As the peasant said in that famous Monty Python skit, “I’m not dead yet!” However, as another deep-thinking pundit (OK, I said it, but I am not the only one) said, “2016 can suck it.”

I am indeed alive, but I have had a tumultuous (i.e., sucky) year with major losses already. I’ve done some minor bits of knitting and sewing. Life has gone on (for some of us, not so much for some others, such as my mom, one of my aunts, and one of my cousins), and I’ve taken great solace in my dear friends and close family.

One thing has continued: my sister wenches and I are still performing as Just Desserts, with me writing the occasional new song. In fact, we’re debuting one next Wednesday night, April 20th, when we perform our monthly Wenchy Wenchday show at Market Street Pub & Cabaret. I’d had the chorus in my head for months and months… and the first verse for just months. Finally, earlier this year I gave myself the brain space to write the rest of the song. And here are the lyrics, cross-posted from my other rarely updated blog, It’s not gonna write itself.


Where’s the Rum?


When I was a wee lass

Me father said to me,

“Me darlin’ girl, this pub be yours

When all grown up you be.”

He taught me about business

And how to guard me bum,

And told me not to trust the men

Demanding shots of rum.


Where’s the rum? Where’s the rum?

Dear lord, please tell me, where’s the rum?

I thought me heart was breakin’,

But it’s just me head that’s achin’,

So someone tell me, where’s the rum?

Ach, please just pour some bloody rum.


He warned me about salty men

Who sailed upon the sea.

They’d come with tales of derring-do,

Just hoping to woo me.

They’d smile and try to kiss me

And tell me I’m the one,

When all the while their deepest wish:

To drink up all me rum.




The devil rum can turn your head

While dancin’ on your tongue.

Its promises of happiness

Are lies from songs long sung.

For if it could deliver

A life of endless fun,

Then why are all the sailin’ lads

In need of yet more rum?




Of all the things me father said

To help me grow up strong,

His wisdom on this subject here

Has never been proved wrong.

For a man home from the islands

Who’s felt the southern sun

Will never cease to crave the taste

Of good Jamaican rum.



© 2016 Toni Finley All Rights Reserved

Checking in

Hola! Long time, no blog, etc., etc.

Just a quick check-in to report some knitting progress. About a week (or two weeks?) ago, I finished knitting the parts of the sweater for La Petite Princesse. That is, the front, back and both sleeves. I will not have enough of the yarn to knit the hood, but no matter. I’ve adapted this pattern in the past to exclude the hood, and the result was just fine.

I say “adapted” as if it were something elaborate. In truth, I just picked up stitches as the pattern called for (in the round, if memory serves me right), then knit a few rounds in stockinette and bound off. The neckline had a nice little roll (as stockinette fabric does), and the sweater looked adorable on the then-BC6. (Yes, my youngest boy child was 6 at the time. Let’s not discuss that he’s about to turn 19… or that his older brother is 25… or that my granddaughter is 5, m’kay? M’kay.)

I still have to sew the pieces together (you know, do the finishing) and knit the neckline area. Of course, there’s no rush, as my family lives in Florida, where today it’s 93 degrees, so the sweater won’t get worn till fall/winter even if I finish it tonight… which I won’t, never fear.

If I get off my lazy keister and take and download some pictures the fates allow, I will post a photo of my progress so far within the next few days.

And you know I’ll share with you all when I finish it, because I need copious amounts of positive reinforcement from you (all 3 of you) when I do achieve FO status.

Hope your mother’s day weekend has been a good one. I’ve worked all weekend, so we’re doing the mom’s day thing tomorrow. It’s unconventional, but that’s my life… and me!

Not that I ever completely stopped in 2014, but there was a severe drop-off in my knitting productivity. At the end of the year, though, I made three pair of mitts, finishing the last one on Christmas Day.

First, a pair of Dashing Mitts for a coworker named Dianna:

I think she likes them!

I think she likes them!

Then a pair of Fetching Mitts for another coworker named Rhonda:

Sorry, it's a little over contrast-y. And yes, I am that pale.

Sorry, it’s a little over contrast-y. And yes, I am that pale.

Finally, a pair of skinny Dashing Mitts for a coworker named Maresa:

Maresa assured me they fit nicely.

Maresa assured me they fit nicely.

To keep the momentum going into the new year, on Jan. 29th, I cast on a new project. It’s the Simple Lace and Mohair Shawl by Linda Thach. I found it on her website, purlavenue.com after a google search for a lacy cowl pattern.

Thach labeled her pattern “scarf,” but it’s truly a cowl. And a really pretty one, at that.

I cast it on, jumping right into the four-row pattern, but three rounds in, I discovered I’d twisted the join. I’d become worried over those three rounds that the edge was going to curl (as stockinette does), so I had no remorse about frogging it. I frogged it while at a wench rehearsal on Jan. 30th.

And rather than submitting to defeat, I immediately cast back on the called-for 225 stitches… well, 226, actually. I’d decided to work two rows of k1p1 seed stitch before joining it to work in the round, and I needed the extra stitch to make a smooth join later.

Here’s how it looked on Jan 1st:

It's a start, right? Right.

It’s a start, right? Right. Sorry for the blurriness.

And two days later, here’s where the project stands lies now:

The color's off here. Think more maroon, less tomato.

The color’s off here. Think more maroon, less tomato.

This is 20 rounds, including the first two in seed stitch. The row counter says “42,” which means four complete patterns, plus two rounds in the next fifth repeat. The width is around 3.5 inches now, and I’ve about a fifth of the first ball left. I’ve only one other ball, so the cowl’s final width should be between 8 and 9 inches. (I hope.)

It’s not tremendous progress, but my right wrist thinks it’s quite enough for now. It seems I will need to ease into regular and extended knitting sessions if I want to avoid injury. (And I do.)

Before you all start to think really nice thoughts about my diligence, you should know that I promised to knit Juju a cowl a l-o-n-g time ago. In fact, for Christmas 2013, I gave her some yarn and told her I’d be making her present early in 2014. Clearly, I did not. And, in truth, this isn’t the same yarn either. This one is more appropriate for this project, and the color is almost identical to that of the originally intended yarn. So when this cowl is finally around Juju’s lovely neck, it will be at least a year overdue. Oy!

I already have the next project planned, with all the materials waiting close at hand and a deadline of Jan. 16th. That should keep my hands knitting for the nonce, don’t you think?

Hope your new year is filled with love, joy, laughter, and song. Happy New Year, kittens!

Smooches to you all, kittens.

While there are photos pending on some of my FOs, I have updated my FO list for this year.

Likewise, I have updated by Books Read 2014 list.

I’ll be posting some decent photos as soon as I get them off my camera, but in the meantime, here are two sorta crappy cellphone pix, first of a sewn FO, then of knit one:

No straps! A true pinafore.

No straps! A true pinafore.


This photo really doesn't do them justice.

This photo really doesn’t do them justice.

In the UFO category, I have finished all but the thumbs on a pair of super-skinny Dashing mitts. They are destined for a coworker and friend named Maresa who just happens to have super-skinny arms and hands. I hope to finish them tomorrow. Who knows? I may even get – and post – photos of them!

Stay warm!

I’ve been terribly remiss

And absent, I know. Please believe me when I say that it was not deliberate! I have thought about you frequently since my last post, but haven’t found a spare moment to pull my thoughts together sufficiently to justify a whole blog post.

A gratuitous kitty-in-a-box photo to distract you from the lack of new project photos in this post.

A gratuitous kitty-in-a-box photo to distract you from the lack of new project photos in this post.

And I know you’re wondering if I’ve been crafting. Alas, the answer is (mostly) no.

I have done a bit of sewing. In fact, I made 7 matching aprons this past week, but I don’t think I took a picture of them. Mea culpa. It’s kind of a blog sin to make things and not take pics, isn’t it? Still there’s time, as I will see those aprons 4 days a week for the next three weeks.

You see, I was asked to join the cast of our local community theater’s production of Les Misérables, and we opened this week, with three more weeks of performances… and the aprons are part of the costuming!

I’d auditioned for the play… and not been cast.

Then, three weeks into the show’s rehearsals, the director contacted me and asked if I wanted to step in to replace an ensemble* member who’d had to drop out. Um, yeah, thanks!

That was about a month ago.

The three weeks of rehearsal flew past (although it didn’t always feel like it in the moment), and we opened this past Thursday night!

There are 5 shows a week (Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday matinée, Saturday night, and Sunday matinée) for the four weeks of the run.

So my next three weeks are going to be pretty full ones, between those shows and rehearsals with my wench troupe and with my madrigal group. Oy!

So. Much. Fun!

When I get photos of those aprons, I’ll post them for you.

And if I ever knit anything again (you know I will… eventually!), I’ll post about that, too.

In the meantime, please forgive my severe slackenbloggen. I still love you!

* As a member of the ensemble, I play 7 different characters, with 8 costume changes: an innkeeper’s wife, a poor mother, a prostitute, a drunk woman in a tavern, a beggar, a revolutionary, and a wedding guest… then I change back into my tavern costume for the finale. Whew!

Since last I updated (a million years ago, I believe, although I haven’t done the math), I haven’t knit a thing.

OK, technically, I guess I have knit – or half-knit – a thing, but I’m going to frog it, so I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count.

I wanted to get in on WWKIP day/week before it passed, so I decided to knit a toddler-sized version of a doll-hat pattern I found in my stash. The name escapes me now, so hang on just a minute…

Here’s a kitty picture to occupy you while I fetch my project from the car:

If they fits, they sits... or something like that.

If they fits, they sits… or something like that.

Found it! The pattern is called Eyelet Beret. It’s by Deb Denair of Debonair Designs. It’s so cute… and it’s available free on ravelry.com. Just click on the pattern’s name in the 2nd sentence of this paragraph. Her designs are made to fit 18″ dolls, specifically those in the American Dolls series. Anyway, this particular beret design caught my eye a year or so ago, and I’ve been planning to make it… eventually.

When the last day of WWKIP 2014 rolled around and I still hadn’t knit a stitch anywhere, I decided to take advantage of a two-hour car ride to start this hat. In truth, I had every reason to think I’d finish the hat before the end of the returning two-hour car ride, given my now-decades of knitting experience and the relative simplicity of the charming pattern.

However… the knitting goddess was not being reasonable.

True, I had ignored her for months.

Also true, I was modifying the pattern to be larger…. something I’ve done many times in the past, although usually with a bit of math written out to back up my changes.

And also also-true, I was changing it from a knit-flat pattern to an in-the-round pattern… something else I’ve done many times in the past, with no difficulties.


This time, I knit for an hour or so before deciding my calculations (in my head, of course) were off somewhere… or my gauge (which I didn’t swatch, of course) was wonky… so the hat was going to be too big.

No problem, says I. I am no stranger to curative properties of a timely frogging, after all.

I ripped out the WIP and started again, this time carefully noting (in my head again, of course) the changes to my original modifications (still in my head, of course).


So I’ll be ripping the poor thing out again, only a little daunted.

Perhaps just daunted enough that I’ll write out my modifications next time… and take notes of any on-the-fly changes I make.

So, not knitting, but I have been sewing.

Back in July, I finally stopped procrastinating and not just because it was the day of the show in which i was to wear them and made a pair of bloomers for Cupcake, my medieval faire alter ego! My group, Just Desserts, was performing at a local club, The Midnight, and my old bloomers were worn out and falling apart. I’d stockpiled some bloomer-destined fabric back in the early spring, and with only 7 hours before showtime, I got serious and started sewing.

True to form, I’d tempted the sewing goddess by not starting sooner, then by not making sure I had all of my supplies (elastic cut to the right length for my calves, I’m talkin’ about you!) before I took off with the almost-finished bloomers to meet the other wenches and start getting ready. “Oh, no problem that they’re not really finished! I can quickly thread in these two elastic pieces in the leg casings and stitch them closed,” said I… only to discover (when I was far from home and without my stash of notions) that one of the pieces was about 3 inches shorter than the other, which made it about 3 inches too short to fit without cutting off the circulation to my foot.

I made a down-and-dirty desperation decision (yay, alliteration!) to use a ribbon on that leg, just for that performance, so the fabric would gather appropriately. But ribbon is not elastic, and that leg drooped. I’m not sure if any else noticed, but I sure did, mostly because it felt all wrong.

After the show, once again at home, I replaced the ribbon with elastic, and the bloomers were truly finished.

Here’s how they look (on a hanger):



That photo makes the pirates’ hats look kind of purplish, so how ’bout a closeup of the leg casing and fabric:

Avast, ye landlubbers!

Avast, ye landlubbers!

I also sewed two tablecloths for an author-friend of mine to use at her author appearances.

She chose the fabrics and trims, and I supplied the labor. Each turned out about 8 ft long and 3.5 ft wide, simple rectangles with trim on one long edge.

Here’s a closeup of the striped one I made first:

Why, yes, there is a blue ribbon on that grey stripe!

Why, yes, there is a blue ribbon on that grey stripe!

And here’s a closeup of the second one, which is both my and the author’s favorite:

Love that sweet brown and pink trim!

Love that sweet brown and pink trim!

And here’s a shot of the second one, in the real world:

Here's one: in use... and in need of ironing!

Here’s one: in use… and in need of ironing!

And yesterday, I “finished” three pair of wench’s bloomers! I say “finished,” because the actual sewing is done on all three, but only one is ready to wear. That would be the ones I made for my sister wench, Tira McSu. It is, surely, a complete coincidence that these were also finished at the last minute on the same day they were to be worn in a performance. (We were one of the acts in a benefit show to raise awareness and funds for a local domestic-violence shelter and similar programs.)

I didn’t have Tira at my house when it was time to fit the elastic to the legs and the waist, so I packed up some sewing supplies and took them with me. Once again, I almost blew it, as I had not included a sewing needle in said supplies. (I know!) Luckily, it took only a couple of minute of frantic searching to find one in the house where we were getting ready, so the bloomers did get finished. The hand-stitching details (sewing the leg casings closed, slipstitching down the space in the waistband that the elastic was threaded through) did not, as I ran out of sewing time before we had to head out to our venue, but those little things can wait.

As a result, I did not take a photo of them.

I do, however have a photo of the fabric, taken while I was trying to sew it. As you can see, Gandy (i.e., Gandalf the Grey) was helping me sew, but you may need to click-to-embiggen to see the fabric print better:

"Not like that, silly! You forgot to put the legs right-sides-together!"

“Not like that, silly! You forgot to put the legs right-sides-together before stitching!”

The other two pair still need to have elastic fitted into their legs and ribbons in their waistbands (not elastic, so they can be worn by whichever wench wants to, waist measurements notwithstanding), then they need to assume the clothes-hanger-on-the-door photography position and smile for the camera. Once that’s done, I’ll post them, along with some adorable kitty-helper photos I took during the marathon sewing session yesterday.

Till then, I hope your summer has been all you’d hoped. And as temperatures start to become more fall-like and the kiddies start back to school in some parts of the world, I wish you smooth transitions.

Later, kittens!

I haven’t knit a thing in the last couple of months, although I carry yarn and needles with me virtually everywhere. I have, however, kept quite busy. Mostly reading and working and hanging out with the family and kitties.

I’ve also had a wench rehearsal or two, and in fact we have a performance scheduled for tonight at a local downtown bar/eatery*. I am so excited! I love performing so much, especially with my wench troupe. We have the most fun!

Not sure if I mentioned it here in an earlier post, but I’ve decided that the troupe needs its own songs. Originals. Written for us, to suit our act and to expand our repertoire. That way, if and when we record a second album, it will have some really new material interspersed with traditional wench/pub songs. Fun, right? Right!

Alas, none of the other wenches feels she has the requisite skills to undertake songwriting… not even the group’s twice-published novelist.

After a bit of discussion, we decided that I should do it. After all, I’m the one who really wants it done. I’m the one who suggested it. And I’m the one who’s written a song for us before, albeit only one (i.e., the Men’s Birthday Ditty)… a year and a half ago. Never mind that the women’s version has been unfinished since that time, that I haven’t been quite able to get it right.

Anyhoo, I was pressed (by our first album‘s producer) to declare how many songs I intended to write for the group this year, which sent me into spasms of frightened laughter, as “intend to” seems entirely the wrong term. “Hope to” seems far more appropriate. And I do hope to write a total of six songs for us to incorporate into our act… and into our next album, should we record one. So I said that, or something similar, laughed at my presumption and pooh-poohed the compliments and assurances of my sister wenches and our producer, who all declared their faith in my talent and ability to do this thing.

Yeah, right.

And that same night, not an hour later, as I was driving home from rehearsal, the germ of a song came to me, a lyric line, complete with its melody. By the time I went to bed, I had a chorus and the structure for the rest of the song laid out in my mind.

The next morning, in a little over an hour, I had the first song written, and with some technical help from BC17, I recorded a stripped-down version and sent it off to the group for input.

To a woman, they loved it! We’re going to work out parts, etc., at our pre-show rehearsal this evening, and it will be a real song!

Wanna see the lyrics?

Sure, you do!

Check it out:

A Man Like That

I want a man who knows my hills and dales,

One who’ll keep my garden wet,

Who’ll chase the wolves and never fail

To give me puss a pet.



Have you ever met a man like that,

A man who’s made like that?

Who’ll plow your fields both day and night?

Have you ever met a man like that?


I want a man who sets my soul on fire,

A man with heaven’s keys,

Who gives new meaning to “oh, god!”

And who brings me to my knees.



Have you ever met a man like that,

A man who’s made like that?

With an angel’s smile and a devil’s touch?

Have you ever met a man like that?


I want a man to tower over me,

Who is masterfully built.

A solid man who’ll stand the test of time,

With calves to rock a kilt.



Have you ever met a man like that?

A man who’s made like that?

With shoulders you can prop your feet up on?

Have you ever met a man like that?


I want a man who can take the heat

Who will stoke my forge and fire,

Who pounds my metal hot and sweet,

And shapes my heart’s desire.



Have you ever met a man like that?

A man who’s made like that?

A man who knows just when to strike?

Have you ever met a man like that?


You can spend your life in drudgery

Feeling lonely, sad or fat.

But you’ll never see who’s right in front of you.

No, you’ll never meet a man like that.


(final chorus)

So lift your head and fluff your girls,

Sing and dance and laugh.

Give the game of life a loving whirl.

Don’t you know a man likes that?

Don’t you know we all like that?

© 2014 Toni Finley All Rights Reserved

I know it loses quite a bit in the translation to words on a screen. If I could figure out how to embed my little recording of it, I would. Sadly, I do not. **

On that same fateful drive home from rehearsal, I also had the idea for second song! It plays with and  off of the idea of the wenches being the musical instruments a minstrel group might play… And it’s nearly finished, too. In fact, I thought it was a fait accompli, but I’ve decided I want it to end differently, so I shall be tweaking it further after I finish this long-overdue post.

And I think I’ve worked out the wenches’ birthday thing, too… although what I’ve come up with may be too short and simple. We shall see.

Still, I feel so productive! And only mildly guilty that I’ve nothing on the needles. Still, with WWKIP week coming up in only one short week,*** I feel a growing compunction to get back to the ol’ KPKP, if you know what I mean. The urge has been building, and I can resist anything but temptation.

I am, after all, a wench. 😉

* It’s called The Midnight. We go on at 9:30, probably doing two sets. We’re headlining, which sounds very fancy, but really means a couple of guys we don’t know and didn’t pick are gonna play guitar and sing before us. Still, headlining has a nice delusion of grandeur ring to it. Come on down and hang out with us, if you can and are so inclined. We’d love to see you.

** Oh. Apparently, I have to pay for a “space upgrade” to post sound files. Grrrr. I think, instead, I’ll post a link to a Youtube recording of it later, once we’ve made one and published it.

*** June 14-21, according to this FB page someone set up. And who am I to argue with a FB page someone set up? Hey, it’s on the internet, so it must be true, right? Riiiiiight.

Too soon?

With apologies for the punctuation errors and for any possible math errors...

With apologies for the punctuation errors and for any possible math errors…

I saw this earlier today on the book of faces and couldn’t resist stealing sharing it here, with you all.

Guess I’ll have to get knitting soon, huh?

Very briefly:

La petite princesse is a better model than her mimi is a photographer.

La petite princesse is a better model than her mimi is a photographer.

There’s a bit more, such as the halter top before the flower was crocheted:

Knit almost exactly by the pattern specs

Knit almost exactly by the pattern specs

I had a little yarn left over, so I crocheted a couple of flowers:



Here are the three pieces, together, but not attached:

So sweet with the adorable flowers!

So sweet with the adorable flowers!

Then I sewed one flower to the top at the bottom of the right shoulder strap, using a pink button as a decorative center. And I saved the other flower to embellish a headband.

I haven’t attached the flower to a headband yet, but did wrap the 6 inch yarn tail around one of my darlin’ girl’s fabric-covered bands, so i could pop it on the eager young model:



I think she likes it!

Long story short

I’ve been knitting!

Longer version: I’m almost finished with a halter top for la petite princesse, out of some cotton yarn I scored a couple of years ago at my LYS’ annual yard sale. The pattern is Toddler Halter by Jennifer Carter. It’s a free download on Ravelry. (Look it up there. I’d link it, but I needs must finish quickly and turn in.)

More details in a day or so, when I’ve finished it.

In a completely unrelated note: Happy first day of spring!

Our temps today went to the low-to-mid 70s, and it won’t be long before this new halter will be just the perfect top for my darlin’ granddaughter to rock. (So, I guess the spring thing is not as unrelated as I thought. Hm. Go figure.)

G’nite, kittens! It’s time to head to dreamland.

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