Dec 22, 2006

Only 3 days left to ?*&%^$

Christmas time again....

Only time will tell how it all turns out this year.
Today will be a fun knitting day: I hope to finish Ella...and I am thinking about blocking it, praying that it will truly not pooch after the blocking. The buzz about this piece is that the pooch will dissappear after a good bocking. We'll see. That's the "petal dish cloth on the left up them. The pic on the right is a wonderful yarn, Claudia Handpainted in "Oops!" colorway. I had seen it on the internet and lusted for a while, and when it turned up in the basket at a yarn store I figured it was fate.

I am almost done with one of a pair of socks, using this green yarn with a little red mixed in. Sounds like the holidays, but not really for me. I like to wear red and I like to wear green and this one doesn't really scream "Christmas". It just subtley fits in wherever it needs to. I hope. What do you think?

My second daughter is a morning sleeper. She just loves to sleep in, but when I went in early this morning and offered to teach her how to cast off of the scarf she knit for her cousin, she was out in a flash and working on it with me. Done. Love it.
I am reading another Gene Stratton-Porter book, "Freckles". So far it is another great one. Maybe it will even approach the glory of "The Keeper of the Bees". Doubt it, but maybe.

Dec 13, 2006

back again

Hello friends,

The crazy, pre-Christmas schedule has finished for us. Winter Wonderland has bit the stardust, soccer tournaments have faded into past glory, the 11-year old sleepover is toast and we are now able to slow down and enjoy the season. Halleluiah!

First and foremost, Knitting!

I love how my two oldest girls have "taken" to knitting. They have made a beautiful bag together (Booga Bag by Black Sheep Bags) and the eldest has made close to 10 hats (with a 2X2 rib throughout) using Noro silk graden. Yum! I am so very proud of them both.

As for me, I have made progress on the Ella Shawl! I am 2/3 done and going for more!

I also finished the chocolate brown socks! I Love how soft they are! What a wonderful yarn.

Completed as well are 6 petal dish-cloths, using the peaches n cream. I like to USE the dishcloths becuase they squish so well, clean so well and really work! I also like how fast they knit up...just a couple of hours! However, I really am sick of knitting with that yarn. It feels like string and it feels harsh on the hands! I wish there were another option that actually felt good to knit with and still stood up to a dish-cloth job. I asked around at the local yarn store and they had no alternative yarn suggestions. Oh, well...maybe in heaven.

On the finished list is also my own booga bag! I so love using it and mentally begging people to notice. The photos at top are my Ella Shawl, more photos coming soon!

Oct 13, 2006

Casting on party

This is the season for crisp air, gorgeous cloud formations, and putting out colorful leaf decor (because in So. Cal there aren't really any true seasons).
Most importantly, it is the season for casting on new knitting projects. For me, this season began with a party. Yes, a party! As a break from my normal routine of homeschooling (and added new routine of spending extra time and care with my dad), a wonderful knitting friend brought over a party. We had it all: yarn and needles, sushi (a whole feast of it!)and margaritas, and last, but not least, funny videos. We cast on to the Ella shawl (second picture down):

and also cast on a soft, amazing yarn to make a basic sock with just two cables. Fun, lovely and oh, so fall.

By the way, the Ella shawl is using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Gold Hill. The sock is Debbie Bliss baby Cashmerino in chocolate. This is true friendship. My knitting friend leads me in paths of knitting righteousness for the fiber and family's sake! She even shares in my desire to buy and cast-on more than I should. Thanks, Tammy!

Ok. So here's the rest of the cast-on madness: next I received my favorite needles in a whole kit in the mail:

and also got some yarn for a shawl for my daughter...see how happy she is:

I even cast on (again) for the Booga Bag by Black Sheep Bags with the big Kureyon, but this time used side 13 needles instead of 10:

And that sock is a new cast-on, too. Sorry it's so blurry. Or is it my eyes? I think there's more I've cast on in the last few days...I can't keep it all straight. Maybe I've bit off more than I can chew? We'll see...

Oct 9, 2006

Stories for fun

Today's blog is about yarns on the printed page, the ones who inspire and entertain.

First of all let me tell you about some of fabulous books we've been reading for history for our family time. I am learning this stuff for the first time...anicent history with Mesopotamia and Egypt, Caldeaans and even back to the Flood. And it's fun, really! "In Search of Tutahnkamun" by Piero Ventura was a great overview of his life and so much fun for us all. It has pictures on every page and covers a snippet of his life and life in Ancient Egypt on each page. Very easy to get through, and covers it all well. Now I just wish that the King Tut exhibit would come back.

Next "Pyramid" by David McCaulay was so fun, we just could stop reading it! Yes, it's short...but I had planned to slowly do a little bit at a time. We just couldn't do it! It was so cool to see how they could really have been built...and the engineering! It was understandable! We were so inspired, my 9 y/o made a great model at the park the next dayl.

Then fiction works set at the end of time historical period have also been great. We're just getting to "Antony and Cleoplatra" but have recently finished "God King" by Joanne Williamson, a terrific book about Egypt after its glory days. Although it is fiction, it gave us a great picture of Egyptian life for it's rulers, and this was in a time when Kush, the land to the south, had conquered it and taken over Egypt by making it all one big 'Egypt'.

Now for the adult stuff. Not history for the sake of understanding our past, but for the continued entertainment of this adult mom:
Of course you have heard of Sherlock Holmes. But, did you know that he was real? OK, not really. However, a series of mysteries by Laurie King takes the character and gives him new life by having our 15 year old female protagonist meet him and come under his tuteledge. Sound silly? Preposterous? I thought so too. Then I obeyed my mother (always wise) when she said I HAD to read it. I liked it. Now I want to know if you liked it too. Dumb premiss done right?

Oct 5, 2006

Perspective (and celebrity sightings)

To everything there is a time and a season under heaven. Well, for me and mine this has not been a time of blogging, but instead has been the time for our family to love and serve my dad. He's in hospice care and we are pulling together to make this a special time for all of us.

This has left time for sitting by his bedside, talking about options for his health, seeing nurses and doctors, making healthy meals for him, reading to my children, knitting (of course) and generally keeping close to home (and mom and dad's home). While these events were rumbling through our lives, my wonderful husband has been fighting the fires here in So Cal and was at work for a whole week and a half! He's home now - whew! With all that and new floors being installed in our own home, we have been a little stretched!

This is why I have been so very blessed to call on my good friends and to have them pour out their compassion (in the form of entertainment for our kids, companionship, meals, phone calls , starbucks, and even compulsive yarn buying with me - thanks Tammy) on me. I love the reminders to think about what is true, pure, lovely, etc, and the reminders that we are all in the hands of our trustworthy, loving Lord. Please pray for us in the blessed and trying time.

On a lighter note...I did get an extra bonus last week as I left park day with me kids. We stopped at the LYS to return some Noro Silk Garden and a funny circular needle and ...I saw a knitting celebrity! While I gushed and babbled like a starstruck oaf, this wonderful maven of the knitting world, Wendy, chatted with my kids and behaved as graciously as possible. Sorry you missed it, Tammy!

Now, it is far, far too late at night and I am wanting to show off my socks that I just finished:

Aug 12, 2006

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Completed Projects

Okay here are the hats I was finished with late last night over the next episode of Upstairs, Downstairs:
(There is also the casting on of the next one)

Lovely colors, aren't they?

I was thinking of giving these to my neices for Christmas gifts.

Next, my son wanted desperately for me to include him in this blog, in all his sweater glory. Out of the kindness of my heart, I took pity on him and decided to show you a sweater I finished several months ago...not a new one. But for him, I include it. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I want to brag....really!) LOL

This sweater is made of Karabella Aurora Melange in a pattern from Knitting Pure and Simple. What a joy to knit with. This is my very favorite yarn so far. Try it!

Lastly, lest you think I knitted all three of those hats last night, let me assure you that they each took me several hours, and two of them were completed weeks ago. I just work on them for a few minutes at a time when I need a break from other projects.
Do you see the filled-to-the-brim bookcase? Can you help me find room for more?

Late nights

Here I am, up late at night and doing two of my favorite things. Re-arranging the bookshelves to see if they just might hold more (Nope, no room; what can I get rid of?) and casting on for another hat. Oh, and watching "Upstairs and Downstairs" on DVD because I missed it in the early seventies when it first appeared. I guess that's three.

Boxes come to our house every day. Boxes (and boxes and boxes) of books for this school year. Two more boxes came today and I even graciously let my daughter open the boxes for me. This time, a beautiful book on animals of all kinds called "Zoo Guide" and a stunning and easy lesson book on watercolor called "The Days of Creation" both by AIG. The other box held "The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy" from I think the UPS man knows us by now, and I couldn't be more delighted. I feel like a kid in a candy store. I've even kept up on my own reading. More Gene Stratton-Porter (my favorite new author find) and Esther Estes' "Ginger Pye" which is a book I am reading for my daughters. They want it for our Girls Book Club and I've got to pre-read it before I send 15 girls out to read this book! Has anymore read any John Piper? What a man! His perspective is so true and straightforward. I've been listening to him with my own husband John on a Family Life radio recording. I think we need to find his "Don't Waste Your Life" book and read it now. We are also reading his "Desiring God" book together. Very worthwhile.

Next, I got to sit in front of the TV and knit (and watch) and knit. I finished one hat and did a good beginning on another. I'll have to take a picture and show you all. This will make four cute hats when I am done. It's an easy pattern from the LYS (local yarn shop) and knits upwith a skein of Noro silk garden. The silk garden changes color slowly throught the piece so you get a nice slow wavy stripe of perfectly blended color. I'll take a pic tomorrow.

Can you tell I have had more than my share of coffee this evening? It makes me even more likely to enthuse about my adventures. Can you also tell I am feeling better?

Oh, and happy birthday mom!

Aug 9, 2006

The World Starts to SPIN

No, I don't mean spinning, as in spinning wool or alpaca. I mean spinning fast.

How did we begin such a flurry with four weeks left of summer?! Seriously, the last two weeks have defied rational explanation. Now I KNOW that summer has not really ended... but how, then, did our days get so very filled with paperwork and appointments? No pool, or beach, or even play dates for the kids. The lazy summer schedule of fun in the sun has eluded us poor souls.
Now, as fate would have it, our household has gotten a nasty bug. My son Mark has a 101 temp and I am dragging myself with the same thing. Two of my three other daughters are showing signs as well. Here we go...

PS I would very much like to learn to spin, as in wool or alpaca.

Jul 27, 2006

Books of late

Hello Everyone (Any luck Krista?)

Talk about some good books. I have finished three lately and want to enthuse about them. Read on only if you can handle the fervor!

Phillippa Gregory's "A Constant Princess" about Catherine of Aragorn is one good reason I continue to enjoy historical fiction. The author weaves in history so well with a really good tale, it is effortless learning. My only concern is confusing the fiction part and history part! I do feel like I got a good flavor of the time and the setting, and am highly motivated to learn all about it now. Any ideas?

My favorite book completed recently is "The Keeper of the Bees" (I think I already mentioned reading this one). I cannot recommend it enough. It is by Gene Stratton-Porter and was a beautiful story. Pain, honor, delight, nature, and love are all themes. The characters are beautifully written, round and engaging, with everyday humanity and touches of extraordinary heroism. God is there, too. Couldn't ask for anything better.

I also just finished Victoria Thompson's next gaslight mystery, "Murder in Little Italy". It was a quick bit of fun and adventure! The setting is New York City during the era of gaslights, and our heroine is the daughter of the extreme wealthy but who rejects the power of her station and lives on her own, supporting herself by providing midwife services to the poor. Read the first one in the series first, though. (Mom, you've got to return that one soon...or give it to me to return for you!)

Next I go to "Arundel" by Kenneth Roberts. Anybody know if this is a good one? Love to know before I start.

Jul 24, 2006

Summer of Fun

This one is me sitting at my kids end-of-year production. Yes, I've got my knitting even at important family functions! I was making my youngest daughter a cardigan for cool summer evenings and it's done now and she loves it. The pattern is by "Sirdar Kids in Cotton" and I used Tahki Cotton Classic DK weight in several matching colors. The knitting went well, although this was my most difficult project as yet, but the embroidery sent me for a "loop"! Next time I'll have to practice more before doing embroidery on things I want to show off. Now I am working on another pattern in the same yarn. I really liked the way the mercurized cotton by Tahki feels when I knit it. It is soft, but has a body to it that I like. It has a nice drape to it when knitted in a simple stockingette.

Jul 18, 2006

A new World

I am entering a new world here. Tammy has led the way, and now I follow. "I Love a Good Yarn" because I love a great story and I love a good fiber to knit with. Sort of a double entendre...definitely geeky, but there it is!

I am so in love with books at the many good ones have come to my house this week. I can't wait to get to them all. History books, fairy tales, bible reference and more. Let the education begin!

I just finished two great books, and am reading several others...I'll share more on that later. I also just finished a sweater for my youngest sweet girl, a cardigan out of a coral cotton. Life is good.