Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Experiment


My friend Joansie asked if I would post a word in Hebrew now and again, with a translation and a pronunciation guide. Please post in the comments and let me know if you can see the word I've typed above. If you can all see it, and like the idea, I will try to make this a regular feature here at Bag of Chocolates.

I think Joansie's idea is a pretty cool one, and I know that my friend Laela is studying Hebrew, so we'll see if everyone else also likes this idea. Now, on to the mini-lesson.

The word I typed above is pronounced "sree gah" and it means "knitting". One nice thing about Hebrew that facilitates learning the language (yes, the word "facilitate" appears with great frequency in the job we're currently doing) is that whole groups of related words are built around the same root made up of three Hebrew letters. Keeping in mind that Hebrew is read from right to left, the first, second, and fourth letters you see above (at least, I hope you see them!) form the root. The verb "to knit" also contains those three letters.

Now, I don't want to go on and on until you're all cross-eyed from boredom, so I will stop here. Of course, I could go on and on! Let me know if you'd like an occasional mini Hebrew lesson such as this.

Now, on to the usual fare: Avi and I worked from 9 until nearly 6 today, and got quite a lot of the current job done. It's been fun and interesting so far. But it was just lovely to pick up my knitting needles after a full day's work, let me tell you. I am currently working on the second mitten of pair #5 for the Cheyenne River Reservation.

Goodies! I got goodies today! My sweet Liat and Meital went to the post office for me this afternoon and picked up my package from Elann, containing two patterns I'd ordered. The first was Paton's "Street Smart." I have been wanting to make the Must Have Cardi for a very long time (we're talking several years), and now I finally have the pattern! The other pattern I got was Fiber Trends' Felted Clog, the famous slipper clog pattern that so many people have made. I wanted to make those for my whole family last December, but never got around to ordering the pattern. Now I have it, and I can only hope that 8 months is enough time for me to get my act together and knit slippers for my dear ones for Chanukah.

Tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day here in Israel. There will be a siren sounded throughout the country in the morning, and everything will come to a stop (including traffic on the freeways) for a moment of silence and remembrance. Meital is going to be performing in a play tomorrow at her school, so we will take a break from work and go to see the ceremony and play. On Yom Ha'Shoah, as it is called ("yom" means "day" and "shoah" means "Holocaust") the radio plays more mellow or restrained music, and programs on Israeli television channels are all stories or movies dealing with the Holocaust. If you're interested in reading more about how Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed here, please consider reading the article I wrote about it on my website, Postcards from Israel.

That's it from here for now. Please do remember to post in the comments and let me know (1) if you can see the Hebrew word I typed at the start of the post, and (2) whether you'd like me to post occasional mini-lessons like the one I did today. Don't be shy: I really want to know what you think! If the answer is no, that's fine too. I could always do an e-mail lesson for those who are interested, if they're in the minority.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Catching a Break

Make that two. The first break was that I finished the second pair of mittens from the mystery yarn, with just a little left over. I even had time today to cast on for another pair, using leftovers from my stash.

We worked all day, but at five Avi and Liat had to leave for a semi-annual meeting with Liat's homeroom teacher, wherein the teacher will reveal where Liat's grades stand at this point in the semester, and say lots of nice things about our daughter. Not that I don't enjoy those meetings, but I elected to stay home with Meital, since they're going to be going on to the grocery store after that. This way, I can relax with a nice glass of Shiraz Cabernet and update my blog. And knit! We'll have a late dinner when they get back.

The work is going well. It's very interesting stuff; basically it's a whole manual on how to evaluate the speech of someone who is learning a foreign language. It was put out by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. We're translating it into Hebrew, for use by evaluators here. Of course, I keep pestering my family, demanding that they tell me whether I am a "Superior" (no way), "Advanced" (maybe), "Intermediate" (definitely), or "Novice" (been there, done that). Memo to me: never ask questions to which you might not like the answers.*

Let me try to answer a few recent questions from the comments. If I miss some, please forgive me!

Sandy asked if I have any of Dee Gruenig's stamping videos. Oh my, yes! They are so much fun, too. When I first got them, both of my daughters would come running to watch with me, even though they don't stamp often. Dee is simply too fabulous to miss.

Joansie asked about normal temperatures in winter and summer, here in Netanya (maybe she meant all of Israel, but since it varies depending on where in the country you are, I will answer for where I live). Israel measures temperatures in Celcius, so often I have absolutely no idea what temperature it is outside! You'd think after 13 years, I'd have learned how to convert, but it's not as simple as pounds to kilos (2.2 = 1), so I haven't bothered. After all, it's either hot, perfect (for about five days a year) or cold. No, I'd estimate that in the winter here by the coast of the Mediterranean it gets to be in the fifties or so. I know that doesn't seem cold to most of you, but it all depends on what you're used to. There are maybe two days during the winter that I really, really wish I had gotten around to knitting a hat for myself (but then, I don't get out much). In the summer, it's usually in the nineties and very humid.

Lizzie didn't ask a question, but she provided a helpful tip, so thanks, Lizzie!

And that's about it from here. Rest assured, I am sneaking in some knitting every chance I get. I may even borrow a page from the Yarn Harlot and take my knitting into the bathroom with me, if I have to.

*Okay, Lizzie, I'll bet you thought I was going to say, "Memo to me, memo to me: maim you after my meeting." Name that movie.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Two Wild and Crazy...

Mittens. Did you think I was going to say "Guys"? I am amazed and delighted with how these knitted up. Aren't they great? Of course, if you lose one, no one will know what other mitten it matches!

I am trying to use the rest of the yarn (less than half of the skein now remains) to make smaller mittens. I am using the multi-gauge/multi-size mitten pattern from Ann Budd's book, The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. I'm on the second mitten now, but I'm concerned I won't have enough yarn to finish it. If that happens, the only option I can think of is to frog these (rip them out) and make thumbless baby mittens.

We got in our largest translation job ever, close to 100 pages, and it needs to be done by May 7th. So if you don't hear from me for a while, that's what I'm doing. Any free time I can carve out will likely be devoted to knitting. I've got two different flavors, uh I mean brands & colorways, of rainbow yarn coming in. Soon I will have what we call here in Israel a "problem of the wealthy", trying to decide which yarn to use for my niece's knee socks. If only all of our problems could be that sort.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

This Yarn

I am still crazy in love with this mystery yarn. As it turns out, I may never know who made it. So I have decided to live in the moment (always a stretch for me; I am really big on planning ahead) and savor each stitch.

I love the way the yarn feels as I wrap it around the needle. I love the feel of the knitted fabric as it grows under my hands. I love knowing that most likely it was a human, not a machine, that created this thick, then thin, yarn. I love the way the colors keep changing, and the fact that the two mittens are not going to match. At all.

And I'm hoping there will be enough yarn left to knit another pair of mittens.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Last night I finished the bunny for Lindsay. It's yet another pattern by Jean Greenhowe.

And today I made the cards for Lindsay and her big brother Tanner (all stamps by Posh Impressions). The box containing the toys and cards is all wrapped up and addressed, and will go into the mail tomorrow. I just wish there was more I could do.

I guess the best thing to do when you wish you could to more, is to do more, even if it is for someone else. These mittens are for the Native American Support challenge, Mittnz 2008. Oops! I didn't realize the toes of my Crocs were visible in this photo. Weird. These are the Gifted mitten pattern, in the men's size. Meital calls them the Oven Mitts. They're pretty big, but I hope they will fit someone out there on the Cheyenne River Reservation.

Of course, I've already started another pair of mittens, this time using the gorgeous (handspun?) yarn I received earlier this month. I absolutely love this yarn! It is knitting up in the coolest way. I hope to have a photo for you tomorrow, of at least one mitten. I have to find out if this is indeed handspun, and if so, by whom. Then I need to ascertain whether or not this person sells his/her yarn, and if not why the heck not?!

That ought to keep me busy for awhile.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Doing What I Can

This messy little pile contains my current projects as of this morning. We've got the second Cascading Leaves sock, the second mitten of the second pair of mittnz for the Native American Support challenge, and a couple of other things. Two things in the pile are now finished.

The yellow toy (I call him Mr. Smiley) was made based on the pattern for the snowball toys in Jean Greenhowe's booklet, Toy Collection. Not long ago, my friend Miriam put out the word at Club Posh, asking folks to pray and perhaps make cards for Lindsay. Once I'd read the blog, I couldn't get little Lindsay and her big brother Tanner out of my mind. I started making Mr. Smiley for Tanner, who is three and must be feeling awfully bewildered about everything that is going on in his life right now. A toy for Lindsay is currently on the needles, though I have no idea if she'll be able to actually touch it (infection is to be guarded against at all costs, especially now). I will also be making cards for each of the children.

The blue toy (trust me, he's a deep turquoise blue) is the Jelly Baby by Jean Greenhowe that I promised to Meital. It was very important to me to finish it as quickly as possible, so that she wouldn't associate my doing for others as a cause for sacrifice on her part. She is happy and proud of me that I am making gifts for these children (and has even given me some pink yarn from her stash to make a bunny for Lindsay), but after all, she's ten. Meital still loves her soft toys and wants as many as I can make her. I hope she never has cause to feel I've disappointed her.

As for the bunny for little Lindsay, I've done a bit on it and will work on it more this evening. Avi and I have been invited over to the home of our oldest and dearest friends here in the neighborhood. Their names are Shy (it means "gift" in Hebrew) and Noa, and their son Kfir has been Liat's classmate every step of the way, from age three (preschool) until now (tenth grade). We have been through a lot together, and these days we don't see them nearly as much as we'd like. So, we'll head over there tonight for some cake and coffee, and I will bring my knitting because Noa doesn't mind (those of you who knit and are friends with non-knitters will understand).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

No Manner of Luck

At all. (Name that movie. Lizzie, I know YOU know!).

Here in a grim little row are my first three (failed, needless to say) attempts at a bug-themed ATC (Artist Trading Card) for the upcoming Club Posh swap. Clearly, some were never even finished. My friend Debbie says that we are our own worst critics, but even a five year old wearing rose colored glasses would be hard-pressed to find something positive to say about these three disasters. I call them "Feh," "Phooey," and "Yuck."

Not that the latest attempt meets my expectations, either. But it is more in the direction I've decided to go, in a sort of rubber-stamping-meets-crazy-quilt sort of way. Every time I look at it, I toggle back and forth between "okay" and "who are you kidding?" I'll leave it to you: should I submit this one for the swap, or should I write to Bev, the lovely swap hostess, and regretfully withdraw from the swap? I've been fussing (futzing?) with this for far too much time, and I am getting heartily sick of the whole thing, frankly. I've never had this happen with a trading card swap before.

To distract you from that, here are some shots taken in our back yard this morning:

Our feijoa tree. I know, I've never heard of it either. Not only that, but I don't eat the fruit, don't even have the slightest desire to taste it. Neither does anyone else who lives in this house. But my MIL loves it, and the climate in Jerusalem is apparently all wrong for the feijoa tree. Looks like, if all goes well and the crick don't rise, we'll have a bumper crop for her come September.

Neighbor Haim's plum tree looks to be in fine fettle this year, as well. We've a while to wait yet until we'll be enjoying some sun-ripened plums, but I can tell you from past experience they'll be worth the wait! We will give some back to Haim, naturally, even though these branches have grown over the fence that separates our yards. After all, how else can he make us some of his delicious plum preserves?

Yesterday, we had a lovely time celebrating Passover with Avi's family. And I finished the first Cascading Leaves sock for my sister, and started the second. Good stuff, as my friend Anne would say.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It Starts...

Here is my first pair of mittens for the Mittnz 2008 blitz for Native American Support. I used the free pattern called "Gifted" by Kate Gilbert. This pattern calls for bulky yarn, and has several unique features. One of the best things is that after you knit the thumb, you crochet it closed then keep on knitting, using the same working yarn. I messed up the three needle bind off at the top of these, but now I know better and will finish my current pair the proper way! This is the Woman's size.

I must still be feeling the influence of Kristin Nicholas, because I decided these mittens were just too plain. My free-hand embroidery skills need work! (See why I like using waste canvas, Eva?).

In other news, Liat's bag was a big hit at school, and the Top Secret Gift has left the building. And no, Bobbi, I'm not going to give any hints whatsoever! I'm nearly done with the first mitten in pair number 2. This pair is Man sized. And if I don't finish off the rest of my bulky yarn with this pair, I'll just have to figure out a way to use up the scraps.

I started a new knitting project last night. It's a Jean Greenhowe design called Jelly Babies. Meital requested blue, so that is what she's getting, even though I have learned that actual jelly babies (the candy) don't come in that color.

Joansie asked how long it took me to make Liat's bag. I checked in my journal, and I found that I started working on her bag on March 30th. Less time than I'd thought! And if I had only worked on the bag, it would have taken even less time. The most time-consuming element was that cross stitched symbol. Once that was done, the rest came together pretty quickly.

Tomorrow, we're headed to Jerusalem to help my MIL finish preparing for the Passover holiday. Then, we'll go back on Saturday evening for the festive meal known as a seder.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Did It!

Tonight, old man, you did it!
You did it! You did it! You said that you would do it,
And indeed you did. I thought that you would rue it;
I doubted you'd do it. But now I must admit it
That succeed you did.

~ from the musical My Fair Lady

I have to admit, I am very surprised that I actually finished Liat's bookbag right on schedule (earlier, in fact, than I believed I could). She is thrilled and delighted with it, and plans to use it tomorrow on her last day of school before Spring Break. She even mentioned something about taking a "casual stroll" around the campus, to make sure everyone saw it.

What we have here is a bag made from an old pair of my jeans, a knitted belt made with the yarn my friend Ellen hand spun and I dyed with Kool Aid not long ago. Some of the beads are from that pair of Liat's pants I told you about in my last post.

I decided to make the theme of the bag our family's favorite basketball team. We are all fans, but Liat is especially fanatic about them. I made the cross stitched symbol by downloading a photo from the team's website into my PC Stitch software. It made a great chart in just seconds. The Hebrew text is the words to the fans' "fight song." And all of the players' photos came from old programs I have saved from the many Euroleague games we have attended this year.

I also finished the Top Secret Gift, at long last! I need to get it into the mail pronto. Once the recipient has received it, I will show you a photo. I hope she likes it.

And now I think I need a nap.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Finally, a Finish

I am thrilled, relieved, and amazed to tell you that I have actually finished a project! This denim bag, made from a ratty old pair of Avi's jeans, sports my first-ever attempt at a crazy quilt patch.

The central motif (which is not, obviously, in the actual center of the block) for the patch was the apple cross stitch pattern, designed by the incomparable Pam Kellogg. I made a number of mistakes and bad choices with this block, but I like it anyway, and think it's not bad for a first effort. I definitely intend to get a lot more practice!

The best thing about this project is that it uses many of my hobbies. As I've mentioned before, I've long had that as a goal - to find a way to create something that incorporates most, if not all, of my interests. In this project we have: (1) cross stitching, (2) knitting (that bit of lace at the bottom left), (3) stamping (the tiny apples on the white fabric), (4) embroidery (a new interest, though when I was a teenager I enjoyed doing crewel work), (5) beading, and (6) recycling.

Obviously, the jeans themselves were recycled to make the bag. I used the legs, which is one reason I ended up with this shape. I know, I could have cut the fabric into a rectangle, but I like the trapezoid shape. In addition, the strap is the seam from one leg of the jeans. But there's something else that's recycled in this bag. A couple of months ago, Liat reluctantly conceded that one of her favorite pairs of pants was finally beyond repair. Before tossing them, I removed all the hardware (buckles and zippers) and four different colors of beads which had adorned one of the legs. The green beads on my piece of knitted lace are from those pants.

Meanwhile, the TSGFSVS is about 20 minutes away from being completed. Of course, I can't show you a photo until the Someone Very Special actually receives the Top Secret Gift. I've also spent a great deal of time over the past two days working feverishly on Liat's bookbag. Today I completed the central cross stitch design, as well as some other stitching. Right now, I'm sewing things onto the front of the bag, which I have already sewn together. I know, this makes doing all the embroidery and embellishing much more difficult, but I needed to have the shape of the bag clear in my mind before I put in too much effort on the decorations, so I decided to do things in this order. Hopefully, it won't be too much of a problem. I would really love to get this done by tomorrow afternoon or, failing that, very early Thursday morning. That way, Liat could take it to school on the last day before she starts her Spring break. In the interests of accomplishing that, I may end up going easy on the embellishments, and even skip putting in a lining. If there are a lot of threads, etc on the inside I may have to line the bag, so that the thread won't catch on the spiral bindings of Liat's notebooks. Hmm...

Two other small items of interest include the fact that, in her continuing quest for a pet that will not aggravate anyone's allergies, Meital has domesticated a tiny snail from our garden. Now, this is really a teeny, tiny thing, not the huge things I remember from the garden of my childhood. But still... it's a SNAIL. Sigh...

The other thing is that after twelve years of living in this house, for the first time close neighbors of ours have moved away. Nechama and Itzhik lived directly across the street from us for the last twelve years. We were part of the group that initiated the then brand-new neighborhood. They lived for many years in Texas, but had just moved back to Israel with their three grown children when we met them. They are such sweet and friendly people. They've moved to be closer to their daughter and her family. I will miss them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend Update

I might as well date myself right here and admit I remember watching Chevy Chase doing Weekend Update. Anyway, I've had that phrase stuck in my mind, so I decided to use it.

Here is the progress on my milk carton project. I guess it's obvious by now that one side of the project is going to be a "haunted house." I still have a few things to add to this before I attach it to the cartons, but it shouldn't take too long to finish. I already have some ideas for the next side.

I got these goodies in the mail today, and now all I need to add is a piece of fabric and some time, and I'll be trying my hand at silk ribbon embroidery. I can't wait to try it! But I still have a few things I really must finish up before I can indulge myself in something new.

The Top Secret Gift for Someone Very Special is still awaiting its finishing touches. I have some ATCs to make for a swap at Club Posh. I want to finish Liat's bookbag as quickly as possible. Everything else either has no firm deadline, or doesn't need to be finished for a good while. So, I'll get those things done and then we'll see.

We had a lovely time with our friends yesterday. Also this weekend, I worked on the sock for my sister, and am nearly done with the second mitten of my first pair for the Native American Support group's challenge. Some gals have already made more than a dozen pair, so I'm definitely not going to win any prizes for sheer quantity! But it's a lot of fun, anyway. Also today, I finished putting bias tape around my first crazy quilt patch, and have sewn it onto the denim. Now I need to finish sewing up the bag. Once I sit down to it, that shouldn't take too long. With all this jumping around from project to project, I am likely going to end up finishing a bunch of things all at more or less the same time. That should be a real rush, because it feels like forever since I finished anything!

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Yesterday evening we finally finished up the week's work (which included another couple of articles to translate). Then the moon moved into the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, and I cooked dinner for the second time in one week. We all survived.

In more interesting news, I got quite a fair bit done on the Top Secret Gift for Someone Very Special. It's not done yet, but it's a lot closer to completion, thank heavens. Today I got a few things done on Liat's bookbag, and even worked on making my apple-themed crazy quilt patch look almost normal enough to attach to a tote bag. I'm in the process of sewing on some bias tape around the edges (by hand, thanks to the various beads that would more than likely be broken, or break my sewing machine needle, should I attempt the sewing by machine). I hope to have something to show you in that regard in the next day or so. The sock is now past the gusset decreases, and I'm working my way toward the toe. With any luck, I'll work on something this evening, too. Liat is planning to go out to a movie with friends, so perhaps I'll get more done on her bookbag.

Tomorrow we're having some good friends over for a barbecue lunch. It will be lovely to spend time with them, but not much crafting will get done.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Lucky Day

Today I got the most amazing and wonderful gift box! It was from the lovely folks at the Native American Support Yahoo Group. Just look at all those goodies. There's a fabulous tote bag; a book of adorable baby patterns; a "survival kit" with tape measure, point protectors, stitch holder, needles, row counter and more; those knitting needles that light up on the tips; a Wonder Knitter; and yarn!

Just take a look at this gorgeous yarn. Isn't it spectacular? I have no idea what it is, but I'm hoping I can get a pair of mittens from it for the Mittnz 2008 challenge.

And take a gander at this sock yarn. The multicolor is Trekking, and the solid purple is Socka. Boy, I can't wait to knit up these yarns... They even coordinate with the other yarn.

With the crazy-busy week we've been having, this gift box was a real mood-lifter. Meanwhile, we still haven't finished up the work we got yesterday, and today we got yet another job (the other two articles we were expecting didn't materialize though, which I suspect is just as well, for now...)

I started the heel flap on the first Cascading Leaves sock today, and worked a bit on the cross stitch for Liat's bag. Aside from my trip to the post office to get my package, I worked a little, cleaned a little, read a little... It was a good day, especially thanks to the folks at Native American Support!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Quick Hello

I can't believe how much time has gone by since my last post! We spent Saturday in Jerusalem, and as you can see I got a fair bit of sock knitting done. I am just loving this Cascading Leaves pattern, and the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn. I keep wishing these socks were for me! But I am also happy thinking how much my sister will enjoy them. I have plenty more yarn in my stash, too, though not in the brand and colorway. So there's a good chance I will make some Cascading Leaves socks for me one of these days. I've got some pretty Koigu that would look just fabulous in this pattern...

I had my first try at Kool Aid dyeing the other day, and you can see the results. This wasn't what I was shooting for, but I like it anyway. Next time, I'll try a couple of things and see if I get more even coverage. The yarn was handspun by my friend Ellen. I'm going to knit this up into a belt to go through the loops on the jeans purse I am making for Liat.

Of course, at the rate I'm going she may well be a grandmother by the time the bag is done! We got five separate translation jobs on Sunday, and have been steadily working our way through them. Today we got another one, and there's a good chance that we'll get two more tomorrow. It's good to be this busy with work. Tiring, but exciting.

I miss my crafting time, and my Internet time, though! Things may slow down by Thursday, so I hope to have more things to show you then.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Proceeding Apace

"with speed, quickly, swiftly"


Yeah, okay. I get that. That's the definition I learned, anyway. But who's to say it can't mean, "at any pace"? Say, at a snail's pace?

Here are Meital's socks, knitted at a speed more suited to 2007 than 2008; less than two weeks for the pair. I would feel proud of myself, but these socks are ridiculously small and uncomplicated. The leg is only 4" long, and they were knit on 52 stitches around (my socks are usually 60 or 64 stitches around). But the length of the leg was perfect, as I just had enough to finish the pair. You will note that the stripes match. Those of you who have been following my sock-knitting evolution know that my making socks that match is about as rare an event as, say, a snowstorm in Israel in August. Ain't gonna happen. Except, well you know. It did. This time. Don't get used to it.

And here's what's in the on deck circle (hey, didn't Major League Baseball start up this week??). Cascading Leaves socks by Jeanie Townsend in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock for my sister. I've actually already wound this skein up into a ball and started the cuff. I'm itching to get back to it, too. Funny, two weeks ago you couldn't have paid me to make another pair of lace socks. But now, after Meital's plain and simple socks, I'm rarin' to go. Progress photos will be forthcoming.

In addition, I worked some more on the cross stitch element for Liat's bag (can't show you because, you know, it's stealth stitching). I also did a bit more work on the milk carton project. It's really starting to come together. Or, I should say, one side of it is. Remember, this thing has four sides, and I'm working on one at a time. Not even sure yet what I'm going to do for sides #3 and #4.

Liat should be home from her overnight field trip in about 2 hours. I think I can hang on until then. What I'll do when she goes into the army in another 3 years, I don't know.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not Too Shabby

Today Avi and I went downtown and picked up The Wave. I am very pleased with the framing job, and will certainly go back to the same place once Mother's Arms is ready for framing. This is, believe it or not, the first time in more than 20 years of cross stitching that I've had one of my pieces put behind glass. It seems a bit weird to me, but I know it will keep the needlework clean. The wooden frame is painted in the "distressed" look, which I think suits the picture pretty well.

I thought I'd show you a progress photo on the crazy quilt block for my denim purse. I'm nearly done with the embroidery on the seams, then I'll add beads, buttons and perhaps a few more flourishes. Then I'll sew it to the denim and finish up the bag. Not as good a job on the embroidery as I'd hoped I'd do, but then this is why I like to make the first of a new thing for me. Hopefully by the time I work on the girls' bags, I will do a better job. The embroidery, once the waste canvas has been removed, is a bit loose against the fabric of the block. Not really sure how to fix that, but I do have a couple of ideas. I also need to plan better when choosing thread colors to use on printed fabrics. Still, I'm having a lot of fun with this, and am looking forward to trying more new things. I ordered some silk ribbon and a book on silk ribbon embroidery last night. Liat's bag is going to have a sport theme, but I want Meital's to be very feminine and girly. Next year, when she is in sixth grade, she will be going to a great many parties (in Israel, girls celebrate their bat mitzvah with a party at age 12), and a pretty little bag for her cell phone and a bit of money (and maybe a hanky?) will come in very handy, I'm thinking.

I also need to get into high gear on Liat's bag, which as you may remember will be made from the top of a pair of my old jeans. I've been working on the cross stitched piece for Liat's bag, and thinking (and thinking, and thinking) about how to accomplish the rest of the ideas I have for her bag. Lizzie pointed out that this type of bag often has a scarf or belt put through the belt loops of the jeans, so I've decided that is where the knitting will come in. I've been feeling doubtful that knitted lace would work out on this bag, and now I've realized the belt is a much better idea.

I'm hoping to use Kool Aid to dye some of the lovely off-white handspun yarn I was given several years ago by my friend Ellen in Arizona. Then I'll look through my 365 Stitches a Year perpetual calendar for a pattern and get busy on the belt. It will be longer than a lace edging, but knit on much larger needles!

I'm nearly at the toe decreases on the second sock for Meital, and I'm almost done with the knitting for the Top Secret Gift For Someone Very Special. Then there will be some sewing up to do. I also worked a bit on my milk carton project today, but I really need to spend at least an hour on it sometime soon, to make enough progress to justify posting a new photo.

Liat left very early this morning on her class's annual field trip. They are in the southern part of Israel, and won't be back until tomorrow night. I miss her terribly - we all do. Thank goodness for cell phones!