Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Playing Tricks

It's almost 4 PM. These are our jack-o-lanterns.

This is our sole decoration.

John, at twelve, is too sophisticated to care about Halloween, but Marco expects better.

Besides, I just knit 8 rows into the Doctor's Bag using the first part of the repeat instead of the second.

I think I hear the pumpkins calling.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Time Traveling

I have spent the weekend lost in the 19th Century. My knitting came with.

This is my less girly answer to the next scarf in the Red Scarf 2007 project. It represents the first and half of the second episode in Ken Burn's Civil War.

This is the 2nd half of part two and parts 3 and 4. Grant is laying siege to Vicksburg. Lee is humiliating the Army of the Potomac. Shelby Foote is amazing. Fiddle Fever playing "Ashokan Farewell" still makes me want to cry.

This morning, I return to the present. This is two more repeats of Branching Out (from the chart, please note!) done in celebration. The day is beautiful and my sister called; she wants to go yarn shopping.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Appreciation is Sweet

This blog has lacked the obligatory picture of the knitter's familiar for too long. Meet Liz, testing the Garter Stitch that Never Ends, I mean, the Variation on the Island Embrace afghan.

I had intended today to be a PRODUCTIVE (translation: non-blogging) day. But what can one do in the face of such blatant approval?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Deny Deny Deny

I am not avoiding Branching Out (which I keep forgetting to link to, so here it is). I am not at all dismayed or traumatized that I screwed up on the garter stitch part.

Nope, no avoidance going on here, whatsoever. The K3tog's and ssk1-psso's are not making me hanker after simple slip-stitch patterns.

It's just that I stayed up way too late after the boys went to sleep.

I love it when Sam Neill has to race the car out of the tree. I do, however, find it rather credulity-stretching that the velociraptors abandon the nice little pink meal to go after the big thing with all the teeth. Still, it's not exactly a lace-knitting movie, is it?

I'm still not avoiding it this morning; sleep-deprived is no condition to knit lace in, even one repeat lace.

So, I have perfectly legitimate reasons.

Nuh-uh. Not avoiding. Really.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Knitting from the Bunny Planet

Long ago and far away, when Clare and Marco were little and John was still in the Mind of God, I stumbled across a slip-cased set of little children's books by Rosemary Wells called Voyage to the Bunny Planet. Three little stories. Three separate bunny children. Each with their own story of ordinary disasters and mundane trials. Three nibbled to death by ducks days. Each one needs a visit to the Bunny Planet: "Out beyond the moon and stars, twenty light years south of Mars, spins the gentle Bunny Planet. And the Bunny Queen is Janet." Janet says to each child "Come in. Here's the day that should have been." I haven't read or even thought of the stories in years. I needed to hunt them out once I finished fixing "Branching Out."

I know I am a capable and intelligent adult. I know I have achieved a good solid apprentice/journeyman level of knitting competence in a shorter time than I would have thought possible. I am astounded and gratified by every new pattern I learn, every object I finish, and every mistake I learn how to fix all by myself. I know that making mistakes is one of those ordinary disasters and mundane trials that come with knitting.

This does not mean I went calmly or happily into dropping down through about sixty rows of perfectly good knitting to get to each of the two offending stitches, and then hooking everything back up. Honesty compels me to admit I did it twice. For each stitch. It's very important to check the back of your work when making repairs. Had I looked early, or even often, I would have noticed that I missed a stitch down at the very beginning before I (as I thought) finished. I would like to report that I faced the necessity of repeating the repairs with grace and equanimity. I would be lying. This is when I started thinking about the Bunny Planet. I would have given much for a visit from the Bunny Queen.

Two observations here. I would like to thank Garter Stitch from the bottom of my heart for being constructed in such a way that each rung of the dropped stitch ladder provides a clue as to whether I should be pulling the rung through the front of the previous stitch or the back. I had never before had so extensive an opportunity to notice.

And I need to fill in my collection of crochet hooks.

So. Here's "Branching Out" as it should have been.

Ten repeats (one for good luck). No unintentional mistakes. There are, actually, a series of mistakes that I made so consistently I've decided to call them a design element. And I only fixed two of the three purl stitches in the border. I can live with it.

At the end of the Bunny Planet stories each child looks out the window and sees the Bunny Planet in the night sky. "It was there all along."

Happy endings all around.
**all quotes from the Viking Edition, copyright 1992 by Rosemary Wells.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Twigging Out?

Well, in my head I had this post all planned. I planned it all last evening. Went to bed thinking about it. Because here I am, "Branching Out." Which translates to making lace.

I'd gone back and read the articles on lace knitting in Interweave's Knit. Dug out my back issues of Piecework to see what they had to say. I went to Eunny Jang's website and worked through her 4-part tutorial on lace knitting (scroll down the sidebar). I have been thinking about this project for a while.

When I picked it up this morning, I'd planned on knitting 3 more repeats, which would have gotten me up to 9 ( 1/3 of the way through). I finished the 7th repeat and decided I couldn't wait to post any longer. Spread it out. Took the above picture. Took a closer look.

Okay. I didn't actually breakout in a wail. It was all in my head. That mistake is on the very first repeat. And on the end, my least favorite place to make a mistake. I always screw up the repair worse than the original error. No, I don't know how I manage it. I just do. I may leave that one and just fix the next two.

Not to mention I never make mistakes on the first repeat. Never. I'm too obsessively reading the instructions stitch by stitch. Counting and recounting before I go on to the next row. Checking and triple-checking. It's later that I get cocky and careless about lifelines and which row I'm on. The first repeat. I've done 7. I could spit nails. I know, it's better than if I'd done 9.

Time for some deep breathing and the second cup of coffee while I screw up my courage to drop the offending stitches and hook my way back up.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Back to the drawing board

It was inevitable. I'm looking at scarves. More Red Scarf Project scarves, to be precise. I thought I had found the perfect yarn. It's Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Worsted. Color number 403, Tuscany.

A washable wool seemed like a good idea for a college student. And after the solid, dark red, I thought a lively multicolor would be fun to work with. The Yarn Harlot just posted a scarf pattern. I thought I had the perfect combination.

Except it's too pretty. It failed to pass the local guy test. Heavy sigh. When I bought it, I saw the red, olive and tan. Somehow, I missed the pale blue, peach and aqua.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fin! Finis! Finito! Done!

Well. I have to say, I'm a little surprised at myself. It would appear I can knit to a deadline and then some. I finished the Red Scarf.

When I started this, I estimated I'd need 21 repeats. When I went to bed last night, I thought I was finished at 22 repeats. Once I added the garter stitch edge, I was pretty sure I would make the 60 inch minimum. Slap on that border in the morning and I should be good to go, yes? I'd probably even get another inch once I blocked it. Right?

No, I didn't think so either. Skimpy, wouldn't you say? A little stingy, maybe?

I woke up this morning, looked at the scarf, looked at the amount of yarn I had to work with and decided that 24 repeats was the way to go. 2 dozen repeats has such a nice ring to it. So I added another 32 rows before the 6 rows of garter stitch.

It measured 61 inches plus, unblocked. Just about as tall as I am.

And I like it. It's every bit as nice, in my cool and unbiased opinion, as any of the other scarves posted in the Red Scarf 2007 gallery. I may even make Marco or John pose with it and send a picture in.

It was fun to knit, too. Okay, it was fun once I accepted the fact that, while I can count to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7, I am apparently incapable of doing so at the point where I should have been counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7. But the nature of the pattern meant that no mistake went beyond the end of the row, so it was easy to correct.

Here it is in all its unblocked glory. Isn't it pretty? Not only that, the members of the male persuasion here assure me they would not be embarrassed to be seen in it. I figure that qualifies it as unisex.

Of all the pictures posted here, this one is truest to color.

To recap, the pattern is from Barbara Walker's first Stitch Dictionary, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns (the blue one), p. 26, the Chevron pattern at the top of the page. It's reversible. The yarn is a hand-spun I snared on eBay that I double stranded to get it up to approximately worsted weight. Knit on US size 8 bamboo needles from Crystal Palace.

Blocked, it's as long as my dining room table. It's very stretchy, so it might have blocked out longer, but I was not about to open up the table and add another leaf. Besides, I only have the heavy table pads - the ones I can stick pins in - for the table with one leaf in it. I think the scarf might, in point of fact, be taller than I am.

I'm so excited. I finished the red scarf!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What Goes Around

Comes around. But not usually so soon, or in quite such karmic sync. A box with knitting thoughts for my daughter went out; a box with knitting from my sister came in.

Some time ago, Ellen had embarked on a knitting epic: Afghans for the nieces and nephews. I use the term advisedly. Even without her four, we're talking 12 afghans here. (Do you think the afghan addiction could be genetic?) The sampler afghan for Clare is one chapter, a more elaborate project because Clare is Ellen's god-daughter. She plans to make the rest in variations on a basic pattern. Marco and John were consulted regarding their requirements. This one is Marco's in his colors - purple and blue and rainbow.

This is the yarn Ellen found.

Two colors, a blue variegated and a purple variegated. In a wool-acrylic blend, so I won't be afraid to wash it. What a good sister.

Ellen describes these afghans as making scarves on big needles and sewing them together.

It occurs to me. Younger sisters are sometimes undervalued. Perhaps I have a much better resource for assembling the mitered squares than I realized?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Somebody Stop Me

I have been determinedly resisting the call to knit a sweater. I have, so far, successfully avoided the sweaters in Sally Melville's The Knitting Experience. I have dodged them in the last two issues of Interweave Press Knits. I found a number of the sweater patterns in the Ullman/Clark Knit 2 Together appealing, but, nope, I'm not knitting them. Sweaters are something real knitters make. I'm not there yet. I may no longer be a groupie, but I'm not far removed. I have questions about my skill level. Doubts about my stick-to-it-iveness.

The temptation grows, however. Fed in part by all the sweater knitting going on in my favorite blogs: Katriina at Dances With Wool; The Perfect Sweater Pattern (free to all!) at Mason Dixon; along with the adventures Kay has been having with the Perfectly Okay Sweater. The Yarn Harlot is knitting one as a break (Oh help me. A sweater as a break. My mind boggles.) I read these posts enviously, longingly. Someday, I think. Someday.

So why am I suddenly, eagerly, searching my growing library of knitting books for sweater patterns? An email from Clare. And I quote ". . . send a sweater? any sweater." To serve the immediate need I have, of course gone to her sweater drawer, added the one I like best to the care package with the new P.C. Hodgell novel, and trotted out to the shipping desk at Office Depot. It is winging it's merry UPS way to Urbana.

But before I packed it up, I traced her sweater onto poster board.

And I measured every thing I could think to measure.

That "any sweater" is sitting at the back of my brain, arguing with the voice of reason which is shouting, "What are you? Nuts?"

It's not that I'm planning on knitting a sweater. Sweaters require shaping. (Although I learned to implement increase and decreases with the Felted Oven Mitts.) Sweaters are not flat. (Of course, once I've finished the Doctor's Bag, I'll have assembled a three-dimensional object.) They're a big project. (But then, I'm almost finished with the Variation on the Island Embrace Afghan.)

Clare asked for a sweater. Oh help.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

An Obstacle Overcome.

I don't remember a lot of my Western Civilization course. It was a long time ago and I wasn't all that interested. But I remembered this great story this morning. The Greeks are fighting their way home and the general is leading them through rough and mountainous country. The going is rough. The toiling army reaches the crest of another mountain and "a great cry of discovery went up. 'Thalassa! Thalassa! (The sea! The sea!)'." (It's that phrase that sticks in my mind)

Yesterday's post chronicled my toil up the mountain. I know it was long-winded. (I'd been sick. I needed to get caught up.) I had no idea discovery was so near.

This just looks like I'm blocking mitered squares. And I am. (Diane is right. I can solve the not-spilling-orange-pop problem by keeping the afghan in my room.) But remember that image I had yesterday? The one with me, the ruler, the pins and a lot of muttered swearing? That was the real sticking point, especially the ruler part.

I know I am a terrible photographer. Something you have to put up with it if you read this blog. So here's a closer look.

That white background is actually graph paper, 10 squares to the inch.

I can turn my ironing board into a blocking board. The whole procedure was easy. I am so excited ( I know, I know. It doesn't take much). Blocking the mitered square afghan is a nightmare no longer.

And not only was it a light-bulb-going-on moment, I knew it was. It's one of the joys of learning something when you think you are past the age of discovery. Not an experience I was expecting when I grit my teeth and decided this time I would get knitting right. And "Thalassa!" sounds so much better than "Graph paper!"

My ironing board can easily hold 4 squares. Maybe even 5.

Hot damn. I have got to get me some more pins.

(I couldn't help it. I Googled "Thalassa." The general was Xenophon.)

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Dangerous Pastime

Knitting is supposed to be conducive to thought. In theory, it's meditative, the new yoga, Zen. It sounds so peaceful. I don't want to consider the implications of my thought processes. "I'm afraid I've been thinking" is probably a more apt description. Thinking as an occupational hazard.

I have been mitering. Admittedly, here and there and in fits and starts. Nonetheless, mitering. Which means I've been thinking about mitering. I prefer to gloss over the part where my thinking had me absolutely convinced that I had 60 possible color combinations. This despite doing the math (6 colors for x, no single color squares means x-1, x(x-1) means 30 possible combinations) and confirming the math with a chart (I can't help myself, really).

Because whether I had 2 sets of 30 or one 60, in an 80 square afghan, I'll need 20 extra squares. The disposition of these 20 extra squares is occupying way more of my mind than I want to admit.

Here's a surprise. I find I have issues with random mitering. They're focused right now on how I work with those 20 extra squares. The problem has come up earlier than I anticipated, because the throw of the die has already given me two duplicates. This annoyed me. Out of thirty combinations, randomness couldn't stave off duplication a little longer than the first 6 squares? In my annoyance, I decided that those two squares could simply wait until after I had done the first 30 combinations. They could lead off the second set. I would relegate the 20 extras to the end of the afghan.

If, however, I really want to embrace the whole random miter plan, don't I have to let the squares land where they may?

If I accept the throw of the die, I get this. Note squares 1 and 4 and 2 and 6:

If I assign a little of my randomness, (okay, okay, if I insist on sticking my nose in and mucking about with the non-plan) I get this:

(I lightened these up a bit. The only color to suffer is the red. In its natural state, it's a little less, shall we say, vibrant.)

Decisions, decisions. If I don't make one soon, I can see myself on my deathbed, willing 80 unassembled mitered squares to my descendants, because no way am I going to do all that sewing up at one time.

With all this, you might not think I had room for thoughts on blocking , much less sewing up v. crocheting together v. now what? But I do. It could be said that my assembly skills are deficient. I am lacking. Witness:

I don't really care that I was 13. Some things you don't get over easily.

Whatever form of assembly I choose (and I intend to rely heavily on Nancie M. Wiseman's
The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques and my Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen DVD, A Knitter's Glossary) I have to decide whether or not to block. This may smack of heresy, but realistically, the first time the boys spill orange pop on it, do I think I'm going to re-block it? Anwer's "No." It's probably going to end up felted. And no, they're not supposed to have liquid in the front room. And when they don't have liquid in the front room, they're not supposed to have it in an open cup. We have plenty of Starbucks tumblers with caps. And when they don't have the liquid in an open cup, they are absolutely not supposed to leave the half-full cup in the middle of the floor or on the extreme corner of the end table for someone to inadvertently knock over. But life does tend to happen in this house.

On the other hand, blocking it would probably make putting it together so much easier. Who cares it if means my ironing board, bristling with pins like a porcupine, takes up permanent residence in my kitchen? Not to mention the image I have of me with a ruler, swearing under my breath as I strive to achieve mitered-square perpendicularity.

My brain hurts. I think . . . I'll work on the red scarf.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I thought it was the kids who were supposed to get sick the first month or so of school. So why am I the only member of this household with stomach flu?

Behold my coffee-less table at 7:00 in the morning. I get Irish when I don't feel good.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I kind of have a "thing" for bags. Always have had. Not, admittedly, the sort of free-form sculpture my husband leaves behind when he unloads the groceries. I think he does this in hopes I'll take over.

So no, not that species of bag. Nice bags. Field's Christmas shopping bags. The Victoria & Albert Museum bags Clare and I brought back when we went to London, just the two of us. The Taylor & Ng bag, back from when there was a Taylor & Ng store at the Stanford Shopping Center. I join museums and zoos and subscribe to public television because they give away bags.

So, of course, I delight in knitting bags. The little Lantern Moon ones are my favorites. No, I don't have one in every color.


It was natural and inevitable that I would be overcome with the desire to knit my own bag. I just hadn't found anything that inspired me. Of all the bag patterns out there, not one called me. Too small. Too deep. Too cute. Too fussy. I was beginning to fear I'd have to concoct one, or do without.

My quest for the perfect knitting bag meant I enjoyed Tracy Ullman's anecdote about how she invented hers, and wished the pattern had been included in Knit 2 Together, the book she wrote with Mel Clark. How I passed right by the pattern for the Doctor's Bag, I have no idea. I didn't really see it until I closed the book.

But there it was: My perfect knitting bag.

I admit, I wish I were a better knitter. More experience would probably help, too. I need a pattern to lay out the increases and decreases line by line, and this one isn't set up that way. Having frogged three attempts, I wrote it out.

It is fun to knit - a slip stitch pattern that runs side to side instead of up and down. I learned to love slip-stitch patterns from the Ballband Warshrag in Mason-Dixon.

The pattern calls for double stranding Manos del Uruguay, and while I admit I'm lusting after Autumn Multi, I raided the stash instead. The yarn is Stretto in Mineral from Fleece Artist. I think it might be discontinued. It's actually one of three huge skeins I ordered while in the grip of the insane notion that not only would I like to knit a sweater, I would like to knit a sweater as rustic as one made from this yarn would have turned out. Not wanting to wait to start the bag had nothing to do with it.

I got row but not stitch gauge, so my bag will be a little shallower. If I had done my math a little sooner, I probably would have cast on four to eight more stitches. The fabric is very stretchy, though, so I may get a surprise come blocking time. One can hope.

The yarn is thick. The needles are size 11 Addi Turbos. The knitting is fast.

Maybe I'll need two?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Popular Culture is on to us

It's been a little hectic this weekend. Of the makes-my-head-hurt variety. And with boys home tomorrow for Columbus Day, I'll trade head-aching for head-spinning. Still, I managed to grab a slice of time and sort through the mail.

I'm not sure what possessed me to actually open up the flyer. Probably that kind of empty-brain-ness that comes with being over-extended. Functioning on automatic pilot. "Oh. Look. This has pages . . ." Whatever. Because there's not a Tuesday Morning store even remotely convenient to my neighborhood. And no matter how much whatever they're selling has been discounted, I'm at that point where I really don't need to do any more acquisition. I need to divest. It makes more room for yarn.

But will you look at what one of the offerings was? Talk about sucking in the unsuspecting.

We are mainstream.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Not Quite Knitting in Public

We are up to three avowed knitters and one knitter in denial in my extended family. And we were all together at the birthday bash on Saturday.

We, as a family, haven't quite progressed to group knitting. Of course, a party in our family means 20 or more people. At this particular event, 9 are of the younger generation, and six of those are 12 or younger. A party with this group is not conducive to sitting, much less knitting. Still, when two or three of us gathered . . .

My sister-in-law, while declaiming her lack of ability, none-the-less admits to having a photo of my brother wearing the wonky scarf she made him while on maternity leave. It's framed.

Ellen and Clare are knitting socks for the first time, and needed to update each other. Ellen is knitting one of the lacier socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. She has passed the heel. She thinks she may soon succumb to second sock syndrome, especially since she has plans to knit a pair for her husband "in the wildest colorway, but he picked the yarn." She is also working on a knitted sampler afghan for Clare. She is currently in love with staghorn cables. If you scroll down this page, there's a sweater with them made out of Cascade Eco wool. I bow in awe.

Clare has decided her sock has transmuted into a knee-sock. She's not quite sure how. She is working in stockinette stitch, but patterned yarn. Her sock stayed at college. Also at college, since they are gifts, is a rainbow pile of washcloths. She is secretly working her way through the stitch dictionary in Tahki Cotton Classic. Her emails home are full of references like "worked on article for Journalism and knit." As her birthday gift, Clare made John a hat and scarf to match his jacket.

It's a Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Worsted in "Camouflage." Clearly designed with 12 year old boys in mind.

Our interactions were few and brief. I found myself thinking of those video's in high school chemistry showing what happened to molecules when they were heated.

The knitting will come. We're getting there. I wish I had taken a picture; Ellen brought her knitting bag.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fiber Artist

Marco loves yarn.

Move over Christo.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


To borrow from the email I just sent to Clare, "This past 36 hours has been just a little more interesting than it needed to be."

It was all very dramatic. Lightening flashed. Thunder rumbled. Something went "fwoomp," (fwoomp!?) and the lights went out. This is not good. We are city people. Even when the lights in our home are turned off, there's light. Streetlights. Security lights. Parking lot lights. This darkness is absolute, thick, and uncompromising.

Stumbling and fumbling, (why does the dark make me so clumsy?) I found where I left the matches when we lit birthday candles on Saturday. A stubbed toe and a crushed Lego got me over to the candles.

And where are all my flashlights? I must have scores, somewhere. I buy a couple every time there's a black-out, and every time the lights go out, they're gone. Aren't they a little big for the Borrowers?

The rest of the night was a candle-lit vigil in the old recliner in the boys room. John was reasonably philosophical about the lack of light, since it's dark when he closes his eyes anyway. Marco was not philosophical at all. I swear he could hear the candle being snuffed in his sleep. He woke up every time. And I was not going to leave a candle burning in their room. I admit, I gave up around 5 A.M., put out the candle, and went to spend an hour and a half in a real bed. Old recliners are not as comfortable as they should be.

Electricity or no electricity, life goes on. Marco made it onto his school bus, with many reassurances that the power would come back on. John, after some hopeful speculation that his school might be without power, too, got off to Latin class. I loaded the dishwasher and discovered our hot water heater is electric. After a bit, as the lack of electricity continued, I had the Austen-ian experience of washing my hair over the sink with pails of water warmed with water boiled in the tea kettle (no, it really couldn't wait.)

As the hours passed, I took a trip out for ice. The drive through the neighborhood was downright unnerving.

Remember the Sesame Street routine with Bill Irwin, "Can air move things?" Indeed.

It was 27 hours before power was restored around 4 A.M. today.

I leave you with knitting by candle-light.

And how Marco got to sleep last night. (Yes, I have bought more flashlights.)

And that had better not be thunder in the distance.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I get a little carried away sometimes.

Birthday Party Weekends are a little nuts (I have a genius for understatement). So, imagine combining a BPW with a Clare Coming Home Weekend. Then add a surprise visit from my sister-in-law from Ohio. Once all the factors are added together the answer is: Not a lot of knitting.

There was. however, needle felting. Because this is what came in the mail Saturday morning, unpacked after I loaded the dishwasher for the first time.

I do not want to hear anything about the mind that would think adding a project at such a time was a good idea. I am not compulsive. Nope. Not me.

Clare, wonderful woman, wanted to make the birthday cake. So I practiced.

I made the grocery/party supplies list, cycled out the first round of dishes, loaded the detritus from cake-making and food preparation, and needle-felted the first mitt. The green is too dark. Sigh. No time to change it. 12-year-old boys are scheduled to arrive within the hour.

I delegate making up party bags and decorating to the Birthday Boy. The others in this family put away the groceries. I do a spit and a polish on the bathrooms, run the vacuum over the rugs, and make myself presentable for company. Just about when the boys are due, but an hour before family is supposed to start arriving, I finish the second mitt. It was Clare's idea to combine the lime and forest greens into one spiral.

Somewhere, sometime, in all of that, I make a blueberry pie. It may be John's party, but it is the husband-and-father-of-the-house's birthday. This provides the perfect opportunity to test the mitts. They work. I have unburned hands to prove it.

I had that gratifying experience when someone, in this case one of my husband's sisters, says "You made that!?"

My sister's response was "Do you have the pattern?" I see Christmas plans in the gleam of her eye.

How-to's, wherefores, caveats, observations, and stuff (not a comprehensive list, just what comes to mind):

Abstract is easier than representational.

I need to get better at choosing greens.

Making snakes out of wool roving is just like making snakes out of Play-dough.

It takes a lot less roving than you think it will to make a snake. A lot less. I kept forgetting.

Punching at an angle with the felting tool really will break a needle. No excuse for this. They warned me all over the place.

It's okay to cut the foam instead of trying to compress the whole block and force it into the oven mitt. They still sell foam at craft stores.

Felted oven mitts are uncomfortably warm if the temperature outside is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I wonder if I can figure out a way to line them?