Good Leftovers

Hi Mom,

I've been knitting many small projects lately, with leftover yarns in particular. I finished up a Useful Gift which will remain a secret for now, and I knit a Foliage:

A quick hat

This was a very easy, quick knit. I used leftovers from the Lamb's Pride Worsted you gave me for Christmas for the felted bag a couple (three!) Christmases ago. The hat is nice and warm, and just loose enough that it doesn't squish my hair.

I also used the other leftovers from that project for these little mittens for afghans for Afghans:


I started with the mitten on the right, knitting plain purple mittens, but when it was clear I wasn't going to have enough purple I started mixing in the green, then went back and added green to the plain purple mitten. I hope at least one Afghan child doesn't mind asymmetry in mittens.



Yes, Wheek Can!

Dear Mom,

It's been a big week. I caught Caroline doing a little last-minute campaigning yesterday - who knew she had developed political opinions? Must be all that NPR I have on around here.

And I finished some socks - I'm calling these my Blue State socks.

Align CenterFall Socks

I knit them using the Garter Rib pattern from "Sensational Knitted Socks," and the yarn you gave me when we visited this summer. It's Stahlsche Wolle Socka Sport & Strumpf, and the finished Strümpfe feel very nice indeed.




book sale finds
Dear Mom,

I found some good books at a library sale on Thursday. I've especially been enjoying this version of "A Child's Christmas in Wales," illustrated by one of our favorites, Trina Schart Hyman. I only recently (maybe last year?) put two and two together about Dylan Thomas and the PBS Christmas special we loved to watch, and this book does not disappoint. It is charming.

new books
Almost as charming as the circumstances through which I acquired this other kids' book this week. We were driving back from the garden last weekend, going a slightly different way to admire the changing leaves and old houses, when we saw two little girls run over to edge of the curb (stopping carefully before the street), and wave at us. They had 8 1/2x 11" pieces of paper taped to their shirts, upon which was written, in pencil, "Book Sale." I pulled the Buick over.

I asked them which of their books they thought my three year-old niece might like, and one of the girls picked out this one (and I think she did a good job). I handed them the money, which they directed me to put in the jar labeled "Jar for $," then I asked them why they were selling their books. "For the animal shelter!" they said. I said that was great, and that I had gotten my guinea pig from the shelter. They liked that. "I got my kitty there!" one said, and the other said she was going to get her puppy there.

But back to "A Child's Christmas in Wales" - I will bring this book to our Christmas, and we'll have a good time reading it. Here are the
"Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths; zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o'-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o'-shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny-suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all. . ."
'Useful Gifts'

And, of course, Auntie Hannah, "who liked port," in the garden "singing like a big-bosomed thrush."
'Auntie Hannah, who liked port'

And the cats! There's a very satisfying number of cats represented in the illustrations. You'll just have to wait to see, and then you will also have "Good King Wenceslas" stuck in your head.

We also did a bit of autumnal festive cooking this week. This is the "Stuffed Pumpkin Stew" recipe from the Oct. 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living, and it was wonderful! But we needed a family of Welsh proportions to help us eat it because I'm still finishing the last of it. It wasn't a simple recipe, but also not difficult - just a lot of vegetable prep.

Pumpkin stew

How are the 'collars' this year?