Friday, April 29, 2011

Foreign Friday

On-base housing
Bachelor Officer Quarters (BOQ)
April 1980

My BOQ was directly across from base headquarters and the base flag poles. The flags are at half-staff to honor the service men killed during Operation Eagle Claw.

Throughout the year, flags were lowered daily at 4 PM. During the ceremony, the national anthems of Japan and the United States were played over the public address system and could be heard all over the base. Everything, and I mean everything, on base stopped during that time: vehicles pulled over to the side of the road and pedestrians stopped in their tracks and faced the flag poles even if they were blocks away and the flags were not visible. I always got goose bumps when I heard the anthems.

The Star-Spangled Banner was also played before movies in base theaters, and everyone in the theater stood at attention. One time the recording stopped abruptly, and without hesitation everyone began singing where it left off.

I left Japan with more respect for my country and those who sacrifice to protect her.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Woven Ribbons

Not much happened at my house right now, so I will share a quilt that was on display at the Winter Quilt Show in February.

I was drawn to the vibrant colors and the way they appeared to be woven.

It didn't surprise me to see that it was not for sale: who could part with such a beautiful quilt?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Just One Star

United Notions and Moda Fabrics are collecting blocks of medium red or blue stars with cream backgrounds for the Just One Star program. The directions for the stars can be found here and a tutorial can be found here.

The collected blocks will be made into quilts for the men and women who bravely serve in the Armed Forces. They hope to collect 1,800 star blocks to make 100 quilts, but I am sure they will be able to make many more quilts since it is just as easy to make two or more blocks. Please consider making Just One Star, and don't forget to sign your blocks.

Mailing instructions are on the pattern, but note the deadline is May 1, 2011. You still have time.

Won't you please make Just One Star.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Is Risen!

He is Risen, indeed!


May you and your family have a Blessed Easter

Friday, April 22, 2011

Foreign Friday

Hanami party under the Sakura
April 1980

The custom of picnicking under the blooming cherry trees is ancient and still practiced in Japan. Sake (rice wine), food, friends, and music are the main ingredients of a good party.

The audio of Sakura Sakura can be found here. It is a haunting, beautiful song.

DOD teachers gather 
for a Hanami under the cherry trees
Misawa AF base
April 1980

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prairie Labyrinth

Sheila asked me last week if I wanted to walk a prairie labyrinth with her before my up-coming surgery, and yesterday was the day we selected for our outing. I had no idea my community even had a labyrinth and had never been to one, so this was a unique opportunity. Labyrinths can be located by using this online tool.

Several years ago, Sheila's husband helped a friend plan and create the labyrinth, using natural elements, and it is open to the public. At first glance, it appears to be just another rock-strewn hillside, but once on the path, the pattern is clearly seen.

It contained four distinct sections with the path outlined with white, red, black, and brown rocks in those areas.
Native plants dotted the paths: some tiny like this cluster of flowers, the blooms smaller than a pencil eraser and others imposing yuccas with last year's seed pods attached to dried stalks.
Many of the sandstone rocks had lichen in interesting shapes and several colors.

The view surrounding the labyrinth was expansive and breath-taking.

As we sat in the center of the labyrinth, Sheila and I shared thoughts and observations. I would like to return another day with a notebook to jot down some of those thoughts.

I would definitely take something to leave in the center for others to ponder. 

Thanks, Sheila for sharing this special place with me. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If the Sock Fits. . .

For the last week, I've knit socks from the larger balls of scrap, superwash wool, resulting in three pair of short-cuffed socks. I like to wear this style of socks around the house. 

Part of the reason scrap yarn hangs around my house longer than normal is that I don't have enough to knit socks for my size 10+ feet; however, these socks may fit some of my readers. They not Cinderella's slippers, but if the socks fit, they could be yours.

 Woman's size 7 - 8.  

Woman's size 5 - 6.

Woman's size 8 - 9.

If these socks will fit you or someone you know, leave a comment stating what size you would like to win. The winners' names will be chosen on April 28, 2011.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Claiming Ground - a review

Last Thursday, in celebration of National Library Week, author Laura Bell discussed her memoir, Claiming Ground at Central Wyoming College. 

My neighbor gave me the book last summer, and after reading it, I shared it with my knitting group. I enjoyed Laura's unique, almost lyrical, writing style, the vivid descriptions, and her unexpected adventures, which mostly took place in Wyoming. 

Several audience members on Thursday mentioned that Laura's speaking/reading voice matched what they "heard" when they read the book. 

Claiming Ground begins with Laura's first adventure after graduating from college in 1977 -  herding sheep at an isolated sheep camp in Wyoming's Big Horn Basin. She invites the reader to share the joys and sorrows of her life as she wanders from place to place, working as a sheep herder, a ranch hand, a forest ranger, an outfitter, a masseuse, a wife and a mother. I was in awe of her independence and courage, especially working in fields that are traditionally dominated by men. 

On Thursday, Laura read excerpts from Claiming Ground, explained the process of turning her diaries and journals into a memoir, and answered questions. 

In addition to the hardcover edition, an audio version is also available. It will be offered in paperback this week. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz, another Oddball baby blanket, is being knit on size 9 needles. Each section will represent a something from the story.

Completed sections:
Green - Emerald City
Blue - Munchkins
Gray - Tin Man

Sections to be knit:
Red - Dorothy's Ruby Slippers
Brown - Cowardly Lion
Yellow - Yellow Brick Road

Update: June 21, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Foreign Friday

 Sakura near Robert D. Edgren High School
Misawa, Japan
April 1980

Misawa Air Force Base has numerous Japanese cherry trees, and when they bloomed, it was heavenly.

Japanese Cherry Trees
 in front of the BOQs
April 1980

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Fling

Started January 2011
Completed April 2011

Border added by Kae. Doesn't she do a wonderful job?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Swap Completed

Aren't the placemats JulieK made for our swap perfect for Spring and Summer? I know they will brighten my meals.

JulieK also included a mug mat/coaster in gorgeous plaids. Those who read Julie's blog know that she makes beautiful quilts from plaids: my favorites can be seen here, here, and here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Cupid, a West Coast Oddball blanket, is being knit on size 10 needles. I used the Checks and Ridges stitch for my section.

Update: May 6, 2011

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