Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Vignettes

This morning we awoke to a light dusting of snow. The woods are clothed in their fairy dress.
Son #2 has been trying to bake whole grain bread. We had a tutorial a few days before Christmas. Our whole wheat loaves were as tasty as they look!

Son #3 is a talented mandolin player. He played a little concert for his grandmother.

My son was so surprised that I was able to finish the sweater I made for him. The day before Christmas I was knitting on another project and he said, "Now you could be working on that sweater for me."
Tee hee. It is a perfect fit! He loves it!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Birds' Christmas Carol

One of my favorite holiday books is The Birds' Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin. My copy was a gift to my grandmother from her older brother in 1907. My grandmother read it to me before I could read myself and eventually she gave it to me because I loved it so much. The story could be considered sappy by many but I still love to read it each year. I don't believe my three sons were as enamored with it as I was but they listened and even tolerated my tears at times.

After Dec 25th I will post a photo of my son wearing his sweater. I believe it will be a perfect fit! If you have never made a saddle shoulder sweater ala Elizabeth Zimmerman, I encourage you to put that on your knitting "to do" list. It is so much fun!

Friday, December 21, 2007


Today (Friday) I finished the sweater for my 26 year old son. I began it the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is drying out from blocking right now. I was fortunate that I didn't have any problems with it. Will post photos soon! The cable pattern is one of my favorites. It looks a lot more complicated than it is (to non-knitters). You pretty much glide along most of the time.

We have heavy fog today which might affect travel plans for our youngest son who is flying home from Phoenix. He leaves tomorrow morning so hopefully the fog will lift before his flight arrives.

I have a lot of cooking to do between now and Tuesday. My plan is to make most of the dishes ahead of time. The menu is:

Beef Brisket (make day ahead and just heat up)
Sweet Potato Casserole
Spinach Casserole
Cranberry Sauce with Ginger
Potatoes Romanoff (Mashed Potatoes with Cheese and Green onion)
Biscuits and Rolls
Apple Pie
Chocolate Pie
Chocolate Chip Cake

For dinner we will eat left over beef sandwiches with chips, etc.

I am also making some breakfast and lunch meals to pull out of the fridge. Better get busy now that the sweater is done!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More Sunday Snow

We've had a very snowy December. Each weekend, and sometimes in between, we've had snowfall. Our house looked so pretty this morning with a new blanket of snow. Since we don't have any garden or landscaping yet, it has looked quite barren.

The birds are hungry. I captured this photo of a downy woodpecker at the suet feeder. We also have goldfinches, purple finches, juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, red-bellied woodpeckers, and hairy woodpeckers. The feeders are nearly always crowded with our feathered friends. Looking at the bleak landscape I really don't know where they would get food if we didn't supply it.

I did some knitting today on the sweater for son #2. I am nearly done with sleeve #2 and am up to the armpits on the body. I will soon join body and sleeves and from that point on we will sail away. It will be difficult to get it done by Dec 25th because I also have a lot of preparation to do for the holidays but I'm trying my best! I also baked shortbread for a friend who is having an open house today and made pie crust for Christmas. I wrote quite a few Christmas letters and I'm proud of myself for that! Sometimes I don't do that until after Christmas and it has been as late as Easter. Now that is pure procrastination! One of my resolutions, and yes, I do make them, is to teach myself to NOT procrastinate. My motto is "Proactive not Procrastive!" Do you have a New Year's resolution?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ravelry Invitation

Has anyone else had as much trouble as I in coming up with a name to use on Ravelry? Each acceptable one I have come up with has been taken. Since you can't change it later I want something I'm happy with in the long haul. Any suggestions?

I've joined the legions who have knitted "julenisse" from Saartje's blog. Now my friends are saving wine corks for me.

In 2005 I used my sons' mittens for holiday decorations. I put them in a basket along with photos of them playing in the snow or wearing them. They really enjoyed seeing these mittens after many years and we had good family moments as a result.

This last photo is one of my favorites because the afternoon memory is so clear. Our oldest son was in school and the youngest one (above with sumglasses) was napping. Our 4 year old went outside by himself to build a snowman while I watched from the kitchen window while working. He was so proud of the snowman he built all by himself. It was a little cone of a snowman. When I grabbed my camera I told him to "smile like the snowman". He looked so adorable.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Winter Dreams

In my bleary eyes of the early dawn of Dec 1 I knew immediately that our woods were different. It had snowed during the night. What a beautiful awakening! And even more so because I knew I didn't have to go out in it!

The sweater for my son is coming along nicely. I chose a cable pattern from Barbara G Walker's Charted Knitting. After knitting about 3 inches on the body I checked gauge again and it is perfect. I had also checked on sleeve #1. I've been knitting so much that my hand just below the left thumb is sore.

Our home is decorated for the holidays. I had invited my customers to the annual Holiday Open House last Saturday. The ice storm began in the morning, just before they began arriving. I was flattered that so many ventured forth on such a day! With a fire in the fireplace, it was a pleasant time for everyone.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving and a New Knitting Project

Thankgiving is a beautiful holiday. We are usually the travellers but it is only 3 hours to where my folks live.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my sister's home. I have two fantastic nephews who are about the same ages as our sons. Our middle son was able to be there also. Our youngest son lives too far away to come for a short visit and our oldest son and his wife are the ones who were injured in a car accident on November 3. They had plane tickets to come for Thanksgiving. Of course we missed them and one of our blessings to be thankful for is that they are alive and healing.

My sister is a wonderful hostess and my brother in law is great in the kitchen also. My sister sets a beautiful table. This year she had small photo frames at each place setting as a favor to take home. In each frame was a Bible verse or quote about being thankful. Before our meal we took turns reading our verse. The decorative leaves hanging from her chandelier is something she made herself.

I finished my socks made of Opal "Lilly". My mom is reviving her knitting skills and my sister is learning to knit. I tried to teach them my way of knitting, the Continental or German method, but they are both "throwers" and couldn't convert. Too bad.

Our middle son wants a sweater for Christmas. Yippee! I told him I wouldn't be able to finish one by then but I'm going to try. He has some specific ideas about what he wants. The day after we got home (Sat) I ran over to my local yarn store and bought the wool, Cascade 220. It isn't exactly what I was looking for but it will be fine. I began a sleeve on Sunday evening and by the end of Monday evening it measured nearly 16". I was only knitting during the evening hours. I use Elizabeth's Zimmerman's seamless Saddle Shoulder for most of my sweaters. I like the yoke because you decrease at 4 points on every row instead of every other row. Much easier. The sweaters fit great, too. This one will have a cable pattern running up the front.

I've been wanting a standing mixer for such a long time. In our old house there wasn't room on the counter for one. When we moved here in May there were so many extra expenses with the move that I put it off. My husband was realizing that a mixer for me meant more goodies for him and he kept nudging me to buy it. I bought the Kitchen Aid Professional 5 Quart and am thrilled with it. I made two loaves of 100% Whole Wheat Bread that turned out fantastic. I have made bread for years by hand and yes, it can be fun to do it all without machines but this is fun in another way. I had a bread machine and did not like making bread that way. Tonight I made meatloaf for dinner and also shortbread for an open house I'm having on Saturday.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It is good to be home!

Thank you for your prayers, well wishes, and supportive emails. My husband and I flew home on Wed. Tuesday had been a difficult day. We spent the whole day in the clinic with doctors appointments. We received good news from one doctor and not-so-good from another doctor. Our son's back will heal 100%. His foot is more seriously injured than we thought. We expected to get a walking cast and have him back into normal activities in 8 weeks. Instead he had surgery yesterday to repair the breaks. He may develop arthritis in that foot. Also, he cannot put weight on his foot or drive a car for 6 months! That isn't what an activie 29 year old wants to hear. Still, we are so grateful that both our son and DIL are both alive. The injuries could have been so much worse. It was difficult for me to not be with him during the surgery but it was time for us to come home. His mother-in-law is there taking good care of both of them.

So what have I been knitting? I finished the details on a sweater and booties for my hairdresser who had a little girl in September. The sweater is from One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant and the booties are from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding.

I finished a few more bibs. These are great plane projects. Knitting kept me sane on this trip.

I also finished my first pair of socks using two circular needles! The yarn is Essential from Knit Picks. The feel of this yarn is just wonderful. I am definitely getting more in other colors. The color here is "Grass" and is a darker green than it appears in my photo.

When life has been turned upside down for a while you really appreciate the ordinary days even more. I love puttering about on a Saturday morning. Saturday is my usual day for going through magazines, mail order catalogs, and any other paper that I have not kept under control during the week. I also water and feed my African Violets and other indoor plants. Today I am enjoying these chores even more. Just the ordinary household task of doing laundry is more enjoyable when you've been doing laundry in a laundromat. It is good to be home!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Family Crisis

It doesn't take but a few seconds for your life to change dramatically. Last Saturday we received a call informing us that our son and daughter-in-law had been in a terrible accident. They live quite a distance from us so we were not able to hop in the car and rush to the hospital. I was able to fly out to be with my son and his mother-in-law came also. It has been a two person job caring for the two of them. They were both in the hospital for several days and both have multiple injuries. Our son has a broken vertebra and a broken foot (more than one bone) Our DIL has ruptured vertebrae, broken shoulder, clavicle, and a bad concussion. By all accounts, they are fortunate to be alive. We are so grateful for that. The wreckage was terrible and a person at the hospital who had seen the wreckage did not think anyone could have survived it. We are getting a little better each day.

My son was wearing a sweater I had made for him in 1996. The ER people had to cut all his clothing off. When I saw that sweater, with bits of grass and twigs embedded in it, the reality of the situation came rushing in. I feel his sweater might have protected him somewhat from the glass and debris and it somewhat comforting to know that he was enveloped in an expression of my love for him at the time this happened.

We saw the police report today and it was confirmed that my DIL who was driving the car was not at fault. That is truly a blessing. No one in the other vehicle was injured. Their car rolled over several times and our son was ejected even though he was wearing a seatbelt.

Everyone from home keeps asking what they can do to help. If we were at home there would be lots of things they could do for us but since we are across the country there is very little in a physical sense. We appreciate all prayers.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mittens for Children's Sweet Hands

Rowan asked about a mitten pattern for her grandson. When the boys were young I frequently used an old pattern book for many pair of mittens. Recently I found this pattern book on the Anne of Green Gables Knit Along website. like the way the thumb is positioned on the side so there is no right or left. I'll pass along a little tip with mittens for children: I made tags with our last name and phone number by using seam binding and a fabric pen. I sewed this tag into the cuff of each mitten. Some lost mittens found their way back home as a result. I still have most of the mittens that survived all the walks to school and playing outside in the snow. Last year at Christmas I filled a basket with the old mittens and added some holiday greenery. The boys (now adults) enjoyed looking at their old mittens and photos of themselves wearing them.

Elizabeth Zimmerman also has wonderful mitten patterns in Knitter's Almanac and Knitting Without Tears. I thought she had a thumb-less mitten pattern for infants somewhere in the books, but I can't find it. (Forgive me, Elizabeth!)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Baby Booties for Hope

I made these darling booties from Saartje's pattern. The only change I made was making a real button hole instead of a loop. (The photo distorts the size a bit. They are smaller than they appear to be.) The new mother was hoping for a baby girl, since she already has two boys. I know she is delighted to be dressing her little baby girl in pink! The buttons are a little oversized but I rather liked them that way. My favorite part is the crossover straps. So adorable!

I'm going to drop them off at their house so traditional gift wrap wasn't necessary. I simply tied netting around them and garnished with a pink bow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nature's Tapestry

This is the first autumn in our new home and I'm totally besotted!
The little goldfinch sat very close to the back door for quite a long time, not seeming to mind that I was taking photos.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Why Did I Agree to This?

A few months ago an acquaintance asked whether I would be a model for a camera club workshop. At the time it sounded as if it might be a good experience but as the actual date drew closer I found myself dreading it. At first I imagined that it might be outdoors with all the beautiful fall colors and I would be piping on a hillside with people snapping away. I found out a week beforehand that it was all indoors. Fortunately I had only committed to 2 hours. I certainly complained enough to my husband and also to myself all last week. Why I had agreed to this, I don't know. It turned out to be every bit as boring as I thought it would be. The workshop was held in a basement with all artificial lighting. The models were a beautiful 17 year old girl, a clown, and me-the-piper. I probably fell somewhere between the gorgeous girl and the clown. Lesson learned! Think before you say "yes". Why photographers would want to spend a whole beautiful fall day indoors is beyond me.

When I arrived home we began preparing our back yard for seeding. We would like to restore the woodland as close to the house as possible but in the meantime we need some grass to control erosion. That project lasted until around 5:30 p.m. at which time we left for a bonfire party. Sunday afternoon we finished our grass project. Today we've had a fine mist of rain all afternoon. Perfect timing! Rain is also predicted for the next four days.

I started taking Tai Chi today which was very interesting. I've practiced yoga for several years and have wanted to take Tai Chi but I couldn't find a class at a convenient time. I missed the first two sessions so it was a bit of a catch up for me. After the class I stopped at the library to get a video tape so I can bone up before the next session.

The baby kimono and booties are nearly finished now and I'm getting ready to order yarn for the Anne of Green Gables KAL. I'm going to knit a shawl called Meadow Flowers from Knitter's Stash.

Tomorrow I will post beautiful fall photos! The leaves are in their glory now!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A View from My Window and a Little Venting

The trees are beginning to change now after a very hot and dry spell. We finally have the cooler nights they need. It may not be the most colorful autumn we've had but there is always beauty to be found in nature.

The photo shows the view from our back deck. There are some prettier trees with vivid red leaves but I had to take their photos through the porch screens so they aren't great photos.

The little baby sweater in Bernat Cottontots doesn't seem quite right. I'm sure my gauge is off. I thought that would be ok, just that the sweater would be for the little girl as a toddler, but now I'm doubting that. The front pieces seem a lot larger than the back. If anyone has knit this sweater from One Skein Wonders, please let me know how it turned out. The photo shows how it looks without the arms.

Ok, I have to vent about something. I like to watch Martha Stewart. I record the show so I can watch at my convenience and buzz through some of it. I'm not a crafter but I do enjoy the cooking and gardening segments. The one thing I bothers me is that Martha interrupts her guests constantly! For someone who prides herself on etiquette it is surprising that she hasn't figured this out yet. She also says "Ummm" a lot but I can get over that because it isn't rude, only annoying. So Martha, I'm sure you are reading my blog and I know you are a nice person and don't want to appear rude, so there it is. I don't want to hurt your feelings but someone had to tell you and everyone who works for you is probably afraid to mention it. Whew! I feel better now. Martha said she has a blog on MySpace but I haven't read it. She probably is not a regular reader of my blog because she is very busy and she is also not a knitter. Knitting is one of the few things she does not do because if she did we would have seen it on the show by now. Pity.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Broken Friendship

A sad thing happened today. A person who has been a friend for over 25 years decided to end our friendship. I have no idea what has caused this, although I began to notice changes with her about the time we began to build our house a year ago. She began to distance herself from me, even to the point of being rude. I let these things go past me because I valued our friendship and figured it would blow over. Last April she showed up at my door to apologize in a rambling sort of way, saying that she was sorry for all the rude things she had said and done. She said she felt as if she had been living her life through me and had to distance herself. I gave her a hug and said it was all fine now, hoping that was the end of it. Things did not change at all. Today she came to my house and apologized again, but this time said some things that hurt me very much. It was nothing I had said or done to her, nor anything I have any control over. She has created a very uncomfortable situation since there are times we cannot avoid one another. I just don't understand at all and probably never will. I didn't know what to say as she stood on my doorstep and said, "We don't have anything in common since our kids grew up." She is wrong but how can I argue if she feels that way? After my initial shock I composed an email responding as kindly as possible but still being direct. I read that email many times to make sure I wasn't just trying to hurt her back, although maybe I did want to do that just a little. I feel she has done irreparable damage now. When a person apologizes for their own benefit, saying things that hurt, then it isn't really an apology, is it? It would be better to be silent than to say harmful things about which the other person has no control.

To assuage my hurt today I started a new knitting project: a little baby sweater for a sweet baby girl! I'm not ready to jump back on the Hemlock Ring Horse yet. This project will go quickly.

It is going to be a busy weekend. I have to work Friday night and Saturday morning. We have a wedding to go to Saturday afternoon and evening. Church on Sunday morning and then an event to attend on Sunday afternoon, although that one will be just about an hour. Hope all of you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Created The Blob

Last night I finished the Hemlock Ring Shawl from Jared's blog. I joined my first KAL with this shawl and the comments have been helpful. I started knitting The Blob on Sept 15. When the shawl was about 1/2 way out from the center I had a nagging suspicion that something wasn't quite right. Apparently in denial, I kept knitting to the bitter end, including the tedious lace edging (not that tedious really, just not as fun as the other part). Last night I knew I should have listened to my gut and stopped about 10 days ago. I have knitted enough lace to know. Nonetheless, I hopefully carried The Blob with the materials necessary for blocking it to our guest bed. Right away I could see that no amount of blocking was going to turn this Unhappy Amoeba into anything useful or beautiful. There are bubbles and ruffling occurring where there should not be. My guess is that (1) I should have knit on a larger needle to allow for more stretching and (2) Alpaca is perhaps not as forgiving and elastic as wool. As soon as The Blob dries completely I am going to unravel it. I still want to do this project but I may choose a different yarn. Jared, who started this mania, used Cascade Eco Wool. His shawl is beautiful! Any thoughts/suggestions on my Unhappy Amoeba, aka The Blob, are appreciated!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Recommended Reading

I finished reading Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker and am giving it 5 stars. It is the story of Neely and his wife's struggle to adopt a child in Zimbabwe. It is well-written, poignant, informative (Africa and AIDS), and will surely move you and make you more aware of the tragedy that is happening in Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa. I am even more passionate about the Bears to Zimbabwe project. A friend loaned me the book but I am considering buying it just to get it into the hands of other people.

It is fall break at the university so a bit of a holiday for us. We have been working on some landscaping projects around the house. I would like to restore the part of the woods that was ruined when the excavation was done for our home. Also, our woods is largely maple trees with a few oak, ash, and elm thrown in there. We need to cut down some of the smaller maple trees and get some native trees to bring more balance to the woodland. The photo shows what the woods looked like about a year ago.
I have 2 new piping tunes to learn this week and I haven't worked on them enough.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Our Favorite Granola

I know this has nothing to do with knitting but there is much going on in my knitting world right now except the border of the Hemlock Ring Shawl.

We've been making this granola recipe for many years. As I made it last night I thought of the many pounds of oats we have eaten. Maybe I'm part horse.

8 cups rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 to 1/2 cup bran, wheat germ, or ground flax (optional but healthful)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey

Mix dry ingredients and then add the oil and honey. Stir thoroughly. Bake on a greased jelly roll pan at about 350 deg for 30 min, stirring occasionally. Bake longer for toastier granola. When granola has cooled stir in raisins, dried cherries, etc.

Variations: add 1/2 cup coconut before baking. Not as healthful but it tastes good.

I've been experimenting with the seasonings. My latest version is to use freshly grated nutmeg. What a difference! Then I add
1 tsp ginger
1/2 t cardamom

I'm slowly increasing the amounts of ginger and cardamom each time I make it. While visiting my brother in LA I bought some Ginger and Almond Granola at Trader Joe's. It had pieces of candied ginger in it. I LOVE anything with ginger.

Another tip is that I do not like teflon type pans. I now use parchment paper on the baking pan. It makes cleanup so much easier and we think it also improves the taste. If you have a convection choice on your oven set it at 350 for 25 min. I just accidentally got the convection option with my range because it had the other features I was looking for and wow, I just love it!

I buy all my spices from Penzey's. Unfortunately we do not have a Penzey's near us but if you are fortunate to have a store near you then hightail on over!


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Read or Knit or....Work?

It's great that there are so many interesting things to do. I am torn between reading Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker, which is already gripping me, and finishing my Hemlock Ring Shawl. Of course I need to spend some time working in my office, too. And in the piping world we received 3 new tunes last week and are supposed to have them memorized on pipes tomorrow. I have 2 of the 3 down. Fortunately they are easy tunes. Within the knitting realm I am planning my next project. I think it will take a while to knit the border of Hemlock. (Isn't Hemlock poisonous?) Anitcipating the next knitting project is as much fun as finishing one.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Big Oaks from Little Acorns Grow

I love sitting on our deck and knitting. Above the deck there is a big red oak tree that provides lovely shade and a beautiful sound as the wind blows through the leaves. There is only one problem. Don't let the small size of these acorns fool you. They fall from a great height and pack quite a punch. Often they ricochet off the table and pick up speed as they careen past my head. So far I've had no direct hits but just in case my luck is running out...

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Tip to Make Knitting Life Simpler

Whenever I have a challenging project I bring out highlighters in various colors. Each element of a line (charted or otherwise) can be colorcoded. This way you can just glance at the line and know what to do. In the Hemlock Ring Shawl (Brooklyntweed) I only needed 2 colors.
I hope this tip helps a few knitters out there. It is so simple.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall is finally here!

We are finally getting the cool temperatures that we've been longing for. This is the first year we've in this house by the woods. We see woods out of all the back windows of our house and also on the side. So you see why we are eager to see the changing fall colors.

Way back a week or so ago I was tagged by Sheila. I've been so consumed by the Hemlock Ring Shawl that I procrastinated on tagging other knitters, although I read their blogs along with many others.
The tag is that you use the letters of your middle name and come up with words that describe you. Now that I read what I wrote nearly two weeks ago it looks ridiculous. I would try it again but I'm afraid it wouldn't be much better. Still, thank you, Shiela.
I am tagging:
Saartje (What a great little bootie pattern!)
Birte (I enjoy her blog from Denmark)
Carin (She just received a lovely drum carder)
Deb (We seem to have a lot in common besides knitting.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hemlock Ring and Teddy Bear Update

I'm zipping right along on my Hemlock Ring Shawl. The alpaca is wonderful to work with although it is rather slippery. I'm on row 57 or thereabouts, trying to decide whether I will expand the shawl beyond what Jared did. I might want mine a bit larger.

Our prayer shawl ministry team met on Wednesday evening. We took a rough count of the number of bears already made by those attending and came up with 50! We know there are other bears out there, too. The mission trip has been postponed until next summer due to the shortage of materials, specifically concrete. They cannot build without cement. So we are planning on mailing these bears to Zimbabwe to our contact there. Then we will make another batch when the team goes to build the church.

I know I'm supposed to tag some people with the middle name game and will get around to that. It's going to be a busy weekend because I have to work all day tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hemlock Shawl and The Tree Hugger

I finally finished the book I've been reading, Jenny Rose by Mary Anne Kelly. I don't recommend it. Part of the reason it took me so long was that I wasn't very interested. Usually I give a book 50 pages before giving up on it. This one was just ok; not bad enough to give up but not good enough to hold my interest.

Our band marched in a parade Saturday and afterwards I visited a nearby knitting shop. I was going to buy Cascade Ecological to make the shawl on Brooklyntweeds blog. As I walked into the shop I was seduced by Alpaca and with 20% off, what's a knitter to do? I have not had the sensual pleasure of knitting with alpaca yet. When I got home I was so exhausted from the parade and also the walk to and from the knitting shop to my car (about 1/2 mile each way in my ghillies), that I felt I deserved a restful afternoon. I planted myself on the deck and started on the shawl while listening to the birds at the feeders. What a wonderful way to pass an afternoon!

Brian, the tree hugger, is here today to prune our woods by the house. I hate to see trees cut down but we have so many small ones that some need to go in order to allow others to flourish. Plus there are dead limbs that hang over the roof.

Do you try to grow turf under trees? Brian says, "You can either have healthy turf or healthy trees, but you can't have both." Trees have roots close to the surface of the earth and if there is grass there, they compete for moisture and nutrients. He recommends mulching "as far out from the trunk as you can stand it."

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Kimono for Adriana

One of the projects I've been working on is a sweater for Adriana. Brent and Missy recently went to China to officially adopt Adriana and bring her home. You can read about their adventure on Melisa's website. They have been home for a week now. Missy stopped by yesterday and I gave her the sweater. The pattern is from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding.

The yarn is Swishwash (color Aloe) from Knitpicks. I bought 4 skeins. Knit in size 12 mo. I only used 3 so I have some left for a bonnet. Adriana is 19 months old but is only 24 inches tall and 19 lbs. She is adorable and Missy and Brent are so happy to be her parents. She has an adoring big brother and sister also. This was a very fun project for a happy occasion!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Back from CA

I had a great trip to LA with Mom and Dad. They are very fun traveling companions. Dad is 81 and Mom is 78 but they seem a lot younger than that in so many ways. Mom talked me out of taking my camera and I should have known better. We thought it would be easier for me to use their little pocket camera but it just wasn't the same as having my own, although mine can be a pain to carry. I have to wait for photos from them. The last day we went to Knitting Cafe. Kudos to a very nice shop! Unfortunately I did not buy anything because I thought we would be visiting more shops and might come back to this one. Also, my dad and brother were like fish out of water there so I felt a bit rushed. Normally I would spend an hour in a shop like that! Then one shop was a dud and the other not open, although someone was sitting at the desk and saw me looking in...hmmmm, didn't she want a sale? Mom did buy some funky stuff at the Knitting Cafe in a lovely turquoise color to make a scarf for herself. I was able to help her in a remedial sort of way to start on the scarf. Her knitting is a little rusty but she caught right on and got quite a bit done on the plane. We flew home on 9/11 which was a bit different. LAX was not crowded and the plane was just about 1/4 full.

On the plane and at my brother's house during tv time I worked on a prayer shawl. Although I lead a prayer shawl group at my church I really haven't made that many shawls. That's ok. We always seem to have one when someone needs one. I have two people in mind for this shawl (about 1/2 done now) and I'll just listen to find out who it will go to.

I've been tagged by Sheila. What fun! From Sheila's site I found Jen and love what she did to the plain bib from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I have a whole tin of buttons from my grandmother so perhaps I'll find something there to perk up the bib I made last week.

These are my initial reactions on the tag, which is to use words to describe yourself using the letters of your middle name. I will tag some knitters tomorrow.

A-adventuresome spirit
Y-young at heart
N-nesting instinct is strong in me. I enjoy making my home comfortable for family and friends.
E-Ever resourceful

I'm off to pipeband practice!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Insomniac Knitting

Yesterday I played a funeral in the morning. It was hot at the cemetery but there was a nice breeze. I saw an Common Buckeye but alas, no camera. Even if I had had my camera it would not have been proper to run around in a kilt (or anything else) shooting photos during a funeral service. I think the butterfly understood what was going on because it landed quite close to me and spread its wings several times, just to show off. Sadly, we do not see Common Buckeyes as often as we should. Many butterflies are decreasing in numbers due to pesticides, herbicides, loss of habitat, and other environmental reasons. It is frightening to think how precarious their situation is.
This photo was taken last summer at Sand Ridge State Forest. The "eyes" on butterflies are thought to be a defense mechanism. A predator thinks the dots are the eyes and therefore connected to the head. I've seen many a butterfly getting along with partial wings.

Last night I had trouble getting to sleep so I got up, made myself a cup of hot chocolate, and thought about knitting. I'm ready to start a new project but I didn't want anything too elaborate. Reading the many knitting blogs and seeing such spectacular projects inspires me but right now I'm in mindless knitting mode. I go through these phases. I've done the Fair Isle and Arans, etc. and will get back to them. So I started one of the baby bibs in Mason Dixon Knitting. All garter stitch and totally mindless. After about an hour I was ready to sleep.
Tomorrow I am packing for a 5 day trip to LA to visit my brother. I'm driving to my parents' home and we'll fly out together.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Piper's Revenge

What a great day! I had a whole day to myself with no appointments and free license to do whatever I wanted since it was a holiday. My husband is a professor and the school doesn't take Labor Day off so it was a work day for him. After my morning walk I ate breakfast on the deck and relaxed with my pot of tea. I knit up a pair of baby booties to go with the Heartbreakingly Cute Kimono. They seem to be too big to be worn with this sweater, but hey, maybe the kid will have big feet. The tiny ball of yard by the sweater is all that was left of the two skeins.

In recent days I finished two more bears for the Bears for Zimbabwe project for a total of 5 (I've relinquished custody of one) My plan is to knit a bear and then knit on another project so I don't burn out on bears.

The day would have been perfect had our future neighbor not been using a skid steer and chain saw all day. The chain saw wasn't bad but every time he backed up the skid steer there was a very loud beeping sound that started driving me crazy. I finally retreated from the deck and later closed up the house and turned on the AC. Well, as a piper I will get my revenge in the long run. hehe. "A Piper's Revenge" sounds like the name of a movie, doesn't it? I am actually very considerate of my neighbors. When the weather is especially nice I will practice on the back deck from about 3:00 to 3:30. That's p.m., not a.m. No one has complained and many say they enjoy hearing the pipes.

I am almost finished reading Consequences by Penelope Lively. I enjoyed the first part of the book, but it began to drag after the initial main characters died. I do not recommend it. It isn't a bad book but it isn't good either. I do recommend both books I've read by Jennifer Lauck: Blackbird and Still Waters. She is an excellent writer. there has been some controversy about the veracity of her writing. I believe her.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Butterflies at Sand Ridge

After church today my husband suggested we drive to Sand Ridge State Forest to look for butterflies. Sand Ridge is about 45 min to an hour from here and the landscape is totally different. Some of it is a savannah and not the most hospitable to humans. Due to the ticks, burrs, and thorns from various plants, including prickly pear cactus, we tape our trouser legs to the top of our hiking boots. Sometimes the grasses are as tall as I am, which is a bit creepy, but it is all worth it to see the butterflies.

Although it was hot down there, a gentle breeze certainly helped our comfort level. We saw loads of butterflies, including the beautiful Regal Fritillary. Each time we go we try to see the Regal Fritillaries. We've never seen them anywhere else. The Regal is a spectacular butterfly! I was able to get quite a few nice photos today. The 1st photo is the Regal. the next photo is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, female, dark phase.

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