Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas, Kntting, and the New Year

Christmas has come and gone and tomorrow will be a new year.

Christmas was wonderful at our house, but also with some sadness. My sister, Glyness was with us and that was wonderful and our son, Christopher was home; that too being wonderful. We did lots of shopping, wrapping gifts, baking, and running around the week before Christmas. On Christmas Eve we loaded all our gifts along with some foods into the car and drove into the city to have Christmas at our daughter's home. What grandmama could wake up on Christmas morning and not see what Santa had left for their granddaughter. We go on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, staying until after breakfast on Christmas morning.

We had such a good time during our fondue dinner on Christmas Eve. Our family being together laughing, kidding around, and enjoying wonderful food and wine. After a long evening at the table, we went across the hall and into the living room for the Christmas tree and exchanging of gifts. Dari was so precious to watch. She was so excited over each and every gift and said a thank you to each of us as she opened our gifts to her. So precious! She slept between papa and I that night and we heard Santa's reindeer on the roof before she was able to settle down enough to sleep. This was the first time I'd heard Santa on the rooftop in a long, long time.

After Santa, the stockings, and a country ham breakfast on Christmas morning we headed back to the country for a rest and to prepare for dinner. Standing rib roast, buttered new potatoes, green bean bundles and fresh salad greens.

Papa got sick on Christmas morning, then my sister and Dari. Next day was my daughter, by Friday the virus had gotten around to me and by Saturday it had gotten to my son-in-law. My sister and I also have sinus infections and are on Z-paks to clear them up. While at the Dr. I ask that my sister's blood work be done and it came back with her red count very, very low. Because I live eight hours from her and her Oncologist, I felt I needed to get her home in case she needed a blood transfusion. We left early on Sat. morning to come back to SC. I will stay with her until she sees her Oncologist and I know she is going to be alright to be left alone again. I don't like the idea of her being alone but with the distance between us it makes it difficult to be here, or her with me, all the time. During all this, our oldest sister has been in the hospital in Atlanta with a blood clot in the artery to her heart. She is 87 and they can't do surgery because of other health problems. We are expecting every phone call to bring us bad news.

I am working on a few easy projects that I can lay down on a minutes notice without causing a problem if I can't get back to it right away. One is Sharon Dreifuss's Melly bag pattern. I'm knitting the body of the bag in a shade of pink that I adore, using cream for the trims, pockets, and handles. Have you seen the Knitters the Winter issue of Knitter's yet? I love the Chalk Stripe Scarf featured on page 43. I must knit that in 2008 and I want to do a pair of socks in 2008. I am planning to do socks and a few other projects and stitches that I've never done because they aren't my thing. I'm going to knit these items so I can say I have knitted them and to venture off the roads that I usually travel. New routes often takes us to new and interesting views.

All my exchanges are completed except for the Christmas Around the World Exchange. I am still waiting for a package from my upstream partner. I have to do some thinking about participating in exchanges in 2008. I love preparing and sending my partners their packages and learning about new people. I may want to continue or I may decide to take a break. Either way, this past year has been fun and I've met some wonderful people and received some wonderful surprises. There been a couple of disappointments but that is to be expected. Not understood, but expected.

Tomorrow is the beginning of a New Year. While I won't be staying up to see the new year in, I will cook collard greens, hog jowl (bacon) and black eyed peas for my sister and I tomorrow. We need all the good luck we can get. Happy New Year To You and Good Luck!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bag-a-holics Exchange

I've received a package from Debb in California with the bag she made me for the Bag-a-holics Exchange. Debb's son was in a terrible motorcycle accident a few weeks back and is still in intensive care. I think it says a lot about Debb to get an exchange package in the mail during this horrible time for her and her family. We wish the best for Debb's son and hope he will recover and be healthy once more soon. Thank you Debb for you thoughtfulness and for the package you sent. Here's a couple of pictures of the bag Debb made for me and the other goodies she included
in the package.
I have some good news I'd like to share with everyone. I saw the Oncologist on Tuesday and he pronounced me to be in Full Remission from my Hodgkin's disease. What a wonderful Christmas present that is for me and for my family. I will continue to have a scan every four months for the next year and then if all is good, every six month thereafter for five years. There is still tissue where the largess mass (tumor) was but it appears to be just dead tissue and will probably never completely go away. As long as the Pet-scan doesn't light up indicating it has begun to grow again, I can live happily with the ugly thing being in my body. I feel wonderful, the best I've felt in about fifteen years. Could I ask for more? No, I'm thankful and happy with what I have and thank the Good Lord for giving me good health once more.
Last Saturday, dear little Dariana came out and we baked cookies. She was so helpful and the black walnut cookies are delicious, that is what was left after she ate her way through the dough. Isn't she beautiful? On Wednesday we went to see her perform in her Montessori school program. Unfortunately, she was one of the first to get in line and therefore was on the back row of her group so we wasn't able to see her or get photos of her. She is very petite for her age and many of the other children are a full head taller than she. She spent her time on stage jumping up trying to see over the other children's heads. The older children in her group (there were three groups this age) sang to us in Spanish and in German, what a delightful treat. We are very pleased with her school and the training she is receiving there.
Christmas cards are coming in daily, beautiful cards from family and old friends and from new friends too. Yesterday I received a card from from JoAnne, one of my first exchange partners, and one Marianne, all the way from England. Donna, my very first downstream partner has also sent me Holiday Wishes. Thank each of you for your kind thoughts; I truly treasure these things.
I've finished the vest I've been working on but still have not gotten it sewn under the arms. Time is just to precious right now to get it done. As soon as I do, which will most likely be after Christmas, I'll post pictures of it. I have it pinned together and love the way it looks. I had intended to take it to Knit Night on Tuesday and seam it there but walked out in a rush without it. It didn't make any difference because I never got around to knitting anyway. We exchanged names and had food and beverage, there was just too much fun taking place to get out the knitting. We did have a new member drop by and she brought the sweater she is working on and she actually knit while we played. It was a fun gathering, good friends, good food, good wine, and the exchanging of gifts. My gift is a years subscription to 'Knitting Style'. That's a good thing.
Today is appointments with the groomer, the hairdresser, and buying those last minutes gifts that have to be picked up in areas of the city that aren't on my regular trail. Most of the gifts are bought and some are wrapped. The standing rib roast is aging in the refrigerator for Christmas night and we're anxiously awaiting Christopher to get home and make the holidays merrier. I have to finish the gift wrapping tonight and tomorrow night because Dariana is going to visit us on Saturday and stay overnight. I love it when she stays overnight and I can sleep next to her and hold her precious body in my arms. I love to look at her while she is sleeping and be there when she opens her eyes the first thing in the morning. What a joy and what a pleasure she is. We're so thankful that she is ours.
Should I not find time to post again before the holiday, I wish everyone A Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years Ever.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Knitting On The Go

On the go, on the go, back and forth, to and fro, is creating havoc with me and trying to keep my blogging current and my life in order. Life must slow down.

I had a wonderful package from Julie, my SP-11 partner, well over a week ago and haven't publicly thanked her. Shame on me for she has been a terrific pal with her giving. More importantly, she has been a wonderful pal in communicating with me and sharing her family life with me all through the swap. Thank you Julie for it all, you are the best. The package I received from Julie was so kind and thoughtful, she addressed the things she knows that are dear to me, my granddaughter, my lasha apso, and knitting. She sent me beautiful yarn, locally dyed and spun in Main and in colors she knows I love, browns, creams, and blue, and she sent a gift for Maestro, what a treat for him, and one for Dari. Dari should be out later today and I will give her gift to her. The wool is beautiful and enough to make 'A Bag' . Thank you and please accept my appologies for being tardy. (I did acknowledge and thank Julie personally for her kindness when I received her gift.)
The vest I've been knittig is still 'almost finished'. I got up early on Thursday morning and drove down to get my sister and bring her to spend the Christmas and New Year Holidays with us, so there hasn't been any knitting for a couple of days. We drove back up yesterday. Two days on the road and here I am at 2 AM blogging. I couldn't sleep, still a bit tired, and too much on my mind. I still have shopping for gifts to do and baking to get done (Dari is coming today to bake cookies) and I don't have a tree up or a wreath on the door yet. I do have cards in the mail with a note in the family cards and I have my knitting groups gifts ready for delivery on Monday and Tuesday nights. I picked up several things on our last trip at the yarn shop in Crossville, TN. that I mentioned a few blogs ago. The shop was jam packed full of neat things, lots and lots of stocking stuffers that relate to knitting and lots of small gifts that any knitter would love. I bought a bag full of 'stuff' and I can't wait to give it away.
For all my cat-loving friends; my sister and I brought her big, fat, cat along to spend Christmas with us. It was his first real car trip and he wasn't a happy passenger. Poor baby cried for about an hour, especially if there was a big truck (there are plenty on I-85) or a bumpy, uneven road. We finally took him out of his carrier and let him find his own spot in the car. That seamed to help hom a lots but he refused to get out of the car or use the litter box all day. We were so happy to get him home so he could potty and relax. I went in to kiss him and my sister good-night and he was curled up on his fleece in the middle of the bed just as close beside my sister as he could get. This is a big cat, a beautiful rich yellow and the most clear green eyes you could imagine; I call him Mr. Reggie. Reggie is too blah for him in my opinion, I've always thought he was much to regal looking to be addressed so casually. Mr. Reggie walks on his royal purple leash just as well as his canine friends and he never drinks water from a bowl. Instead, he politely comes and asks to have the bathtub faucet turned on where he proceeds to stick his paw under the drip and drink from his paw. Mr. Reggie expects a treat every night just before bedtime, a tiny dish of buttermilk. Now, tell me he doesn't deserve to be addressed with a Mr.
I'm chilly and will now crawl back in bed and see if I can snooz for a few hours. Lots to do tomorrow and all next week. Christmas is a coming.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Entralac Stole Now Blocked

My entralac stole was finally completed and blocked before we left for the our last trip. I've worn it several times already and love it. Once completed and wet-blocked, it became soft and lost the scratchy texture that I found discouraging while I was knitting it. Although it was time consuming, I would knit another one, or some other project in entralac. In fact, my Tuesday night knit group wants me to teach them the 'how-to' in a knit-along for our group once the Jacobean bag is finished after Christmas. I'll be happy to share what I learned with the group and know they will enjoy knitting this project as much as I did. We have a couple of ladies in the group that loves and wears shawls almost as much as I do.

I have only a couple of rows left to knit before I bind off the Sara Punderson Alpaca Vest pattern project I've been knitting on. I should finish up tonight unless I find out I'm to go to SC again tomorrow and bring my sister back for Christmas with us. The trip is dreaded but having her here makes it worth the drive. I love her so dearly.

I have finished knitting another simple bag and it is ready for giving once it is felted, lined and a handle added. There are still several other projects 'setting'. waiting to be worked up. I can't wait for the holidays to be over so I can once again take to my recliner and knit the days away until spring approaches and the garden begins to call me.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Let Me Tell You About A Yarn Shop Visit

Well, we're back home from visiting my sister and niece in Mississippi and Mr. Ro's brother in Tennessee. We had a really enjoyable visit with everyone. It was nice to visit my niece and her family in their big old home with a 12 foot live Christmas tree in the library and a smaller one in the living room, wreaths tied in red ribbon from all the upstairs and downstairs windows and a huge wreath on the front door and gate of the white picket fence. She still has lots of decorating to do, the stairs, front hall, and dining room, but the feeling of Christmas is already there. Actually she didn't have the trees decorated yet, but she did have the lights on them and the tall step ladder standing beside the tree waiting for the ornaments to be placed on it.

Her mother, my sister, moved there a few years back. She has a historical home too, but much, much smaller than her daughter's. To me, it reminded me of a beautiful little doll house. She had everything perfect and cleaned to shining. She too begin to decorate while we were there. Holy Springs is a small town but we always find interesting things to do when we visit. We went to church on Sat. afternoon to hear a sonata performed by a group from the University of Mississippi. On Sat. night we went to the Christmas parade, only having to walk two blocks to stand and watch it pass by. Mr. Ro went with his favorite boys and their dad Paint Ball Shooting on Sat. morning. Needless to say, it has taken its toll on this 62 year old man, out crawling on his belly with 13 and 16 year old boys - but he had a great time being with them and playing like a boy again. I brought him back home with a stiff back and will not expect anything out of him for several days while he recovers. LOL!

While there I was taken to a terrific old farm where gorgeous candles are made. I bought several, mostly the ones shaped like and with the fragrance of magnolia blossoms. They will make wonderful gifts for a few lucky people. We also went to Oxford to the yarn shop, about a thirty minute drive from Holly Springs, only to get there and find a 'Shop Closed' sign on the door. I was disappointed however on the way back to visit Mr. Ro's brother we searched out and stopped at the LYS in Crossville and I was in heaven for about an hour. I bought lots of stocking stuffers and some tools, a pattern and yarn for little Priss a sweater and yarn to make myself the Plymouth vest. In fact, I have it about half finished having knit on the way home yesterday. This photo is dark but will do until I have more light. The yarn I'm using is Andean Alpaca Regal put out by Reynolds and it feels like pure luxury. My biggest concern is I'm a warm natured person and I'm afraid it may be to warm for me to enjoy wearing. Since chemo I have had a body temperature change and seem to get cold easier than I use to to the point that I've bought several vest this winter that I can get into and out of easily and I seem to be wearing them more often than not. I have lots more to post, just have to find time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm Blocking Entrelac Stole Today

Well, I'm still at home; just couldn't get it together last night to hit the road this morning so we will leave tomorrow instead. It's so nice to be able to be flexible and to be able to change plans on the spur of a moment now that we're retired. So, instead of traveling, I'm blocking my entrelac stole that I finished knitting in the wee hours of Monday night-Tuesday morning. I was determined to finish it up since it had been on the near completion list for a few weeks. This morning after having coffee and chocolate dipped cookies, I decided that I would have time to add the fringe and set it to block this morning; then I'd be able to take it on our trip to wrap up in on the car ride. Here's a photo of it laying outside on the hot-tub drying in the breeze.
It's not a good photo because I had to face the sun when I was taking it, but it gives you an idea of how large it is and I'll make a better photo once it is dry and steamed down if needed. I used all but a few yards of Nora's Silk Garden Lite to knit the shawl and the 9th ball for fringe. DH ask if I'd charge $500 to knit one for someone else and my reply was 'about that since it has almost $100 of yarn in it and it has taken me almost six months to knit' LOL. Actually the actual knitting went rather quick, I'm just always working on a half-dozen projects at a time.

And here's a new picture of the pink and green knitted bowl after I place potpourri in it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Felted Bowl, Bag, and Hats

I've been busy today getting my packages ready for the post. I have one for my Bag-A-Holic partner and one for my Christmas Around The World partner and the last one for my Secret-Pal-1 pal. Each has been lots of fun putting together and I think my pals will be pleased with them.

I've also been busy making photos of some of the gifts I've been making for family and friends. There are hats, bags, and bowls. I failed to get a photo of a purple hat, it went into one of the boxes that is ready to send out but I do have one of a Christmas Red (Patons marino) felted hat that I knitted for a sister and another one in a different shade of red (Cascade 220). The purple was made from Lopi (Reynolds) and is such a fabulous shade of purple, I loved it. The bowl is made from scrap yarn and I think both pieces are Patons marino, I love Patons for felting and caught it on sale in late summer so bought up a bit of it. It doesn't let me down; that I like after having spent my time knitting a project. The bag I made in the Bag Style Knit-a-long I participated in is also made from Patons, taking almost the entire two skeins of yarn. That's another thing I love about that yarn, for most felted bags and felted hats, two skeins is about the right amount. I like to have only a tiny bit left over after a project is finished; if I have almost a full skein left over I'm aggravated.

Tonight is knit night in the city with friends. We didn't meet last week because of guest visiting for Thanksgiving and everyone busy with preparations for Thursday. Tonight will be catch up night on our lady's new love lives. It's wonderful to see them in love again in their golden years.

Tomorrow night will be knit night in the village. Last week we met at someone's home because the shop's proprietor didn't have time to keep the shop open (?). We had a really nice time away from the shop and I'm expecting that the first of the year we will decide to meet at a different person's home each week rather than this constant haggling with the new owner. It's a good group of ladies and we don't want to give up our knit group, still we don't want to have stipulations put on when we can or can't meet. I understand the new proprietor has a group that meets during the week-day and that’s fine, but some people do have to work. This is a working group except for the two of us that have now retired. She also wants to put is in a situation where we feel obligated to use this knitting time just for charity. Most of us already knit for charity with other groups and feel we want this time for our personal time. Anyway, the idea is on the burner until after Christmas. Everyone has too many other things to think about and keep us busy until then.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pal's Knitting Going To Post Tomorrow

Thanksgiving has come and gone so now the fuss is all about Christmas. One month from today, the 24th is really the day we have our family togetherness, our Christmas dinner, and then the exchanging of gifts around the Christmas tree. It will have come and gone before I conscious of it happening. It is true, time does move fast as you grow older. Weeks slip by as if it was only a day or two and the month seems to have gone by before I realizing it.

Thanksgiving Day in central Virginia was 'hot', not warm, but plain hot and humid. We turned the ceiling fans on in both the kitchen and the great room well before noon; still it was too warm. I think the temperature climbed to about 76 degrees, much to warm for the end of November. In mid-afternoon we had a bit of rain which allowed the temperature to begin cooling off and today its downright cold.

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful. It was wonderful having the family all together once more and a wonderful abundance of good food on the table and good friends stopping in to say hello. I am so thankful for it all. Last year I was having a rough time with chemo-treatments, this year I feel great. Such a big change in health and I am thankful for it and being able to be with my beloved family through another year.

Last night little Dariana spent the night with papa and I. It was such a good time for us all. We played pretend, her favorite game, to entertain her until bedtime. We had an imaginary birthday party with peanut butter and jelly cake and candles, and imaginary school with a story being read from one of my knitting magazines about peacocks (from an advertisements she saw inside), and we played house with 'my baby' falling and hitting her head on the hearth and mommy taking her to the Dr. to get medicine. We can see that each of these pretends are so real to little Dariana. She is so much fun and we adore her.

I do have the hats and bag I mentioned on last post, felted and ready to send out tomorrow but I've put off making photos yet; I will have to post them later. I'm pleased with the way they each turned out and hope my pals will be pleased once they are received. I have one more project to knit for a pal (plan to work on it later tonight) and I will be finished up with my current swaps. I want to knit two quick bags to have for hostess gifts while we are visiting family next week, one for a niece and one for a sister-in-law. The Nicky Epstein bag is in its first stages. I've decided I will only work on it during my Tuesday night group knitting, at least until after the first of the year when things settle down a bit.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Knitting, Iris and Hoakies Football

The bag pinned together and then sewn before fulling.

The hats before fulling, two different reds, Paton's on the left and Cascade on the right.

Today I finished the triangle bag I've been working on, sewed it together and felted it. It turned out very pretty I think and although it is quiet a bit smaller than it was before being fulled, it is still a nice, roomy bag. I think I will enjoy it and am thinking of doing one for a sister-in-law in black and cream or black and gray, either would be pretty I think. This was an easy knit if you don't mind decreases and increases on almost every row all the way through the bag. You do have to keep up with the grouping of rows so that your pieces can be matcher perfectly once you start putting it together and it does take awhile to knit because it is knit with size 6 needles. I used Paton's yarn and put it though two short cycles to get it to the felted point that I wanted. Usually I get by with one cycle but today I added two hats and a long I-cord for one of the hats, perhaps that is why it needed the additional time. They all came out nicely and are on the kitchen counter drying right now.

Mr. Maestro and his friend, Sissy, the poodle from next door, went to the groomer together this morning to get all pretty and fresh for Thanksgiving. Maestro was a tiny bit un-tidy after spending Wednesday with the veterinarian getting his teeth cleaned and three of them extracted. It had only been a year in August since we had his teeth cleaned but in that period he had gotten gum disease and had three impacted teeth. I cried of course, but am glad we got it taken care of before there was a real problem. Maestro is 11 years old now, not a young age for canine.

While I was car-pooling and picking up the last items from the grocery for our Thanksgiving dinner, Mr. Rō was potting iris to be given as door prizes at our Harvest Dinner for the Iris Society tomorrow. They are waiting for me to put a foil-wrap around them so they will look festive and catch any soil that might escape the pots. I've already prepared my dish to go, a curried rice salad with artichokes, shrimp, water chestnuts, almonds and black olives. I snuck a few bites before I put it away and it taste yummy. Tomorrow is also the local knitting guild meeting so I'll get up moving in the morning to be there at 9 o'clock and then at the Iris Society by 1 o'clock. We will leave that event early so that Mr. Rō can get home in time to see part of the VA Tech football game. All Hoakies out there knows how important that is; NOTHING comes before a Hoakie Game.

I can now concentrate on the Jacobean bag and finish up the shawl. I do need to get two additional bags made before the first week in December when we go to visit family. I want everything finished up by the end of the year because come Jan 1, I hope to knit sweaters. They have been on hold and its time I got them knitted. Too, I haven't accomplished much toward the trip I wanted us to take to Great Britain late next spring. I'm beginning to think it may be put on hold for awhile, there doesn't seem to be time to work it in. A decision will have to be made soon or I won't be able to make the arrangements for us to stay the length of time I'd like to.

I have my last SP-11 package ready to go in the mail, the needles I'd ordered from Paradise Fibers finally came yesterday after I contacted them to see what the problem was. I also have the bag for my pal of the Bag-A-Holic Swap ready to go. I want to get both of these packages in the mail Monday if possible. That will leave only the Christmas Around The World Exchange for me to complete this year. Next year I must do fewer exchanges and knit-along and work more on sweaters, sweaters, sweaters. Will I be able to? I hope so, but gosh I do love a good exchange.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Busy Knitting and Thinking About the Holidays

I've been really busy knitting away this last week. I have too many projects going at one time again and I'm anxious to finish off a couple of them this week. I only have a few decreasing rows left to the triangle bag and then putting it together and fulling it. I'm not sure about lining, that will depend on the density of the bag once it is felted and if the lining can be attached without a lot of work to keep it from showing once the bag has been folded into the orgamic triangle. The entralac shawl is still not finished but is so close to being that I need to find a half-day to devote to that alone and complete it; and now the Jacobean bag is on my needles. It is already growing on my and I expect I'm going to find it fun to knit once I get the hang of all that yarn hanging. For me the fun of everyone doing the same project at once is watching each other and how each person accomplishes a particular stitch or task differently, coming out with the same end results. There are seven of us knitting the bag, a couple chose not to knit along on this project, and there last night there was lots of helping and teasing going on around the table. Good knitting friends are the best.

The iris buds that Mr. Rō brought in from his garden last week has bloomed and I failed to get pictures to post. The green tomatoes on the window sills are ripening and I am expecting to still have ripe tomatoes for the Thanksgiving Holidays when DS will be home for a few days. We'll have lots of salads while he is here because he is watching his weight again. Like his mother he doesn't mind salad meals, we both love our veggies. We've always had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of the afternoon, but a few years ago we begin deep-frying the turkey in place of baking it. The turkey comes out so moist and good with the crispy skin having sealed in the juices when it was dropped into the pot of hot grease. It makes a pretty and golden brown bird for the table.

I've been thinking about Christmas and what I can give to some of my knitting friends. I've decided on a project, something that I think they will all enjoy but in case one of them is reading this, I won't say what it is. I can tell you this much, I found the perfect piece of material to use for linings, a black background with a white kitty-cat playing in a ball of twine. As soon as I finish the shawl and the triangle bag I plan to cut the linings and start sewing.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Now I'm Knitting a Nicky Epstein Bag

Monday night I drove into the village for knit night at the LYS. It is only the second time I've been since the ownership changed. It took a few weeks for the new proprietors to work things out and I thought the group was going to fold; I think they thought so too and decided it would be worth their effort to accommodate the group and, in a welcoming environment. Anyway, the group was ready to start a new project with everyone making the Nicky Epstein, Jacobean Floral Felted Bag. I wasn't sure I was going to do it but then decided I should show my support for the shop and to the proprietors. I realize how fortunate we are to have a LYS here in our little rural village and I do want it to survive and prosper.
I'm not sure I like the bag (plus it means I'll have to break down and read a chart) and it was a bit costly considering that it was bagged into project-like quantities with just the amount of yarn needed to knit the bag. I'm again trying to think of it as helping the shop survive and I can always give the bag as a gift or use it in one of the bag swaps I participate in.
I'm almost finished knitting the first triangle of the Two-Tone Triangle Bag for the Bag Styles' Knit-Along. It is knitting up nicely even with all the right and left increases. I have a couple of embellishment ideas that I may try to incorporate in it when I'm ready to put the bag together.
It is wintertime here, 23 degrees this morning. This means we won't have any re-blooming iris in our garden this fall. Mr. Rō's heart is broken. He has been covering them for about a week now trying to protect the ones with buds from the nighttime elements. Yesterday he decided it would be a losing battle and so cut and brought in one that has three buds and already showing color. This particular iris is named Iceland and is a gorgeous white, big blossoms, fragrant, and performs beautifully in our garden. It amazes most people to learn there are some tall bearded iris that bloom a second time each year, in the fall. A few years back we had our Harvest Dinner for the Iris Society on the 3rd Sat. In November. We had enough bloom in our previous garden that I was able to cut and arranged a basket full of iris for the table. We now live about 20 miles northwest of our previous home but thats enought for the planting zone to change.

While Mr. Rō was in the iris garden, I was picking tomatoes. There are only two large plants remaining and bearing fruit ; they are loaded with so many green tomatoes the vines are weighted down. I picked what was left of the ripened ones and most of the largest green ones. They will ripen on the window sill and we should still have fresh tomatoes from the garden for Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Knitting Two-Toned Triangle Bag

I've chosen the yarn I want to use for knitting the Two-Toned Triangle bag in the new book, bag STYLE. There are a lot of pretty bags in this book but the Triangle Bag caught my attention right away. I love the difference of the shape; the fabric being folded into an origami form after being knitted and felted. The bag is knitted on size 6 needles with one strain of yarn so I'm hoping the fabric will be as thick and dense as I like for my bags. I know there has already been a few people knitting this bag over on the Bag Style Knit-along and they seem to be happy with the results.
I've finished knitting the red hat and also one in a different shade of red. Both hats are for gifts and I still have to full, shape, and dry them. I'm glad to have the knitting finished so I can move on to another project because I have lots of knitting to get done before the end of this year.
Mr. Rō has been busy these last few days weeding his iris beds and planting seeds that were produced from cross-pollinating between two different iris when they bloomed in the spring. He likes to plant his seeds for iris around All Hallows Eve which is October 30th. We aren't pagan and we're not into witchcraft; this time for planting is related to the phase of the moon and 'all that kind of stuff'. Anyway, it seems to work well for him and its just a little bit of fun to mention when he is telling 'iris tales'. The seed will not germinate until spring and then it will take two to three years before they are mature enough to produce blooms. If there happens to be one beautiful flower out of the seeds planted he will be lucky. Still there will be lots of work to do and records to keep for another three or four years before he will know if the iris is worthy of introduction. Its lots of work and lots of fun for him, just as knitting is for me.
I'll leave you today with a couple of pictures from Saturdays party. Precious Dariana and her five best friends from nursery school along with family members, had a terrific time at the Children's Museum helping Dariana celebrate becoming 3 years old!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Knitting Missing At Christmas Craft Show

Yesterday my neighbor and I decided we'd loaf a bit and take in the Christmas Craft Show, have a nice lunch and do a little shopping. This particular show comes to Richmond every year and it is large, taking up an entire building. I've never been to this one and I must say it doesn't compare with the Bazaar Bazaar which is even larger and hosted at the buildings at the old State Fair grounds, now the Richmond Raceways. The larger portion of this show was jewelry, some very pretty and a lot of repeats in items being displayed. The thing that struck me is there wasn't one single booth of knitting, not one. As 'hot' as the knitting world is today I was surprised. Of course the smallest booth rents for $400.00 for the event, I suppose that could have something to do with it. It would take lots of yarn and time to knit $400.00 before you could begin making a profit at all.

Later in the afternoon we stopped by 'Lettuce Knit' near my old home and were discussing why there wasn't any knitting booths. One of the ladies remarked that she thought it was because this particular craft show doesn't draw the kind of people that are willing to pay for hand knitted items. I agree to some extent, but I go a bit farther in thinking that most people aren't willing to pay for hand knitting, period. Why? well I believe that most people never go into a true yarn shop and see all the beautiful fibers and colors that are available today. I believe most people's knowledge of knitting and crochet is from the yarn they see in the local craft stores usually selling in an under $5.00 price range and of seeing their grandmother knit or crochet using that acrylic yarn. While acrylic yarn has its place, it is the natural fibers that I think of when speaking of handmade versus homemade. Handmade to me means something that you put your heart and soul into to make it special and beautiful as well as made well. Most people never think this far and only see $5.00 for a skein of yarn and not anything for the labor. Labor? Yes, to me knitting is a labor of love, but if I'm going to sell it, then it has to be a labor of my time spent making you something by hand and that ain't cheap.

For lunch we stopped by Kuba-Kuba for sandwiches and plantains. Yum. Sally had never been here before. It wasn't just the food I wanted her to experience, I wanted her to enjoy the atmosphere. Kuba-Kuba is in an old section of the city; its very, very tiny located in the ground-floor basement of a nice, big old home. It is tiny in size and larger than life in everything else. Noise, wobbly tables, extremely uncomfortable chairs, an uneven floor, and a co-ed rest room that can be a real surprise. Still, the restaurant is always packed, any day and any time of day or evening with people waiting for one of the 'under a dozen' tables for two, or one of the 'two' booths for parties of four or more, or one of the half-dozen bar stools. The food is cooked right there in the dining area, and the shelves are stocked with Cuban coffee, pasta, olive oil, and religious candles. There are Barbie doll legs only, hanging from the lights and a picture of The Last Supper on the wall behind the bar. This isn't to make light of The Last Supper, its just the opposite; religion is very dear to most of the Cuban community. The clientele is a big mix, students from VCU (an arts related university) with purple and green hair, rings in their nose, belly button or wherever else they can pierce; neighborhood families with babies in tow and dogs waiting for them at the door; as well as people dressed in business clothing, suits and high-healed shoes. Watching and listening to such a mixture is more entertaining than the chefs dancing as they cook.

I drove Sally down Monument Avenue where 'Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson' face off, and through much of the Fan District. The leaves were colorful and the autumn sun was shining bright casting longer shadows on everything; it was beautiful. A lovely day.

Today we will celebrate Dariana's third birthday along with her friends from school and a few family members. I'm sure I'll have pictures for you tomorrow. I've already given her a new dress for the party and papa has a package wrapped and ready to go. I'm looking forward to seeing how she interacts with her peers. Papa has been to some of her school functions but I've not been able to attend any so far. I'm anxious to see her in a social environment with other children her age. She can now say the 'Pledge of Allegiance', can you believe that, three years old!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Knitted Red Hat

Last night I was able to finish knitting the red hat and now it is waiting to be fulled. I knitted a black I-cord to go around it and will buy a feather to stick in the cord. Sister should look snazzy wearing this one on Sunday mornings. I will take it to her when we go to visit later this month or early in December. I'll post photos after it is fulled.

When I was casting on for the hat I got out my new Knit-Pick Harmony wooden needles to use. I attached one needle and then the other, thinking it didn't feel quiet right. As I started to cast on I felt an un-even lump and stopped to check it, I had a bad needle. I was so disappointed because I've loved using these needles since I've had them. I called Knit-Pick right away and their service department personnel were so nice. The size 11 needle won't be in until Nov. 7th but they will send a replacement as soon as their needles arrive. While I was talking to them I ordered a size 13 circular needle to go with my set. It seems I use a size 13 often enough to justify buying one.

Today I placed an order with Paradise Fiber for a set of Audi Turbo DP needles in size 1. These are for my secret pal who loves to knit socks and had mentioned she would like to have a set of the Audi needles. I'm hoping they will be here next week and that I will have finished the treat I'm knitted for her so they can be sent off winding up this exchange. This has been a lot of fun and my upstream partner has been the greatest. What wonderful gifts she has spoiled me with. The word 'spoil' really fits here. That's exactly how I feel, wonderful gifts just because someone wants to make you feel special; like a child on one's birthday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Knitting On Halloween/Fall Felted Bag Remarks

Since we've moved to the 'country' we no longer have children come by to trick or treat. We've not had a single child since we've been here. I do miss the fun of opening the door and playing the surprised and scared lady on the corner. It was always fun to seen the little buggers come by so excited and so sure they could never been identified in their costumes and makeup. So, tonight I shall knit in place of handing out treats. I should be able to finish a hat I've been knitting on and have it ready to felt tomorrow. I have yarn and pattern laid out for my Bag-A-Holic partner and still have a few rows on the entralac shawl to go.
The Fall Felted Bag Exchange has ended and the hostess are asking for feed-back. They have ask a few questions and would like answers posted on our blogs. Below is my input to the survey.

How was your experience in the exchange? Did you enjoy the folks you met? Did you just love the bag you received? Please share any thoughts, criticism, and things you loved!

This was a terrific exchange and so was the Spring Exchange. This one seemed to flow smoothly from the beginning. Our hostesses spent their valuable time really working on partner matches and mine were great, both upstream and downstream. I've met two wonderful ladies and I like each of them. In this exchange I had the most correspondence with my partners that I've ever had before and I loved it. It was great.

The bag I received is so pretty (see photo a few post back); I love the style and the colors. Katie did a wonderful job of felting and shaping it and she inserted a hard bottom also. Nice, I couldn't have asked for better.

My downstream partner, Claudia, nominated me for 'Best Spoiler' could I ask for more? I'm looking forward to the next round.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Knitting Swaps - SP-11 PKG # 2

I went to our local Guild Meeting yesterday and then took myself to lunch. By the time I got back home in the mid-afternoon I was tired and need a nap but I also wanted to knit some more on the Entralac shawl (it is almost finished) so I sat down in the lounge chair, stretched out and begin knitting. It wasn't long until I gave in to a nap and slept soundly for a short while. When I awoke, there was a box setting on the coffee table screaming to be checked out. To my surprise it was a second box from my Secret Pal and I couldn't wait to get it opened. SP tapes really well, all seams and double corners, what torture! When I finally got it opened, look what a wonderful surprise I had.

The new book, Bag Styles by by Pam Allen and Ann Budd put out by Interweave Press which I really wanted and wanted to join in the knit-along. There are a number of people already knitting their bags and displaying them on the blog, , have a look.

Also in the box was a couple of balls of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush in a gorgeous red colorway and some yummy smelling lavender soap. That wasn't all; also included was a Halloween greeting card as well as a box of snacks for Mr. Maestro and a stuffed pumpkin for sweet Dariana. Thank you SP for a wonderful boxful of goodies, it's a perfect spoiling package. I love everything and so does Dariana and Maestro.

The program at our guild meeting yesterday was 'Knitting and the Internet' . While it was rather elementary to me, many of the members, especially those who have never worked, found it to be really interesting and helpful. I was surprised to learn that most of the ladies didn't have any idea of what a blog is and many don't know how to do a search for a particular topic. I don't believe anyone had an inkling of the knit exchanges and swaps that are available to the 'knitting world' and only one or two knew about knit-alongs. I had taken my bag and socks from Katie (Fall Felted Bag Exchange) for show and tell so there was a lot of interest in the idea of swaps and exchanges. We have some very talented ladies in our guild with much more expertise than I will ever have. Several showed their items for ribbons won at the state fair this month. There is always lot to see and learn at our monthly meetings. Check our web-page out here: .

Friday, October 26, 2007

Guess What I Had For Breakfast

Guess what I had for breakfast this morning. Thank you Katie for the delicious Tim Horton coffee and I had a new coffee maker to go with it. I discovered that the old Bun machine had a small leak beginning after about ten years of use so went out to purchase a new one. Gosh, was I surprised at the price of good coffee machines, especially the Bun. $148 was the least I could find it for and although we love good coffee and have coffee daily in our home, I didn't want to pay $148 for a coffee maker. Gosh I may start boiling it on the stove again. After looking and debating, I decided to try a Kitchen Maid and hope for the best. The thing I like about a Bun is there is always hot water in the reservoir and you don't have to wait for it to heat every time you want a cup of coffee. The Bun makes good coffee too, and they last a long, long time. I think Mr. Rō would have preferred I buy the Bun and perhaps I should have, we've always had one and know they work well for an eternity, but $148 for the least expensive model. My age is telling on me, maybe I'm in a rut, or maybe I am beginning to find 'change' to be more difficult.
I haven't shared the package I sent to Claudia, my FFB partner in RI. Claudia mentioned she needed a bag to carry her knitting in and this one is certainly large enough for that. I have three skeins of yarn, plus one of sugar and cream along with other goodies in the bag and there is still more room. I hope she will enjoy using it as much as I enjoyed knitting and putting it together for her.
Also I finished another sister-bag, for the sister that is moving. The purple is to match a felted hat I helped her to make last year and she loves it. Purple is her favorite color. Five more sisters to go before I have them all one made. I ordered a couple of new bag patterns yesterday. For the most part, the bags I make for the sisters will be pretty much the same. After all what woman in her 70's and 80'w wants a jazzed up purse, this applies to four of the remaining five sisters (I'm the baby).

My entralac shawl is almost finished at last. I am on the last skein of yarn I think. I have two skeins left but have to make fringe and I usually buy an extra skein, just in case. I'm pleased with the way it is turning out and it has been a fun project to do. Once you get into the pattern I find it very relaxing but I do have to stop and think on each side triangle to be able to pick up the stitches from the right rectangle selvage to
turn an d knit in the right position for the next tier. The next project, for myself, will probably be Plymouth's Baby Alpaca Grande Vest. I bought the pattern last spring but still have to buy the yarn (I think red for this one), then I'll be ready to knit. I love the way the vest gathers in around the waist in back and I'll wear it with jeans; here in VA it should be warm enough without an additional coat except for the really cold days.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pirates Are The Thing

Beautiful 'D' chose to be a pirate this year for Halloween and here she is dressed and ready to pose for a picture. What a special little girl she is. When I was told she wanted to be a pirate I thought I had heard incorrectly or that little 'D' didn't understand what a pirate was. I was wrong on both counts and here she is modeling her costume, minus the boots, for her 'dress-up day at school'. Grandmama is proud to show her off.

Perhaps we are going to have some 'witching weather' Halloween. Yesterday we were lucky and the rains came. They are still with us today and the forecast is for more rain tomorrow. We're so thankful. We are really in a deep drought here and it will take lots and lots of rain before our water table returns to normal. Living in the country we have well water; so far the well hasn't let us down. Still, we try to be cautious and not waste any unnecessarily.
I'm trying to get back into my routine. I put everything away until my sister was more settled down. Today DH is driving her back to SC for me. I would have driven her had it not been for the heavy rain. Sister is much rested and in better shape to cope with life as she continues with preparations of selling her home and moving. I'm sure there's still going to be some rough days but hopefully she will be able to manage alone. She has her church friends which means a lot to her; to me too. They were able to pull off the second moving sale for her unloading two bedroom sets, sofa, freezer and a second refrigerator, a car, and loads of odds and ends along with tools from her late husbands shop and loads of fabric, books, and yarn. I unloaded a tremendous amount of 'things' when we moved two years ago, my intentions are to unload again as soon as I can get my routine straighten out and I've caught up with life at home again. I realize what a waste all these 'things' are and I'm anxious to get rid of them.
Our second bearing of tomatoes are at peak right now and we're have big, juicy, red tomatoes as if it were July again. DH took a bag full to our neighbors last week and I sent a bag full home with my sister this morning. I will have BLT sandwiches daily (for breakfast) trying to get my fill of homegrown tomatoes before they are all gone.
BTW, one of my previous swap partners gave me the book Truelove and Homegrown Tomatoes by Julie Cannon, which I read while I was away. Southerns who enjoy a light, good, read about the south - I recommend you reading it. The story takes place in GA and the scenes, the thought processes, and the verbiage are so real to me. It paints a good picture of Southern living, Southern Baptist and 'good folks". Even a 'Yankee' or "mid-westerner' or 'anyone else' should enjoy this humorous read.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

SP-11 & FFB-1 Packages Received

I've so much to tell and not much time to do it. First off, I received a package from my SP-11 partner while I was away. DH brought it to me while I was still at my sister's (I called him to come down because it was taking longer than I expected to be away). I was so thrilled when he handed it to me. I was totally exhausted after over a week of hard work and a day of physical and mental stress. Here's the contents, they did me ever so much good. This is a bag pattern that I've been intending to order, I love it's shape, and the button is a gorgeous added bonus to go along with the pattern and 'chocolate' Lamb's Pride yarn. Thank you Thelma for such a thoughtful surprise package. The card enclosed is adorable. Nine beautiful kittens playing in a basket of yarn until they have fallen asleep; I love this card. I'm anxious to know you better Pal.

When I left home for my second visit to my sisters, I expected to be gone for a few day, possibly ten if things didn't shape up as fast as I was hoping they would. Well, they didn't and I was there for seventeen days. Remember my niece and I had gone the week before so add six additional days to that and I've been away from home 23 days. I'm not complaining, I'm so glad that I can do it but I needed to get back home. I was able to help her accomplish a lots but realized I had gone my limit and that my body had worn down; it was time to call for help. At age seventy-five, DS is trying to get her home of forty years ready for the market and move to Milwaukee to be near her daughter.

As I've mentioned before, this sister loves anything that has a thread of any kind in it. She had an unbelievable amount of yarns (acrylic and cotton) but the amount of fabrics she had/has, is unreasonable. She has boxes upon boxes of beautiful silks, wools, linens, and laces and even more of cotton fabrics with unique designs and prints in it. She had already given the local high school and collage four large black plastic bags of fabric to be used in their teaching classrooms and she had given her sewing friends material. Still, there was more than I could deal with. Each piece I held up to ask which stack I should put it in,( keep, donate, sell, garbage) was like tearing a piece of her heart out. Books were the same way. She had enough 'bible study' books to start a library (she had donated to the church already). Kitchen items were the same, never one of anything.

All this has caused DS to have to ' look at herself' and of course that is never easy for any of us to do. Add her having had breast cancer, and now myeloma, to the situation and it not an easy place to be. Tears and more tears ; this is part of the reason I needed to be back home; I brought her with me. Her church friends have taken over and will work with the real estate agent to get the house sold. A second yard sale was held yesterday and was very successful in getting many pieces of furniture, as well as fabric, books, and other items out of the house. I will try to pamper her as much as possible and hope her health will soon be somewhat restored so that we can return for whatever lies ahead.

When I arrived home Thursday night, exhausted after an eight hour drive, I had another wonderful surprise waiting for me. Thank you Katie, the timing was perfect.

Katie was my Fall Felted Bag partner and did she ever spoil me. I didn't wait until the car was unpacked, I tore into the box the minute I saw it. I thought I had figured out who my partner was (and I was right) and I'd been following her blog. I already had a feel for who she was and I liked her. The bag Katie knit for me is perfect in every way, color, size, and style, and it felted beautifully. The bag was packed full of goodies, a package of Chibis', three skeins of Paton's Soy Wool Silk yarn, a purse pattern, Canadian Living magazine and also a Christmas edition (great), some Tim Horton's coffee, I can't wait to try it, three bags of Canadian candies, yum, and the thing that I will treasure most in that package, a pair of hand-knitted socks. My first! Not only are they beautiful, they feel wonderful on my feet, I mean really, really wonderful. They fit perfect and the color and pattern are perfect too. Katie used Tofutsies yarn and the Tidal Wave sock pattern. How pretty and fancy they are. My sister tried to take them but of course I couldn't allow that. This was such a special touch, hand-knitted socks! Thank you. I know I will wear them out wearing them.

So see, the sun really does come out from behind the clouds and when it does, it is really good to see it and to take a breath of fresh air before beginning another day.

Friday, October 19, 2007

What A Bright Sunshiny Day

It is said, "when it rains it pours"; well we've been having a bit of rain in our family recently but it is also said "the sun will come out tomorrow", and so it has. So very bright and so warm, just what I needed.

I don't have time to blog and add photos today but I will be returning in the next day or two to share with everyone what I mean about warmth and brightness. I returned home yesterday bringing my sister with me, to find two wonderful packages from 'Pals' of my knitting world. Both were delightful and so welcome. Both are wonderful and I can't wait to share them with everyone. THANK You SP-11, Thelma and FFB, Katie. You ARE The BEST!

Stay tuned for whats coming.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Local Yarn Store Changed Management/Knit Night On It's Way Out

I've been slow in posting recently because life is so busy. I've been home five days; I'm getting ready to 'Go' again.

In the meantime I've taken time to finish knitting the bag for my Fall Felted Bag partner and gather the goodies to go in it. My plans are to get it felted today and I'll ship it out from 'where-ever' late this week or early next week. I probably won't be home when the post-lady knocks at our door, but DH will be and he'll contact me to say I have a package. When that happens I'll want to fast-forward my time away to get home and tare open my surprise. I'm pretty sure I know who my FFB partner is. I like her and I'm looking forward to getting to know her better. I can't wait!

Other Swap News:
  • My SP-11 downstream partner has received her package according to the post receipt but she hasn't let me know and she hasn't posted about receiving it. I'll wait and see what happens before sending out anything more. Perhaps I completely missed on her 'likes and dislikes', if so I'd like to know so that I can swing in a different direction next time, I'd really like to please. I haven't heard from my upstream partner other than a couple of post on this blog but I'm sure she must be out there someplace.

  • Received my Christmas Around the World assignment and after viewing her blog I think I will like her; she seems to be an interesting person. I have sent an e-mail to contact her. Likewise, I had an e-mail from my upstream partner and have sent a reply to let her know that I'm looking forward to meeting Santa's cousin.

  • The Bag-A-Holic group over on Yahoo decided to have a bag exchange for its members that were interested. I received my partner's info and sent her an e-mail but haven't heard anything in response. I am partnered with my partner for this exchange; should I think that she isn't interested after all and I will be left hanging, or should I think, that she thinks, I automatically know she is participating and that it's not necessary to contact me?

On to other things.

Papa and I took beautiful granddaughter to the Children's Museum on Sat. DD had taken a fall on Friday night and hurt her knee. It is bandaged and she is on crutches waiting for the swelling to go down enough to see what damage has taken place. Hopefully it isn't serious.

DH made me a couple of new plant beds while I was visiting my sister last week and I spent Thursday planting it. It was so nice to dig in a loose soil. The soil in our area is so compacted and the most awful clay of any I've ever tried to dig in (and I'm originally from Georgia known for its red clay). DH got a load of compost from his friend and worked that in with the pond soil we purchased earlier this year and added a bit of lime and phosphorus. Now if it would rain I'd be set and so would the plants. I planted a gorgeous bright blue salvia, Black and Blue Sage and put in some digitalis, a perennial Fox Glove and added a few geraniums that I'd moved from our previous home. We also dug and planted a few small shrubs I'd brought back and rooted from my family in GA when I visited them earlier this year. Finally, we are getting a bit of gardening work done other than for the iris.

Tonight is 'knit night' at my friend Patti's home and I'd like to go since I'll be away for the next couple of weeks. Our LYS has changed ownership and there is a bit of a ruff taking place because last week, only one person showed up on Tuesday night to knit and no one placed a courtesy call to say they wasn't coming. Now the new owner isn't sure she wants to keep the store open late if no one is going to let her know they can't make it. Does this make sense from a customer's point of view? Either you will have 'knit night' or you won't have 'knit night'. Probably those of us that are considered 'the regulars' will start our own 'knit night' and rotate between our homes. That may be more pleasing anyway leaving one free to use whatever yarn and patterns they choose rather than being tied to the shops inventory. Most of us love supporting the shop but sometimes you enjoy knitting with something other than their inventory.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall Felted Bag - Contest

What makes Autumn feel like Autumn to you, and why?
I'd like to say the crisp, cool weather but we're having hot, sweltering days right now.

But--- the moon is one of my favorite things in the Autumn. Last night the Harvest Moon was spectacular, almost a full moon (which occurred on Wednesday night), bright, almost red, and through the sheers on my bedroom window it appeared to have a plus sign, as large as the moon itself through it, and a circle around the plus sign. Oh my, it was beautiful. Harvest Moon is the full Moon occurring nearest to the Equinox in the Autumn and is said to be the time for gathering corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice, all staples of the Indians. The next full moon should be just as showy, October 26th and is the Hunters Moon indicating time for the Fall Hunting Season to begin and gathering of food for Thanksgiving. How simple that makes life sound, if only it was true today.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ravelry Was Waiting For Me When I Came Home

While I was away I got my invitation to join Ravelry. Wouldn't you know it'd come at such a time when I didn't have computer access. I want to begin moving some of my knitting inventory over just as soon as I can. The thought of having everything in one spot at the press of a mouse-click is exciting.

I got home from my visits late yesterday, exhausted and cranky - poor hubby, but this morning I'm feeling better. I have so many things to do and things I need to check on today but my plans are to mostly rest.

I have gotten a package off to my secret pal and one to my sister and her husband so for the rest of this week I need to concentrate on the fall felted bag exchange, that is lagging a bit. Actually I thought I was going to knit the biggest part of last week and that the bag would be in the mail by now. Instead of knitting as I'd expected to do, I helped my sister throw away a lifetime of 'pack ratting' trying to leave only enough 'things' that could be packed easily for her move north, close to her daughter. I'm so glad I was there and could help her but now I have to catch up on things that got put off.

The only yarn shop I managed to get to while I was away was Yarns To Dye For located in Flat Rock near Hendersonville, and for some reason (perhaps exhaustion) there really wasn't anything in stock that really caught my eye. I did buy a couple of balls of Filatura Di Crosa's Giardino in black and white that I thought would make a pretty scarf, and so did my sister. It was a bit expensive, $11.25 for 71 yards but it is 100% cotton and should be something that can be enjoyed year around. The shop's owner suggested it be knitted on size 13 needles, we'll see how that works out. While we were in the mountains we bought fresh apples at Sky Top and stopped at the farmers market and bought fresh green, purple, red, orange and yellow peppers, fresh SC grown peaches and a jug of peach cider, some okra, fresh cream peas and fresh crowder peas, SC Plantation wild rice, hot fried pork rinds, and toasted cracked corn, and two fried peach pies. YUM - it's all Southern!

DH seems to have neglected some of the potted plants that I wasn't able to get into the ground before I left. These were plants I bought during the plant sale a couple of weeks ago at the botanical gardens. I watered them deeply when I got home yesterday, but one in particular may be beyond saving at this point. DH watered but the draught we're in drinks the water before it can hit the plant's roots and a deeper watering is needed this late in the season. DH attended the local iris society meeting on Sat. and reported that the iris sale from two weeks ago netted the club about $2,200; enough to run a non-profit club on for the next year. All our hard work of digging, dividing, washing, labeling, trimming, and hauling has paid off again this year.

I hear those SC peaches calling me. Lunch can be peaches, apples, and a pork rind.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Going South Once Again

I've decided to take a few days and go visit my sister in Greenville, SC. I will leave after seeing the oncologist tomorrow and drive down to Apex, NC to my niece's home. On Wednesday she and I will drive to Greenville and visit for several days, then I'll repeat the trip back home.

I've spent some time thinking today about which knitting projects I want to take along. The sister I'm going to visit has a much harder time ignoring fibers and colors than I do. She is a certified seamstress with McCall's and she dabbles in all kinds of needlework, just as I do. We can, and do, talk on the subject for hours.

The niece that I'm picking up to go with me is 9 months older than I. We went to school together, double dated together, and had lots of wonderful overnights when we were teens. She loves to shop so I should be able to fit a few yarn shops in on the way down and back up; I-85 has a world of shopping opportunities on it.

Anyway, I will be away for several days but then I'll be back and I'll have lots to talk about. I still haven't talked about our busy week and preparation of the bearded iris rhizomes we donated for the plant sale at the botanical gardens last weekend. I always say that spring is our most busy season but I sometimes wonder if it really is; fall is running me ragged this year.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Contest 1-2-3

Here's my entry for the Fall Felted Bags 1-2-3 Contest.
1. Post on your blog, and give us SOME kind of secret "Bag in Progress" photo. You could share your yarn before you started, or a close up of your knitting, or the patterns you pondered when you began, or what you're still pondering.
Actually, I'm still pondering although I've started on the bag. I have to knit a few rows on the body to see if it what I have in my head, if not I'll have to revert to someone else's pattern.
2. Post a link to the blog of one other swapper that you 'met' and have continued to read through the 3-2-1 contact post.
I'm posting two addresses I've been reading frequently. Capesoxknitter was my pal in the Spring swap and is using the same pattern for her pal this time around. How neat. Knitmetotheendoftime or some reason interests me.
3. Post a link here telling me you entered. I'm posting an update today on the FFB Blog that I've answered the questions .
4. Do this no later than September 23rd. Today is September 16th, I'm making progress on meeting deadlines.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Time Runs Out

Christmas Around The World Questions:
1. Are you religious? I don't go to church or participate in an organized religion any longer. I feel each person has to find their own peace (which I have) and live life according to their personal beliefs, not those of someone else. I also believe the 10 Commands are a good source to frame one's life around (my personal beliefe).
2. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced? I've been knitting forever it seems but not on a non-stop basis until about the last four or five years. I consider myself to be an intermediate knitter, maybe a bit better.
3. Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting? Lots, I love to bake and cook, love to garden, and I do a bit of all kinds of needlework except for tatting. I have a collection of Waterford Crystal and I love good cookbooks and knitting books and, I do a lot of reading. I love all of Pearl Bucks works and Daphne Du Maurier's, too. More modern authors that I enjoy are Anne Rivers Siddons (I'm a sourhern girl), Amy Tan, Lisa See, and Rosamunde Pilcher.
4. Favorite color(s)? I truly don't know, I just love color. The jewel tones are wonderful, reds, purples, greens, blues, but I also love browns, grays, navy, and black.
5. Do you collect anything? I collect Waterford crystal, my pattern is Curraghmore.
6. Are you allergic to any fibers or animals? No, not allergic but don't enjoy receiving items covered in dog or cat hair (which has happened a few times).
7. Do you have any pets? Yes, an eleven year old Lhasa Apso named Maestro; one of the loves of my life. Lhasa's do not shed hair.
8. Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate? Coffee, but not flavors - just good coffee like Blue Mountain from Jamaica or Duncan Donuts, I don't like Starbucks.
9. Cookies or Sweets? I love good homemade cookies while they are still warm or candy full of nuts. I don't buy many American brand name cookies anymore; they've had all the 'good stuff' taken out of them.
10. Do you knit socks? No but I will get around to it someday just to be able to say I have knit them.
11. If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits) I love felting and knit both hats and bags. I also love shawls which I wear and I like knitting sweaters but not necessarily the finishing process.
12. Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do? I've always had some type of tree and often times several. One year when I was having lots of houseguest for Christmas, I even put them in the bathrooms. Generally though, I only have one and they have gotten smaller as I've gotten older. Now with a granddaughter I expect that is going to change.
13. Favorite holiday treats? Toasted nuts, fresh coconut cake, white chocolate, nut, and cranberry shortcake cookies, peanut brittle, Carmel corn; all homemade and fresh.
14. Favorite holiday smells? Evergreens and cinnamon.
15. Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional or unconventional way? Please elaborate. For our family we have 'our' tradition which starts shortly after Thanksgiving with baking cookies and making candy. I try to always arrange a time when my son is home for the weekend and he, my daughter, and me all bake together; what fun we have and we get most of our baking done in a day. On Christmas Eve we have our traditional dinner, fondue. We make big pots of cheese with imported cheeses and have pots of hot oil for cooking shrimp, chicken, and steak. We make several sauces for dipping and add a good French bread for dipping in the cheese. We have a special white wine that we use in the cheese fondue and buy plenty to go with our meal. This is one meal where we sit around the table for a couple of hours enjoying the family on a special night. Once everyone has eaten the last bite they can possibly put in their stomachs, we go to the living room and share our gifts. Santa doesn't come until Christmas morning and he fills everyone's stocking, child, doggies, adult, and guest and he leaves the children toys and the adults presents under the tree. We get up early to see what Santa has brought then later have a huge breakfast of country fried ham, red-eyed gravy, and biscuits along with grits or hash browned potatoes, eggs, extra sharp Vermont cheese, and homemade jams. Normally that is about the end of Christmas at our house but last year it changed a bit. I wanted something special because I was in the middle of my chemo treatments, really sick and wanted something special for the family. My son took over my kitchen and cooked a special Christmas dinner for us. We had a standing rib roast (he cooked it perfectly) with butter roasted new potatoes, bundled green beans, and a fresh wild green salad. Yum… This was so enjoyable that we plan to do it again this year. Whereas all this use to take place at 'home' we now go to my daughters for Christmas Eve dinner and opening gifts. We all spend the night so that we can see our granddaughter when she wakes on Christmas morning and we have breakfast before we leave. It's wonderful, all of it.
16. What are your favorite holiday traditions? The most important is having our family together. Then giving each child an ornament on Thanksgiving night, our baking together, and the Christmas Eve Fondue party. There is also the special night when my husband and I gather all the gifts we have and wrap them. We have a fire and open a bottle of wine and wrap until we are exhausted.
17. Finish the sentence: “For me Christmas is all about loving one another”
18. If you were a Christmas ornament you would be? A Santa because that's what catches the children's eye?
19. What was your favorite gift you've ever received? Or given? Gosh, I really don't know if you mean material things. I always say to my children that I don't want anything (and actually mean it) except for us all to be together and love one another. Of course they never listen to me and I don't practice what I preach when it comes to giving to them.
20. When do you start your Christmas? We bake early, usually the first or second weekend in December depending on how the weeks fall in a particular year. Our tree usually goes up two weekends before Christmas. Gift buying starts earlier each year because as we get older it takes us longer to do those things and we can't enjoy the crowds like we did when we were younger.
21. Do you send Christmas cards? Do you make them or buy them? We send lots of Christmas cards because we have a large family and lots of friends that we want to share greetings with. I always buy the cards; I'd never get them made if I had to make that many.
22. What is your favorite Christmas dish? Oh, there are too many to name but some foods that always come to mind when I think of Christmas are my mother's fresh ambrosia with fresh coconut in it and her fresh coconut cake. My dad always cracked the coconuts after removing the juice through the coconut's eyes, then peeled and grated it. He also cracked all the pecans we used at our house during the holiday season and we used lots.
23. Carolers are at your door. What do you do? Smile with joy, listen to them sing then offer them whatever Christmas goodies we have in the house.
24. When do you open presents? Christmas eve or Christmas morning? The actual gift opening is on Christmas eve but Santa always leaves a couple of gifts to be opened on Christmas morning.
25. Do you celebrate with family or friends or both? Always family and usually friends too.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I Haven't Knitted For A Week!

I'm not lost, just busy. Spring and fall are such busy times for gardeners and it has certainly hit me hard this year. I love it so, but a day of digging or manning a plant sale is really taking it's toll me this year. I'll tell you all about my exhausting, fun filled, working days next time I post.

NO KNITTING has taken place in the last week and am I ever behind. I'm hoping I'll be able to knit the weekend away while I am resting up then, I'm off on another round of my life. Tell you about that next time.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Eating On The Stree, Knitting Machines,and Digging Iris

Busy, always busy. Yesterday DH and I drove into the city take my prescription for new lens to be put into my current frames, they should be ready the first of next week then we'll go in again to pick them up. I'm not minding the two trips because it means we get to 'eat on the street'. When we worked downtown we would join hundreds of other people during the lunch hours to buy lunch from the street carts then find an empty bench in one of the parks or someplace on the street to eat. The cart we frequented the most was 'Christopher's Run-away Gourmet' a salad cart serving wonderful pasta salads, tuna and tarragon chicken salads, and a few others along with fruit, cheese and french bread; all deliciously fresh and flavorful. Hubby's suggestion of lunch on the street was well received by DW.

Tonight we are attending a wedding reception for our longtime friend's daughter. The family is originally from Pakistan and we've been friends since shortly after their arrival in the US back in the 80's. The wedding was held week before last in Jamaica, then the honeymoon, and now we friends are joining them and their families for a Pakistani reception. I know from past experiences of attending Pakistani functions with our friends, this will be a treat to attend. We've joined one another for celebrating holidays both American and Pakistani over the years and its always been enjoyable for our family as well as theirs. How wonderful it is to be friends with this family.

DH and I are about to start our fall digging for the bearded iris rhizome sale to be held at the Botanical Gardens next weekend. It's lots of work but we enjoy it and we'll enjoy being at the Botanical Gardens for the sale along with a few hundred other plant vendors and a zillion people coming to buy. The sale starts on Thursday afternoon for members of the Botanical Gardens and is then open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I have to leave my $$ at home, there will be too much to tempt me otherwise.

We are almost through the first week of September so I've begin thinking about a gift to send my pal in SP-11. Today I will put it together and have it ready to mail when I decide on a day. I don't like to wait until the last minute to do my exchange s. I don't want my partners to feel they have been forgotten by waiting until the last minute to think about what I plan to do and then being late to follow through. If I sign up for an exchanges the least I can do is, 'do it right'. I've never send things that are laying around, or things that have already been used and shows it, or bags that have been knit so long and left in a shop window that the outside has faded a half-dozen shades lighter than the inside of the bag and is splotchy on the outsides. I recently received such a package and I'm still so hurt that this could happen to anyone, not just me. And, it wasn't as if this person couldn't have done better, she certainly knows how to knit well (she has patterns published), certainly had access to yarn and other knitting products (she owns a knitting shop), and certainly had the time, (at least the same amount that everyone else participating had). My point is I want to be kind to the person I am treating and send them the kinds of things that I would be happy to receive, not just something to put in a box. Generally I have been well treated and my partners are a treasure to me, especially those who still keep in touch. The purpose of these exchanges is to make new friends who have an interest in knitting and/or crochet. The gift part is to 'make your new friend feel special'.

I've been in the yarn stash again looking and changing my mind over the colors, or the yarn, I want to use for the Fall Felted Bag I should get started on. I'm spending too much time doing this when there are so many other projects on the needles or waiting to go on the needles. This week I've even though it might be nice to have a knitting machine to help out. I've never used one and don't know enough about them to know if I would want to use one. Is there anyone out there that can share your experience with me about "yes I love my knitting machine" and what kind it is, or "no, I hated my knitting machine" and why? I can share an e-mail address with you if you'd like me to.

Time for me to get busy with thoughts of what to wear tonight. I've not worn any of dressy clothing since before my chemo-treatments and most no longer fit. I've lived in pants, jeans, and shorts for over a year now, waiting, waiting, waiting to see whats around the corner. I don't want to buy new clothes yet and since I no longer work I'll continue wearing pants, jeans, and shorts most of the time. Still, one can't go to a party dressed this way so I must get up and pull something out of the closet that can be put with something else and come up with a suitable wardrobe for the evening. I bet I can.


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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