Sep 29
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 09 29th, 2014| icon32 Comments »

This weekend was one of rest for me.  Saturday morning, both Scott and I woke up tired.  The busy weekend before, a long week at work, and being at the half century mark all added up, so we decided to take it easy.  So I knitted most of the day and did little else.

I finished the socks I knitted for my SIL (and forgot to take pictures of them all done), but did not feel I had the thinking capacity to work on my Kethry socks.  So I look around to see what I had.

what to do

I had left overs from my Disco socks and Missy’s socks.  Quite a bit of left overs actually since that bottom right ball is a full one.  And they seems to go together.  Hmmm…

twinkle toes

By the end of the weekend, I had this done.  Both toes and feet and one had the first wedge of Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel done.  Don’t let how short they look fool you.  The box stitch I am using for the tops of the feet squoosh down quite a bit, and it did measure to the 5.5 inches I needed before starting this type of heel.  I know I have enough of the green to do the toes and heels of both socks, and I’m betting I can get both cuffs done as well.  The little bit you see here of the colorful one is left over from my SIL’s socks and I still haven’t touched the full ball yet, so I will have plenty to finish them – and probably left-overs as well.  I’ve always wanted a pair of socks with the toes, heels and cuffs in a different color, and now I am going to have them.

So, these are going to be twinkle-toes (and heels and cuffs) socks.  🙂

Sep 27

Sandy and I are giving away 4 ounces of our Cormo with the product code of D-RV-14-0001 (Katie, Jacob & Rufus) at Knitting in Circles.  Also, there is a 15% off coupon code for everything in Dyed in the Wool through October 23rd, so watch the podcast to find out what is going on with Darren and Aimee and the give-a-way from us!

Sep 26
My Sox Life
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 09 26th, 2014| icon32 Comments »

With two nights in a row of sleep interrupted by a skunk getting mad at something near our house, I decided that last night was knit night while watching Gynx’s latest podcast, and an older one from Knitting in Circles.

missy socks 80

I knit on my SIL’s second sock for a while.  I’m nearly 1/2 way from the gusset to the toe and I really hope I can finish them up by the end of the weekend so I can get them to her.  I’m going to have enough yarn left over to do something with, but I don’t know what, yet.  Actually, I have lots of left over sock yarn that needs to become something or somethings.  Maybe more “ugly socks” that uses up lots of bits of left overs.

Kethry start

I also worked on the Kethry socks by Spilly Jane.  Both socks are through the cuff and 2 rows into the lace chart of the leg.  I am going to like knitting these very well.  The chart is well-written and the lace part is not daunting at all.  These would make a great beginning lace sock knitting pattern and I may consider using this pattern to teach a class on knitting lace socks and chart reading.  I’d happily pay the $6 per student in order to use this pattern.

Even though I have to pay closer attention to the pattern and what I am doing with these socks, I think they are going to knit up pretty fast.

Sep 24
Thinking Time
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 09 24th, 2014| icon33 Comments »

I’ve done so many “vanilla” projects lately, that I feel it is time to do something that takes a bit of thinking and concentration.

kethry all

Spilly Jane had this on Ravelry for free for a short time (and at $6, it’s still a bargain!).  I just liked how it is lacy without looking fussy.

I wanted to get a color of yarn that I found interesting to knit without hiding the lace elements of the pattern.

kethry yarn

Here’s a close up of what I found.  It is from A Good Yarn by Maryann and is 65% Superwash Merino and 35% Bamboo.  It is 105 grams and has 520 yards.  The code on it is AGY-C, but I don’t know if that has anything to do with the color or not.  I just liked it because it is neutral, but not neutral at the same time.  I think it is going to look like shimmery gold when knit up as if the little pops of color are reflections on a goldy surface.

Of course, I have already had to frog it once after just three rows into it.  Why?  Because I thought I was careful not to twist it when I made the join, but, obviously, I was not as careful as I should have been.  That’s one lunch-hour’s worth of work wasted.  Oh well, at least I hadn’t knitted more than three rows before I noticed.  If someone wants to be sainted in the knitting world, they’d figure out an easy way to fix that situation without having to frog it and begin again.

Yes, it definitely is time for a thinking pattern.  If I can’t cast on and join it right off the bat, then I need the brain exercise.

Sep 23

I took Friday and Monday off work to work on the house – specifically my studio bathroom and studio. Friday morning, first, thing, I scrubbed the studio (actually master bedroom) bathroom from top to bottom. It had been used as a store room for about 15 years housing such things as a mental shelving unit of extra paper and office supplies, a 4-drawer lateral file cabinet, extra storage containers and boxes, bags of fiber that had no other place to hide, and so forth. The metal shelf and lateral file cabinet left rusty marks on the floor and the place was just dusty and cobwebby. It looked much better just getting all of that cleaned up.

Friday afternoon, I taped off all I could reach of the bathroom (the area above the tub was just plain old out of my reach) and painted the first coat of the yellow (except for that part I couldn’t reach) and the one and only coat of the sage green. Saturday morning I asked Scott to help me with the area I couldn’t reach and by 10 AM, I just had to wait for the paint to dry.

Saturday afternoon, my former college roomie with whom I am still good friends, and I went to the Noblesville Historic Home Tour. We walked the entire thing and I had my 10,000 steps in well before we hit the last house. Lots of beautiful older homes and I brought home several ideas. The weather was perfect, my friend and I caught up with one another and it was just all ways of enjoyable.

Sunday morning came and I took down all of the tape and began moving things into the studio bathroom as well as beginning the final steps of getting my studio up and working.

studio bathroom

The studio bathroom is done except for a couple of items (new toilet seat and shower curtain). I am very pleased with how this went together. The bags of fleece on the top of the shelving units needs to be washed and the rest are ones I am spinning, want to spin or are set aside for students to spin. The small wooden unit holds my natural dyes and the two hot plates on the counter are for doing some natural dyeing this winter.

The studio itself is still a mess, but Scott and I moved in the huge bookcases from the living room with all of my fiber related books and that took hours to get done. Right now, I think one more full day of work in there will get it all organized and I am hoping that full day will be this coming Saturday.

Monday was spent catching up the laundry, getting the cooking for the week done and teaching the final sock knitting class.

Speaking of the sock knitting class, I had two students show up for the final class (the other student had a death in the family and we’ll get hers finished up once she is back in town).

tamara sock

Charlene sock

Didn’t they do great jobs? I am so proud of both of them and they were both cast on and ready to begin their second sock by the time they left. I love teaching this class!

As for my socks, I managed to finish what Sandy has termed my “disco socks.”

disco socks

This is the first pair I get to keep and wear that were knit toe up and with the Sweet Tomato Heel. I love them. That Sweet Tomato Heel is very comfortable and very easy to knit and memorize. I still love the heel flap and turn, but I will be knitting more socks with the Sweet Tomato Heel.

And I am finishing up a languishing UFO. I knit this first sock of a pair for my SIL and promptly lost the second ball of yarn. While cleaning on my studio, I found it and am well on the way to getting them finished for her.

As I was knitting on them yesterday while waiting for the dryer to kick off, I realized the colors in it matched the dye pants I was wearing (why wear good clothes when you are cleaning).

sock match dye pants

Cool, eh?

And that was my weekend in a nutshell. I did take time-lapse pics of the studio bathroom getting done and on the reorganization and set up of my studio, so I’ll get them all put together once the studio is completely done and upload it for you to see.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Sep 18

Monday night, at Starstruck Cat Studio, was the second of three in this beginning sock knitting class.  Sandy, one of the students (yes, another Sandy, and she’s a former bean counter – why are most of the Sandy’s I know bean counters? 🙂 ) fell behind a bit with her sock, so I offered to work with her from 5 until 6 last night before my spinning class started.

Sandy socks

And, as you can see, she is off and knitting once again.  She’ll be ready for the toe in no time, which is next Monday’s lesson.  I am really happy with her progress.

Brenda, one of my advanced students, brought in a finished object to show off.

brenda shrug front

She hand-spun the yarn from this shrug out of Merino, which she started on it last September.  And, one year later, look at what she made with that yarn!

Brenda shrug back

She said that the hardest part of it was when she started spinning it, it was a bit thick and thin, and as she improved her spinning, she had to keep this yarn thick and thin so it would be consistent through-out.  I am so stinkin’ proud of her!  It looks and feels wonderful and she’s already been wearing it during some of our cooler days.  Yay Brenda!!!!

Last night’s class was a deviation on something we had already been working on.  They have been working on spinning from the locks on several breeds like Wensleydale and Pygora, those with lovely, long and curly locks.  This week, I brought in Pygora and Wensleydale prepared top for them to try and compare.  The both loved the Pygora top and used terms like silkly and smooth – Pat said it spun like buttah. 🙂  Then they tried the Wensleydale top, which had a staple length of about 6-7 inches.  Pretty long.

brenda spinning Wensleydale

And you can tell by Brenda’s face in this that it took a bit of extra concentration to spin it, too.  Because of the long staple length, the fiber wanted to run down the side of the top, and to spin it back and forth across was a challenge.  I love providing challenges.  Pat liked the prepared top best, but Brenda loves playing with the individual locks.  It is so interesting how different people like the same things differently.

Next month, we are going to play around with dying some fiber and hand-spun and that is going to be fun.  I love playing with color.

Sep 15

Scott and I had a very good weekend, except for one thing, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Saturday, we drove 2 and a half hours (each way) to meet with a woodworker to go over with him what Sandy and I are looking for.  I took several spindles, niddy-noddies in two sizes (2 yd. and a sampler one), as well as a few ideas.  Also, did anyone notice this month’s issue of Spin Off?  It’s all about spindles, so I used it to show him a Turkish spindle, different types of hooks and which ones I like best, and different spindles.  He took detailed measurements, pictures against a tape measure, and notes of what I am looking for.  You could see the cogs beginning to turn as he turned each piece over.  I could tell he was getting excited to see what he could make.  As the British would say, I am pretty chuffed at this.  I asked him for a half dozen or so spindles in the 1.1-1.4 ounce range before the next finer fair on October 25th & 26th.  He said no problem.

Yesterday, after a trip to the grocery store and to drop off some fabric for a friend, I came home and Scott and I worked in the yard for nearly 4 hours.  The weather was perfect for it and I not only got the entire acre and a half mowed (parts of which hadn’t been mowed in a month due to the rain and my teaching and work schedule), but I got several trees trimmed up as well.

When I am mowing, I hate having to duck under lower limbs and have them take my hat off my head (or try to since my new hat has a chin strap).  Also, I am tired of evergreen boughs smacking me in the face (and eyes).  So I got out my trusty saw and delimbed several trees and cut down two small trees that were growing where I didn’t want trees.  And that was my undoing.

I haven’t used my saw in a couple of years and my right arm was no longer toughened to it.  By the time I finished my shower, my right shoulder, upper arm and elbow were beginning to ache.  By bed time, they were hurting at a 12.5 on 10-point scale.  Two rounds of ibuprophen (one at 8:30 and another at 12:30), and ice under and on top of my shoulder barely made a dent, and I really didn’t sleep much until after 3:30 this morning.  Right now, it’s throbbing, but I have to work and teach today, so more ibuprophen.  It’s hard to ice it and sit at the front desk – not very professional looking.

So, let that be a lesson to me.  Either do less trees each time until I get toughened back up, or hand the saw to my strong husband and point at the limbs I want cut and I do the limb dragging rather than him.  It really sucks getting old.

Sep 12

I mentioned that Sandy is in Alaska.  Well, she’s been there for two work weeks, now, and she’s not coming back to the office until next Tuesday.  In the meantime, I’m tearing my hair out.  I am trying to get the most important, bare minimum of her job done (Payroll, check deposits, transfers, etc.) while she is gone, on top of getting my job done.  Let me tell you, it ain’t been easy!  I haven’t had a lunch break in two weeks, and the early and late hours, on top of teaching two nights this week, practically have me a walking, drooling version of myself.  Boy howdy, I am tired!

The only knitting I have done this week is cast on for a worsted weight sock on size 6 needles so I could show students how to join in the round easier than with sock yarn and size 2 needles, and about an inch on my sock, which happened last night because I was too tired to even read.  Doing K2, P2 round and round in circles was relaxing and after that inch, I slept like a log.

So, I am sorry all is quiet on the Midwestern front right now.

Sep 8

Well, I finished my first toe up sock that I like that fits me. 🙂


Isn’t that sterling silver thread in the yarn fun?

Since I was already beyond the heel and onto the leg of the second sock, I’ll have it done in no time and be wearing them.


Here is how Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel fits.  I really like it.  Very smooth.  This is with 3 wedges, but she said we could do 4 if we wanted to.  I might try that just to see the difference in the fit.  This one fits well, but, well… curiosity always was one of my weaknesses.  Still, these socks will be a nice addition to my winter wardrobe since they are predicting a winter even colder than last year’s.

I have a busy week this week.  I begin teaching a beginning sock knitting class tonight, tomorrow night is the beginning spinning class, Wednesday night is a post office run to ship out several orders, Thursday night is mowing, Friday night I’ll go out to Sandy’s and put together more items to be shipped.  Saturday is another post office run, plus I am scheduled to meet with a woodworker about getting some hand-made spindles made for us, and, sometime this week I need to get laundry done and some cleaning done.  It’s a good thing I got all of the week’s cooking done before work today.

I wonder when I’ll get to read my new book?


And, no I didn’t color coordinate my bookmark with the book cover on purpose, but it was interesting that it worked out that way.  Seriously, it was the first one I grabbed out of the mug I store my bookmarks in.  Cool, eh?  I haven’t even started it yet, but I’ll let you know what I think of it when I am done.

Oh, yes! I found another Ellery Queen book for my collection that I didn’t have.  Woohoo!!!  They are very hard to find, and about the only place I can find them is an antique mall.  And for only $3 for a hardback, too!

I can’t wait for Sandy to get back from Alaska.  Trying to get the bare minimum of her job done and keep up with my own at the office is really not fun.  That and I want to see her pictures and hear all about her trip.


Sep 4

I think my favorite part of knitting a sock is turning the heel.  Not only because it (usually) marks the half-way point, but they are so much fun.  On top-down socks, I love the Dutch heel best with the heel flap.  The squareness of the Dutch heel fits the way my own heels are shaped best and they fit me nicely.  But, as I have been learning toe-up socks, I have fallen in love with Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel.


Just look at that nice, rounded heel.  And it fits very well.  I’ve tried other short-row heels before and I have hated them.  I have found that they aren’t enough to cup my heel well and they just work their way down into the shoe until the sock is all bunchy under the arch of my foot.  Hate that!!!

This one, though doesn’t do that and I love it.  And, on top of that, the pattern is very easy to memorize, which is a bonus in my opinion.

both socks

I like to knit both socks at the same time so that when I am done, I am done.  The yarn is by Kraemer and has a strand of sterling silver in it giving it a sparkle.  Sandy has been calling these my Disco Socks.  Just wait until she sees the purple ones I am going to knit.  They will make Donnie Osmond jealous.

What is your favorite heel?

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