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.

Piping at the Wedding

The wedding was to be held outdoors on a farm. It was obviously not a working farm, being too tidy and landscaped for that purpose but certainly it was at one time. Beautiful horses and barns surrounded the place. K, a good piping friend, and I tuned up our pipes and then marched toward the gazebo to pipe in the bridesmaids and the bride. We stopped underneath the shade of a tree to finish out the set. At the end of the short ceremony we paraded up to the gazebo, playing a quick march medley and followed the wedding party towards the patio. While the guests enjoyed champagne and cookies we continued to play off and on. Then we took a break before the reception to have our photo taken in front of the corn field. The Midwestern landscape is pretty much all corn and beans right now. It looks beautiful! that probably sounds crazy to people who live in the mountains and hills but it does have a beauty of its own.

As requested by the bride, we played as the guests were moving from the gazebo area into the tent for the reception. It was a beautiful setting and they were so fortunate that the weather was fantastic. We've had so much rain--two weeks ago it would have been a muddy mess. After 2 hours of piping we had played about all the tunes we know (and then some) so we marched out of the area and headed home.

I got a photo of K in front of the getaway car for the bride and groom.

By the time I arrived home I had just 30 min to shower and eat a quick sandwich before going to the theater to see The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which turned out to be great fun.

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