Author Archives: Kiarae

About Kiarae

Crochet, Cook, Read, Tea & Coffee

A Sleepy Kind of Year’s Start

Dear Sis,

It’s been a very sleepy sort of start to the year here.  I’ve been under a bit of a haze of appointments, crafting, and a really awful cold that’s been going around.  I, of course, caught the cold; and it went straight to my lungs and set up camp.  I’m much better, now, though so not to worry!  I went straight to the doctor and he gave me medicine to cure the infection.  I cannot believe it’s March already, though.  It feels like forever since I’ve written to you, and I wonder how the time got past me so easily.

First things, first, I suppose!  Tea:

It’s a new tea that I was gifted in a recent swap package, and it’s really yummy!  Even ArmyC will drink it with me when I make a pot.

Now,onto the crafting…

January, I made these dishcloths for the winner of a charity auction:

She was kind enough to gift me the pattern to make them, even!  And was so thrilled with them that she stated “these will never see the inside of a sink!” in response to my telling her not to be afraid to use them b/c they will be very hard wearing.  (You know how I crochet, haha.)

I also finished both my pink and turquoise prayer shawls that have been flying about my UFO (UnFinished Object) files for almost a year now!  They’ve already been sent off back home to Gram(ma), and taken to the church.

I was less than pleased with the turquoise one.  It’s just a plain simple stole shaped shawl, but as it was one of my first projects I failed to properly guess the center.  The seam actually runs a bit down one side, but there was nothing I could do to fix it other than unravel quite a bit of it.  Between you and me I was a bit tired of looking at the blue at this point, and found the Q sized crochet hook more cumbersome than I used to.  It’s been a long time since I picked up that large hook!

At the very end of January, my knitting group had a day where we made baby hats for charity.  You could also choose to make something for the seafarers, but those items would have taken me weeks!  They were things like sweaters (for grown men, no less!) and scarves in dk weight yarn.  I simply knew I’d never make it through one of those projects so I settled on making about 5 hats for babies of all sizes.

 

In February, I finished my teapot cozy:

I know, that’s not the camel teapot you gave me!  And it’s not the clear glass teapot I received in the Tea swap we took part in!  This seems to be the year of the teapot for me.  I’d seen the cozy pattern before, and it was one of my favorites, but I was not ready for the colorwork or the steeking or any number of other scary new knitting techniques that this project encompassed!  So I left it in my queue to make “someday”.  Besides, I reasoned, it will not fit either of my current teapots.  But a friend gifted me the pattern and asked me to knit it along with her for moral support.  How could I say no to that?!  It was great fun, and while it’s not perfect, I find it absolutely lovely.  And it turns out that having 3 teapots is a blessing.  I use the glass one for the especially pretty brews when I know I can sit and watch and refill it with hot water as needed.  (It’s a bit smaller than these other two.)  And the other two take turns being clean.  Since I have my pot of tea almost every day, there is always one that needs cleaning.

The theme of February seems to have been to learn new knitting things!  I made these blocks, and for them I had to learn to duplicate stitch.  It took quite a bit longer than I expected, but the results were very pretty for the most part.  And where the prettiness runs thin, I still like that they look a bit like worn wooden blocks with the paint coming off where they’ve been loved a bit too much.

These were for a swap where my partner has one little girl and one on the way.  Please ignore the poorly thought out photo that has the elements P, O, and S in that order.  I was taking these photos hurriedly, as the shipping deadline was the next day.

 

And lastly, March has been a month of finishing what I’ve started earlier, but have put off for one reason or another.  My knitting club is working on some Frankensocks where we each make a bit of a pair, and then swap every two weeks.  We started back in February, and I’m on the heels this week.  I’m currently working on a sweater, a doily, and a bag, each that I started back in December.  The only exceptions to this “finishing” of previous UFOs are some charity projects I’ve been whipping up (because I’ve been remiss about hooking up charity projects; I really have been), and this hedgehog that ArmyC requested especially:

Isn’t he just the cutest?  He now lives on ArmyC’s desk, in a nice pile of unfiled paperwork.  Hedgehog loves it.  And bonus, I’m getting much better at picking up stitches because of him.

 

Well, that’s pretty much all the news from out here in rainy Washington.

 

For now, I think I’m going to toss some laundry in to wash, make an early lunch, and see if I can’t settle in to watch my very favorite version of Little Women.

(I just received the DVD version in the mail from a friend!  My VHS version was on it’s last leg, and I’ve never found this version on DVD myself so I am eternally grateful to her.  I’ve already watched it once since receiving it just this past weekend!)

Then it should be about time to drive over, and pick ArmyC up from work.  (I have the car today since because I had an appointment this morning.  I have to go once every week now for my allergy immune boosting shots.  It chops up my day a bit to drive him to and from work so it’s hard to remember to get laundry in sometimes to be done before I need to leave again or I’ll get right into the middle of a chore and I’ll have to stop, but as it’s necessary and only one day per week I really cannot complain too much!)

 

I miss you so much!  And I really do hope you can get away to visit.  Tell Buffalo and Zeus and everyone that I say “hello”.  =)

All our love from ArmyC and me,

❤ K

PS – Talk to you soon, I hope! 🙂

 

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Penzey’s Apple Bread – Slightly Modified

As promised, here is the Apple Bread Recipe I used along with the modifications I made to it.  I don’t know why it took me so long to get this up here since I posted this on a forum about a week ago or so.  Anyway, just to reiterate, this is a Penzey’s Spices recipe.  I simply make comments.  Also, a few points during my comments, I make it clear that I did not use Penzey’s Spices.  While this is true, I don’t want to come off as if I don’t like their spices.  I simply didn’t have the needed spices from them, and didn’t think it would make such a difference in the outcome that I needed to obtain any before baking.  Anyway, here it is:

I found this stuffed in my recipe book today & decided that I’d try it. (Husband and I bought an insane amount of apples a couple weeks ago intending to bake pie or something, & I never got around to it.) It was one I’d picked up at a Penzey’s Spice shop once. It’s actually really good & goes well with, you guessed it, tea. I made some small changes…

…which I’ve bolded.

Apple Bread
Bread:
  • 4 Cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped, (we used McIntosh) (I used 1 granny smith, 1 yellow delicious, & 2 small red something or others.)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Cup vegetable oil (we like canola) (I used Wesson. Whatever; it’s all the same, no? 😛 )
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. PENZEYS CINNAMON (Erm… I used whatever brand is hanging out in my cabinet. I can tell you it wasn’t Penzey’s.)
  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour (we used unbleached) (Again, I used whatever is in the giant clear jar. I don’t know what it is b/c it fits a whole bag & then I throw said bag immediately into the recycle.)
  • 2 Cups granulated white sugar
Topping:
  • 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 Cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp. PENZEYS CINNAMON (To repeat, I used whatever brand is hanging out in my cabinet. I can tell you it wasn’t Penzey’s.)
  • 1/2 Cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease two standard bread loaf pans and set aside. Peel, core and slice the apples. Cut into good-sized chunks, about 1 inch in size. (I decided this was nonsense & cut them into thinner slices. I let my husband play with his apple-corer-peeler-cuts-in-a-spiral thingy. The spiral comes off about a quarter inch thick, and then I just turned the apple back up and cut the entire spiraled apple into 6 wedges.) In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the oil and beat until combined. Add the vanilla extract, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Next, add the flour and sugar and mix on low just to blend. Turn the mixer to high and beat until mixture is smooth. The batter will be very thick, almost like cookie dough. Fold in the chopped apples, mixing by hand with a spoon so the apples do not get broken up. (I used my stand mixer so for this whole process so for this step, I just switched the paddle for the dough arm attachment. No apple bits were “broken up” or otherwise harmed due to this modification.) Divide the mixture between the two pans. Since the batter is so thick, it is easiest to spoon the batter into the pans. To prepare the topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture with a fork until all ingredients are moist and crumbly. If you don’t mind a little mess, it is faster to use your hands. Sprinkle equal amounts of topping on each loaf. Bake for about 1 hour on the center rack of the oven. The loaf should feel fairly firm when touched in the middle; if not, bake an extra 5 minutes. (After an hour and 5 minutes, neither loaf felt “firm” in the middle. I removed them anyway. Good thing, too, because they were getting a little too brown on the edges/bottom. They were fully cooked inside.) Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans. It is easier to slice the bread if you can wait until it is at least mostly cool.
Prep. time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 60-65 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves, 24 slices (No way does this make 24 slices. I got 16: 8 from each loaf. If you cut them thin enough to get 12 from each, you’ll have apple pile-of-crumbly-stuff, not apple bread-slices.)
Nutritional Information:
Servings 2; Serving Size 1 slice (80g); Calories 270; Calories from fat 120; Total fat 14g; Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 330mg; Carbohydrate 36g; Dietary Fiber 1g; Sugars 20g; Protein 3g.
ETA:
image title

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy!

❤ K

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Mid-week Blues

Dear Sis,

We’ve been absent so long from our letters!  But now I feel I’ve settled in enough in our new place to start writing to you again.  We’ve moved, and our new place is nice.  It’s certainly roomy, but still cozy.  It’s especially cozy with all the yet-to-be-unpacked boxes littering the place and clogging up the closets, haha.  Oh well.  It’ll get there… or it won’t, and we’ll just move again.  Either way.

I’ve been feeling kind of slumpy lately so I took your advice and brewed some tea, had a snack (more like a late lunch), and relaxed for a few minutes with some real sunshine.  It really did the trick!  I felt so good, I finished up some random house errands I’d been putting off.  And now I feel so much better, I felt like I could write you a letter, and maybe some other people could get letters of the paper and pencil variety!  We’ll see.  I can’t be neglecting my yarn, which you also instructed me to use!

I have a new knitting group here that is really pretty fun.  I don’t go every week, but I definitely enjoy when I do go.  It’s really the only time besides church that I leave the house.  Not that I’m complaining.  I love staying at home, being cozy, and doing my housechores.  But being forced out every once in a while, I know, is good for me.  Speaking of housechores, I finished with them all early the other day so I baked Apple Bread.

I got the recipe off a card I found once when we went to Penzey’s Spices.  I changed a few things, but it turned out really good.  I’ll post my modifications later.  🙂  I’ll also write more later about my yarny endeavors.  They have been many (although not as many as I’d like…), and one at least needs to have a pattern posted up here.

Much Love,

Kia

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Letters to My Knitting & You

Dear Circs,

I really hate you.  I moved my shawl over to you because Sis told me I would need you.  533 stitches is too many for straight needles, she said.  I dutifully followed instructions, but as I was moving my shawl over to you, I realized I could no longer use my knee to brace my needle.  You’re simply not shaped correctly for that sort of thing, are you?  And oh my goodness!  Is it necessary to constantly throw your plastic bit in my face?  It really gets in the way!  You’re so very unwieldy!!!!  I had to put my project back onto my straight needles until we can get this worked out, you and me.

Signed,

K

Dear Sis,

Thank you for letting me borrow your Circs.  We haven’t gotten off on the right foot.  I won’t lie.  It got a little dicey there for a while.  Things were said neither of us can take back.  Names were called… I said Circ was unwieldy.  Circ retorted that I was a newb.  It got ugly.  But we’re passed it.  Maybe in the future we can work things out, be friends.  But for now we just need some distance.  He’s currently hanging out in my new knitting bag in the zipper pocket.  He’s got plenty of room in there, and his plastic bit is learning to tame down.  I hope.

❤ K

Dear Shawl,

I’m very sorry I thought I could knit you during the day when everyone interrupts me.  I should know better than this.  I didn’t want to have to frog you all out, either.  And I’m just as hurt as you that the last bit felted and the yarn broke.  That little bit of darker green was my favorite bit so far 😦

To make up for my failings in knitting, I have sewn you a beautiful home.  Sit, enjoy.  I made this just for you.  I know I messed you up, but I’ll be more careful next time.  I promise not to take you out when I’ll be interrupted until I’m a better knitter.  Rest up!  I’ll need you soon!

❤ Me

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Parking Only!

Dear Sis,

I had a wonderful time on vacation, but am very glad to be back as well.  I only wish ArmyC could have stayed.  I can’t complain too much, though.  It’s the longest he’s been allowed to stay since even before our wedding.

We really had an awesome time in CA with the MIL and FIL, but we were so into the moment we took absolutely no photos.  That’s right, none.  Can you believe it??  I don’t even think the MIL & FIL took any!

Okay, wait, that’s not strictly true.  I took a few photos, but all one the one day we went to hang out with our mutual friend, we’ll call him LawSchoolC.  LawSchoolC asked us to pick an ethnicity and he’d pick a restaurant for lunch.  At first I picked Polish just to throw him off, but when he seriously wanted to drive an hour away to get lunch, I had to come up with a better option.  I offered up “What about the Pho restaurant?”  I think it’s Indian?  He agreed and LawSchoolC, ArmyC, & I drove off toward the Pho place we know.  It was closed.  So we decided to try Vietnamese.  And this place was open!  But before we could go in, we had to park… and there was a very umm… interesting sign in the parking lot.

We were confused.

We ended up parking elsewhere in the parking lot… but seriously?   What does this even mean?  What else would one do in a parking space besides park?  We didn’t want the fine, though, so we stayed clear of this spot.

They had really great lamb curry, which I did not photograph, and coconut juice served straight from the coconut.  I very much dislike coconut, but both LawSchoolC and ArmyC were quite thrilled with this idea and ordered some.

Afterwards, we drove to a nearby coffee shop which I cannot remember, ordered some coffee and took a walk along the ocean.

I would make a terrible news reporter, no?  I can’t remember where we went or to take photos lol.  Oh well!  I really had a great time w/ArmyC.  I miss him terribly & it was so nice to see him for longer than 10 days where I had to share him some of those days and spend 2 in the airport.

We must get together for some tea and yarnning soon.  Must! 🙂

❤ K

___

PS – We keep referring to my husband as C, Big C, & I think maybe something else.  I think we need to streamline this!  At first I thought C was good enough, but we know SO MANY C’s!  And I don’t know about “Big C”… makes me think of a bouncer for a club or something.  HusbandC only works for me… What about we use ArmyC?  It will work for both of us.

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Sunshiney Winter Days

Dear Sis,

It’s been a while since I wrote you a letter.  It’s a beautiful day today!  And the pups are enjoying it tremendously. They love to soak up the sun.  The other day (also a sunshiney wintery day), Rocket decided his nap place of choice was my desk chair.

Today, both he and Jade are enjoying a large spot of sun on the bed!

So much has happened lately with the accident, it’s nice to resume “regular” days.  Today is my regular Monday… a free day for me.  No volunteering… time to catch up on things of the hooky nature, as well as do my bible study and plan my lesson for Tuesday evening classes… and time to catch up here.

Yesterday our little sister visited here with our new nephew.  He’s adorable at 3 weeks old!  But you know that… Here I am holding a puppy:

Just kidding!  That’s the little guy 🙂  I didn’t realize that’s what it looked like over my shoulder.  Everyone was chasing me down laughing as I carried him out of the room, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with them!  Haha.  Mom snapped the pic and showed me.  Okay, I’ll admit… that’s pretty funny.

I also received a thank you note for our Angry Birds work.  Totally did not expect that!  I’m so glad we could use our gifts to help 🙂

Isn’t that the most beautiful stationary?  I might be biased… my love of pink & simple clouds my vision…

Anyway, I hope you’re recovering well.  I’ve been up to lots of good hooky while recovering… I’ll share with you soon 🙂

❤ K

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Car Accident

Please excuse our (small) absence as we recover from a car accident.

We were hit from behind while stopped for a train on our way home from what else?  A yarn shop…

Don’t worry, the yarn is O.K.!  /silly grin

❤ K

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Crochet Wrist-Warmers Pattern

This pattern uses American notation.  For those of you UK peeps, I’ve tried to put your notation in parentheses.  I hope they’re right!  I know how the basic stitches translate, but not very certain after that.  🙂

Stitch Key:

Sl st = slip stitch (UK=same)

Sc = single crochet (UK=double crochet)

Dc = double crochet (UK=treble crochet)

Blsc = back loop single crochet (UK=back loop double crochet)

Fsc = foundation single crochet (UK=foundation double crochet)

Materials:

Yarn: 1 skein of your choice.  (I used Lily Sugar’n Cream Cotton in American Stripes 120 yds/109m.)

Hook: Suggested hook for your yarn.  I used J10/6.00mm, but my gauge/tension is on the extremely tight side.

Size:       Depends on your gauge/tension.  I have small adult hands (ring size 5) & they fit perfectly.  Increase hook size or add stitches to accommodate your hand size. (My gauge: 4sc=1in./3sc=2cm)

How to do a Fsc: Ch 2; insert hook into top loops of first Ch; YO & pull through Ch.  YO; pull through 1 loop (your new chain).  YO pull through both loops left on hook (your first sc).  Continue to insert hook into each new chain stitch; YO; pull through chain; YO pull through 1 loop (making new chain); YO pull through both loops left on hook (new sc) until you reach the amount of stitches indicated in pattern.

A helpful tutorial with photos and a video on how to do a fsc can be found at http://www.futuregirl.com/craft_blog/2009/3/tutorial-foundation-single-crochet.aspx.

Left and Right warmers are made identically with the exception of the eleventh row.  Read carefully as some rows are joined and some are not, but simply done in a spiral.  You will want to use a stitch marker on at least the spiral rows.

If you’d like longer mitts, simply increase either the arm cuff (rows 1-5), the hand warmer length (rows 6-10), or the top cuff over your fingers (rows 11-15).  Be sure to increase the same on both the right and left mitt.

Pattern:

30 fsc; join with slst into top loops of first st.  Be sure not to twist your fsc row while joining.  You should be joining into what is considered your first sc.

Row 1:  Blsc in first stitch and each stitch around.  Do not join.  (30sc)

Row 2-4:  Blsc around.  (30sc)

Row 5-10:  Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc here & throughout); dc around & join with slst in beg. Ch 2.  (30 dc)

Left Mitt Row 11:  Ch 3; skip 7 dc, blsc in 8th dc & each dc around. Do not join. (25)

Right Mitt Row 11:  Ch 2; sc in 1st stitch & each stitch around until 8 stitches remain (22 sc so far); Ch 3; sc in last stitch in row.  Do not join. (25) (See diagram below.)

Row 12-15:  Blsc around.  Do not join. (25sc)

Finish:  Slst in 1st sc of row 15 & fasten off.  Weave in end.

Diagram of the end of Right Hand Row 11:

Where to put the stitches to make the opening for the thumb/hand properly sized.

**************************************************************************

Original Pattern by haikugirloz can be found at http://haikugirloz.com/eggplant-hand-warmers.  Beware.  Pattern has some mistakes.  Note that if following her pattern, your right mitt will be longer than your left as shown by her own photo.

Categories: Patterns, Wrist-Warmers | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Voila! Wrist-Warmers

Dear Sis,

I was rooting around the internet a few weeks ago looking for inspiration for some wrist-warmers.  You know I have some chronic wrist problems from a couple car accidents in my teens, and I recently had bilateral carpel tunnel surgery.  Not a picnic… For anyone of my fellow hookers with carpel tunnel syndrome, I do not recommend doing both wrists at the same time!  Of course, neither did my doctor… but I had to get them done and get myself healed for when my husband visited… so I won that discussion!  If you can call being completely unable to feed oneself for a week or so winning… haha.

Anyway, I had read that it is important to keep one’s wrists warm while crocheting or kitting in order to lesson damage and make it more comfortable.  Not wanting to go through more pain, I opted to make these wrist-warmers a priority!

I knew I wanted something simple.  No fancy or frilly stuff.  I wanted them to fit easily and comfortably under my hoodies.  I also wanted something that covered my wrist, but not much else.  These mitts fit the bill, but the pattern was in a language I do not read.

It was translated into English, but it referred extensively to the “back fillet” and I could not for the life of me figure out if it meant the back loop or the back bump… so after a bit of trial and error, I kept looking.  (I apologize for not having the website information… I would love if anyone knows where these mitts can be found!  For some reason I did not save the information, only took a photo of my screen… so strange.  And if I find it, I”ll put the link up here.)

I was not finding much of what I wanted online, so I started my own pattern… I finished the left mitt and decided it was not going the way I wanted… It was yellow cotton and much too fitted.  The color was beautiful (and I regret not having taken photos… it was Peaches & Cream), but the fit required me to use a button close… not very hoodie friendly, now is it?  Nope!!

So I went back to the internet with my new found information.  Looking for a pattern again, this time with more purpose, and an even better sense of what I wanted.  I finally stumbled upon exactly what I wanted!  There it was in beautiful simplicity.

Having used several free patterns from the internet, I was, of course, weary.  I waited to frog my yellow wrist warmer until I was sure this pattern worked.  I found a skein of yarn my mother talked me into buying because of the colors.  I had no idea what I was going to do with this strongly variegated cotton.  Here was the pattern for it, I suppose.  I zipped through the left mitt.  Beautiful!  Perfect!  I was impressed.  Still not tearing out my original yet…

The right mitt proved equally fast… I eagerly put them on!  I put my hands together… and what is this?  Is the right mitt longer than the left? Yes 😦 Yes, it is.

I checked the original pattern… Yes, I followed it correctly.  I studied the photo of the completed project by the author.  Oh my goodness, her right mitt is longer than her left as well!  I hadn’t noticed it before because I just thought one was bunched up a bit.  Okay, how can I fix this??? Well, I will spare you the ugly details of me tearing my mitt out 4 times.  But I will attach the pattern that I finally used to fix the length issue as well as the issue where the thumb hole was too large and the main hand hole was too small which occurred when joining rows straight from the open chain.

In the end, all the puttering and redoing and fixing was worth it:

Yay!  Beautiful mitts!!! I plan to make a wooly set of these as well when I get done with some stash busting so I can purchase some wool!  And thank you to haikugirloz for the original pattern.

Of course, I wrote all my modifications down into my own pattern (based heavily on the original), and of course I’m sharing!  I’ll upload it very soon ❤

Enjoy,

K

****************************************************************************

Edit to add:

The pattern for the wrist-warmers is now up! 😀

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Hooky Ladies Using a Knit Check??

This is Omacella, knitting queen, checking a crochet hook that we both own with her knit-check. This hook came in a package of three hooks by a brand Crochet Dude. The package is clearly labeled as containing American sizes “Sizes L, P, Q” or “8mm, 10mm, 15.75mm” for our friends across the pond. L is the smallest of the trio. It’s dark blue and the only metal of the group. Q is the lightest blue and the largest. So what is this middle blue, middle sized one? Well, the package says P… but we had our doubts.

Omacella had about 4 hooks all labeled P with this being the smallest:

And I had hooks from Susan Bates that were sized smaller letters, but were physically larger than this hook:

Finally, Omacella broke out her knit-check as only a knitter would (since us hookers have all our info printed on our hooks almost always). And guess what size it was? Well, maybe you don’t need to guess as her photo shows it is clearly no P.

IT’S A SIZE “N”!!!!!!!!!!!

Ta-dah!

Apparently all us hooky ladies should head right down and get one of these knit-fangled thingies…. Just for these odd cases where the package lies.

On a semi-related note, I am very sad. You remember the beautiful home I have for my hooks? Yes, well the slot for the N-hook-marauding-as-a-P-hook will now be too narrow for a real P hook.

************************************************************************************

Edit to add:

Upon further research, Omacella did in fact figure out why all the P hooks are different sizes.  Apparently the head of the hook (just the very part where the hook is the largest) is a P size.  Now, this doesn’t help with actual gauge since the shaft is so extremely tiny, but that’s how the companies can call the hooks size P.

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