Friday, April 27, 2007

I'm Back To Gardening, Knitting, and Life in General

Cooking Mitt for Brother, unfelted at top and after felting below.

I haven't blogged in two weeks and the hardest part of blogging is getting started, at least that is hardest for me. Mr. Rō and I have been busy as bees these last two weeks. Our visit to GA was great, I think the best visit ever except for seeing my sisters become old, and for the family members who are sick. I visited both sisters and my brother and several of my nieces and nephews. My nieces and nephews prepared all our meals for the week except for three, can you believe that? What a wonderful family I have. Another one of my sister's lives in SC and drove down on Monday to spent four days with us enjoying the gatherings and going with us to visit an iris display garden in Warm Springs, right across the road from Roosevelt's Little White House. Another sister and her daughter were also with us and we had such fun introducing them to the 'Rainbow Flower'. Irises are called 'Rainbow Flowers' because of the many colors they bloom in, like the colors of a rainbow. Did you know iris bloom in all colors except for a true red and that, I believe, is not far away. Hybridizers are working on it continuously hoping to be the one to introduce the 'true red' iris. A gorgeous iris named 'Lady Friend' was one my sister coveted most and that I can understand, it is also one of my favorite. Lady Friend is a beautiful rosy- red colored iris that stands out in any garden and it is one we grow. When we dig in late summer we will reserve a piece of 'Lady Friend' for my sister and we will be sending a big box of rhizomes to my niece, Lou. Lou has a number of older iris in her garden so we plan to send some of the more modern ones and some of the re-blooming hybrids. She was fascinated to learn some iris are bred to bloom twice each year providing the climate is right and they are fertilized after the first bloom and kept watered throughout the summer.

My knitting gifts were a hit but there was a problem, I didn't have one for everyone, the family is 'way to big'. I still have one sister in Mississippi to knit something for to have given all the sisters and brother a hand-knitted item. Did you ask how many siblings I have? Well there were 'ten of us', eight girls and two boys; eight of us are still living. We lost our oldest brother to colon cancer three years ago, then next to our oldest sister to Alzheimer's disease in December. I'm the youngest at sixty-two. Anyway, when you start knitting for a family this size you need a lot of yarn and a lot of time. I have some hand-dyed mohair from our local fiber festival that will make a fine looking shawl for my sister, Lucy.

I mailed my Knitter's Treat package to Marianne, in Cambridgeshire, UK, before I left on vacation. I was afraid if I waited until I was back home it wouldn't be received May 5th, the cut-off date. The clerk at the PO advised me to send it fast post (doubling the cost of postage) or it could take up to six weeks to get there; it arrived at her door in less than a week. Visit Marianne's blog, where she posted some photos of the package and has a lot of other photos along with her knitting blog.

I still have to knit my WhoDuKnit Mystery partner something from a skein of purple tweed, Cascade 220 yarn she sent to me. Any suggestions of a neat one skein project? I have a couple of ideas but am still thinking I may find something more interesting. I have already purchased the mystery book to go with this exchange and a couple of other items I think she might enjoy.

ITEIV is about to begin and I debated whether or not I would have time to knit one more bag; I am waiting to receive the name of my upstream partner in the 'Felted Bag Exchange'. I have loved bags and shoes since I was a little girl so I never pass-up a new one. With older sisters in the house there was always high-heal shoes, falsies, and pocketbooks to dress up in. Thank heavens I don't need the falsies anymore and high-heal shoes are no longer a part of my attire but I still love lots of shoes and lots of bags.

The rain that we had during the night and earlier today has stopped and the sun is out with humidity building.
Mr. Rō is already out in the garden working on the new beds he begin building for me yesterday. I had planned to knit this afternoon but will work in the garden instead; lots to be done, the 'Rainbow flowers' are beginning to bloom.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane

One last post before vacation.

I have the goodies packed in my luggage and my knitting bag packed with a couple of projects, extra needles, and yarn. I anticipated holding a knitting class for nieces and niece-in-laws while I am visiting. The sister who taught me to knit is also coming for a visit at the same time, together we should be able to encourage some new knitters and we certainly will have a grand time discussing our knitting and other needlework. This sister loves machine embroidery and the two oldest sisters are the most fantastic quilters.

Several years ago they were invited to participate in the GA State Fair and there was a nice article written about them in the Atlanta Journal; a real treat for them. My two older sister are eighty-five and eighty. Each lives alone and the eighty year old is still able to drive herself to her quilting circle twice a week. Both make beautiful quilts and have made and given each of their children and grandchildren a quilt or two. The colors, names, and patterns of these quilts are amazing but even more than that are the stitches. Such tiny stitches and all straight in their lines and ever so neat. This circle of ladies have quilted together for years and know each other so well they can look at a quilt and tell you whose stitches are where. Amazing. I don't have the gift of quilting but my mother did and loved it as much as these older sisters do. In fact she taught us all to quilt but only these two older ones learned to love the craft so well. My mother's favorite needlework was tatting and hand embroidery. None of us girls learned to tat; now we all wish we had. Several of us embroidery and all except one sews, some extremely well and we all learned from our mother. I can't wait to see what has been hand made since I last visited. Oh us girls are going to have fun and so will Mr. Rō. The iris are blooming and he plans to dig and divide iris for one of the sisters while we are there. We plan to visit an iris display garden in Warm Spring, GA., home of President Roosevelt's Little White House. And - there are BIG SUPPERS planned; a bar-be-que with brunswick stew and homemade ice cream, a catfish fry with bar-be-qued chicken for anyone not liking catfish, a sitdown dinner at a newphew's new home, and a BIG Mid-day SUNDAY DINNER after church. It's always fun to relive some of those childhood days that are still so much a part of my family's life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rose Bag for Lou

Spring Felted Bag Exchange Questionnaire


1. How long have you been knitting or crocheting? How did you learn.
My sister taught me to knit about 35 years ago. I knitted for a year or so and then off and on whenever someone needed new booties until about 3 years ago. When I picked up my needles this time, I kept knitting.

2. What are your favorite yarns to knit\crochet felted bags with?I haven't tried a great many yarns for felting. I have had very good results with Brown Sheep's' 'Lamb's Pride' and 'Nature Spun' wools but they take a bit longer to felt than some of the others. Cascade 200 knits up and felts quickly but doesn't give as steady a bag as some of the other yarns. Patons Classic Merion Wool makes a nice weight felted bag, felts rather quickly and holds up well but can pill. Knit Picks Peruvian Wool felts well and knits up nicely but can't speak for it long term. Elann's Peruvian Highlands Wool comes in lots of gorgeous colors, knits up well and felts well but may take an extra cycle in the wash – and – there isn't an extra inch in their balls so make sure you buy at least what a pattern calls for and an extra ball is not a bad idea. Overall I'd probably say Brown Sheeps, Elann's, and Patons are my favorites.

3. What are your favorite needles to knit\crochet with?
I am probably more of a needle snob than a yarn snob; I love good needles and like to try every kind available. Suzanne's Ebony Circulars is one of my favorites, then the Skacel Addi Turbos and Crystal Palace now has a very fine bamboo circular needle out. But, I must say, one of my very favorite is one of the most inexpensive needles on the market and that is the Bylene needles put out by Boyle. They have a sharp point, are lightweight and somewhat flexible, good for arthritic hands and arms.

4. What are the last 3 bags you knitted\crochetted (include URL for Yahoo! or flickr album or your blog if you have them!)? You can also link to patterns if you don't have pictures of your finished objects!
Gosh, the last bag I knitted was for my two year old granddaughter, an Easter purse out of white eyelash and acrylic yarn, no pattern, and it is posted on my blog, . The week before that I knitted a bag for my niece which I haven't posted yet but will post on my blog this week as well as on the Bag-A-Holic's web site. The third bag back was for ITE-III and it is posted on by blog on March 28th, as well as the Bag-A-Holic's web site. There are some this and that bags also on the Bag-A-Holic web site at listed in June's album.

5. Do you carry the bags that you make, give them as gifts, or both?

6. What is your favorite felted bag that you have made for yourself?
Probably the first one I ever made, it is pictured on my blog. I still use it.

7. What are your favorite colors? Do you like bags in these colors or choose other colors? I love color and I also love a combination of two complementing colors such as black & white, grey & white, and navy & white put together.

8. Chocolate: White, Milk, Dark, or not so much?
Not so much. I'm more of a 'fruity' person, coconut, peanut butter, etc. Of the chocolates white, milk, or dark, I probably like them equally.

9. Coffee, Tea, or Milk?
Coffee, tea, then milk. Just plan good coffee, no flavors and Earl Grey or English Breakfast type teas. I do like Jasmine tea but I don't care for the herb or flavored teas.

10. Do you prefer sweet or salty treats? What kinds?
Oh, salty most definitely. Cheeses, nuts, crackers, chips, and mixes; you know, the fattening kinds of snacks.

11. If you went into Bath and Body Works and could only come out with one item, what would it be and what would it smell like?
Probably a good soap, lotion, or shampoo. I'm not into wearing fragrance very much. The smell would be fresh and clean and not heavy at all.

12. Do you enjoy any other crafts or hobbies? Do you collect anything?
I knit, garden, and read. I enjoy baking and cooking and I crochet, cross stitch and sew a bit.

I have a collection of Waterford crystal and use to collect teacups and teapots, and the Byers Choice Christmas Caroler Dolls. Now I'd rather give these things away rather than collect them.

13. Are there any bag patterns you have not yet knit, but hope to someday?
Lots of them. The Plentiful Pocket Tote, (March 21), and also one of the entrelac bags.

14. What is currently OTN (on the needles) for you?
Chris Bylsma's Crayon Box Jacket, and Lily Chin's Central Park Ribbed "CONVERTIBLE" Coat.

15. What is your most recent finished object before that?
Besides the purses I was working on, a ladies vest .

16. What's cutest: Puppies, Piggies or Pixies?
Puppies, I love them, especially Lhasa Apso's and Spaniels.

17. Do you enjoy reading? Books, Magazines, or both?

18. Do you have any children? (kid-kind or pet-kind apply!)
A daughter, married with a daughter; a son, unmarried; and a Lhasa Apso named Maestro.

19. What are some of your favorite yarns for other projects?
I love soft and not scratchy yarns. If I'm going to wear it, I prefer it to not be wool or heavy cottons. I love trying any of the new fiber yarns.

20. And for the final question, one I see debated all over: Novelty Yarn: Love it! Hate it! or It depends!For the most part I don't like novelty yarns although I do think they have their place as an accent or way to embellish an item in some cases. I wouldn't say I hate them but I don't care to use or wear them much.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This is an early post, 3:15 a.m., but I finished my sleep and saw no need to stay in bed. I thought I'd get up and knit but decided I was hungry so made coffee and a bacon biscuit to share with Maestro; I want to not disturb Mr. Rō. If you are wondering why I am up so early, it's because I went to bed at 5:30 pm yesterday - all because of knitting. Actually what happened is, I received my partner's name for the Knitter's Treat Exchange yesterday afternoon and realized I should get the package in the post before we leave on Sunday for GA. We'll be away a week and I'm afraid the treat package might not make it to my partner on time if I wait. I don't want this to happen and have my partner wondering if I've forgotten her. These exchanges are wonderful fun but for anyone that hasn't experienced having a partner that doesn't interact with you, it's frustrating. Anyway, I took off for the local gift shop and the village yarn shop. This is Monday and we are a small village, so the gift shop was closed meaning I would have to drive into the city to get what I had in mind. I skipped the LYS and made the 17 mile drive, bought the items I had in mind (I won't tell what they are in case I'm found out) and took a walk around the mall. This is the first time I've been to a mall since I had started chemo and even though I'm not in treatment right now, I still don't have a lot of energy. Earlier in the morning I had cleaned the bathroom's linoleum floor, this was also a first time and without realizing it most of my energy for the day had been used up. By the time I got home I was totally exhausted and after trying to knit for a few minutes I decided I'd take a rest. Instead of a rest, I went to sleep and slept the night away.

I left a message on my downstream partner's blog and my upstream partner has made contact with me. Thank you Partner, for posting to let me know you are there.

Our weather is still very cold and we've lost the buds on some of the iris that had begun putting out in this pre-season warm weather. Hopefully they will recover and our bloom will still be good this year. My bleeding hearts were beautiful and they seem to have held on since they are in a sheltered area. The Helleborus of course don't mind the cold and look none the worse from the snow. I haven't been out to the vegetable garden where we had just set out another 25 strawberry plants and 25 'sweet onion' plants mid-week. Mr. Rō says the strawberry plants look okay but the onions are a bit droopy. I bought dahlia bulbs last week hoping to get them in the ground, perhaps its best that I wait another few weeks.

Think I have another cup of coffee and sort through my knitting for the trip.
Seedlings up for transplanting in another few weeks.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter 'Pocketbook'

This is a picture of my precious grand daughter in her little Easter dress and the 'pocketbook' that Grandmama-ma made for her. Isn't she cute, we adore her. I knitted the little bag and added a pink lining with kitty cats printed on it and filled it with candy, some change, and a bunny pen. I used velcro as a closure so that she could open and close the bag easily. Her mommie and daddy were taking her to the Easter Parade on the Avenues today to let her strut along with thousands of other people and their dressed up animals. It's a yearly event and always lots of fun with imaginative outfits (costumes), the Easter Bunny, music and dance, and of course lots of food vendors. I know she will have a grand time.

We had snow in Central VA, yesterday and it is so cold again; 21˚ at eight o'clock this morning. The sun is bright but it's mid-afternoon and still cold. The Easter Bunny won't hide too many eggs today I don't think.

I received a skein of yarn from my mystery swap partner this week and now have to figure out what to knit for her from one skein. It is Cascade wool so perhaps I'll knit something and then felt it. I love felting or fulling as some say, which is really the correct word but most people understand the word felting while not always understanding what fulling is. I 'm afraid the yarn I sent her isn't so forgiving as wool. I hope she won't mind too much. I sent a beautiful ball of On Line's Linie 11 Alpha yarn which is a DK weight. It was so soft and peachy I couldn't resist it.

I also bought some of Crystal Palace's Bamboozle this week thinking I would knit the socks on two needles with the whoduknit-knit-along. I haven't had time to start them so far but maybe before months end I will be able to begin them. The instructions for materials says Plymouth DK which I was unable to find in my area. I could have ordered, but needed to go by and see the women at my old LYS and of course that means buying something. The Bamboozle is beautiful and very soft. It is 55% bamboo, 24% cotton and 21% elastic nylon. Yum, not scratchy wool socks for me. Can't wait to use this yarn.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Knitting, Gardening & Maestor, the Lhasa Aposo

I've almost finished knitting the items that go with me to visit the family; I have about 15 rows left on a triangle shawl I'm knitting out of Crystal Palace's yarn, Shimmer. The drape is very pretty and I think it will make a nice wrap to wear with almost anything and anywhere. I hope my sister will like it. It's hard for me to know what my older sister will like because they are quite a bit older than I and we've not lived close enough together for the last 40 years to visit often. On the other hand, I feel very close to my nieces and nephew. I am the youngest child of 10 and there is a nephew and two nieces older than I. Knitting for the family has been a lot of fun. As soon as we return from the GA trip I will knit a bag for the friends we will be visiting in NJ at the end of May and then I'm going to be knitting for myself for a long period of time. I have several projects that need to be finished that I'm anxious to get back to. And oh, I almost forgot, I have the Whoduknit project to do for my partner which will take precedence over the others. Have to come up with something rather wonderful to knit from one skein of yarn.

The last couple of days have been beautiful here and we've taken advantage of them. Yesterday after we returned home from having another Pet-scan, Mr Rõ got the tiller out and worked in the vegetable garden for a couple of hours. I sat in the garage with the doors up and sorted through a few more un-packed boxes. Why am I doing this? The boxes have been setting in the same spot for two years, since we moved, and I haven't needed anything in them in all this time. Why do I need to go through them again; I should just pitch everything.

Today Mr Rõ tilled some more and I actually raked a few leaves from around the potting bench out behind the shed. I don't have the energy to do very much at a time but it feels so wonderful to be outside and watch my plants (which are still in pots from the move) putting out. Surprisingly they have survived two hot, dry summers in their little pots. I do hope to see them in the ground this year. We have a SDB (standard dwarf bearded) iris (photo of Plum Wine on side-bar) in bloom. This is really early for central VA and oh how 'The Head' has swollen. He took pictures and ask me to e-mail them to a couple of his male friends – bragger! These men are so funny when it comes to their iris, always wanting to beat the others at being first, having the most, having the last, having the only one. What fun.

Later this afternoon we setup some chairs under the cedar trees and I knitted while Maestro teased his dad. Maestro would pretend he to walk over to the property next door and wait for his dad would call him back. Of course Maestro pretended he didn't hear so his dad would get up and come to him. This baby is so like a child, sweet, smart (I think he has a college degree), and cunning. Tomorrow he goes to the groomer for a bath and haircut. He doesn't like the idea of going but once he is back home he is wild with excitement. What a charmer.


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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