A Gardening Knitter - knitting, gardening and life in general



Thursday, May 28, 2009

How Time Does Fly!

Autumn Rose

Gosh it's been a long time since I posted. I find I don't take the time to sit down and punch in a few words and so time goes on and before I realize it, months have passed.

Life at my home is busy. DH and I just returned from the American Iris Society annual convention, held this year in Kansas City, K. It was good to see some of the people we've made friends with from all over the US and outside the US too, but Mother Nature was not cordial to us this year and we saw very few irises in bloom and of those, most were in very poor condition from the rains and winds. The following week we enjoyed the sights in the Kansas City area and ventured into Nebraska and Missouri. The most fun we had was in Kansas City at the Blue Room, a jazz club like you see in the old movies except it is smoke free and that helped make it a pleasure to be there. The music was good and there was a variety of local musicians on hand to entertain us. If I ever go back to KC I most definitely will drop in again.

I haven't done a lot of knitting recently other than the squares my TNKG is knitting for Christmas gifts. We each have 7 squares each now, 56 squares amongst us and until this week, here was no two squares alike. Actually, the two this week look very different for they were knitted with different yarns and in different colors. This has been so much fun and we each look forward to the 2nd week of each month when we normally have our exchange. This month the ladies decided to wait until I returned from vacation; we'll have just a short period to wait until the next exchange. Along with the two square we knit each month to exchange, we rotate our signature squares. Each of us knitted a solid white square to pass around for each person to work their initials in the square. At the end of the year the signature square will be a part of our afghan.

DH is getting the pool ready to open and I can't wait; I'm like a child dying to take that first dip of the season. Actually I use the pool for excerise and I'm anxious to get started and try to pull off these extra pounds I've put on this last year. I would like to start an exercise program but so far the cardologist hasn't given the okay.

The vegetable garden is doing beautifully. DS house-set for us while we were away and took care of the vegetables and strawberries. He cut, cleaned, cooked, and froze turnip greens and broccoli and he had more than two gallons of strawberries washed and capped and ready for me to put in the freezer when I got home. Today, I cut broccoli again, and collards for the freezer. Tomorrow I will pick strawberries again, this time to make jam for sweet Dariana's PB&J sandwiches.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Knitting Along and Travels

I had a good laugh yesterday when I decided to ramble through an old box filled with crochet and found twenty granny squares that I had worked on more than thirty years ago for an afghan. (I had just finished knitting the first square of the twenty-four I will knit for our Christmas Square Exchange at the LYS.) The squares are all crocheted, on probably a size J needle, and all are done in acrylic yarn; still they are beautiful. Each square is crocheted in white with one other color as a filler; they really stand out. I laughed and told DH that I am going to take these squares with me to Knit Night on Tuesday and tell my fellow-knitters that I've almost completed my 24 squares. As luck would have it, the squares are 10 inches square. Actually, I won't be using them (unless there should be an emergency) as part of the twenty-four that I plan to make for our Christmas exchange. For one thing, I want to knit my twenty-four squares, although crochet is allowed, and for another, I think I will finish up that afghan with acrylic yarn and give it to Dariana to enjoy playing in with her dolls and stuffed animals.

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On this map you can see other places, outside the US and Canada, that I've traveled. When I hear people from the European and Asian countries speaking of the many countries they have traveled in it sounds as if I've never traveled anywhere and that they have traveled everywhere; but this is what makes the difference. The United States and Canada are so large that to travel them, you have actually traveled to as many different places (although not countries) as someone living in Europe or Asia traveling in the countries around them. Those countries are so much smaller (in area) than the US and Canada that several countries could be placed inside one of the larger states in the US, or Provinces of Canada. All in all, I
shouldn't be complaining that I've never been to Germany, the Netherlands, or Russia, or to India, Singapore, or China; I have traveled. None the less, I'd love to go to all these countries and more. Our son had a trip to Russia when he was in college but at the time, I thought it was to costly for me to travel along, now I wish I'd gone. I have a dear friend from Pakistan and was invited to go along and visit her family one year when she traveled back to see her mom. Now I wish I'd gone, but at the time I didn't think I should go with the upheaval in that part of the world and then two of my gardening club friends encouraged me to come along with them to China where they were going to teach English for a summer. Again, the timing wasn't right for me because my health was already becoming an issue before I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Life keeps us it check sometimes.

We're having Northern Weather here in the Mid-Atlantic these last few days. We have the gas logs burning along with the heat pump and the humidifier running to counter the dry heat. It feels like soup weather to me so today I think I'll make a big pot of beef and potato soup and maybe put a loaf of bread in the bread machine to smell good while I sit in front of the fire and knit. The neighbor just brought over a couple of DVDs of a ventriloquist they thought entertaining for us to watch however that's not my cup of tea. It shouldn't hurt me to listen along with DH while I knit though(at least I don't think it will). Good neighbors are something to treasure!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Where Have I Been In Canada?

There is still so much to see and do in Canada that we could spend years of our vacation time there and still do something new and different each time we go. But, we love live theater and we keep returning to the same areas, for the Shaw Festivals and the Stratford Shakespeare Festivals, each time we go. Sometimes we go to two shows a day so we can take in as much theater as possible while on a trip. Life can be so good.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Where Have I Been In THe US?

DH and I are planning our spring vacation to Kansas City in May. Yeah, I know I have said we were traveling back to England for several weeks, but DH refuses to be gone longer than two weeks and I refuse to travel that far for just two weeks. So far he has won, and so far I have only made the 'threat' to go without him. Anyway, while we fight this issue back and forth, we can't just sit at home to see who will win. Life goes on and so does the National Iris Society Conventions which DH thinks he has to attend every couple of years. I love them too and love being able to travel to a another state that I've yet been to so, there will be no complaint from me. I just want to travel more extensively in the UK and do the barge vacations on the rivers of Germany and France. Is that asking too much? There's still lots of the US I haven't seen; you can tell from the map below. The US is such a large piece of land and there is so much for one to see. I feel lucky to be fortunate enough to have traveled to the places I've been to, so...I will not whine; at least not where anyone can hear me.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Byer's Choice Carolers Had Tea In My Living Room

I've been side trapped from my knitting for the last couple of weeks and in fact, only picked me needles up today for a little while. I've finished the decreases in the Just Enough Ruffles Scarf and if I can find a day this week for knitting, should get it finished, all 600 stitches on the ruffle. I think it is going to look smart once it's completed.

I'm working on a pair of socks too, that I think shall be mine, I love the colors and the pattern for this pair; and, I've spent some time searching for patterns to use in making squares for an exchange I've organized. The exchange is with my TNKG. Instead of exchanging names at the end of the year, we are going to knit squares all year long, two per month, for a total of twenty-four squares. Each month we will exchange squares and then at the end of the year, they will be sewn into a 'whatever' and packaged for the final exchange, a Chinese type swap. Fun, you bet! The squares are to be 10 inches square and after knitting about half a square tonight in a purled ladder stitch I've discovered I'm about 3/4 inch off. I tried to take a measure from a couple of rows and go from there, but I missed it. Too, I decided to use a ball of acrylic yarn in my stash and found it as hard to manipulate as a piece of plastic. I had already decided in the second pattern repeat that I wasn't enjoying knitting with that yarn so actually I not too disappointed over having to knit another square. Some of the ladies in our group like using acrylic and that is fine but personally, for the most part, I hate the stuff. I do have to admit that's a pretty nice looking square laying over there, half finished. Anyone with patterns for 10" squares, let me know. It would be much easier to have a tested square than it is trying to work out twenty-four patterns. Actually, I will probably use the same pattern several times just use different yarns, colors, stripes, and so on to make them all different.

DH and I went out to dinner with our neighbors this evening. They had gift certificates for Applebee's, which is not among my favorite restaurants but hey, I'm always ready for an outing if it means someone else will be cooking dinner. I remarked to DH that I'd just have a salad, but once I was there, I decided to have the ribblets that I've heard so many people rave about since Applebee's first came to the city. It was a mistake, I hated the greasy, sticky, over-sweet, to much smoked flavor, full of tiny thin bone things (they certainly didn't resemble any ribs that I've ever eater before, and I love ribs, that is, real ribs). Still, it was a nice evening out and everyone else seemed to enjoy their food. Next time (should I ever have to go there again) I'll have a salad.

DH and I finally got all the Christmas decorations down and stored and the house vacuumed and dusted and things back in place once again. Gosh, what a chore. The whole of last week was a busy with the cleaning, Dr. appointments, and having dear Dariana for a visit one day. She and I had a wonderful tea party with about two dozen of the Byer's Choice Carolers stopping by to have tea with us. My daughter had a near heart attack when she learned the Byer's were having tea on my coffee table. No one else had ever been allowed to play with my dolls before - BUT - Grand-daughters are SPECIAL.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Loved Having Whoopie For Breakfast

I had two big Wicked Whoopies for breakfast this morning; well actually, I shared them with DH since neither of us had ever partaken of Whoopie before. It was wonderful! The Wicked Whoopie were a hostess gifts from one of the ladies in my TNKG. She is originally from Main and still has family there that she visits often. WIcked Whoopies are made in Main http://www.wickedwhoopies.com/ and shipped all over America. Oprah Winfrey once featured them on her show thus stepping up their popularity. The cake is very tender and there's as much filling inside the two layers, as one side of the cake is thick however, it isn't overly sweet. The Whoopies we had were a deep dark chocolate and a banana, both delicious with me leaning toward the chocolate for a change. Normally I'm not a chocolate person and I love banana muffins and breads, but this chocolate reminds me of when I was a kid and more people baked with cocoa than with baking chocolate. I still prefer cocoa made fudge, pies, cakes, and icing over baking chocolate. Thank you, dear Glen, for this delicious treat.

Our holiday season has been full of joy, and touched by sadness. Amongst all the wonderful parties and gifts and visiting we've been a part of this year, I also lost my eldest sister (87 years old). She has been very ill for a long time and her death was not unexpected. Still, losing someone you love is always hard and I don't know that you are ever prepared for it. This now makes three of us ten siblings, no longer on this earth; each loss happening in December, near the Christmas holidays.

I've started the Just Enough Ruffles Scarf using some yarn from my stash given to me by my sister, Glyness, from her stash. It had no label on it so the yardage and fiber content are a guess. The fiber feels like a cotton and acrylic blend but that's just a guess. After winding it into balls, I think it would be over 400 yards. It is knitting up nicely and the colors are nice and bright. I'll have to make a photo for this blog next time I have it out and remember to do it.

With all the snow and cold weather throughout the US, we've had just the opposite. We had to turn the heat off completed several days recently, with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day being two of them. Can you imagine having Christmas without needing the heat on? Actually we had to open a couple of windows on Christmas Eve night in order to get to sleep and again on Christmas night. It doesn't seem right, it isn't seasonal, we don't live in Florida. What's going on?

Today I plan to clear out some more boxes of 'stuff'. I've been on a 'getting rid of stuff' kick these lasts couple of weeks. Its a job I hate tackling, but a necessary one. Never again do I want all the 'stuff' to accumulate that I had to deal with when we moved here. It's not easy discarding all those memories but it doesn't make sense to me to hold on to them. My children are making, their own memories and I've already given them the items they wanted from their childhood memories and family keepsakes. It isn't fair to leave all 'my stuff' for someone else to to deal with should something happened to me and/or DH. After our move ant then having to deal with helping my sister pack up and move, then watching my niece's deal with their mother's life-time accumulation of 'stuff', I will try to keep things gone through and discarded to prevent this from happening to my loved ones.
Yarn and knitting supplies seems to be a bit of a different story. I can't seem to bring myself to throw these things away. I'm going to try and persuade myself to give at least some of the stash away. I've suggested our TNKG work on squares for one another this next year and thought some of the yarn could be used for that. I have been more careful about buying yarn this past year and am pleased that I've done as well as I have. Still, once in awhile that little something in my brain seems to go haywire and I find myself with a bag of gorgeous yarn in my hand before I have thought about what can be knit with it. I'm trying to train myself to only buy yarn when I need it for a project. Actually I'm doing pretty good with this part, the bad part is, I'm buying the yarn for each project instead of using my stash. New Years resolution this year is going to be "to cut my stash".

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mrs Santa Came To My House To Party

Monday night I had all my MNKG in from the city and invited their husbands (or significant other) to come also. It was such a nice group and we really had a grand time. We had put aside one of our knitting nights earlier this year to meet for dinner bringing our husbands along to meet each other. It is surprising how a common thread of interest seems to be between us, while we wife's love to knit, our husband love to hike and camp. We all enjoy a nice glass of wine and lots of laughs, what more could one ask for? Topping off our gathering on Monday night was a couple of local ladies that use to knit with the Richmond group (remember this Monday night group is made up mostly of ladies that learned to knit when I taught a class while still working for the Commonwealth and my other knitting friends from when I worked). I invited these ladies as a surprise for the rest of the group; it really was a welcomed surprise for everyone. One of the ladies dressed as Mrs. Santa (she and her husband do this for charity each year) and brought a basketful of candies.

What a wonderful time we had.Tuesday night my LYS had our Christmas gathering. We draw names and exchange gifts around the knitting table which we fill with food and drink instead of yarn and needles on this one night each year. This extending family of knitting ladies are so dear to me. I watch as someone goes through a trying time with a husband, child, or parent and how someone in the group seems to always step up and offers help in one way or another. It is so touching to see this happen.

On Wednesday DH and I went to see our precious Dariana in her nursery school program. The children were terrific. We loved seeing how hard they have worked and how smart they are, singing in both English and Spanish. (That's Dari on the left with her polished nails.) Afterwards we took Dari to lunch at the 'fish store' (Long John Silver's) her favorite place to eat, and then brought her home with us for the afternoon. Dari loves seafood; she and I always go to the 'fish store' for fish and shrimp when we have our 'girls day' together.

My Christmas shopping is completed and the gifts are wrapped and under the tree. Stocking stuffers are ready for the stockings except for grafting the toes on three pairs of socks. I've started another pair using Opal yarn and a patterned stitch. They will probably be for DD although mom would love to keep them for herself. The Just Enough Ruffles scarf has not gotten made, just not enough time.

DS is home for the holidays (oh, joy) and today DH and I have another open house party to attend. Sometime during the next week, DS and I will find a spot of time for just the two of us to spend together and to do some baking. I always look forward to baking with my children, and now Dari too, at Christmastime. We have certain recipes that we want to make every year and we always try to add a new one or two. Tonight we will make Ding Bats, a date and nut ball filled with crisp cereal and coated in coconut. Yum!


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DH'S Cardigan

Ruffled Shawl

Ruffled Shawl
Knitted Prayer Shawl with Crochet Ruffle

Knitting Class

Knitting Class
Teaching Co-workers to Knit

Wave & Shell Shawl

Wave & Shell Shawl

Plum WIne (SDB-Iris) 04/01/07

Plum WIne (SDB-Iris) 04/01/07

Chemo Hat

Chemo Hat
Chemo Hat

Chemo Hat

Chemo Hat
Peaches & Cream Yarn

Felted Hats

Felted Hats
Gray Hat Before Felting

Felted Hat

Felted Hat
Gray Hat After Felting

Baby's Hat

Baby's Hat
Dariana's Hat