Friday, March 30, 2007

My ITEIII Bag Came Today

Today the postlady brought me a package and what a delight it held when I opened it. The long awaited bag from my partner in the International Tote Exchange. Her name is Jill and she lives in Manhattan Kansas. She made this wonderful felted bag for me after the first one she made took a dive on her in the washing machine. This one is a perfect size and shape for me, I love bucket bags. Inside the box with the bag was a 'heap' of nice things, great yarns, a pattern for knitting and felting a birdhouse, wool wash, a bookmark, a craft organizer, knitting needle holders, yarn bras (they hold balls of yarn, not boobs), and good things to eat. Chocolate covered sunflower seed, 20 flavors of jelly belly, a great big chocolate egg, pez, and microwave popcorn on the cob. Doesn't all this sound like fun? Thank you Jill for the great swap box you put together and most certainly for the extra effort it took to knit the second bag.

I Shoud Be Busy Knitting

I should be busy knitting since I've fallen behind with my knitting schedule. None-the-less, I wanted to post since its been a couple of weeks. I still don't have pictures of work in progress; perhaps I will get them ready to post in a couple of days. Gardening has been taking some of my time recently. The new bed is made for the strawberries and the plants are ready to go in later this afternoon. The iris beds are weeded, spots cut off the foliage, and bone meal and Snap Shot applied. Mr. Rō pointed out to me this morning that three bloom stalks were emerging from Eleanor Roosevelt, one of my all time favorite iris. This iris grows strong and vibrant in our garden and re-blooms for us in the fall. The warm days have really pushed the plants out of the ground. I noticed the dicentra (Bleeding Hearts) has a good growth start already and also the heuchera (Coralbells). The helleborus (Christmas & Lentne rose) have nice blooms on them. I lost a few of those plants last fall and was afraid I wouldn't have any to survive because they have not had proper care and are planted in heavy clay soil. How I long for my old garden now that spring is here. It would be popping with spring bulbs, the redbud, camellias, and the hardy clematis would be about to break into bloom...oh what a sweet fragrance as you turn into the driveway. It breaks my hear to think about leaving that wonderful garden.

I didn't receive good news from my Dr. on Tuesday. I was finished with my chemo-treatments in Feb. and just had a body scan to see if everything was ok. The cancer is not gone and I will have to have some additional treatments. Also, a problem has shown up in my lungs caused from one of the chemo medicines, that has to be dealt with first. I was so in hopes of being strong by spring and being able to create a beautiful flower garden. This is the third summer in this home and the landscape is still almost bare. I do get to knit and read more than I have in many years so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

I will go now search Amazon for a new mystery for my WhoDuKnit partner and find a ball of yarn to send her to make something wonderful for me. These swaps are fun, could become addictive, I must watch myself.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Knitters Treat Exchange Questionnaire:

Knitters Treat Exchange Questionnaire:
1. What's your favourite type of yarn?
I love natural fibers and want to try some of the newer fibers that have recently hit the market like corn, soy, bamboo, banana, and hemp.
2. What's your least favourite type of yarn?
There are too many fabulous yarns on the market to have a particular favorite but I do love soft fibers, nothing stiff or scratchy.
3. What's the first thing you do when you visit a new yarn shop?
Look and Listen. I want to see what they stock, the amount of variety, and the pricing, but probably more important to me is the people who work the shop. I want to see a knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly staff if I going to give them my business.
4. What other crafts do you do / would like to do?
I crochet, cross stitch, hand embroider, sew, bake, and live flower arranging. Do you count baking and flower arranging crafts or hobbies?
5. What magazines do you currently subscribe to?
I tend to change every year or so depending on how well I enjoy my subscriptions. At present I receive Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Interweave Knits, Knit n Style, and Knitter's
6. Put this type of magazine in order of preference:Knitting / Crochet / Other Craft / Food / Home / Fashion / Celebrity Gossip / Garden Knitting, Garden, Home, Food, and Crochet, Fashion, Other Craft, Celebrity Gossip.
7. What items do you like to knit / crochet?
I love knitting and felting hats and bags, love to knit and wear shawls, and enjoy knitting cardigans and pullovers. I have never knit a pair of socks or gloves but have knit and mittens.
8. Are you allergic to anything?
So far, no.
9. What do you like to* smell of?(*This is not a typo. The question is: What do you like to smell of) Nice clean smelling soaps.
10. What's your favourite way to relax?
Sitting in front of a fire or on the patio with husband, good friends and a good glass of wine.
11. You're stood in front of a Victorian style sweetshop, an Italian cafe, an old fashioned bakery and a dainty tea room. Where do you go first?
The dainty tea room.
12. What do you come out with?
A satisfied and relaxed feeling.
13. Where do you go next?
Home or on to whatever else is on the agenda. I wouldn't feel I needed any more food at this time.
14. Any other words of wisdom for your pal?
My motto is perseverance. It has served me well throughout life. I was taught this little poem in middle school and have often recited it to my children, nieces, and nephews hoping it would encourage them to never give up, but to keep going after what they wanted to accomplish.

Perseverance can you spell it
And it's meaning can you tell it
Trying once and twice and three times
Yes, a hundred and even more times
I can spell it, I can spell it
And it's meaning I can tell it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Busy Saturday

Winter has returned to VA.
On Thursday we had 80˚ weather, today we had 30˚ weather, what a change! When I awoke this morning my plans for the day was to felt the kitchen mitt I knitted last night and to finish attaching the handles on a purse that's been hanging around for awhile. Not either was accomplished. I decided to drive into the city to find a pretty button for a purse I knitted on Sunday and to buy material to use for a lining. The button I found, the material I didn't. Next a stop for lunch at a wonderful Pakistani restaurant before stopping at the craft store to buy some Patons Wool yarn. How I love Indian and Pakistani foods.

My friend, Sibaha and I have had some great times teaching each other to cook our native foods. We have spent entire summer afternoons in my kitchen learning from one another. She, showing me how to cook a Pakistan recipe and I in return, teaching her to bake the American deserts her family loves so much. Sibaha cooks the very best middle-eastern food; better than any restaurant. She blends the spices and hotness together so well that you always want more. The most amazing thing she taught me was how to know when the spices and sauces were ready for the main ingredients to be added. When I ask her how could I tell when it was ready, her reply was "when it smells right". At the time she made the remark I thought it to be the most asinine reply anyone could give me but with her patients and good sense of humor, I soon found out that's exactly what you do. You nose learns to pick up the fragrance of the fully cooked spices and sauces to let you know its time to continue with the next step.

Today was our local Iris Society meeting and was the first meeting I've attended for some time. Mr attended some meetings without me and was pleased to have me come along today. I was awfully tired when I returned home after a full morning of 'yarning around' and an afternoon of planning an iris exhibition. Still, it feels good to be getting out once more.

Tomorrow I plan to do the things I didn't get done today, plus see my daughter and granddaughter, Dariana. I have to make an I-cord and seam up the little purse that my daughter ask me to make for Dariana's Easter. It is so prissy, I'll have to post a photo once it is finished. I can't wait to hear Dariana say 'oh-ooh', then 'grandma ma, it's soft' What a joy she is!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Knitting Fun

What fun it is to share our knitting skills with others.
Having a stressful IT job I found knitting during my lunch break to be relaxing. Many people in my agency had noticed this and seen my work and 'wished' they could knit and so our Human Resource Div. arranged for me to teach a 'Learn to Knit for Stress' class during lunch hours. Because of shortness in time, I broke the class up into six parts over three weeks and what fun we had. Everyone learned to knit and finished a project or was on their way to finishing it by the last class. We decided to continue the group and meet twice weekly to knit, chat, and continue learning. Some of these ladies turned into wonderful knitters and although several of us have retired, there are still a couple of the ladies left to knit during their lunch breaks. Also out of this group came a couple of knit meets. I haven't been able to attend either but I understand that one of the groups in particular has a great time each week at their Knitting Laugh-in. But guess what, during my long winter of chemo-treatments several of these ladies have come to visit and 'sit & knit' with me during times when my resistance was not to low to have visitors. These ladies also made chemo hats for me and a prayer shawl and brought me books and Cd's to occupy my times. What a huge pay-off I've received for spending a few hours to teach someone a craft that I loved. Even more important is the friendships that have been established and having them continue even though we no longer work together. Knitting is like that, bringing people together. The logo we chose to use as a knitting group at work, 'K2TOG' has truly fit this group perfectly.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Iris Gardening

Today was a beautiful day, sunny, warm, a little breeze –almost perfect. Mr. Rō worked in the iris garden most of the day while I ran into town to buy potting soil and material to make a new raised bed. Our work will begin in earnest from now through the fall with first the iris beds, then the vegetable garden, and in-between putting in new perennial beds, adding some trees and shrubs, and keeping the grass cut.

When we moved to this property two years ago in June, there was a drought and while we waited for rain so the soil could be broken up and for amendments to be trucked in, our iris baked in the garage. We had dug over 500 varieties from our previous garden to bring with us to our new home. Each iris had its name written on the foliage and its garden marker was place along with it in a brown paper bag. The outside of the bag was then labeled and grouped into decades. What a lot of work went into building this garden but by the end of July we finally had all the iris planted and garden markers in place in plots of 10 year intervals. It was so hot and dry and my husband worried continuously if the plants would survive the digging in May, baking in June, planting in July and the long summer drought. He had taken particular care of some first year seedlings he had hybridized and was waiting to see if one of them would make the grade. For these a new raised bed was built and became their home while he monitors them for the next few years. We were thankful that the winter wasn't very cold and for the rain that finally came in late fall and again in late winter. As soon as the weather broke in March Mr. Rō was out weeding, fertilizing and worrying about rot. We had been without rain all summer and now we were getting too much for the iris to survive in our clay soil.

To our surprise, we had beautiful bloom starting in early May. In late May we flew to Portland, Oregon for the National Iris Society's Annual Meeting and had three full days of touring such wonderful gardens as Cooley's, Schreiner's and several other smaller, but very impressive gardens. We toured the garden in the rain, bus load, after bus load, after bus load of people tracking through the iris. What miserable fun! We extended our vacation and traveled into Washington Sate and even over to Canada to the Buchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. We returned home in June and were relieved to have enough rain during our second summer to keep the iris healthy. In August, iris were dug and divided from this first year garden, and given to our local Iris Society for their annual fund raiser. Everyone teased my husband that he had West Coast rhizomes because they were so large and healthy. The bottom of that drained fish pond scraped up, delivered, and spread in the iris bed had paid off and when fall rolled around our re-blooming iris surprised us by putting on a big show of bloom stalks. Sadly, most of them never made it to flower because of our early frost. Still, what a wonderful 'Iris Year' we had. Now we must work toward making the second year a success.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ramblings on Knitting & Gardening

I have lots of knitting to finish within the next month for my plans stay on track but I need a couple of days break to help Mr. Rō put the house back in order now that he has finished painting. I have curtains to hem and hang for the bedroom but that will have to wait a little longer, don't think I'm up to dealing with that yet.

Yesterday after going to the post and mailing the ITE bag, we stopped by our local feed and seed store. I wanted to buy strawberry plants but they didn't have them in stock yet. They did have seed potatoes, a few collard plants, and a few 'bushes'. It always tells me something to hear someone call shrubs 'bushes', but we do live in the country now (or somewhat the country). I bought peat cups and disk and plan to sew some seeds later today and have them ready for transplanting as soon as it warms up enough. Our last frost date is March 15, only a week away, but generally we have a few late frosts; the weather will still be cold. I won't set out tomato plants until sometimes mid-to-late May. My brother will have tomato plants for me when we visit him in GA next month. I hope I can manage to get them back to VA on the plane but who knows now security being what it is; don't misunderstand me, I am thankful for the security. I use to fly to GA for a visit and come home with a shopping bag setting between my feet, full of plants. I do want to bring back some plants from the 'old home place' and from my sister's yards to go in the new gardens we have to create. I had lots of 'family' plants at the previous home and it was such a joy to care for them and remember each family member that gave them to us as we walked through the garden.

Now that the ITEIII bag is out of the way I have started knitting on another bag, as well as a biscuit cover and will knit a felted mitt to go with the biscuit cover. I will post pictures when there is more time and as I am nearer completion. I'd like to post some pictures of pervious projects if I am ever organized enough to do that.
I love seeing the projects on other blogs and hearing about the despair and accomplishments of others. My husband likes to tease that I pull out as much as I knit. Actually that isn't quiet true but I do like to have a completed project that I am proud of, one that is wearable if it is clothing, or one that doesn't reside in the closet because it turned out to be a circle instead of a square. Besides, the cost of yarn is such that I can't afford to throw it in the trash or hide it in a closet. So, for now I am back to knitting on the bag to be used as a gift to a GA relative next month.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Internationa Tote Exchange Project Mailed

It's been awhile since I've posted and a lot has been happening. First and foremost, I finished my bag for the ITE-III and put it in the post today. It should arrive at its New Owner's door on Saturday, but no later than Monday. I paid an extra 50¢ to have confirmation of delivery, well worth that amount I think, since there seems to be some problems 'someplace' with deliveries.

The last photo I posted of the bag was at the completion of the bag's body. I ran into some problems with joining different colors of yarn at the beginning of a round in a slipped stitch and had to tweak it a bit; no problem (other than a good bit of time) the bag turned out beautifully as I expected it would. I added the button closure and a gorgeous lining and filled it with goodies that I hope my partner will enjoy. It was actually hard to give the bag up and I thought for sure my daughter was going to convince me to send a different bag so she could have this one; she gave it her best when trying to convince me. My husband took pictures and declared, should I want to participate in the next exchange I should go ahead and knit the bag and have it ready to go (as if I don't have a half-dozen other projects in progress right now).

The exchange has been fun and I've enjoyed reading the blog each day and seeing the excitement from other members as they give and receive their bags. I would want to participate in the next exchange using some of my own ideas for a creation. I'll stay tuned.


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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