me. If something feels more like a chore than fun, I simply don’t do it.

In direct opposition to that, I want to share an excellent cookie recipe that I used to make at Christmas. The reason for this is that Sheri asked last Friday what our favorite cookie recipes were and I told her this was mine. So this is for Sheri, and everyone else who loves cookies!


makes 4 dozen cookies

1 cup butter
2 -1/3 cups unsifted flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1/4 tsp hjorthornssalt
1-1/4 cups sugar. less 2 tablespoons

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Brown the butter in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. Let the butter cool and solidify.

Mix the next three ingredients together.

Cream the solidified butter and sugar together until light. Mix in the dry ingredients.

Form into balls (the dough will be slightly crumbly and fragile) and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the cookies are slightly browned and their surfaces crack. Transfer carefully to wire racks to cool.

At this point, you are no doubt asking what the heck hjorthornssalt is. It is known as “baker’s ammonia” in this country, and can be ordered from some baking supply catalogs. I see that an seller has it here.

I wouldn’t try making these cookies without it. You can sub another leavening agent, but you won’t get the same “melt in the mouth” consistency.

Lucy is having a quiet moment here:



Happy Sunday, y’all! I have no knitting to show you, because I’ve been working on an un-bloggable project for the past few days, and will likely continue to do so for a couple more days. So no knitting pix.

The Random Number Generator stepped up this morning and selected a winner for the Noro book. It chose comment number 32, which was Betzi. Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment!

In other news, WendyKnits has been moved to a new server. You might have noticed some problems and glitches and slowness in the past few weeks. Well, fingers crossed, all that should be behind us. And while she was at it, Daisy upgraded me to the latest version of WordPress (v. 2.7). It’s quite different in appearance from previous versions. I think the developers have done a good job making it bigger and better.

So today, I did this:


All the gifties are wrapped! Woo-hoo!

Surprisingly, Lucy did not help me. She preferred to veg out in front of the tv.


Yesterday I did another henna application on my hair. I wanted a slightly deeper color, so did a full-head application again, and I’m very happy with the results.


When I was in the grocery store this morning, a man said to me “Red hair rules!” and made the “rock on” gesture.

I feel so . . . validated.

Holiday Road Kill

What I saw as I approached my office door this morning:

Is that not the saddest wreath you’ve ever seen?

And here is a very good reason why our office is infested with vermin — I spotted this on the floor near the door:

It has been mentioned (by me and by others) more than once that if people would not leave food lying around, we would likely not have to put up with traps of various configurations in our office. Do they listen? Why, no, they don’t.

And third in a series of random photos, what happens to my hair when it rains:

I blow-dried and straightened before I left home this mornig but it was raining today. Despite my umbrella, that is what I looked like when I got to work.

Here’s what it looked like when I got home:

The true color is somewhere in between those two pictures. The color has deepened slightly since I henna-ed and I love it.

Lucy is ignoring me because she thinks I am acting silly!

Gloomy Day

It was a strange weather day today. This is what the “sunrise” looked like this morning:

Mauve clouds. Seriously. But they very quickly turned grey. The weather is freakish. High in the 60s and very windy. And rainy. Dude, where’s my winter weather? On the radio this afternoon they reported that it was “creepily warm” today.

Hanging Garden Stole

Did a few rows last night, but not enough so you can really tell the difference. 🙂

Roseann asked:

How would you compare the Hanging Garden Stole to the Midnight Lace Stole? The Hanging Garden Stole looks like it is more fun to knit, though I’m not sure why.

The Hanging Garden Stole is an easier pattern, I think, due to the construction. The Midnight Lace starts with the wedge-shaped center piece, then you pick up stitches on each side and work out, then do short rows at each end and apply a knitted-on edging. Hanging Garden is a straight rectangle.

Yes I think I’m enjoying knitting it more. Generally speaking, I find the more complex constructions more entertaining because I don’t get bored. But the lace pattern on the Hanging Garden is a lot of fun to knit so it keeps my attention.


What better thing to do on a grey day but give away a book?

This is the new book Knitting Noro by Jane Ellison — publication date was November 4, I think. If you are familiar with and liked Jane Ellison’s previous designs for Noro yarns, you’ll like this book. There are more than 30 designs using a variety of Noro yarns, from tanks to pullovers to cardis and jackets to wraps. A couple of my favorites are this cardi:

And this pullover:

Would you like my copy?

Leave a comment to this blog post telling me that you would, by midnight this Saturday, December 13, and the random number generator will choose a recipient on Sunday.

Lucy sez:

It may be creepily warm outside, but I still love napping on my cozy cushion!