Saturday, October 27, 2012

Finishing Stuff

I am on a mission: To Finish Stuff I have started and get to those projects that have been lurking in my bags and baskets. This is one: Another Pi Shawl using Araucania sock yarn. Stitch patterns include Cat's Paw, Old Shale, Crest of the Wave and Print of the Wave. I am starting the 5th repeat of Crest of the Wave and have a total of 8 repeats before beginning Print of the Wave. The name of this shawl is Cat at the Seashore.

Chrome vs Foxfire

I have been trying unsuccessfully to log onto blogger for weeks using Google Chrome. I keep getting a message that Blogger has not been enabled by administrator at domain....blah blah blah. THEN I had a brainstorm....try Firefox. TA DA! Note to self: DO NOT try to use Google Chrome browser to access my blog!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Susan's Shawl

TA DA! Finally finished! I ended up having tons of yarn left and so I did one more repeat for seven wedges instead of the six called for in the pattern....and a good thing I did! It rolls to the front quite nicely and drapes wonderfully. The beads were a nice touch and added to the drape. My friend, Linda, helped me with the photo shoot. I will have more, and better, photos soon.....she is much better at this photo stuff than I am. Thanks again, Linda! By the way, I really enjoyed our girls day out....

Monday, July 2, 2012

Benefits of Country Living

I had intended this post to be about my latest finished project, but the sight that greeted me this morning when I looked out the living room window changed my mind. I had missed a shot at a doe and her fawn last week but was able to get the following pics of her and her twins!

The quality of the photos is not the best as I was shooting from some distance and using the zoom feature on my Sony Cyber-shot.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Long Hot Summer

In my last post I mentioned the really bad summer we had last year being a reason for container gardening this summer. Just to emphasis that I went out and took some photos of the yard as it is now. Notice the stumps: those trees all died in the drought last summer....6 large pine trees, 5 large cedars and several ash trees. I scanned back a ways for the first photo for you to see the other dead cedars yet to be cut down.

We are hoping and praying that this year will not be as bad, but with the temperatures already in the 90's in June we are expecting it to be bad again. At least we have had some rain so far. Last year we had very little rain in the spring and none at all after the first of June.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Container Gardening

I really, really need to get some flower beds made where there is full sun. The existing beds are in the shade most of the day, the ground is packed and they won't hold water. Also, the iris need to be divided and have more room to grow. I have a spot in mind to get ready for fall and in the meantime I am growing a few things in containers since we had such a terrible summer last year. At least it will be easier to water what I have growing.

The chives I dug up from where I once had an herb garden. I am also going to plant a sweet potato vine, some ginger and some garlic. I dug some dayflower vines from along the creek to put in a hanging basket, not sure if that will work or not.

I have lemon balm, oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary in one large pot, English lavender in another pot and spearmint in another.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Dallas Arboretum

Several weeks ago a group of ladies joined me for a trip to the Dallas Arboretum. We had a marvelous day and took a picnic lunch with us. Aside from the tram driver from hell who would not slow down long enough for us to take the photos we wanted, and who seemed more interested in the buildings than the plants, we really had a blast.

There was a glass exhibit that must be seen to be believed. I have included some photos (taken on foot by the way...).

Monday, June 18, 2012

I so want to finish this shawl....

My friend, Linda, has unknowingly guilted me into getting back to blogging.....she linked to my blog from, this one is for you, Linda! And you can find Linda here: Fabric Follies Two.

I have forgotten how long I have been working on this shawl. I love the yarn. I love the pattern. But I am so ready to be done with this thing! I like the beads added onto the edge for weight and think it will be so nice for my sister-in-law's birthday next month.

On another subject altogether....I had an afternoon visitor in the yard....isn't she gorgeous? It's been awhile since I saw a deer in the yard and this doe was all alone. Usually there will be several passing through at the same time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Mower

Found what we needed at Sears: 26 hp, 54" cut, 3 blades, V-Twin Briggs & Stratton Turn Tight. On sale, with 12 mo/no interest. It will arrive next week!

Cleaning out the Garage

Hubby and I have been trying to decide what to do about the two, count em, TWO, riding mowers that don't work and have been taking up space in the garage. Bottom line....they gotta go! So, we decided to get them out of the garage, and not allow them back in, and go shopping for a new mower this afternoon. I had suggested tomorrow, but the more he thought about it, he decided to just go do it! (I love a man who isn't afraid of making a decision...which is just one of the reasons we have been married for 37 yrs.)

While he was looking over the mowers trying to decide if one or both were worth fixing up and deciding that they weren't, I started doing a bit of tidying up on my own. We have built in shelving on the wall nearest the back door and it needed to be de-cluttered. After the mowers were out of the way we had room to move a few things away from the area of the back door as well: the two extra dining chairs that go with the dining table that I hate; a table that a friend gave me custody of for the time being; a walker for a tall person in case hubby ever has to have surgery again; the nifty wagon he bought me for Christmas to use when I am doing yard work; and other assorted stuff) Of course, when we get the new mower we will have to make room for that, but in the looks so much better.

Now we need to drop off a ton of stuff that we loaded into the back of the pickup that needs to go to the homeless shelter....drop off the paperwork for the CPA to do our taxes....and go buy a new mower. All in a days work while hubby is off on spring break from the police academy at Grayson College. I have a feeling he will be ready to go back to his position as director of the academy next week to get some rest!

Happy Spring Cleaning to you all!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wildlife and Midsomer Murders

Do any of you folks out there watch Midsomer Murders? We have Netflix and discovered this British TV show last summer. There are quite a lot of episodes available on streaming video or you can get them on DVD if you prefer.

In watching the show we both kept noticing some kind of critter noises that are common at night in these episodes. I finally decided it had to be a fox. I did a search on the internet and lo and behold...I was right! Fox barking.

Then, just yesterday, while on our evening walk together, hubby told me he found what he thought was a fox den in the wooded area on our property. We have lived on the same 86 acres for the past 37 years and only once or twice have I seen a fox. We have both had plenty of sightings of coyotes and bobcats, even a cougar once. 

This recently excavated hole was once the home of an armadillo. But armadillos don't make mounds this big! Besides, there was a clearly distinctive paw print near the mouth of the hole.

I asked my dear hubby to stick his size 13 boot in the photo to get an idea of the size of the den. The dirt is mounded up over a foot in an area about a yard armadillo house, nope! Not this one!

I found another video of a red fox, which is probably what we have here in Texas, and the bark is different from the first one I posted. This sounds more like what hubby said he has heard near the den. Red Fox ( You might want to skip to about the middle of the is not well filmed and is rather longer than is necessary if you just want to hear what a red fox sounds like.)

Line That Tote!

 I like to knit with lace weight yarn, usually a wool and silk blend, and I don't like that the yarn, and what I am knitting with it, tends to get a bit fuzzy from wallowing around in a canvas tote bag. I have two bags from a couple of my favorite knitting shops that I use on a regular basis and decided to make a satin lining for each of them. The Woolie Ewe bag is finished. I thought about putting pockets in the lining, but since the fabric is so slippery I decided not to....maybe for the other bag....not sure.

I didn't take photos of the work in progress, so this isn't really a tutorial, but all you have to do is measure your bag starting at the top, down the front, across the bottom, and up the back, allow an inch to turn under at the top of the lining; measure across the width of the bag, allowing for seam allowances. Since my fabric was super slippery I serged the cut edges and the seams. I mitered the bottom to match the miter on the bag itself, pinning the lining to the inside of the bag, right side showing of course, and did a single row of top stitching from the inside of the bag. I used pink polyester thread for the top and black cotton for the bobbin and the stitching is not noticeable.

The Mountain Colors wool/silk blend lace yarn is much happier in this bag now that it is lined!

I am adding beads to the edge of the Free and Easy Pie Wedge Shawl in place of the yarn overs. I decided that the shawl needed something to give it a bit more drape and keep it from flying around when being worn. I saw this shawl made up at The Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg, VA on a trip to visit our daughter and her family. I really, really wanted the pattern for this skein of yarn that I purchased on that trip, but the lady at the shop said it only comes on the label of Lorna's Laces yarn! So....when I got back home to Texas, I ended up going to the Woolie Ewe for a skein of the yarn that had the pattern printed on the label, that The Knitting Sisters didn't have at the time. Depending on how you look at it, I either bought a $50 skein of yarn for the free pattern, or I bought a $50 pattern and got a ball of yarn for free! But I digress...I am making this shawl for a family member and I am really happy with the way it is turning out.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Getting there...

I will need a different rod and possibly some different rings....but it looks like another 4 repeats of the pattern will be long enough, maybe 5,  then I can work the lace edging on the sides and bottom and that will make one panel.

Knitted curtain panels

I had downloaded a free patten for Print O' the Wave some time ago and decided that it would look nice done up in cotton for panels for my kitchen window. So far, so good! There will be a lace edging along both sides and the bottom. The natural scallop at the beginning will be the top of the curtain and will be attached to the rod with clip rings.

Monday, February 27, 2012

My! How I have changed!

 Not that long ago, my heart would beat a little faster at the mere thought of another knitting book. And, nowadays there are even e-books! (I have quite a few of those, too!) Now I find myself questioning the purchase of another book on knitting! Strange reaction....

And, yes, the bookcase is getting a bit crowded. I have books on lace, shawls, socks, stitch patterns, spinning, weaving, dyeing, tatting.... But, I seem to be getting more picky when it comes to investing in another book of any kind, even a novel. The last novel I bought was purchased at Sacred Heart bookstore in Dallas: "Quo Vadis" took me less than a week to read at over 500 pages. I couldn't put it down! Obviously, it was a good purchase and deserves space on a shelf.

So many books, and magazines for that matter, have much the same content when it comes to knitting design and basic patterns these days. There are exceptions, of course. And, sometimes I do go ahead and buy that book I was just fondling in the book store. (I think I have the basics, and have had for many years.) But, if there are not several projects or techniques that interest me I will just as often put it back on the shelf. The last time I was at Half-Price Books in our area I couldn't find a knitting book that interested me. I did end up buying a book for $6 on drawing and calligraphy. It seemed as though with every page I turned I found something that I wanted to try out.

I come by my love of books from my family who are avid readers. By the time I was 13 I had read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 short stories and 4 novels on Sherlock Holmes.

I really think a love of reading is actually in my DNA. One of my fathers cousins did a family genealogy back in the 1970's and I discovered that there are educators and scholars in our family going back as far as the American Revolution. It makes me wonder how far back into history this family heritage goes. Most of my ancestors arrived in the colonies from the British Isles but we have not been able to pinpoint the exact time that this happened, although the family was already well established before time of the Revolution. I am eternally thankful to have such a rich heritage to draw from. I have a feeling that there were more than a few women in my family tree who were quite talented with textile production as well!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Peroxide for cleaning stains

We have several sets of stone coasters that have become stained and need to be cleaned. I hate to put them in the dishwasher for fear that the cork on the bottoms of them will come loose. Then, I remembered my bottle of peroxide.

I just squirted some 3% peroxide right out of the bottle onto the tops of the coasters. See before and after shots below:

Sewing Corner...continued

I am still trying to get my sewing corner better arranged and contained. In switching back and forth from the serger to the sewing machine I got tired of the cords and foot feeds getting in the way and I needed for my surge protector to be more accessible for plugging things into it.

I slid the two plastic bookshelves a bit apart and laid the surge protector between them. Then, I put a basket on the floor to hold the foot feeds for both machines when I am not using them. Then, I serged the ends of two pieces of wide elastic, added buttons and a piece of elastic cord to use in keeping my cords from getting in the way on top of the sewing counter. I like this arrangement much better.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quick Sewing Machine Cover

Instead of buying a second carrying case for my other sewing machine I decided to make a cover for it when it is sitting on the sewing table. When not in use I just put it back in the box in came in and store it in the closet. It takes up a lot less room than if I used another carrying case. If I need to take it somewhere with me I can remove the other sewing machine and use that case.

I got the idea for the dust cover after going thru some old pillow cases trying to find one the right size to line a knitting basket. No luck. But when I laid the pillow cases on the sewing table while searching thru them I thought, "Hey! I could use one of these for a dust cover for my Brother sewing machine!

Just find a pillow case that is wide enough, turn it inside out and pull it over the machine (you might want to remove the spool of thread....and my machine lets you lower the spool peg into the top of the machine so it is flush with the top), allow 1/2" seam, pin where you want to cut, fold the pillow case so that the side seams are together, then cut the fabric, rounding the edges. You could even add a piece of cording to the seam to pretty it up a bit.

Ta Da! Finished dust cover!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Isn't technology wonderful? I am sitting at the Sherman, TX Panera restaurant having breakfast and thinking how much I would like to be in OKC with my mom on her birthday. So, I decided to dedicate this post to her.

She taught me to knit when I was ten years old. When I was twenty I really took off with what she had taught me, along with a little inspiration from Elizabeth Zimmermann.

As you can see from the posts of my finished, and in-progress projects, I am a pretty fair knitter. I credit the 'knitting genes' I inherited from my mom for this, as well as the love of beautiful things and the desire to create.

This photo is of a shawl that mom recently finished for herself while I was visiting her last month. She asked me to work in the ends and block it for her. I have blocking mats and wires and it didn't take long at all to get the job done. Then, my friend, Linda, helped me out by setting up a photo shoot at her lovely house to best set off the shawl. And.....

TA DA! Here it is!

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you heaps and gobs!

Monday, February 6, 2012

for the youngest grandchild

Now that I have my sewing room back I am in the sew! First off the machine is a pair of rompers for baby Josh...who will be 1 yr old tomorrow.....sigh...hope they fit him. This view is before the snaps were placed on the inseam and before I made the buttonholes.
This is a view of the facing for the bib....he likes Curious George...
And this shows the buttons....crayon buttons! Love them!

Blocking Table

For years I used the dining table or the bed to block my knitting. Then I remembered I had table leg extensions that a friend's husband had made me back when I was quilting a lot....dug them out of Fibber McGee's closet and put them to use! They raise the table up to waist high on more bending over for long periods of time pinning out my knitting to block it!

I now have space in the dining room to put up the table I took out of the sewing room (which is stored behind a bedroom door when not in use) and, with 'blocking mats' (I bought them at Target...they are intended to be used on the floor for exercise equipment and are larger than normal blocking mats, 19 1/2" square not including the interlocking tabs), and padding on top....I am ready to block a shawl for my mom that she just finished knitting. I will do the washing/blocking tomorrow so it has all day to dry....under the ceiling fan in the dining room!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Acrylic Yarn? Sometimes....

I much prefer to knit with natural fibers: wool, cotton, silk, alpaca, etc., but sometimes I stumble across a synthetic yarn that I like. Some of the things I knit are intended for charity projects and need to be easy care, machine wash & dry.

I bought a skein of Bernat Mosaic yesterday to test knit a hat pattern. The yarn is acrylic, doesn't have any stretch to it at all and is not good for the brioche hat pattern: it just lays there, limp and flat. But, it works up well in garter stitch so I started a diagonal pattern scarf.

I also just finished a brioche hat in "I Love This Wool" for a charity project this fall. The label says hand wash, but I am going to do a test wash with the hand-wash cycle on my Maytag washer.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Finishing a project...finally....

I had started a cable brioche scarf some time back and I am finally about to finish it while visiting with my mom. I have two balls of Araucania Aysen. I am knitting two rows with one skein and two rows with the other to blend it well. I like the result and look forward to the finished project.

The actual color is more like the top photo, taken in different light. I will probably add twisted fringe to the ends.