boogy cowl

anne wrote this in the early afternoon:

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need a very quick last minute gift? ready for a project with some color changes?

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the boogy cowl can be knit any way, whether you prefer an organized pattern of stripes, something random and fun to use up bits of leftovers, or a solid color for more textural impact.

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our shorter version is knit in narrow stripes that repeat as a group; striping will emphasize the undulating movement created by increases and decreases in the openwork. in a longer version you’ll double the effect—bigger impact when worn long and loose or a pile of stripey goodness when wrapped twice.

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i knit mine very quickly so we could could get this last minute pattern out to you, but now that we have it, we’re planning more samples in our favorite neutrals

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like gradient shades of cozy better breakfast DK or confection sport and a mix of every shade of luxe chebris or cabécou sport. i can’t decide between BBK and chebris sport for my own . . .

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needless to say, this would make an excellent lat minute gift—not only is it useful and pretty, but so fun to knit; if you have to put your nose to grindstone to crank something out, it should at least be loads of fun!

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shown above, the medium size cowl in bare naked wools festivus 2.0, in colors (light to dark) fezziwig, christmas present, cratchit, and scrooge. Festivus 2.0 is an overdye of our confection sport, a 3-ply yarn spun from 100% soft corriedale wool raised in upstate new york.

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click here to purchase or to view complete pattern details—as with the slow dog noodle scarf/wrap pattern, this particular listing is a little different—thanks to david’s hard work today, there’s a dropdown menu so you can choose your purchase price, from $6 and up (we’ve added options for those who would like to give more).

from now through december 31st, 100 percent of every single boogy cowl pattern sale (plus extra donations) will be added to the red scarf scholarship fund!! as of yesterday our fund was up to $2940—so awesome! thanks to your generosity we are on track to surpass last year’s goal and do our part to keep up with the rising cost of education.

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purchasing is as easy as any other pattern on our site; it just requires that tiny extra step of using the pulldown menu. the pattern is also available on ravelry, however, we cannot set up the extra donation option there. if you’d like to make an extra donation, we ask that you purchase here and request for us to send it to you in ravelry (your download will be immediately available here; it may take a little while for us to process the rav thing. we appreciate your patience!).

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thank you all so very much for your enthusiastic participation in this even year after year. it means so much to us, but be assured it means even more to our student recipient.

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speaking of students, isn’t helena looking wonderful these days?? she is currently finishing up her waldorf early childhood education certificate and working in several children’s programs around town. she is also interning with a design studio downtown and working with us a photo stylist. thank you so much helena for taking some time to model our latest release!

are you ready?

anne wrote this in the wee hours:

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i just love this slow dog noodle wrap—light and airy, it’s great as a huge scarf over a heavy sweater or atop a wide open jacket. but it’s also a wonderfully cozy wrap to throw on while knitting or watching TV—long enough to cover my legs, but light enough to allow my arms to work. love!

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and with the mild weather we’ve been having, i can even wear it instead of a winter coat, a la mister knitspot. with such versatility—now it’s a scarf; now it’s a blanket!—this kind of wrap is wonderful to wear traveling.

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the fabric drapes beautifully and at the same time, has the deeply textured appearance of a much heavier bulky knit—without all that weight, yay.

this is a great piece to add to our wardrobe (yes, this is one i think we can share, haha).

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i could not resist casting on the scarf version with a few odd-ball skeins of the festivus 2.0 red gradients—i am adding rows here and there whenever i need a mindless project (like during a meeting or when i’m too tired to do something challenging).

we are doing very well in our scholarship fundraising—thanks to you all! last tuesday, our scholarship number was over $1800 and tomorrow i will get an update from doug. we are hoping to meet and perhaps pass last year’s final number of $4000.00; let’s make it happen!

now that the pattern numbers are final and it’s available to everyone, including LYS sales, please let friends and family know that they can help a lot by purchasing a copy (if you purchased early, please re-download an updated copy with final photos, sizes, and yardage requirements before casting on).

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i finished up the coordinating cowl last tuesday, a little late to include in last week’s post. that night i soaked it, reshaped it and set it up for drying with anne marie’s handy-dandy roller method.

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two oatmeal boxes, a couple of paper towel rolls, or the tube from a roll of wrapping paper will set you up for a lifetime of ease in cowl blocking (a couple of pieces of PVC tubing will also work a treat and won’t succumb to dampness). just insert a length of tubing at each side of the cowl and roll every hour or so until dry—it speeds up drying like nobody’s business and creasing will be a thing of the past.

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don’t the gradients look nice knitted up? in real life, the color shift are so subtle that you can hardly locate them in the three lighter shades. but then obviously when the darkest shade bumps up against the brightest one, it’s there.

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you could arrange the shades differently of course—make an ombré by working from light to dark and back or go random and mix them up continually (that’s a great strategy if you have an uneven amount of leftover yardage from a scarf or wrap project)

this is the medium size (there is one smaller size and then a long size that you can double wrap); it weighs just 2.1 ounces—a little under 200 yards total. it took almost no time to knit.

i’m hoping we’ll have the pattern ready on tuesday evening in case you need a very last minute gift! and of course, the proceeds from this one through december 31 will also be added to the scholarship fund.

the gradient sets were shipped out last thursday evening—they are landing everywhere as we speak. erica does have a very small quantity of extra skeins to offer as sets or individually; if interested, please contact her (jeevesATknitspotDOTcom).

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i’m not making a lot of christmas gifts this year, but i did try a new crafty project that is working out well so far—lotion bars. i use a lot of these; my hands really suffer from dryness both winter (from the indoor heat) and summer (working hands syndrome from gardening and sink work).

buying them has been a bit hit or miss—sometimes they are so hard as to be unusable, sometimes the scent ends up being too perfumey for me. and the ones i especially love are expensive (natch) and too big to be portable.

my experiments with making my own wool soap made me curious about other DIY products and over the summer i poked around on the internet to see if lotion bars would be equally easy to make at home. and they are—for the price of a few bars of my favorites brands, i was able to buy supplies—including a few splurges for luxurious butters—to make several batches and in the smaller size i prefer. the recipe is ridiculously easy and the results are luscious; definitely a keeper.

so i’m making several batches to add to christmas gift packages—and learning to use scent judiciously, haha (i love scented hand lotion; it’s easy to go crazy, but i want these to be appealing). my only hangup is that i can’t find an inexpensive solution for containers; my favorite options require me to buy a case of like a thousand—a few more than i really need. i’m working on it, trying to think outside the box about boxes . . .

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i spent saturday in my kitchen to prepare some nice dishes to serve on sunday, when we hosted carrie and robbie from our ohio mill, spinners of our better breakfast, chebris and cabecou, ginny, and hempshaugh yarns.

it was nice to spend the afternoon chopping and cooking some of the last garden produce into a huge pot of black bean chile, mmm. it made enough to put several buckets in the freezer for meals later on, too.

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but i didn’t stop there—i felt like having a special dessert for once; we don’t really “do” desserts unless we’re having company, so this was my chance, haha.

chocolate pecan pie is one of david’s favorites and we hadn’t had it in a long, long time. i use a recipe from one of those old 1970s product-related cookbooks. thanks to the wonder of the internet, i found it easily to share with you—click here to view.

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and while my pie crust came out a little overly done this time (drat!), the overall result was really good. this recipe can be made into dessert bars as well; the filling is gooey, but not runny.

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remember my rather pathetic looking lace shawl project? i don’t blame you one iota if you’ve been thinking it is very much less than inspiring—it’s hard to love something so homely isn’t it?

well. . .

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how do you like it now? yep, it’s all done; can you believe that this came out of that??

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i couldn’t be happier or more surprised—it’s bigger, lacier, and prettier than i expected.

oh, the magic of blocking—how can anyone disagree?

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i can’t remember now what day i finished it up, but i blocked it pretty much right away because i was dying to see what i had inside that crumpled pile of stringy yarn.

speaking of the yarn—if i may say so, our cabécou brillant lace in the champagne shade, is nothing short of spectacular for lace; i love it so much.

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it can fool you at first, seemingly dull and lifeless, but hidden inside are sparkling threads of light, just waiting for our hands to work their sorcery.

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i really enjoyed knitting this too—it may have seemed to take a lot of time, but that’s because it was a prototype and i had to rip back and re-do a couple of times. i am all set to knit another, perhaps in the chebris lace this time (i’ve been dying to get that truffe shade on my needles since it first came in). i’ll most likely use a bigger needle with the heavier lace yarn . . .

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what i love about this shawl is how papery the textures make the yarn look, though it is soft as wisps of cloud. this piece weighs in at just 49 grams—less than half of a full-sized skein.

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it could be a gorgeous wedding shawl and then be worn every day to the office and worked into a rag-and-bone club outfit, too; all that fine stitching will never just sit in a drawer.

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this piece is another that we will be including in our january ENSEMBLE collection—to be released mid-january. we are stocking up on lace yarns especially for projects like this—are you excited?

and with that, i think i will leave you till later this week; we’ll have the cowl pattern to offer  in the next day or two, plus i have a few wonderful book releases to let you know about and probably some VERY last minute knitting; happy holiday prep!

don’t forget to share about the fundraiser patterns!!

oh, you knitters!

anne wrote this at around evening time:

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you deserve flowers, you wonderful people!
when i see doug tomorrow i’ll be getting some numbers and even though i don’t know what they are yet, i KNOW they will be great. our red scarf fundraiser is off to a rip-roaring success—thankyouthankyouthankyou!

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and here are a few roses for good measure; if i could reach through the screen to hug you, i would.

saturday was a good day—after a terrific morning run in nearly 70-degree weather, i met with my afternoon class (they are working through love me two times) and while they worked away on their hem patterns, we chatted and i nearly finished up my big slow dog noodle wrap. just the BO left when i got home.

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by the time i got to the end of my blog for friday, i was chomping at the bit to knit these reds, so i caked up the yarn. and since it was so late at night, i thought it wouldn’t hurt to just cast on for the cowl i had in my head—you know, while no one was looking.

but i swear, i did not touch it after that until the wrap was completed. saturday night was another story—i bound off that evening while chatting with my friend katharine and after that, i headed upstairs for a date with the TV and my delicious red cowl project.

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late as it was (well after midnight), i dove right in and before i knew it, i had completed a half repeat of the pattern, changing shades every four rounds. isn’t the gradient amazing?

i’m not trying to tease you—your skeins are being shipped imminently. lillian and mary have been packing the ones we have, erica and david are working on the shipping labels; as soon as the rest of our order is onsite they will be on their way to you—hopefully on wednesday.

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on sunday morning, i tried out the wrap on myself like a big fat scarf and discovered that i love it—waaaay more than i thought i would. i dunno, i guess i was worried that it was looking a little grannyish on the needles, but it’s so not true, once you get it on (i love me some dramatic striping). you could totally rock this out with a cool looking jūl clasp. i know that’s what we’re going to do . . .

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after playing with it a bit, i ran a hot soapy bath for it and put it on to soak. yesterday was pretty busy all day, so i didn’t get to block it, but i changed the wash water for a second soak and then a rinse.

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one of the myriad wonderful things about natural shades is that you can soak them to fit your schedule, even if that’s a long time—they just get better and better). afterward, the fiber fairly glowed, mmm.

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anyone who fears that blocking will somehow ruin the depth of the stitch pattern is just wrong—if anything it makes it better, because clean, bouncy fiber offers much more highlight and stitch definition.

do you want to see the money shot now? of course you do and you deserve it, you wonderful knitters, you (sorry about the miserable light; it was a typically dark and overcast NE ohio day today).

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look at that—seventy six inches of bouncy, delicious wool, just waiting to wrap its arms around you. MWAH!

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remember how i was getting a little concerned about the dimensions, thinking it was going to grow all out of proportion? it didn’t; it’s a few inches bigger than the pattern estimates, but very much in the ballpark at nineteen inches wide; a great size for a cozy wrap. and because it’s knit on size 9US (5.5 mm) needles, the fabric is light and airy—not overwhelming. it can be bunched up into a scarf or draped around the shoulders.

i’m almost curious enough to knit a scarf . . . but i’m reining myself in because i have a very full knitting schedule for the next forever.

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instead, i’m satisfying myself with this cowl knit—quick and fun and fits in between all the sunday and monday tasks on my list. yesterday morning i added a second repeat while i sipped my coffee and listened to a book for an hour.

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i tried to get an accurate picture of the colors but as you can see it’s a little hard to pin down; it doesn’t happen just cuz i want it to, haha.

i had a lot on my agenda for yesterday and after working on a pattern most of the morning, i got outside to run (the weather is just too good to pass on it these days) and after a little more work at my desk, i went biking with david til dark.

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after a quick supper it was time to make soup—we eat a lot of soup in winter and since we are still picking hardy greens from our garden, i’ve been making large pots of it to put up in the freezer for later in the winter.

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last weekend i used our leeks, celeriac, and potatoes to make potato soup

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and while i was chopping those ingredients i chopped a little extra, then added a few other veggies to run a second pot with vegetable soup (david’s favorite).

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this weekend i started a pot with this colorful mirepoix and added hardy greens and beans to make ribollita, one of my very favorites.

i like the ribollita recipe from the rogers and gray italian country kitchen cookbook, but i’m sure there are as many wonderful recipes as there are great italian cooks. it’s a classic peasant soup that is intended to take advantage of what you have on hand—including leftover soup from the previous day, so the recipe is pretty much lawless. the only thing i would say is to make it far enough ahead to let the flavors meld for a few hours before serving.

this time, it came out so good. oh man, i wish you were all here to share it (it’s even better the next day). fortunately i made the biggest pot possible with the cookware i have and there was enough to eat a couple of times this week, with plenty to spare for the freezer.

another good end to a good day.

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in between all that other stuff, i’ve been steadily adding repeats to my lacy physalis shawl. i love how it’s working out; i was able to figure out a formula to do the short rows in an openwork mesh pattern so that you really have to just repeat four rows over and over. it’s one of those patterns that’s impossible to chart with the stitches aligned as they are in the work, so you have to trust the pattern (you can see that i’ve thrown in a lifeline, just in case that didn’t work and i had to go to plan B).

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but it definitely works and mine is growing. i think it will be nice if i add an option to the pattern for working the short rows in garter stitch however—for those that prefer it plain or don’t feel like a challenge. but honestly, if you are up for knitting something a little difficult that will sorta blow your mind, the solution to this is a beautiful thing and very satisfying.

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i keep showing photos of it looking awfully crumpled and well, not so pretty. because later when it’s blocked, it’s going to change a lot—it might even freak us out a bit. i think i can finish this up tonight so that when i unpin the wrap i can block out this lace—and then you’ll see what i’m talking about.

oops, david just let me know that supper is ready—ribollita and then cowl finishing and then lace knitting, here i come.

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just four rounds to go now til it’s done and this is the best photo of the colors yet!

 

slow dog noodle

anne wrote this late at night:

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i don’t know what’s going on with my pre-christmas mindset this year, but i have yet to begin even one knitted gift. my list of hand knit gifts is not long—just three items and only one of them big—but for some reason i just keep thinking christmas is in some far-off land across an ocean of time.

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every conceivable manner of knitting is scattered all over the house, but finished objects? not a one. i am in various stages of completing several large deadline projects for our january collection and my sample knit of the red scarf fundraiser pattern is in its final stages. i had hoped to have it completed by now, but it’s not!

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i am, thankfully, just about ready to start the last stripe, yay! but i’m so behind where i thought i would be in getting the pattern posted and the fundraiser sales going, i’m feeling like a failure today.

for inspiration, i went over to stephanie’s blog while i was eating lunch, because she always puts on a great pre-christmas show and is a barrel of laughs, too, which i find completely inspiring and energizing. but lo and behold, she is talking the same tune as me and dealing with almost identical challenges. now that’s frightful.

i keep telling myself that not having all the christmas knitting done in time is really ok, considering how challenging my schedule continues to be, and that every christmas doesn’t HAVE to be the same, rung in with delicious piles of satisfying knits, lovingly crafted for each special recipient (because making time to create and give handknits is just that—very special).

but you know what? some things should not change.

like our annual red scarf scholarship fundraiser. the fundraiser is many things—it’s a fun new quick knit design to knit and share, it’s a time to give a little and know it will add up to a lot (even non-knitters can buy one to get in on the action). but most of all, there is at least one person who is really, REALLY dependent on what we gather and place in the scholarship bucket—our foster care to success sponsored student, brandy. this student is very young, but has very adult responsibilities; our contributions make a huge difference to her peace of mind and well-being as she navigates a college education on her own. she’ll be a senior in college next year and this fundraiser will help get her that degree she’s been working so hard to obtain.

so, even though my sample isn’t quite done (same as last year) and the pattern ain’t pretty yet, here it is—slow dog noodle. the name was kindly suggested by noralee, who added this definition to her comment:

Skier rode up a steep side of a mogul to dissipate speed while assuming an exaggerated sitting back position. At the crest of the mogul and while still crouching, with skis now balanced directly on the crest, the skier swiveled the skis. The slower the motion, the more perfect the execution. (definition from “Story of Modern Skiing,” by John Fry) Cool, elegant move to watch.
Can’t help it, this just made me laugh.

it made me laugh too, when i imagined what katJ and kimkimkim will do with that one; it also described the stitch pattern so perfectly that i had to have it. slow dog noodle it is!

now you’ll notice that this particular pattern listing is a little different—thanks to david’s hard work today, there’s a dropdown menu so you can choose your purchase price, from $7 and up (we’ve added options for those who would like to give more).

100 percent of every single slow dog pattern sale through december 31st will be added to the scholarship fund

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purchasing is as easy as any other pattern on our site; it just requires that tiny extra step of using the pulldown menu. the pattern is also available on ravelry, however, we cannot set up the extra donation option there. if you’d like to make an extra donation, we ask that you purchase here and request for us to send it to you in ravelry (your download will be immediately available here; it may take a little while for us to process the rav thing. we appreciate your patience!).

i know you’ll be generous one way or the other—if you just can’t afford it this time, it’s ok; please shop it around to friends and family, put it on your Facebook page, pin it, or share it with your ravelry groups and knit night buddies (go ahead, guilt them into it if you have to, haha). those are equally excellent ways to help us reach our goal.

the fundraiser is a truly worthy effort, dear to our hearts and beloved by readers; i wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t.

by the way, we’ve gotten a nice jump on our fundraising by selling out the gradient sets we posted—our accountant doug tells me we’ve collected over $990 already. way to go readership; we love you!! and doug loves getting mentioned on the blog, so let’s keep him busy giving us good news.

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now you can use your red gradient set to knit this scarf or wrap or you can stash dive for something else to knit it with; that’s up to you. the design falls completely within the parameters of the type they like to collect for the red scarf drive—unisex, a good length, and a nice width. it has some openwork, but nothing a guy wouldn’t wear.

i got behind this week and wasn’t able to cast on with my red skeins yet, but i’m treating myself to a nice sit-down with them this weekend. i want to design a cowl and hat with the same stitch pattern; something that will roll off the needles in a jiff. we had some skeins that were short a little yardage after rewinding so i took those to play with.

when all of the yarn arrives and all of the preorders are filled, we may have a few sets skeins left to list on the site for sale as well as some single full-sized skeins; we will let you know right here on the blog if that’s the case. we know they went fast; you guys are so generous! if you missed out and want to get on the waitlist with a request, please use the contact form in the sidebar here to let erica know. she will fill them in the order they are received and do her best to match you up with the configuration you are looking for.

ok, you know what?? i’m feeling a lot more christmassy already—let’s give that holiday spirit some legs! giving always makes me feel useful; i think it’s  good time to go finish up that wrap so i can cast on something RED. in fact i think i’ll cake up those skeins first . . .