Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Merry Christmas One and All!

We are gathered together today, and the kids are very excited with the promise of presents. they hop and hit and argue all around the house, and regularly get kicked outside to "blow the steam off of them." Right now, the eldest, who recently had a birthday, is going out on a bicycle ride. The other two are trying so hard to be good, but, I must say, it isn't natural for them, and the silver coating is wearing thin and showing the brass underneath.

Chris is finishing his Bible reading for the day. He and the eldest made a commitment to read through the Bible, not just in a year, but in about 4 months. I am so proud of them in their faithfulness to this task as they near completion (I think they are up to Titus today). I think I was in college the first time I read through! I pray they learn from what they have read.

Knit a stocking for a friend. I will include the picture when I'm done.

Greetings to all of you, my friends!

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Picture

of a new little one wearing the Candy Striper hat! Isn't she sweet?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last Saturday we ventured to Chicago

Not only do I LOVE that town, but at Christmas time it is magnified a hundred-fold. We took the train in, and it almost made me think the extensive travels were worthwhile, as the kids kind of knew what to expect and practically sat down the whole time.

Once there we walked over to Macy's. What a disappointment to write that. It was Marshall Field's until a few years ago when it was bought out, but it is the huge, block-long flagship store complete with fancy clock outside, and window after window of holiday presentation. THis year was a kind of steampunk ornament making extravaganza. Here is an example of one of the window:

After that we wandered down the streets toward Michigan Avenue and the Golden Mile. It was nippy and we were bedecked with hats and gloves, earmuffs -- the whole works -- but we still got cold.

Made it to the Water Tower Place, quite a Chicago establishment. In 1871, the city of Chicago burned to the ground. Like many early American towns, it was constructed almost completely of wooden structures. Legend blames Mrs. O'Leary's cow for kicking over a lantern in the shanty barn out behind her house. The result? It was a hot time in the old town that night.

The only place downtown of import that did NOT burn was the Old Water Tower. It still stands, and next to it is the modern American tribute to anything of historical importance: a commercial building. The Water Tower shopping mall is a prime piece of real estate. It is very expensive to open a store front there, but at this time of year, if you do have one, it is jam packed and fun and full of people and flurry. We went to the Lego store there, and a very special birthday boy picked a toy from there for his day.

Also spotted:

Monday, December 05, 2011


On the way back from NY late October, we stayed in Paradise, Pennsylvania. That is one of the small, charming places in Lancaster County. Actually, the front desk worker was quite nice: every place was sold out (beautiful Fall colors, weekend, Lancaster County...), but despite my aqua colored hair, she rooted around until she found a room almost set up, and booked us. So nice!

The Amish qualities of the area reminded us of home. They were just a wee bit intensified. In the morning, we packed up and headed to Bird-in-the-Hand, and Intercourse. At the former, we bought some donuts to eat and take home to the chief donut taster in our home. Then we went to Intercourse and wandered in the stores that were open: the Hardware store, the pottery shop, the other Hardware store, until the quilt and yarn stores opened.

Did I mention I had my precious children with me? My very active little ones? My human little squirrels? Many, many times the owners of these fine establishments heard me say, "put your hands in your pockets, please."

"Yes, I know this pottery is very expensive." "It's not a toy. Put it down please. Please don't touch it." "No, thank you." "Please, sit over there. Yes, there. On the floor. Please wait for mommy."

Wendy Ellis is the proprietor of the Lancaster Yarn Store. It is a lovely, small store on the main strip of Intercourse, and, thankfully, it is very hard to break yarn, although the kids had just purchased honey sticks in the last store and were trying very hard to be sticky. Wendy and I sent them out on the porch until they had ended that activity and were ready to watch mom be slow in another store.

Wendy's own daughter is in college and had recently designed this fabulous hat! She has called it Scatterfraction. Through single stitch cabling, she has created a lovely, little vortex that snuggles your head, and ends up in an adorable i-cord pompom. I bought the local yarn it was knitted up in, and just knitted it up a month later.

I present to you: Scatterfraction in Rose!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Post Thanksgiving!

We have had a influx of loving relatives, and feel thoroughly loved. With my in-laws we had an early thanksgiving complete with ham, turkey and another family. With my parents we had a late Thanksgiving, had more friends over on SUnday and toured the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Co again. Today they flew off back to their warmer State. And we're having the first real snowfall now!

While trying to find "I Was Just Flipped Off By a Silver-Haired Old Lady With a 'Honk if You Love Jesus' Sticker on the Bumper of Her Car," by Antsy McClain of Antsy McClain and the Trailerpark Troubadours, I came across this instead:

Happy Holidays, everyone!

(Next time you guys have to do something we can REALLY talk about!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Candy Cane Hat for Newborns

Here is some info on the infant hat I finished yesterday, and gave away...


Required: red and white sock yarn, dpn 2.25mm, yarn needle, cardboard and scissors for pompom
Gauge: 29 st x 22 rows = 2 inches unstretched
The hat is 8” diameter unstretched, but 15” stretched comfortably, as K2, P2 fabric is very stretchy.

CO 104 st. Join in the round being careful not to twist.

K1, * P2, K2 * K1 all the way around. Cont in set pattern for 5.5”.

For the start of crown decrease, move the odd K or P stitch to the next needle to even up the K2, P2 stitches.

R1: Following the set pattern, * K2, P2, K2, P2tog *
R2 and all even rows, knit k st, purl p stitches.
R3: * K2, P2tog, K2, P1 *
R5: * K2, P1, K2tog, P1 *
R7: * K2tog, P1, K1, P1 *
R9: * K2tog, K1, P1 *
R11: * K2tog, P1 *
R13 & R15: K2tog all around

Pull the yarn through the remaining stitches, and pull tight, with tail on the inside.
Make a pompom from the variegated yarn, wrapping it around a 1.5” diameter cardboard. Sew on top.
Bedeck your Christmas baby, take pictures and enjoy them for years to come!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Busy Week

This week, we celebrated an important birthday in our house, my in-laws came to visit and house shop, we had an early Thanksgiving, and I had two knit design submissions accepted for publication next Spring! I'm over the moon!

The book is What Would Madame Defarge Knit II. The first WWMDfK? was published this Spring by Cooperative Press. It is the brainchild of one Heather Ordover, podcaster and crafter extraordinaire, found at Her podcast combines classic literature and crafts. The literature is included having been borrowed from Librivox or rerecorded for the purpose of inclusion there. Heather previews each week's selection with teaching factoids, and info about what crafts she is currently working on. Right now, we are in the throes of Dracula-- good stuff, but definitely creepy.

The book combines those same two elements of literature and craft, specifically knitting. You see, Madame Defarge was a character in Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities. She sat beneath the guillotine and knit names of its victims into her work. The book is fun knitting designs based on classic literature like this: Ancient Mariner's watch-cap, Madame Defarge's shawl, etc.

My two submissions are a felted book bag, and a doll's shawl, with matching girl's shawl. I shan't post pictures and whatnot, unless I receive info that it is okay to do so before publication.

But in the meantime, I have been busy hand quilting and knitting. I don't have a current photo of the quilt, but here is a sweet little ribbed baby hat, done in Christmas colors for our music teacher who is expecting her first.

That joins an October hat for a dear friend in Fort Wayne who had a little lumpshin (not her first). Since I forgot to say anything here then, here is that picture:

Here is a quilt I made for a friend who had her first grandchild! I think that was in early October.

Then, here is the October quilt I made for my eldest.

My big knitting project has been "Bee's Knee" by Mary Scott Huff. It has been a lot of fun to knit! I had some Knitpicks yarn I got on clearance because it was overly twisted, but that works fine with color work. The colors worked tremendously well with this project. In fact, I think I like it better than the yellow/brown the pattern originally calls for!

The body is knit in one piece, and the arms are knit together with extra stitches between. Both are done, but WHAT AM I WAITING FOR? You might well ask. I am waiting to cut them apart with a pair of sharp scissors. Yeah, I know. That's why I haven't done it yet.

All in all, a busy, productive time!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Here's another sampling of our trip out East:

We stopped by a family graveyard, and the kids got to meet their great-great-great grandparents!

My brother and sister and I grew up with our dad reading this man's diary to us: fascinating stories of pre-Civil War days on the farm, and equally fascinating stories of battles in the war.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Busy Month

Made a quilt for the eldest:

Designed a hat:

I also designed a shawl. Have I posted the pdfs anywhere? No. Sigh.

Went to NY and had a nice visit with my sister!

We did a one mile fun run (and the sis did a 10K) in the 'burbs...

Then later we went down to lower Manhattan

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What we do in the Country...
(subtitled: Riding on Barn Doors -- with boys)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

February Baby Sweater

My cousin had a baby girl, and the shower is this weekend...

I loved knitting the sweater so much, I knit the hat. Then, I cast on for the adult version.

The yarn is Fleece Artist Kid Silk 3-ply. I bought it eons ago as a kit, but didn't like the pattern included. The yardage is quite low, and the yarn slightly scratchy on me, so that narrowed down the possibilities of what it wanted to be. But, when it is knit up, the fabric is so gorgeous -- golden and tawny, soft and drapey.

Because the yardage is low, we'll just have to see how long I can end up making the sleeves.

My youngest's quilt is quilted and bound, and on his bed, just in time for the beginning of colder weather. Ummm!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Much ventured

Not sure how much gained.

Two children have been home sick from school so far, and not much gets done those days. On the other days, though, I finished two baby quilts and made one twin-sized quilt for my youngest.


He was so excited, he lost a tooth.

I went to the Michigan Fiber Fest and had great fun taking a silver woven bracelet class and a marled yarn spinning class. I also drove by the shell of my childhood home.

While in Allegan, I returned a niddy-noddy a friend had loaned me for the past two years. When I came home, this is what greeted me:

What a lovely husband to craft this for me!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I came, I saw...

... I won Sweepstakes in Knitting!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

State Fair drop-off was Friday, and the day before was spent in frantically trying to finish two projects, a small shawl knit out of handspun, and the lining for the architecture mittens. Both turned out well, I think.

Last year, they had an open night to all entrants before the Fair opened. This year, that night was cancelled... for budgetary concerns? In any case, I must wait and see how my entrees "fair."
The sum of it all