i got some gas for my motorcycle at the hess station on the corner of hampshire and prospect street before cutting through union square on my way to ac moore to score more yarn. there was a sale on lion brand wool-ease (normally $6.99, now $4.99) and i bought 4 skeins: fisherman (a cream color), redwood, grass, and amber. coming back, i stopped by the rite aid on somerville avenue. there was a 50% off sale on halloween lights. i wanted to get some solar-powered LED strands but even at 50% it still wasn't worth it ($10). instead i just picked up a strand of purple LED lights for $2.50. not sure what i'll use them for but they're pretty.

after dropping off the yarn in belmont, i went to city hall to drop off a property tax check for my parents before returning a few library books. when i returned to my parents' place, i had some pan-fried wontons for lunch. out in the backyard there was still some snow on the lawn. last night the temperature dipped below freezing but the radish seedlings seem to be fine over the plastic row cover. the lower position of the autumnal sun in the sky isn't getting enough sunlight on the sprouts however and i'm beginning to think they won't reach maturity. so much for that experiment!

my mother and i collaborated on a hat today. she wanted to knit me a hat but it took me a while to find the pattern i liked, and once i did, to find the right yarn. i settled on the thorpe (as seen on ravelry), your basic earflap hat. it starts from the crown downwards, a first for my mother. she wanted to knit it in a single color but i pushed for colored bands. since the hat would be knit in the round with circular needles, she practiced her jogless stitching beforehand in order to get seamless bands. knitting-wise i'm a complete novice, but i know enough about knitting to read the directions. my mother wanted to knit a practice thorpe first, just to get the hang of it, before moving onto my actual hat. i let her use my batch of caron simply soft 100% acrylic yarn which i'd been using as practice yarn. one issue was that the caron yarn was a medium-weight yarn when my actual hat would be knitted using chunky yarn. also instead of using size 8 needles (my mother didn't have a short 8 circular), we used a size 9, but later discovered it was actually size 10, which made for a very loose knit. despite the loose stitching, we still went with a large-sized hat in order to compensate for the small yarn size.

my original design was 6 bands of alternating colors before reaching the brim. by the time my mother finished 16 rows of the crown using blue (increased to 80 stitches), we realized there was only enough coverage for 3 more rows of colors. using medium yarn on size 10 needles, 4 rows roughly equaled an inch. that meant the 16 initial increasing rows had already taken up more than 3" of hat. once my mother reached the 3rd row though, she figured we could add another row before the brim because the hat didn't look tall enough.

the brim was actually interesting, involving casting off a portion (30 stitches) for the front of the hat, knitting a few more rows, then reserving a section onto a holder (for one earflap), binding off a portion for the back of the hat, and the remaining stitches for the other earflap. the earflaps got us confused a bit and my mother actually cast off too early, resulting in a short earflap, before we figured out what went wrong and was able to undo the error.

afterwards my mother crocheted a border around the edge of the hat.

the finished thorpe looked pretty good. it was definitely large, and we'll go with a medium for next time. a large hat completely enveloped the head instead of sitting on the crown at a point. there's probably too much blue on the very top of the hat, in the future we'd start the color change much sooner. the jogless stitching looks pretty good, you'd have a hard time finding them. even though the hat is 100% acrylic, it still kept my head warm when i wore it (the chunky wool-ease, with it's 20% wool content, would be even warmer). despite the fact that it was a practice hat, i'd be more than happy to wear it outside. the thorpe really needs some colors because there isn't much patterning (other than generic stockinette and garter stitches). in total, it took my mother from the mid-afternoon until about 8:00 to finish knitting the hat.

when evening came around my sister put out a tray of candy for the trick-or-treaters. she spent the weekend putting out decorations, hanging some crafted ghost ornaments and even bought a few pumpkins. we all thought it was rather pointless since we don't give out candy anymore. we didn't want the kids ringing the doorbell because hailey would bark, that's why the self-service candy offerings. we heard some kids giggling outside but didn't think any of it. when my sister went out to check, she saw the kids had taken all the candy, leaving none for the other kids. "i'm never giving out candy ever again!" she screamed as she brought in all the halloween decorations and turned off the porch light. in a matter of minutes, a few rotten kids managed to ruin halloween. earlier my mother had told me sister to only put out a little bit, but my sister didn't listen so there was no more candy left.

i stayed a bit longer after dinner, waiting for my mother to finish the thorpe hat. by the time i motorcycled back to cambridge, the outside temperature was in the 40's, not too bad but i could definitely see my breath.