Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bird's Eye View

Yesterday, I checked on the little ones again. It appears that they are doing well.

I am afraid the wreath will never be the same again, and if a good wash doesn't change its appearance once the babies have taken flight, it will be in the dumpster.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Within My Reach

A cup of tea.

On the needles, a knitting project
or two,
or possibly, three.

A stack of knitted squares.

Yarn waiting to be used.

What more do I need?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sweet & Sour

I was a pinch knitter for the last section of Chocolate Covered Cherries, a West Coast Oddball Baby Blanket.

This sweet blanket was knit on size 6 needles and is 90 stitches wide, so it is destined to be a preemie blanket. Preemie blankets for the West Coast Oddball Knitters are sent to Children's Hospital in Denver, CO

Update: May 2, 2009

I started another preemie blanket on the empty needles. I named this one, Lemon Drop.

Update: August 2, 2009

Lemon Drop is now ready for a border.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Answering the Call

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the military, and I simply melt at the sight of a man in a crisp dress uniform. So answering the call to knit for the troops was an easy decision.

I read an article in the Winter 2008/2009 issue of knitsimple about Operation Helmetliner.

When I checked out the pattern, I knew that it was something that I could knit without any trouble.

I used wool reclaimed from a thrift shop sweater. After I washed the wool last summer, I labeled it Silver Birchwood because the color is so intriguing. I think it makes a perfect helmet liner and neck gator.

I have three more skeins of this yarn, and I plan to use all of it for this project.

Earlier this week the Wyoming National Guard deployed nearly 800 guardsmen for duty overseas. The gators and helmet liners will be knit in their honor.

If you have appropriate wool (color, weight, and yardage), please consider making at least one item for this cause.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mystery of Life

The babies have arrived! Of course, it is too early to see much in the nest, but the eggs have hatched and little fur balls are in their place. I am sure things are going to get busy and noisy in the nest soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day Knit-in

Yesterday, a small group of knitters and recyclers met on Main Street for a Earth Day Knit-in.

The woman who organized the gathering is an avid recycler and a talented artist. Two years ago, Kathi began rescuing clothing and turning them into works of art. She planned a recycling show for the community and challenged people to create something from the cast-offs. She gathered clothing and rented a storage unit; and then doled out the bounty to crafters. I cannot even imagine how many tons of clothing were kept from the landfill due to her efforts.

For her recycling show, Kathi turned blue jeans into 3-D sculpture and tailored a covering for a collapsible gazebo out of blue jeans. She turned sweatshirts and T-shirts into tote bags. Kathi made a skirt entirely out of labels cut from garments and turned old clothing into stylish and modern garments.

For today's Knit-in, Kathi brought a huge bin of 1 inch strips cut from T-shirts. As we sat in front of the ReStore (a place where salvaged building materials can be purchased) we knit those strips into rugs and trivets. I made a small trivet in no time on the size 19 needles.

If you are interested in knitting a T-shirt rug, I would advise purchasing a circular needle. The straight needles work well for the trivets, but to make a sizable rug, a circular needle would be best.

When I finished the trivet, I worked on a helmet liner for the troops, using wool I reclaimed from a thrift shop sweater.

Several people stopped by to ask questions and to see what we were doing. One or two of those who stopped may pursue making a rug out of recycled T-shirts because Kathi offered to give them bags of free T-shirts. I requested some of the T-shirts in her stash so I can make a rug for my bathroom.

What did you do on Earth Day?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Summer Sky

Since I was the last knitter on Neon Rainbow, I started a new Oddball Baby Blanket on the empty needles.

This new blanket is named Summer Sky.

Update: June 16, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Over the Rainbow

Yesterday, I received Neon Rainbow in the mail and added the purple (and last section) to this West Coast Oddball Baby Blanket. The finished blanket will now be sent to the next person, who will add a border.

Neon Rainbow was knit entirely in garter stitch on size 8 needles. Every knitter used Caron Simply Soft Bright yarn for their section.

Update: June 11, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, April 20, 2009

Outside My Window. . . a beautiful day is in the making: clear blue sky, birds chattering in the trees, and a slight breeze flapping the flag. Last week's snow has melted, encouraging the world to come out of its winter slumber.

I am thinking. . . of opening up the house today and letting in some fresh air.

I am thankful... for a Monday morning at home. I switched shifts with another volunteer, so I will work this afternoon at the hospital.

In the kitchen... an early lunch is in the works - leftovers (planned overs from last night's meal).

I am wearing... casual clothes: a tee and some khaki pants

I am creating... some knitted items for the troops: neck gators for now.

I am planning... knit some helmet liners, in addition to the neck gators. The CitizensSAM site has more information.

I am reading... Toxic Bachelors by Danielle Steel.

I am praying... for my neighbor who is still hospitalized.

I am hearing... the chattering of birds in my yard. They are very busy this morning, gathering and singing.

One of my favorite things... hearing the first meadowlark, a sure sign of Spring. I always hear, "Gee, you're a funny creature!" in their song. It never fails to make me smile. I really miss their cheerful songs in the fall and winter.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week. . . a) attend a Health Talk seminar, b) lunch with a new support group member, c) finish some knitting projects.

A quote worth sharing. . .

Your fences need to be
and bull-strong.

~ Old Farmers Advice ~

~If you'd like to participate in The Simple Woman's Daybook (each Monday), you can visit The Simple Woman's blog here. To get instructions for participating, click on The Simple Woman's Daybook icon in her sidebar.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday Fun

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday morning than playing with wool? Perhaps, but several Fiber Guild members gathered to make "wet felted" balls and prepared some dry balls to be felted in the washing machine for the Guild Christmas tree.

First, roving was carded into batts. Aligning the wool fibers all in the same direction makes felting easier.

The wool is carefully removed from the carding drum.

Then a handful of odd bits of roving are then blanketed in the batt.

For "wet felting" the balls were submerged in hot water and then dish soap was applied to the ball. The wool is then worked to allow the fibers to adhere to each other.

We rubbed, rolled, dipped, rubbed, rolled, and dipped for about 15 minutes. Gradually the balls became more compact.

Once they were the size that we wanted, the balls were rinsed in cold water until the water ran clear.

The dry balls were prepared the same way, but they were placed in an old pair of nylons with knots between each ball. One of the ladies will felt the wool balls, knotted in three pair of panty hose, in her washing machine.

The felted balls will be embellished at the next Guild meeting.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Water, Water, Everywhere

Please pray for the people living along the Red River in North Dakota. My sister, who lives in Fargo, ND, sent these photos today. These pictures, taken on April 15, 2009, are from the Northern part of the Red River Valley near the US and Canadian border.

She said, "The river is starting to drop again for the second time. However, it will probably be 10 days to 2 weeks before we can get in the fields even at the research farm. Some farmers may not get in the fields at all."

The landscape is so flat that flooding is inevitable, but the devastation is incredible. Large parts of small town/rural ND are being devastated by flood water. Please continue to include them in your prayers.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I Miss. . .

Is it just me, or does it bother anyone else that people talk loudly and openly on cell phones about very private matters. It is nearly impossible to not eavesdrop on their conversations.

I Miss. . . telephone booths - places where people actually went to talk privately. I wish I had taken photos of the phone booths that used to be scattered around my community.

I Miss. . .pay telephones. Does everyone really have their own cell phone? Have you ever tried to find a pay telephone in your area? They are becoming more and more scarce. I know there is one in the hospital lobby, but frankly, that is the only place that I've actually seen one in my community. Even this phone is in an open area with only a box on the wall surrounding it, no privacy at all.

Cell phones have given us freedom, but they have robbed us of our sense of privacy.

Two phone booths at a rest area
on Route 30 just outside Mansfield, Ohio
photo by scottamus on Flikr

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Welcome to My World

Look what I woke up to this morning!

About 5 inches of moisture-packed snow covers the ground, and it's still falling. I keep telling myself that the moisture is good, but any other positive thoughts are long gone. When is Spring ever going to get here?

Recycling Vintage Calendars

Remember linen calendars? When I lived at home, my mother had at least one hanging in the kitchen, and over the years, she had quite a collection.

What can be done with an outdated linen calendar? After I washed and ironed them, I turned them into tote bags for shopping or for crafts, using this technique on What's That Gonna Be?

The bags are lined with some fabric from my stash, making them reversible.

A lady in my knitting group gave me a large cotton tea towel from New Zealand several weeks ago. I made it into a bag with shoulder straps. She was delighted when I gave the bag to her Tuesday night.

I rescued this souvenir towel at the garage sale earlier this month. It also has longer, shoulder straps.

Some people may think I am crazy for ruining these vintage calendars, but at least now, they are out of storage and can be useful.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Best Laid Plans

"The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew. . ."

~ "To A Mouse" by Robert Burns ~

Sometimes things just don't work out as they are planned. I wanted to make the beautiful Snowflake Star, but for some reason my finished product is a deformed mess. I was hoping to make this snowflake ornament for the Fiber Guild tree, but I am not going to try the pattern again.

I did try the Fancy Yet Easy Ornament, and the result resembles the photo that was posted with the pattern. The pattern is no longer available online, but it was designed by Terry Liann Morris - SailingKnitter.

As cute as it is, it doesn't look like a snowflake, so it will not be submitted for the Guild tree.

The hunt for an easy, knitted snowflake pattern goes on.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On the Wing

Update: four pale blue eggs with brown spots are now visible in the nest. I think it is a house finch nest, but I am not sure.

Another type of bird was spotted in my yard yesterday, but this one came from my knitting needles.

Fremont Fiber Guild members are decorating a seven foot tree for the local Festival of Trees in December, and the group decided to use red or gold decorations, created from wool and other natural fibers.

Last summer, I reclaimed a vibrant, red sweater made of lambswool, and the yarn worked perfectly for this project. I experimented with various patterns, but many of them just didn't look right or were confusing to knit. I found a cute bird ornament by Mel on Slip Slip Knit.

The tail was frogged twice before the directions made sense to me. I'll show this prototype to guild members at Knitting Group tonight. I know they will be pleased with the result and will request the pattern. I plan to make two birds for the tree and maybe one for myself.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, April 13, 2009

Outside My Window. . . the sky is gray and dreary. It was clear earlier, but now a spring storm is moving into the area. I only hope that the moisture will be in a more liquid form than the past weeks' storms. I am glad that the snow has melted, giving the lawns around town a much needed drink. My yard is beginning to turn from a drab beige to a fresh green.

I am thinking. . . about my neighbor, as he is back in the hospital.

I am thankful... for all the fresh produce and fruit featured in the grocery store. I purchased some asparagus and strawberries on Saturday. Nothing tastes more like Spring than asparagus. When I lived on the farm, every year I to hunt for wild asparagus along the ditch banks and in old farm yards. The location of these patches were a well guarded secret. I wonder if anyone has discovered my treasure and if they enjoy it as much as I did.

On a plate in the kitchen... are the crumbs of my lunch - an egg salad sandwich, a fresh tomato, and some cold, steamed asparagus.

I am wearing... some comfy sweats.

I am creating... or attempting to create a knitted bird for the Fiber Guild Christmas tree. One pattern was a major flop, but the one I am working on now has potential.

I am planning... the April issue of the support group newsletter.

I am reading... my way through a stack of magazines. Sometimes I read them as soon as the arrive in the mail, but lately, they have been gathering dust near my knitting chair.

I am praying... that my neighbor bounces back quickly from this latest health issue.

I am hearing... the steady ticking and a slight whir of the wall clock. It is preparing to strike the hour.

One of my favorite things... a vine-ripened tomato still warm from the sun.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week. . . a) conference call tomorrow, b) finish the knitted bird, c) prepare the newsletter, d) Fiber Guild meeting.

A quote worth sharing. . .

"I've got to keep my priorities in order: my faith, my family, and being of service through my work. The minute those priorities are out of order, my coping skills go out the window.

A friend used to say, 'JOY: Jesus, Others, You.' I write the code word, JOY, on a scrap of paper and put it on my bathroom mirror so when I brush my teeth I see it."

~ Kathy Ireland ~

~If you'd like to participate in The Simple Woman's Daybook (each Monday), you can visit The Simple Woman's blog here. To get instructions for participating, click on The Simple Woman's Daybook icon in her sidebar.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

3 R's: read, rate, & recommend

March's reading list was not as impressive as January and February, and as usual, I enjoyed some more than others. I highly recommend the books with four or five stars: they offer more than mere entertainment.

The book I enjoyed the most during March was The Gingerbread Girl by Stephen King. This novella, published in 2008, was so unlike all of the other Stephen King books that I've read (nothing other worldly in the pages of this book). It is a good thriller.

The bomb of the month was a "mystery" by Carol Higgins Clark, titled Zapped. When I picked up the book, I mistook the author for Mary Higgins Clark, which I later discovered is Carol's mother. Even though this is the eleventh book she has authored (it was published in 2008), she has a lot to learn to match her mother's skills. Carol Higgins Clark has co-authored four novels with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark.

Five Stars
Sundays at Tiffanys by James Patterson
The Gingerbread Girl by Stephen King

Four Stars

Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
Lost Lake by Philip Margolin
1st to Die by James Patterson

Three Stars


Two Stars


One Star

Zapped by Carol Higgins Clark

Friday, April 10, 2009

April Sampler Blocks

April's blocks for my Sampler Quilt are finished.

April blocks

Capital T
Baby Four-Patch

March blocks

Tudor Rose
Mrs. Keller's Nine Patch

February blocks

All Hallows
Old Maid's Puzzle

I like how all of the blocks look together. With any luck, this may turn into an attractive quilt top.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

At a Snail's Pace

Honestly, I am working on the cropped cardigan, but for some reason it is not progressing very quickly. I haven't knit one stitch on it for over a week. I think once I get past the sleeves, I will become more motivated to finish.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Square Knitting

A call went out for more squares in the All Crafts for Charity group, and I was happy to use more of the donated yarn. This type of knitting is easy to throw into a bag and take to doctor's appointments and other places when waiting is expected. I have a stack of squares ready to mail and two on the needles that I want to finish before I send the package.

I am using size 8 needles, casting on 30 stitches, and knitting every row until I have a 7 inch square (28 ridges) for my gauge.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Off Limits

Yesterday was beautiful - sunny and much warmer. I went out to remove the holiday wreath from the shed, but something caught my eye as I put my hands on each side.

The wreath will stay where it is for now because I simply cannot remove it while the birds are nesting.

Look closer. Do you see what I see?

Two eggs are nestled in the small nest.

This nest is strictly off limits for the Easter Egg Hunt.
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