Archive for the ‘Simplicity’ Category

An Estonian Influence Sock

March 8, 2017


It is bad to lose your sock recipe.

Twentyish years ago I saw a sock recipe in a knitting magazine. It was titled that it was an Estonian influence sock, and it was knitted in a solid with an Estonian influenced embroidery on the ankle section. It was a great fitting sock design.

I rewrote the pattern into my own verbiage.

I do a fair amount of rewriting for no good reason other than it satisfies some inner driven urge to make things right in my world. I’ve always had this problem with things in general. I can ignore really big issues, but I will obsess over tiny details, fussing and rearranging until I am satisfied. My mother said that I would “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel”. I have been known to correct errors in files that I am getting ready to delete. It’s like I feel like I owe the universe the opportunity to judge me in a favorable light. To be fair, I don’t do it a lot. It’s not a fatal flaw. I’ve met crazier people.

I think that it would be a good idea if I got rid of some more stuff. I have some excellent Shibui sock yarn that I bought on sale with the thought that I would turn around and sell it at a huge mark-up. That was over two years ago. Best laid plans. I could have made, like, ummm, $1 profit.

I started with the best formula that I could remember by casting on 56 stitches. I can remember this number, I suppose, because that is the year I was born. I joined in the round on my DPNs and knitted two and purled two until the tube was as long as my hand. Thereafter, my memory for making the heel was sketchy. I had lost my re-written recipe. (It was in one of my bags.)

I checked my copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “Knitting Without Tears” and slogged my way through the heel-turning TWICE. (I’m not counting the third time.)


I didn’t like Elizabeth’s toe finishing. It’s a standard finish, and I wouldn’t like it not matter who recommended it. It reminds me the shape of my socks as a child, and of having to fold my too-long socks under to prevent a wad at the toe of my shoe. One thing should not equal another, but that is how it is with me.

I couldn’t remember precisely how to knit the toe decreases.  I couldn’t – still couldn’t – find the recipe, so I settled on a method that has resulted in a slightly too-short sock, which might be counted in the WIN column since there is no folding under.

Now that the sock is finished, I have located the recipe.

Perhaps Georgia will re-knit the toe for me.

Perhaps she will flap her furry little paws and fly to the moon.

The Fan & Feather

September 27, 2015

It’s a knitting design that you might see from years ago. It looks tricky as all get-out, but there’s only one pattern row in 4 rows of knitting.

Overall, there’s a scalloped edge that’s created by the pattern. It’s a natural feature and can’t be changed. Which now makes me wonder if there’s a short-row method where you start with a straight edge and work in the scallops. I think it will take someone smarter than me with fewer irons in the fire to figure it out.

Anyway, the pattern is worked in sets of 30. Let’s start with one pattern repeat for practice. Cast on 30 on straight needles.  Knit the first row. Turn your work and purl the second row. The third row is the pattern row made by purling two stitches together five times (thereby reducing 10 stitches to 5), then knitting one and throwing a yarn over ten times (thereby turning 10 into 20), and purling two together on the remaining 10 stitches (reducing 10 stitches to 5). For the fourth row, you will purl across.

That’s it. A lovely design created with 4 rows.

You will need to steam block this, so remove the cats from the bed and spread out your finished afghan.

Maybe that last part is just me.

After blockage, I cut pieces of yarn that were approximately 7″ long. I cut them from another skein that was variegated with white, pink, and baby blue. I threaded each length through an end stitch and tied an overhand knot so little hands can’t pull it out and eat it.

The afghan is baby blue but the iPhone changes the color sometimes and won’t allow editing to the correct color. (Insert your imagination here.)

I folded it in thirds lengthwise and put on a hanger and hung it in a wax myrtle for photos.


I think I used a size 9 circular and acrylic worsted. I believe I casted on 180 stitches. You can use any size that makes your heart happy. Happy knitting!


And Finally: A Kitten Post

July 22, 2013

Everyone knows what happens on April 15, don’t they?

That’s right!  It’s when kitten season begins for real.  I got the first call of the season to bottle-feed 6 newborn kittens on April 15 of this year.

There’s a story behind every new litter.  Sometimes we know the story, and sometimes we just make things up.  A lot of people have only bad things to say about people who put out litters, or move away leaving their animals shut up inside the house or apartment or trailer, or want to give away puppies or kittens or dogs or cats – free to a good home.  I say that desperate people do desperate things.  I’ve been desperate before.  I stole a roll of toilet tissue once from a public bathroom.  That’s desperate.  Can anyone judge another?  Of course we can, but let’s not.  Let’s help where we can.  Enter kittens.

The shelter called me to ask if I would bottle-feed 6 newborn kittens.  You’ve already heard that part of the story, but the story behind that is this:  Someone put a this newborn litter into a small dog bed, covered them with a blankie, put them into a cardboard box turned on its side, and set them out on a popular nature trail, perhaps on the evening of April 14, a Sunday.  That night was a downpour, which actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the rain caused the predators to stay home and not go out in search of food, like newborn kittens with the umbilical cords attached.  The next day, Monday, April 15, someone found the box, and the kittens, still huddled on the bed under the blankie, made their way to the shelter.

This photo is 6 babies, brand-new, tucked into a towel which is tucked into my green wool hat.  Two calicoes, two blacks, one tuxedo, and one white with black markings.

This photo is 6 babies, brand-new, tucked into a towel which is tucked into my green wool hat. Two calicoes, two blacks, one tuxedo, and one white with black markings.

I made a deal with the shelter.  I would feed the kittens at night if they could feed them during the day.  I’ve bottle-fed kittens before, and after 48 hours of round-the-clock feeding, I. am. goo.  So the split-parenting worked out really well for two weeks, when the shelter found a nursing mother.  Oh, my heart be still.

The mother rejected them.

And it just so happened, because it is kitten season, that there was another nursing mother who took them in.

Mama & babies

Sadly, the two calicoes did not make it out of infancy.  One died at about one week, and the one in the photo above died later that night.  But she was with me.

Then I got a single neonate, who died in twenty-four hours, then another litter of four, who also died in twenty-four hours.  They had no nursing instinct at all.  Then a litter of five, four of whom died over the course of four weeks, and lastly a little orange babe found by a drainage pipe, who also died in twenty-four hours.


We sat with our basket of kittens outside Panera Bread in Savannah on Father’s Day after visiting the Laurel Grove Cemetery. Kittens need to learn about history and lunchtime, too.

And now the “Soul” survivor of the litter of five is living at Sugar’s grooming salon until he is big enough to be neutered and then he will be ready for a home.






So for now, it looks like it’s near the end of kitten season.  Sugar and Soul sit under the oaks at the nature trail near where the first litter was found.  If you click on the image of Sugar and Soul, you should get an enlargement.  You have to look closely for Soul, even though he’s right by Sugar’s side.

Full circle?  I hope so.

Live Oaks at the Marsh

March 14, 2013

Monday morning after the Daylight Savings Time Change found me driving along the marsh near the Broad River.  The light seemed perfect for a photo-opportunity.







All these photos were taken from the same spot.  I varied the zoom setting or the direction before snapping the shot.

If you are not taking photos of local color, why not?  You don’t have to be an experienced photographer.  These were taken with a point-and-shoot camera.  I don’t consider myself a photographer, merely a documenter of things that interest me.  And if no one looks at these photos except me, I’m okay with that.  Someday, someone will, and there the photos will be.

Live Oaks & Resurrection Ferns, Part 2

February 11, 2013

About 2 years ago, I wrote about a post about some local live oaks and resurrection ferns.  You can read that post by clicking here.

Yesterday, Sugar and I were out and about, and we took a leisurely drive home on a road that we tend to frequent, because it cuts through a hunting plantation and the territory is desolate.  At least, *I* think it’s desolate, but Sugar likes the remoteness of it.

There’s a lot of that here.  Hordes of humanity, and then turn down a lane and you are in Flannery O’Connor territory.  She wrote the kind of stuff my mother worried about.  “You better not go there.  Somebody’ll knock you in the head.”  Worry, worry, worry.

There’s probably no more danger of getting knocked in the head on this desolate road than there is in a shopping mall parking lot.  And driving along this dirt road makes Sugar happy, so what’s the harm?  It’s only twelve-ish miles of narrow dirt road bordered by deep ditches.  The craziest things make some people happy.

Sometimes we see the local fox squirrels, which are as big as cats.  If you have never seen one before and encounter one on this desolate road, it’s like you have stepped back into my county’s rodent version of Juraissic Park.  “What was that?  Was that real?”  Occasionally there are deer bounding across the road, and sometimes hunters in trucks, and we’ve even seen gangster-type vehicles with spinning rims.

On this particular day, Sugar asked me to turn the van around and go back to look at a tree.  Well, if we’re going back, I’m taking pictures.  We ended up at a large live oak covered in resurrection ferns.

Sunday morning, February 10, 2013.

Sunday morning, February 10, 2013.









This branch was dead and so were the resurrection ferns, but I still like the shot.






The white building that looks like it’s right under the tree is actually a bit down the road. When we drove past, a man had walked out to the end of his driveway to check out the crazy people out for a Sunday drive. (Hint: it was us.)


I’m glad we stopped.  Today, it’s been rain all day, and the forecast calls for rain for the next two days.  Spring has come to the lowcountry, although it arrived last month after practically no winter at all.  The spring peepers should be out in full force soon from all the rain.

Welcome, spring!

Sugah’s Mothuh & The Georgetown Rice Steamuh, Part 2; Or the Steamuh Secret Society

January 30, 2013

I really thought that Sugah was making up another one.  Turns out, he’s not, but I’ve discovuhed that he is a membuh of a cult.  Never fear, it’s not the kind of cult that makes you an outcast of society, but a cult, nonetheless.

He extolled the virtues of a rice steamuh that could not be found.  So naturally I blogged about it.  I heard from enough folks to make me believe that such a thing existed.

Reader Linda S. knew exactly what he was talking about, and said that their steamuh was always a’steamin’ when she was growing up.  Reader Dawn said that she found one in a hardware/variety-type store on the outskirts of Hampton, SC.  I had suspected that there might be one in Wiggins Hardware in Estill, which might be considered on the outskirts of Hampton, so I contacted Suguh’s cousin Bett.  She didn’t know about Wiggins, but had heard that Dobson’s on the Luray-Hampton Road might have one.  Reader David gave me three links to a steamuh up around Charleston way, which meant a day trip, and Sugah couldn’t wait for that.  Rose in Garnett said that she has one that belonged to an elderly lady that she used to care for who is now deceased, and that it makes the most perfect rice.

Sugah called Wiggins, and asked for an old-timey rice steamuh.  (He actually used the word “old-timey”.)  The man said they had a rice steamuh, but it was not the old-timey WearEver.  No matter.  We set off for Wiggins.






The steamuh was exactly like Sugah had described it.  There were no perforations on the bottom of the insert basket, only on the sides, otherwise the rice would fall through.

The man in Wiggins Hardware said that he was unable to get rice steamuhs for 25 years until recently.  He said he even ships them up North.  He uses a rice steamuh himself, and sometimes puts shrimp in the basket to steam it, but I’m not clear if he steams the shrimp in with the rice at the same time.

We had a little extra time so to satisfy my curiosity we drove on out to Dobson’s on the Luray-Hampton highway.  We didn’t even need to go into the store, for there in the window was the exact same rice steamuh.

So yay for the rice steamuh, and thank you to all you folks for all your help!

Kiss That Adagio Good-bye!

January 12, 2013

Once upon a time, I picked out a “good” china pattern.

It didn’t get used very much.  I used it once for Thanksgiving in 1978 for a making-of-the-peace meal for my mother-in-law, which is another story, but if any of you have ever had a mother-in-law, then just make up your own story.  You know what I’m talking about.

I used it a few more random times for birthday meals.  Once, Satan himself put his plate into the microwave oven.  He had never before actually handled any dishes at all in any form during his tenure, but his mother was there and apparently he was trying to impress her with his worldly skills about how to nuke food.  Unfortunately, the china was rimmed with a silvery metallic trim, and sparks flew in the microwave, along with great popping sounds.  Instead of turning off the microwave, the devil himself became mesmerized with the light show while I flew across the room and prevented the room from exploding.  Or me.  Was that me that was exploding?

It hardly matters.

Fast forward to today.  I’ve carted that nine sets of good china through hell and half of Georgia.  And I’m done.  I like that china just fine, but I think it’s time to set it free.



























IMG_2743 (2)





The pattern is Noritake’s “Adagio”, 1978-1994.  If you are interested, take a look at my Etsy shop, Catcatcher Corner.

(Cat added for scale.  No cats were harmed in the making of this blog post.)

2012 in review

December 30, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Peachy the Cat, Part Three

May 14, 2012

Peachy the Cat, who lives behind the grooming business, has become so comfortable with his situation that he comes inside the fenced play yard, even when there are dogs in the yard.  He’s a typical clever outdoor cat, and he knows who is hostile and who isn’t. 

Peachy is *inside* the yard playing with a Wubba toy. Apparently, he thinks he is a dog because a Wubba is a dog toy.

When I step through the gate…

The feeding station is on the other side of the fence.

And he’s up on the rail, over the fence, and waiting on room service.

Miz Florrie’s 99th Birthday, Or In Which I Learn Soul Cooking

February 5, 2012

Miz Florrie’s daughter Rose called me two weeks ago to remind me that her mama’s birthday was on February 2, and that there was a par-tay to be had on Saturday, February 4, 2012, at noon.

The last party that I went to at Miz Florrie’s was back in July, 2011, right before Sugar bought the grooming business and I became sweat equity.  Rose had told me the party was on July 4th, but when we showed up, she said the party had been two days before on July 2.  Something about the 2nd and the 4th of the month gets switcharooed in that family.  But it hardly mattered that we were two days too late, there was still food available.  Most of us probably can’t fathom that kind of cooking on that grand a scale.  At least I know I can’t, but that was before I met Rose.

It gets even more amazing than that.  Rose cooks from scratch. 

So now the stage is set for a birthday extravaganza for Miz Florrie’s 99th.  I had told Rose that I’d be late because I had to work that day until noon, and secretly I knew that there would be food still available.  I was a bit concerned when I got to Miz Florrie’s house, and there was only one car there – Rose’s car.  I thought I’d slipped into a Twilight Zone episode and mixed up the 2nd and the 4th of the month thing.

When I rang the doorbell, Rose called for me to come in and said that they were just talking about me, although my ears had not been burning.  Rose was in the kitchen with Rachel, who once went with Rose’s son Kenny, and Rose said that Kenny letting Rachel go was the biggest mistake he ever made, and when I saw Rachel in action in the kitchen, I knew why.  Also, in the kitchen was teen-aged Eula, who was Rose’s oldest brother’s youngest daughter, plus a girl of about 7 or 8, whose name I have already forgotten. 

I got there about 1:30 PM, and they had been working in the kitchen since 10 AM.  Rose had done cooking and domestic type work for many years, and should actually be retired, but when someone needs for her to help, like eldercare or babysitting, Rose is there.  Rachel has cooked in restaurants and grocery store kitchens, plus catering and domestic work, her whole life, and I watched her open two institutional-sized cans of green beans with a butcher knife.  I am in awe of her skills.  Rachel and Rose are the stuff, and pretty soon Eula and Little Bit will be able to take over in the kitchen.  Rose anticipated that the meal would not be ready before 4 PM, because there was still serious chopping and mixing and preparation to be done.

Miz Florrie was in her bedroom, dressed up in anticipation of the big day of the family coming.  I visited with her a bit, and she said that she’d be out in the living room soon so I went back to the kitchen.  I watched Rachel cut bell peppers into impossible small pieces using only a small knife and no cutting board.  We sat at the table and Rose cut onions for what she called a “vej-a-bull” salad.  On the table, there were several cans of tuna, several bottles of barbeque sauce, a bowl of raw chicken parts, several cans of evaporated milk, a bowl of hard-boiled eggs, and other assorted boxes and bowls, including a box of band-aids. 

Rachel directed Eula on how many cups of milk to make the pudding for an elaborate dish called a “Punch Bowl”, that was actually made in not one, but two – you guessed it – punch bowls, made up of layers of sliced yellow sheet cake (yup, homemade, baked in a catering-style aluminum foil pan), pudding, bananas, strawberries, and whipped topping.  I was beginning to believe that we were going to be eating dessert, a rice dish, and some chicken, when Rachel opened the oven door.

Inside the oven were two more aluminum foil pans covered with aluminum foil.  The one on the top shelf had a picnic ham, garnished with pineapple slices and cherries, and the bottom pan was full of ribs.  The ribs were just that, ribs in the pan covered with aluminum foil, and the juices were cooked out of them, bubbling hot, and Rachel exclaimed that she was not going to pour out the juices, because that would be perfect to take home and make some collard greens, and she worried that she would have to pour them down the drain.  She commanded Rose to hand her some hand towels, and she pulled the pan out of the oven, commanded Rose to close the oven door, and then she maneuvered the pan and poured the juices into the rice pot, then commanded Rose to open the oven door, and slid the pan of ribs back into the oven without losing a drop of juice or a single rib. 

Rose continued to work on her vegetable salad, and then her potato salad, and another rice dish using jasmine rice.  Rachel started another pot cooking with the green beans and some meat for seasoning, and then she made a masterpiece of a macaroni and cheese dish.  She took yet another aluminum foil pan, filled it with cooked macaroni, still steaming hot, sprinkled three packages of shredded cheese over it, poured three or four cans of evaporated milk over that, and poured several beaten eggs over everything, covered it with more aluminum foil, and slid it into the oven, along with another aluminum foil-covered pan filled with chicken parts. 

I was in awe.  I make spaghetti in a small electric cooking pot made by Procter Silex, and pour ready-made Newman’s spaghetti sauce over it and call it done. 

There were still the bottles of barbeque sauce on the table but Rachel wasn’t having it.  She was going to make her own.  I headed to the local store to get mustard, ketchup, and a bag of ice.  When I got back, she mixed the mustard and ketchup and vinegar and a bit of brown sugar, and tasted, and mixed, and added, and mixed, and tasted, until she was satisfied. 

The birthday girl was sitting in the living room, just beaming and enjoying the day.

When Rachel asked Miz Florrie what she was doing, she replied, "just chillin'." Note her rhinestone-embellished rose-colored glasses. The epitome of chill. Also note the inkpen secured in her braid. The woman loves to keep an inkpen handy.

 Those ladies in the kitchen continued working until everything was done, somehow magically all at once.

Barbeque ribs.

Barbeque chicken.

Baked ham.

Hopping John (a great recipe here, although Rachel used some kind of small red pea/bean.)

Jasmine rice with seasonings.

“Vegetable” salad, with macaroni, peppers, onions, tuna, and hard-boiled eggs, and mayo-based dressing.

Baked macaroni and cheese.

Potato salad.

Green beans seasoned with pork.

Punch-bowl dessert.

Sweet tea and lemonade.

Rose works her magic.

Rachel works her magic.

And the birthday girl works her magic…