Progress Report: Makin' a Moebius; Separatin' the Sleeves; Pickin' the Peppers; and Greetin' Our Guests

It's been a productive week for my UFO's. I took a class while in ATL last week, at my new *favorite* yarn store in GA, The Yarn Garden. Yvonne taught me how to make a Felted Moebius Basket, using Cat Bordhi's book "A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting," page 28-29. What an interesting technique, this so-called Magical Knitting! You start here, go 'round there, and end up back where you started...but with a twist that you actually meant to be there. I learned how to knit socks on two circular needles by reading Cat's "Socks Soar on Two Circs" book, which I checked out of our local library, and I've been knitting on two circs ever since. Admittedly, I would never have purchased this book, as some of the most prominent photos on the front look just plain silly to me (really, would you spend the time to make a Jester Tentacles Bag or Hat when there are so many sweaters that need knitting and baby blankets that need crocheting?) Ah, it would have been my loss, for sure. Check out my photo (above, left) to see the felted and finished Basket in a variegated red wool yarn (of which I don't know the name, since I failed to collect the wrapper after Y. rolled the hank for me before the class)! I even used almost all of my left-over in knitting an I-Cord to use as a decorate tie. I've got to get another one on my needles soon! Ooh, ooh...and a Moebius Scarf, too...I need one of those, like the one on page 14.

[BTW, the instructions in the book say to use a balloon to shape the basket after felting. Well, I didn't have a balloon, so I created a 'tower' of various sized bowls, topped with a wide-lipped cereal bowl...which is why my basket has a rather prominent rim, and the picture on the front of the book does not. We must add our own personal touches when we can, right?]

Meanwhile, back at my *favorite* yarn shop here at home, Knit n Caboodle in St. Charles, my Design Your Own Top-Down Sweater class continues. I am so very excited to announce that I've completed something on this project! I finished the collar (see photo, above), so now this mass of cobalt blue yarn is beginning to look like a sweater...finally. This is my problem with this whole "top-down" deal: when you knit a sweater 'normally,' you knit for a while...and have a finished back; then, you knit for a while longer...and have a finished front, or a finished sleeve. OK, to be truthful, you don't actually have a finished anything, because you are going to have to seam the 'finished' pieces together to complete the sweater (and that's supposedly the ta-da moment of a Top-Down, when you realize that you don't have to seam anything...and it's truly finished!). Oh well, it'll all reveal itself in due time, right? We got instructions on how to separate the sleeves from the main body in our last class, slipping those stitches onto some waste yarn. Check! Got that done yesterday. I've been knitting on the main body a little bit, using the expanse of stockinette to practice knitting in the Continental method. I'm told that is much faster than the English method (which I've been using for 45 years now), but you couldn't prove it by me. Faster knitting, especially on the boring bits like plain ol' stockinette (POS?), really appeals to me, but I'm so awkward...I get frustrated (surprised?) and switch to what I know for a row, then I calm down and switch back to practicing the Con. What does that say about my personality? That I love learning new things, but I hate learning new things? Oh well...there's probably something hidden in there about 'old dog(s) and new tricks,' too...but I digress. Stay tuned for more progress and pics on the Top Down Sweater project.

It's finally beginning to hint of Fall around here with cooler temps both day and night. The trees are turning...slowly...but I'm afraid that the main 'color' in the leaves will be brown. The Japanese Maple out front is really a strange brown-yellow-rust color, when we usually see lots more deep maroon-y red. The Oaks in the back are dropping brown leaves along with massive amounts of acorns...but haven't really 'turned' in color yet. Truly, about the only tree that is showing any color is the sassafras, where there is a bit of the usual red and gold visible.

The change in season signals the winding-down of both the roses and the kitchen garden. Mr. T spent a good deal of time last weekend tending each one, trimming the gangly growth back on the roses and picking the last of the peppers in the garden. The hot peppers will be good in vegetables (like green beans and turnip greens, just to name a couple) and chili in the coming months, so Mom put them up in jars of hot vinegar (see the photo, right). Mr. T also spread 25 bags of mulch to dress up the flower beds in front and fill out the garden paths in back. That means several check marks on his To Do list: (1) remove the pallet of mulch from the driveway; (2) dress the front beds; and (3) fill out the back yard pathways. Woo-hoo!

And, saving the best for last, we may have welcomed our final house guests for the season last week. Cousin Cyndee and fiance Ken from AZ stopped by for a short visit as they connected the dots from Memphis to Kansas City. Although I was a poor host (heading to my knitting class right after they arrived, then off to the airport before they even arose the next morning), we were thrilled to get a call that they wanted to include us in their itinerary. Mom introduced them to O'Charley's in O'Fallon, and then to St. Charles Old Town. Don't they take a great picture (left)?


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